If you have an old snowmobile trailer, now might be a good time to take a look underneath. Or, maybe you already checked and it looks something like the one in the above photo?
Either way. Salt covered roads can (will) wreck havoc on the steel axle of your trailer. Overtime the rust will begin to eat holes in the metal causing it to lose strength and eventually break.
Since that can lead to a pretty bad situation, I decided better safe than sorry. Here is my process of replacing an old rusty Snowmobile Trailer axle with a new Galvanized model by Dexter.
Replacing a rusted axle on an Enclosed Snowmobile Trailer
The trailer we will be working on is a 2008 Enclosed Snowmobile Trailer manufactured by Blizzard Manufacturing out of Boonville, NY. The specific model is the V-nose 10.5 Deckover that can hold two sleds side-by-side. Drive on the back, drive off the front.
I just purchased the trailer used and while everything is in pretty good condition for a 10-year old trailer, the axle and tires were in pretty rough shape. Instead of risking bigger trouble down the road I decided to just go ahead and replace it all now.
Even though the trailer frame is made out of Aluminum, the axle is not.
Upon doing some research, I found there wasn’t a ton of information out there on this subject. The other obstacle was trying to figure out which axle would fit my trailer as there are hundreds of options available.
Getting Started, Finding the correct replacement axle
This was the tricky part. Since the old axle was rusted so bad there were no markings available to identify the make/model.
Going by the manufacture rating of 3500lbs and taking a few measurements I was eventually able to locate a replacement Dexter Axle from an online company. If you are unsure which axle to use, you can also try contacting the trailer manufacture direct and asking them.
Galvanized Dexter Axle with E-Z lube hubs
A nice feature of this Dexter Axle is the E-Z lube hubs. This design allows you to simply remove the rubber cap to access a grease fitting for quick maintenance.
From reading up on this it appears to be similar to Bearing Buddy bearing protectors. However, with the EZ lube system you are able to flush grease to the front and back of the bearing.
If you in the market for a grease gun, check out our “Review on the HOLT Industries Pistol Grip Grease Gun by Harbor Freight” here
Here is a great video that explains more:
Removing the Old Rusted Axle from the Trailer
Before jacking up the trailer the first step was to loosen the lug nuts from both rims. Doing this BEFORE the trailer is jacked up is much easier as the wheel will want to spin once it is off of the ground. Since we are working with rusty bolts I figured it would be best to spray some PB blaster on the lugs and use an impact gun to break everything loose.
If you don’t have a battery powered impact tool I would HIGHLY recommend the Dewalt DCF899P1. Running on the 20volt platform the tool is a beast. When working with any impact tool be sure to use the correct sockets rated for the job.
Impact sockets are designed specifically to holdup to the abuse of impact tools. Sockets that are not rated for impact use can crack, causing damage to you or your equipment.
After the wheels were removed, we positioned them under the assembly to help “catch” the old axle. The tires will also be used later to help lift the new axle into place.
To drop the axle there are a total of four mounting bolts holding it to the underside of the trailer frame.
Bolts circled in RED, two per side
Using the impact gun I was able to remove two of the bolts but unfortunately the other two had to be cut off due to rust.
New Axle Installation, Snowmobile Trailer
Out with the old, in the the new. With the old rust heap finally out of the way, it is now time to get started with installing the new Dexter Axle.
But before you can just bolt on the new unit and call it done there is something else you have to be aware of. Galvanic Corrosion.
Galvanic Corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals (aluminum trailer frame & galvanized steel axle) come in contact with each other. More on Galvanic Corrosion here.
Without getting too technical. If you don’t isolate the two metals from direct contact then the aluminum will corrode!
To prevent this, I used some gasket material and cut it into two strips (2″ x 10″). These strips were then placed between the axle and frame.
Grade 8 bolts, washers and nylon lock nuts were used as fasteners. Before installation, they were coated in Fluid Film to protect against rust and corrosion. Anyone not familiar with Fluid Film should check it out as it is an amazing product. Also good on leather!
Mounting bolts were torqued to around 50ft/lbs and the only thing left to do now is mount the new rims/tires!
**For Triton Trailers they offer a mounting kit that includes bolts, washers, and nylon locknuts. (Part# Triton 02685-H) and Axle Mount Gaskets (Part# 02604) **
The rims and tires were purchased pre-mounted as a set from Ebay. They are LoadStar 205/65-10 tires on 10″ Galvanized rims, 5 lug with 4.5″ lug spacing.
According to the tire specifications they are Load E rated (1,650 lbs at 90 psi).
Overall I am very happy with the results and feel much better about towing this down the road.
For added protection, here is a great set of plastic hub covers to keep dirt/salt off of the lug nuts.
***Plastic hub covers available on Amazon, Click here to see pricing**
The version I purchased covers the entire hub and all 5 lug nuts. Hopefully this will keep the nuts from rusting to the studs, allowing for easier disassembly when needed.
If you are considering doing this yourself checkout the video below from Streeters Garage Youtube Channel, it was a big help.
Trailer maintenance is an important part of hauling snowmobiles and staying on-top of it will keep you off the side of the road. In addition to checking lug nut torque, tire pressure and thread. The axle is something that should be checked at the beginning of each season.
***BONUS*** Trailer Security, Heavy Duty Hitch Pin by AMPLock
Prevent your trailer from being easily stolen by investing in a high-quality locking hitch pin. Solid Stainless Steel construction featuring a pick resistant disk lock, this is one of the best truck hitch pins you can buy.
Nothing like anything you will find at your local auto-parts store. Made in Canada, sold online. Available Online Here
To see my full review on this lock check out: “Heavy Duty Hitch Pin Receiver Lock Review”
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