The axles are the backbone of the outboard or boat’s trailer, and when the axles are bent, they set the outboard or boat tire at an improper angle and cause the tire to wear out quicker than usual.
This article will help you to learn how to detect bent trailer axles and what you should do to prevent potential problems that may cause by bent axles on your boat:
What Sign You Should Look For To detect Bent Trailer Axle?
Although there are some visibly obvious symptoms to notice that you may have bent axles trailer, most people do not give much attention to the initial signs until the damages become severe and very obvious.
The first and foremost sign that people can notice when their boat or outboard has a bent axle trailer is seeing worn-out tires.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bent Trailer Axle?
The symptoms that indicate bent trailer axles on boat or outboard are usually similar to the following indications:
Worn-out, Wobbling Tires Or Sluggish Steering:
When the boat’s axles bent, they set the tires at an improper alignment or angle, which ultimately causes the tires to wear out gradually. The boat axle trailer sometimes bent because of excessive corrosion, overloading, and shock.
Also, if you notice this sign too late, you will have to replace your tires too.
If you also notice that the tire is strangely wobbling or sluggish steering, that is a possible indication of a bent axle.
Wider Gaps Between The Bulges & Straightedge:
Another symptom you should look for is closely observing the gaps between the bulges and straightedge.
If the gaps are wider than they are supposed to and wobbling, that is a clear symptom that your axles are bent.
Therefore, based on the level or condition of the axle trailer, you need to either straighten the axle or replace it.
Vibration Or Rumbling Noise:
When your boat’s trailer axle is bent, it will create vibrations, and if you notice carefully, you can even hear an unusual rumbling noise accompanied by that vibrating sensation.
This particular vibration will be more noticeable while your boat turns on to acceleration or deceleration motion.
The vibration or rumbling noise mostly occurs when the damage level is too high that you have to replace the axle trailer.
Whenever you observe any of the mentioned symptoms, make sure to check your axle’s condition to confirm that your trailer axle is bent.
How Should You React If You Detect Bent Trailer Axle?
To get rid of the damages a bad rectifier may have caused, you need to act quickly but calmly.
Also, follow the below-mentioned instruction for an easy & quick solution-
Checking The Boat Trailer Axle:
To determine whether the problem occurred because of a bent trailer axle or not, first, take the wheels off and ensure that the axle is sitting on level ground and leveled.
Now, measure from the ground to the end of the spindle, and check the measurement results. If the results are different, that means the trailer axle is bent.
Also, inspect the entire axle from one end to the other thoroughly for any cracks that may have appeared because the axle bent.
Determining Sizes & Specifications:
As soon you have checked and determined that the problem occurred by a bent axle on the trailer, it is time for the replacement task.
But before starting first, you have to find out the correct size and specification. Now, find the measurements of maximum load per trailer axle, weight rating, and other parts specifications. You can easily find out the max. load per axle on your boat trailer’s identification tag.
For the axle measurement, remove the wheel hubs to measure the full length of your trailer axle from one end to another.
Next, you need to measure the spring seat and if you have a leaf spring installed, take the measurement from center to center. If you do not have a leaf spring installed yet, take the measure from center to center on the spring pads.
Replace The Wheel Hubs, If Required:
It is a great idea to replace all associate parts and mounting hardware during the trailer axle replacement.
In case you have not serviced your wheel hubs yet, observe whether there is any visible damage sign on them. If you notice any wearing-out sign or unusual sound, that means you need to replace them.
Since you have removed them from the trailer already to replace the axle, you can do the wheel hubs and bearings replacement as well. In that way, you will not have to fix additional issues later on.
Remove For Replacing The Trailer Axle:
Since you have all the measurements on your hand, now it’s time to purchase the required trailer axle and other additional requirements according to those measurements.
You will need another helping hand during the process to accomplish it easily and quickly.
Now, lift and move the trailer axle. Then, loosen all the lug nuts on both tires and use a hydraulic jack to raise your trailer. Next, secure the trailer on jack stands at four points and remove the tires.
If your trailer has brakes and shocks in it, disconnect the trailer’s brake lines without snagging the lines. Then, to inspect for possible leakage or worn-out mounting grommets on the trailer shocks, disconnect the lower shock mount and set the mounting bolt aside. You can replace the mounting grommets now if required.
Since you have already removed the wheel hubs and brake hardware, remove the U-bolts that secure the trailer axle to the leaf springs. Then, lift the axle and move to the side to disconnect it completely. Pull your axle all the way out from the trailer.
To install the new one, all you have to do is reverse the removal process I just explained. Slide the new axle under your trailer and position it correctly so that the leaf springs rest on the spring seats. Now, reconnect and reinstall all the other parts and accessories accordingly.
Is Fixing Bent Trailer Axle Typically Expensive?
Technically, replacing the trailer axle cost will vary depending on your boat’s type, brand, and model. The new trailer axle along with a set of wheel hubs and bearing may cost around $500.
Also, the labor cost may vary as well between $50 to $140 dollars depending on how long the professional needs to work on that particular model to get the job done.
How Often Should You Check Trailer Axle?
To avoid such troubleshooting issues, you should do the servicing of your trailer axle at least once per couple of seasons by a professional.
Additionally, during the regular maintenance of your boat, keep an eye on the tires for any sign of wear patterns. You can even inspect the leveling of your trailer from behind to find out any possible issues with the axle.
Whenever you notice any troubleshooting issues with your boat trailer, first focus and observe the symptoms. If you find any similar sign that I have mentioned and explained earlier, make sure to do a proper investigation to fix the problem.