Welcome to Part Two of the Motorbike Trailer Overhaul. If you haven’t read my introduction, click here. Basically, it talks about how I plan to breathe life back into this old trusty Motorbike Trailer with the help of some mates, some handy Supercheap Auto tools, and some willpower!
Part Two – Removing suspension & hubs
In this article:
- Removing hub assemblies
- Removing U-bolts
- Removing leaf springs
After stripping the old girl back from her original rust infused state (see Part One) the next step was to look at replacing all the worn out running gear. After initial inspection it was clear to see that like the chassis, all these components had seen better days. We decided it would be easier to work on all the components if we flip the trailer upside down, this meant the suspension wasn’t hanging down under its own weight.
The photos below show how bad things really were.
The first step was to remove the old dirty hubs and bearings from the axle. To do this, normally you would remove the grease caps which keep the bearings clean of dirt and grime. Funnily enough, this trailer didn’t have any, hence the mess! Then you remove this nut which is held on with a split pin, you can’t quite see it here but it’s under all that gunk!
A quick clean with a rag and some degreaser shows exactly what is going on. Once the split pin is located, it was as easy as pulling it out with some pliers and the taking the big nut off. There are always an array nuts, washers and bearings which all make up the inner hubs so if you are taking a hub off, remember the order in which you remove them. Although the new hubs will come with bearing kits, it’s good to have an understanding of how they all fit together on the axle.
The bearings were the next bit to come out and usually are pretty easy to remove.
With the nuts, washers, seals and bearings out, it was just a matter of pulling the hub of the axle. This exposes the bare axle underneath. Unlike some trailers these days, this bike trailer uses a full-size axle that goes the full width of the trailer. Some modern trailers now use stub axles which are welded to the chassis or frame (these are the kind Supercheap Auto stock, check them out here). It doesn’t matter which they are, they all run the same hubs and bearings set-up.
With a bit of a clean with the rag we inspected the end of the axle, although this trailer had some serious wear and tear, it was still in surprisingly good condition. This meant we didn’t have to fork out for a new axle which would save us a bit of coin on the overall build cost.
Once we removed the hub, we needed to separate the axle from the leaf springs and the leaf springs from the frame. The problem with a trailer that spends most of its life outside is that ever nut and bolt is rusted. There wasn’t one rust free bolt on this whole trailer.
After a few stubborn nuts and bolts we opted out for some help! We found INOX was the best to use as it penetrates the nut and bolts and fights rust really well. It’s easy to use as well, all you have to do is spray it on and let it soak in for a couple of mins. That’s it!
Another tool that helps with removing stubborn nuts and bolts is an impact ratchet wrench or commonly known as a rattle gun. The one we used was again from the Rockwell ShopSeries range. This one is the 18V LI-ION rechargeable model and has 310N.m of torque which is powerful enough for most rusted nuts and bolts. As well as being easier, it’s also much faster than using a ratchet or spanners. You will see this tool a bit throughout the build but to find out more check out this product or better yet check out the product video.
Once the U-bolts which were holding the leaf springs to the axle were removed it meant we could drop the axle down and away from the springs.
Then it was just a matter of undoing the springs from their mounting brackets which are attached to the bottom of the trailer.
Finally after a few short hours we had removed the complete hub assembly including all bearings, seals & nuts as well as the leaf springs. As you can see they were all pretty worn out. And ready for replacement.
All in all this section of the build was pretty easy just a bit time consuming when it came to removing the bolts due to the rust. Having the trailer upside down meant it was really easy to work on it and all the suspension components were easily accessible.
Be sure to check out Part Three, where we hunt around for new suspension components and go about fitting them to the trailer chassis. Stay tuned!!