View Full Version : Retrofitting the lift kit - in words and pictures

08-31-2011, 12:55 PM
This turned out to be fairly easy but I encountered a few hiccups along the way. So, in the spirit of helping out the next guy, here is how it went.

I wanted to do the job in the garage so that I could do it over a span of days and leave things half-done (I wasn't comfortable leaving it that way in the driveway with the little kids in the neighborhood playing in the street!), and to be in the shade. This sounded like a better idea than it turned out to be because I had not originally planned to take the wheels off. Once it became clear that I had to take the wheels off - the original bolts were TIGHT and I needed better access than I could get with the wheels in place - this was a bit of a struggle since I couldn't open the trailer in the garage. I was able to raise the front shell part way and get the wheels off eventually.

First, here is the lift kit right out of the box.
Next, here is the original joint between the frame and the axle. Thank goodness mine was not welded.

So, job 1 was to break loose the original bolts (they are 15/16th bolts by the way. I had a 15/16 socket but not an open end wrench, so that was a trip to Lowes.) The first try I could not budge them. I applied some liquid wrench and let it sit overnight. The next day I was able to break them loose with some banging on the open end wrench with a block of wood and a hammer, and with liberal application of my #12 dog remover (i.e. my foot).

Once I had the nuts broken loose I lowered the trailer till the axle was resting on some sturdy milk crates and 2x4s. I also chocked and supported the wheel hubs. (A lot of the work in this entire project was simply cranking the trailer up and down. It was very convenient to have the scissor jacks at each corner to help out!) Once everything was secure, I loosened the original nuts all the way. I am paranoid about working under anything and I especially didn't want any energy release when I removed the nuts - like the axle falling on me or shifting suddenly. So I made sure to support it well. This worked great and all 4 bolts came out without any binding and the axle stayed put.

Job 3 was to raise the trailer two inches plus to make room for the lift kit (3rd photo). More work on the tongue jack and the scissor jacks and you see the result.

This was the moment of truth. My biggest fear about the whole project (other than being crushed under the trailer) was that the holes in the lift kit would not line up with the holes on the trailer. My trailer is 10 years old after all, and I've been burned by some other parts changes from TM. However, it fit perfectly.

The rest was easy. Just tightening up the bolts on both sides - super tight like the original ones - and replacing the wheels. One final jack-down and I was done. Next week I will start working on moving up to the 15" wheels and tires.