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Replacement bolts and bushings on Lippert 2 step model

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New to us MH, 2004 HR Scepter. The steps were held up with a bungee cord when we checked out the MH. Condition of purchase was that steps worked correctly. Little did I know, there is more to steps than just the motor moving the steps in and out.

6 of the 12 bolts had been replaced with 5/16" bolts and double nutted to keep every thing in place and one additional bolt thread was bunged up and not usable. Lippert sells the shoulder bolt, flanged bushing, washer, nut for $17 an assembly. over a $100 for parts seemed a little expensive. Measured shoulder bolt and pretty much exact replacement available. Washer has 0.4" hole and is .025" thick. Nominal washer is around 0.05" thick. Flanged bushing available in .25 or .5 length. Original bushing in step is only .312" long. Flanged nuts available.

I bought 10 of the .5" long bushings, 8 shoulder bolts, and way too many washers and flanged nuts for $60 delivered from McMaster-Carr. Needed to come up with a way to cut the bushings to .312" OAL. Digging thru my junk box I came up with a packet of 3/8" anchor bolts. Slide flanged end of bushing on first then washer and nut. Nice thing about these anchor bolts is there is a taper at the transition from the thread to the wedging part that the bushing would just slide up on. Chucked in drill, tightened the nut just a bit. Added spacer to the side of a hack saw blade to cut the bushing to length while spinning with the drill. This can be dangerous if the blade grabs and starts spinning around so I am not recommending you do it this way. If you do cut bushings off, find a safe way. Cleaned up cut end of bushing by pulling down a mill file. First pic shows bushing, washer and nut on the anchor bolt chucked in drill just before the bushing was cut into 2 pieces. A shoulder bolt, washer and cut to length bushing are next to it.

It is best for a bushing to only rotate against a smooth surface, like the shoulder bolt inside the bushing. The inside of the holes in the step frame are not very smooth and a bit oversize so looked for a way to expand the bushing to fit a bit tighter in the hole. Found a 3/8" diameter punch with a nice taper. In the picture, the bushing (flange exposed) is installed thru the hole in the step linkage. The shinny cylinder is a deep socket that just fit on the the punch. Set the end of the socket on concrete, slide all the surfaces together, whack the punch a couple of times with a hammer and the taper on the punch expands the end of the bushing opposite the flange. The flange on the bushing is used to space between the step frame members. 

The length of the combined bushing and washer has to be less than the .375" bolt shoulder length so that when the nut is pulled up tight, the bushing and frame member can swivel. My measurements showed .04" clearance with the factory parts. The thicker washer has taken up .03" of this. Keeping this clean and lubed will be important. At .312" OAL, the sleeve that fits into the .25" thick linkage is .25" long (.312 OAL minus .062" length of the flange) so it's not just cutting the bushing shorter. The original thinner washers are all dished out, maybe from the frame twisting on loose bolts.  This is one of the reasons I went with thicker washers.

One of my original bolts did not have a nut, the thread was just hung up in the hole and might have contributed to a nasty fall if it had slipped out. Several of the nuts on "good" bolts were loose and over of time probably would have come off. McMaster had grade 5 and grade 8 shoulder bolts. I bought the G8. The normal bolt was out of stock and McM recommended a replacement that was available. The difference is that these shoulder bolts have a Nylock insert that should keep the nut from backing off. Maybe $.50 more expensive.

WD40 has a no drip grease in an aerosol can. I used this as I was assembling parts. 

If you are local to Tulsa, I have nuts and washers to spare. A bushing and shoulder bolt are under $7 plus shipping.  Might even throw in a anchor bolt if you can come up with a safe way to cut the bushing to length. I can send part numbers if you send me a PM.

My wife never calls me cheap but does say I sometimes have difficultly letting go of money. I now have a few spares for the future, learned a few things, feel good about taking on a project and getting it resolved, and saved a few buck. Step is now pretty solid without the movement from the undersize bolts and no bushings. Mission accomplished.

HRS step bushing mandrel finished.jpeg

HRS step bushing tapered punch.jpeg

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