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trailer spindle repair

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mickri

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#1
When I bought my home a few years back the prior owner had left behind a very sturdy home built utility trailer. This afternoon I decided to check out the bearings, etc to see if it was worth getting the trailer registered and start using it. Jacked up the right side and the hub was very loose. I thought to myself looks like I got a bad bearing. Took it apart and the bearings were fine. The grease seal looked like it needed replacement but I didn't notice anything else that looked a miss except it looked like the grease seal had been rubbing on the spindle backing plate.
Jacked up the left side and everything seemed ok. Took the hub off. No problems with the bearings and the grease seal looked like it needed replacement also but had not been rubbing on the backing plate. Swapped the hubs side to side. The right side hub on the left spindle fit just fine and was not loose. But the left side hub now on the right spindle was loose and sloppy. What's up with that???
I looked at the spindles and discovered that they were slightly different in one place. The spindles have three bearing surfaces. One for the grease seal, one for the inner bearing and one for the outer bearing. The difference in the spindles is the length of the grease seal and inner bearing surfaces. The left side grease seal bearing surface is approximately 3/8" long whereas the right side grease seal bearing surface is approximately 1/8" long. And the inner bearing surfaces are different in length by the same amount with the right side being approximately 1/4" longer than the left side. The inner bearing fits up against the face of the grease seal. This is what keeps the hub in proper position on the spindle. There is no evidence of wear on the right side face. Looks like it was made that way.

I think that I can solve the problem by machining a spacer to increase the length of the grease seal surface and decrease the length of the inner bearing surface. I would think that this spacer would need to be a press fit. Or would it be ok if it should happen to rotate. The force of the inner bearing should hold it in place. I would of course slather this spacer with wheel bearing grease. Also how precise would the thickness of this spacer need to be.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. trailer spindles.jpg
 

Superburban

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#2
Sounds like you have a great plan. I would make the spacer a tight fit, so it does not rotate. Check the seal is riding 100% either on whats left of the seal surface, or the spacer. If not, I would get one of those repair sleeves, so the seal has a good surface to ride on.

Thickness precision? I don't see it as that critical, as long as the bearing nut fully engages the threads, and does not bottom out on the threads. So I would say you could be off by 1/4" or so, and still get good nut thread engagement. I would concentrate on the seal surface, over the thickness.
 
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kd4gij

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#3
Post a picture of the spindle. Something isn't right.
 

mickri

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#4
Going out of town early tomorrow morning. Won't be able to get any pictures until early next week. That is why I did the drawing. Yes something is not right. The spindles are welded to the axle and it looks like whoever build this trailer used two different spindles. But that doesn't seem right either because the grease seal surface on the right side spindle is not long enough for the grease seal to make contact. It's a big mystery is all I can say. I would rather focus on the repair than speculate on why or how the right spindle came to be the way it is.
The spacer would have to be fairly close to the correct width because it would determine where the load rests on the spindle. It the spacer is too thick that would place the load further out on the spindle. A repair sleeve is probably a good idea. Just don't know if it would stay in place with the spacer. I am thinking that I should make the spacer the same width as the left side. This would guaranty that the grease seal would ride totally on the spacer and not on the joint between the spindle and the spacer. That would place the load only about 1/8" further outboard

What material should I make the spacer out of?

Thanks for the suggestions
 

mickri

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#5
In making the spacer I am thinking about using a solid round bar and turn it between centers to the correct outside diameter. The bar would be say 6" long and I would only turn the last inch or so to the correct diameter. I would then use my steady rest to hold the outer end of the bar in place while I bore the inner diameter and face off the end of the bar. Next cut off the end of the bar close to length and finally face off the bar to the correct length.
I have never done something like this before so feel free to point out any errors in my thinking or a better way to make the spacer.
 

jcp

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#6
Sounds like a reasonable plan. I would make the i.d. a press fit. Either make yourself a tool to drive the ring on or heat it and slip it into place holding it for a few seconds until it cools enough to grab the spindle.
 

Tony Wells

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#7
Spacers are best made, imo, by chucking a short piece and doing both the ID and OD in the same chucking. Face the part, generously radius or chamfer the end that will be on the inside next to the existing shoulder, or even bore the first 1/16" about +0.005 to assist getting in on straight. Then part it off. Stop before complete separation and put a 20° bevel on the OD to help get the seal on without messing up the lip. Sort of copy the other side as an example. Then complete the part off. If you don't want to change tools for the bevel, it can be filed on. Nothing too critical about it except smoothness, same as OD where the seal will ride.
 

4ssss

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#8
Shrink the spacer on and you won't have any problems.
 
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#9
It's just a stop for the bearing. It could be pinned on , shrink fit , or set screwed . It only matters there both the same width so the seals work and no slop when loading the bearings. They are taper bearings aren't they 1" I bet too. Normal small trailer . I've done many in my past . Even to the point of building from scratch , straight axles are pretty easy to take care of.
 

Tony Wells

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#11
Unlikely to be able to pin or screw it in place. The seal rides on the OD, so it should have a smooth finish. Press, shrink and or high temp loctite or similar.

Could perhaps screw it thru the face if it were wide enough, but doesn't seem practical.
 

kd4gij

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#12
And when he puts a spacer there. Good luck getting the cotter pen in for the castle nut.
 

dlane

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#13
Ied go to the farm store and buy a known good axle with spindles and hubs.
I hate it when your trailer tire passes you up going down the road o_O
Use old axle as stock for other projects
 

kvt

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#14
Be sure to check spindle and match the radius on your spacer. most have a radius in the corner. But heat/press fit should work, as there is not really any spinning force on it but the seal surface. or at least that is what I see.
 

mickri

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#15
The mystery continues. Got back home late last night. Took pictures of the right and left spindles today.
IMG_3535.JPG
Left Spindle
IMG_3534.JPG
Right spindle

It appears to me that a spacer is part of the design of the spindle. The left spindle definitely has a spacer and the right spindle does not. The spacer on the left spindle did not want to come off. But I didn't try very hard to remove either. In looking at the right spindle there is a large radius from the spindle to the backing plate.. I have searched online and cannot find a spindle with a spacer. Or even just a spacer for a spindle.
The bearings are readily available and are metric. Koyo 30206j-n Hi Cap. The inner bearing has a 30mm bore. Because it is metric I am wondering if whoever made this trailer used spindles off of the rear axle of a front wheel drive car. I'll search for cars that this bearing was used on. I just might find the spacer.

Back to making a spacer. What type/grade of steel should I use to make this spacer?

Thanks for all of the suggestions.
 

kd4gij

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#16
Measure from the face of the shoulder to the cotter pen on both if there is room then make a spacer
 

mickri

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#17
What type of steel do I make the spacer out? Don't have anything on hand that is the right size. I will have to buy it. What should I buy?
 

cg285

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#18
What type of steel do I make the spacer out? Don't have anything on hand that is the right size. I will have to buy it. What should I buy?
how much do you use the trailer? i have a hub i make (rather vend out) that is 4140 forged and where the seal rides it is speced for induction hardening so the seal doesn't wear the hub - but this is designed for 100k plus miles in an expensive vehicle.

you will probably get a lot of answers that reflect what nasa would do but imo - in reality it probably isn't important what you use for this application. if you think you need an alloy and either case hardening or hardening i think you would be better off buying a replacement spindle or better yet a new axle. they don't usually cost that much
 

mickri

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#19
This trailer won't get much use. 500 miles per year at the most. Probably not even that much. The occasional trip to the dumb or to pick up some landscape materials. It is more just to have in case I need it. I've had it for over 3 years and just getting around to looking at it.
 

cg285

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#20
This trailer won't get much use. 500 miles per year at the most. Probably not even that much. The occasional trip to the dumb or to pick up some landscape materials. It is more just to have in case I need it. I've had it for over 3 years and just getting around to looking at it.
there you go. find a chuck of mystery steel and have at it. i guessing but i bet most trailer spindles aren't case hardened at the seal area anyway.
make it like tony wells said, give it a .0005 to .0015 interference fit, drive it on and forget it. if you screw up and make it a 0 fit peen the bore and use it.
 

mickri

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#21
I am going to follow Tony Wells suggestion on how to make the spacer. And I dug some more through my junk bin and found a piece of "mystery" steel that will work. The length is about right but the diameter is way larger then necessary. I will be taking off a fair amount of material to get to the correct OD.

A big thank you to everyone for their suggestions.
 

mickri

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#22
I hope to finish the spacer today. When I part it off should I part it at the finished width or part it oversize and then face it down to the correct width. My concern with parting it oversize is scratching the polished OD where the grease seal rides when I face it down and then not being able to get the scratches polished out at the correct OD. Forcing me to start over again.
Interesting to me at least is that the spacer is metric. The OD is 45 mm and the ID is 30 mm. When I measure the width today I'll bet that it is metric also. The grease seals were hard to find and after a lot of searching found that there are off of an 80's Mazda B1800 to B2200 truck. My auto parts store had to order them.
Thanks for any suggestions.
 

cg285

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#23
i see no reason why you couldn't just part it off. once the hub is on no one will see that one side looks better than the other
 

coherent

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#24
I built a small trailer a while back to pull behind my UTV for firewood hauling. I was surprised at how inexpensive the complete spindle and hub assemblies were with bearings and everything. One of those things you have no idea the cost until you start researching I guess. I even found them on Amazon. That said, I'd be more likely to simply get a new one and bolt or weld it on than even mess with it unless you're just looking for a project. I guess I'm getting lazy in my old(er) age.
 

cg285

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I built a small trailer a while back to pull behind my UTV for firewood hauling. I was surprised at how inexpensive the complete spindle and hub assemblies were with bearings and everything. One of those things you have no idea the cost until you start researching I guess. I even found them on Amazon. That said, I'd be more likely to simply get a new one and bolt or weld it on than even mess with it unless you're just looking for a project. I guess I'm getting lazy in my old(er) age.
they hand make 6-32 nuts here - just saying:)
 

coherent

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#26
they hand make 6-32 nuts here - just saying:)
Lol.. yep, the cost of fixing it 10 hrs work... but the ability to say "I made it and fixed it myself for nothing"... priceless. I suppose it's the main reason why we're here and have mills, lathes and tools to start with!
 

mickri

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#27
I looked into buying a replacement axle and nothing I found would fit. And a new axle would have required new wheels and probably tires too. Plus more time to modify the trailer to make the new axle fit. Easier to just make the spacer. Also I like to fix things and would rather fix something than throw it away and buy new.
 

mickri

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#28
One of the problems that I have had when boring a hole is that my holes tend to come out larger in diameter than what I thought they should be. I use a Starrett telescoping gauge to get the inside diameter and then measure this with a caliper. I have both digital and veneer calipers that I use. Boring the ID on this spacer was a slow process and I had lots of time to think about this. My conclusion as to the source of the problem lies in the telescoping gauge. The ends of the gauge are basically flat and contact the ID on their edges. Not in the center and there is always a small gap between the center of the gauge and the inside of the hole. The smaller the hole the larger the gap. I think that the ends of the gauge should be a round half circle of the diameter of the gauge and not flat. If the ends were round you would get a true measure of the ID of the hole. Or is there a way to compensate for this with resorting to trigonometry?

Do they make telescoping gauges with round ends? I have not seen any. Or could I just round off the ends of the gauges that I already have? I don't think that there is a enough material to do this.
 

Bob Korves

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The telescoping gages can be an issue, but usually the problem is with the less than rigid boring setup. If you make a cut, measure it, and then follow it with another cut at the same setting, measure again, make yet another cut at the same setting, and measure again, you will find that the hole keeps getting bigger. They are called "spring cuts" for good reason. The springier the setup, the worse it gets. When you get near your final size, use multiple passes before changing the setting, and check after each pass. Another issue is having a good, sharp cutting tool set up with the proper geometry to make a keen cut, which will have less springing action. For smaller holes, gage pins are my favorite way of checking progress.

I have never seen a snap gage with flat ends. That would be worthless inside a hole. Do not grind them, replace them! Snap gages have their own idiosyncrasies, and a learning curve for getting consistent results. There are plenty of tutorials on the web of how to use them properly, and well worth studying. Practice with a known accurate sized hole until you can consistently measure within a tenth or two. That is not easy, so be proud when you achieve it.
 
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