Screw it on right
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.
1 steel bolt (14 x 250 mm)
an angle grinder
a sturdy vice grip on your work bench
a piece of iron pipe
an electrical drill (optional)
licence plate screws (optional)
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