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heat treat hot or cold roll?

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hello guys, im just a mechanic at a golf course and haveing problems with some axles on some small greens mower trailers, the axles are 3/4" maybe 7/8" round stock, they are bending because of the weight of the mowers bounceing on the cart paths. the mowers are about 212#'s just wondering if i can heat up the part of the axle thats bending and dipping it in oil. would that help or am i just trying to push a lenth of chain up hill?
any and all suggestions or advice would be outstanding

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If it has some carbon in it You may be able to do some good. I would contact the maker of the mower and see if they have a remedy. If not see if they can give you the specs for what they used for the axles then you can trace down any heat treat specifics. If the steel is hardenable and you heat treat just the ends there may be a point in the axle that may break and the wheel and all leave the mower...never a good thing.

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Heat treating is a number of differing techniques. If your axles are high carbon steel heating them till non-magnetic (glowing red) and quenching them in oil will make them as brittle as glass if you don't then draw temper on them.

If they are a low end of medium carbon steel it might just make them harder to bend though tempering is always a good idea after hardening!

If they are a very low carbon steel then heating them up and quenching them in oil may actually make them softer!

Talk with the manufacturer first before experimenting! And note that steel will often bend or warp during heat treat

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If you have a damaged axle you can experiment on that, but materials can change as suppliers change, so what you experiment on may be different from reality.

Sometimes axles are case hardened as it is cheaper than getting solid high carbon steel. The surface needs the toughness as the center is under no load due to bending or torque. Production case hardening of axles is done using a "carbonizing atmosphere soak" which is different from pack hardening as it is supposed to limit distortion.

Good luck. If these fail often enough it may be better to have some custom machined out of a good quality steel with an appropriate carbon content.


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Wow, good question!
This is what I honed in on with this issue: :rolleyes:

a. Issue: You said: “Having problems with some axles on some small Greens mower trailers, the axles are 3/4" maybe 7/8" round stock.”

b. Why: You said: “They are bending because of the weight of the mowers bouncing on the cart paths.”

This would be my evaluation for consideration:
First, I feel the manufacture would no doubt maximize the values of the steel in the axle. They for sure do not want to have a bad reputation for producing a defective product.
I would suggest that to try out guess them as to what an appropriate heat treatment for that axle would be, would be risky!
As what has been suggested already, check with the manufacture. I would tell him of how the axles are being used, which would include weight of loads, and the bouncing issues.

Remember: Once you have altered the heat treatment and then you have a failure with the trailer and someone gets hurt, you are now responsible for the failure.

One problem is that to find out how well your heat treatment held up would be most likely dependent on if some type of a failure has occurred.

I know this does not answer your question about heat treating. But in this case I would avoid messing with it.
I graduated out of a trade collage 30 years ago, and I also ran a rental store at one time. There was a great emphases was placed on liability v. the work you do

The problem sounds like the axles are under rated for the work load they are required to do to begin with.
Based on the fact that you said they “BOUNCE” changes the whole ball game of how much of a load that they can effectively carry under the circumstances.
When they bounce you are adding Kinetic Energy (The energy of Motion

Edited by Ted T
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