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trailer axle repair/replacement advice

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by speelyei, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I bought a nifty trailer off craigslist last summer. It's about 4'x6' with heavy construction... the kind that 4x4 enthusiasts build to tow behind their Jeeps. We drug it about 1000 miles around eastern oregon this summer, and I had some problems.
    The trailer was built from scratch, and the axle was made from a piece of heavy wall pipe. The builder attached hubs from a Jeep, one side has some of the parts to rebuild a locking hub. The trailer was designed so that both tires and the spare would fit a Jeep, too, all the tires would be the same size. But I was worried about the bearings, so I popped the grease cups before the trip, pulled everything all apart, and repacked the bearings. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something didn't seem right... I don't know if parts were missing or, if it was just a different system than I was used to, but I had a feeling I would have problems.
    Well, down by three forks in Rome, I noticed the tires were wearing unevenly. I wiggled the tires and they rocked back and forth, about an inch of play. I popped the grease cups and tightened everything up, and that lasted until we headed north. When we crossed over into Idaho, I stopped and checked the tires, and one was worn so bad I decided to change it before it went flat.
    When I changed the tire, the wheel bearings were loose but not ruined, so I buttoned everything back up, reset the locknuts, and made it home without a flat. The wheel bearings are loose again, and I think there was some flaw in the building process.
    I am towing this trailer behind a 4runner, and although we are off road a lot, we're not doing any rock-crawling. I like the idea of building another axle with 4runner hubs, but really, I just want a serviceable axle with a tried and true sytem that will run problem free. As long as the wheel pattern matches up, I'm happy.
    So my question is, should I find a shop that can fab an axle? Any idea what that would cost? The problem is that the cost of that could eclipse the value of the whole trailer...
    I guess I could also try to find one that would fit from an outfit like Grainger, too.
    Any advice? Anybody on here wanna fab one? thanks!
     
  2. lowly monk

    lowly monk Beaverton, Oregon. Just a guy. Bronze Supporter

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    Question, Does the nut have any cotterpin or locking system?
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Rix

    Rix Tacoma Active Member

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    ^^^ what he said/asked.
    I personally would use a toyota "IFS" axle, and ditch the cobbled/jeep axle.
     
  4. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    If in fact it uses regular 4wd hubs, spindles, bearings, and a locking hub then something has to be missing if it keeps coming loose. Inside it should have a large flat washer to rest against the bearing, then a large nut to set the preload, another large washer with fingers, and then a large locknut. After the locknut is tightened then you bend the fingers over it so the locknut doesnt move. Sounds like your missing the large washer with the fingers?
     
  5. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    There is a large washer that rides flush against the outer bearing, then a large nut, a second washer, and then a second large nut. The outer large nut has dimples on the face where someone has used a drift pin to set it tight. No cotter or other locking finger-washer. Like I said, I think some parts were omitted or missing by the time I got it.

    I will look up the IFS axle. Thanks!
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Some of the farm machinery stores sell axle kits and parts. Might try Coastal Farm. I know most the John Deere tractor dealers would. Here in Silverton Cascade Machine carrys stub axles and hub kits for a number of bolt patterns. Jeep is 5 on 5" not sure what your 4 runner is.
     
  7. PaulZ

    PaulZ Oregon City Active Member

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    POTTER WEBSTER
    41 NE WALKER ST
    PORTLAND, OR 97211
    Complete axle & hub assembles for any trailer. They have a website too.
     
  8. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    In a setup like this, there should be a pin protruding from the first nut. It indexes into a hole in the washer that fits between the two nuts, then the outer nut is tightened down. Many times the pin gets sheared off or pushed back into the nut. You can push it out so it protrudes about 1/8" with a small roll pin punch.
    So, outer bearing. Then the first washer, which has no holes and has a tab that locates in the groove of the spindle. Then the first nut which should have the protruding pin. Then the 2nd washer (which has holes in it). Index the tab into the slot in the spindle and rotate the first nut as needed to index the pin with one of the holes in the washer. Then the outer nut which is just tightened down.
    If the nuts are not round with slots cut into them and are hex shaped, then the previous post about "fingers" (tabs) that fold down against the 2nd nut applies.
    This is how the majority of the 4x4 front axles (and full floating rear axles) are assembled.

    Also, 6 Robblees in Milwaukie has trailer axles.
     
  9. Rix

    Rix Tacoma Active Member

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    If you got a toyota axle that matched your truck, you'd have spares.
     
  10. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Thanks for all the input!

    I have thought about buying a u-pull it axle from a '90 4runner, but then I have the old differential, brake lines, calipers, and all that stuff under there too. It seems like a lot of weight and junk that I just don't need or want under there.
    I can't just run it the way it is, and I want to keep it, so I'll price some units from Six roblees or the farm store vs a wrecking yard axle/hub assy and let price be my guide...
    It's got to be up and going by 12/23, we're moving to Arizona!
     
  11. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    If you were to go this route then you can strip all the brake hardware off of the axle for a little lighter weight. Givin my experience with Toyota axles the extra 3rd member wouldnt be bad to have for a spare.

    As far as what you have now, if you have some time you could tear one side apart and take everything with you to six states, tell them your problem, and them looking at your parts they can tell you what you need. Dont know if your local but six states is down on Columbia blvd. Their number is 503-249-1010.
     
  12. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    I'm almost positive that this is the problem. I can't count how many times I've seen this. The pin on the first nut has been sheered off so their is no way of keeping the bearing tight.