|From Ken-Skill Fenders|
You ever start the day thinking you're going to get something done and every step along the way things just start happening to foil your progress? Well that's what happened to me when I planned to replace the fenders on my 1947 Ken-Skill teardrop trailer. Now of course I have to back up to the process of acquiring the new fenders. The original fenders on the trailer are stamped aluminum and fairly fragile. Mine have dents and dings and cracks and even some bondo. The only replacements available are made out of fiberglass. I've seen these fenders on other people's trailers and they looked nice enough. The guy that sells them is in Montana so I give him a call to find out about getting a pair. He's a real crotchety guy and has a reputation for not being too easy to deal with, I've experienced this myself in the past. He tells me he I need to send him an e-mail with my address and that he'll send me the fenders and then tell me how much the total with shipping is so I can send him a check (doesn't take credit cards anymore because he doesn't want the government knowing what he's doing). I think this is kind of odd but ok, I need the fenders so I'll do whatever he needs. About a week later he sends me an e-mail telling me the fenders are on their way so I put a check in the mail and wait. And wait. And wait...
I thought I was going to get the fenders before I went on my camping trip to Wrightwood but they didn't show up. I left a message for the guy telling him I hadn't gotten them and that he probably needs to file a claim with the shipper. Shouldn't take two weeks to get here from Montana. Got back from my camping trip and didn't get a reply. Well next I get a call from him asking if I got the fenders and of course I hadn't, he seems confused and says he'll check on it and oh by the way, could I send him a check. I had already seen that he had cashed the check. A few days later he calls me and says that there had been a problem with the box and that they hadn't actually been shipped but would soon, and guess what, would I send him a check. This is getting old explaining that I already paid for the darned things. I asked for a tracking number and he says he'll get it for me but never does. He doesn't actually handle the shipping, the place that makes the fenders sends them. Anyway, they finally show up, oh and could I send him a check. Really, that again?
Well the fenders are pretty nice. Heavy fiberglass and gel-coated in white which is good since I can't easily match the teal paint on my trailer. The only thing I did to get ready to mount them was to spray some rubberized undercoating on the inside to cut down on the white color and also to protect the inside from rocks. I thought about drilling the mounting holes and the holes for the new LED Lincoln Zephyr taillights I got but it's a good thing I didn't. This is where the day started going wrong. I went to get the trailer out of my friend's garage where I store it and of course I can't get into the garage using the keypad, looks like the battery might be dead. I tried the house keys he gave me but they didn't work in his front door. My friend is out of town so I gave him a call and left a message and then went back home. A couple hours later he calls me and said that he had changed the locks but forgot to give me new keys. His neighbor has a set so he called her to tell her I'd be over again. I took a battery with me for the garage door keypad. That actually fixed it so I was able to get the trailer.
So I bring the trailer over and jack it up and remove one of the wheels so I can remove the fender. I cut the taillight wires since I was going to redo them anyway. Of course the bolts that have been on there since 1947 aren't going to cooperate so I ended up breaking them off. There were some other screws in there as well since some of the original bolts were missing. Anyway, the fender is off fairly quickly. I'm thinking this is going ok so I go get the replacement fender and as soon as I get it near the trailer I'm thinking there is something wrong. I line up the front of the fender where the old one mounted but the back end isn't anywhere near lining up. I tried several different positions and nothing is working. I compare it to the old fender and they are a different shape. The aluminum fender is fairly flexible but the fiberglass one is very stiff and can't be moved into shape. I measure across the bottom of the fender and the fiberglass one is two inches longer. So guess what my next step is...
|From Ken-Skill Fenders|
Time to call the guy in Montana. I give him call and he actually answers. He says he's never heard of this problem before. Now keep in mind that if you are building a trailer or redoing one and replacing the sides, you probably wouldn't notice the difference but I have to fit these to the exact spot where the original 1947 fenders were. He suggests several things including taking them to a fiberglass place and having them reshaped. That's a bit much. I told him I'd try a few things and see what happens. After about an hour of wrangling these things every which way I can think of I pretty much figure that they will not fit in an acceptable manner and that I'll have to stick with my originals. Of course now I have to fix the cut taillight wires and replace the broken bolts. At least I have the new hardware I was going to use with the fiberglass ones. Didn't get to all the other things I needed to do other than a fix to the windows which took two trips to the hardware store to get the right fasteners.
Now to deal with the bad fenders. He says he'll take them back. I'll be sure to get a tracking number and call him a bunch of times asking for a check.
|From Ken-Skill Fenders|