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One trailer axle needs replaced--but trailer guys says I should do both??

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  • One trailer axle needs replaced--but trailer guys says I should do both??

    The previous owner had lots of blow outs and my left hind tire always ran REALLY hot. So I figured as much. But apparently it was a tough diagnosis.

    So anywho, I need to have the back axle replaced on my trailer.
    (if it's relevant it's a 4h, GN, LQ/3 foot short wall)

    The trailer guy says that I should have both done.
    In theory there is nothing wrong with the front axle. He was not able to explain why I should have both done.
    He gave two comparisons -
    It would be like having a car with new tires up front and bald tires behind...blah blah blah. Which didn't work for me.
    2. It would be like have 1 of him at 20 years old and 1 of him at 40 years old. The 20 yr old will work better. blah blah blah. That didn't work for me either.

    So I am left confused as to what I should do.

    Anyone have insight on this?
    Do I really need to replace what in theory is a perfectly fine and well functioning axle??
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

  • #2
    We have lots of farm equipment, center pivots, things like that.

    The front axle on the trailer is the same age, and has been exposed to the same roads/potholes/etc that the rear axle has. In theory, there IS nothing wrong with it. But in terms of metal fatigue, if it's matching partner just went out, it is more likely to go out, too. So if it is less expensive to replace BOTH axles at once, I would probably do it.

    If we have, say, a 20 year old pivot, with seven towers, having two tires and a drive motor on each tower, and we have one drive motor go out and need replacing, OK. We replace it. But we'll likely see another drive motor or two go out in the next few months. So, we wait for the spring (or fall) 'sale', and go get a quantity discount, and go replace ALL of the drive motors on the rest of the pivot towers all at once. It ends up costing a lot less in the long run.

    Now, if we've just cut hay off the field and we NEED to get the water on the field, and just one drive motor goes out, we'll probably replace just the one and cross our fingers. But we'll expect more drive motors of the same vintage to go out sometime in the next season or two.

    So, for your situation with the rear axle, you might do well to replace the front one at the same time- assuming bearings are all replaced or repacked, brakes are replaced or serviced, etc.

    I might have a different answer if the rear axle got bent, say, backing into a stump- meaning the front axle is ok.

    If you want to get more specific and pm me, I have someone I can ask about such things that is our 'resident' mechanical genius and could write you a book about trailer axles.


    • #3
      I took my 2 horse GN in for it's annual service and ended up getting both axles replaced. One had developed holes in it and the shop owner said the other one probably wasn't far behind. I've been using the same trailer shop since 1998 and trust the owner. The trailer always had issues with the right rear tire wearing unevenly and I had to replace the bearings twice on it. I think the axle probably was slightly bent before I bought the trailer. Because I travel by myself most of the time my thoughts were "better safe than sorry".
      1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.


      • #4
        I think you said it yourself with "In theory there is nothing wrong with the front axle". Right now, sure it seems fine. But malfunctions always occur at the worst times. If its not financially feasible to do both, it'll probably be okay with you keeping an eye on it. But if you can, why wouldn't you want to have the safest vehicle you can on the road?


        • #5
          I had a small woopsie with my trailer (my fault) and slightly bent the front axle. Trailer-guy and insurance insisted I replace both. Ended up with two new axles, four new tyres and brakes. My tyres were newish at the time, but the one had had a small mark on it.
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