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aczeller
04-07-2008, 02:23 PM
this may open a can of worms here, but i got a question...

How does everyone mount the axle to the trailer and ensure that it will run true?

i don;t plan on making a trailer for a while (not until i can afford my truck), but i was always curious about that. it can obviously be done, but i would be kind of hesitant to do it. i am not worried about the weld strength, but i am worried about what would happen if the axle is not welded in (or the suspension welded in) at dead-balls perpendicular to the tongue of the trailer. what is an acceptable tolerance here?

also, what do you guys use as far as stress evaluations when building trailers? obviously when a trailer is going down the road, the weight is a live load and must be accounted for? i know it's a lot easier to over-build it, but how do you guys calculate the right number of leafs in the springs, the axle location, etc.?

Later,
Andy

tanglediver
04-07-2008, 05:36 PM
this may open a can of worms here, but i got a question...

How does everyone mount the axle to the trailer and ensure that it will run true?

i don;t plan on making a trailer for a while (not until i can afford my truck), but i was always curious about that. it can obviously be done, but i would be kind of hesitant to do it. i am not worried about the weld strength, but i am worried about what would happen if the axle is not welded in (or the suspension welded in) at dead-balls perpendicular to the tongue of the trailer. what is an acceptable tolerance here?

Simply measure from dead center of the ball socket to the front spring perches. Then from the same dead center of the ball socket to the next set of spring perches and so on. Get it wrong and the trailer will track a bit to one side or another. If you are within a fraction of an inch, you're probably ok.

also, what do you guys use as far as stress evaluations when building trailers? obviously when a trailer is going down the road, the weight is a live load and must be accounted for? i know it's a lot easier to over-build it, but how do you guys calculate the right number of leafs in the springs, the axle location, etc.?

Springs are rated from the manufacturer according to the weight they will carry. You must specify what load you are building the trailer for, it's that simple. Trailer suppliers offer specs. on their web sites.
Later,
Andy

I hope that helps a bit.

aczeller
04-07-2008, 05:39 PM
cool. thanks Tangle... anyone else got any input?

Later,
Andy

daddy
04-07-2008, 07:42 PM
In my limited trailer building experience, I did exactly what Danny described, and have a trailer that tracks perfectly. I was a carpenter and tile setter for years, and am VERY particular about plumb, level, and square. Not to mention parallel and perpendicular.:dizzy:
Accurate measurements and parts cut to exactly the same size helps alot, but the distance from the center of the ball to the front of the spring hanger is the one to get right/equal.

Sandy
04-07-2008, 09:25 PM
cool. thanks Tangle... anyone else got any input?

Later,
Andy

Just do your best to build the frame as sqaure as possible, attach the tongue as true as possible to the frame, then the line up of the axle to the ball/pintle will be a natural. Hopefully expected distances from frame corners to axle and ball to axle will confirm each other.

Measure, go ponder, measure.

Qucifer
04-07-2008, 10:42 PM
Another thing to look out for is after you install the springs to the hangers and shackles and put the weight of the trailer on the axle, it will settle. I did torsion axle to leaf swap on a camper for a guy who brought me the stuff. I asked how far from center to center the hanger bolt to the shackle bolt needed to be, but he had no info, and so I guessed it and gave it a lot of room for error. After welding everything up, everything sat perfectly, but I had a feeling by the next day the wieght of the camper would change that. I had him leave the trailer with me over night in case, and sure enough the next morning the shackles had bottomed out. I rewelded a new set of shackle brackets farther back and remounted the springs, and that was that. I would just make sure you have all the info you need to avoid having to do the same job twice.

dabar39
04-07-2008, 11:36 PM
I'll give a quick run down of how I build my trailer frames and place axles.

1st. I layout my perimeter frame on a set of adjustable horses, square and level the frame, clamp,tack weld the corners, re-check for square.

2nd. set my cross members in place and tack weld them.

3rd. re-check for square and level, weld out frame

4th. measure back 60% of the frame length from front edge of trailer deck to find axle center (or equalizer center on tandems), set axle assembly in place and re-measure to make sure it is square to the frame. tack the front spring mounts in place and then set my shackle mount in the rear and tack. Weld out the hangers front and rear.

5th. I use a 50 degree A frame coupler and assemble it on the bench, I then measure out the center lines on the front and rear cross members and run a string line from the rear past the point of the coupler. Set the coupler at 42" from the front edge of deck and then measure out to the spring mounts and also from side to side of the front edge of the trailer deck to the tongue rails.

I have built 532 trailers to date and have never had any issues with the axle placement or tracking of them. I have had some people tell me that this is the long way or the hard way of doing it, but my name is on each and every one of my trailers so I like to do things my way. Results and mileage may vary from builder to builder, this is just my way. Dave

big worm
04-08-2008, 05:59 AM
I bought a 4'X6' Carry-On trailer from Tractor Supply once to haul my quad. It was 1/8''X2'' angle frame with a mesh floor. I decided to make a little longer trailer and reused the axle, springs,shackles. Before I cut them off the frame I measured for placement.

The axle in relationship to the ball was approx. 3'4'' out of square. The entire frame was a 1/2'' out of square. I put probably 500-600 miles on this and it always tracked straight. Maybe it wasn't heavy nough to effect it or the small skinny tires hid the out of squareness.

They're just like anything else. Take your time and be proud of what your doing and it will look/be fine.

Oldtimer
04-08-2008, 11:35 AM
I've built a few trailers over the years but not nearly as many as dabar. One little trick I do is build the frame upside down. I just use my pipe jacks with some flat heads I built just for structural type work. I weld everything but the top of the frame in this position and install the spring hangers before turning it over. It lets you build everything in the flat or verticle position and standing up. Flip it over and finish it up. A small trailer is no problem to do by hand. I measure every thing out just like dabar told you. I've never built a trailer that dogtracked.

dabar39
04-08-2008, 01:10 PM
Oldtimer, Thanks for adding the upside down part, I guess I forgot to mention that part of the frame build. I've been doing it for so long I sometimes take it for granted that everyone knows the little things like that. Thanks again for adding that info. Dave

Oldtimer
04-09-2008, 09:22 AM
I usually install the axles, tire, and wheels before turning it over. I've got an Autocrane hoist on a pickup to do it with. Built several pipe trailers to haul 30' tubing. Had to have a winch truck for those.

littlefuzz
04-09-2008, 10:23 AM
When I build trailers I weld my spring hangers on a piece of flat bar or big angle, bolt on my springs, axles, and tires then put the rolling assembly under the frame, square, and weld in place. When you get your axle/spring assembly (if it's gonna come already assembled) square the springs with the wheels, they are always off.

aczeller
04-12-2008, 09:33 PM
thanks for the tips guys... a few things have fallen in my lap in the past few days, so it looks like i may be getting a truck sooner than i thought... still not soon enough, but maybe within a few months... i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

so here's my next question: where do you guys get your axles and other required parts? i know a junk yard is going to be the cheapest, but i am just wondering what i can get for a good price that would be new and clean. i don't really have a ton of places around here to get some quality stuff at the junkyards... around here, if it's in the yard, it should STAY in the yard. lol

Later,
Andy

tanglediver
04-12-2008, 09:46 PM
thanks for the tips guys... a few things have fallen in my lap in the past few days, so it looks like i may be getting a truck sooner than i thought... still not soon enough, but maybe within a few months... i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

so here's my next question: where do you guys get your axles and other required parts? i know a junk yard is going to be the cheapest, but i am just wondering what i can get for a good price that would be new and clean. i don't really have a ton of places around here to get some quality stuff at the junkyards... around here, if it's in the yard, it should STAY in the yard. lol

Later,
Andy

It sure is too bad you were not closer. Good deal on the new to you truck! :D What will you wind up with?

aczeller
04-12-2008, 09:58 PM
Good deal on the new to you truck! :D What will you wind up with?

not sure yet... i'd really like a 3/4 ton, but a half ton would do all i need i think. more than likely it'll be a chevy, but possibly a dodge. my dad has a ford and i love it, but it rides too rough for me and doesn't compare to the power of a dodge. i think a 2005 or 2006 silverado would work out great for now ;) lol. i am trying to work out a deal for doing some freelance CAD work for a local, yet major, landscape company... if all works out, it'll be on the way towards 6 figures :D. lot bad for a kid who can't even drink yet. lol

Later,
Andy

daddy
04-12-2008, 10:32 PM
Andy,
I've found the local tractor supply stocks alot of trailer stuff, from complete axle assemblies to spring hanger kits with hardware. Saves building lots of parts from scratch. I thought the prices were reasonable.

Mark...
04-13-2008, 02:46 AM
I saw some advertisments in the local thrifty nickel for new trailer axles. Yours might have the same thing. If not there should be a truck equipment supplier nearby. Shop around as much as you can to keep from getting burned.

Like Tanglediver said, measure from the coupler to the same point on each side of the axle. What I do is just have someone help you hold the tape hooked on the very center front of the thing.

Alot of the questions you have a general tone as in good for MOST trailers. Do you plan on building a trailer or have you already started it? I guess the main thing is what size is it?
Oh, yea are you gonna use electric brakes?

[quote]ot bad for a kid who can't even drink yet. lol[quote]
Legaly, maybe:angel:

MAC702
04-13-2008, 06:48 AM
One place to keep in mind is www.championtrailers.com. I don't know how their axles will compare with what you can find locally, but I found they were much cheaper (including shipping) on parts like fenders, couplers, and jacks when I was building trailers in Las Vegas. And that was in a city with three large trailer building stores.

littlefuzz
04-13-2008, 07:09 AM
TSC is only good if it's an emergency on stuff like this. I needed some spring hangers and equalizers a while back but they only had one of everything. They might be better where you are but here if anything is usually needed in pairs, they only have one. Redneck or Lucky B are a couple of places to look.

TSOR
04-13-2008, 10:51 AM
In my limited trailer building experience, I did exactly what Danny described, and have a trailer that tracks perfectly. I was a carpenter and tile setter for years, and am VERY particular about plumb, level, and square. Not to mention parallel and perpendicular.:dizzy:
Accurate measurements and parts cut to exactly the same size helps alot, but the distance from the center of the ball to the front of the spring hanger is the one to get right/equal.


HaHA! I wish I could have found guys like you back when I was building contractor. There were plenty of levels, squares and tape measures in the tool trailer, but you'd swear sometimes that nobody knew how to use them!

aczeller
04-13-2008, 12:04 PM
Do you plan on building a trailer or have you already started it?

i am just in the planning stages now... i know that someday i will want/need to build one. i just wanted to get some general guidelines before i got in too deep.


I guess the main thing is what size is it?

for now, i was thinking about a simple 4'x8', but i may go up towards a good 24 footer if i get ambitious... it'd be nice to be able to strap down full lengths of stock from my local metal supplier, not to mention a car or a few toys. i am also in the VERY preliminary stages... pre-planning actually... for possibly building a little trailer for a CBR1100xx.


Oh, yea are you gonna use electric brakes?

to be perfectly honest, i haven't really thought about brakes at all yet. i knew i was going to need them, but i don;t know if i'll ever really haul anything that would require them. even the U-Haul car trailer that i needed to use the other day was just surge-brakes. they had an optional e-brake trailer, but they wanted more money for it. i was using an excursion to haul a little car, so i opted out of it.

thanks again for all the tips and advise guys. are there any other little tricks or general SOP's that you guys go by when building trailers? specific items/materials to stay away from? for right now, i plan on just making a flat-bed trailer, but later on, i may add some removable, drop-in sides if i need to.

Later,
Andy

Sandy
04-13-2008, 12:18 PM
are there any other little tricks or general SOP's that you guys go by when building trailers?

Always design it in your head, never write anything down, and take months and months to build it. :laugh:

Oh yeh, leave it out in the rain every once in awhile. :waving:

DSW
04-13-2008, 12:48 PM
for now, i was thinking about a simple 4'x8', but i may go up towards a good 24 footer if i get ambitious... it'd be nice to be able to strap down full lengths of stock from my local metal supplier, not to mention a car or a few toys. i am also in the VERY preliminary stages... pre-planning actually... for possibly building a little trailer for a CBR1100xx.


If you don't buy a lot of long lengths at one time you can get away with a shorter trailer. We have a 14' flat deck trailer at work. We regularly load 20' bundles of rebar on the trailer and only a foot or so hangs off the back. The trick is to run the lengths all the way up on the tongue to just short of the coupler. As long as the bundles are less than about 18" wide we have no problems.





to be perfectly honest, i haven't really thought about brakes at all yet. i knew i was going to need them, but i don;t know if I'll ever really haul anything that would require them. even the U-Haul car trailer that i needed to use the other day was just surge-brakes. they had an optional e-brake trailer, but they wanted more money for it. i was using an excursion to haul a little car, so i opted out of it.



You will be amazed at how much nicer elect. brakes are vs surge brakes. You will have a lot more control over your trailer. This is especially true with heavy trailers on lighter tow vehicles. You will need brakes in most states on trailers over about 3000 lb in weight. Your excursion may already be wired for a brake controler under the dash. You may just have to add the 7 pin plug and the controller. My F250 was this way. It came with the 7pin plug but I had to add the controller to the existing wire conection.

Oldtimer
04-13-2008, 01:02 PM
Before you build this trailer check out the trailer sales places in your area. Around here you can buy a trailer for what you will pay just for the running gear to build one. Don't know how the manufactuers do it.Then you can customize it pretty cheaply for less than you can build it.

Of course no one builds anything like I wanted my last two to be so I built them myself.

daddy
04-13-2008, 02:43 PM
Oldtimer has a good point about checking the prices of new stuff. Just be sure to really look at what you are pricing. I was going to just buy a trailer about a year ago and didn't because alot of what I saw new was crap. Deck boards shot on with a ramset that bounced them all up off the crossmembers a half inch etc. etc. If I was not in a hurry, I'd look out for used stuff. You can probably find better quality and save a mint.There are new options that are probably worth looking at ,but not at home depot or TSC.

sunline
04-30-2008, 12:27 PM
I use Chrysler K car stub axels and weld them to my frame rails. If frame is straight (pretty easy to do with new tubing) then I set the stubs up with a chunk of hacksaw blade under the tail edge to set a toe in. 3x1.5 1/8" wall tube has worked great for moto trailer. Small trailers dont need springs in my opinion; have more than 10k on it and it was very inexpensive. Stub axels with wheels was 100 bucks and maybe 50 for frame material at the time. Altogether came in for 250 bucks or so. Will haul 2 500lb motos with no problem. Tracks perfect. Finally wore out the tires that came with the wheels.

dabar39
04-30-2008, 03:56 PM
Andy,
I've found the local tractor supply stocks alot of trailer stuff, from complete axle assemblies to spring hanger kits with hardware. Saves building lots of parts from scratch. I thought the prices were reasonable.
Tractor Supply carries a very limited selection of parts and most of them are Chinese made junk that's way over priced

One place to keep in mind is www.championtrailers.com. I don't know how their axles will compare with what you can find locally, but I found they were much cheaper (including shipping) on parts like fenders, couplers, and jacks when I was building trailers in Las Vegas. And that was in a city with three large trailer building stores.
I've dealt with Champion Trailers before and are actually quite expensive on their parts, also they are geared more towards boat trailers than anything else but customer service is pretty good

TSC is only good if it's an emergency on stuff like this. I needed some spring hangers and equalizers a while back but they only had one of everything. They might be better where you are but here if anything is usually needed in pairs, they only have one. Redneck or Lucky B are a couple of places to look.Redneck carries one of the largest varieties of trailer parts and they are also the most expensive of the bigger parts companies, Big-Tex is mighty pricey as well. I deal Axle Supply in Arkansas, p.m. me if you need more info about them.


Before you build this trailer check out the trailer sales places in your area. Around here you can buy a trailer for what you will pay just for the running gear to build one. Don't know how the manufactuers do it.Then you can customize it pretty cheaply for less than you can build it.
Of course no one builds anything like I wanted my last two to be so I built them myself.The big guys can sell them for almost what it costs me to build one by buying in huge quantities, they are also production built so they cut as many corners as they can. I have worked on dozens of these mass produced trailers and found most of them to be poorly constructed, poorly welded, out of square or low quality Chinese parts used. I make my money by making the trailers to suit the needs of the customer, each is built for specific uses in mind but still be able to haul anything.


Oldtimer has a good point about checking the prices of new stuff. Just be sure to really look at what you are pricing. I was going to just buy a trailer about a year ago and didn't because alot of what I saw new was crap. Deck boards shot on with a ramset that bounced them all up off the crossmembers a half inch etc. etc. If I was not in a hurry, I'd look out for used stuff. You can probably find better quality and save a mint.There are new options that are probably worth looking at ,but not at home depot or TSC.Our Home Depot and Lowes have both stopped selling trailers because of the low quality, dissatisfied customers and lack of service or parts available.


I use Chrysler K car stub axels and weld them to my frame rails. If frame is straight (pretty easy to do with new tubing) then I set the stubs up with a chunk of hacksaw blade under the tail edge to set a toe in. 3x1.5 1/8" wall tube has worked great for moto trailer. Small trailers dont need springs in my opinion; have more than 10k on it and it was very inexpensive. Stub axels with wheels was 100 bucks and maybe 50 for frame material at the time. Altogether came in for 250 bucks or so. Will haul 2 500lb motos with no problem. Tracks perfect. Finally wore out the tires that came with the wheels.
BAD, BAD, Bad idea. The only suspension on your trailer is the sidewall deflection on the tires, not good. I'll bet you anything that trailer bounces off the road going over bumps especially when empty. That is a very unsafe and dangerous thing to build with out any kind of suspension, makes the trailer very unstable at travel speeds especially on bumpy roads. Not to mention the added stress to each and every weld and piece of steel, (not too mention your cargo) that is absorbing all of the bumps instead of the suspension. Also you spent about the same on used car parts that I do on a complete axle assembly with springs, hangers, u-bolts etc... ready to install when it comes to me.

sunline
04-30-2008, 11:59 PM
Got to disagree; trailer tows great, it doesnt bounce and motorcycles already are suspended. I typicaly tow my street bike which weighs 500lbs at freeway speeds and it is totally stable, on rails comes to mind. It has taken loads of plywood that probably aproached a ton (not by me but I found out about it after a friend returned it) with 0 problems. The car the axels came off of weighed close to 4000 lbs. A thousand lbs on each axel is well within safe working load. Springs with out shocks would bounce worse in fact I have seen sprung trailers bouncing down the road. I havent added the mileage I put on this trailer but it is well over 10000 without a problem of any kind. It is pretty small though so scaling up may not work. The first one I built like this carried a 15' boat with no problems either. The axels are welded to doublers and a tube spans the frame between the axels as well. The axels came with wheels and good radial tires so it was turn key so to speak.
PS I also gusseted the corners and the tounge which extends through to the axel tube...

tanglediver
05-01-2008, 01:58 AM
Longer, softer springs are best. Ordinary trailer springs are harsh underloaded, but no suspension? I don't know.
Tires can loose their grip on the bead and spontaneuosly deflate, I've had it happen to me. On the freeway with a light load and a noticeable hop, I lost all air pressure in a brand new tire, granted it was only a twelve inch tire and wheel. But there was no hole, I simply reinflated it! This is only a dilemma with single axle trailers.

sunline
05-01-2008, 11:42 AM
My wheels are 14" with 195 70 radial tires. I used to run them pretty soft i.e. 24 lbs on the theory that soft would ease any bouncing. Lately I have them at 30 lbs and no change in handling. Bear in mind the whole trailer only weighs 400 lbs empty. It works great for me and I would build another anytime. It is also very low to the ground which makes loading motos very easy. I built this 5 or 6 years ago, 5/64 flux core for the whole project. I forgot about the standoffs; stubs wouldnt clear direct on the frame rail. There is a doubler as I recall on the rail itself.
http://mvsunline.com/welding/trlr2.jpg
http://mvsunline.com/welding/trlr.jpg

dabar39
05-01-2008, 11:53 AM
My wheels are 14" with 195 70 radial tires. I used to run them pretty soft i.e. 24 lbs on the theory that soft would ease any bouncing. Lately I have them at 30 lbs and no change in handling. Bear in mind the whole trailer only weighs 400 lbs empty. It works great for me and I would build another anytime. It is also very low to the ground which makes loading motos very easy. I built this 5 or 6 years ago, 5/64 flux core for the whole project. I forgot about the standoffs; stubs wouldnt clear direct on the frame rail. There is a doubler as I recall on the rail itself.
http://mvsunline.com/welding/trlr2.jpg
http://mvsunline.com/welding/trlr.jpg

Ask your tire manufacturers how they feel about running such low pressures in their tires, specifically ask about sidewall deflection, fatigue and failure risks. Running the tires under inflated is making them your springs so to speak and not a very good idea in my book.

Sorry but I still think it's a very unsafe practice to build a trailer without suspension components installed. Dave

aczeller
05-01-2008, 12:01 PM
guy's, please don't fight. "oh-ho, why can't WEEEEE be friends? why can't we be friEEnds?..." get THAT song stuck in your head all day. anyway, i plan on making a decent sized trailer anyway... i want one that can withstand a ton or two. plus, i want it to look at least semi-professional... not to make a personal attack here Sunline, but i would get laughed at if people around here saw me pulling a trailer like that.

Later,
Andy

dabar39
05-01-2008, 12:11 PM
guy's, please don't fight. "oh-ho, why can't WEEEEE be friends? why can't we be friEEnds?..." get THAT song stuck in your head all day. anyway, i plan on making a decent sized trailer anyway... i want one that can withstand a ton or two. plus, i want it to look at least semi-professional... not to make a personal attack here Sunline, but i would get laughed at if people around here saw me pulling a trailer like that.

Later,
Andy

Andy, No intentions of fighting with anyone. When I see something that is potentially dangerous or life threatening I have to speak up.

I make my living building trailers and feel that I must know a little after building over 500 of them myself. I'm simply pointing out how dangerous I feel the situation is.

Axles are meant to have springs attached to them for a reason or cars, trucks, and trailers wouldn't come so equipped.

Tires have a minimum and maximum pressure ratings and anything above or below is dangerous and foolish to tamper with.

sunline
05-01-2008, 12:14 PM
No offense taken, I am only passing along what works. It lives outside so plywood deck takes a beating and my fenders aint great but they are strong. If I lived on the end of 40 miles of dirt road well maybe this wouldnt be the best solution. It has been on rough roads for distances of a few miles and it most definatly does not bounce around when loaded. I can get it to bounce if I whang a speed bump at a speed that is uncomfortable in the pickemup. As to pressures remember the whole load on the trailer is under a 1000lbs with one moto loaded. On pavement with a load there is no sidewall deflection like you would see with the wheels on a car. Max load rating on the tire is 560kg or 1235lbs. Major safety factor. Certainly under inflation to where sidewall deflects could be a problem but that is not the case even at 24psi. Anyway this to me was a simple solution that was very easy to build, it works and the WA highway patrol inspected and passed it. I can appreciate other view points tho... ymmv. Steve