Advice on stabilizing swingset

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Old 05-29-14, 06:54 PM
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Advice on stabilizing swingset

Hello all. I bought a swing set last year, and at first is was extremely "wobbly" with both girls swinging. See the picture (https://www.flickr.com/gp/[email protected]/3932v3) for an idea of what the entire swing set looks like. So, I quickly decided last your to anchor it down a bit. I anchored both side of the "A" end with 2x4's in about 10-12 inches of cement. I also anchored the front right side of the "playhouse" area next to the ladder (https://www.flickr.com/gp/[email protected]/Vp9ZqW). Lastly, I used a 4x4 buried into about 10-12" of cement to secure the middle of the swing (https://www.flickr.com/gp/[email protected]/Fhs0RV).

I noticed that this year it is a little "wobbly" again. Any thoughts or ideas of how or where I can brace/anchor this down a little more? I don't have a fear of the falling apart or turning over so much as I don't want it to appear so to visitors.

Thanks ahead of time!
 
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Old 05-29-14, 08:25 PM
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Before anything, cut those bolts in the 4x4 flush with the nuts. That's more dangerous than the wobble. As far as the wobble goes, some of it is probably because the rest of the bolts need to be tightened again. They come loose from the vibration. See what happens after that.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 09:15 PM
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Look at it closely when it wobbles to pinpoint what is moving. Then add diagonal 2x4 braces to stabilize it.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 09:33 PM
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And use lock nuts not regular nuts.

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Old 05-29-14, 09:59 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if the wobble is caused more by main members (the two legs and top piece) having insufficient Section Moduli in their weak axes, which would result in them deflecting under load. Once you've tightened all connection bolts, and if things still aren't sturdy enough, you could try adding some (full-length) 2 x 4s to the legs and top member. I'd position them across the outsides of the legs and along the top of the top piece, oriented flat to form "T"s. Attach them using flathead deck screws every foot or so, slightly pre-drilled, and a continuous bead of construction adhesive.

Let the adhesive dry a day or two before turning the girls loose on the swings. I'm sure there will be a noticeable improvement, as the difference in Section Modulus is equal to a factor of 2.33 (3.063 divided by 1.313).
 
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Old 05-29-14, 10:48 PM
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BridgeMan,

Do you made to elaborate on where to put the boards?
 
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Old 05-29-14, 11:03 PM
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I don't understand the question, the "made" part. But if you're asking on specifics for where to add the 2 x 4 flanges, run them full length on the outsides of the diagonal legs (top to ground), and the (entire full length) top of the top member.

Also, in the future, if you do any more anchoring in concrete (cement is one of the ingredients of concrete), don't embed wooden members for doing so. Even if preservative pressure treated, they will rot and have to be replaced. Embedded steel channel or angle would last much longer, at least until your daughters' grandchildren are ready to use the swing set.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 01:22 AM
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Basically the legs should have been 4x4 not 2x4. Minimum burial depth of 2 feet would have helped also though as Bridgeman pointed out there is rot to consider. I'd say start from scratch using 4x4. Have to say when I first looked at your pictures I was so use to expecting 4x4s I didn't notice they were 2x4s.

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Last edited by ray2047; 05-30-14 at 02:00 AM.
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