Help my wheels are stuck!

If you have come here because your wheels are stuck in the trailer. we will help you solve this problem. Our first piece of advice is – Don’t let it happen in the first place. Axles get stuck because they have rusted. It usually happens to trailers on long tours, or trailers stored with the wheels on over winter. Always store the trailer with axles removed, remove wheels overnight when touring, and keep the axles lubricated with oil.

But now the good news – We’ve never come across an axle that can’t be removed.

1. Easy/quick
Turn trailer on its side, so that one wheel is on the floor. Rest your foot on the lower wheel. Push button for the top wheel and give it good hard pull. This will free a lightly stuck wheel.

2. Middle
If you are able to get a quick clamp that can push its jaws apart you can put this between the hubs with a block of wood to space to the correct width, and push the wheels apart while holding the axle button down on the sticky one. When they release it can be explosive/sudden so caution is needed.

3. Hardcore (never fails)
Use a 19mm socket to remove the axle nut. Use a wooden drift to tap off the wheel from the axle shaft. This is normally easy if you’ve pre-soaked the axle bearings in WD40* or equivalent. Now wrap the exposed axle in cardboard and clamp it securely in a bench vice. Twist the trailer frame about the axle axis, and it should release. Waggle it a bit first to loosen it up then while holding the button in twist and pull the frame off the axle.

Renovation
Once the axle is clear clean it with wet’n’dry to remove any rust pitting, re-grease and re-insert.

* – WD-40 is the trademark name of a lubricant, penetrating oil and water-displacing spray.

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10 comments

  • Jana 7. May 2014   Reply →

    I have just spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to remove the wheels using the options 1 and 3 (didn’t understand the option 2) but the axles are still stuck. What are my options now? I had no idea the trailer cannot be stored with the wheels on, there is no mention of this in the paper that came with the trailer. I bought it less than 6 month ago and it was never stored outdoors, do I return it via the website where I bought it? Thanks

    • Nick Lobnitz 9. May 2014   Reply →

      Hi Jana. I’m sorry your having these problems with your wheels, we’ve never failed to remove wheels yet so don’t despair. With option 3) how far did you get? Did you manage to remove the wheels, or are they still on the trailers axles? If I understand how far through the process you’ve got I should be able to offer advice to succeed. Also what country are you in, it might be easier for us to remove the axles for you.

      Regards

      Nick

      • Jana 16. May 2014   Reply →

        Hi Nick, I am in the UK. I managed to remove the wheels easily after removing the axle nut. I tried tapping the axles with rubber hammer but they didn’t budge. Then I tried to wrap the axles in cardboard and fixed them in a vice. They just slid within the cardboard when twisting the trailer around. I also tried without the cardboard but that scratched the axles and I didn’t want to continue in a fear of damaging the trailer. Today, I contacted the retailer Activesport to assist with repair or replacement but they said I need to pay for the courier to get it to them so they can send it for your inspection. They advised me it would probably be cheaper for me to get a bike shop to unstuck the mechanism. I am not happy about this – although the stuck axles are due to the trailer being stored with the wheels on (it hasn’t been used for the last 3 months). I can’t understand how was I supposed to know that the wheels need to be kept off when the trailer is not in use. There was no mention of this in the instructions that came with it.

  • Tim 1. June 2014   Reply →

    Anyone know of any friendly CarryFreedom bike shops in London who have experience of stuck wheel release methods ?

    I’m suffering intermittent problems which have usually been overcome, but today I was struggling for 20 mins before giving up and searching for the FAQ.

    I’ll have another go tomorrow, but would welcome knowing where helpful moral support can be found…….

    • Bob 2. June 2014   Reply →

      Hi Tim, i just spoke to Nick and he suggested the following:
      “Probably the best bet is Ninon’s Bicycle Workshop in Notting Hill. http://www.bicycleworkshop.co.uk/
      She hasn’t done axle removals before, but I could talk her through the process and trust that she’d do it correctly. Workshop repairs is all that she does, with a specialty in Hub gears.”
      Does this help?
      Thanks. Bob

      • Tim 3. June 2014   Reply →

        Thanks for the info.

        Yes, I know the Notting Hill Bicycle Workshop (and remember drooling over the bikes their owners had brought to be spruced up in the queue one Saturday morning when I dropped off a dynohub wheel). And I remember being amazed that at the time the place seemed to be the world centre for buying spares for Brooks saddles.

        After a few more goes I managed to get my trailer wheel off and now need to read the stuff about what to do to maintain it – but it is good to know that Notting Hill is the place to go !

  • Tim 13. August 2014   Reply →

    Trailer has been working fine. But today when I removed the wheels, I noticed what appeared to be an extra washer stuck with grease to the aluminium where the axle is inserted. Looking at the wheel, I found that I could now see the ball bearings in their race in the hub and the washer was some kind of cover.

    Is there any special method by which this cover should be put back on the hub ? Push fit ? Screw ? Special tool ?

    It wasn’t obvious – but I didn’t spend long at it, knowing how good you are at replying here !

    • Bob 18. August 2014   Reply →

      Hi Tim,
      I think what you are talking about is the rubber seal of the bearing. Just push it back on if it’s not damaged. it protects the bearing from water. Let us know if it works. Best regards. Bob

  • Damon 13. July 2016   Reply →

    I’ve had a battle with my stuck shaft, that so far I have lost! I managed to free the shaft rotationally, but it wouldn’t come out, pretty clearly because the ball retainers inside have seized. After large amounts of wd40 and a lot of wiggling, no luck. So I tried to force it out by creating a pulling device using the wheel nuts. Now it is completely stuck without rotation, probably because the seized ball retainer has made it jam in the shaft.. Any ideas?

    • Bob 14. July 2016   Reply →

      Hi Damon,
      I’m assuming you tried this:

      3. Hardcore (never fails)
      Use a 19mm socket to remove the axle nut. Use a wooden drift to tap off the wheel from the axle shaft. This is normally easy if you’ve pre-soaked the axle bearings in WD40* or equivalent. Now wrap the exposed axle in cardboard and clamp it securely in a bench vice. Twist the trailer frame about the axle axis, and it should release. Waggle it a bit first to loosen it up then while holding the button in twist and pull the frame off the axle.

      This should always work. Once you have it in the vice, and press the button it should move. You may need a new axle afterwards, but it should come out. Like Nick wrote “never fails!”.
      Get back to me if you still have problems.
      Best
      Bob

      ps: WARNING to everyone, always grease the axles and remove them when not using the trailer for a while. Moisture can cause corrosion, which can lead to the axles sticking in the axle holes. Think of it like oiling your bike chain.

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