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Old 02-03-2008, 01:11 PM
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Default Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

I just purchased a spindle with hub and bearings all assembled for emergencies on the road. This is a Tiedown assembly with super lube hub. My question- how difficult is it to replace the whole assembly on the road? It looks like a cotter pin and castle nut on the back end of the spindle is all that needs to be removed. How hard is it to drive the tapered spindle out of its seat? Is a hammer all thats needed? I'd really like to stay in the truck and let my wife do the job!
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:26 PM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Drew,

The spindle is tapered (as you have probably seen from the replacement). It's not something you want to do on the side of the road (even though they are termed "quick change spindle") but it can be done with the proper tools as long as you have removed the spindle before and lubed it with anti-seize. If you don't remove them and lube them within the first year or two they can become a permanent fixture (requiring method 2 below).

Here is what I have found does not work: Loosen the spindle nut and place a piece of wood on it and beat it with a sledge hammer (I had no luck with this as the wood just gives way).

Here are the two methods I have seen work:
1. Remove the tire/wheel, rotor and brake caliper. Leave the hub intact. Take a large punch and use a sledge hammer to smack the punch at different areas around the inside of the hub (pushing the spindle out of it's tapered area of the torsion arm).

When this fails:

2. Remove the tire/wheel, rotor, brake caliper and hub. Drop the axle. Lay the axle on the concrete. The flanges will be supporting the axle. Beat the daylights out of the spindle (outside where the bearings ride) and they will come off even after being rusted in place.

The problem is the spindles are tapered and you need a side to side motion to knock them loose. You can get this side to side motion from the inside with the hub still on the spindle (using the hub as leverage) or you can destroy the spindle creating a side to side motion from the outside.

The bottom line is they are really designed to save you from having to purchase a new axle (or weld on a new spindle if you dare) in the event the spindle becomes damaged. It must have been the marketing boys who termed it "quick change" because there is no such thing.

I would be weary of using heat as the torsion arm suspension is rubber (I knew someone was going to recommend a torch). A torch may help but be careful not to damage the supension.

Steve

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Old 02-03-2008, 03:30 PM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Thanks for the detailed post Steve. I was afraid it wouldn't be as easy as it looked. The trailer is only a year old at this point so I'll give the spindles a try in the back yard when I replace the brake pads this spring. If the spindles come off reasonably easily, I'll hit em with the anti-seeze to improve my odds on the side of the road. With any luck, I wouldn't have to replace the spindle in event of a bearing failure, just the bearings & hub.
Thanks again for the info.

Dave
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

I've never done one, but with the assy stripped down to the bare spindle, it would seem the correct puller would really make a difference.

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Old 02-04-2008, 07:12 AM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Good point Warthog. I'll have to see if I have a puller that would work. If not, it may be easy enough to build a puller that would do the job. Sure would be nice to be able to replace the whole spindle/hub/bearing assembly on the side of the road if needed.
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Anti sneeze or some good grease while it's new and easy to work on goes a long way when it comes take to take it off on the side of the road. My boat hadn't even rested on the bunks yet and this was done.

Of course if you grease your bearings before every trip you shouldn't need to worry about it. That said, my road side trailer kit has a large wrench for the spindle nut and a BFH along with the breaker bar and a wooden wedge block. Strange things can happen. I also check my air pressure before heading out.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:00 PM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Also, don't forget good penetrating oil for your roadside repair kit!!

A couple of month's ago I helped a friend who had fried the front/rear bearings on one of his trailer hubs and completly destroyed the spindle. The hardest part of the entire replacement was removing the rusty cotter pin and spindle nut! The spindle popped right out with a mallet once we were able to remove the pin/nut.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:38 PM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Mist-Rest, it took me a minute to figure out what a "BFH" was. I'll replace my LFH right away. I am good about grease and air before every trip so may never need to swap spindles, but it's winter and I need to be busy thinking about something.
Benjid, I've been spraying the castle nut, cotter pin and exposed spindle threads with LPS 3 every couple of months. I have a pretty good corrosion protection layer built up but the LPS 3 should stay soft enough to allow the castle nut to unscrew. I've had good luck with it in the past and may use it on the tapered seat as well.

Thanks guys...
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Good information here for this "newbie." Thanx! I have a single torsion-axle trailer, and I find the "roll-up", passive jacks too short to raise the tire off of the ground. Any suggestions on best practice for a tire-change solution? bottle jack? Place a 4x4 under the roll-up? Thanks again

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Old 02-12-2008, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

I'm not in the torsion axle game, towing a conventional trailer for a living... Here's what I've found useful: I have one of those quick lift jacks and love it but there's times and situations where it just doesn't have enough clearance to engage. To work around the problem I keep a small bottle jack and a short section of 4x4. I can fit the bottle jack in very little clearance and just use it to raise that side of the frame enough to fit the cam jack under the axle where needed. That allows me to use that "quick lifter'' in almost every situation. The small bottle jack takes up very little room and has other uses for roadside repairs....
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Thanks Bob. I appreciate your response. The problem I have is that the quick-lifters (ez-jack, whatever...) don't lift the wheel high enough. Unlike an axle on leaf springs, as you raise the torsion axle, the spindle and wheel drop down quite a bit before bottoming out. In my case, the ez-lift stated to fit 16" tires won't work for my 14". I haven't tried it with a 4x4 under an EZ lift yet, and the bottle jack would have to lift pretty high to work. Hoping someone has an elegant and effective solution out there...

My best,

Steven
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:33 AM
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Default RE: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

Quote:
DDrew - 2/3/2008 12:30 PM

Thanks for the detailed post Steve. I was afraid it wouldn't be as easy as it looked. The trailer is only a year old at this point so I'll give the spindles a try in the back yard when I replace the brake pads this spring. If the spindles come off reasonably easily, I'll hit em with the anti-seeze to improve my odds on the side of the road. With any luck, I wouldn't have to replace the spindle in event of a bearing failure, just the bearings & hub.
Thanks again for the info.
Dave

Good idea!

Also make sure that hubs will work with your trailer spindles. Many trailers use different hubs. EZ Loads use different hubs from what's available on some trailers. I tried using a prep-hub on one and it was too small. The outer bearing was 1" too far off the spindle. I then noticed hubs on trailer were shorter.

Another thing to consider is that, when your bearing go they eat into your spindle, a new hub might not fit. Some truck companies have spindle repair kits with a round sliver that repairs the spindle but you need to use different bearings then.

I have close to 9k miles on my trailer and brake pads are still good for another 30k miles.
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Replacing spindle on torsion axle trailer

I think I'm going to start a new thread, as my question about best practice for jacking a single torsion-axle applies to changing a tire with or w/o changing the spindle. All excellent food for thought. Thanx all!
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