Screw it on right

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You can fix a bro­ken screw clamp on your car­a­van’s jockey wheel your­self

If the screw clamp op your car­a­van’s jockey wheel doesn’t want to turn for­wards or back­wards, or the wheel doesn’t want to stay in place when your car­a­van is hitched, then the screw thread is ka­put. This is how you re­place it.

GET THIS

1 steel bolt (14 x 250 mm)

tap

an an­gle grinder

a sturdy vice grip on your work bench

a piece of iron pipe

an elec­tri­cal drill (op­tional)

li­cence plate screws (op­tional)

DO THIS

1 En­gage your car­a­van or trailer’s hand­brake and rest the A-frame on a hy­draulic jack. ( You can also fas­ten the car­a­van to your tow bar.) The im­por­tant thing is sim­ply that it doesn’t rest on the jockey wheel. 2 Turn the han­dle on the jockey wheel un­til the part­ing hold­ing the wheel sep­a­rates from the han­dle. Now un­screw the clamp. Once it’s loose, you can re­move the pieces of the wheel from the A-frame. A

There’s a plate that fits be­tween the jockey’s ver­ti­cal axle and the A-frame and se­cures the clamp to the the axle’s tube. Don’t lose it! 3 Re­move the fi­bre­glass cover over the A-frame (if your car­a­van has one). It’s usu­ally riv­eted down and you’ll have to drill th­ese riv­ets out. 4 Make a new 14 mm thread with a thread cut­ter in the hole where the old arm used to screw in. B

If you lu­bri­cate the cut­ter with a bit of grease or Vase­line be­fore you start work­ing with it, it’ll go eas­ier. Re­move the iron fil­ings from the hole with a cloth or paint­brush when you’re done. PS: Don’t try to skip this step by sim­ply weld­ing the steel bolt’s nut to the A-frame. The part of the A-frame in which the jockey wheel fits is made of cast iron. Un­less you have very spe­cialised tools, you won’t be able to weld any­thing to it. 5 Se­cure the bolt in the vice grip. The un­threaded part stick­ing out will be­come your screw clamp’s han­dle, so mea­sure how long you would like the han­dle to be. C

Take care not to dam­age the bolt’s thread and slip the pipe over it, all the way to where it’s gripped in the vice. Now bend the bolt. The longer the pipe, the eas­ier it’ll be to bend the bolt. Bend the bolt less than 90 º so that you’ll have a good grip on the jockey wheel. Re­mem­ber: If the pipe is too soft, the bolt will stay as straight as an ar­row and you’ll end up with a pea-shooter that can shoot around cor­ners... 6 Grind the bolt head nice and smooth – you can use the an­gle grinder for this. This way, you pre­vent sharp edges on the bolt head that can hurt your hand when you turn the jockey wheel. D 7 Put the fi­bre­glass cover back over the A-frame. Use plas­tic li­cence plate screws in the holes where there used to be riv­ets. The screws don’t dam­age the fi­bre­glass and you can buy them in yel­low or white. What’s more, it will then be eas­ier to re­move the cover the next time you want to re­pair some­thing un­der­neath it.

Re­mem­ber to put the lit­tle plate back be­fore you put the jockey wheel back. A lit­tle bit of grease won’t hurt it ei­ther. 8 Screw the new arm in place and voilá! Your jockey wheel is back in busi­ness. E

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