Trailer project - making it wider...
RSS | Subscribe | Contact Us | Advertise | About Us
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Trailer project - making it wider...

    Hi all...

    The latest stupid project in front of me is whether to make a dual axle setup narrower by 3” to fit my existing trailer, or whether i should weld box steel onto the outside of my trailer to fit my new dual axle setup.

    Background info - the dual axle setup is off a boat trailer. It has a single piece where the leaf springs are mounted on either side. In it’s original use, the frame of the trailer would be positioned on this piece and then u-bolted into place.
    - my trailer is a custom job that i bought 15 years ago. It’s all 1 1/2” x 4” c-channel. The genius who put it together put the three cross pieces under the trailer, with the C facing down.
    - the axles are both 3500#. I might occasionally load the trailer with 4000#-5000# of material.

    I have a lot of 2”x5” box steel for this project. I have enough that I can build a brand new trailer that would fit the new dual axle setup perfectly and still cobble something together for the old trailer.

    So, requesting ideas from more experienced minds, would you 1) shorten the axles to fit the existing trailer frame, or 2) weld steel on to the outside of my existing trailer to fit my axles exactly as they are right now?

    StogieRob
    Regency 250
    Spoolmatic 30a
    WC-24
    No actual experience welding, but plenty of material to learn before I go and do something stupid...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pasco Fl.
    Posts
    176

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    I've shortened trailer axles quite a few times and it's easy, especially if their already off the trailer, just take your 3'' out of the center and splice them back together.
    ***********************

    CR

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by CrookedRoads View Post
    I've shortened trailer axles quite a few times and it's easy, especially if their already off the trailer, just take your 3'' out of the center and splice them back together.
    That was my ‘decided upon path’, but as i get closer to actually doing the work, i keep second guessing myself. I just keep reverting to ‘but when i build that new trailer, won’t having the original axle intact be better????’

    One day, i’ll be able to weld like i woodwork - 2nd nature and just another skill to get stuff done. Right now, it’s just a black void of ‘haven’t done it, just don’t know yet...’

    Thanks!
    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northern Cal., Shasta County
    Posts
    8,674

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Are the axles pre-cambered? It's usually best to take that into account when cutting out a section..
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    1,509

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    It sounds like you know what you ought to do - keep axles intact and either build a new frame or modify the old one to fit.

    Be prepared for flames as new welders and trailers are a hot button topic here due to the risk to others on the road. You need to be a competent welder or enlist an experienced welder to help and oversee the work.

    Honestly, some of the trailers I see at the big box stores look like it was a welder’s first day on the job but the manufacturer takes the risk. If a new welder has an accident with a homemade trailer, whether it’s your fault or not, you could have a big liability.

    Best of luck. Read, study, and practice, practice, practice.
    Burt
    _____________________
    Miller Syncrowave 250
    Millermatic 211 w/Spoolmate
    Miller 375 Plasma Cutter
    Miller Thunderbolt XL AC/DC
    Hobart Handler 120

    10FtDrillBit.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hamilton Ontario Canada
    Posts
    310

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Can you post some pictures of the axle setup? I have shortened and lengthened trailer axles as well but would be better to make the trailer to fit the axles or move the spring mounts on the axles. I have also made my own axels.
    Welders: IdealArc AC/DC 250
    Lincoln AC 225 converted to AC/DC
    O/A torches
    Lots of Hammers Clamps and Grinders

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    AJO, ARIZONA
    Posts
    798

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    I put a boat trailer axle under my pickup bed trailer, it was 1 1/2 inc solid steel, I beveled both pieces od all four sides and clamped them to a piece of angle iron with a slight gap and welded it back out then added a triangulated truss to it, the frame is 4 inch heavy web channel. That was in about 1986, trailer is still going strong. This is a standard long bed gm bed from about 73 or so, I had a 36 inch rack on the front half and 18 inch on the back half and have had it loaded over the top of the front rack for the entire length and width with green oak.
    NRA LIFE MEMBER
    UNITWELD 175 AMP 3 IN1 DC MIG/STICK/TIG
    MIDSTATES 300 AMP AC MACHINE
    GOD BLESS AMERICA!
    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
    We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream".
    RONALD REAGAN

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    4,768

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Axles directly affect alignment, and therefore tire wear. Not all are pre-cambered, some are flat and straight. If yours are pre-cambered, I personally would think harder about cutting them, than if they were straight. I would never just cut three inches out and butt the two pieces back together though.
    City of L.A. Structural; Manual & Semi-Automatic;
    "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore."
    Job 28:1,2

    Lincoln, Miller, Victor & ISV Bible

    Danny

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Are the axles pre-cambered? It's usually best to take that into account when cutting out a section..
    Once i get the yard sale crap out of my garage, i’ll be cleaning up the axle and checking for camber. I don’t think there is any from one cursory check, but i’ve read enough to know to look for it.

    Thanks!
    StogieRob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    I donned my asbestos suit before the initial post. :-) I’m on the occasional gun board, cigar board, DIY board, etc. - they all have the same people who behave the same way. I’m weighing between the relative safety of leaving the axles intact vs the safety of modifying the load points on the trailer frame. I’m also struggling with the aesthetic of having the axles line up nicely on the frame or the frame looking slightly cobbled together. I’m really starting to lean toward making the frame wider and not tinkering with the running gear... probably! Lol

    Thanks!!!
    StogieRob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Picts will be forthcoming...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    I’ve read up on using angle iron as the alignment tool/clamping setup for welding it all back together. That makes a lot of sense. I’ve also read where people added reinforcement around the weld (sleeve, box, angles, etc) which makes sense, but i’d like it to look nice as well. One of my many thoughts on the project was IF i shorten the axles was to grind it all smooth and repaint it all so it would look ‘new’. I stripped the trailer down to bare metal about 12 years ago and gave it a coat of glossy red paint. Still looks pretty nice for a utility trailer. Decisions, decisions, decisions... and entirely too long before i get to any of the actual work! Still pretty excited to start welding. SWMBO is already lining up projects for me to do with my new welding skills!

    Thanks
    StogieRob

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by tanglediver View Post
    Axles directly affect alignment, and therefore tire wear. Not all are pre-cambered, some are flat and straight. If yours are pre-cambered, I personally would think harder about cutting them, than if they were straight. I would never just cut three inches out and butt the two pieces back together though.
    Right! I’ve a 4’ straight edge for checking camber. My suspicions are that it’s a straight tube. Something about the setup just says the original manufacturer wasn’t going to bother with pre-camber when straight would get the job done.

    After all the projects i’ve done, i’m still surprised by all of the details and variables that are involved in an particular project. Or it’s that I keep stepping into significantly deeper projects that the average bear would consider doing.

    StogieRob

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Pict #1 is the current setup on the trailer. I know why, but don’t really know why the original builder put those C-channels upside-down for the U-Brackets when he could have mounted those directly to the underside of the trailer frame. I’m intending to ‘fix’ that by taking them off (one at a time) and re-welding them in inside the frame c-channel and flat-side up. This will give me a nice, smooth underside of the frame, which will just make me happy...

    Pict #2 is the ‘new’ axle setup. You can see how it’s all one piece, and obviously in need of serious time with a wire-wheel and some fresh paint.

    So Plan A is to weld the new box steel along the entire length of the side of the frame and then the axle setup will fit without any modification. Straight welds. The weld on the bottom will be a butt weld between the current frame and the new box steel. This will give me one flat surface for the axle setup to rest against. The one on the top edge will be a fillet weld as the c-channel is 4” and the new box steel is 5”.

    Plan B would be to cut out the necessary material from the axles, weld them back together, and then the axle setup would rest directly under the existing C-channel on the trailer.

    Plan C is to eventually build a slightly bigger trailer out of the 2”x5” steel, but that’s for another year or an ‘in the winter’ project. I need the trailer functional for three big weekend at the end of August and into September, so a new build right now is not practical.

    FLAME ON! :-)

    Name:  8825AA98-C831-46C8-8D18-7075C86EBA99.jpg
Views: 601
Size:  79.5 KB
    Name:  5DA8DD85-3C8F-4015-8667-AAD2639D6469.jpg
Views: 603
Size:  127.8 KB

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Soda springs,Id
    Posts
    4,293

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    The sq tube axles make it easy to move the springs in. Simply drill new holes for the spring tie bolts carefully measured 1 1/2" in from the originals. I'd leave the C channel as is to make it easier to weld to the running gear rails. Probably will need to add spacers to the tlr. frame rails for additional attachment points. Just be sure to carefully measure from the front of each rail to the hitch to ensure straight tracking.
    Some fenders will help minimize windshield or paint damage to vehicles following you.
    Mike
    Last edited by mla2ofus; 06-14-2018 at 10:43 AM.
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
    Miller thunderbolt ac/dc stick
    Victor O/A setup
    Makita chop saw

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    4,768

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    As soon as I saw rectangular tube, I knew they do not have a pre-camber bend in it. They each look to be at least 3500 pound rated pieces, 4 inch drop. Shortening those is very possible, but they must be strong. Sleeves are good, but finding a good fit on rectangular tube is unlikely. That is why 2 or 4 angle irons is a good option, but aesthetics may suffer.
    It's up to you, good luck!
    Last edited by tanglediver; 06-15-2018 at 02:57 AM.
    City of L.A. Structural; Manual & Semi-Automatic;
    "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore."
    Job 28:1,2

    Lincoln, Miller, Victor & ISV Bible

    Danny

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    The sq tube axles make it easy to move the springs in. Simply drill new holes for the spring tie bolts carefully measured 1 1/2" in from the originals. I'd leave the C channel as is to make it easier to weld to the running gear rails. Probably will need to add spacers to the tlr. frame rails for additional attachment points. Just be sure to carefully measure from the front of each rail to the hitch to ensure straight tracking.
    Some fenders will help minimize windshield or paint damage to vehicles following you.
    Mike
    It never occurred to me that the pins on the axles for the springs could be “moved”. This may be the thread winner! Thanks!!!

    And I’ve got a set of plastic fenders but I’m upgrading them to metal fenders so I can stand on them when loading/offloading the trailer.

    Stogierob
    Last edited by StogieRob; 06-15-2018 at 01:21 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    44

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Are the axles pre-cambered? It's usually best to take that into account when cutting out a section..
    That was my first thought. Those round ones suck in that you have to put the camber back again. Not difficult from watching someone do one but still one more thing to screw with. You gotta love square axles

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Update: the axles at their current length, with hubs and tires installed, don’t fit into my garage. I was sure i’d have 1” to spare on either side, but the tires are wider than anticipated.

    So 2.5” of axle needs to be removed from the middle. I’ve got some 2”x5” box that i’m going to cut to make reinforcing angle iron and clamping brackets for the work.

    And now I need to find a cut-off saw....

    Rob
    StogieRob
    ———————————
    Miller Regency 250
    Spoolmatic 30A (2)
    WC-24

    And an Oxy/Acetylene setup

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    126

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    The new axles appear to have already been altered at least once in the past and the center pivot doesn't look right. Hanger straps seem to be missing from center mounts. Eyelet holes in each end of spring must move farter apart as weight is put on spring. With arrangement in picture,that can only happen if rear axle move's back and front axle move's forward. Not only will that wear tires,it will cause trailer to whip side to side. Another way to shorten axles, stub can be removed/replaced on one end and 3" of axle removed before reattachment.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jax View Post
    The new axles appear to have already been altered at least once in the past and the center pivot doesn't look right. Hanger straps seem to be missing from center mounts. Eyelet holes in each end of spring must move farter apart as weight is put on spring. With arrangement in picture,that can only happen if rear axle move's back and front axle move's forward. Not only will that wear tires,it will cause trailer to whip side to side. Another way to shorten axles, stub can be removed/replaced on one end and 3" of axle removed before reattachment.
    This is a Shoreland’r setup. They still sell the parts and make trailers this way. There are some parts that did not survive disassembly. I’ll be able to order the parts directly from them. The springs are eye/slipper hook setup. The eye are forward and the slipper is back. There’s a very stout bearing on the stablizer center bolt as well as bushings on each slipper hook.

    Thanks!
    Rob
    StogieRob
    ———————————
    Miller Regency 250
    Spoolmatic 30A (2)
    WC-24

    And an Oxy/Acetylene setup

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    126

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    So the hidden end is like a j instead of an eyelet? Never saw springs like that but it should work.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jax View Post
    So the hidden end is like a j instead of an eyelet? Never saw springs like that but it should work.

    Yup! I was surprised when i discovered that. It made removal a whole lot easier as i only needed to ‘properly’ remove four bolts. I wound up cutting the rest of them off as they were clearly not reuseable...

    Rob
    StogieRob
    ———————————
    Miller Regency 250
    Spoolmatic 30A (2)
    WC-24

    And an Oxy/Acetylene setup

  24. #24
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    58

    Re: Trailer project - making it wider...

    And the trailer project is dead. My deadline for finishing the project for this years reenacting season has passed. It just wasn’t to be. Thanks all. Not giving up on welding, but it’s going to be a winter project now.

    Rob
    StogieRob
    ———————————
    Miller Regency 250
    Spoolmatic 30A (2)
    WC-24

    And an Oxy/Acetylene setup

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
RSS | Home | Penton Media | Contact Us | Subscribe | For Advertisers | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement