Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giving in...just a little

I have come to rationalization that getting Salacia out of the water is just not going to happen by the end of March. The weather has yet again taken a turn for the worst, and I have my real job requiring me to put in some overtime. I began to get very stressed out about getting the trailer completed by the end of this month. Our sailing adventures (even the building of a trailer for our Alberg 30) are not supposed to be stressful. Due to the combination of stress, weather and time (not to mention the fact that the trailer still needs some work) I have decided to keep Sal in the water through April.
On a good note, we did have a few temperate days this week and I took advantage. I installed the new fenders I purchased last week and I began drilling the holes for all the lights. 
Adding fenders to the trailer. 

I painted the fenders black when I was done with them. 
I did not want the bare metal to get rusty so after all the fabrication work I did a little painting. Prior to paint application, the First Mate helped sand the fenders to give the paint something to stick to. We'll also paint the entire trailer to match before it's finished.

Still needing to be completed on the trailer:
  • Final welding of all main structural support
  • Wiring
  • Tires
  • More Painting

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Gives.....

 I am writing this post from a nice warm house while enjoying a hot cup of coffee, thankful for the home and family I am surrounded by...... BUUUUUUT........Of course, it's raining out and will be for the next 3 days. I realize that it's still winter but enough already. The forecast for the next 3 days is cold, windy and rain. I know many others would agree when I say ENOUGH ALREADY! One bright note about this weather is that it's not snow. It sure does not seem like spring is a week away...I don't believe it!
Ok, enough complaining. I did have one good day of weather and that was yesterday. I took full advantage of the day and continued work on the trailer. It is coming along.

New drum and brake assembly.

It was decided a few weeks ago that I was going to make the trailer 100% legal and add brakes. Original plan was to forgo the brakes because I was only transporting the boat 15 miles. This weighed heavy in the back of my mind. I just worried about the worst case scenario, and finally decided the money and time spent installing the brakes outweighed taking the chance. 

Here was the old drum. It was too far gone to use with the new brakes so I purchased new ones. I did get both new brake assemblies welded and adjusted yesterday. All that is needed to complete the brakes now is wiring. All in all not too bad a job. 

Work in progress. 

I now have all the axles done except for one wheel hub. I simply ran out of daylight. One more hour and the axles and suspension will be finished. About 6-8 more hours of work and I will be able to set Sal's 9000lbs on the trailer. That day will probably be the day I get my first gray hair.

Here is the axle assembly ground down awaiting the welding of the backing plate/brake assembly. I am sorry I don't have any pictures of the finished assembly welded on. Was trying to beat darkness and poor weather. I did not make it. One hub left to grease the bearings and install.

Welding new backing plate on axle. Job was really not bad at all.

I wanted to add a note about the axles that are being used. Yes, they are mobile home axles, they are rated for 6000lb each of limited usage. These are not meant for long distance hauling. I am aware of this. One of the reasons is the parts used. While they are heavy duty enough to carry the rated weight, things like no bushings in the springs or suspension parts causes excessive wear rather quickly. The axle bearing seals are merely dust covers. This means they will wear faster. Once the axles have the proper tires they are 100% legal to use. Many people complain that the parts for these axles are hard to find. I did not find that to be the case at all. While not readily available at local parts stores, I found most parts at a local trailer specialty store. I also sourced a few of the replacement parts like the new drums and brake assemblies over the internet. I feel confident that with all the parts being inspected, serviced, greased and replaced as needed these axles will do the job of getting Sal back and forth the 15 miles to the water.  Should I later decide to take our Alberg over the road, I will upgrade the axles as whole units.

Here is a before and after photo of the same hub and axle assembly. I am happy I decided to check the bearings. It created more work and meant a bit more money spent, but the finished product is peace of mind. A few hours of work, some paint, a few parts and some grease, and this axle is ready to carry Sal.

Stay tuned, this really is a blog about becoming liveaboards and cruisers.... I promise you'll see a sailboat again on the blog soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A30 Trailer Saga Continues...

We have finally had several warm and dry days in a row. With this nice weather came more trailer progress...and some surprises that will require yet even more work. But in the end it will make the trailer more reliable and trouble-free for years to come. 

Surprises first: With a little down time waiting on the coupler to come in, I decided to take the wheels off to check the bearings. This is what I found. 
It doesn't take a genius to figure out this wasn't good.

This is what the bearing looked like. Luckily I was able to go to the parts store and buy all new bearings and races. Unfortunately I was only able to reuse 2 of the 4 hubs on the trailer. I have 2 new ones on the way. More pictures to follow on hub and bearing rebuild.

After I pulled the wheels and hubs I decided to change the hanger and axle spring bolts. These are the bolts that hold the wheels to the trailer...pretty important. I knew from the start of this project these would need attention and I was right. They were wrong size and heavily corroded.

Here are the new bolts holding the new spring plates. I cleaned it all up with a wire brush and sprayed some rust encapsulator on it. Should be good for quite a while now. I was happy to see something finished and looking good.

Next on the list was the trailer coupler, the part that connects trailer to the tow vehicle. I knew when I bought the trailer this too would need attention.

Installing the new coupler sized for the job of pulling Sal. It is rated at 12,500 lbs. I was happy to get to do some more fabrication work.

Here is the almost-finished install of the coupler. To me it looks a lot more sturdy and I will feel better knowing that it has been done right. I have only welded it with the small welder and will need to use the larger welder to finish it sometime this weekend.

Still needing to be done:
  • Light and wiring-Still need to buy parts.
  • Repack and install new hubs and bearings-Ordered and on the way.
  • Brakes-Ordered On the way.
  • Paint- Still need...and more importantly, what color?
  • Tires- Still need to buy
Progress has been slow but steady. The trailer is getting there. I am hoping the weather will stay fair so I can finish it up. More to follow soon!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My eyes!!

My eyes!!!!!! The sun is shining and the ground is starting to dry. I should be able to get back to work on the trailer here in a day or so. My yard is almost free of standing water, with temps near 70 the yard will dry rather quickly. So for the next few days I will try and get some house stuff, like cleaning the garage finished.

Feeding the ducks yesterday as the storm blew through and turned my yard into a tiny lake. It was 35 and raining yesterday, today near 70 and sunny. Welcome to Virginia

Monday, March 3, 2014

Now This!

Yesterday it was 72 degrees and sunny. This is what today has brought. The white stuff is ice, not snow, its been sleeting here for last 3 hrs...

I did get the trailer coupler and a few other things taken care of, no fenders yet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Progress to Report

Had another good progress day on the trailer. At this point I believe she could hold old Sal, upright anyway. I was originally going to have the yard place Sal on the keel support and leave her there in the slings while I made the supports to keep her upright. I decided to go ahead and make the stands before hand. The decision was made after receiving a great drawing and measurements from James Baldwin of The supports came out great. As you can probably tell I used old boat stands. I simply cut them up and reused what I needed, not too bad considering I paid $25 per stand! 

Yours Truly welding the support in place

More welding

Using my calibrated eye to ensure all is straight! An eye I got from my uncle and my father. Both of them taught me, from the time I was a child to the the day I left for the Navy at 18, how to use my hands to create and fix things, something that no amount of money or school could replace. I could never repay them for it either; what they instilled in me growing up is priceless. It is because of them I am able and not afraid to do what I do today...Thank you guys! 

"Laying a bead" as they say

As you can see in these pics, most of the trailer mods so far are just temporarily welded in place ('tacked' in welding terms.)
I will transport the trailer out to a friend to use a much larger machine to complete all the welding.

One support finished

Close up of the other side

I am very happy progress has been made. I was able to complete 2 of 6 planned hull supports. I finished the keel supports and cross members. I am working hard to get the trailer finished in the next week or two. I hope to have the boat on the trailer by the end of the month. I am going to purchase fenders tomorrow.
Looks like some foul weather headed our way this week, ice then progress may be slowed once again.

Stay Tuned!