Heard about the mouse pad idea. I would think it's certainly worth a try. Definitely inexpensive. If you are able to drop the whole thing out by removing the wing nut, that would make it a lot easier. The large flat bottom piece does not come off the rod. On mine, the assembly won't come completely off because it hits part of my trailer. The PO replaced the rubber piece, I can see a slit cut in the round rubber piece so it will slip past the rods.