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trailer hubs and spindles

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  • trailer hubs and spindles

    I have gotten a lathe and mill drill and wanted to make a trailer. I have the trailer plans but want to make the axles and hubs. The trailer is a utility trailer for the yard. Wheel hub 5 lug for a 18.5x8.5x8 tire. I have searched the net for plans that show dimensions for axle stubs and hubs but have not found any resources. I know it is probably cheaper to buy these at the local TSC store but that isn't as much fun. Plus I will learn more about machining

    Does any one out there have any leads that would bring me this kind of info.


  • #2
    The common bolt pattern for that wheel is a 4.5" pattern. Get some bearings and start making chips.

    The amount of space available is proportional to the amount of junk collected!

    A Gun in hand is better than a Cop on the phone!


    • #3
      What about a compromise? ie buy one, make one? At our local cheap autoparts store I can buy an axle stub for about $6 from memory, it would cost that just for the steel...

      Anyway, buy one and you have all the measurements you need... Could always take it back after you had drawn/measured it!!

      Alternatively try phoning a local trailer manufacturer. My local one was only too happy to help with dimensions etc when I told him I wanted to make a trailer, he was also quick to point out I wouldn't really save any money when he got out the books and showed me his prices compared to retail...


      • #4
        Much easier? Get the idler wheels/bearings/hubs off a front wheel drive car. Saturn, escort, taurus. They bolt on like a sealed unit.

        Take a torch and burn out a plate to match, drill the holes and bolt it on. Or get creative by mounting suspension axles and all.

        If you want to do it the primitive way, has stubs you affix to a tubing to make a axle. Or just buy a axle.

        It must carry the weight of the whole trailer and load plus impact weight.

        I have made a deal for a old farmwagon. I looked under it and "yep" there is a 36-40 front cross leaf axle for a ford. Just like the "cheap one" I need for my 23 tbucket project. I may build a replacement axle to keep the trailer up on two wheels. I prefer the simple way. Use my lathe for something more interesting to me.



        • #5
          Dave is right, once you get through his “BSâ€‌ Northern Tool has what you need. Buy one and copy the hell out of it! Why re-event the wheel! You’re going to buy some hubs from some one any ways! Copy the hell out of what ever you can. Or, you could take some measurements, and design your own. Let us know how (with photos) it turns out.

          I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
          Oregon Coast


          • #6
            Ahh, a topic I actually know something about!! I used to make a lot of replacement spindles for farm implements in my youth. Most of the ones I saw that failed were too darn light, and tended to have sharp radius corners. This creates a place for stress fractures to start, eventually leading to the spindle snapping. Start with good bar 2" or so in dia (more if you have room) and use the biggest bearings you can fit into your chosen bolt pattern. And cut nice round radii inboard of the bearings.


            • #7
              Go to for techical information and to buy whatever you need.


              • #8
                There waa a homebuilt trailer in a accident locally about a year ago.

                Seems somebody decided to build thier own. It came apart on a highway close by Dalton Ga. Hit a car head on, causing the car to hit another car head on. Killed a few people. It was a light duty metal trailer with a wooden sideboards. Last I heard, the guy (mexican) was up for manslaughter.

                BS? this is what I think of when I hear someone obviously not experienced building spindles for cars.trailers.bikes.

                Bikes? A pipefitter turned Motorcycle frame builder had a motorcycle come apart in Chattanooga Tn. On the interstate. Last I heard he was losing everything he had for producing a "unsafe" motorcycle. He has more than one out there.

                For the first two dozen or so "roadworthy" trailers I suggest you bolt/ or professionally weld the majority of the critical components.

                BigFoot, (a ex marine) his sister was killed while driving her aerostar van down Hixson Pike in Chattanooga near the nuclear plant. A small truck pulling a auto-trailer with a old camaro on it hit a car in the rear, the camaro continued through the air shearing the top off the van. Evidently that 1/4" chain was not enough to hold it on the trailer. I own over $1000 in chains, tie down straps and winches, come-a-longs to secure a trailer load. I have learned better than to loan them out thou.

                When I say something there is usually a reason, unless I am picking at someone. I just hate to eat up half a page explaining myself. Communication is my poor skill.


                • #9
                  Well David, frankly I think your previous post reflects a superb job of communicating in this instance.

                  You got your points across in a clear, unmistakable manner, and impressed, on me at least, some legal concerns that I'd never really pondered very much.

                  I sure won't be building my own trailer for highway use anytime soon. No Sirree! Not me. (And actually I have at times considered building one.)
                  Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                  • #10

                    What I have saw, if you make something that rides on the road, don't call it new. If it is new you have to provide accountability for it.
                    If it is in a accident you have to hire a attorney to "prove" your innocence.

                    Building motorcycles? From new parts you "don't want" a rebuilt title, one used part and it is considered rebuilt. You want a "used" title. After the first sale the accountability goes away. It is a used motorcycle. Now, if the frame breaks and everyone is aware you made it, well that is still workmanship and materiel. But if it was made with purchased materiels, no problems, let the manufacturer defend himself.

                    The Fitter is a good old boy, just not a good engineer. Sleek spindly frames without gussets look good, are dangerous. He has been here with a case of beer. And he is welcome back. we differ in quite a few ways.
                    I was using .25 wall 1" DOM mild steel tubing. Heavy as heck, you have to bevel the welds to bury the root pass. They don't break thou. Thinwall or Chrome moly put together wrong is just asking for trouble.
                    Tig is the best welding process I know of for structural components. If you can put a gusset into a joint and extend the weld bead holding the parts together you are miles ahead.
                    I built the first trailer with my LITTLE MIG, took a hammer and broke some of the welds. I went over it all with the stick. I have had over a ton on the lil Northern tool 1500 pound axle.
                    Seems I was right at the threshhold of my mig with the thicker tubing and parts. I still have that trailer in the yard. It'll tote three harleys without me worrying. (one ten thousand, two ten thousand, three ten thousand dollars)

                    Anybody know of a good site with "free trailer plans?"

                    David (gosh I type too much)


                    • #11
                      Any one planning on building trailers for the road might want to at least get a structural welding certification. It's a pretty easy cert. to get, and if you can't pass it, you probably don't have any business putting your welds on the road.


                      • #12
                        Believe me, Passing a test don't make you a welder. I have frame clipped over 35 streetrods, With the x-ray test at the nuclear plant I had to retest once. One bit of slag in a weld.. yep.. Brush, grind, grind, grind,

                        I am not the welder any of the "*LU 43* pipefitters are" I have saw them practise welding with no flux on thier rods and it look like a row of nickels. The more you do the better you get, if you give a damn. If not you never improve.

                        Trailers must be inspected in Georgia before tags can be issued. I think a donkey cart with a wooden tong will no longer pass. (I don't know)


                        • #13
                          David makes some good points. Last fall I MIG-welded a hub onto a sprocket for a friend's combine drive. It was a beautiful weld and it worked well. Until late the first night when the weld broke and his harvest was delayed. The weld held up on the hub fine but barely penetrated the sprocket.

                          I have been thinking about building a car trailer for years but it seems my confidence in welding isn't what it used to be. I might have to look for a used one with a manufacturer's sticker.

                          By the way, don't get on lorenrs too hard in the first post, he did say that he wanted to make a utility trailer for the yard, not the highway.


                          • #14
                            i have been building trailers for over 25 years and i still buy my spindels and brakes.
                            my .o2 is anything that goes on the road should be done by a certified welder. too many people with welding machines that dont know how to use them welding on things they should not be.


                            • #15
                              Chrome alloys should be heat treated after welding, especially on something that runs down the road. Lots of repeated shock loads.

                              Chrome alloy pipe in power houses is always pre-heated, kept to temp during the weld and then stress relieved.
                              fitter/welder Lo#140