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  #1  
Old 11-15-2004, 06:16 PM
Weekend Warrior
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

Last week I bought a cheapo $179 8" tire Harbor Freight Foldable trailer. After assembly (lots of assembly required) I put the 4x8 3/4" plywood on. On my very first trip out to the DMV to get it registered, both tires burned up on me. I had only gone maybe 4-5 miles and had just gone maybe 1/2 a mile towards the end at approx 55 mph when I noticed smoke coming from the trailer. I immediately pulled over and realized both tires were flat and smoking badly. Upon removing the tires and wheels, I found that both hubs had seized. I t looks like once I got up to the higher speed I was dragging the tires. When I assembled the trailer the bearings were pre-packed, all I had to do was install the tire/wheel/hub (which was already assembled in the box) onto the axle, then add the spindle nut with 90lbs of torque (which I did). I was thankful that the trailer was empty ( I pick up my lifted golf cart tomorrow) or that nobody was hurt. I returned the trailer to Harbor Freight (after getting the whole trailer into the back of my truck) for a full refund and a $45 store credit for the plywood and bolts I added to it. Harbor Freight was really nice about the whole thing (probably worried I would sue). Just a warning to be careful with those cheap trailers. I know lots of people have had success with the same trailers, but I am now a firm believer, you get what you pay for. It seems like everytime I try to save money and buy the clearly inferior product, I catch in the shorts. This time was no different. I am now going to Carson trailer to get a $500 trailer with 15" tires and wheels. Just thought I should let you guys know.

Chris
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2004, 06:39 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

hotwls13- welcome to the forum[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]

I really think that the problem was the 90lbs torque on the spindle nuts. That would place way too much side to side pressure on those bearings causing a huge load on them. The tires were burning because the bearing were seizing in the wheel assy. The nuts have just slight load on them and then slip the cotter pin into the hole to keep them from backing off. I don't even think the lug nuts should be at that torque spec.

The trailers are what they are and can be used for years under like loads and normal speeds with regular maintance. Higher speeds are hard on the bearings since the wheels are turning so fast.

Good luck with your new trailer but if the spindle nut is torqued that high on the new one, my bet would be you will have the same results
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2004, 06:51 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

I don't have the manual in front of me, but I do remember the 90 lbs torque. I believe the directions said "90 lbs of torque (Very Tight!)". I will look for the directions, but I'm pretty sure I threw them away. If 90 lbs is wrong, then their assembly directions are wrong.

Chris
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Old 11-15-2004, 07:11 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

i'm with Trasher, but at the same time believe you when you say the directions were poor. due to the price, i'd guess it was off-shore, and I've bought many U-assemble off-shore crap that completely lacks or misses portions of instructions. from an experience point of view, always crank spindle nut tight (like 90lbs) THEN BACK IT OFF to nearest hole for the cotter pin to slide thru the nut. this ensures the bearing is fully seated, and yet loose enough to turn. next test, spin the hub. it should turn about 1 revolution with tire off. if it's hard to turn, it's too tight. if it just keeps spinning, too loose. also, pull on wheel back forth. if it's sloppy/loose, the bearing is too loose.

you definitely burnt out bearing/welded it to the axle. you are correct too, you get what you pay for. I like a min. 14" wheel. the smaller the wheel, the faster it spins = friction and more probability of damage. Tent trailers are the worst for that; I've seen several friends weld bearings to their axles from overdoing it, and not properly maintaining grease in bearings.

be cautious of "bearing buddies". Many tend to over-grease these and they'll push out the inner seal. there is no substitute for removing wheel and checking the actual bearing.
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2004, 07:12 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

Trasher:

I believe you are right about the 90lbs of torque. After doing some searches on the net, I found multiple sites saying not to have any torque on the nut. Being my first trailer, I followed the directions to the letter. I guess now I know not to torque that nut. I am sure though, that it said 90 lbs (Very Tight!). So, maybe the trailers aren't bad, just the assembly instructions.

Thanks,

Chris
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2004, 07:17 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

Are you sure it wasn't 90 inch pounds instead of foot pounds? You don't even torque the head bolts on a car motor that tight !!!! I've been a mechanic for over 20 years, and when I do wheel bearings on vehicles or trailers, the way I was shown is spin the wheel while tightening the spindle nut, when you feel it start to bind a little, back it off just enough to free it up, and put the cotter pin in. That puts the proper side load on the bearing and lets it rotate freely, even packed with grease, a super tight bearing will heat up and sieze.
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  #7  
Old 11-15-2004, 07:17 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

there is such thing as too loose. a little tension is okay, the grease will do it's job. the hub spin is a good measure = 1 full revolution after you spin it around (with no wheel).
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Old 11-15-2004, 07:25 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

95wolv beat me to it. Maybe it was inch pounds, not foot pounds. Good call my friend[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif[/img]
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2004, 07:28 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

Well, if you guys need your trailers worked on, just bring it over to my house. Me and my torque wrench can hook you up! [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-15-2004, 08:38 PM
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Default Harbor Freight Fold up 4x8 Trailers: WARNING!

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