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Unread 08-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #1
dagr8tim
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Homebrew Trailer from an 8.25

I picked this up today for free (after horse trading and selling some parts I even managed to get my gas paid for). I picked up a 27 spline 8.25 with everything except the drums (I even have the u bolts). I have one quick question before I start measuring & planning.


As it stands the backing plates are off the axle's. Can I just throw a set of rims on the end of the axle, or do I have to have the backing plate & drum in place. I realize the width will probably suffer an inch or two.

Also, I know that using an axle with a diff is heavier and will have less ground clearance than a straight axle. For me the axle was free, versus paying for a straight axle, and I know it will support the weight without bowing. Plus, I've been reading up on hooking a pully to the yoke and connecting it to an alternator to charge some deep cycle batteries while I tow it.

Another thought is to take the extra 20 gallon XJ gas tank, and rig it up as a backup fuel supply. Right now I'm in the beginning stages of rough drawing the design out.

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Unread 08-01-2010, 12:52 PM   #2
DaleII
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Check out your trailer laws there in Ohio and see what they say, because out here in California you're no longer able to register a trailer if it has a differential as the axle. It has to be an actual trailer axle.

Sounds like a good plan for a trailer though.
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Unread 08-01-2010, 03:09 PM   #3
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Register a trailer....you silly law abiding citizen.... Sounds easy enough and in my opinion free is always the right price. I like watching trailer builds and seeing what new ideas people come up with. Good luck.
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Unread 08-01-2010, 04:19 PM   #4
dagr8tim
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm still trying to figure out if I need remount the backing plates and score some drums, or if I can run without the drums and backing plates.
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Unread 08-01-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
DaleII
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Originally Posted by dagr8tim View Post
Thanks for the input guys. I'm still trying to figure out if I need remount the backing plates and score some drums, or if I can run without the drums and backing plates.
Got your answer. No you don't. You can mount the wheels right up and have no problems.
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Unread 08-01-2010, 05:02 PM   #6
MO2500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagr8tim View Post
Thanks for the input guys. I'm still trying to figure out if I need remount the backing plates and score some drums, or if I can run without the drums and backing plates.
I don't see any reason you would need them. If your not using the brakes there really isn't any need for the drums and backing plates. Check and see if the wheel studs have a shoulder or not though that center the drum/rotor. That may keep the lug nut from seating completely if the drum isn't in place. I'm not positive on this though
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Unread 08-01-2010, 05:37 PM   #7
dagr8tim
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I don't see any reason you would need them. If your not using the brakes there really isn't any need for the drums and backing plates. Check and see if the wheel studs have a shoulder or not though that center the drum/rotor. That may keep the lug nut from seating completely if the drum isn't in place. I'm not positive on this though
I just threw some spare tires on the axle to roll it around in the garage. Looks like the steels I have will but up to the flange on the end of the axle shafts.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 07:10 AM   #8
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I have never understood the idea behind using a vehicle differential for a trailer axle. Not that there is anything majorly wrong with it and to each his own and all that rot, but I figure if a differential is cheap enough to get from a junk yard it probably is indeed junk.

Random thoughts:

Changing oil in your trailer axle sounds wrong.

A really good trailer axle is cheap. Probably cheaper than a junk yard differential.

Most guys that build trailers can weld, make your own axle and really save.

On a positive point, if the differential is in reasonable condition you can mount an alternator to the pinion gear and have a great power source. I have never seen this done, but I have been tempted.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 09:50 AM   #9
dagr8tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbob View Post
I have never understood the idea behind using a vehicle differential for a trailer axle. Not that there is anything majorly wrong with it and to each his own and all that rot, but I figure if a differential is cheap enough to get from a junk yard it probably is indeed junk.

Random thoughts:

Changing oil in your trailer axle sounds wrong.

A really good trailer axle is cheap. Probably cheaper than a junk yard differential.

Most guys that build trailers can weld, make your own axle and really save.

On a positive point, if the differential is in reasonable condition you can mount an alternator to the pinion gear and have a great power source. I have never seen this done, but I have been tempted.
The alternator idea is one of the reason why I considered a diff for an axle. The other one is after all the horse trading is done. The guy I got the axle from will have paid me $8 to take it. That includes my gas to drive an hour and a half to pick it up.

The two big things besides a trailer I want to do is the alternator idea, and mount my extra plastic 20 gallon XJ gas tank as a reserve fuel tank.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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You only suffer if you're going to pull that trailer behind your XJ. At ~300 lbs, that axle already is taking up a significant fraction of the XJ's rated towing capacity.

...that said, I've gotten plenty of good work out of overweight, overloaded, cheaply fabbed trailers.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 09:58 AM   #11
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Cool idea!
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Unread 08-02-2010, 10:03 AM   #12
dagr8tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcneil View Post
You only suffer if you're going to pull that trailer behind your XJ. At ~300 lbs, that axle already is taking up a significant fraction of the XJ's rated towing capacity.

...that said, I've gotten plenty of good work out of overweight, overloaded, cheaply fabbed trailers.
I don't think it's 300 pounds. I picked the axle up by my self. I also unloaded it by myself from my XJ, lifted 1 end up to get a tire on the lug studs, then stood the whole thing up so I could get the other tire on.

Maybe 150 pounds (although, I'd go more towards 100 pounds). And with the Class III receiver, I've got 500 pounds of tongue weight and 5,000 of towing. I bet I can put the whole trailer together for under 400 pounds.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 10:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbob View Post
I have never understood the idea behind using a vehicle differential for a trailer axle. Not that there is anything majorly wrong with it and to each his own and all that rot, but I figure if a differential is cheap enough to get from a junk yard it probably is indeed junk.

Random thoughts:

Changing oil in your trailer axle sounds wrong.

A really good trailer axle is cheap. Probably cheaper than a junk yard differential.

Most guys that build trailers can weld, make your own axle and really save.
x1000 on all this. A trailer axle is only $120-250 shipped - sometimes with brakes. If you're going to use a junkyard axle...take that XJ thing back...you should have pulled a Dodge Caravan axle (front wheel drive vehicle minivan). Its just a tag/I-beam axle, same 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern with no differential...weighs half as much!
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Unread 08-02-2010, 10:34 AM   #14
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x1000 on all this. A trailer axle is only $120-250 shipped - sometimes with brakes. If you're going to use a junkyard axle...take that XJ thing back...you should have pulled a Dodge Caravan axle (front wheel drive vehicle minivan). Its just a tag/I-beam axle, same 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern with no differential...weighs half as much!
According to my local U Wrench It's site, it's $89 + a $15 core for an axle. For that price, I could buy a new axle off of Amazon for $99.

I know it's not the best solution, but it's the one I'm working with.
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Unread 08-02-2010, 10:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by dagr8tim View Post
According to my local U Wrench It's site, it's $89 + a $15 core for an axle. For that price, I could buy a new axle off of Amazon for $99.

I know it's not the best solution, but it's the one I'm working with.
I think you'll be fine. Depending on how much weight you plan to carry, you may want to consider changing the wheel bearings. I have lugged my 8.25 out and back in more times than I care to remember. With shafts and carrier, it can't be more than 150lbs.

I really like the idea of throwing an alternator on there to charge some deep cycle batteries, but I wonder what effect (if any) it might have on adding additional drag to the trailer.
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