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Old 04-13-2009, 04:43 PM   #1
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Revolutionary new axle installation procedure, aka what am i missing?

I will be installing a pair of axles on my 31' tomorrow or Wednesday.

I have read about it here and can't imagine why anybody would follow the procedure that seems to be generally accepted, the one where you drive up on boards, drop one axle, jack up one new axle & attach, drive trailer so new axle's wheels are on boards, repeat.

I intend to jack up my trailer and drop both axles (did this part a week ago actually. Neighbors are thrilled the new ones are arriving soon, let me tell you).

Next I will assemble both my new axle/brake/wheel kits on the ground in place underneath my jacked up trailer (which is safely resting on double jackstands on both sides). Chocks/blocks will hold them in place on the ground nicely.

Then I will slowly and safely lower my trailer to the new axles and bolt it onto the first axle it touches. Then I will employ the Super Jack to tilt the trailer until the 2nd axle can be easily bolted on (if any tilting is needed, that is.. Maybe both axles' holes will line up perfectly on the first try!)

The "lowering the trailer to the axles" bit is going to take a moment to jack it down from both sides.. Jack this side down a bit, jack the other side down a bit, jack this side down a bit, jack the other side down a bit.. I will need to lower the jackstands repeatedly through the lowering process to stay safe, but still, this seems far easier than trying to jack an axle up into the air using the spare tire changing jack people typically have at home.

What am I missing that makes people follow the apparently insane "jack the axles up to the trailer" procedure? Everybody can't just be insane. There has to be a reason!! What am I missing?

The only difficulty I envision in my plan is the axles will want to rotate down to the ground, but arranging them so they stay up ought to be relatively safe & simple having the wheels/tires on the ground. If I apply 12v to the electric brakes, the axles ought to stay up in the air on their own if the tires can't roll.
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:47 PM   #2
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The only part i can see that your missing is "Murphy's law".

Give it a shot. Just be safe.

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Old 04-13-2009, 04:49 PM   #3
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Ha! I'm sure Murphy will be in there somewhere, but he won't be knocking an axle off a car jack onto my head!! Shocks... I forgot the shocks, but those are nothing. I will probably end up jacking the trailer back up and popping the wheels back off to do the shocks and torque the axle bolts appropriately, but still it seems easier and safer than jacking up the axles
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:16 PM   #4
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Using the correct jacks is what I see you're missing. I used a motorcycle jack under the center of the axle to get it up to the mounts and then a floor jack under one of the trailing arms to rotate it into place. The whole procedure only took about 10 min. to life the 250lb axle under the 3000lb trailer. I used the motorcycle jack also to roll the axle under trailer. From start to finish it only took about an hour, and I used a Dexter so I had to redrill the holes.

I guess in the long run it really doesn't matter how you install the axles just as long as the end result is the same.

Good Luck

Kip
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:29 PM   #5
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I guess the only comment I can think of is that it would be easier and safer to insert the mounting bolts from the side, while the wheels and tires off, than to crawl under the trailer to insert the bolts, if the wheels and tires are on the axle.
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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I hope you are kidding........

It is far safer and easier to raise the axles, without wheels and tires, one at a time into position and bolt them in place than it is to lower a trailer, which has no wheels or axles onto the axles. I would NEVER try to lower something as big and heavy as a trailer without the added safety margin of at least one axle and wheel set in place.

I think you are setting yourself up for possible disaster.

But then, what do I know?
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:05 PM   #7
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I must go along with Jim...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Foster View Post
I hope you are kidding........

It is far safer and easier to raise the axles, without wheels and tires, one at a time into position and bolt them in place than it is to lower a trailer, which has no wheels or axles onto the axles. I would NEVER try to lower something as big and heavy as a trailer without the added safety margin of at least one axle and wheel set in place.

I think you are setting yourself up for possible disaster.

But then, what do I know?
I hope this works for you. My experience has been that working with gravity as you imply is a good thing, but it's also usually much easier to work with items of smaller mass. All the jacking and shoring of the trailer seems like a lot of work.

Please be careful and keep us posted.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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Hmm, I am definitely missing a motorcycle jack. I am missing a motorcycle too. Dang! I take it a motorcycle jack is designed to lift things that may not balance very well on their own? That would be nice. I only ran across multi-thousand dollar axle jacks looking around on the internets and devised this scheme instead of looking to buy a prom dress.

Lowering the trailer and jackstands inch by inch side by side sounds like a lot of work but I will only have a couple of inches to go so it really shouldn't be too bad.

Jim I will have two axles under the trailer. They just won't be bolted on at first. As far as the trailer potentially falling goes, it doesnt matter if the axles are bolted on or not. The trailer can't fall through them either way.

The axles need to be bolted before I try to drive somewhere since their unbolted horizontal friction with the trailer would be very little, but if they can hold the trailer up while bolted in place, they can hold the trailer up while unbolted too.

It may be Wednesday before I get to the axles. The delivery truck tomorrow will have an inner and an outer wheel well for me (along with the axles) and I want to install those first. I will definitely post the results (assuming I live, heh).
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:38 PM   #9
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"The trailer can't fall through them either way" Oops that is flat wrong. Since they aren't bolted on, they will want to rotate down to the ground given a chance. These are not car axles, duh! So, Jim has a really good point.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #10
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It will be a lot easier to tweak the axles into the exact position as well as attach the axles by jacking them up.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #11
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I think everyone just wants to see you get to atleast a 3 Rivet member... That trailer will smash you like a pancake.. be safe..

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Old 04-13-2009, 06:50 PM   #12
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"It will be a lot easier to tweak the axles into the exact position as well as attach the axles by jacking them up."

That speaks to me.. But how? I have a jack for my Sequoia, and a crazy jack with a flexible top for my Saab that I would NEVER use for this except that I did use it when dropping the old axles precisely because i *wanted* them to fall. The sequoia jack is just round and appx dollar coin sized top. I can't remotely imagine how to jack up an axle using that jack. Lift the axle an inch and it's gonna roll off. It is, as the one legged Brazilian always said, impossible.

One set of jackstands has a nice curvy top to them into which an axle would rest nicely, but alas they are stands not jacks. I am gonna use one of them to hold the axle up in place for bolting, but as far as getting the axle up on top of the jackstand, that's gonna be all me which is why the wheels/tires are staying grounded.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:53 PM   #13
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Since you asked...

Option 1:
a-Lift and support trailer.
b-Place floor jack under one axle, remove tires, unbolt shocks, snip brake wires, remove axle mounting bolts, lower axle to ground with floor jack.
c-Repeat procedure with axle #2.
d-Lift one axle into place, bolt to frame, install shocks and tires, reconnect brake wires.
e-Repeat procedure for axle #2.
f- Lower trailer, and tow it away.

Option 2:
a- Lift and support trailer.
b- Unbolt old axles, and let them fall onto the ground, possibly on your head.
c- Remove tires from old axle.
d- Repeat procedure for axle #2.
e- Slide both new axles under trailer, possibly damaging new drums and backing plates.
f- Manhandle axles up, so you can install tires on them (e and f may be combined without danger to brake parts IF the trailer is jacked up high enough frame will clear tires)
g- Raise and support front of both axles so they are at the correct angle for sliding into the frame mounts.
h- Lower trailer onto both axles at the same time, using something so both sides of trailer will lower evenly.
i- Crawl under trailer while it is a foot off the ground to locate and install all 8 mounting bolts, and 4 shocks.
j- Crawl around on ground to reconnect brake wires.
k- Tow trailer away.


I don't think it's going to be easier, based on the above.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:57 PM   #14
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vlamica, thanks. It isnt as dangerous as it sounds. My driveway slopes down. That adds a lot of safety for me. The rear end of the trailer is only a few inches off the driveway right now, so even if it fell with my entire belly under it where the axles go, i still can't get squished because the Earth is in the way. Not that so much as one inch of me will be under it while jacking, of course, but js the trailer just doesnt have far that it could fall. The front end has the super jack AND the Sequoia, so I am considering that side solid. If that end falls and squishes me, it was just my time to go!!
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