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Trailer “Clunking” Problem & Solution - Replace Suspension Bushings

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  • Trailer “Clunking” Problem & Solution - Replace Suspension Bushings

    The past few years I would hear a “clunking” sound (different than “squeaking”) from my boat trailer, but I got concerned this year as it seemed louder.
    -With the boat off the trailer I could see wear around the shackle bolts (see pic)
    -I called eTrailer to order the parts and was helped by Kayla to order the bushings/shackles/bolts/nuts for my tandem axle trailer
    -After trying to press the bushings in the springs I realized I measured poorly and had two different bushings, the equalizer had 3/4” OD and springs had 11/16” OD.
    -Amanda helped me get the second set of bushings (delaying the project for 5 days…but my fault)

    Right or wrong:
    -I applied anti-seize compound to the shackle bolt threads
    -I applied some dish soap to the bushings before pressing them in (soap will dry)
    -I pre-loaded the “wet” bolts with marine grease to fill them up before inserting them into the suspension
    -I tightened the bolts very securely and they backed off the nut ½ turn to allow suspension movement

    Lessons learned:
    -The spring ends & equalizer bushings in-between the two wheels had the most wear so check them first
    -Look for different size bushings in equalizer/springs and measure ID & OD precisely
    -It takes some time to do this job (about 4 working hours per side) so try to do it when you are not under pressure
    -Use jack stands underthings and wear safety goggles
    -If you want the re-paint some parts, allow for primer and top coat drying time, i.e. overnight which adds time to the project, but it comes out better
    -Have a big breaker bar (32”) & extension/enforcer to help get the nuts on & off. My ½” impact gun could not tighten them all the way
    -A large “C” clamp will press the bushing in smooth & straight (see Pic) instead of using a hammer & block of wood “caveman style”
    -Replace bolts with wet bolts that can be greased
    -Annually inspect your trailer suspension for signs of wear and listen for increased noise

    Thanks again to Kayla, Amanda at eTrailer for help with this project.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Nice write-up and pics Chris, thanks.


    • #3
      Helpful, thanks. I know the sound and will now inspect this area on my trailer.