Another harbor freight trailer build

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by drtdino, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Ed@Ford

    Ed@Ford Long timer

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    Having the grease fittings on the hub is at least as good as bearing buddies as it gets grease to the inner bearing better than bearing buddies....but bearing buddies keep a little pressure inside the hub, so they can breathe without sucking water or dirt in....decent ones are $20 or so...having both is good insurance....cause I'm paranoid of a failure...had one once in the middle of nowhere...don't want to do that ever again. If height is not an issue, taller US made trailer tires (Carlysle) are better...BUT Carlysle also has non US ones....so watch out!!
    #21
  2. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    A statistic of one doesn't make a trend. Many many of us have safely run the stock tires for thousands of miles. Changing the tires effectively adds 50% to the price of the trailer. If you are going to do that you might as well buy a higher priced trailer with different wheels and tires. Oh, and don't be fooled, many of the trailers you buy come with the same tires as the HF ones.

    Seriously, don't sweat the tires.:deal

    Jim :brow
    #22
  3. Ed@Ford

    Ed@Ford Long timer

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    If you are paranoid of the tires, here's what I did...and I'm paranoid. With discount coupons and such, Harbor freight has a laser/infrared hand held non contacting thermometer for $20 or so....If I'm on the freeway at 70 for hours I dash into a rest area and hit the hubs and tread with it. 130F is no sweat on the hubs with premium grease, and the tread is usually very close to that as well...on my 4.80-8 tires....12" tires run run a bunch cooler
    #23
  4. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    OP, nice job on the trailer! I have the HF folder, I use it around the yard and store it inside, so I just used 1/2" plywood for the floor. I had bought some thin $teel for the floor, and it would have made the trailer too heavy for me to tilt up and store. I would have registered it, but the DMV here makes it such a hassle, and I have a friend with a larger, already registered trailer. Those supports for the casters that allow you to roll the folded trailer around are pretty tender - I reinforced them after one twisted when the little caster wheel got stalled by some debris on the floor.

    One of my neighbors had the 8" tired version of the trailer, and both tires had tread separation in less than 200 miles. Maybe they were underinflated? Maybe they were crap tires? I have a boat trailer with 12" tires and bearing buddies, and on long trips also check the temperature of the hubs every hour (they should be warm, not hot to the touch - I don't use a thermometer) and give the tires a visual check as well. One time I did find a large bubble forming on the sidewall, so it is worth keeping an eye on any trailer tire, and always carry at least one spare.

    I remembered this post regarding small trailer tires in a similar thread - using 155/80R12 tires (Geo Metro size) being a thing to try:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12960903&postcount=21
    #24
  5. drtdino

    drtdino Adventurer

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    I just purchased two new Kenda wheel and tire combo's , a weld on folding tongue jack, and (8) recessed d-rings. The only other thing I want to get now is a box that sits on the front... But I will most likely hold off till next year on that...

    [​IMG]

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    #25
  6. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    I wouldn't sweat the OE bearings if you clean & repack them. As far as bearing buddys, (Mine has the zirks on the hub too) I don't know if they'd fit. I lost one of the bearing caps & the only place that had that size was Harbor Freight.
    #26
  7. vwboomer

    vwboomer Buffoon

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    PM Papalobster and ask him about HF tires. He told me to replace them right away, I said yeah whatever. Well, when your trailer gets squiggly on the highway and you slow down, then your left tire tread goes rolling by you....well....change the fucking tires :deal

    They aint rated for 55mph MAX because they are good tires.

    Glad you've been lucky. Keep on keepin on. Read some good stuff from ya, but we're just going to disagree on shitty chinese tires :nod

    My cargo is worth more to me than $100 worth of new tires.

    Good on the OP for doing the right thing for safety and longevity.

    FWIW, I made it less than 20 miles at 65-70 mph before the tread came off. And yeah, it was exactly inflated before leaving town.
    #27
  8. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    you had better clean and grease the wheel bearings!!! Plus get an extra set of wheel bearings to keep on hand when traveling especially if going any distance. measure the spindle to make sure the bearings aren't an unusual size. the ones on my trailer weren't a popular standard size and were only available from HF.

    I had one side seize on the way to Barber, and what should have been an easy fix by going to walmart or any parts store for replacement bearings ended up being an all day ordeal. ended up using a set of head set bearings from a Carabella motorcycle fork and Al shims from a coke can to get the inner race to fit the spindle.
    #28
  9. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    What size were your tires?

    I still say a statistic of one is not a trend. I drove 400 miles to pick up my GS at over 70mph the whole way with no issues. I've carted 1000 pounds for hundreds of miles above 55mph, no issues. My statistic is as valid as yours.

    Jim :brow
    #29
  10. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    +1. I always carry TWO spares. and a compact cross wrench, cheap bottle jack. Been there, done that. Load Range C tires are the proper upgrade at replacement time :deal
    #30
  11. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Best tires I ever used on a HF trailer were 155-80R12 steel belted radial car tires. Lasted forever, soaked up the bumps, but just about impossible to find nowadays.
    #31
  12. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    Good used car tires have given me the best service on all my trailers (six). Only if you are pushing the load capacity would I pay the money for trailer specific tires. Starting with a set of half worn Michelins I put over 50k on my 12 foot utility trailer without a problem. Paid $25 each mounted, never even balanced them. Most of the five lug use the old Ford bolt pattern, and a taller and wider tire is a plus if they will fit.
    Most of the powder coated trailer wheels are junk also. Rust quickly and don't run true.
    Other contributing factors are poorly aligned trailer axles and a built in crown in straight axles to increase the load capacity. The camber changes with load, wearing out your tires inside or outside depending on how much load you typically carry.
    #32
  13. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    Those were the size tire that came on my 1978 Honda Civic new.
    My neighbour runs the little donut spares that you can get for almost free on his. I think from a Mustang....he never gets too far from home though.
    #33
  14. Ed@Ford

    Ed@Ford Long timer

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    Which brings up the BIG question...how the hell can I balance trailer tires?
    #34
  15. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    The wheel bearings on my trailers turn very freely so I just lift the wheel off the ground, give it a spin, put a weight on the top of the wheel wherever it stops, repeat until it stops in a different position each time. Works great but next time I'll just use a few ounces of airsoft BBs.

    #35
  16. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    the tire shop will do it.
    I just watch them in the mirror to see if they are jumping up and down,or if I feel a vibration they might need it.
    #36
  17. Helipilot

    Helipilot Been here awhile

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    Take the tires to walmart - about 5 bucks to balance and it will give longer life to your tires..Legally speaking, the trailers are supposed to have ST tires on them. If you have an accident with the trailer and the accident investigator determines you had auto tires you are at risk of not having insurance pay out.

    I used to own a company that manufactured trailers and the poster above suggested that the trailer axle alignment should be checked to prevent uneven tire wear. He is absolutely correct. A lot of trailers are just thrown together with little regard for accuracy of alignment since the welders are paid by the number of trailers they produce. At our company we used a jig to ensure the alignment was dead on. Our guys could generally weld up a 5 x 10 in about 45 minutes and have it on the line to the paint department.

    The best way to check alignment is to measure from the center of each axle cap to the center of the coupler end that goes over the hitch ball.. The measurement should be the same for each axle cap to coupler end.

    The biggest issue to address on an annual basis is to remove the hubs, clean your bearings and repack. I see trailers on the side of the road all the time with the axle burned off and the tire laying on the ground. That my friends requires a whole new axle:cry

    Good luck in your trailer endeavors.
    #37
  18. Ed@Ford

    Ed@Ford Long timer

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    Thanks for the alignment measurement technique.

    Regarding balancing tires...every place I've gone to that balances car tires look at me like I was from outer space when I ask about balancing a trailer tire!
    #38
  19. kfsinc

    kfsinc Chaingolian Observer

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    Looks like a nice rig and a simple/fun build.

    I do have a trailer building noob question.


    Why not use plywood on the floor? It seems that the steal mesh will allow all the road grime from a rainy trip to splash up on the bike. A solid floor solves that.

    kfs
    #39
  20. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    No reason not to - I did, and most people probably do use ply rather than steel. The only downsides are damage to the floor from cargo (like snowmobile picks) and weathering.
    I used porch & deck enamel on my folder that lives inside, and several coats of clear Cuprinol on the snowmobile trailer when I replaced it's floor. A rubber mat can protect the floor from those snowmobile picks. Ply is available everywhere and is also cheaper than steel - mesh or solid.
    #40