Trailers With Mobile Home Wheels

Often times, trailers (particularly home builds) are pieced together using a variety of parts. Some of these parts are used because they are readily available at the time and can be had for a good a price. Unfortunately, these parts can subsequently become a source of difficulty and confusion.

Mobile Home axles and brakes are uniquely designed and built to serve a very specific function. First and foremost, they only need to get a home from point A to B, presumably only ever being used once. Because of this narrow application, manufacturers build them with the understanding that these parts will not require repairs or need to be replaced during their intended service life.

While purpose built mobile home axles have some things in common with their trailer axle cousins they differ in a few critical ways. MH axles share the same tube diameters, brake size and weight capacity as their trailer equivalents. On the other hand, they often do not have brake flanges (backing plates are usually welded to the axle). They typically use oddball bearing configurations and lastly, they have a “Demountable” style bolt pattern.

So now that you know the basics, let’s jump into scrutinizing and identifying your parts.

The first thing I do when someone brings me a demountable drum is I check the bearings. We can identify them by reading the numbers stamped in them (if they are still visible) or measuring the Inside Diameter of them. If the bearings have been lost or damaged beyond recognition, we move on to identifying the races in the drum. They will also be stamped with an identifying number. If neither is available, we will have to measure the spindle of the trailer. A good article detailing this process can be found here.

Typically, there are only two bearing configurations you will see on these types of drums, 1-3/8” x 1-1/4” or 1-1/4” x 1-3/4”. Either way, it will be critical to identify the inside diameter of the grease seal and ensure that selected drum matches in every way.

Bearing Number Bearing Size Race Number
L68149 1.38 L68111
L67048 1.25 67010
15123 1.25 15245
25580 1.75 25520

Brake Backing Plates

Typically, demountable drums will use a brake size of 12”x2”. If this is the case for you, in most instances the brake’s “backing plate” is welded to the axle. All this means is that you will have to spend the time rebuilding the assembly. Reassembling a drum brake is a somewhat tedious process but with time and commitment it can be done. Typically, the most cost effective way to purchase these parts is to buy an entire pre-assembled backing plate, strip it down and resemble on your axle. This also offers the benefit of you being able to see how the assembly should look in the end; this is especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with drum brakes. Drum brakes are very “old school” and some of us (especially us younger guys) may not have dealt with them until now. There will be a little trial and error. There are tons of excellent sources to be found on the internet detailing every step in the process of reassembly.

For those looking to switch to a standard 6 or 8 lug pattern.

Quite often, people who have demountable drums have a desire to change over to a more standard 6 on 5.5” or 8 on 6.5” bolt pattern. This will only be possible if you have a 1-1/4” x 1-3/4” bearing configuration. If you have the 1-3/8” x 1-1/4” bearings, you will have to change your axles which will be a more costly process than just retaining your old setup.

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