Trailer Lowering

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Trailer Lowering

Postby thesnowgod » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:07 am

Since I admit to being a bit on the weak side and with my gimpy leg, rolling a bike onto my trailer isn't easy for me to do alone. After looking at my trailer a little closer I decided that if I lowered it a little bit, it would decrease the angle of the ramp enough for me to do it a bit easier. Plus it makes the connection to my car a bit better since it sits low.

If you tow with a truck or SUV, this will require you to purchase a drop hitch since now the trailer will be so low that it will no longer sit level.

I basically went with a cheap old school mini-truck lowering method from the 80s and 90s. ;)


Here's the view of the trailer axle as it was when I assembled it originally.

leaf_normal.JPG


I simply "flipped" the axle. I unbolted the U bolts, and the rear leaf spring, slid the axle out and brought it up on top of the leafs and bolted it all back together. Easy as pie. (no not Kevin, but he's easy too ;))

leaf_lower.JPG



Here's a before and after view of the ride height change.

rideheight_normal.JPG


rideheight_lower.JPG


I noticed the bolts that hold the trailer fenders on where a little closer to the tires than I cared for.

fenderbolts_before.JPG


So I flipped those too. They stick up off the top of the fender now, but not enough that is bothers me and it's certainly better than a ripped up tire.

fenderbolts_after.JPG



Another little tip for folks with trailers: I noticed within an hour or so on the interstate, the wind had nearly torn my license plate completely off when I had bolted it to the mount with bolts and washers. This required me to buy a new plate since the old one was quite literally torn apart at the mounting holes. While NY State appreciates my frequent plate purchases, I don't like to spend money if I don't have to. I took my new plate and some old key chain rings and used them to mount it up. Now it swings a bit and when the wind hits it, it can move freely. Again, a nice easy modification that a lot of people noticed at gas stops and stuff and said they were going to do the same thing.

plate_mount.JPG


Hope this helps someone else who may want to try it out.
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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby Micah » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:45 am

That's a cool idea! I know that for the trailer Dad and I will be using for the Gap trip, I have to load it with separate ramps because the hinged ramp on the trailer is steep enough that the 'Cat hits the exhaust pipes and lower fairings when loading.

I'd love to have my own little trailer to haul the bike around. Harbor Freight makes several cheapo trailers that have appeal, though if I were really serious about getting one, I would make sure that they were really well built... Did you get yours from HF? This would be a good mod to help lower the deck while maintaining a good road height for interstate travel. When you get the 788 loaded up, would you snap a quick pic of the leaf springs, which should be compressed a little with the addition of the bike's weight.

Great write up and pics!

Micah
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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby thesnowgod » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:52 pm

Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

Yeah, this is a Harbor Freight cheapo. It's their 4x8 model and I went with the small 8" wheels over the identical model with 12" wheels, again, for a lower deck height. I'd say it's built quite well.... I built it! :D It comes in a box with a certificate of origin for registering and getting a title.

Assembly is easy and ya only need regular hand tools to do it. Since buying it, it's made countless trips around NY and two to the Gap Meet without problems. *knock on wood* I have since replaced the original taillights with nicer LED ones and rewired it front to rear with all new wiring, all soldered and heat shrinked. When I originally assembled it, it was within days of leaving for the meet. I used the crappy thin wiring and their crimp on connectors. Weather has since taken it's toll and I took some time a few weeks ago to do it "right".

Probably the next thing I'll do is remove the wood decking and either install bike "rails" or maybe get all fancy and go with diamond plate. I also may repaint it. The paint they use is TERRIBLE. It chips, flakes and fades to a dull pinkish-red within the first year. While it's not an issue really, the OCD in me thinks it looks terrible and could use a few coats of paint, some metalflake and a ton of clearcoat. :D

Here's a shot I took yesterday all loaded up. With the bike on there, the height didn't change hardly at all. I admit I didn't take before and after height measurements but I'll try to remember to at some point this weekend. Pardon the lack of the belly pan on the bike. It's not a clearance issue, I still am working on a way to mount the thing. The uber fancy Dzus fasteners won't work. They're a little too short so I need to find something else.... I have plenty of time. I'm not leaving for the track until 4:30am tomorrow. :evillol

loaded.jpg
The next time you feel we're "too preachy" in here, do me a favor and call the familes of the people in my signature. Make sure you tell them that too. Then close your browser and never come back here again.

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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby 01YZF6 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:31 pm

just remember that over heavy bumps and extended period of rough roadway riding, that you are putting a lot of extra DOWN FORCE on those springs and their hardware.

we have performed tons of spring flips on popup campers, but usually the other way around to gain clearance.
looks good Ron. which LED kit did you buy? the one I got at HF, the wires were real cheap and thin strands. within a week they were breaking all over the place
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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby thesnowgod » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:33 pm

Not sure I follow you..... The amount of downforce shouldn't change, simply the height of the trailer did. Granted, I need to be certain that there is still enough travel left so that the tires don't bottom out on the trailer's fenders but after loading the bike and jumping up and down, it still seemed good to go. Those leaf springs back there don't move too awful much. If they do rub, I'll grab my trackday tool box and simply unbolt the fenders roadside and replace them later on with simple bars that come out behind the tires that I'll hang rubber mats from. In NY anyways, you have to have some sort of fender/flap where the tires are for legality. These fenders aren't terribly functional for keeping debris/mud at bay anyways.

The LED lights I bought were from Advance Auto Parts. I don't buy too many things at Harbor Freight unless I plan to throw them away after a single use or if it's something like a cheap tool that if it breaks, I don't care. Electronics and stuff, no way I'd buy them there. As you saw, HF is terribly cheap stuff. The OEM lights that came with the trailer were very poorly made. I threw them out but I should've taken comparison pics before I did. The newer LED lights I bought have nicer housings, thicker wires and you can tell holding them in your hands that they are just "better". I went with a thicker gauge wire for the whole thing too. Combined with the soldering and stuff, I imagine getting flagged down at stop lights to hear, "Hey buddy! You're trailer lights aren't workin'!" will be a thing of the past now. :D
The next time you feel we're "too preachy" in here, do me a favor and call the familes of the people in my signature. Make sure you tell them that too. Then close your browser and never come back here again.

Ron "Cyclenerd" Paulsen ~ Matt "ZenKnight" Truslow ~ Andrew "Spitzer" Salerno ~ Joe "Otocan" Snell ~ Kevin "Captain Cat" Hoyt ~ Isaac "Classic" Klosterman ~ Aswhin "Ashwingop" Gopalakrishnan ~ Franchesca "FunRunTwin27" Martino ~ Lance "Lance420420" Brown
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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby Polystigma » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:25 pm

Ron,
Do consider you have now lowered the weight max on the trailer.
Instead of weight actually on the axle, its now on the U-bolts.
I think its what Rob is getting at.
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Re: Trailer Lowering

Postby thesnowgod » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:48 pm

Ah! No, I honestly hadn't considered it. I'm gonna roll the dice and see what happens. I think those bolts can hold it but I will admit I haven't any mathematical proof of it. I just took the idea from the old mini-truckin days and ran with it.

Good point. The 2.5 hour trip tomorrow will be a good rest for the BIG trip to the Gap in a couple weeks. ;)
The next time you feel we're "too preachy" in here, do me a favor and call the familes of the people in my signature. Make sure you tell them that too. Then close your browser and never come back here again.

Ron "Cyclenerd" Paulsen ~ Matt "ZenKnight" Truslow ~ Andrew "Spitzer" Salerno ~ Joe "Otocan" Snell ~ Kevin "Captain Cat" Hoyt ~ Isaac "Classic" Klosterman ~ Aswhin "Ashwingop" Gopalakrishnan ~ Franchesca "FunRunTwin27" Martino ~ Lance "Lance420420" Brown
Don't cry over how they died. Smile at how they lived.
Thanks to you all, I know I'll never be riding alone.
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