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Bent Trailer Axle?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Lorge, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. Lorge

    Lorge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I have a 6 1/2' X 16' utility trailer. Both tires on my front axle have worn significantly more on the inner part of the tire than the outer. Is this likely to be due to a bent axle? Could my bearings be worn out? If so, is installing a new axle a job for the shop or something I could do with basic shop tools?
  2. i_plant_art

    i_plant_art LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    when u say the tire is worn on the inner part of the tire do u mean on the middle of the tire itself or on the side of the tire that faces the trailer? if it is that the middle part of the tire itself is worn more this is caused by over inflation of the tires. check the air pressure in the tire and make sure it is what is recomended on the side of the tire. if the bearings were worn out i think u would know imediatly it would wobble, or just not even spin.

    if the axle itself is bad it is something that you can do yourself. you just need the proper tools ( air tools) and the know how ( a simple internet search and some reading and ull be good to go in 30 minutes)

    Sounds more like its a tire pressure thing to me. Also have u ever had the tire balanced or rotated. This would be a good idea as well, to go ahead and have them balanced.
  3. Lorge

    Lorge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Sorry I wasn't clear. It's the tread that is worn uneven.
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    If the wear is consistent all around the tire this could a Toe-in problem. Out wear is to much toe-in and inside is to little toe-in. In either case the axle should be replaced and with the right jacks is not a hard thing to do, just a PITA.

    If wear is uneven or chopped looking it may be bearings.

    I suggest you take it to a reputable tire store that does alignment and get a professional opinion. Whether this trailer has brakes that can be changed over or no brakes, the price of a new axle or bearing (if you do the labor) is well worth the expense. The ease of replacing an axle has all do with enough of the proper jacks. New U bolts and a cutting torch or grinder is key also.
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Most trailer axles once installed properly have a upward bow to them to accommodate for weight being loaded on them, This bow when weight is applied causes the tires to wear even. If the axle is installed upside down it will cause the tire wear problem you have. I had a single and a double axle that was built by a local trailer builder that done the same thing. What I done is went to Tractor Supply and purchased new spring perches and welded them on the opposite side and cut the old ones off, Thus flipping the axle over which was the proper way it should have been installed.
    The results was no more inside tire wear.

    What all this boils down to is, Axles are bowed to be mounted below the springs or on top of the springs and if the wrong axle is mounted the wrong way inside tire wear WILL happen. This repair cost less than $20.00 per set of perches and a little less than a hour per axle. Much Much cheeper than buying the right axle.
  6. Lorge

    Lorge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I think I might have figured out my problem. I took off the dust caps of the axle and took out the cotter pin. The nut that holds the hub on was significantly loose allowing play for the whole wheel assembly. I hand tightened and then slightly tightened it a little more with tools. At first I cranked it down tight but realized the wheel wouldn't turn because it was too tight. Does it sound like I found my problem?
  7. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    You may have if both sides are loose, But I wouldn't just retighten them and call it a day. If the bearings have been run loose there is a good chance they are bad now. I would suggest removing the hubs and check the bearings and repack them if they are ok. See beings run loose distorts the bearing cages and they very well could go out in a short peroid of time and cause spindle damage before you realize it.
    Just my thoughts.
    Good luck !

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