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Another shackle problem


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about a problem that we had with a shackle on the suspension of our 5th wheel while we were on a trip out west. Before the shackle broke, I had never given a thought to the fact that it might break or wear out. It is one of those things that unless you are very knowledgeable about a given subject, you just don’t think about it.

Since we had that problem and had it repaired by someone who really didn’t know what he was doing, I have learned a lot about shackles. After listening to others who had the same type of problem, I figured that the best thing to do was to have all of the existing shackles replaced with what is called “wet bolts” and heavy duty shackles. For those who don’t know, and I didn’t know either, a wet bolt is one that has a zert fitting so it can be greased. The grease will lessen the friction between the shackles and springs.

That was my plan, and still is, but before I could get it done we needed to make a trip to Oklahoma City, OK for a Special Olympics softball tournament. I looked carefully at my shackles and from what I could tell, they were okay so we went to Oklahoma City. When we arrived in Oklahoma City, I checked again and all was copacetic with the shackles. We were there for the weekend and headed home to The Woodlands, TX Monday morning. We stopped in Corsicana, about a hundred miles from home, to get coffee and cookies at the Collin Street Bakery. When I looked at the shackles, the one in front of the one that had broken earlier, was broken but was still hanging on. After some gnashing of the teeth and a discussion with the wife as what to do, I elected to push on towards home. I figured that the closer to home I could get the better I’d be, unless the whole thing broke between towns. As they say, “no guts no glory”!

We stopped once in Buffalo, TX and I checked the shackle. It was a little worse but still hanging on. We pressed on and made it to the house. What a relief that was!

The next day we unloaded the camper and I took it to our dealer to have all the shackles replaced with heavy duty ones and the wet bolts. I was concerned about making it the almost 10 miles up the freeway but I make it.

What I learned from this experience is that the shackles of your suspension are wearable units. This comes from the manufacturer of these units because I called and talked to them. I know that most things mechanical will wear out, but I was surprised to have mine wear out in only three years. If you have a trailer with shackles on your suspension, even it they use wet bolts, then you need to have them inspected. If they break going down the highway and your spring separates, you can have a bigger problem. No one told me about this, so you live and learn.

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