Destructive Lock Nuts Suck

I recently had to install new axles on a trailer in order to get working brakes on the trailer… Don’t lecture me about how you could have done this or that and not replaced them. They were oddballs and I wasted a couple weeks looking for other solutions.

The u-bolts that came with the new axles came with the destructive style lock nuts. I don’t mind to much. I hoped to never have to deal with this again on this trailer anyway. On my second run to go pick up a truck and haul it halfway across the state over some mountains and some modestly substantial grades and weave through the Salt River Canyon two nuts came off.

There is a type of lock nut that is dimpled or punched that partially mangles the threads when installed to lock it in place. These have square punch marks on the flat.

When the nuts came off I don’t know, but when I went over a bump the axle popped off the springs and the tire slammed into the tire behind. I had just hit 65 mph and it suddenly felt wrong. I was running empty and all of a sudden it felt like I was running with a load. I glanced at the mirror and smoke was pouring off those tires so bad I thought a hub was on fire. Fortunately, there was on old stock yard just ahead with a lot of flat ground out front where I was able to safely pull out somewhere west of Coolidge. The axle coming loose turned out to be an easy fix. Since I was still running empty I just jacked the side of the trailer up, rolled the axle back in place, and ratchet strapped it tight. Then I whipped out my cell phone and entered NEAEST HARDWARE STORE into the search window.

The U-bolt that had fallen off was just barely hanging onto the axle still by the extra friction of the threads. The other U-bolt was still attached to the cross plate by the nuts. At least I wasn’t wondering where in small town Arizona I was going to find U-bolts.

There was a Tractor Supply store in Coolidge that had TWO (2) (just two) 9/16 fine nuts. They were in the wrong bin, but I found them. With that, a couple fresh lock washers, and copious amounts of red high strength Permatex thread locker I crawled under the trailer in the parking lot to fix it.

Coming back I stopped and checked the trailer and my load at every brake check lane and pullout. With a 3/4 ton Dodge w/ Cummins on the back I made it back through the mountains and across the Salt River Canyon almost with out incident. Somewhere on a long flat Southwest of Globe/Miami I glanced in the mirror to see one of the hooks for a front strap laying on the trailer deck. The strap broke where it went over the frame.  Fortunately I had left the winch cable tight or I might have lost the truck.

I’m too old for this sort of adventure. I prepared for everything I could think of. Brought tools, and materials for emergencies, and did everything I could think of to prevent problems before setting out.

Yes, the nuts were torqued down properly both times. LOL.

Yeah, I know… there are plenty among you who can tell me everything they think I did wrong, but at the end I made it home. Now I have to get that truck back off the trailer.

Truck Number Two Brought Home Safely

Similar Posts