Trailer spindle repair
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  1. #1
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    Trailer spindle repair

    A long time ago I seem to remember promising to post how I repair spindles on trailers. I finally got one in a while back and actually had time to take some pics while doing it (usually it's in the middle of the night and rush job).

    I've been developing this method of repair because of all the torsion axles out there. On the old type axles I can take them out, build them up, and machine them in a lathe. However that's rather time consuming and not possible with torsion axles.

    In the first pic you can see the problem. Both the threads and the outer bearing surface are ruined. In the second pic I've ground all the old bearing material that had welded to the spindle as well as chased what remained of the threads with the tool in the background.

    In the third, fourth, and fifth pics you can see that I've used my 252 to build up the bearing surface and installed my guide onto the threaded part of the spindle. The cutter I'm using is one that I got at the auction of my former employer. I've never seen any others like it but I wish I could find more in different sizes. It's perfect for this application. Using the guide I simply run the cutter over the built up bearing surface. A little filing and sanding and I'm done. Please pay no mind to the stack of lock washers. I made that spindle from a found piece while fixing a trailer in the middle of the night. I didn't have time for being nice. Actually it was made from the piece I threaded to turn the nut I used to make the guide.

    That fixes the bearing surface. Total time was hard to tell since I kept getting interrupted. I'd estimate about 30 minutes total to this point.

    Coming up fixing the threads.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Ok here's part two.

    Since the threads are the most often ruined part I developed this method first. Before making the tools you see I used to do this by grinding and filing round by hand till everything fit. Very time consuming and needing lots of skill.

    In the first pic you can see the rather lousy buildup job I did. Not my best work but it's built up enough to allow machining down.

    The second pic shows the tools. The guide clamps on the outer bearing surface. The hole saw has had all the teeth drove inward to prevent cutting of the guide (a few broke while I did that). I also tried to drive the teeth farther in that usual trying to get it closer to the size I needed. As it stands it leaves the spindle about 0.030" oversized. If I could find a cutter like I used in the first batch the right size it would make this part easier.

    I make up for the oversized problem with the die I use. As you can see it's a Little Giant. I've turned the chasers around backwards to allow use without the pilot and I do the threading in at least two passes with the first pass having the die opened up. It usually takes more before I find the right setting for the final cut.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    I have a couple new in the box 2 piece inserts for that die stock, say the word and I will send them to you.
    Disclaimer; "I am just an a$$hole welder, don't take it personally ."

  4. #4
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by TozziWelding View Post
    I have a couple new in the box 2 piece inserts for that die stock, say the word and I will send them to you.
    I've got some sizes already though I'd have to go look and see what they are. It definitely doesn't hurt to have more though.

    I'd definitely want to pay for them at any rate. Just let me know.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    That is excellent! Thank you very much for sharing!

  6. #6
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    I don't know if you have ever heard of them, but a long time ago I used the Axle Surgeons to make a repair. They have a pretty trick grinder setup for it.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Stick-man View Post
    I don't know if you have ever heard of them, but a long time ago I used the Axle Surgeons to make a repair. They have a pretty trick grinder setup for it.
    I've heard of them though I've heard several different methods used for repair. I've never seen any of the machines they use and apparently they often just replace the spindle by cutting of the old one and welding a new one on (at least on semi trailer axles).

    I've considered trying to build a method of machining these in place but I've never had time to get it done. These tools have all been thrown together on the quick to get the job done and out of the shop.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Stick-man View Post
    I don't know if you have ever heard of them, but a long time ago I used the Axle Surgeons to make a repair. They have a pretty trick grinder setup for it.
    +1 on the Axle Surgeons company. Back in the late 80's I was responsible for a fleet of liquid tankers and pneumatic trailers. They would come to our site and make the repair. The guy was amazing to watch. They would weld up then grind down journals with a self centering rotary grinder. They could also insert new axle stubs if needed and repair damaged threads. I don't recall them being un reasonable on price either.

    I did a Google search and they are still in business. I have been away from the trucking industry for a lot of years now and don't miss it a bit.

    Your tool set up looks good. You could have a tool and die shop build the cutters you need for different sizes.

    Dan

  9. #9
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    You're looking for this tool ?





    I'd call it an annular cutter, try Enco, McMaster Carr and other machinist tool suppliers


    http://www.mcmaster.com/#annular-cutters/=m4jw60


    I'd go with HSS and Cobalt HSS
    Stay away from the Carbide, you're sure to break them in that setup


    I suspect that your sleeves were made to work with standard size cutters but
    If you need sizes other than the standard ones there, look for the metric ones and see what they actually measure.
    Or, a machine shop should be able to reduce the outside, or open up the inside with grinding attachments for a lathe or mill
    .
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    Last edited by 12345678910; 04-01-2013 at 01:36 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Very resourceful work Irish, we toss lots of axles with bad spindles.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Seems like one hell of a lot of work to repair that spindle when you could have bought a new spindle and just welded it on cheap.


  12. #12
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    you cant re-spindle torsion axles. Its a complete axle replacement only.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by 12345678910 View Post
    You're looking for this tool ?


    I'd call it an annular cutter, try Enco, McMaster Carr and other machinist tool suppliers


    http://www.mcmaster.com/#annular-cutters/=m4jw60


    I'd go with HSS and Cobalt HSS
    Stay away from the Carbide, you're sure to break them in that setup


    I suspect that your sleeves were made to work with standard size cutters but
    If you need sizes other than the standard ones there, look for the metric ones and see what they actually measure.
    Or, a machine shop should be able to reduce the outside, or open up the inside with grinding attachments for a lathe or mill
    .
    I know about annular cutters. I've got a bunch of them and I've got a machine shop. But those won't work. The sides need to be smooth to not eat up the guides. Normal annular cutters have flutes to take the chips out. Like I said I've never been able to find any other cutters just like these.

    Quote Originally Posted by tanglediver View Post
    Very resourceful work Irish, we toss lots of axles with bad spindles.
    Thanks. I've repaired axles a lot of different ways over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkydoggy View Post
    Seems like one hell of a lot of work to repair that spindle when you could have bought a new spindle and just welded it on cheap.

    Just how do you suggest getting it straight? If it was a straight axle without brakes I could see doing that. Or if it was off the trailer then yes it could be done and I've done it (in fact I've caught flak for doing just that on this very site see http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=41570).

    In this case this is the fastest cheapest way I can do the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualie View Post
    you cant re-spindle torsion axles. Its a complete axle replacement only.
    Almost true. I have re-spindled some short stub torsion axles before. It's a lot of work though and I'm not setup to do it on a full axle. It involves drilling out the old spindle on the torsion arm and making a new one (you can't just buy them because the factory ones are to short) and then welding it back in the arm. If you try to cut out the old spindle with a torch you'll put to much heat in it and melt the rubber so you have to machine it out.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    I like it. I have two 8000# torsion axels laying here now that could use the same work on the inner bearing and seal surface, been toying with different ideas on how to save them for a while now.

  15. #15
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by irish fixit View Post
    A long time ago I seem to remember promising to post how I repair spindles on trailers. I finally got one in a while back and actually had time to take some pics while doing it (usually it's in the middle of the night and rush job).
    Irish Fixit,

    Nice work! . . . Thanks for starting this thread and posting the pictures!
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  16. #16
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Wayne, you just rock.

    That's all. You just rock.

    You never fail to amaze me with what you do.
    Clueless and perfectly satisfied with it....

  17. #17
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by irish fixit View Post
    I know about annular cutters. I've got a bunch of them and I've got a machine shop. But those won't work. The sides need to be smooth to not eat up the guides. Normal annular cutters have flutes to take the chips out. Like I said I've never been able to find any other cutters just like these. .
    What if you started with an annular cutter and then grind down the outside in a lathe with a toolpost grinder to kill the flutes?

    Or the same with an endmill, grind smooth outside and EDM / grind a pilot hole inside ?


    Or

    Maybe start with an APT Body hole cutter
    Then just reshape the teeth to knock back the tall points into full width teeth ?


    It's always nice knowing you've got a spare tool ready to go so the rush jobs don't go nightmare on you.
    Last edited by 12345678910; 04-01-2013 at 11:46 AM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by DanD78 View Post
    +1 on the Axle Surgeons company. Back in the late 80's I was responsible for a fleet of liquid tankers and pneumatic trailers. They would come to our site and make the repair. The guy was amazing to watch. They would weld up then grind down journals with a self centering rotary grinder. They could also insert new axle stubs if needed and repair damaged threads. I don't recall them being un reasonable on price either.

    I did a Google search and they are still in business. I have been away from the trucking industry for a lot of years now and don't miss it a bit.

    Your tool set up looks good. You could have a tool and die shop build the cutters you need for different sizes.

    Dan
    One of these days I'd really like to see a pic of there tools.

    I might end up making some if I ever get any spare time for it. Low priority project till I need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by WelderBill View Post
    Irish Fixit,

    Nice work! . . . Thanks for starting this thread and posting the pictures!
    Thanks and You're Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A749 View Post
    Wayne, you just rock.

    That's all. You just rock.

    You never fail to amaze me with what you do.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by 12345678910 View Post
    What if you started with an annular cutter and then grind down the outside in a lathe with a toolpost grinder to kill the flutes?

    Or the same with an endmill, grind smooth outside and EDM / grind a pilot hole inside ?


    Or

    Maybe start with an APT Body hole cutter
    Then just reshape the teeth to knock back the tall points into full width teeth ?


    It's always nice knowing you've got a spare tool ready to go so the rush jobs don't go nightmare on you.
    There wouldn't be much left of a annular cutter and end mills have the same problem with flutes on the outside. I can't imagine how long it would take to grind a hole in a end mill like that either.

    That body cutter some closest of any I've seen so far but looks to shallow.

    I believe the correct term for this type cutter is a hollow mill. I've just not found them in any modern catalogs. They're not needed anymore with the advent of CNC.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by lars66 View Post
    I like it. I have two 8000# torsion axels laying here now that could use the same work on the inner bearing and seal surface, been toying with different ideas on how to save them for a while now.
    The inner bearing and seal surfaces are where this method crashes. On those I just have to build up and use a grinder, and file to get the surface back to where it needs to be.

    That's where I want to make a tool for turning or grinding them round. I've considered several methods but most are to complicated and I've not had time to mess with them.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    That is way cool Irish.

  21. #21
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    On the seal surface, dont work too hard. A product I use , I believe called "seal saver", allows you to drive a small thin sleeve onto the worn spot, then use the original seal. It works for any seal, crankshfts, camshafts etc. I know automotive stores sell them, not sure about other stores.
    It's hard to beat the price of new axles when facing a really worn one. The last #5000 Lb one I got was $172 with no brakes. Not knocking your repair, I love learning new methods for axles.

  22. #22
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    That is way cool Irish.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    On the seal surface, dont work too hard. A product I use , I believe called "seal saver", allows you to drive a small thin sleeve onto the worn spot, then use the original seal. It works for any seal, crankshfts, camshafts etc. I know automotive stores sell them, not sure about other stores.
    It's hard to beat the price of new axles when facing a really worn one. The last #5000 Lb one I got was $172 with no brakes. Not knocking your repair, I love learning new methods for axles.
    Around here we call those redi sleeves.

    I agree that there's a time for a new axle. But you also have to figure in the mounting of the axle. That's at least 1 hours work along with new U-bolts and usually new shackle bolts about $30-40 worth at least. In this case I repaired the axle with around 1 hours worth of labor alone. Of course I did have to get a new hub/drum for around $60 with bearings.

    Of course that's just for standard spring axles. The torsion axles are a lot higher making this repair even more economical.

    Then there's the people off the highway who don't have time to wait for a axle to be ordered.

    Always more than one way to do the job. The trick is to do it in the most economical way that's still good and safe. All factors must be considered before considering the repair.

    And as always there's more the learn all the time. I freely admit that I learn something new every day.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Irish. That is a nice way of getting things done. Cool cutter set up I can see why you would want more sizes. What about tapered spindles. How would you fix those.
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  24. #24
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    This is what I have, I will throw them in the mail if you want them, seriously they are just sitting here and I dont have the die stock for them.
    Disclaimer; "I am just an a$$hole welder, don't take it personally ."

  25. #25
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    Re: Trailer spindle repair

    Quote Originally Posted by TJS View Post
    Irish. That is a nice way of getting things done. Cool cutter set up I can see why you would want more sizes. What about tapered spindles. How would you fix those.
    T.J.
    Thanks. I'm not sure what you're saying on tapered spindles. I do fix tapered shafts for pump jacks but those are short and done in a lathe.

    Quote Originally Posted by TozziWelding View Post
    This is what I have, I will throw them in the mail if you want them, seriously they are just sitting here and I dont have the die stock for them.
    Looks good. I would at least like to pay for postage though.
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