So I pull off the Indiana I-80 Turnpike on Friday morning to fuel - go about a couple miles to a Marathon station - turn into diesel lanes - truck stops moving .....
Trailer is stuck .... on something ....
Now there is something you donít see every day ....
Im not sure Jim but I dont think thats the proper way to change a wheel!
Where you at in Indiana? East or west side?
You've mentioned that it might be time for a new trailer. Hope you were not loaded to heavy.
I seem to always have a Guardian Angel watching over me - I like to think it is my oldest sister Marie who passed on in 1998.
So - I happen to be near Elkhart, IN - the trailer capital - so I start looking on my smart phone & find this place about (8) miles away .....
It is not normal to find a 5200 pound straight tube axle with a 95 inch hub to hub measurement in stock - let alone an axle with leaf springs & brakes - but they had one in the yard.
Crank the welder up and get back on the road.
You landed in the right place if you need anything for a trailer,camper or mobile home! You are less than an hour from me. I was going to offer to help and steer you in that direction but your on the hot spot. If I can help in any way let me know.
Jim you have a couple more axles, do you really need that one?
Set to work pulling out the old axle which was less than a year old - Dexter supposedly manufactured in the USA but probably made of 3 inch tube from China or somewhere else.
No one at Johnsonís had seen an axle shear off like that before - consensus was premature tube failure likely from inferior steel.
There was no evidence of rust - the break was at the axle u-bolts.
There is a Dexter axle in Kendallville IN. About 15 minutes from me. We could return it via front window!!!
So I signed a release & they let me work in the back lot.
I have changed axles before - I carry a complete set of tools - a lot of wood blocks - (2) Harbor Freight 3 ton aluminum racing jacks ....
It was hard work that took a few hours but I got it done ....
I visited a large Dexter manufacturing facility years ago in Indiana to pick up some parts that Redneck Trailer Supply sold me but did not have in stock.
I distinctly remember a large roll off dumpster full of axles pulled off the assembly line for quality control issues - they just would throw them away complete - not pull drums or leaf springs off.
Thats how its done now days. Could be why things cost so much. Glad to hear your rolling again Jim. You had some very good bad luck.
I never overload my trailers - if I carry more than one car I scale & carry the weight slip for the trip.
Triple axle trailers just plain suck - even though I try to execute wide turns - the front axle is the pivot point & probably gets the most stress.
This happened on the curb side of the trailer - that side has the most flat tires & sees the worst road conditions.
But that was a 6000 pound axle - it should not have broke like that after just a year of use.
To pull the tire from the drum - I used the weight of the trailer & a block of wood to secure the assembly so I could remove the lug nuts ....
Sure looked like some really thin wall tubing to me...?
The rear spring hanger broke loose - I was lucky they were slow that day - I bought another hanger inside & they welded it on .....
I ended up spending the whole day - but it was a beautiful fall day with a nice breeze ....
Johnsonís has the largest - most complete inventory I have ever seen and the prices canít be beat.
The staff was great to deal with - I bought extra stuff after I finished up.
All in all it was a Good Day !
Today I bought new trailer tires in Toledo, OH for the front replacement axle just to be safe.
I would say a great day! The break was going to happen. A bad day would have been happening somewhere else (where parts and facilities were not readily available, or at high speed).
I don't have any degrees on the wall, my choice. But I was trained as an engineer, by real engineers. I hate what I see in the world today. Engineers used to have an ethic, to do things RIGHT, make things WORK, to make them as safe and make them as reliable as reasonably possible. Today, it is a game. How cheap can you make it and get away with it?
Like James J L III, one glance at that photo and I am thinking "Aw naw NO NO NO NO!" NO WAY that tubing is heavy enough for less than two axles under a single model T!
I need to go back under my blanket and suck my thumb for awhile longer.
And, by the way? I am very pleased it happened when and where it did, and that you are okay.
Interesting day FJ. Glad you're OK too.
Yep, back in the old days, things were over-engineered and that's a very good thing.
Jim, did you happen to adjust the brake shoes on that axle?
Personally, when the people assemble those Dexter axles, I believe they spend LITTLE time setting the brakes.
In a recent past life, my co-workers and I readjusted the shoes in each of the couple hundred similar D axles we played with and none were set the same.
Wayne & Duey,
Things could alway be worse and usually canít get much better as I navigate the road .....
ď Additude Of Graditude ď as Mr. Bill Harper puts it ....
You do seem to have an uncanny ability to land on your feet, Jim. Me, that would have happened in the middle of the desert on a Friday nite right before a holiday week end.
Look at the fourth picture from the top -- does that spring say CHINA ???
Jim, if it wasn't for BAD luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all. Last year, your truck or trailer fell on you and now, this.
David,That how i read it!
Axel looks like it was made out of exhaust pipe.
Glad nothing "bad" happened with the wheel coming off. Looks like it broke in the right town to get it repaired and you back on the road again. Good luck and be safe.
Is it usual for your trailer axles to be made of tubing? Is it a weight thing? All our axles are solid, either round or square.
It would make a little more sense if the stub axle piece extended inside the tube at least past the spring mounting.
Allan from down under.
Tube axles have robotically welded spindles - they are non serviceable - you cannot weld on them to repair - used in combination with leaf springs they are usually a durable choice.
Usually a leaf will break on a leaf spring if you hit a pot hole or if you overload a trailer - they are an item expected to be replaced.
Torsion rubber axles use rubber to dampen shock instead of leaf springs - they are non-serviceable and more expensive.
The roads in this country ar SH*T and the curb or passenger side of any trailer is what gets the worst abuse.
I suspect my axle failed because of poor steel tubing quality.
That broken axle tube looks like it was made out of an old fence post. When you get a chance, you should check the other axle tubes for cracks near welds. Could be the spring clamp was over tightened creating a stress point in the weld heat affected zone (HAZ). You'll see that in high tensile steels if not preheated before welding. The weld will hold but the steel will break near the weld.
Just wondering if the axle was made out of Kobe Steel http://www.kobelco.co.jp/english/
Chinese springs, yes - axle tube -???
I would almost be willing to bet that axle tube is recycled steel. Most things from China are recycled material. Now, for many things, recycled is good. Less energy required for production, less landfill using previously used materials. Cheaper to process, cheaper to manufacture, saves money all around. Win-win. For many things.
Some things should NOT be made from recycled steel. Or if they are, engineers need to allow for the realities of recycled steel by using (usually) thicker material or in other ways ensuring adequate strength, and/or flexibility. The problem with recycled steel, is that it is nearly impossible to maintain a truly uniform alloy. Different alloys get mixed together along with impurities in differing amounts, result in soft spots, and hard spots, as well as compromised areas with such things as glass mixed in.
Quite a few years ago, I had to make some special pieces for work. At that time, the USA was shutting down most of its steel mills, and even the good old names were beginning to import recycled from China. I was trying to drill and tap a few hundred holes in steel just bought directly from one of those "good old names". In this instance, strength and flexibility were not a major issue. But I had areas of steel that were too soft (I ended up welding in soft holes and re-drilling and re-tapping because they were too soft to even hold a thread). And I had several areas that were way to hard, ranging from an inch to six inches in length. One particular inch destroyed three new quality drill bits, as well as one tap. The difficulties in working with that crap added hours to the project, and IF strength and flexibility had been an issue, could have been disastrous.
In the coarse of drilling those holes? I did find pieces of glass. You might not think it would be so. But glass inside steel doesn't drill or tap worth a darn (hence welding in a few holes, after drilling oversize).
I would almost bet that that axle tube has both a hard and a soft spot very close together, right next to the spring clamps which is the highest stress point on the entire axle. The soft spot allows flexing whether the hard spot wants it or not. The hard spot then fractures, and results in a crack, and eventually a full break.
Another engineering tale. I think over thirty years ago, were were putting the private television system into an upscale living facility being built (cutting edge system, designed to expand into future technologies). We had to coordinate our work with the onsite engineers and architects. It was winter, and the snow was heavier than most years. News that day was all about a major retail center (fairly new) that had a roof collapse late the previous day. Fortunately, no deaths, and few injuries (shoppers had heard the roof groaning minutes before, followed by a sudden dump of melting snow water on the floor, panicked, and ran (most of the injuries were panic related). I showed up to do my thing that day, and went to confer with the onsite engineer, and found him grinning from ear to ear (this was not his usual demeanor). So, I asked him what it was about.
He said "You know that roof that collapsed yesterday?" I said "Ye-ah?" He went on to explain that a few years earlier, he had been asked to be the onsite engineer building that new center. He had read the specifications, which called for perfect (specific wood) beams of (specific) large size. He went on to say that "perfect" wood beams do NOT exist (there are ALWAYS nearly imperceptible minor flaws) and therefore he would not put his name on the project in any way, regardless of the money offered, unless they changed the specs to what he believed would be safe. They refused. He left.
He was quite happy that he did not have his name on it considering the finger pointing inquiries about to begin.
You know? I liked that guy.
I bought a Lippert axle already made up with brakes and leaf springs.
When I pass they that way again I will buy another Lippert axle for the rear - already replaced the center axle about (6) months ago.
Perfect wood beams do not exist. Neither does military grade aluminum.
Daren C, I can believe that!
The wall thickness on my Dexter's is about 3 times what your's was. Hard to believe they'd use that thin tube. Don
Awhile back you posted this:
By Freighter Jim on Sunday, December 18, 2016 - 12:47 pm:
My good friend Tim Woods at Colony Cargo LLC in Fitzgerald, GA ...
Arising Industries is located in the same town.
They build the trailers Tim sells.
I have been to their factory several times.
I have bought several trailers from him over several years.
After the sale is what matters when you need service & both Colony Cargo LLC and Arising Industries are A+ in my book .... :-)
After the axle break, will you still buy another trailer there?
Colony Cargo LLC did not manufacture the axle - therefore how can I hold them responsible for it failing ?
Dexter is a top rated brand - but I will not buy another one of their axles.
Thanks for the info.
Would not stop me from contacting Dexter and exposing the design flaw. That spindle should stick into the tube at least as far as the inside of the spring. A lot of us have trailers with Dexter axles, I may have three, my 2010 Jayco camper, my 2016 Aluma enclosed cargo and may be my 1999 carryon landscape,I should check them all.
Had the break occurred on the turnpike - had there been an accident or a bad result - Dexter would have been contacted.
Based on what happened I will avoid their axles.
I already stopped buying their 12 inch x 2 inch brake assemblies because the magnet retaining clip is a piece of sh$t and I was replacing those several times a year.
Live & Learn