Sunday, August 10, 2014


Saturday, August 2 – In the previous post, we mentioned Paul had a little project to do on the 5th wheel. That involved the installation of a “wet-bolt kit” on the suspension.

Old shackles are on the bottom; new replacements on top.shackles

This was a pretty “heavy lift” project, and Paul was a little hesitant to take it on by himself. Luckily, he now has a boy in the family, new son-in-law, Dave, and Rick, visiting for a few days from Mission, TX. Together they tackled this project.

The biggest and scariest part of the job involved jacking the 12,000+ fifth wheel off the ground and securing it on jack stands so it would be safe to crawl under. Dave is experienced working on automotive projects, and Paul felt confident that with his help we could “getter done.”

Great to have a young man around – the young have no fear!jacking up 5er

Notice the heavy duty jack (20-ton hydraulic) and the big jack stand.  No fair looking at those boxers.
Paul under 5er.

It took a while but we were successful in jacking up and securing the trailer on several jack stands. Then we dismantled the suspension system that holds the springs and axles onto the trailer. The object was to replace the under-sized shackles and bolts the manufacture installed during construction and that have been reported to break while driving down the road. Any maintenance to prevent roadside breakdowns is a good thing!

Notice Dave has detached the spring from the trailer.  We are holding up the axle with  a floor jack.
removing spring

Paul is working to remove the spring from the front hanger.removing spring

Dave’s electric impact wrench sure came in handy breaking loose those bolts.  A little scary crawling around under the trailer and around all those jacks and stands.breaking loose bolts.

We were amazed to see the difference in construction of the new shackles compared to those installed during construction. What were those builders thinking?

Check-out the new shackles on the left compared to the old on the right.  If you look carefully, you can see the wear on those old bolts.  new shackles

The new bolts even have grease fitting for applying grease to the inside of the spring eyes to prevent the bolts from wearing and eventually breaking.

See the grease zerks.  Look carefully at the bolts on the right and you can see the holes the grease comes out of to keep the bolts well oiled. After installation, we greased them up and they squirted grease nicely.  Again, you can see the wear on those old bolts.zerks

Rick, our guest from Texas, hammers home a new copper bushing inside one of the spring eyes.  The old install had plastic bushings.Rick working on 5er

Check out the new shiny shackles!shiny shackles

It was a dirty, greasy, and sometimes scary job, but with the help of Dave and Rick, it was successfully completed and Paul tucked the 5th wheel back into its parking space until we depart in early September. Thanks Dave and Rick for all the help!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!


  1. As you guys have already figured out it is better to be safe than sorry. Most people don't realize the importance a little grease can have on their security and safety.
    That's a job I'd like to do to our trailer but our system is not as heavy duty as yours is yet.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. We have the wet bolts on our Montana. I think they all come standard now. Good job.

  3. Jim wants you to know how much he appreciates you giving him another job to do. lol He'll be checking ours when we get home from church.

  4. Paul always has to have something to work on. Now that this is taken care of .... on to the next task.

  5. These three guys thought this was a better deal than going to the Hall of Fame parade? Well at least the job got done. Very nice of Rick to drive from Texas to help.

  6. Where would I carry a 20 ton jack and impact wrench? Good family project. Some times it's nice to have a place to store stuff and work on things. That Paul is very ambitious. Is the there any project he can't do? Great job guys!!

  7. Another great informative post. We'll be taking a close look at ours. Thanks for sharing :-)

  8. awwww. . .definitely a project for a "real" man or three. . .goodness! and I concur, completely. . .preventative maintenance always trumps repair. . .GOOD JOB GUYS!

    So where ya headed in September?

  9. Looks like a good improvement on your suspension, nice to have the extra help too.

  10. Three heads are better than well as three muscle men. It's so nice to have a man (men) around the house. Nice timing on the groom returning from the honeymoon and partner in crime visiting from Texas. Nicely done guys!

  11. We have to do something similar with the bearings. Doug jacks up the rig fairly regularly. Scares the beejeez out of me.

  12. That is a big job:) I admit I would have wimped out and gone to a repair facility:(

  13. Yes, it was a good thing you went to the parade while this was all taking place, Marsha!! I would have been so worried watching this process. But I bet it feels good to know that the trailer is so much more secure. Good job, Paul!!

  14. I would not be able to watch the guys crawl under there. Such bravery!

  15. I could not have watched while the guys were tackling this project!

  16. Thanks for demonstrating another project I will never tackle myself! That looked to be one scary job, Paul. It's a good thing you trust jacks and don't seem to have a fear of being squashed!

    I'm always amazed at the cheap, inferior parts the RV builders put into rigs. It seems there are no reasonable safety standards - too bad.

  17. We did wimp out and had a repair facility do ours on our Cameo last year, Paul and his crew weren't in the area :-)

  18. Man oh man.....what a job! Paul, you need to do a reality TV show demonstrating all your projects.

  19. I don't begin to understand a thing that those guys were doing!!!! I do understand how scary jacking that huge 5th wheel up like that can be. So glad the operation was successful :-) Good job guys!!!

  20. With muscles around a project such as this is just nothing.
    Just a side note, i just noticed your sidebar, the Live Traffic Feed, very cool!


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