Well the project is finally completed. What should have taken one day actually took five. Mostly because I had to order and wait for parts. During the process I learned that the replacement bushings for the spring eyes, (left) are a different size than the replacement bushings for the equalizer (below). I had ordered bushings from NAPA auto parts (that came in the very next day) for all the bushings not knowing I would need smaller ones for the equalizer. this required another trip to town to buy six smaller ones. I also discovered that the straps that connect the spring eye to the equalizer were badly worn. (See worn parts picture at bottom) I purchased new straps too. I checked the holes in the equalizer carefully to make sure they were not elongated. Some of these were slightly worn where the bolts had worn through the bushings but were still OK to use for now. I think if I do this project again, I'll take the equalizers to a machine shop with a couple of new bushings and have the holes reamed to match the large size bushing. That way I'll only need to buy one size next time. It will also prevent buying a new equalizer if the bushing holes become too elongated for the smaller size bushing
Pressing the bushings into the holes in the equalizer was more challenging than in the spring eyes. The bushings were slightly larger than the holes which allowed for a very tight fit. I greased the outside of each bushing when I discovered that the first one I installed stopped about 1/32 of an inch short. The rest of the bushings all went in fairly easily after that.
I had discussed this when I bought the new smaller bushings with the guy who owns the repair shop but didn't get any information from him.
Here you can see some of the tools and the worn out bushings and straps that I replaced. Virtually all of the bushings were worn out. some very badly. Two of the straps were badly worn too. This was because they had not been properly tightened at the factory. There were actually several instances of this. I used a four inch lag bolt and a large socket to remove the old bushings from the spring eyes. It would not fit though the hole in the equalizers so I used needle nosed plyers and the knife in my leatherman to remove those. I just put the lag bolt through the bushing in the spring eye, then though the bolt with a washer and nut behind the socket. Tightening the bolt pulled the bushing into the socket and out of the spring eye. To install new bushings in the spring eyes and in the equalizer, I put a large fender washer on the bolt, then the bushing. Then I put the bolt through the hole and added a heavy fender washer and bolt on the back side. I had to take time to get the bushings properly started and greased in the equalizers as these were a very tight fit and hard to start. The spring eyes were no problem. Once again I just tightened the nut on the bolt to pull the bushing into the holes. If the bushing didn't go all the way in I trimmed them with my knife. I had a couple that did this but they had gone in far enough that I didn't need to replace them.
The most challenging part of this was working under the trailer and moving my jacks around. I used two hydrolic jacks to lift the trailer and set in on blocks. I also used the same jacks to raise and lower the axles as I adjusted them when putting the bolts back into the holes. and re-assembling the suspension system. I also used a come-along for some minor horizontal adjustments where needed. In my case I re-bushed the two ends of the spring first and re-attached them before dis-assembling the others. This kept things in line pretty well and I didn't have problems later trying to re-align everything. Once I did this I let the axles down on blocks and the equalizers went totally slack. That meant that I could do all five bushings at once and totally remove the equalizer to work on it. It went back easily except for the last strap. on both sides the last strap didn't want to align properly so the bolt would go through as it should. I had to work on this quite awhile by trying different tactics until they finally fit. On one side the problem was that the spring had twisted slightly. On the other I simply couldn't quite the the strap hole to align. I finally just tightened the nut until it popped into place.
My total bill for parts came to about $23.00 dollars but required three 32 mile round trips to town. It took me about eight or nine actual work hours to do the work. Since we were still occupying the trailer as I did this I had to do one side while working under the slides. It kept me in the shade, and since I was sitting most of the time it wasn't too bad. Removing and re-installing the tires was the hardest part here.
I checked the brakes as I removed the wheels and decided against replacing them. My Dexter manual states that if they are 1/16 inch or less, they should be replaced. Mine were well over that so I'll save that project until next year. My bearing all looked good too but my drums all have been very hot at one time or another. Also I forgot to check the electric magnets that make the brakes work so I need to do that next time too.
The only thing left for me to do now is torque all the lug nuts to the proper setting (120ftlbs) and tighten the bolts on the first side of the spring shackles again. I learned more about this as I did the second side so I will go back and do it again just to be sure everything is right.
I this helps you if you decide to do this project. I did it in an old horse pasture because that's the only place I had available at the time. I would recommend doing it on a harder surface if you can.