Jump to content

Rusted axle can it be saved?


lfgfish

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, this is my first boat and I noticed the paint on my axle was bubbling so I brushed it off and it's rusted a bit (see pics). Do you think it can be saved with some rust converter and repaint or should I have it replaced? There's paint bubbles and rust along the shaft but the worst seems to be at the mounts.

20240627_160429.jpg

20240627_160353.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you replace the axle and springs it is a good idea to wrap the springs and axle in denso tape to limit the amount of water can reach the steel or galvanizing.

Raw steel items wrapped in denso tape will last for many decades without any rust forming.

The next best alternative is to coat it all in heavy Ensis Fluid / bitumen for a similarly long life. Do not use the light form, the heavy form is sort of like treacle in consistency....it self heals from stone chips.

Ensis fluid is no longer available in Australia, the nearest product to it is Septone Rust Shield.   Unknown how penetrating it is compared to Ensis Fluid (ensis fluid sprayed on one side of 1mm sheet steel would penetrate through to the other side of the steel over a period of years) but it seems to be a very similar product.

http://www.septone.com.au/product/l/rust-shield-4l

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Hweebe just said, it could be surface rust only, is it solid axle or is it a tube axle? If solid, it wouldn't be that much of a concern if it was pitted a bit, can't say the same if it is a tube axle though. However, new axles don't cost a huge amount and it would give you piece of mind.

Compare the price of a new axle setup vs the cost to the damage to the boat etc.,  if it gives way at speed on a highway.

Usually if the outside of a tube is corroded then there is a good chance that it is also the same inside the tube.

I would also replace the axle u-bolts, nuts and plate as well. Over the years, I have seen a few trailers with snapped u-bolts, a set like yours would set you back about $35 which would do both ends.

The bolts aren't generally made of high tensile steel, but most people treat them as such and tighten the crap out of them till they are bordering on fracturing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/1/2024 at 4:40 PM, Huxstang said:

Not sure if you are in Brisbane but Seatrail or Couplertec both bayside are good for trailer suspension parts.

This is Seatrails parts online.

https://www.trailersparesonline.com.au

Couplertec can be cheaper and make a lot of stuff in house (at Wynnum)

Thanks, if I had the tools I would give it a go myself and save a few hundred bucks. Unfortunately I can't afford the repairs at the moment ($550 for new axel, plates, pads welded, ubolts, grease repacked) so going with a bit of a cheap and nasty option.

5 hours ago, Hweebe said:

Is it surface level rust? Or does it go deeper? 

Get a wire brush on it and report back.

I had a look and got to it with a wire BBQ brush and sandpaper (only thing I could find!). Managed to get off as much of the bubbling paint(?) and underneath looked to be surface rust. Couldnt find any holes or bubbling, so I sprayed on some rust converter epoxy, but I don't think it converted much (surface probably too dirty/much rust). It now feels like it has a thin coat of epoxy so will see how long that lasts until I need to do more on it. Thank you!

20240630_122756.thumb.jpg.6680b8fd8a909bc35c28d2dc0a5837da.jpg20240630_113816.thumb.jpg.29a7afd6d431ad9b571ee8af0ee7ca28.jpg

2 minutes ago, Ed. said:

As Hweebe just said, it could be surface rust only, is it solid axle or is it a tube axle? If solid, it wouldn't be that much of a concern if it was pitted a bit, can't say the same if it is a tube axle though. However, new axles don't cost a huge amount and it would give you piece of mind.

Compare the price of a new axle setup vs the cost to the damage to the boat etc.,  if it gives way at speed on a highway.

Usually if the outside of a tube is corroded then there is a good chance that it is also the same inside the tube.

I would also replace the axle u-bolts, nuts and plate as well. Over the years, I have seen a few trailers with snapped u-bolts, a set like yours would set you back about $35 which would do both ends.

The bolts aren't generally made of high tensile steel, but most people treat them as such and tighten the crap out of them till they are bordering on fracturing.

One of the bolts was actually fully loose and the pads rotated so I loosened everything and hammered it back and tightened the bolts up. I will need to go and loosen them as I tightened the crap out of them 😬 I was wondering why they were all so loose, but now I know thank you, I love learning this stuff. Not sure if it's solid but will give it a knock tomorrow. Also in the first pic, there is a bump which i think is a weld? Should the pads be welded on to stop the axel sliding sideways? I think I can see a couple of welds on the other side.

20240630_154408.thumb.jpg.4725b19cd6f6f7623e0db69e72ab563d.jpg

20240702_162044.thumb.jpg.f99843514f98e23069329f79506bc52f.jpg20240702_162039.thumb.jpg.44f024c886e421c1b85fe83772a7b02e.jpg20240702_162033.thumb.jpg.28db2924c1ca6600d7dbb5faa1be31dc.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly I have never seen welds on an axle before to stop the axle sliding sideways, It has been decades since I did a trailer so not sure if it is common practice or not, but from what I remember there was a bolt or something on the axle then a square plate with a hole or a hole in the springs which fit over the bolt head and then it was clamped under the springs for it to be positioned in it and then then all clamped together. But it was that long ago I don't remember anymore.  I have only built 4 trailers in my life so not an expert on them but to me it does not seem legit. Could be some sort of home mod/repair? Things may have changed over the years though.

As for the loose nuts etc, if you go on E-Bay you can pick up a new set of plates, u-bolts and nuts for about $35. To stop the nuts coming loose, you could put another set of nuts over the first ones to lock those in place or alternatively use a Nylock nut. Be sure to use new spring washers under the first set of nuts and not reuse the old ones.

From what I do remember, is that you got a fish plate/pad that would fit the size springs and after alignment with the towball and sides,the u-bolts were tightened that would keep the axle from sliding side to side in conjunction with that bolt head in that hole which would stop the axle spinning in the U-Bolts.

But don't take my word for all of this, take it to a trailer repair place, tell them what you found and ask for their advice as they do this sort of thing day in and out. They may not even charge you for having a look at it but getting the right advice is priceless and could save you from a massive bill later on if your axle with wheels leaves the trailer at highway speeds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, dmck said:

Also consider replacing your springs with 'single leaf' springs.  No hidded surfaces to rust. 

Generally not expensive to do.

I am a big fan of the parabolic single leaf springs too.

I have been running them for over 30 years on 3 different trailers withno issues.

I will upgrade my springs to them later this year, plus get some stainless steel mount assemblies made too....maybe even a stainless drawbar for the trailer too...so in the end it will be an alloy / stainless trailer and no more galv steel parts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, mangajack said:

I am a big fan of the parabolic single leaf springs too.

I have been running them for over 30 years on 3 different trailers withno issues.

I will upgrade my springs to them later this year, plus get some stainless steel mount assemblies made too....maybe even a stainless drawbar for the trailer too...so in the end it will be an alloy / stainless trailer and no more galv steel parts.

Just be wary as aluminium and stainless can accelerate the electrolysis  process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I may have  remembered incorrectly, the bolt I think was in the axle springs and the head fitted in a hole in the small square plate under the springs but you shouldn't need any welding of that to the axle. That small plate was held in place by the edges of the u-bolts.

Here is a pic of a trailer I built 22 years ago and it has always been out in the open, hence the extensive rust and mud, and you thought yours  was bad! Only changed the bearing grease once and that is about it, but in one of the pics you can see a small bolt, that went through the springs and the head was in the small square plate with a hole closest to the axle. There wasn't any welding involved and that small plate just sat there in between the u-bolts.

Having seen how rusty that setup is I may have to put it on my list of things to do once I finish off my shed but as I said it is 22 years old. Pretty certain my axle is solid type though and not tube so not concerned about the pitting on it. I have actually been thinking about building a new trailer but that is the last thing on my list. If nothing else I will replace the u-bolts and fish plate and check the springs and replace what is required.

Having said all that I hate repairing stuff so might just start thinking about a new build.

axle 1.jpg

axle 2.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...