Coming back loaded with my Model T on my dual axle trailer, I felt a slight vibration. I pulled into a small town gas station about 20 miles down the road. Lots of folks came out to look at the car. One person came up and said 'your other tire is out in the parking lot!"
Apparently I had not tightened the lug bolts on one tire, resulting in all 5 lugs being sheared off and the wheel ruined. I was able to drive the remaining 120 miles home at 40 MPH tops all on back roads so as not to impede traffic checking the tire temperature every 20 miles. Had I had a single axle, I would have been in a real jam.
You were lucky it was only a wheel coming off. I lost a wheel when a bearing burned out. It was tough replacing some parts because they got so hot they were welded together.
I was VERY LUCKY Steve. Had the wheel come off at 55 MPH it could have hurt someone, crossed the highway and hit a car head on, or really torn up the trailer.
I will really check those lug nuts before each tow!!
About 25 years ago, I was pulling out at 5 MPH and both trailer wheels fell off. Someone had stolen the chrome lug nuts. Do a pre flight walk around before towing
David, your trailer appears to have brakes on all four wheels, another great safety item required for a panic stop.
I had a near miss in New Jersey that was saved by four wheel trailer brakes. The car lanes were closed for construction and only the truck lanes were open. I had just got about up to the 55 mph posted speed limit for a construction area and was in the center lane when every one hit their brakes hard in front of me. I was following an 18 wheeler that started smoking his trailer brakes. I also had one behind me closing fast. Traffic was bumper to bumper and passing on both sides of me. I had no choice, but to hit the brakes hard and hope for a miracle. That 18 wheeler moved to the slow lane and shot on by me, with no hope of a full stop. I stopped about a foot behind the 18 wheeler. I could not see if the 18 wheeler pushed any cars off the road, but he kept moving at a much slower pace. My trailer tires were smoking too. I would never have been able to stop with just two wheel brakes.
Trailers are kind of like pistols in some states. While it is not against the law to sell a pistol in some states, it is against the law to use one for most applications there.
While it is not against the law to sell a double axle trailer with brakes on only two wheels, it is against the law to tow one and you will get a stiff fine if you cause an accident while towing one with only two wheel brakes in several states.
David,Please keep that post handy as a few here seem to think a single axel is ok? Bud.
Kenneth around 2006 or 2007 I asked advice here on the forum about what trailer to purchase for the Model T. Being a 40 year Pilot I know safety in equipment is a real good idea. I read all the pro-s and cons on single and dual axle.
When i looked at the tire load each single axle tire carries, and the catastrophic possibilities of a tire failure at 55-65 mph such as a flipped trailer and loss of a model T, it seemed pretty clear that a dual axle gives you some margin of safety over a single axle. Seems to be common sense. Nothing against single axle choice, it just seems more logical and I was proved right to have the additional safety margin of a dual axle trailer.
IMHO: Two too light axles are worse than one axle rated for more than what you are hauling. If you have a trailer that has just enough capacity for what you are hauling using two axles, something going out on one of the axles is an accident that is going to happen and is more likely to occur than a trailer with one axle rated for more than what you are hauling.
I have several trailers. Three tandem axle and a couple little single axle ones. All run high rated radial tires. I see people hauling heavy cars and equipment on wimpy little tandem axle trailers with bald car tires on them. If they blow a tire it puts all the load on that side on the other old bald tire instantly. Especially with rocker axle equalizers instead of torsion load axles you now have one axle on the ground and probably are going to blow the other tire too. With torsion axles it isn't so bad but it can still get pretty exciting.
That trailer looks to me like it was built with light axles and 1960's Ford car wheels and probably was at about max GVW before the T got loaded. You're lucky it happened at low speed or you'd probably have blown the other tire too.
I had a slightly less successful experience with a dual axle trailer. It was a borrowed enclosed car trailer and burned up a wheel bearing while I was using it. I got off the hiway with no problem, but the hub was pretty much seized up.
I removed the wheel, thinking I could limp home with a single wheel on one side. But the linkage between the springs (the treadle, I called it) allowed the exposed hub to rest on the ground. So I worked the hub off to get some ground clearance. But without the hub, the bare axle end was resting on the ground. The trailer simply wasn't going anywhere until I replaced the hub & bearings and put the wheel back on.
This hasn't been discussed in any of the trailer buying threads, but maybe we should check to see if any trailer we are considering will support itself with a single wheel on one side.
Sometimes you can chain the dead axle up to the trailer frame and get it off the highway or on home. On an enclosed trailer there often isn't anyplace to get a chain on it.
You're right, Stan. There was no way to chain the axle up. I did manage to move the trailer about 1/2 mile to a parking spot by jacking the axle up and jamming a piece of wood between the treadle and the frame. Then drove about 5 mph for the half mile so we wouldn't be out along the road.
The worst part of all this was what was inside the trailer. A 1937 Cord supercharged cabriolet convertible. We were about 100 miles from destination and had to leave the trailer at a gas station until the stores opened up Monday morning so we could get parts.
Fortunately nobody broke into the trailer while it sat unattended. The car belonged to my neighbor and was later sold for around a quarter million.
I have used the block of wood solution on a small 5th wheel camper and was able to travel the last 60 miles home at lower speed. Dual axle trailers are like twin engine airplanes, there is some redundancy for safety, but twice the chance of a problem.
A advantage of rubber torsion trailer axles over leaf spring axles is that most of the time you can remove a wheel without the the axle dropping down to far to drive it. I've did that on my horse trailer a few times, just take a wheel off and you good to go for repairs.
Always carry a short piece of two by four and a special jack when towing a tandem axle trailer. By special jack I mean one that will fit under the axle when a tire is flat. Pep Boys sells a hydraulic scissors jack will do most of the time.
Also--use the two by four to put at the Rocker Axle equalizer or Linkage between springs. With that wood in place the axle with no wheel will not rest on the ground.
And I thought I was the first person ever to do the "wood block" trick. As they say, "Nothing new under the sun".
Bill and Dick if possible down the road can you take the picture I posted of my trailer minus the wheel and show with an arrow where you put the block of wood to keep the hub wheel off of the ground? Thanks
OK, I'll give it a try. The red splotch in your picture represents the wood block. You jack up the hanging axle and then jamb the wood block between the equalizer (or "treadle" as I called it at first) and the frame rail.
I haul every day ...
Torsion tube axles are not repairable,
you can't weld them.
On a leaf spring suspension set up with
torsion tube axles, you can run a ratcheting
soft strap over the top of an open trailer deck
to temporarily lift an axle without a wheel on
both sides in a tandem or triple axle set up.
I have done it - more than once ...
Dick thanks it seems what you do at the red dot is force the axle spring assembly DOWN which forces the bad wheel UP
Yes, that's correct. I don't completely understand Jim's comment above -- primarily because I'm not all that knowledgeable about the various trailer suspension designs. But I think the important point for people shopping for a trailer is to realize that some dual axle trailers can't be simply driven with one disabled wheel.
If somebody who really understands the various axle & suspension options could jump in with a helpful thread I'd sure like to read it. Maybe the design like you have really is the best one overall but one needs to carry some emergency equipment as described by Bill Harris. The only thing I'd add to Bill's solution is that the wood block might better be a piece of ash or oak -- some hard wood. The pine block that I used was pretty well crunched after I used it.
A dual or triple axle open trailer can be
towed temporarily by rigging a sling around each
side of the axle with axles strap(s) - then running a 10K rated 2 " wide ratchet strap across the top of the trailer deck.
This lifts the axle back into a near normal
Again - I have had to do this more than one time
after losing complete wheels after they blew
off the axle spindle ......
Proably not a record to be proud of but in 16 years of using our 18' enclosed tandum axel i have lost/ruined/blown out 4 tires!! AS of yet i have not had any trouble other than the changing of the tires with the spare! I usually run 50-55 psi and try to hold speed under 60.Single axel-NEVER!! Bud.
Wow, with the experience here it sounds like wheels are falling off trailers all the time! Why should a wheel come free from a properly loaded and maintained trailer any more frequently than off a car or a truck? I was riding in a charter bus this spring that got hit by a wheel that came off a landscaping trailer traveling the other way on an interstate. We were quite lucky. It it had hit a couple of feet higher (and it was bouncing at least 25 feet in the air) it would have landed in my lap. Maybe wheel retainers like race cars use are in order . . .
The key is probably the "properly loaded and maintained" part.
On my previous trailer, an open triple axle one,
I lost (3) complete aluminum rims with attached
tires that blew off the axle spindle and past the
castle nut and cotter pin - for no apparent reason.
Each time the axle spindle was destroyed,
each time I had to replace the axle.
These were Dexter 5200 lb. torsion tube axles.
This happened over (4) years an several hundred thousands of miles towing.
My personal opinion:
The roads in this country are in the worst condition I have ever seen.
It is likely that hitting a pothole at the
right angle or a piece of debris in just the right way was the cause of my wheel losses ...
I never overloaded my trailer - kept my wheel bearings packed at regular intervals - did my own
maintenance on the running gear.
Well for my assumed error (most probable not properly torqued lug nuts) was $ 289 for a new steel wheel, new hub, new studs and lug nuts and labor) Plus now I need to buy and install a fender so the cost of not doing a good pre tow trailer inspection probably
$ 400 that buys a lot of gas and model T parts! Be careful out there
A big hammer will fix that fender in about 3 minutes.
No welding required!
Not questioning your maintenance, but something doesn't seem right. For a wheel to come off like you describe, it seems that the outer bearing or the hub itself would have to completely fail. Maybe trailer bearings/spindles are under-designed for the loads they carry?
I know modern car bearings are completely different today but when front wheels were held on basically the same way as trailer wheels, I just don't remember about many, if any, failing that way. I guarantee you that many people weren't packing their wheel bearings on schedule! Disk brakes would hold the wheel more or less in place, but I'm old enough to remember when most cars had drums on the front and still . . .
I have trailered from The Yukon to into Mexico. From the west coast to the east coast over the last 40 years. I used, for many miles, the home made trailer that some one called"a turd" recently. I have NEVER lost a wheel or a wheel bearing and this includes long distance runs with boat trailers that have been into salt water. Over the years I have had I figure 5 flat tires on trailers while pulling them (and found a few in parking lots in the mornings. I DO always walk around and look at the tires when I stop and feel the hubs for heating. I figure that is part of good maintenance.
I am not overly fastidious about maintenance but I do use either "bearing buddies" or oil lubed hubs on boat trailers. I am seriously thinking about converting all my trailers to oil lubed hubs (if it is good enough for the big trucks it is good enough for me). You can tell at a glance if they have proper lubrication.
I ALWAYS recheck wheel nuts after a visit to a tire shop. I have seen the "monkeys" make too many mistakes.
I carry at least one spare (two on a couple of my trailers that I use for long haul) and a wheel wrench. I have found my truck jack will work with the trailers I have.
OH and I run fast too (75-80 mph) when I can (can't do that in California though, got ticketed for running fast in the left lane).
No,It was that pice of crap junk boat trailer i called a turd! I have never seen your's and i like the idea of oil hubs.I should have worded my last reply different as i have had 4 bnow-outs but i have never lost a hub or wheel.We have 2 5"th wheel travel trailers and once a year i haull double with the small one.A lot of people would be scared to haull double but with a good hook and a big horse no problem. I spotted a ramp with holding drop at Camper World for changing tires on multiple axel riggs but like everything at that store it was expensive $35.00 so i'll just keep using the 2x6's i carry.Once when we were in Whitehorse leaving Alaska i needed 2 tires and the store said they were to busy.When i asked if i brought the tires to them they said they would put the new on! Simple i used the 2x6's and removed/replaced the tires no jack! We went 12,500 miles on that trip alone! So far i have not been pictured with any of my haulling at my wreck site but i will not use a single axel!!!!!! If you run 75-80mph with a single axel please tell me so i can stay off your road!! Bud.
I'm with you, Bud. I don't like single axle trailers for anything but hauling a riding lawn mower up to the cabin or something like that. I do have a single axle with a truck front axle and 9:00-20 rubber that I use once in awhile but no high speed two lane late night with that. I haul hay with it once in awhile. I will still say I'd rather take a chance with a heavy duty single axle with good tires than some of the little weenie tandem axles with old, cracked bald car tires I see running up and down the Interstate. I've wrecked one trailer, that was enough for me. It was a heavy duty torsion axle trailer with 275/65/16 truck tires on it and it wasn't the tires or axles fault it wrecked. It was mine for not loading it right and not having trailer brakes. I do now.
Stan,There used to be alot of those truck axel truck tired around and the next farm had one with 11x20's and was used in back of a tractor to haull a 340 International dozer.When i got my T-9 International i had one built from a model AA front axel with 8.25x20's. Hooked to the raised quick hitch i needed no ramp,but the little dozer never came up the the trailer crushed!! Not my first mistake or the last.Bud.
I think they one I have might have been built to haul a little dozer. The deck is pretty chewed up and it is build very close to the ground. I don't have a dozer -- although I'd like to -- but I think it would probably haul a D4 pretty easily. Not heavy enough for a D6, I don't think.
I bought a trailer at an auction last year, they wouldn't get me a title, fooled around for six months with them telling me they would get me a title, trailer disappeared. My fault, I should have brought it home and worried about the title later. Live and learn. Too many irons in the fire some days.
Stan,I think a tractor loader backhoe is so much more handy and most good sized farms have them now.The tires on my car hauller have great tread but it came with Goodyear marathons?? I think i learn from Jim and look at the torsion tube axel's?? Still trying to learn. Bud.
I have been contacted about the oil lubed hub thing. I have a EZ loader trailer with them. I googled the subject and of course got lots of hits. As I would expect there is some negative and some positive. Here is a Utube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9EDBJQameo on service and I expect there are others. After 10 years I have had no problems. Please make your own informed decision.
I use a single axle with no problems. It is brand new though, not some rusty heap. I ordered it built with radial tires and 4" drop axles so it rides nice and low. I also have the right truck for the job. It rides so steady, you can barely tell it's there.
Single axle trailers are great but don't offer the extra safety of multiple axle trailers. Regardless of the type, it's important to load at least 10% of the weight on the tongue. Tires should be specifically trailer tires.
I did read your link on trailer tire selection & care. One interesting item that I found was this:
".............Single axle tires can handle 100 percent of their rated load. Dual axle tires must have their loads reduced by 12 percent below the rated amount."
I'm wondering why the quoted material says to de-rate the tires on a dual axle trailer by 12%. Having worked for some time in the aircraft landing gear design business, and having also been a wheel designer/manufacturer for a while I may know the answer. There can be a load sharing issue when you have multiple load paths. There can also be cross-induced loads from multiple load paths.
Gustaf had it right when he compared dual axle trailers to twin engine airplanes. There's a measure of redundancy with a dual axle, but there's also an increased risk of failure. That's why I suggested earlier that anyone considering purchase of a dual axle trailer check first to verify that it can support it's load with 3 wheels. If the axle drops to the ground when one wheel is removed, is there really any additional safety ?
The reduction of 12% is for tires mounted as DUALS (side by side on the same hub). The reduction does not apply to TANDEM axles.
The reduction is based on the potential for tires of slightly different sizes being installed together and/or the fact that the roads are not FLAT across so inevitably one tire will be carrying a bigger percentage of the load. Another important factor is the lack of good cooling airflow between the dual wheels.
My experience is you are much more likely to get a flat tire with a TANDEM axle trailer. Over the years I have had way more flat tires on the back axle of anything(trailer, truck, car, Model T)! My theory is this; The front tire will kick up the nail or screw lying on the road and the following tire gets it!!!
OK now for a little fun; So if some people are so concerned about single axle trailers, MAYBE they should consider tandem axles and dual wheels!!!!
Dick, to clarify, if you look right on the side of a truck or trailer tire the load rating is printed right there in the rubber and the reduction for mounting as duals. It is on the 16" tires of my F250.
Twins have two engines because they're too heavy to fly on one. Be careful you don't get in the same trap with tandem trailers.
Trailers are evil beasts, just waiting to wreak havoc. Avoid them if you can. The bigger the beast, the more the havoc.
Trailers are probably the most neglected things on wheels on the planet. Most of the time they sit idle for months on end until the owner decides to move something. Pins up, loads it and goes. Bald tires, low tire pressure no grease in the bearings, the list goes on. My trailer gets a once over before I use it. Every time. Whether I used it yesterday or last month. And don't get me started on the guys that buy 40 foot travel trailers and head out with the family having zero trailering experience. Last week I had to pull a guys brand new Ford F150 and travel trailer out of the local Wal Mart parking lot for him, after he K O'd the side of it with a lamp standard.
Most 1/2 ton trucks are not legal to tow much of a trailer. If you look at the door jam tag it says what the GCW (gross combined weight) rating is. This means the combined weight of the truck and whatever it is towing. Some jurisdictions get really mean about this and it doesn't matter if you are a tourist!!
Yes, I can understand the need to reduce the rating for dual wheels on the same axle. But in the context of the boat trailers being discussed in Hal's link, I took it to mean two axles, one wheel at the end of each axle.
Maybe I'm just not familiar with the jargon. Does dual axle mean "one axle with two wheels side by side", or does it mean "two axles" ?
And, yes, my experience matches yours. More tire failures on tandem axle trailers than on single axle trailers.
To be honest, I'd rather have a tandem axle trailer, but only if it had been demonstrated to continue rolling with one flat or missing tire. My point before was that a tandem is useless if it can't limp home with one wheel out of commission. Some can, some can't.
Lindbergh made a deliberate decision to make his Atlantic flight with a single engine plane. His reasoning was that, if a twin engine plane couldn't continue to safety with one engine out, then it really wasn't adding any benefit. All a second engine did was double the odds of failure
I've had a couple of trailer issues in the past. This was the most dramatic. I found out that diesel trucks have lots of torque.
Some are maybe luckier than others: