Camber on Trailer wheels

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Interim
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 9:31 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: Great Plains

Camber on Trailer wheels

Post by Interim » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:05 am

I have a 94 26s, sitting on an original trailer. The wheels do not sit vertically. The top is about 1 1/2" inside of the bottom of the wheel. Is this normal? Safe?

If not, is the remedy to put on a new axle?

--john

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Camber on Trailer wheels

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:16 am

If it's the original axle, then I would say no, it's not normal.

I have a new Dexter and an old OEM on my 26X trailer. The Dexter has camber in the axle tube such that the wheels are tilted in at the bottom, and is designed to flex so the wheels are vertical under design load. Since it only has about one-half of design load on it, the wheels remain cambered in at the bottom.

The OEM axle seems to still have vertical wheels (no camber), but it's much stiffer than the Dexter. But under half load. And it's old.

It sounds to me like your axle is getting weak, probably around where the spindle welds to the tube. Better check that by (at minimum) banging around with a ball peen hammer and listening for a healthy 'ring'. A dead 'thud' suggest it's rusted and thinking about breaking.

That's without seeing it, of course. :wink:

Interim
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Posts: 197
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 9:31 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: Great Plains

Re: Camber on Trailer wheels

Post by Interim » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:23 am

Thanks. I've been looking for something to hit with my hammer, so this will give me the opportunity.

As I read some of the old threads, it seems feasible to add an axle to these trailers. Since my boat without ballast is about 1500lbs, that seems like a good idea. It would also move the balance point back, which I would like since it seems to have under 100lbs of tongue weight now.

--john

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Camber on Trailer wheels

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:01 am

I saved this photo from somewhere (actually, it might belong to someone here), showing what I believe is the original 26 classic trailer. Mine is similar, but with a rectangular tube and offset spindle. But the weak spot is usually where the spring saddle is, or further out at the spindle, where the bending is greatest. Bang all around, listening for the dreaded 'thud'. And eyeball why the wheels are splayed out - I rather doubt it was made that way.

If the axle is that bad, I'd replace it. They're surprisingly cheap to buy, especially if your hubs/drums/disks are still ok. Having a failure on the road, which will likely be catastrophic, will ruin a perfectly good sailing day, and may do worse.

Image

p.s. I could be that your bearings are beyond gone, and the hub is riding on the spindle. Also not good.

Interim
Engineer
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 9:31 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: Great Plains

Re: Camber on Trailer wheels

Post by Interim » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:28 am

I had bearings and wheels replaced when I bought it. This was about 2 days after a wheel left the trailer at 55mph and headed for the ditch. I suspect the mechanic looked at the spindle while he was doing this, but we didn't actually discuss it.

I will test the axle and bearings as you decribed before going out next, but I think I do want to add an axle over the winter. I'm sure I'll be asking about that in a couple months.

--john

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