Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

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Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby les45 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:57 am

I have added a new Dexter axle to my pop-up project and it comes with lug bolts instead of lug nuts like on my HF and NT trailers. I find that the lug bolts make it a lot harder to install the wheels as you are holding the weight of the wheel while trying to find a hole for the first bolt. Is it possible to take standard high strength hex head bolts with the proper thread and length and drive them from the rear of the hub in order to convert to lug nuts? Has anyone done this?
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby bobhenry » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:21 am

It is a lot less of a hassle to simply find a threaded both with the same thread pattern and size and cut off the head then grind it down to a bullet shaped nose. Put it in with your fingers hang the rim and install the lug bolts remove the "alignment pin" and put in the last lug bolt. store it with the jack and you have no more problems.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby les45 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:40 am

bobhenry wrote:It is a lot less of a hassle to simply find a threaded both with the same thread pattern and size and cut off the head then grind it down to a bullet shaped nose. Put it in with your fingers hang the rim and install the lug bolts remove the "alignment pin" and put in the last lug bolt. store it with the jack and you have no more problems.


That is a great idea and, like you say, a lot less trouble! I knew there was a reason that I keep coming back to this forum. Thanks, Bob.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby KCStudly » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:00 am

I'll take that idea and suggest a potential improvement. Why not use a long set screw, a very large set screw, as the temporary guide pin? That way you can use an Allen wrench to back it out if it becomes finicky.

Here's an example: http://www.mcmaster.com/#91375a742/=14c394g (verify your thread size).
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby Dale M. » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:38 am

Look to Dormans parts at local auto parts store or places like Rockauto....... They have replacement press in lug "studs"....

Download this Dorman hardware PDF file and look in section 10 , around page 140 and onwards for available wheel studs and nut combinations...

https://www.dormanproducts.com/flipbook ... rdware.pdf

If you are going to do it, do it right... Use automotive grade studs and lug nuts, do not try hookie fixes like using "all thread" or putting bolts in from back side and other non automotive wheel bolt/nut combinations.... Anything less than the best (correct) will bring nothing but aggravation and problems for you later...

These graphics are in PDF file also but here is another copy to show correct way to install studs...

Image

Image

IF this process seems a bit exotic or to complex for you have local machine shop do the work....

It s not rocket science, but accurate measurement for serrated areas are crucial, you may or may not have to drill out threads in hubs and yes use a hydraulic press to insert studs to get proper seating...

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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby Dale M. » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:42 am

KCStudly wrote:I'll take that idea and suggest a potential improvement. Why not use a long set screw, a very large set screw, as the temporary guide pin? That way you can use an Allen wrench to back it out if it becomes finicky.

Here's an example: http://www.mcmaster.com/#91375a742/=14c394g (verify your thread size).


If going with this idea use two guide pins/screws opposing each other.... IT will make it easier and keep wheel from rotation on single pin and it will be less of a fight for alignment till you can get at least two "bolts" into place...

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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby bobhenry » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:43 pm

Many of the late 30's thru 40's cars had wheel studs and there was an indexing pin that was sticking out of the hub. It was about the size of a skinny ball point pin. To change the wheel you hung the rim on this pin and rotated till the holes all aligned and inserted the lug studs. Perhaps if you were good with a welder this feature could be added by drilling the rim and where the bit starts to mark the hub is where this indexing pin needs to be welded on. A bit more work than my above thought but it does save a step when you are changing tires.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby MtnDon » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:19 pm

Whatever you do keep in mind that with most (all?) trailer hubs and wheels of this type (bolt threads into flange) the entire weight of the trailer is being supported by the bolts. There is no center hub and flange like on an auto wheel and hub. So the bolts / studs must be rated for the use.

I just changed a wheel/tire on my utility tailer. It has bolts into the hubs. I have always found it relatively easy if the axle is only jacked just enough. Then I sit on the ground and use my feet as guides or supports while I thread in the bolts.Once you have 2 in place the rest are easy.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby KCStudly » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:50 am

bobhenry wrote:Perhaps if you were good with a welder this feature could be added by drilling the rim and where the bit starts to mark the hub is where this indexing pin needs to be welded on.

Probably better to drill straight thru both wheel and hub; increase the size of the hole in the wheel a few thou; and drive a suitably sized spring roll pin into the hub. I'm assuming that most of these light duty hubs are still just cast iron, and you don't want a weld to interfere with the wheel sitting flat on the hub bolt face.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby yrock87 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:02 pm

I have nothing to add to the discussion beyond what has already been listed. but I just wanted to chime in that my BMW uses lug bolts still. the wheels are hub centric which is good because there is about a half inch (what, 12 mm?) "ledge" to rest the wheel on. but that ledge is tapered and gets cruddy with rust and the 18 inch wheels weigh a ton and I thought they would have stopped using dang lug bolts by now...

okya, rant over, thanks for listening.


on a helpful note, how much are new luged hubs from dexter? it may be worth just changing them out.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby Nobody » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:05 pm

MtnDon wrote:Whatever you do keep in mind that with most (all?) trailer hubs and wheels of this type (bolt threads into flange) the entire weight of the trailer is being supported by the bolts. There is no center hub and flange like on an auto wheel and hub. So the bolts / studs must be rated for the use.

I just changed a wheel/tire on my utility tailer. It has bolts into the hubs. I have always found it relatively easy if the axle is only jacked just enough. Then I sit on the ground and use my feet as guides or supports while I thread in the bolts.Once you have 2 in place the rest are easy.


I have a '95 Starcraft Meteorite 817 (8' box, 17' opened length) pop-up trailer with a Dexter 'TorFlex' axle especially made for Starcraft. When I bought the trailer someone had replaced the right side spindle, probably due to a bad bearing. They'd done a good job but I was concerned that with that much heat (the new spindle was welded on) it might have had a negative effect on the swing arm of the axle. I obtained a new (exact duplicate) axle from dexter & installed it on my trailer in a couple of hours. Both the old & the new axle have lug bolts (4) and are hub centric with a standard cast iron hub center extending 3" or so outside the wheel. These being 13" wheels & tires, aligning them to put in the lug bolts is not a problem. I just sit on a milk crate & use my feet to maneuver the wheel/tire into correct position & install the bolts... Most of the axles I'm familiar with that use lug bolts have the short (1/2" or so) 'hub' curved out from the center to support the wheel once the lug bolts are in place. I have though, seen the kind Mtn Don speaks of with absolutely NO guide or center support. Was offered a utility trailer once (for free) that had that kind of lug bolts/wheels. I politely declined.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby Aaron Coffee » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:47 pm

If there is a dexter axle dealer nearby they should have screw in studs(tsc, bomgaars, also may carry them). A little lock tite on the end that threads into the hub, and you now have studs instead of bolts, you will also need lug nuts.

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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby les45 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:05 pm

Aaron Coffee wrote:If there is a dexter axle dealer nearby they should have screw in studs(tsc, bomgaars, also may carry them). A little lock tite on the end that threads into the hub, and you now have studs instead of bolts, you will also need lug nuts.


Dexter sells them online for $16 for a set of four. With shipping, that would run over $40 plus lug nuts. I think I'll stick with bobhenry's recommendation to make an alignment pin out of an old bolt (I've got several). That will cost nothing. I might use my Dremel tool to put a screwdriver slot in the end of the cut in case it needs help coming out.
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Re: Converting Dexter axle for lug nuts (?)

Postby Gambinor » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:56 am

[/quote]
I think I'll stick with bobhenry's recommendation to make an alignment pin out of an old bolt (I've got several). That will cost nothing. I might use my Dremel tool to put a screwdriver slot in the end of the cut in case it needs help coming out.[/quote]

+1, right there! I've done that many times.
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