How to Build a Tandem Axle Trailer
Trailers can haul a variety of things for homeowners, from lawn debris and firewood to motorcycles for trail riding. They come in a variety of styles and sizes: some have sides for extra carrying capacity, some have rear drop gates to facilitate loading and unloading, some have wood floors, and others have metal. All trailers are frames resting on axles with wheels. Most have a single axle with two wheels, but heavier work requires a tandem axle with two sets of wheels.
Buy a tandem axle assembly with leaf springs, spring hangers and wheels. Design the trailer frame around this assembly. It will have two sets of leaf springs, one for each axle, with a single mounting point on the front and back spring and a center mount, called the equalizer hanger, which holds both springs. The equalizer is the center point for calculating trailer length. Figure 60 percent of the trailer to go in front of this point.
Cut a 3-by-4-inch angle iron to the frame dimensions, perhaps 6 by 12 feet, with a metal chop saw. Cut two 12-foot pieces and two 6-foot pieces; miter the corners and weld them into a rectangle with the 3-inch angle up, using a square to make sure the corners are correct. Mark the locations for the spring hangers, then remove them from the wheel assembly and weld them to the bottom of the 4-inch angle.
Set the frame on the wheels and fasten the springs with bolts, lock washers and nuts through the holes in the hangers and the spring mounts. Cut two more pieces of angle iron and weld them to the frame sides as cross-braces just ahead of and just behind the front and rear spring hangers. Cut triangular pieces of sheet steel and weld them, as gussets or supports, underneath all frame joints.
Build a yoke of angle iron to go from the front cross-brace to the hitch ball cap. The connections on that cap will determine the angle and length of the yoke. Weld the yoke to the frame at the cross-brace and the front frame member. Cut another piece of angle iron and weld it as a cross-brace onto the yoke between the hitch ball cap and the front frame.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.