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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

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Old 11-12-2008, 09:03 PM
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Default Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

It strikes me how many times I have heard how bad it is to use mobile home axles, yet if you look around at the average old iron show, there are several of these home built trailers sporting mobile home axles that are getting the job done. We have three trailers that we use for hauling that have mobile home axles. Years of service with no issues. I thought I would post a few pictures of one of my trailers. Originally we built this trailer using the frame and axles off of a mid 50's mobile home. My grandfather and I built it for a little over 120 dollars and I used it for years to haul cars, logs, tractors and lots of other stuff. As time went by, the wooden deck rotted away. I decided it was high time to rebuild the trailer, so we have cut off the old deck which weighed a ton, lowered the deck height, put a dove tail on the frame, installed a treated deck, narrowed the deck as we no longer plan to use it to haul cars on ( the old deck was one of those up and over types where you drove over the fenders, 2" by 10" oak planks, to load on) Other upgrades include new fenders, wheels and load range Goodyear 8 ply tires. I plan to still haul the occasional load of logs, (actually already have) so we used a feature I saw on a trailer years ago and made the fenders detachable so that I could roll logs right over the side. Pictured here is the trailer with our steam engine loaded up. I have used the trailer a few times to haul the steam engine to the local show. Items left to be done on the trailer include installing some D rings and a winch mount. The rebuild has taken place over a year and a half, which is a bit longer than I had intended to ( about usual for one of my projects) and cost several times more than we built the trailer for in the first place. This trailer has the square solid tube axles that are dropped to allow for a lower frame height. The original brakes on this trailer do a better job of stopping than our "store bought" trailer that is years newer. I also like the fact that it has heavier springs and bigger wheel bearings than the newer trailer. Hope you like the pics, I will crawl under it when I get some time and snap some shots of the axles
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:45 PM
Gasengn Gasengn is offline
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

I used mobile home axles several years. One by one all four of the brakes went bad. Never could get the proper parts to repair them .
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:46 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

The wheels on mobile home axles tend to get loose. I've seen mobile homes run them off the axle. It's really a temporary set up. If you use them check them often and keep them tight.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

Most Mobile Axles built for One time use. I still have two Trailers with Mobile Home Axles made by Dexter and these the best of the lot. But Dexter replacement parts are getting harder to get. Merton
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:09 PM
OneWelder OneWelder is offline
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

there could be some problems- does not mean you can not use -Just easier and sometimes cheaper to use regular axles
Not all mobile home axles have brakes

Axles must have rating perm. stamped or attached

wedge type wheels may not be legal with dot

You can change drums to accept bolt on whels
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

I have a tandem axle flat bed trailer that has mobile home axles that I have used for 25 years without a bit of trouble. Just pack the wheel bearings once in awhile.
I figure anything that I haul is a lot lighter than a mobile home.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:21 PM
Randy Johnston Randy Johnston is offline
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

my homebuilt trailer has dexter mobile home axles with brakes under it, when it needed brake shoes, i could't find them, but the shoes are the same width as a 8-n ford. so i bought replacement linings and had them rivited on to my shoes. i did have to cut off about 4 inches of lining. and they've lasted very well. as for tires you can buy 14.5 lowboy tires, that are d.o.t. aproved.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:32 AM
bocephus_k6 bocephus_k6 is offline
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Default Re: Trailer rebuild, or what is wrong with using mobile home axles?

We have a tandem axle trailer with the dexter mobile home axles under it as well, just rebuilt the suspension on it and added the brakes as they were not there when we bought it. I will say I prefer a normal axle compared to the Dexters, but they do what we need and are a cheaper replacement when one needs an axle thats for sure. I never have been a fan of a wedge lock wheel, as stated above I have seen many come loose and create all kinds of havoc on the highways, but for what we do with it, I service the trailer every spring and it maybe see's a couple shows a year hauling our old 1936 Unstyled John Deere D and a few smaller items. Parts are still readily available here in Canada for them, its the tires that are hard to find, we ended up at an American tire dealer in Michigan, whom had stacks of these things he couldn't get rid of for around $50.00 a tire and rim, and that was 12 ply tire, can't remember the name, still had the nubs on it so it hadn't seen many miles. But when you compare we were looking at a new trailer for around the $5,000.00 mark, and bought this one and rebuilt it for under $1,500.00 can do alot of repairs on the cheaper one for the difference in the money.
Not sure I would wan't to drag this thing 3 or 4 thousand miles, but like said early, for what we do with fits the job well.

My 2 cents

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