Tale of 2 trailers

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Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:40 pm

Warning - long append, but if you are considering building a trailer kit, you may want to read this

Introduction:

I recently purchased a 1720# HF trailer kit to replace the one I lost to a rear end collision (see Tip Top Tier Drophttp://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232&start=15#p1087994). The one I lost was (purchased about 2006) carried the model number 6464 and the only major complaint I had was with the coupler (more about this later). Otherwise, I loved the trailer, so I had no reservations about getting the same kit for the rebuild. But I was not prepared for the problems I encountered.

Fit & Finish:

While unpacking, it appeared to me the new trailer was not as refined as the original - the finish was not as smooth. For example, there were splatter burrs on the axle

Image

and at least some of holes appeared larger than on the original kit (which could indicate a change to account for misalignment problems).
Image

I had to file down a rather high bump in order to mount one of the angle irons (which joins the tow arms to the chassis).

Image

Coupler:

On the old trailer, I was never able to adjust the coupler nut to allow the lever to work without residual play (jiggle), even if I tried lifting the coupler to relieve pressure while toggling the lever. If I tightened the adjustment nut to eliminate jiggle, the lever would not work. If the nut was loosened to just allow the lever to work, there was residual play. To be safe I always used a wrench to insure there was no play after locking the lever and checked for play at every stop. Since the coupler can be easily replaced, I did not consider this a major reason to avoid the trailer.

It looks like I may have not been the only one to have problems - there were TWO warning labels on the coupler, a huge warning on the shipping box, a large warning label on the FRONT COVER of the instruction booklet as well as warnings inside the booklet! Beside all the added warning labels, the new coupler included retaining and lock pins the original trailer lacked. Perhaps the new coupler will prove an improvement.

Wheels:

As I recall the 6464 came with high speed tires, but apparently not with the new one.

Unable to Mount Hubs:

As has been experienced by others (see this linkhttp://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=58980), I also was unable to mount the wheel hubs. One hub fit one side, but not the other - so clearly the two axle spindles were not identical. The other hub fit neither side - so clearly at least one hub had a problem. It turns out one spindles was not fully machined down to fit the bearing. With regard to the hubs, the inner bearing race was not fully seated on the bad one.
Image

Unable to mount tongue
The tongue arms connect in three locations: at the coupler apex, at the frame angle iron, and near the arm centers at the tilt hold-down brackets. I found it impossible to align the arms with all three points. Further, it became apparent while centering the coupler, that the welded angles of the arms did not match the angle at the attachment point. Even when the anchor bolts were very loose, rotating the arms scraped the paint off the anchor angle irons.
Image

Although I could force fit the arms by bending the hold down brackets, this caused the frame bed to warp and the hold down pins could not be inserted (see photos on bed frame warphttp://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=60816).
Image

After many many days of work, I discovered several possible reasons for the problem, the biggest being the difference between the two angle irons supplied (see photo below and details in the frame warp threadhttp://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=60816).
Image Image

Axle Misalignment


After squaring the bed frame (done without the tongue arms installed because of the problems mentioned above), it became apparent that the axle was not perpendicular to the frame.
Image
A quick measurement indicated the trailer would track several inches to the side of the tow vehicle. After several days of work, I discovered two probable reasons. First, the the spring carrier set backs differed from one side to the other (set back mounting holes differed) and secondly the leaf springs had different set backs from the ends to the axle pin (see photo).
ImageImage

I determined I could substantially reduce the misalignment by interchanging the two leaf springs so the two errors partially canceled each other. Although far from perfect, the tracking alignment was a lot better than it was before the switch. Image

Conclusion
I spent far too much time trying to correct problems I should have not had to research and correct. I was assured I would get a replacement for some of the defective parts, but at best the process is very slow (original email to HF on Aug 2, still waiting for key parts on Oct 21). These kits can be a great bargain but apparently it may require a lot of time and work that I did not plan for. Lets hope I get the parts and this trailer on the road so we can camp again.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby 48Rob » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:03 pm

Great photos and information! :thumbsup:

But I have to ask...if the quality is that bad, why bother?

For just a little more you could have a custom trailer made, possibly locally, keeping your money in your area, and getting a product both you and the builder would be proud of.

Rob
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:55 am

Great photos and information! :thumbsup:

But I have to ask...if the quality is that bad, why bother?

For just a little more you could have a custom trailer made, possibly locally, keeping your money in your area, and getting a product both you and the builder would be proud of.


Well, as I said, I was quite happy with my original trailer of 2006 and it was of acceptable quality (aside from the coupler problem) for the price I paid. Also, there are a lot of folks on this forum that seem quite pleased with their results with the kit. Based on my first trailer, I would agree with them. Based on this second purchase, I have to agree with you.

Incidentally, my first trailer was manufactured by Long Chin (Taiwan), but I noticed the new trailer was made by Changzhou Nanxiashu (China). Is my experiance representative of what to expect?? I posted my findings and experience to warn others that the long history of satisfied builders they read about on this forum my not apply to the kit they might be considering today. As the stock brokers warn, "past performance should not be used to predict future returns".
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby 48Rob » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:02 am

I posted my findings and experience to warn others that the long history of satisfied builders they read about on this forum my not apply to the kit they might be considering today.


Good advice, nothing in life ever stays the same for long! :(

Rob
Waiting for "someday" will leave you on your deathbed wondering why you didn't just rearrange your priorities and enjoy the time you had, instead of waiting for a "better" time to come along...

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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby rowerwet » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:32 pm

why I recommend an old pop up trailer, they are well made for a heavier camper. the carry-on trailer I bought was a bit more expensive, but the welds are solid even if the frame and welds showed signs of being welded in a hurry (not exactly square, or uniform width front to back) must be piece work for the welder.
I would make sure you review the current quality on the sellers website.
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:56 pm

Looks like I am not the only one to have problems with axle alignment on an imported bolt together trailer. Here is a video
http://www.logoboat.com/movies/CHINA%20BOLT%20TOGETHER%20TRAILER%20WARNING.wmv
mostly a sales pitch, but developed around another video (apparently by someone without sales interest) who purchased one of the smaller imported frame kits. Like me, he discovered that mismatched pins on the leaf springs can lead to big alignment problems. Also notice the problem he has with the castle nut, another problem that could be outright dangerous. Yet another aspect of axle problems reported in http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=58980.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Just in time for Christmas

Postby WizardOfOdds » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:57 pm

Good news was waiting for me at my doorstep: The replacement parts arrived! When they said a minimum of 10 weeks, they were not kidding. So the project I started on July 28 can now proceed (if the replacement parts fit!). But with the entire camping season already lost and so little daylight available, I probably won't try anything until Spring.

On a side note, I see that there are two different stock numbers for the “1720 Lb Super Duty" trailer: stock numbers 94564 (the one I had problems with) and 69897 (I don't recall ever seeing this one). I wonder if the new version will have better quality control.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby bobhenry » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:55 am

Kick this moron to the curb !

Look at all 53 of his posts. A total waste of time and mindless ramblings. Admin's please help clean up this mess quick. :stompspam: :stompspam:
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:38 am

Kick this moron to the curb !

Look at all 53 of his posts. A total waste of time and mindless ramblings. Admin's please help clean up this mess quick.


I believe the above comment was referring to a spam that was deleted from the list. I did not even have 53 posts at the time. Maybe such rash statements should include a quote or definitive reference before referring to ANYONE in such mannor. Better yet, can't we be more professional??
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby Nobody » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:13 am

So, Wiz - did the replacement parts work out for you? I too bought the HF 1800# (think that was the weight designation then) kit in 2006. I never even tried to use the coupler supplied. Thought it was 'clunky' & didn't like its looks so I modified the tongue to include a center member & used the original coupler mount as an guide & fastener for the center 'pole'. I've towed my TD more'n 25K miles since its initial trip in Sep 2006, & endured one rear end collision on Labor Day weekend of 2010. The rear ender actually did more damage to the hitch receiver on my truck than to the trailer. I've been very pleased with my HF 1800# trailer. IMO your experience with the 2 different kits is totally unacceptable. If HF products have deteriorated that much in 9 years I'm not sure I'd trust 'em enough to buy another trailer if I were to build another TD. As Rob noted, I'd probably just build my own from 'scratch', & go from there... Don't remember what the model # was on my trailer & I don't have the paperwork anymore.
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby bobhenry » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:06 am

WizardOfOdds wrote:
Kick this moron to the curb !

Look at all 53 of his posts. A total waste of time and mindless ramblings. Admin's please help clean up this mess quick.


I believe the above comment was referring to a spam that was deleted from the list. I did not even have 53 posts at the time. Maybe such rash statements should include a quote or definitive reference before referring to ANYONE in such mannor. Better yet, can't we be more professional??


Sorry Wiz I just hate to see these spammers trash up our great forum. I will try and explain a bit more thoroughly and perhaps the admin could note "SPAM HAS BEEN REMOVED" to let us know what's up. I really am sorry it does look like a personal attack after the spam was zapped. My most sincere apologies.

Bob
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:47 am

Sorry Wiz I just hate to see these spammers trash up our great forum. I will try and explain a bit more thoroughly and perhaps the admin could note "SPAM HAS BEEN REMOVED" to let us know what's up. I really am sorry it does look like a personal attack after the spam was zapped. My most sincere apologies.


Bob,
No problem, back in December it only took a minute or two to figure out what happened. I thought about adding a note to explain my conclusion back then, but as I recall you had a lot on your plate at that time (was it zoning laws??) and did not want to tax you any further. So I thought if I figured it out, so would everyone else. Then a couple of days ago I was preparing an update to my Tip Top Tier Drop Thread and was going to include a link to this thread when it dawned on me that casual readers may be led astray. Your note makes it clear we have no battle going on ... I read your many informative appends all the time and I am sure they help a lot of people.

Wiz
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tale of 2 trailers

Postby WizardOfOdds » Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:18 pm

So, Wiz - did the replacement parts work out for you?


The short answer is that by the time the replacement parts arrived it was Christmas and I was too 'burned out' to make use of them. I will explain it in more detail is an update I am preparing for my Tip Top Tier Drop thread.

The kit I bought back in 2006 (1800# SKU 6464) was a really good trailer (except for the coupler) which I loved, and it may have been the last of those made in Taiwan available here. It may be that the bad luck with the newer kit was just that, or maybe not: When I called HF, their first reply was to return the kit to the store, but I had already spent a lot of time on it and I was only aware of the hub/axle problems. I found in another thread that apparently some HF stores will replace defective parts with those from one of their kits in stock. The boxes my trailer came in were both previously opened. Could it be my kit had one or more defective parts that were 'swapped out' ??

As far as buying another, well maybe yes but with a lot more care and I would return it to the store if I encountered any serious problems. Although it took a lot of calls, waiting and prodding, actually HF was very fair in replacing the parts, but it took so long that it is not a practical solution to a major problem.

Hey, I want to say I always enjoy reading your appends, they are among the best.

Wiz
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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