Monday, May 6, 2013

All Jacked Up but not yet ready to go.

The small bruises and cuts on my fingers signify the completion of a repair project -- the replacement of the front jack.  Like most efforts with our old trailer, it was not easy or without "issues."

So, here is the culprit prior to replacement.  The gears had stripped, the motor had given out, and I was stuck with using a log to keep the tongue of the trailer out of the mud.
What you can't see is the rusted bolts holding the jack to the tongue.
There was no way that the three bolts threaded into the tongue were going to move and I had about resolved to cut them off with an angle grinder when I got smart and posted a query on a wonderful online Airstream group called Air Forums.  Here's the question I raised:

I got several responses back that said first use a penetration oil like PB Blaster, then heat if needed.  They all said don't cut the bolts off.  So, down to our local hardware store I went and talked to one of the knowledgeable guys who further cautioned me to take my time and don't use too much force or "you'll snap off the bolt."

So, I soaked the bolts, tried to move them, heated them, and later that day, got one to budge.  I carefully extracted two of the bolts, breaking the rust with oil and heat.  Of course, the third one snapped when I put an extender on my ratchet wrench -- so I was left with two nice threaded holes and a stub of a hardened bolt.

The two bolts and on the right, the snapped-off bolt.  At least the old jack of off the rig.
I ground down the bolt prior to trying to drill it out.

So, the next morning it was back to the store and confessing to my advisor.  He sold me a drill bit/tapping set and some new bolts and soon I was back at the task, trying to get a small drill bit to center on the bolt.  I finally got it drilled and rethreaded.

The final tasks were rather uneventful - the jack fit the hole, the new bolts worked fine, and when I connected the power, the whole thing worked.  It was a lot of work but it was wonderful to have the help of folks who know what they are doing.  After a few additional fixes due to the differences in the new jack, the Airstream is now ready to hook up to the truck again.  Of course, the list of tasks grew as I worked around the unit, noticing items needing repair.  So, we'll tackle them one at a time but this major one is great to have out of the way.

New jack ready to go.

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