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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if any of you have replaced the aluminum slope on a Doepker grain trailer? Wondering what all is entailed? Doepker Parts person gave me a rough price of $500 for parts to replace the slope in the rear hopper of my lead trailer, but the service department gave an estimate of $5000 for parts and labour. There are a pile of rivets and I can see it taking some time, but $4500 in labour?

The bottom sheet has a crack about a foot long, just above where the aluminum sheet is riveted onto the steel hopper, pretty much in the center of the trailer side to side. Is this common?

Has anyone tried to weld a crack like that? Did it work, and last?

Thanks
 

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I've never had issues with any of my aluminum trailers but just my opinion I'd drill holes both sides of the crack then lay a bit of silicone then rivet an aluminum patch over it. That might last quite awhile but would likely hold up some products.
 

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if its just one sheet it should be less than $1000. find a shop that can do it in Manitoba Wolverine industries in winkler rebuilds them and he quoted me $2000 to do all four hoppers. You can do it yourself if wanted fairly easy you need a rivet gun and an air nibbler to cut it as the sheets come in big pieces though slopes maybe are just one piece and grind off old rivet s and drill new sheet and install it with new rivits and silicone. Aluminum sheets only last about 5 years at most on trailers than run hard on the highway aluminum is soft and the grain and fert sliding over it eventually wears it thin
 

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I was thinking the same thing there, not to say the cracking issue was as a result of grain flow into the trailer as it could be stress but if its been wearing thin because of grain flow wear and then cracked in that area .. that would be part of your answer as to why its letting go.

With our all steel trailer we used to have, I think one could pour product on the slope for ever and a day before it would have affected it and it was a three hopper tridem so it didn't have the very long slopes. Now with an all aluminum two hopper tridem, I do my best to start loading over the front hopper gate for the first while, be it the combine dumping ( or if one was using a grain cart ) or hauling out of bins. I follow the same routine for the rear hopper in getting a decent heap going before moving the trailer to continue filling the rear of the rear hopper and back up as required.

I could see bad things happening with a high capacity grain cart and aluminum if care wasn't taken.
 

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grain cart wont hurt a trailer we load 3/4 limestone 10 tonnes at a time over the side with a 980K Cat loader and it doesn't hurt them though it speeds up wear but road salt and fertilizer seem to wear the sheets out fairly fast too
 

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If the slopes are colored they are the thin ones they crack all the time. Doepker has updated them. They are a lot of work to change. The last one I had done was in Lethbridge IHC. a couple of years age it cost $3000. and they changed all the panels right from the top to the bottom. If you want to get rid of the trailers patch it but if want to keep them I would recomend getting them fix properly. If they are not done right they will rot out . Learned the hard way had a place do one and they did not use proper insulator between the slope and the frame and it corroded right out.
 

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Doepker has a issue with them. We changed the front slope of a super bee and it was in 3 pieces. Big job!!!

They sell the sheets in 4by8s so you got to shear them to fit.

You must predrill all the rivet holes. Use 3 M tape on both sides of the rivets. I used stainless steel bolts where the huck bolts were. On the steps and etc. I have the benefit of have a uncle who is a retired aircraft mechanic and he hooked me up with all the tools.

I don't want to scare you but there is a lot of labour involved. A good winter job I guess but you will need 2 guys to do it. Best of luck

PS the silconing is the worst part. Like doing 3 bathrooms
 

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We just did our trailers this fall it's not the best job but sure not the worst, all I bought for tools was an air hammer with a chisel bit to cut the old rivets and a bit made to rivet and they sell them at deopker and we drilled the holes from the outside in if you were to pre drill them that would be a big job
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the pointers guys. I also make sure I load on the gate rather than loading on the slope as mentioned, but these trailers are relatively new to me. The fellow that had them before was a custom hauler for years and the trailers are in great shape so I can't see him having loaded on the slope a whole lot either, but can't really say for sure I guess.

I've got some options now anyway. In the meantime, am I looking for trouble by hauling a few loads the way it is? Or is it one of those things that should be fixed as soon as reasonably possible, but it doesn't have to be today? it certainly isn't going to get any better by using it this way but I've got a few loads that need to go and without this trailer I would need to hire it out. Would be about an hour loaded each trip.

If it is cracked due to being worn, should I be expecting the others to be following shortly, or not necessarily?

Thanks again
 

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Dew fab welding did ours, the slope sheet was 1
$1750 plus install, it's not cheap but the new ones are thicker, ours cracked at base of slope where it meets the steel
 

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Dew fab welding did ours, the slope sheet was 1
$1750 plus install, it's not cheap but the new ones are thicker, ours cracked at base of slope where it meets the steel
So they just riveted in one big sheet or just the bottom sheet? Mines going to Lethbridge next week to get both slopes done. Couldn't find anyone in central alberta that wanted to do it.
 

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Yes it was one big sheet, but only on the incline, the peice that goes upright was fine, the sheets come pre drilled so they told us you have to make sure to order the right one. It's also a lot of rivets. They did a good job too, plus it's only about 1 3/4 hrs away for us, I just happen to be hauling peas today I'll take a picture
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just curious if anyone has ever measured the thickness of the aluminum on an old slope sheet when they had them replaced?


When my cracked sheet was removed, I measured the thickness of the aluminum in various spots on the sheet with a caliper, including right where it cracked, and was surprised to find that it was 1/16" thick everywhere I measured, which is the same as the original sheet.


Everyone I've talked to has mentioned that they crack because they are worn thin - but this is obviously not the case on this sheet. Must have just developed a crack due to the stress of bouncing up and down the road for enough miles I guess...just made me curious how many people chalk it up to being worn thin when that isn't really the case. Not that it makes much of a difference, if its cracked its cracked.
 
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