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Should an Old Boat Trailer Axle be Replaced if the Seal was Attached in an Odd Way

Question:

I just purchased an older boat trailer, maker unknown, and there are no seal surfaces on the spindles. It has a solid steel one-piece axle/spindles. The axle is square and is only round at the spindles. The inner bearing race of the spindle butts right up to the square axle. When I disassembled the assembly I found round sleeves mounted on the outer part of the square axle, next to the spindles. These apparently made the seal surface. The sleeves were sealed to the axle with silicone and a screw wedged between the axle and sleeve. Very unsatisfactory!! The spindle at the inner bearing is 1.371 inch diameter, the seal seat of the hub is 2.556 inch diameter, and the seal seat of the wired sleeve is 1.763 inch diameter. There were seals but I don’t think they were working very well. What am I missing here? It seems like originally there had to have been seals that seated next to the inner bearing on the spindles or no seals at all. Very strange. You thoughts? Time for a new axle? Thanks

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Expert Reply:

From what you described about how the parts were installed on the axle, I highly recommend replacing the axle. This will also go for the hubs. It sounds like everything was made to be permanently sealed on the spindle, which is definitely not suggested.

To get a replacement, we will have a few options available. First will be a standard style axle that will span the width of the trailer. The Dexter # 35545I-ST-89 will measure 89 inches from hub face to hub face, and 74 inches from center of the spring seat to the center of the other spring seat. This also includes the hubs, bearings, seals, grease caps, lug nuts, and bearing grease. The downfall with this style of axle, is the measurements. There has never really been a standard for how these were put together, so if your measurements don't match anything we carry, you will need to go to a local trailer shop that deals with Dexter products. They will then be able to order one directly from Dexter with your specific measurements. As this will be a round axle, you will also need a new U-Bolt kit like # APUBR-1.

However, the Timbren Axle-Less Suspension # ASR3500S05 will not require any of these measurements. All you need is a portion of the frame to attach it to. This does not come with hubs, though, so you will need to add something like the etrailer.com Idler Hub # AKIHUB-545-35-EZ-K along with it.

Though the # ASR3500S05 is more expensive than the axle option, I do prefer the Timbren. This will give you independent suspension on the trailer and does not require measuring anything.

Old Boat Trailer Spindle A
Old Boat Trailer Spindle A
(click to enlarge)
Old Boat Trailer Spindle B
Old Boat Trailer Spindle B
(click to enlarge)
Old Boat Trailer Spindle C
Old Boat Trailer Spindle C
(click to enlarge)
Old Boat Trailer Spindle D
Old Boat Trailer Spindle D
(click to enlarge)
Old Boat Trailer Spindle E
Old Boat Trailer Spindle E
(click to enlarge)
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Lazer S

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