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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
I currently have potential access to 2, maybe 3 GM 14 bolt (10.5") full-floating axles. I'm thinking of cutting the outers off, and putting them on a straight 3.5" tube (thats the OD of the axle tubes, I believe), with new spring perches. Or, grind the welds on the diff housing, and slide a bigger piece of tubing over the axle tubes. This would be to create a pair of dual-wheel trailer axles.

These axles are rated for 8600 lbs GVWR maximum, as far as I know. Any idea what the limiting factor would be? It would be nice to get 10,000 lbs out of each. I'm not interested in running tridem singles. I also don't know if this is legal for Alberta, for Ontario there are ways around it.

Any thoughts? I'm not worried about hydraulic brakes.

Bruce
 

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Bruce, I would not do any work on the axles, just remove the guts and cap the hubs. Dont even have to remove the gearset, but it makes the axles lighter. Just pull the axle shafts and cap the hubs. If you dont need the shafts, you can cut the flange off of them and use that as the perfect cap. If you are junking the gearsets, leave the pinion in to act as a cap for that hole too.
Grease pack the bearings and if you can, drive a wood plug into the axle tube to keep the grease cleaner and help it stay in the hubs.

You can buy weld on spring perches of pretty much any design. If the old ones are not in the way of the new location, leave the old ones on and save the cutting time and heat to the tubes. If you have to go narrower on the spring locations for whatever reason, a simple flatbar truss under the gear housing and up to the tubes just inside the brake plates will add incredible strength.

The hydraulic brakes lend themselves to surge brake installation if it is legal in your area. It may not be on that size axle rating, or it may not be at all depending on your legal situation in your country. But if leave the e-brake cables in tact on at least one of the axles, you have the capacity to have a park brake on the trailer.
I have an old military tracked trailer that was made in ND by Turtle Mountian. It had air over hydraulic brakes, and, it had a cable operated park brake for each side. I thought that was a pretty cool idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bruce, I would not do any work on the axles, just remove the guts and cap the hubs. Dont even have to remove the gearset, but it makes the axles lighter. Just pull the axle shafts and cap the hubs. If you dont need the shafts, you can cut the flange off of them and use that as the perfect cap. If you are junking the gearsets, leave the pinion in to act as a cap for that hole too.
Grease pack the bearings and if you can, drive a wood plug into the axle tube to keep the grease cleaner and help it stay in the hubs.

You can buy weld on spring perches of pretty much any design. If the old ones are not in the way of the new location, leave the old ones on and save the cutting time and heat to the tubes. If you have to go narrower on the spring locations for whatever reason, a simple flatbar truss under the gear housing and up to the tubes just inside the brake plates will add incredible strength.

The hydraulic brakes lend themselves to surge brake installation if it is legal in your area. It may not be on that size axle rating, or it may not be at all depending on your legal situation in your country. But if leave the e-brake cables in tact on at least one of the axles, you have the capacity to have a park brake on the trailer.
I have an old military tracked trailer that was made in ND by Turtle Mountian. It had air over hydraulic brakes, and, it had a cable operated park brake for each side. I thought that was a pretty cool idea.
Awesome input, thank you very much! Why would you recommend leaving the diff housing as is? The only reason I would remove it is for changing the width of the axle as a whole. I would also save the shafts, and have new flanges machined (An in-law uncle would be able to help).

Entire gearsets would be pulled, and a cap/plate installed on the pinion input. Would you use a type 0 or 00 flowable grease? I was thinking of using Amsoil synthetic gear oil. I would also most likely use electric over hydraulic brakes for it as well, and maybe rig up a surge brake in tandem with that if legal/possible.

Bruce
 

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Are you getting the axles for free? Because in reality by the time you do the work to them and cross your fingers it works a store bought axle set up the way you want it can be cheaper than time and labor?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are you getting the axles for free? Because in reality by the time you do the work to them and cross your fingers it works a store bought axle set up the way you want it can be cheaper than time and labor?
Yes and no - you raise a very good point as well. I'm still researching it here and there, as to legalities and such. My father-in-law is a licensed mechanic, so he'll have some more input (which I have not yet asked). The axles would be traded for a few hours labour, plus the effort to pull them. In all reality, the few hours labour would be invested whether I get the axles or not (helping an older farmer friend), so that doesn't really count as a cost in my view.

Springs an related hardware will still cost me, but a 7,000 lb axle (on singles) will cost $600+, without springs and whatnot, from a local store. Still shopping around though. Another nice feature is I'd keep the gearsets, as they're at least 4.10's or deeper - haven't checked the RPO codes yet.

Labour involved I don't mind so much - the plans for these axles are a home-built, or partially home-built trailer - costs more but it would be exactly what I want, which isn't available in off-the-lot trailers. Another kicker is rims would be free - 8 16" dual rims, which are available regardless of axles, but taking the axles would help motivate the trade for the rims. Still a toss-up if it's worth it.

Bruce
 

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Why would you recommend leaving the diff housing as is?

Bruce
Bruce, it is a lot of work to get a modified axle of that weight rating back to proper alignment after a bunch of cutting and welding. Last thing you want is your tires scrubbing and over heating because you now have a bunch of toe in or out. The axles as they are, should be in good alignment.

If it were me, I would just use a good lithium #2 and plug the tubes with a dowel. If you were to be worried about the cast gear housing, you can remove the rear cover and have a plate made to bolt on for that too.

Again, I sort of know the whys and whats of what you wish to do, as I do these same sort of things. There is usually a reason for the madness that many can not see or understand, but given the info you listed, unless you have a detail that requires the removal of the housing, leaving it in tact would certainly be a quicker, cheaper and less risky way of getting a non drive axle.

A member over on agtalk posted some pics of his litter spreader that uses the rear half of a semi truck. He capped the drop in hole by welding in a plate, and plugged the tubes. He now had the complete S cam air brake system in tact and the suspension all mounted and everything. It turned out really well IMO, and I learned a new way to aquire a very inexpensive tool carrier out of it.

Good luck with your project however you wish to go about it. Keep the thinking cap on.
 
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