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Rebuilding your trailer part two: Pull it apart

This is the second in our series on rebuilding your trailer.
You’ve done the preparation, so now we look at disassembling it to get it ready for maintenance, trailer repairs or rebuilding.

If your trailer has been around for a while, it has no doubt accumulated some rust – at least in the corners and joints. The nuts and bolts are most likely rusted or stuck in place as well, so give yourself a head start by dousing them in a rust penetrating lubricant the day before you pull it apart.

 Stripping down

  1.  Start by removing the accessories as necessary – lights, mudguards, coupling, etc. – leaving only parts that are in good condition and won’t get in the way when rebuilding.
  2. Do the floor and sides need to be replaced? If the floor is made of wood, it can probably be discarded in favor of new material, but check the state of any metal to see if it can be reused. Most incidents of rust can be treated as part of your trailer repairs – by cleaning and repainting with rust inhibitors – unless it’s compromising the structure. Unscrew as necessary and set aside for scrap or reuse.
  3. Lift the trailer and place the frame on stands. Make sure the trailer is completely supported by the stands before you start working on it.
  4. Remove the tyres, checking to see it they need to be replaced. If you can reuse them, set them aside for cleaning.
  5. Next, remove the wheel hubs and bearings. Check everything for scoring and wear, take note of the reference number on the bearings so you can replace them with the right ones, then either put them aside for the rebuild or bin them.
  6. Disconnect the brake line from the axle using a wrench. It’s important to always use the correct wrench when working with brake line fittings to avoid stripping the hex.
  7. The suspension and axle should be able to be removed in one piece.
  8. Unshackle the U-bolts that secure the axle to the leaf springs using the ratchet and sockets and carefully remove it. Get a mate to help at this point to take the weight.
  9. Unbolt the springs from the hangers and remove them.

As you work through disassembling your trailer, remember to be diligent about the parts and components so that it’s easy to put everything back together. Keep aside anything that can be reused and have a bin for the discards.

You now have the trailer in pieces, ready for the next rebuilding step: replacing the springs and axle.

Repair or replace? If you’re unsure which parts to keep and which to ditch, read our guide.

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