When it comes to the maintenance of a trailer, the least prioritized part is the trailer’s axle. But, unfortunately, more often than not, most drivers think of the engine region of a vehicle when it comes to its maintenance, which is why there are so many disasters on numerous highways around the world.
Imagine a situation where a driver is accelerating at high speed, driving across numerous streets and covering more miles than an electronic car, and then suddenly the tire of the vehicle pulls out of the rims because of a poorly maintained axle. This could be disastrous, leading to a ghastly or fatal accident that almost takes away the life of the driver. To prevent this from happening, it is best to maintain the axle of such an trailer.
There are numerous types of axles, and it is best to understand the type of trailer axle that one is dealing with before making a move at maintaining it from time to time.
To mention some of the numerous types of trailer axles would include:
This type of trailer axle would not be hard to decipher by one who has been driving a trailer for an extended period. Just as its name suggests, a spring axle is the kind of axle made up of flat spring stocks that carry the vehicle’s entire load.
The best way to identify this sort of axle is that it is carefully wrapped around the springs of the trailer. It reduces the vehicle’s height, making it easy to load and offload from the vehicle at any point in time.
This sort of axle is easy to maintain, and in most cases, the way they are shipped is such that you have to fix them in your vehicle, thereby reducing the cost of purchasing them. As a result, they are the best option for utility trailers, commercial trailers, or dump trailers.
When it comes to the springs that you would find in a torsion trailer axle, you won’t find any metal axle at all. Instead, you would find rubber cords that are long and built into a square tube, and the inner part of the axle is secured in it.
This type of axle has two square portions, and they include an inner square portion attached to the wheels of the vehicle through the torsion bar. On the other hand, the outer square part of a torsion trailer axle is kept secured by the frame of the axle.
When your trailer has a torsion trailer axle, the way it functions is that when the wheel of the vehicle is moving, the inner square bar presses over the rubber cords while revolving around the surface of the square portion.
One core fact that you might need to keep in with this axle is that while it is easy to maintain when it is spoilt and due for repair, you might have to extract the axle from the vehicle, and in this case, it would be better to fix a new one.
N.B: When it comes to choosing the best trailer axle for your vehicle, that might be a tough choice to make because the two highlighted axles have their areas of perfect functionality. It would be best to contact your trailer dealers or mechanics for the best option for your chosen trailer.
Here, we’ll be teaching you how to maintain a trailer’s axle. Check out what is involved below.
There is a checklist of things that you should bear in mind before you delve into the maintenance of your trailer’s axle. If you do not take cognizance of these things, you might end up causing severe damage to persons around the vicinity of the vehicle or even the products at the back of your trailer. To mention but a few of these precautions would include:
1. Before trying to work on your trailer’s axle, ensure that you lift your trailer by its frame and not the axle or suspension area. In this case, when you have successfully raised your trailer, do not try to go under the trailer unless it is supported by jack stands. When you do not support the trailer with jack stands, it could lead to the trailer falling, causing injury or death to you or the persons around the vehicle.
2. At the bottom of your brake’s backing plate, ensure that you remove the adjusting hole from the adjusting slot.
3. Before trying to work on your trailer’s axle, ensure that you rotate the starwheel using an adjusting tool. In this case, a screwdriver would be rightly effective.
4. After rotating the starwheel, ensure that you turn it in the opposite direction until a point when the wheel moves freely.
5. Reduce the wheel to the ground level while you replace the adjusting hole cover.
6. Ensure that you utilize all of the above processes on all the brakes of the vehicle.
7. Do not make use of the trailer’s axle as your support
8. Before maintaining the trailer’s axle, ensure that you do not touch the wiring or hydraulic tubing of your trailer
9. While working on a particular side of your trailer, ensure that the opposite side is blocked before you think about jacking it.
10. When you are trying to remove the vehicle’s tires, ensure that you loosen the nuts before the tire moves from the ground level.
NOTE: When trying to maintain the bearings of your trailer axle, there is a checklist of essential tools, and they include pliers, hammer, lug wrench, a flathead screwdriver, the jack, and the wheel blocks.
The way trailer axles are designed is to carry on a great deal of load. This is the reason why it is essential to maintain them from time to time. However, trailer axle brakes are pretty delicate, and you might not understand how important they are until you have to face an axle brake failure. This could be disastrous.
After you might have driven your trailer for an extended period, you must check in on the axle brakes in other to be sure about the vehicle’s functionality. It might interest you to know that the axle of a trailer is one of the few movable parts of a trailer, and the inability to properly maintain them could pose a lot of problems to the movement of your trailer.
In other to have an effective trailer axle brake, here are a few things to keep in mind:
The movable parts of an axle should be kept clean at all times. It is not like the axle cannot accommodate dirt due to a long phase of driving the vehicle, but piled-up dirt and debris can affect the functionality of the axle.
You can use forced water from a hose to reduce the piling of dirt around the axle region.
In a bid to properly clean the bearings around your trailer’s axle, ensure that you extract the wheels from the trailer’s axle and then remove the wheel hub to clean the bearings properly. You should note that it is essential to clean the bearings using solvent from time to time, which depends mainly on how well you make use of the trailer.
While fixing the wheel hub and bearings back, ensure that you grease them properly to prevent spoils as a result of movement friction.
The axle of your trailer must also be greased while you are conducting your timeous maintenance. You should note that the care of the axle guarantees the durability of the trailer itself. It also helps to prevent friction around the movable parts of a trailer’s axle.
NOTE: The main reason you need to maintain your axle brakes from time to time is so that they don’t accumulate moisture that could potentially damage them. The odds are that when you don’t maintain them regularly, the grease that you applied the last time you maintained them would be flushed out by moisture, and this could put you in a bad state while in motion.
Axle bearings are parts of your trailer’s axle that allows the axle to function effectively while not being ruptured or destroyed. They are mainly two types of axle bearings, and they include roller-type bearings and common axle bearings. The core difference between them is that the roller type bearing has a wider contact surface than the standard bearing.
If you are wondering where to find your trailer’s axle bearing, you can easily find it at the tail end of the axle tube, and it is located right inside your bearing’s cup. Usually, when you consistently hear a grinding noise in your wheel area, it is the first sign that shows you that your trailer’s axle bearing is due for a change.
A trailer’s wheel bearing is one of the many parts of a trailer that could guarantee the safe functionality of the trailer. When you don’t grease your trailer’s bearings, the stakes are high that the wheel might be detached while you are in motion, causing damage to the trailer and the cargo in it.
Here is a checklist of things to do when you want to grease the bearings of a trailer:
1. Begin by getting the manual of your trailer in other to understand better how to torque your wheel before you begin the entire process of greasing
2. Set your wheel chocks in place so that they lock the tires while you set the wheel jack to hold the other end of the side where you’ll be working.
3. Remove your wheel’s hub and dust the top with the use of a hammer, then unscrew the castellated nuts around it.
4. Remove the inner and outer wheel bearings while you extract the grease seal using a chisel or flat screwdriver.
5. Clean out old grease and check to ensure your bearing doesn’t require a replacement.
6. Carefully grease the wheel hub and the rollers.
7. Assemble all parts that you might have removed, and adjust the wheel’s brake
The time frame to grease the bearings of your trailer depends mainly on the size of your wheel, the average load that your trailer carries, and the type of trailer you have.
A thumb rule says that there are trailers that require the greasing of their wheel’s bearing every 10,000 miles. Hence, you should check your vehicle’s manual on the time frame for proper greasing of your truck’s bearing.
Here is a checklist of ways to replace your trailer’s axle:
A. First, raise your trailer with the use of jack stands and remove all tires.
B. Disconnect bolt lines and shocks while you unbolt your axle from the leaf springs.
C. Detach the former axle and replace it with the new one. The tools that you would require here include your racket and socket.
D. Reinstall tires with a tire iron and remove the jack stands.
The maintenance of a trailer’s axle determines the longevity and safety of the trailer. An adequately maintained trailer wouldn’t have a rusty bearing and axle brake, and the best way to ensure this is to have a dedicated time frame to check the axle region of your trailer. This wouldn’t only allow you to maintain your axle and wheel’s hub properly; it would also indicate whether your wheel hub requires a change.
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