Replacing the Trailer Axle and Bearings

Not many pictures here, just relating my latest work with my trailer.

I’ll freely admit it wasn’t a super-quality trailer to begin with.  I believe it was around $250.00 brand new.

It didn’t have a proper hitch.  With the tractor that wasn’t a huge deal, as the tractor only had a pin hitch as well.  I had to use a sledge hammer to flatten the trailer tongue a bit to fit, but that worked while I had the tractor.

When I upgraded to the ATV, I purchased an 1 7/8″ ball hitch for the trailer and had to employ the sledge once again to undo the modifications it had previously done.  This worked well, but the trailer was suffering from an ongoing axle and bearing issue.

The axle was one of the first failures of the trailer – flat tires notwithstanding.  As it turns out, to save on weight or cost, the manufacturer had opted to make the axle a hollow pipe, with the axles only being solid for the last 10 inches or so.  Under regular use, this led to failure of the pipe and we subsequently just tried to hammer the remains of the axle together.  This had the effect of the tires not really being perpendicular to the trailer for the past year or so.

This probably put undo pressure on the bearings, and quickly all four of them failed and were replaced by Grandpa’s wooden bearings.

The wood worked, but only on a disposable basis.  I wasn’t eager to spend ongoing efforts to keep it operating as is.  Instead, I removed one wheel, and took it to Canada Bearings here in Thunder Bay.  They were excellent help, even directing me to Wajax two doors down when they could only supply three of the four required bearings.  Cost per bearing – $6.50 – $7.50.

With the bearings in hand, I then headed over to Rudnicki Industrial on my side of the city, where I commissioned them to fabricate a new axle for me of solid steel for $20.

Back home, I was finally able to cut out and pound out the remains of the old bearings on the wheels, and then reassemble the whole trailer.

My predicted diameter of holes for the pins that held the wheels in place was off – the pins were much thicker than I had anticipated, so they didn’t fit the new axle.  I solved this by just using short pieces of a wire coat hanger.  This held up through two trips in and out of the bush loaded with firewood, so I’m hopeful that it will continue to suffice for now.

This upgrade to the trailer is a real load off my mind.  Now I can feel very confident about getting loads of wood or gravel transported without having to incorporate time for repairs in on a regular basis.

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