Little Helper’s Holiday Project Part Five and Final!

At last the boy’s part of this project has been completed. I have insisted that I will only pay them for the trailer once their paperwork is submitted… this blog being their final requirement. To say I am super proud of them is an understatement. This is their words.

It’s time to get paid!  After a long pause on the project due to school assignments and assessments, we have finally got around to finishing the trailer!  Despite the fear of been charged rent by Dad, we didn’t do much work on the trailer.  Well that is not entirely true, we finished riveting on the sides and then re-painted every surface in sight.

Five weeks after the end of the holidays, losing a significant portion of our potential earnings to Dad’s rent, we got around to the wiring.  On one wet weekend, we put the wiring through the underside of the trailer, connected up the brakes, side lights, rear lights and number plate light to the plug.  Which in turn meant that we could now connect the trailer to the car.

We were all very excited. Dad drove the car into the shed and plugged in the trailer.  Voila!  The side lights and tail lights instantly came on, when Dad turned on the headlights! Dad put the blinkers on, and one after another they worked.  The last thing we needed to do was check that the brakes worked.  Since they are electric, to check if they work, you put your ear close to the wheel and as someone steps on the brake pedal, you should hear the magnet ‘clang’ onto the brakes.  The little Helper and I sat down and listened carefully as Dad stomped on the brakes… and nothing. Not one sound.

What was going on? We were pretty certain that we had wired them correctly, and we could not think of anything else.  My brother and I stood there out of ideas staring numbly at what was turning out to be a disaster. Then Dad sheepishly called out for us to listen again.  Humouring Dad, we did as he said.  “Clunk”. What was that ….. the brake magnet?  Surely not?  As it turns out, the brakes had worked all along, but SOMEBODY had disconnected the electric brake controller in the car.

With the wiring in order, it was time to start on the floor.  The floor was relatively straight forward. All we had to do was cut the timber boards to size and then use clamps to push them hard up against the edge. We pre-drilled holes in the timber for the self tapping bugle head screws. We used Dad’s impact driver to drill the screws into the steel chassis. Then we removed the clamps, got the next piece of timber and repeated.  Simple.

Once the floor was in place, Dad was eager to test out the capabilities of the trailer. He took the opportunity to fill the trailer with tonnes of lovely firewood… twice.  

The trailer turned out to be a big success, but there were still two problems.  The first problem was getting the trailer registered.  Since this is the first time that we are registering this trailer, it needs a blue slip.  Normally this is a simple process but as this is an old trailer manufactured before 1989 we have no paperwork for it. We could not find a chassis number anywhere, so it needs the RTA to issue a VIN. We are not sure whether the RTA will agree to issue us a chassis number at all!

The second problem was with the front wheels of the trailer. They wobble.  This is a very big issue as it means that the bearings overheat. If you want to know why Dad is so sensitive to bearings overheating, take a look at this blog post from our 2014 trip around the country.  After taking the wheels off multiple times, we have concluded that the problem may be with the backing plates for the brake hubs. The trailer’s original backing plates did not fit our new electric brake ones so we had to replace them. We might not have got the new plates on square, which would explain the wobble… Or it could just be down to the very cheap brakes that we bought.  (The brake pads are already showing signs of wear that should not be on brakes that are only hours old.)

Despite the wobble, Dad and I took the trailer to our local weighbridge.  If you are registering a trailer for the first time, it is mandatory that you have a weighbridge certificate.  The weighing was a success with the total weight of the trailer coming out at 460kg.

With the weighbridge certificate in hand, we then drove to a Mechanic who will see if he can sort out the issue with the front axle, and issue a Blue Slip, ultimately allowing us to register the trailer.  Currently, the only thing standing between us and getting paid is this blog.  So with the completion of this sentence, I might just be able to get enough money to buy myself a new mountain bike 😊.

I am extremely proud of their efforts and the skills they have learnt or being exposed to during this little project. If nothing else, it has taught them that these things often take longer than you think. Regardless of the RTA’s decision, I am sure this trailer will be an extremely useful addition to the Rock Farm!


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