Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

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Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:49 pm

Greetings!

I recently purchased a 4*8 Harbor Freight trailer [url=(this guy)]http://www.harborfreight.com/1195-lb-capacity-48-inch-x-96-inch-heavy-duty-foldable-utility-trailer-with-12-inch-wheels-90154.html[/url] for the purpose of building a lightweight foam and fiberglass pop-up style foamie. The goal is to keep it incredibly lightweight as I'll be towing it behind my 2008 Mazda3 5 door which is supposed to be able to tow somewhere between 0 and 1000lbs depending on the manual you read.

I noticed that the tires are smaller than a normal car tire and have a sticker on them saying they're rated for 50mph.

50 is quite slow, far slower than my preferred speed while driving out to a campsite. With that in mind, my questions:

1. Will these tires be perfectly fine at higher speeds considering the fully loaded trailer will be under 800lbs, preferrably under 600lbs? If not, where should I be going to get new wheels and tires?
2. The trailer sits relatively high with the leaf springs holding it up. Would it be a worthwhile purchase to get some torsion axles with the goal of making the bed of the trailer sit lower?
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby TPMcGinty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:48 am

Is the axle attached on top side of the leaf springs or on the bottom side of the leaf springs? I personally wasn't comfortable with the stock tires that were on my store bought trailer so I changed them. I bought some trailer wheels on eBay (zero offset and same bolt pattern) and got some tires from the local tire shop. I saved the stock tires for a spare. I figured if I had a flat, they would hold up long enough to get the tire fixed.

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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby les45 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:50 am

I did the same as Tim. Bought 13" trailer rims and passenger car tires. Also use the old tires for spares. One added benefit is that the softer tires made my trailer ride a lot smoother. It was doing a lot of bouncing on the stiff 12" Chinese tires that came with the kit.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby alaska teardrop » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:01 am

1. Will these tires be perfectly fine at higher speeds considering the fully loaded trailer will be under 800lbs, preferably under 600lbs? If not, where should I be going to get new wheels and tires?
2. The trailer sits relatively high with the leaf springs holding it up. Would it be a worthwhile purchase to get some torsion axles with the goal of making the bed of the trailer sit lower?
    Hi Krusty,
    Although there are multiple threads on modifying a trailer like yours for various reasons, I've never read of anyone installing a torsion axle on one. I've long thought that simply bolting on a torsion axle would easily resolve a number of these issues if one was willing to spend the money.
    With a torsion axle you can determine the correct suspension rate for the load, ride height, hub bolt pattern for the wheels of your choice, distance between the hub faces according to the body width & tire clearence, axle location for correct balance & tongue weight AND you can order brakes.
    A #8 Dexter axle costs about $400. with brakes. A set of aluminum trailer wheels & all season radials costs about $350. Here is an example of wheels made for trailers. http://www.southwestwheel.com/store/c-5 ... heels.aspx Your local tire dealer is a good source for ordering wheels.
    Another suggestion would be to build your trailer, weigh it & then order the axle accordingly. If you where to go this way, I'd be glad to help out with determining specs.
    Example of #8 Dexter:
    Image
    Example aluminum wheel & all-weather radial:
    Image
    :peace: Fred
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby H.A. » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:15 am

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Last edited by H.A. on Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:21 am

I can see why people haven't installed torsion axles yet. The trailer itself was $200 after sales and discounts. It seems a bit odd to spend another $700 to get it to ride better.

I'll certainly look into it a bit though. I believe I found a link somewhere in the big foamie thread where I could get a set of basic torsion axles for like $150. I'd then need to find some larger tires to help me out.

Keeping the Harbor Freight tires as spares is a great idea. I'd need a spare anyways, so buying a pair of 13" tires and rims shouldn't be too much more expensive than buying one 12" tire and rim.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby TPMcGinty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:28 am

Moving the axle to the top of the leaf springs instead of the bottom will lower your trailer a bit. Also putting 13" tires and wheels with a smaller sidewall should keep the height down.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:52 am

TPMcGinty wrote:Is the axle attached on top side of the leaf springs or on the bottom side of the leaf springs? I personally wasn't comfortable with the stock tires that were on my store bought trailer so I changed them. I bought some trailer wheels on eBay (zero offset and same bolt pattern) and got some tires from the local tire shop. I saved the stock tires for a spare. I figured if I had a flat, they would hold up long enough to get the tire fixed.

Image


It's currently attached to the lower side of the leaf springs. I can attach them to the top to lower the bed a couple inches but that would leave little room for movement of the springs. I'd probably have to cut out a notch in the supporting bracket to give it more room, which may impact the overall strength of the frame.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby TPMcGinty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:58 am

Krusty wrote:It's currently attached to the lower side of the leaf springs. I can attach them to the top to lower the bed a couple inches but that would leave little room for movement of the springs. I'd probably have to cut out a notch in the supporting bracket to give it more room, which may impact the overall strength of the frame.


My Northern Tools Trailer came with the axle attached to the top of the leaf springs and I don't have a clearance issue. It takes a lot to compress the springs enough to get them to hit the frame. It would be cheaper than buying a new torsion axle or a whole new frame. Hopefully there are a few Harbor Freight Frame people who can tell if they have had a problem with swapping the axle around.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:40 pm

This is what I was looking at for a possible axle replacement.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _200335738

Here's what I'd be looking at for tires:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _200330217

Would both of these items work on my Harbor freight trailer? I'm assuming I'll have to do a little cutting to get the torsion axles on. Any advice on that?

Would the 13" tires be advisable to help with a smoother ride and allow me to safely drive at normal highway speeds?
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby alaska teardrop » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:21 am

Krusty wrote:This is what I was looking at for a possible axle replacement.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _200335738
    Some thoughts: Will your HF hubs & bearings fit the half axles or will you have to buy new? Mounting would require a plate on both sides attached to the side rails & one of the cross members. Half axles require alignment & keeping them in alignment. Those axles have a 45* down start angle. How much does that lower the ride height? Also, 45* down is not the best for a smooth ride on a lightweight trailer. (The start angle on Flexiride half axles are adjustable, but they are more money). On either the Northern Tool or the Flexiride half axles the distance from the side of the trailer to the hub face is about four inches, which limits the tire size, an issue many others on this forum have addressed with wheel spacers, offset wheels, replacement axles, ect, ect. The 1000# load rating is a bit too high for a smooth ride on a 600#-800# trailer (IMO). You can't add brakes if you wanted them. (BTW, the #8 Dexter can be ordered without brakes for about $280., but with the brake flange mounts if you wanted to add brakes later).
Here's what I'd be looking at for tires:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _200330217
    The ST tire is rated for 65 mph maximum & is supposed to be inflated to 35 psi. Not much of an improvement in speed & not conducive to a smooth ride.
Would both of these items work on my Harbor freight trailer? I'm assuming I'll have to do a little cutting to get the torsion axles on. Any advice on that?

Would the 13" tires be advisable to help with a smoother ride and allow me to safely drive at normal highway speeds?

    I may sound like a naysayer, but that is because I've read so much on this forum of hard work, anguish & money spent modifying what is basically a utility trailer meant for the occasional short run fully loaded at low speed for short distances & most likely pulled by a truck.
    Again, the reason for suggesting the #8 Dexter is because (IMO) it resolves all of these issues for usually about the same amount of money & a lot less work. And, the larger (14-15") good quality radial car tires which can be run at a tire pressure that matches the load (e.i. low pressure on a lightweight trailer) mounted on aluminum trailer wheels makes for smooth & safe towing in my experience.
    :peace: Fred
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby 48Rob » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:26 pm

I may sound like a naysayer, but that is because I've read so much on this forum of hard work, anguish & money spent modifying what is basically a utility trailer meant for the occasional short run fully loaded at low speed for short distances & most likely pulled by a truck.

Again, the reason for suggesting the #8 Dexter is because (IMO) it resolves all of these issues for usually about the same amount of money & a lot less work. And, the larger (14-15") good quality radial car tires which can be run at a tire pressure that matches the load (e.i. low pressure on a lightweight trailer) mounted on aluminum trailer wheels makes for smooth & safe towing in my experience.

Image Fred


Well said.

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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:45 pm

Got a link to an appropriately sized dexter axle and some 4 lug wheels and tires?
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby TPMcGinty » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:54 pm

Krusty wrote:Got a link to an appropriately sized dexter axle and some 4 lug wheels and tires?


If you are going to pay all that money for a new Dexter Axle, get one with 5 lugs. 5 lug wheels are more common especially when you go with larger wheels and tires.
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Re: Do I need bigger tires for a foamie?

Postby Krusty » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:29 pm

TPMcGinty wrote:
Krusty wrote:Got a link to an appropriately sized dexter axle and some 4 lug wheels and tires?


If you are going to pay all that money for a new Dexter Axle, get one with 5 lugs. 5 lug wheels are more common especially when you go with larger wheels and tires.


The reason I was looking at 4 lug wheels is because the current trailer has 4 lug wheels. I figured I could keep the same hubs and wheels while building, then throw on some slightly larger wheels and keep the smaller ones as spares when I actually start taking it out on road trips.

am I correct in assuming I can use my current wheel hubs and wheels on a dexter axle? What If I wanted to install brakes? Would I need entirely new hubs to be able to use brakes?
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