I’m not quite sure this would be the ultimate grass trailer but we’ve had some of these since 1998. This was written in 2009 and updated in 2014 (time flies).
These are Rubbermaid 16 CU FT carts. I wouldn’t bother with any of the smaller ones. We’ve tried other’s. They don’t work as well. The idea here is to get a cart that requires very little maintenance.
We developed these over a number of years. Didn’t hit a home run right away. The carts, as they come, have poor wheels with bushings, the tongues are too short and the hitches poor. The way we came to those conclusions was we had to repair the wheels and bushings, lengthen the drawbars because when you would hook them up to a CarryAll and made a sharp turn, they would crash into the body. The hitches fell off.
We had 4 trailers that I kept upgrading but we wanted a new one so this is how I went about it.
I save some of the older wheels and tires that you wouldn’t really want on a vehicle but on a trailer work fine. We also need a set of 4-bolt hubs. ANY kind will do.
Next I splice an 18” piece into the drawbar. Usually right in the middle. Most of the time we don’t have the exact size so we compromise.. Next, I cut the axle. They give you a nice piece of steel but basically you’ll have to allow for the hubs you’ll be using and tire size. It isn’t really that critical. As long as you don’t cut it too short
Next I cut off the hub shaft. I’ll call these stub axles but they are what the wheel bearings will go on. These will be welded onto the OEM axle. So, now you put the axle through the drawbar and fixtures in the box frame and get ready to weld on the hubs.
Normally you probably wouldn’t want to weld on hubs after you’ve slid in the axle. I’m afraid it’s the only way
Usually the hub axles are not the same size as the axle. I usually use whatever I have laying around or have saved. If the diameters are different, you might want to try this. I use a piece of angle iron large enough to clamp both axles in, and and smaller pieces to build up the axles.
This is one of those times where a picture is worth at least 100 words.. Aluminum angle seems to work best, it has sharp 90 degree corners where steel has rounded ones. Here you can see smaller pieces used to even out the diameters. You’re going to butt weld it. I’ve only had one of these break and it was when they backed a full cart into a ballard filled with concrete. And if it does break like that, it’s pretty easy to weld back, assuming nothing else is broke..
Once you have these welded on you’ll have to weld it to the middle of the drawbar to keep it from sliding around. You’ll see. Once you’re here you’ll install the hub with seal, bearings, and bolt on the wheel.
You’re going to want to weld on an extension to the back of this. This allows you to hook multiple carts together. Not something you’ll use often but we normally send two out with one of the Tee mowers most days, and each of the other Tee and greens mowers has one.
Here’s why this is so good. They hold a heck of a lot of grass. And if one isn’t enough you can pull two with one mower. To dump, you pull the rear panel and tip it back. The drawbar is enough to push it back over. The new style you see at Northern, we had one, can’t dump it.. So that makes it pretty much useless even though they say it can be..
These are plastic. They will wear out after about 10 years and what I do with those is buy a new cart and just bolt on the box.. I know it’s expensive, but it works and that’s really what matters.. When we started buying these, they were less than $300 and the guy who tried them first didn’t modify them at all. Now they cost over $500 (in 2014 now $700+) and the mods take a half day. Add wheels, tires, hubs labor and you almost have
$1000. Ridiculous isn’t it.. The alternative is one that doesn’t work as well, rusts out regularly, and need constant repair.. But they cost less..