Trailer hubs updated

So, having bought a TJ many years ago, as my go to trail rig; then selling the old trail ready CJ just a few years ago; then getting my project CJ ready for sale, last week. It was time to update the Jeep trailer from 5 on 5.5 hubs/rims to 5 on 4.5 to match the TJ.

Here’s the trailer behind the old trail rig CJ7, pictured at the Miller Lake campsite. All wheels 5 on 5.5.

I found an old trailer axle on Craigslist that was 5 on 4.5. the plan was to cut it, narrow it to fit and even do a portal type design to get more clearance. That didn’t quite work out.

So, the next step was to get the 5 on 4.5 hubs on the existing trailer axle. Below: old 5 on 5.5, spindle from Craigslist axle, 5 on 4.5 Craigslist hub.

But the spindles are different:

No problem. Swap out with different bearings to fit the different spindle. I bought new bearings and went to take about the 5 on 4.5 hubs to insert the new bearings. They didn’t want to come apart and upon a closer inspection, I realized the two hubs were different!

Bite the bullet, buy brand new hubs, bearing kit and get it done. And it is done and ready for trail maintenance or all the girlfriend’s camping gear.

I now have tires/wheels on my trailer that match in size to those on my Jeep. Worse-case scenario, I take a wheel off the trailer and leave the trailer on the side of the trail. Yes, I carry a full-size spare, as shown, while on the trail.

The wheel is shifted back in the fender a little bit. (The CJ in the back just got sold. It’s being picked up today.)

The next step is to place a plate on the spring perch to shift the wheel forward and inch. Something like this one but much narrower to match the spring pack.

But that can wait until next month.


Rubicon Ronin


Rather than start a new post, I’ll add the update here.

Here are the spring relocation plates I’ll use on the trailer. I made these. The two different holes allow for a 3/4″ or a 1″ shift. I went with the full 1″ shift.

Here’s a before picture. When I got the trailer, I needed more room for the 33″ tires, so I did a spring over lift. Driver’s side pictured. This is not the original axle. That one was destroyed on an FOTR Rubicon Trail maintenance effort, not by me, I had loaned it out to a good friend. Yes, we’re still good friends.

Here’s where is goes. Passenger side.

Here it is back together.

The curve in the plate was to match a normal leaf spring curve. With this odd set-up of a spring over with no spring perch, it went in upside down. but it works.

The wheel is now much more centered in the opening. Not a big deal but it looks better.


Rubicon Ronin

Trailer Tailgate Rebuild

Years ago, I picked up an old highway lighting trailer. I lined it with plywood, did a spring over axle, swapped to it 5 on 5.5 and put on a universal hitch.

Over the years, I’ve repaired and replaced the hitch, rebuilt the front side of the trailer after the my Jeep’s bumper fell off and replaced the tailgate and now it’s time for tailgate 2.0.

The trailer has served me well over the years. This is a very early shot of the trail and me hauling in the kiosk for the Long Lake Trail.

Bringing the new trailhead sign in for TKS-11

Though I’ve not always treated the trailer as well as I should have…

Story to follow…

That was an empty trailer, too much speed and one tire hitting a rock. Two snatch blocks and a winch and I had it rubber side down again.

I did replace that slide down tailgate but it was time for a new tailgate. What I had laying around was a Jeep tailgate designated for my ‘project’ Jeep. Well, the trailer needed it more than the project. Out with the old, broken (again), slide in set-up.

Mocking up the brackets, yes, it is an old bedframe. Cheapest angle iron around.

In with the new Jeep tailgate.

I tried to get fancy with an adjustable bolt set-up for aligning the sides of the trailer to the tailgate. It’s just too loose. I need to weld EVERYTHING.

It’s still using the stock latch system.

Next week, off to Pick-n-Pull to get some tailgate straps, so I can hold the tailgate level when open or drop it vertical to unload rock.


Rubicon Ronin

Updated RTF Trailer

As people are just now breaking through and running the entire Rubicon Trail, some of us are still just getting our Jeeps out of hibernation.

At a recent club meeting, talk turned to the RTF trailer. We all loved that it was available for trail maintenance, but we didn’t like, or use the air of hydraulic system. Most of the time we hand pumped the trailer to dump.

I did a write-up on it years ago when it first came to the Tahoe side…

One of my buddies asked about converting it to electric over hydraulic. I wasn’t opposed to it but it wasn’t mine to make the decision. So, I reached out to ERTF to ask if we could convert it. With RTF off the hook for costs, they said go for it.

Thanks go out to Tim with the Hills Angels 4wd Club of Reno Nevada. Tim did all the fab work on the trailer. Between he and the club they covered the construction costs. For now, I’m on the hook for the cost of the parts.

Superior Hydraulics in Sparks, NV really stepped up and worked with Tim to get the hoses and fittings dialed in:

So here are the guts. The original hydraulic cylinder was swapped out for something that would work with for us. In hind sight, the original cylinder might be able to be converted to use with the new system. Battery, electric hydraulic pump and reservoir.

A battery was added to run the electric pump. It is charged off the 7-pin connector. If you don’t have a charge on the battery, it will still do a dozen or more dumps before running low. The manual handle is no longer usable. I’m going to add a Battery Tender connection to be able to keep it charged while not in use, or just before it goes out for a day of use.

Protection is always important. Tim had some old (new old stock) Toyota skid plates around and they worked great.

Tim even went so far as to weld rings to protect the mounting bolts.

Tim has always been bothered by the noise of these trailers as they go down the trail. So, he added some rubber padding along the frame rails and a rubber bushing to hold down the bed brace rod so it won’t make noise.

We’re working on getting the official list of parts together, so if RTF wants to convert the other trailers, they have a head start. There are things we’d change if other trailers are converted but overall, we’re happy. The cost should be under $400, maybe even down to $300 if we can reuse the original cylinder.

When it’s all said and done, the trailer is faster, easier and safer to use.

It’s almost as fast fully loaded, but I’m having trouble uploading that video.

Rubicon Ronin – 6/18/19

Ball hitch for RTF trailer

My truck is a little on the short/small side when compared to my Jeep. The truck is on 33s and the Jeep is on 35s. There’s two more inches of lift on the Jeep than the truck. When I tow the RTF trailer with my truck the trailer has a mean rake to it. It’s like six inches lower in the front.

So, I got creative:


The adaptor pins on to the trailer like the swivel hitch it came with. The ball hitch is bolted to the tubing so my welds aren’t tested. The two nut/bolt combos are welded over a hole in the tubing and so can be tightened to prevent more play in the system. The spot welds around the nuts were rushed and look terrible. I’m out of practice and used the smaller 110v welder. It was raining. The dog ate my welding gloves. I’ll think of more excuses later.

When I use the hitch below, the trailer is just about level behind my truck. And it’s not too tall to hit the tailgate if I lower it.


I’d like to add a box to the trailer but there’s no easy place to put one.


Rubicon Ronin


Trailer upgrade – bear (storage) box

For those of you that are regular followers of this site, this upgrade is a direct result of the bear getting my food earlier this summer.

I picked up a trailer box from Harbor Freight, yeah I know not the best quality but I’m just going to abuse it. I have an unusually long bar for my hitch. Even with the box I can jack knife the Jeep and trailer and not hit the box.


I just bolted and welded up a couple of piece of angel iron for support and there she sits. I’ll pull it apart and clean the edges and paint it later.


So, as long as I have the trailer with me, I have a safe place to store my food. It’ll be good for storing tarps, tie downs and other stuff.


Rubicon Ronin