Originally Posted by wadey
HillBilly, I wouldn't mind a fixer upper however I can't find anything with a decent frame.
I have a few questions though, are the mobile home axles serviceable and where do you find replacement wheels and tires? Dexter clearly states that they are non serviceable and they don't offer any replacement parts. I figure you can find bearings and seals at a parts store, but I have no idea where you would get brake parts.
Yea, they are definitely servicable. Not sure why Dexter says that. Although yes, most people associate these axles with mobile homes, calling them all "mobile home axles" would actually be misleading, even though that's what 95% of the people call them. Trailers under extremely heavy loads used these axles for years, carrying backhoes, dozers, skid steers, etc. They were manufactured from the factory using these axles. Big companies used to use them a lot. Hudson Trailer Company and Big Tex to name a few. The big differences being that mobile home axles had the backing plate for the brakes typically welded to the axle tube, and the equipment trailers, etc had the backing plate bolted to a flange that was then welded to axle. That's pretty much it. Oh, and sometimes the mobile home tires had "FOR MOBILE HOME USE ONLY" printed on the tires. Other than that, the hubs, wheels, tire size etc is pretty much the same as what was used on equipment trailers for a long time.
I'm not saying they are better than newer more modern trailer axles at all, but for a guy who doesnt want to blow an exorbitant amount of cash on his axles, and understands how to run these safely, a set of these axles can definitely handle whatever wheeling rig you want to throw up on the trailer and go down the road safely.
As my user info shows, I now live in Baltimore. Fortunately, I found a trailer shop that carries everything I need, with the exception of the tires, for my axles. I'm sure somewhere back in Michigan there is a trailer shop that carries everything you'd need.
Here is some info on the breakdown of these axles.
They are typically leaf sprung axles and can be run with the axles set up over or under the springs.
In some cases, you may need to narrow the axle, although I have found many with spring spacing around 80". Narrowing them is extremely simple. Get a piece of thick walled tubing or pipe with the same inside diameter as the axle tube outside diameter which on mine is 3". Cut however much you need out of the middle of the axle and sleeve the new bigger pipe or tube over the axle approximately 1 foot on either of the axle halves and weld it on. Strong and simple. Again, this may or may not need to be done.
The Bearings and seals
The inner and outer bearings on all 4 of the axles I currently have are the same part #s as a buddy of mines axles that use 8x6.5 bolt pattern wheels and normal tires. Easy to find at any trailer shop. If you need the part #s, let me know. I can get them for you.
The seals, bearing retaining washer, castle nut, cotter pin and grease cap are all also very easy to find. I found new seals, grease caps, washers, nuts, cotter pins at TSC for my axles
This is where a lot of people run into issues, although for me, it was an easy remedy.
Not saying they are the easiest but they are definitely servicable. Different axles have had different brakes through the years. Some had welded on backing plates and some had bolt on backing plates to a welded on flange. Either way, replacing each piece individually on the brakes is ludacris. It is much simpler to just replace the entire brake backing plate which usually run about $50 per side. They come loaded completely and have new magnets to activae the brakes as well. There are also wire pigtail connectors for the brakes wiring. The are normal 12x2 trailer brakes. These brakes will work with the donut rim type hubs like I have and we are talking about....or with newer hubs that run normal 8x6.5 Bolt patter wheels and 16" tires.
The only problem I ran into, when I bought the new backing plates, was that the holes didnt line up with the flanges that were welded to my axle. I could have just drilled out the old flanges for the new backing plate bolt pattern, but the trailer shop has brand new weld on flanges with the correct bolt pattern for like $3 a piece so I just went that route. I torched and gorund off the old flanges, and welded the new ones in place, making sure that the new brake assembly wasn't sticking out too far towards the hub. It's better if you are doubting the proper location to slide it in 1/8 - 1/4 inch or so rather than be too far out. Otherwise, when you go to put the hub on, it will be sticking out too far and the brakes will be holding it out and you cannot slide it in far enough.
A simple way to figure out EXACTALY where the new weld on brake flanges go, is to take the hub and slide the brake assembly into the back of it so it fits in there snug. Then slide the new weld on flange over the axle. Then slide the hub assembly on the spindle, with the bearings in it, and tighten the castle nut up and slide the cotter pin in. That tells you EXACTALY where everything needs to be. Then simply bolt the weld on flange to the brake assembly to locate it, and weld it to the axle.
It sounds complicated, but it is Extremely easy to do.
Then, if down the road, you want to update to more modern 16" 8x6.5 bolt pattern wheels and newer style tires, you can, and your brakes will be all set.
The Rims & Tires
The rims are 14.5" donut style rims. Easily found at any mobile home supply yard/install company. Mine cost like $20 a piece with a tire
The tires are either 7x14.5 or 8x14.5. The load range is typically extremely heavy duty. As in D, C, E, F and G. Higher the load range you choose and the price goes up higher.
As far as finding these tires, you could run the ones you can get from any mobile home parts yard marked "FOR MOBILE HOME USE ONLY". Yes, I have ran them, in some cases for years, and I had no blowouts. At speeds of up to 70 mph. Yes, they may work, but then then yes, you would also technically be......illegal.
Or you could buy some online, as well as from many different tire stores, that are brand new, manufactured for daily use, and do not have FOR MOBILE HOME USE ONLY printed on them. Here are some.
When and if you do run these axles, the only part that has always made me nervous, although I have never had an issue over the years with, has been the way that the rims are "clamped" to the hub. It is important to pay attention to the way that the clamps face while tightening the nuts down. I have never had one come off or give me any issues, but I am also borderline paranoidly dilligent about checking their tightness. Never have found any loose. I tighten the fukc out of them though.
Hope this helps you man, to clear the air of a lot of the BS false information a lot of people will give you about these axles. They are nice because they run a smaller rim/tire so they sit lower, yet have extremely high load carrying capabilities. I think each of my brake axles on my old trailer were "technically" rated somewhere around 6-7k. And they have been overloaded many a time and never once did I have an issue.