Harbor Freight axle doesn't fit...help?!

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Harbor Freight axle doesn't fit...help?!

Postby Esteban » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:16 pm

I'm assembling a Harbor Freight model #90154 4'x8' folding trailer. I like that it folds up smaller for storage. It's going to be used as a utility trailer not for a tear drop frame. It'll be real handy :thumbsup: to pick up lumber and supplies to build a 5'x10' tear drop and for other chores, too.

:thumbdown: The axle doesn't seem to correctly fit onto the springs. There's a dimple on each end of the axle that should fit together snugly with a raised pin on each spring. On mine the axle dimples are about 7/8" too short apart, center of one axle dimple to center of the other dimple. The axle dimples are 46 1/2" apart (center to center) while the raised spring pins are 47 3/8" inch apart (center to center).

I called HF customer service and described the problem about the axle dimples being 7/8" too close apart. I shared my above measurements. The HF phone rep. said he'd encountered the problem before and that he'd mail me a new axle with the correct axle dimple spacing.

:thumbsup: The new axle arrived.

:x It's no better.

:thinking: I've followed the instructions, as best as I understand them. Have I made some kind of mistake in putting the trailer together?

:thinking: Or is the error still HF's?


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The 7/8" offset from the spring pin to the axle dimple...all shown on the left side. This is the replacement axle Harbor Freight sent that seems to be no better.


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Wider shot of the left side.


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Right side with the axle dimple aligned with the spring pin.


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Trailer upside down and folded.


Help?!
Last edited by Esteban on Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:59 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Geron » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:32 pm

I"d say you're due another axle and have them measure it this time before they ship it. Looks to me like you got the wrong axle.

OR. If it really is the right axle in length. . .

Enlarge the dimples so as to center the axle properly. Then bolt it firmly with U bolts. If it's a straight axle (no toe in bow in it) it'd be easier to dimple it on a different side. Just make sure its the right length axle and is long enough and the wheels don't rub the sides of the frame. .


You really shouldn't have t do that. It should go together properly. Looks like the wrong axle to me.


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Postby Mary K » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:40 pm

I bought the Red Trailer, and from the pictures they look to be the same. I modified my trailer to be rigged and not folding, and I moved the Axle back.

Check to see if it is square, fold it back out flat and measure from corner to corner. If that is okay, then measure from tip of tongue to the Pin in your picture that holds the axle, this should be the same measurement on both sides. If it is then, either re drill the holes in the right place OR have them send you another.

I'm am sure the more experienced folk might have a better Idea.

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Postby Arne » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:42 pm

Drill a new hole(s).. they are basically locater pins/holes and the most force would be front to back... and the u bolts do most of the work anyway.
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Postby Esteban » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:45 pm

I'll call Harbor Freight, again, tomorrow to try to get an axle with the right dimple spacing.

I need to buy and install a receiver hitch on my car so there's some time, before I can tow the trailer. Tear drop time?

The axle is made of U shaped channel with spindles welded to each end. It can't be turned to another side to redrill the dimple on a fresh side.

Now that I have two axles *maybe* I'll try redrilling one of them to space the dimples correctly apart. Probably would need a drill press to do a good job of it and I don't have one. I'm a little concerned that there'd be some "dimple slop" that could allow the axle to move side to side.

The frame is not all squared up yet. Still, it's not enough out of square to make the axle this far off. The trailer frame cross pieces are firmly bolted to the sides so I can't tighten them more than maybe 1/16" if I start over...not nearly enough to make up 7/8".
Last edited by Esteban on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Chuck Craven » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:54 pm

Steve

Take a long pipe clamp, go spring to spring and pull the springs together.
Then assemble the axel. Don’t fully tighten the U bolts. Now measure the spring-to-spring at the frame front and back. Is it the same as at the axle? If so then the spring holes were drilled a little crooked. If they’re different like the axel is shorter by an inch your cross members may be to long or the axel is too short. Sense that is the second axle you have I would think the cross members may be to long. One inch is not bad, loosen the frame bolts, pull in the springs and mount them. Then tighten the frame bolts. That may fix your problem. ;)

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Postby SmokeyBob » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:25 pm

Steve
My didn't line up either. I used a come-a-long (fence stretcher) to pull it into place.
The hammer in the pic was to get the trailers attention.

If the stretcher didn't work I was going to beat it into submission. :lol:

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Postby madjack » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:37 pm

...this is one reason I don't care for the HF product...different trailers made by different manufacturers in different countries...you could try loosening the spring mounting bolts and see if the axle can be made to fit relatively easily, if so, go for it...once the axle is in place, tighten it all up...if not call HF customer service again and ask WTF and see what their response is...7/8th is quite a bit to try and force...
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Postby doug hodder » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:50 pm

Jack...I was thinking that a Johnson axle stretcher might just be the answer for that one...whadda think? :lol: Doug

just a joke Steve....you'll get it handled...
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Postby Esteban » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:17 pm

The spring mounting bolts are not tightened yet. The springs can only be pulled together a couple of eighths of an inch without tipping them sideways. Any more pulling them together with a come along or pipe clamp and they'd have to be bent out of shape. I distrust that they'd work safely if that could be, or was, done.

The easiest solutions I can think of seem to be:

1) Call Harbor Freight again giving them another chance to send out the right axle. I was very specific last time with the customer service rep. who said he wrote down the measurements I told him and that he'd send me the "right" axle. With two wrong ones I'm not very confident they have a good one they can send. It's worth another try though.

Or

2) Take one of the axles to a welder and have him fill in both the existing axle dimples and grind the welds flat. Then take the axle to a machine shop and have them drill correctly spaced axle dimples. This'd cost time and bucks. $>

On the plus side I learned how to take pictures and post them here. That's a good step forward. :thumbsup:
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Postby Phil & Ningning » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:39 pm

Mine had a similar problem, but not as severe. You've got two axles. Take one to a welding shop, cut it in half, slide the halves into a square tube and weld it up. Should be no problem. Should be cheap, too.
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Postby Gage » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:46 pm

I'd send it back and ask for a full refund. You gave them two shots at it, now it time to go somewhere else.
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Postby madjack » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:51 pm

doug hodder wrote:Jack...I was thinking that a Johnson axle stretcher might just be the answer for that one...whadda think? :lol: Doug

just a joke Steve....you'll get it handled...


..ah yes...the famous "Johnson" strecher...I believe they can be had at your local mens club...I also believe they have a Chinese version at HF but it might be sideways and not work properly :D :lol: ;)
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Postby Esteban » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:13 am

I'm not gonna *bite* on Doug's suggestion for a Johnson stretcher.
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Postby Gage » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:21 am

Esteban wrote:I'm not gonna *bite* on Doug's suggestion for a Johnson stretcher.

Even if Madjack knows where to get one? :thinking:
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