Landscape trailer axle blowout accident.

Landscape trailer axle bearing maintenance is a very easy thing to over look during the year. Usually there is little to no warning when the bearings are about to go. But if they are not maintained, sometimes, you get what we see from this discussion in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. When the bearings of the trailer axle go, they can really put an end to your day.

One lawn care business owner wrote “Today starts off normal like any other day and then one of my employees calls me and says we have a problem. Ok, so what is the problem? The landscape trailer is smoking and it’s coming from both sides. I ask him if something is on fire and he says no that it’s coming from the wheels.

My next thought is wondering what the heck he did. He tells me nothing out of the ordinary, just driving to the next mowing job. I tell him to stay there and I will bring another landscape trailer.

So when I get there I notice the dust caps on the hubs are missing. The axle is poking out of both sides. I couldn’t tell if the bearings were there or not. I don’t know what the hell happened. I loaded everything on the other trailer and now have to figure out what to do.
I can’t tell what is missing and I can’t find parts. I think I’m going to get a new complete axle or buy a set of duals. I would rather convert it to a tandem axle but I’m taking a chance getting them used. I don’t know how that will effect the registration of the trailer.

All I can think of is how? The trailer has a gvwr of 3,500lbs and it’s always carried half that weight, never more.

This trailer gets used twice one week and once the next. It’s set up for the small properties. So it’s probably only used around 6 times a month.

The lug nuts were on tight. The center piece just slid out making the tire slanted. I see a cotter pin in there. I assume that’s part of what holds it in place. Once I got the weight off the trailer. I could rock the wheel back and forth. I couldn’t really see what was suppose to be holding the tire on. I think if I pulled hard enough the wheel would come off.

I can’t find what hub I need. I think they cost around $50-60 each. I figured a complete axle with hubs is a better deal at $150. That’s at a local trailer supply house so parts are available.

The axles at this supply house mount to leaf springs. This trailer has none. So I would have to buy them and find a way to mount it safely. I think the lack of springs is what caused this. It could’ve just been a bump that knocked the bearings out of place? I don’t know.

The spindle or axle whatever the shaft is, has a nice size nick in it from rubbing. Not sure if this can be fixed with new bearings.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “how long ago has somebody worked on the trailer? Is there any chance somebody was trying to steal your tires? The big nut that the cotter pin goes through pretty much keeps everything together. If I wanted to steal your tires, I would pull the dust cap, remove the cotter pin and nut, then pull it all off the axle. Removing one nut is much quicker than removing 5 lug nuts.

From the look of the picture it seems like your wheel bearings have completely blown apart, If the big nut is still on the end of the axle and the wheel is slanted over.

I have seen the axle bearings blow out from driving over railroad tracks too fast before, it takes a while after that to show up though. Maybe you can fix the damage if it was not driven too long.

Trailer axle bearings need to be cleaned and greased at least once a year. There is a torque spec for them also so don’t just tighten them by hand. Rule of thumb is 12k miles. Those grease fitting dust covers will help some but you still need to do it once a year at a minimum by hand. I would suggest do them 2x per year. Before the season and after the season or on a down day. You will still use your trailer over the winter more than likely but at a minimum do it in the spring.”

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