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Thread: Need leaf spring help

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  1. #1
    Tinster
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    Need leaf spring help

    This non-mechanic guy needs a little guidance again.
    I think the part in my photo is called a leaf spring.
    I have two and they are getting rusty real fast from
    being dipped in ocean water. I hose them with fresh
    water every time they get salt water wet.

    My question is several parts.

    1. Is this thing under tremendous compression like the
    coil springs in my TR6? If so, how do I decompress it?

    2. The very rusty bolts, indicated with blue arrows, are
    1/2" SAE grade #5. Can I replace them with stainless steel?

    3. Do the leaf springs come apart into layers? If so,
    should I heavy grease coat the individual slabs of steel?
    or paint them with Eastwood rust compound? Or both techniques?

    Many thanks--- no fishing for me until the rust problem is
    properly refurbished.

    dale [img]/bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wall.gif[/img]


  2. #2
    Yoda SilentUnicorn's Avatar
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    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinster
    ....

    My question is several parts.

    1. Is this thing under tremendous compression like the
    coil springs in my TR6? If so, how do I decompress it?
    they are under pressure but not like a coil spring. common sense disassemble and caution are advised. Jack up trailer and let springs hang. (this is where the might as wells come in) drop the hole unit, axle and all. and proceed to finish disassembly and rust preventative the whole she-bang.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinster
    2. The very rusty bolts, indicated with blue arrows, are
    1/2" SAE grade #5. Can I replace them with stainless steel?
    Yes you can , stainless is not as strong, but i doubt it would make a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinster
    3. Do the leaf springs come apart into layers? If so,
    should I heavy grease coat the individual slabs of steel?
    or paint them with Eastwood rust compound? Or both techniques?
    Yes they do. there is a center bolt that runs up the middle and holds the center together (available at most good parts stores in a variety of sizes). undo (or most likely cut off) and the springs will fall apart. Usually there are some mild steel tabs that bend around the layers and keep them from twisting out of alignment. I don't see these on this spring, and they really cant go anywhere because the u bolts prevent them from twisting. Grease them , paint them, powdercaot them, whatever floats your boat....hehe


    Quote Originally Posted by Tinster
    Many thanks--- no fishing for me until the rust problem is
    properly refurbished.

    dale [img]/bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wall.gif[/img]

    "I'm pursuing my lifelong quest for the perfect, the absolutely driest martini to be found in this or any other world. And I think I may have hit upon the perfect formula. You pour six jiggers of gin, and you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth. "Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda) in M *A *S *H

  3. #3
    Obi Wan TR6oldtimer's Avatar
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    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Dale, put the trailer on jack stands under the frame, not the axle. Once you do this you will (should)see it is no longer compressed. You can pull the whole thing as previously suggested, or do one side at a time.

    If it were mine, I wouldn't be concerned as it looks to be in great shape for a boat trailer.

    I would not go with stainless steel on those hinge bolts as they act as the pin for the hinge and as such, I assume a harder steel is preferred.
    Ray

    A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
    1973 TR6 sort of Mallard Blue in restoration

  4. #4
    Tinster
    Guest

    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Thanks for the advice. I
    The first thing I did was put the buggy on jackstands.
    I put the car jack under the leaf spring to keep it from
    moving downward.

    I do not fully understand how this thing works. For example:
    Does the leaf spring straighten out when I pull the thru-
    bolts on either end? If so, how do I get the steel back
    into the existing bow shape for the re-install?

    Do the slabs of steel move or rub back and forth when I hit
    bumps? Is grease or paint better between the steel slabs
    for rust prevention?

    BTW: I was once fishing with a chap who poorly maintained
    his trailer. It collapsed (with boat on it) half way up
    the boat ramp. It was well after sunset. The marine police
    were not amused. Neither was I !!

    Thanks again-
    BLARGH!! Getting a root canal tomorrow.

    d

  5. #5
    Yoda SilentUnicorn's Avatar
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    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Dale,

    the springs will not flatten out, if anything they will arch a little bit more when you release the tension on them. Putting them back on shouldn't be a big deal, the shackles (where you have the 1/2 bolts) should have enough play to let you re install. Tip; leave the boat on the trailer, its weight will help you should you need to jack the spring slightly from underneath.

    The springs do rub a little on each other when you hit a bump. Some people will put plastic shims between them, to keep them quiet (not much of a problem on a boat trailer) The shims do help separate the leaves a little and if you are habitually rinsing them off this might not be a bad thing. It would let you get some clean water between them.

    a far as what to use to prevent rust..anything is better than nothing. Tr6oldtimer is right that trailer looks to be in pretty good shape. If it were me i would disassemble the whole axle and springs, get new bolts (u bolts too) clean it all up good, prep them and use a good quality paint. Reassemble and float the boat. from the looks of that pic i certainly would not let that trailer keep me from fishing, unless this is your off season. Keep those fishing pics coming I enjoy them.

    mark

    mark


    "I'm pursuing my lifelong quest for the perfect, the absolutely driest martini to be found in this or any other world. And I think I may have hit upon the perfect formula. You pour six jiggers of gin, and you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth. "Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda) in M *A *S *H

  6. #6
    Tinster
    Guest

    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Thanks Mark-

    I've got a week of too-windy-to-fish so I'm doing
    preventive maintenance. Rewired the same side of the
    trailer with waterproof connectors. I've now got functional lights all around.

    thanks for the advice.

    Should I author a "How to" for saltwater trailer suspension
    rebuilding? [img]/bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif[/img]

    d

  7. #7
    Jedi Hopeful Don_Neff's Avatar
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    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Dale,

    As others mentioned here, your trailer suspension is better than it looks. Every time you do a fresh water flush, let the springs dry out and then squirt lots of oil between the leaves.

    I'm be more concerned about the wheel bearings. They get flooded inspite of how good the seals are. I'd take them apart and examine them often. I always urge my fishing friends around here to carry spare wheel bearings and the tools to install them. The bearings always fail on the road, never in your home drive.

    Don
    Don Neff
    1991 XJ-S V12 Conv. 5-speed
    Novi, MI, USA

  8. #8
    Tinster
    Guest

    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Thanks Don-

    I spray the suspension components with CRC 6-56, marine
    anti-corrosion lubricant immediately after I have put
    the boat in the water. (while water is still dripping)

    I was very surprised at the degree of rusting on the
    leaf springs and other non-stainless steel pieces, given
    how diligent and careful I am to flush the salt away.

    I jiggled around with two jacks this afternoon and managed
    to pull one thru-bolt without anything suddenly expanding
    or blowing apart. I'll install stainless thru-bolts and
    Eastwood rust paint the leaves.

    Thanks all-

    Dale

  9. #9
    Tinster
    Guest

    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Thanks everyone-

    I completed the refurbish of one side of the boat trailer
    this afternoon. Holey Moley !! It took 160 pounds on a 2
    foot ratchet extension to spin off the old SAE #5 bolts,
    after being drenched three days in penetrating oil.

    Ground out all the rust, applied Eastwood Rust Inhibitor,
    installed new stainless steel thru-bolts. Black grease
    inside the bolt sleeves.

    The wheel bearings looked fine and dandy.

    Now: rewire and refurbish the other side and I should
    be good for another year of saltwater fishing.

    Thanks all,

    d


  10. #10
    Yoda vping's Avatar
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    Re: Need leaf spring help

    Looks good. Can't wait to see how it holds up after the first year. Nice job.
    1952 MG TD, 1963 MGB x 2, 1967 MG B/GT Special, 1972 MG Midget, 1972 MG B 1974 MGB


    There are things known and there are things unknown and in between are the Doors

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