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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Replacing a Tongue Extender Pin What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Rusted Tongue Extender Pin  SV HideAway
Loading the last of the tools from a just finished project into the truck, a glob of rust on the trailer caught my eye.  The rust glob appeared just where the shiny tongue extender pin should be.   A rust glob is never a welcome sight on a sailboat trailer, or anyplace else for that matter.  A couple of taps with a hammer broke the pin free, leaving a small pile of rusted tongue extender pin bits on the ground.

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Tongue Extender Pin or Hitch Pin?
 History was made when my friend, Mr. Google, could not find a “6 inch trailer tongue extender pin”.  After learning about a variety of trailer accessories I’ll never need, I concluded no such device exists in the digital universe.  I eventually discovered a trailer hitch pin with a strong family resemblance to my tongue extender pin, sans the red stuff, available for a big pile of the green stuff.

After some deliberation I realized that something made for a trailer hitch located well up under the truck is an unlikely candidate for salt water immersion.   After all, if you’ve got your truck in that deep, you have more problems than a rusted tongue extender pin.   

Something Galvanized Preferably Hot Dipped

A 5/8 x 6 inch hot dipped galvanized bolt and nut shall likely replace the shiny orange handled creation of yore.  Yes inches, I haven’t a care to know how many millimeters the rest of the world envisions.  Besides, a millimeter sounds like a name for nasty bug with lots of legs and sharp teeth.

A Wiggle – A Shake – and A Break

Given that we hadn’t planned to launch the boat without a pin in our extended tongue, the polite thing to do would be to retract the tongue extender to prevent injury to patrons and or vehicles of guests coming in hordes to our sailing club annual open house the next weekend. 

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A Jammin Tongue Extender - What Next?
This good deed left the tongue extender jammed in its carrier.

Of course no sailor can possibly resist the temptation to pull and jerk a bit on the tongue in some vain hope of an easy fix.  A crash and a bang and another project was born.

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One Good Jerk Did This

In less than five minutes a simple project became a triple threat

A jack and stand wrestled out of my over crowded garage along with a box of anticipated useful tools to complement the ship board collection and a found trailer jack, slightly bent, made up the kit for part one of the project. 

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Floor Jack Placed Directly Under Tongue Support
  I never trust just a jack to keep anything up in the air for long.  A sturdy jack stand(s) are a must.   In this case I had to carefully place the jack and the stand beneath the tongue extender supports.

I use an automotive floor jack for jobs such as this.  My only complaint is that the jack wheels allow the jack to move as the jack is activated.  Sometimes several attempts must be made to center the piece properly on the stand.  Once set, I leave the jack under some pressure with most of the weight supported by the stand.

Finally, all jacked and stable, I moved on to removing the broken trailer jack to find the bolts holding it on the trailer tongue were METRIC.  

Why can’t the rest of the world adopt good ole SAE measurements?

Of course not one of my few metric wrenches or sockets came along for the trip.   According to my Garmin GPS MAP640 my dwelling is seven miles as the GPS flies from HideAways bow.  In Florida time, this is about 47 minutes of joy filled driving on crowded, tourist-infested roads.   

I knew the trip would be futile exercise in bad traffic manners so a side trip was in order to look for the pin and also price trailer fenders – Always have another project-You never know when you will need one.   Yes, my venerable tape measure came up short a couple of inches and no, I did not procure any fenders, long or short. Yet.

Relaxed from all the slow driving and lost tourists;

 I discovered NONE of my small collection of metric tools fit the bolts

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A Jim-Dandy Universal Bolt Removal Tool
Using Come-A-Long Winch To Remove Tongue Extender

After finishing these repairs, I gave a fearful tug or two on the frozen tongue extender before resorting to the almighty Come-Along Winch and a pick up truck to effect its removal.

You can see how well that idea worked out in this video.