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Thread: Trailer wheel bolt circle adjustment

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Frank S's Avatar
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    Trailer wheel bolt circle adjustment

    Yes it means just how it reads.
    First a little back story of history. Back in the late 60s a lot of guys wanted mag wheels on their rides because everyone thought they were cool the thing is there were numerous 5 hole bolt circle pattern diameters between 1 car maker and the next So at least 1 company came up with the idea of a flexible bolt circle pattern by making the holes oval than supplying an oval steel washer with the hole slightly off center this way if you turned the washer one way the wheels would fit a Ford or Chrysler products turn it the other way it now fit Gm vehicles
    5 hole trailer axles have mostly been 5 on 41/2 or 5 on 5 or 5 on 51/2 the 5 on 4 3/4 were around as well.
    Anyway I bought a small stock trailer on auction this past weekend and was going to go haul it home today. I called and confirmed the bolt pattern to be 5 on 51/2 Typical Ford f150 size So I could carry a couple of mounted tires with me since I knew the trailer to have old tires.
    I was going to rob a couple tires and wheels off of an older F150 4x4 I have but it has Aluminum wheels on it.
    2 things come to mind #1 I hate aluminum wheels #2 I will not put aluminum wheels on anything that did not come factory equipped with them or has been properly modified to run them IE longer studs. I also have a couple of Ford Expeditions 1 has 6 hole ugh Aluminum wheels the other a couple years older has 5 hole wheels which were steel
    I remove a pair of them and toss them in the back of my pickup. Only fo learn once I tried to put them on the trailer that sometime in the late 1990S or early 2000s the bolt pattern was changed from 5 on 5.5 to 5 on 135mm (5.3") This happened probably along about the wheels whet from having a coined hole to a flat hole the trailer had 1/2" studs and the holes were 5/8" of some mm size but the wheel only lacked maybe .030" per hole of going on "DING" the flex hole idea suddenly came to mind I walked about 100 yards to a Hardware store and bought a rattail file about 20 strokes against the outer edge of each hole and the wheels went right on then since they were flat holes I reversed the lug nuts to have a flat mating surface to tighten against. Drove off checked them a couple times on the 120 mile trip home and alls well that ends well.
    Trailer wheel bolt circle adjustment-img_20211221_123516fr.jpg
    Trailer wheel bolt circle adjustment-img_20211221_125653fr.jpg

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    baja (Dec 23, 2021)

  3. #2
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    Thanks Frank S! We've added your Trailer Wheel Bolt Circle Adjustment to our Wheel and Tire category,
    as well as to your builder page: Frank S's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




  4. #3
    Supporting Member Bony's Avatar
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    So if you merely used a file how did you ensure the wheel will run truly on its intended axis of rotation Frank? Your modification seems rather imprudent (if not dangerous) for a road going vehicle at highway speeds (and open an opportunity for litigation should the unthinkable happen)

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    ET mags was the company that patented that idea. They have long been out of business. It was a great thought.

  6. #5
    Supporting Member Frank S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bony View Post
    So if you merely used a file how did you ensure the wheel will run truly on its intended axis of rotation Frank? Your modification seems rather imprudent (if not dangerous) for a road going vehicle at highway speeds (and open an opportunity for litigation should the unthinkable happen)
    Wasn't planning on attempting to pull a farm trailer with a linch pin hitch down the highway at 100MPH which would be about how fast you would have to go to even notice the few thousand's of an inch the wheels might have been off the central axis of rotation. badly out of balance tires will show more wheel hop than these would had they been as much as .060" off center. The difference between the 2 BC diameters and the smaller diameter of the studs on the trailer was almost close enough that I could have hammered the wheels on the studs but that would have damaged the threads and would have put the studs in an angular stressed position.
    Also my reason for putting the flat side of the lug nuts against the wheels was because the wheels did not have conical contact holes just flat faced this gave me maximum surface to surface contact without inducing side stresses on studs from the conical nuts.
    We drove between 45 and 50 MPH most of the way but a couple times going downhill I let it roll on up to 60 I was more concerned with possibly having to change out the remaining 50 year old tire on the front axle if it blew out along the way which if it had I would have just removed it and chained up that axle
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  7. #6
    Supporting Member Frank S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdhatter3 View Post
    ET mags was the company that patented that idea. They have long been out of business. It was a great thought.
    I remember those ET hub caps
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use KBS products

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    mdhatter3 (Dec 22, 2021)

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    😄😄😄. Thanks for making me smile today.

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    Got to do what ya got to do!! A lot of people cannot grasp how accurate you can be with a good file. Good technique will remove the same amount it material with each stroke. 5 strokes for each, try the wheel, 5 more in each, try again. Even as the file wears and takes a bit less with each stroke, if you keep moving around the wheel they will be pretty close.

    Maybe less runout from the filed holes than from the tire itself. There are very few truly ROUND tires. This one his really bad.

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    Frank S (Dec 23, 2021)

  12. #9
    Supporting Member Frank S's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=hemmjo;194360]Got to do what ya got to do!! A lot of people cannot grasp how accurate you can be with a good file. Good technique will remove the same amount it material with each stroke. 5 strokes for each, try the wheel, 5 more in each, try again. Even as the file wears and takes a bit less with each stroke, if you keep moving around the wheel they will be pretty close.

    Maybe less runout from the filed holes than from the tire itself. There are very few truly ROUND tires. QUOTE]
    When I was a kid, my dad used to mill heads and deck engine blocks with a giant file. No one had better touch his files
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    I hear you on the file work. I recommend to read up on the work of Allen Millyard in England.who uses a hacksaw and files with
    great precision to build multi cylinder mitorcycle engines. He has lots of videos.

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