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Carson Truck Trailer Rebuild

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on January 22, 2018
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You know the story of Cinderella. She was the stepchild that got no respect and was always put to work without any of the admiration the other kids got. That’s pretty much the story of our red Carson car trailer. It sees lots of work but not a whole lot of love. Sure, we wash the deck off after one of our cherished wheelin’ rigs leaks gear lube all over it, but heaven forbid we actually work on or service the big ol’ steel deck trailer. The trailer isn’t there to be cherished like the crawlers and trail rigs it hauls. Nope, it’s just there to work like a dog and not break.

This red 18-foot (23-foot total length) trailer came from Carson nearly 12 years ago, and since then it has been back and forth across America many times, plus bounced down dirt roads, banged off curbs, and generally used and abused with little regard for mechanical wellbeing. It gets the hubs checked sometimes and the brakes looked over, but probably not as much as we should. That it has survived so long in the face of such neglect is a testament to the original build quality, but now the lack of respect and service on our part has come back to bite us hard. This year we lollygagged around and didn’t do any annual maintenance on Big Red, and next thing you know we were sidelined on the roadside with a broken Cinderella. And not just once but twice, on one big trip to Utah. Our evil stepmother ways were not getting us anywhere but frustrated with a busted trailer axle.

We were halfway to Moab, Utah, for some wheeling with our Jeep on our Carson trailer when carnage struck. We usually give the trailer its annual servicing before this trek to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari, but this year we dropped the ball and wound up paying for our apathy. The bearing on the right-rear wheel burnt up, and we were looking at a serious roadside fix.

Lucky for us, Carson Trailer (also known as the fairy godmother if you’re still following the fairytale subline) showed up to prep out Cinderella for the next trip to the ball—er, trail.

Given the original build quality of our long-hauler, we only wanted Carson laying hands on our pumpkin. The Carson trailer crew welcomed it back and made it good as new again.

Lucky for us the good folks at Dixie 4Wheel Drive in St. George, Utah, were open late, because we needed more than basic handtools to fix the axle. The spindle was damaged beyond repair, and although we were able to replace the bearings we had to weld the spindle nut on to keep the hub from falling off. This is the type of repair that dictates an axle replacement. We also lost the dust cap, so we packed it with grease and taped a paper cup over it for the rest of the drive to Moab.
Then on the drive home the driver-front wheel bearing followed its brother to the grave. We strapped the axle up and headed to a friend’s garage to fix it enough to get back to California. We were learning fast that (A) our trailer needed some love, and (B) we need to stick to the service plan.
Our next stop was Carson trailer in Gardena, California. This is where the trailer had been built originally, so the crew knew how to give Big Red a fresh new outlook on life. And fresh new paint.
The Trailer underwent a complete rehash with a new pair of 7,000-pound axles from Lippert. This gives the trailer more than enough capacity for hauling our fullsize trail rigs. And both axles have new electric brakes and fresh bearings with easily serviceable grease fittings, so we can always top off the lube before long trips.
Carson went over all of the lighting and electrical system, replacing with new parts as needed. The suspension components were inspected, replaced, and upgraded as necessary before a fresh coat of bright red paint was laid down over the full-steel deck.
Our Carson trailer has seen many towing trips, and we dig the extra width and drive-over fenders which are great for full-width wheelers. Now with the fresh new overhaul this Cinderella story has many more chapters and miles to go.

Sources

Carson Trailer
Gardena, CA 90248
310-516-6046
http://www.carsontrailer.com
Dixie 4 Wheel Drive
St. George, UT 84770
435-673-2546
dixie4wheeldrive.com

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