Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 14 Sep 2009, 6:10am

Hi Guys!
Back home yesterday evening, all went well with an empty ride home. Trailer is collected, emptied, and I'll be attempting to strip the wheels off and do some investigating.

The prime suspect, I expect, is the return springs inside the stub axles.

The security of the wheels is checked before every ride and axles get greased periodically. The trouble is, the mechanism inside the axles is completely un-get-at-able. I reckon that the spring is plain steel and it has rusted away. As both axles are the same age and mileage, it stands to reason they'd fail at the same time.

These springs are the only things that keep the axles in position, and they are non-maintainable.
As I said, a prime suspect.

As had been said, these things are wheelchair technology, and can't be expected to go on forever. I just wish I had thought about this properly - better still that CF had thought about it properly. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun, but we'll see.

As for weight - it was heavy, but nowhere near 45kgs. I've taken my stuff out now, but I'll try and assess the weight as everything's still in bags and not unpacked. I'll get back to you later.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 14 Sep 2009, 7:03am

Just done some weighing.

I put all my bags and stuff back in - or thereabouts - and the all-up weight is 25.18Kg. If I round that up to 30Kg to allow for something I may have missed, and subtract the 6kg that CF reckon the trailer weighs, it means I had a 24Kg load.

CF rate the carrying capacity as 45Kg.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby climo » 14 Sep 2009, 8:59am

zenzinnia wrote:Some time ago I lost one of the wheels on my CF Y frame in a similar way. The little lock nut had come off and I had to go searching the road for the bearings . Luckily I was just round the corner from my LBS when it happened and they found me a nut to get me home. CF replaced the axel after a few e-mails. I sumised it was something to do with losing the rubber hub cap but may well be wrong - they never sent me a new hub cap and I don't know where else to get htem from!

I would suggest regular checking of the lock nut but if it does come loose there seems to be nothing you can do to tighten it but at least you'll know there is a problem.

CF suggest super glueing the rubber caps on.

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 14 Sep 2009, 9:43am

I've just done some investigating.

I lost my rubber covers years ago. Had they been there, the bits that fell out may not be spread on the roads of Somerset! This does not get away from the fact that the axles aren't good enough.

Here's my email:

Monday 14 sept 2009

Hi,

I’ve had my Carry Freedom Y Frame (Small) for over three years and done over 5000 miles with it. Apart from shopping trips, most of the mileage has been heavy long-distance touring and I have been very happy with it indeed. Moreover, I never hesitate to regale folk with my stories and how I find towing your trailer a sheer delight. However, my confidence has been shaken quite a bit.

In the past, I have had issue with the axles seizing into position, but a liberal and regular greasing sorts this out. Also your instructions are very specific about the security of the wheels and they say to check them before every ride. I do this thoroughly and religiously. The rubber covers on both wheels have long-since gone.

I had just started a 700 mile tour from here in Cornwall to Manchester, Bedford and back. I was to be away 10 days. I had covered the first 75 miles of my very first day when my LH wheel came off. I was doing about 20mph downhill on a busy road pulling a heavy load. When I retrieved the wheel, the axle was still in its hub, the locating balls had gone and also the button assembly. The chassis was badly damaged underneath as it scraped along the road, and I had a great deal of difficulty driving the axle back in with a borrowed large copper-faced hammer. Had I not hammered the axle back in, I would have been stuck 75 miles from home.

My “repair” seemed to have worked, and I carried on albeit with a rattling but secure LH wheel, and carried on the final 15 miles of the day to Bridgwater and decided to attempt to continue my tour.

The following day near Bristol, after about 20 miles, the RH wheel came out! I noticed it just in time before it dropped. This time, the balls were there, but the return spring for the button was non-existent. I slid the axle back in, but it slid back out straight away. By pushing the button all the way in with a thin screwdriver, I locked the axle into position, but was very concerned that the button would work its way out a little letting the balls retract, and loosing the wheel.

At that point, I abandoned my tour, limped the 20 miles back to Bridgwater, and stayed another night. I rode home without my luggage then had to drive back the next day to collect it.

This morning I’ve done some investigating. The LH axle I cannot shift. I took the 19mm nut off ok, but without resorting to heat, I think the axle is stuck fast.

The RH axle came out VERY easily by jiggling the trailer chassis. The long pin fell out, and the axle withdrew. As you can see by my attached photos, the axle is ok and so are the locating balls, but it would appear that there’s a bit missing! The long pin has a thread on the outer end no doubt to hold a return spring and a screwed-on button.

What must have happened is that the button has come off, the spring shot out and the balls relaxed, leaving the axle to come out. At least I noticed the RH wheel or I might never have found out what had gone wrong.

I really do believe that the design of the securing system for the axles need to be looked at as soon as possible. Had that LH wheel careered across the road it could have caused an accident. I could have swerved and been injured as well. The return springs need to be secure, or the axles to be “fail-safe”. I now own a useless trailer.

I await your response.

Yours,
Mick Fairhurst

RH Axle bits.JPG
Screw end.jpg


Note that I said the RH axle came out very easily! Had I carried on, the axle could have released itself at any moment!

The missing bit must be a shiny "knob" that screws on the end of the long pin with a spring behind a washer or something. Both gone west!
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby byegad » 14 Sep 2009, 12:03pm

IIRC the stub axle is a Wheelchair specific item have you tried looking for one on a Wheelchair site?
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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 14 Sep 2009, 1:56pm

No, and I don't want to either.

The design is flawed. There's no point replacing a flawed design without changing something.

I would like to see a positive lock on the axles. Why should the safety of the design rely on just a spring? I understand that it's simple and convenient, but why not have a positive lock as well?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 15 Sep 2009, 12:23pm

From CF:

Mick
I can replace your axles, and probably repair any frame damage to the trailer.

The axles can be temporarily held in place with superglue. This is sufficient to hold the axles in their sockets for a journey, and the bond can be broken in a workshop.

It sounds like over time the push button on the end of the axle has vibrated loose, and then came off. Once unthreaded it can be thrown clear of the trailer by the spring behind it, and the spring normally follows. The push buttons are held in place with locktite shaft lock, and it should not be possible for them to unthread. There was one batch of trailers in 2006 where the axle supplier had not locktited the push buttons in place, this was subject to a recall, and the trailers that slipped through the net showed their problem within 2-3miles of use. It is possible that your trailer is one of these but why it has taken so long to show its fault is a mystery. Without looking at the axles I can't say whether they were from this batch, I have since changed axle supplier.

Probably the best thing is to bring the trailer here to my workshop so I can assess the damage to the frame, and remove the seized axle. I can organise a courier to pick up the trailer from your house.

Why the axle has seized within the frame I am not sure. Heat is not advisable as it destroys the heat treatment on the aluminium, and makes it soft. Normally the best approach is to block up the middle of the axle, and fill the axle beam with WD40 or plusgas, and let this soak through for a day. The axle can then be clamped in a vice and the trailer chassis twisted to break the seal between axle and chassis, this is normally enough to get even the most stubborn of axle free. Before using violent methods such as this its important to try and work out why the axle is siezed or else there is a risk of causing further frame damage as the axle is removed.

On another thing, I have recently introduced a new style of hitch for the trailer. This is quieter stronger and more reliable than the original, and available to existing trailer owners for 15GBP.

You can reach me on the Carry Freedom number so we can work out what to do.

Regards
Nick


My reply:

Hi Nick,
Good of you to get back to me. I tried phoning your number but couldn't get through.

What you say is very interesting. My trailer was bought from Wiggle.co.uk in the spring of 2006 and I knew nothing of a recall. It would seem that the fault was the lack of an adhesive to hold the button and spring. It worries me greatly that the safety of the trailer and rider, and also other road users, are held in sway by some Loctite or lack of it! My confidence has been shaken somewhat, and I no longer feel safe with the system as designed.

After my Land's End to John O'Groats and Back trip in 2006, I emailed you with some concerns and observations. After riding 1800miles, I felt as though I had some valid points. One of them was the fact that the axles freeze in the chassis and you replied that you were aware of that fault and that you were planning to use some stainless axles in the future but to keep them well greased meanwhile. You mentioned nothing about the security of the buttons and springs. Sadly, I no longer have the emails.

After driving the LH axle in with a big hammer, it is stuck fast and will need drilling out. I've cut off some of it leaving about 1inch showing and withdrawn the long pin. It would seem that I hadn't lost the ball bearings as the pin is badly scored by them. No doubt the housing is damaged too but where the balls are now, I have no real idea. Probably stuck inside. I must admit that I was seeing red that afternoon, and all I could think of was getting on the road again. I really hit that axle!

It's very good of you to arrange for a repair of the chassis, but I'll hold on for now and consider a more solid engineering solution. I envisage new stub axles being positively held in position by a clamp-bolt rather than a spring and ball bearings, or even a long axle right through. Also the wheels can be held on by castled nuts and split-pins. I realise I will have to forego the simplicity of the system to be flat-packed, but that facility isn't really required by me.

The hitch system was always problematical, requiring tightening quite regularly. I've recently fitted a 3/4inch tap washer in the joint to quieten it and keep it tight but moveable. It seems to work ok, but I will take you up on a new joint in due course.

Thanks again, and I'll keep you informed of progress.
Regards,
Mick.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby ferrit worrier » 15 Sep 2009, 1:27pm

Hi Mick

Glad to see your on the way to getting sorted out.

A thought about the axels, I've made an assumption that the wheel bearings are the cartridge type? and the axle dia will be about 12mm? Given that the bearings "float" on the axle there is no direct pressure end ways on the inner race. What about using a solid axle that will pass right through the axle mounting and secure inboard with an "R" clip. The outboard end could be threaded to take a 10 or 12 mm castleated? nut or "Nyloc"

PS I had a ride up to the Cat and Fiddle on Monday, Cold, Breezy, so came home via Whalley Bridge and found a cracking "Chippy" the biggest piece of cod I've seen in ages :D

Best regards
Malc
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 15 Sep 2009, 5:08pm

Yep, 12mm diameter, and yep, the bearings are cassette.

The chassis is box section anodised alu with the ends of the wheel crossmember having steel inserts reamed to take the axles. The axles go in for about 4 inches, so they perhaps "lock" in behind the steel. The axle ends have a 19mm nylock nut that is adjusted in and out to take out any side-play of the wheel.

I have an idea to have made a couple of solid steel 12mm rods, with a couple of flats near the inner ends that can receive a couple of bolts screwed in through the alu and steel. That way, they will be positively fitted and the bolt tightness could be checked from time-to-time.

The outer end would be threaded and drilled for a castle nut and split pin.

Solid as a rock, never to let the the wheel off unexpectedly!
FAR better design.

Meanwhile, I have yet to drill out the LH axle. I've cut it off about 1inch proud of the chassis. It's hollow so it should drill without too much fuss but it's quite tough steel. By drilling out to 10mm and then gently to 11mm and beyond, I should be able to get it to collapse in on itself and pull it out. I can't drift it inwards as there's nowhere for it to get out, it would be rattling in there forever!

The hole could be damaged, so it may need reaming bigger than 12mm, so the axle would need to be stepped.

Anyway, watch this space!
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby ferrit worrier » 15 Sep 2009, 5:43pm

Hi Mick

1) any chance of a pic of the underside / axle mount?

2) If the axle was loose originaly and is hollow what about using a stud extractor?

Malc
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 15 Sep 2009, 6:00pm

Hi Mick,
On my home made trailer, I secured the stub axles in the axle tube with a split pin. This rattled a bit so I used "epoxy metal" to glue in the axles. the bond never broke in 10 years
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Tigerbiten » 15 Sep 2009, 6:34pm

If the square section across the bottom of the trailer is hollow, would a single 12mm axle bar the width of the trailer + 2 wheels be better ??
Just put a thread on both ends for the castle nuts and split pins.
That way you won't need to fix the axle bar inside the trailer frame.

Luck ............. :D

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Cunobelin » 15 Sep 2009, 6:57pm

byegad wrote:IIRC the stub axle is a Wheelchair specific item have you tried looking for one on a Wheelchair site?



Tres expensif!

If you think cyclists get ripped off, have a look at some of the wheelchair spare parts.

A pair of axles is in the region of £70!

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Mick F
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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby Mick F » 15 Sep 2009, 9:06pm

Tigerbiten wrote:If the square section across the bottom of the trailer is hollow, would a single 12mm axle bar the width of the trailer + 2 wheels be better ??
Just put a thread on both ends for the castle nuts and split pins.
That way you won't need to fix the axle bar inside the trailer frame.
Yep.
That's one of my ideas, but a bit heavier. Good nonetheless.

MikewsMITH2 wrote:On my home made trailer, I secured the stub axles in the axle tube with a split pin. This rattled a bit so I used "epoxy metal" to glue in the axles. the bond never broke in 10 years
Yep. Another idea too.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Carry Freedom - losing wheels!

Postby robwa10 » 15 Sep 2009, 11:15pm

What type of hubs are used on the trailer? Just curious if they're standard bike hubs as I'm also trying to work out a solution in my head.
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