Practical to widen an axle?


I have a brand new 3,500 lb axle, and, long story short, I ordered it a bit too narrow. I need to add about five inches to allow adequate tire clearance and run the rims I want. I have not had this kind of work done before, so I need to ask, is it cost effective to have this one widened and new spring perches welded on, or should I just call up Northern Tool and order the right one?


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Sell it on EBay and order a new one. You will always be worrying about it if you resize it is my guess.


Spacers might work, but those are not cheap either. We are only talking a 100 dollar axle here, so I am guessing a new one is the way to go. Further, for the value of my current axle I will just save it for the next project. Ebay fees and shipping hassles make it not worth selling a sub-100 dollar item.


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You can widen it no problem but if you have to pay someone else to do it then its probably cheaper to buy a new one. Cut your axle in two, get a 5" section of tubing the same outside diameter and wall thickness as your axle. Get a, say 10" section of tubing that has the same inside diameter as the outside diameter of your axle, you will use this as a sleeve. Slide this over your axle, weld in the 5" spacer and then slide the sleeve back over your spacer. Then weld your sleeve in place. Make sure your spacer is true when you weld it in. This will make your axle very strong where you have modified it. I have seen this done before with no problem.


Different wheels makes using a single spare for the tow vehicle and the trailer an issue. I kinda knew a replacement axle was the way to go, but I was hoping I was missing something obvious. The bottom line is that I have already spent more time agonizing over the decision than the $100 is worth. I just have a natural tendency to try to figure stuff like this out, and not eat crow over my stupid mismeasurement.


I had to use spacers on mine or the jeep wheels wouldn't fit and I would have to get a secont spare. Had I orderd an axel I would have been cutting 4" out of it because I didn't realize the wheels wouldnt fit over the hub.


I have a set of 4.5 bolt pattern trailer hubs, so I need to use my 4.5 to 5 adapters anyway. That solves the issue with the JK wheels fitting, and pushes the wheels out where I need them.

See if you agree with my logic here...

Trailer Springs are 46 inches on center, and the trailer is 48 inches from outside of tub to outside of tub.

Wheels have 6.25 of backspacing

That puts me at 60.5 (48+ (6.25 x 2))

A stock axle is available at 61 inches. Add the spacers and it puts me at 64 inches from wheel face to wheel face.

Do you think 1.75 inches is enough between the RIM and the trailer body? Will that be enough space for the tire overhang from the rim?

As for tire squat, the empty trailer is 300 pounds. Suffice it to say that tire squat will not be an issue.
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you can "only" widen an axle if it is a straight axle. Some axles are cambered, the factory puts a bow in them for loading purpose's. Straight axles are no problem to widen as mentioned. To see if you have a cambered one just stand behind your trailer and look at the axle, you will be able to tell.

trailer/tire squat from weight is irrelevant, the bulge will only be at the bottom of the tire always.

you will get a bulge on the tire and that will depend on what size rim you have for example a 33/12.50/17 mounted on an 8" wide rim extends 1 1/4 past the rim all around. On a narrower rim you would get more "bulge" because the bead is being drawn in so the distance from rim to tire would be greater.
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Chris Cordes

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Out of curiosity what axle did you order? I was going to order a 61" axle but maybe I should go 63" or 65"?


I have not ordered the axle yet. I want to pull the spare off the jeep and verifiy that it is, in fact a 6.25 backspace. I also want to see how much bulge the tire has to see if I have to go even wider with the axle. If the wheel is truly 6.25 and the bulge is minimal, running the adapters (as opposed to ordering new 5x5 hubs) will work fine for me. If you are NOT running adapters with a decent thickness, you will most certainly want an axle wider than 61" for a similar application.

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