A Quick Guide to Replacing and Maintaining Trailer Axles

trailer axle spindle repair










Trailers are nonautomotive vehicles designed to be hauled by road and commonly used for the transportation of goods and materials. This is why many of them are meant for heavy-duty which can lead to considerable strain on them that may result in wear and tear. Hence you might come across a situation where trailer axle spindle repair becomes mandatory. If that is the case, then here is a quick guide to help you in the process:

Replacing the Spindles

One of the best ways to replace old spindles is to cut them off and weld new ones into place. However, this is by no means a do-it-yourself job as professionals would be required to make sure that the new spindle is rightly adjusted with the axle in order to prevent premature tire wear or wheel tracking problems.

While a professional welder who is experienced with trailer axles is recommended, in many cases it is less expensive to simply replace the trailer axle itself. Here you would be required to know the reference number of the inner and outer wheel bearings as well as the hub face to hub face dimension and the distance between the spring seats, measured center hole to center hole.

How to Replace a Trailer’s Axle?

A trailer’s axle replacement is a considerably easier task bearing in mind that you have the proper knowledge, the right tools, and a solid plan. The first thing you need to do is determine the correct size and specification for the replacement axle. The maximum load per axle can be found on the trailer’s vehicle identification tag.

To measure the axle length make sure that the wheel hubs are removed and then take the overall length from tip to tip. If the leaf springs are still installed the measurement should be taken across the axle, from center to center on the leaf springs. Using these measurements you can now purchase a new axle as a replacement. 

A good idea is to replace all associated mounting hardware as well and recycle the old hardware. With new parts in your hand now, it is now time to install the axle. This is best accomplished with help of another person to lift and move the axle. First, you need to loosen the lug nuts on both tires, next raise the trailer using a hydraulic jack, and secure it on jack stands at four points.

Now you should remove the tires, brakes, and shocks, then the wheel hubs in that order. The axle is secured to the leaf springs with a U-bolt, remove them on both ends of the axle. By now the axle should be completely disconnected from the trailer. Now you can install the new axle in the reverse order as mentioned above.

Trailer Axle Maintenance

In order to perform trailer axle maintenance make sure that you follow proper precautions such as wearing protective gear and making sure that people don’t get hurt. You should always lift the trailer by its frame and never by its axle or suspension. The checklist for axle maintenance looks something like this:

  • Brakes have to be tested and must be operational, this has to be followed through at every use.
  • The Breakaway system needs the checking of battery charge and switch operation at every use.
  • Oil level needs to be checked in hubs if equipped at every use.
  • Brake adjustment has to be at proper operating clearance and checked every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Brake magnets have to be inspected for wear and current draw and they must be checked every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Brake linings and Pads are to be inspected for wear or contamination and they must be checked every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Hub/Drum and Rotors to be inspected for abnormal wear or scoring every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Wheel bearing to be inspected for corrosion or wear, cleaning and repacking every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Seals, springs, and suspension parts are to be inspected for proper functioning every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Trailer brake wiring and hangers to be inspected every 12 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Wheel nuts and bolts to be inspected every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Final Word

To sum it all up, Axle service is important because having bad axles can be disastrous and this can result in your vehicle’s tires popping out at any given moment while you are driving. Moreover, when carrying a lot of cargo, repairing an axle can be a painstaking process because then you would have to unload all the heavy load first. All of this hassle can be avoided if you keep your trailer’s axle health in tip-top condition and make sure that you follow a maintenance schedule periodically.

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