Building swing out bumper. Use bearings or not?

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Nov 10, 2006
Warsaw, Poland
So I am wondering how to make the swing out arm. One popular option is to use a pair of bearings and spindle but I think that this is overkill. Maybe I'm wrong.

I am planning to use two tubes which fit tightly one over the other, weld caps on both of them so that no water can enter from above. You know, like two glasses put upside down one over the other.

If I use grease, I will have smooth movement, even if the parts are a machined tight fit (for rigidity). You know, simple stuff, like door hinges :)

Any reason why I should bother to fabricate a spindle, buy two tapered bearings, tighten it all with a big nut, cover against mud with a cap etc...???
I wondered about that too. This thing is going to make, what, 1000 1/4 swings over the next 10 years?

You do need to have something to prevent it from coming straight up and off, and that needs to be watertight. How would you accomplish this the way you plan?

I like the bronze bushing idea. Those don't rust.

My tapered roller bearings are probably brinnelled all to s*** by now, but you'd never know. It still swings nice and I haven't greased it since the install a year ago. The grease seal seems to be holding. It's probably pretty hard to beat a cheap spindle made in chiner pricewise.
I used a dual shear hinge from Comp 4x4 on my Tacoma swingout. It uses bronze bushings and a large 1" bolt. It is extremely simple but has worked very well for over 4 years now. I actually have two of them on my Tacoma now and I'm contemplating replacing my Spindle hinge on my Cruiser with these. It requires no maintenance, works smoothly, and the dual shear design is very strong. It's also super cheap.

Thanks for the replies.

I was having problems with fabrication of two tubes which would fit exactly one over the other. I couldn't find the right diameters which would let me make it low cost (not too much machining). Another problem was the kind of steel readily available. I think that it's too soft and could bend with the weight of a large tire. But I have two used birfields. I cut the bell-shaped part off and have two spindles and I am wondering if the birfield steel is rigid/stiff enough? Or maybe too stiff and would break instead of bending? I have put some welds on the bottom of the birf to see if it is weldable and it is. When I TIG weld drill bits they pop sparkles all around, create a porous surface and in general are unusable (high carbon content, which creates a hard but breakable metal). The birfs behave well under my TIG but just wanted to make sure if they are at least moderately flexible or prone to cracking like glass?

Below is what I am planning to do: use the birf as the spindle and weld the arm onto a thick-walled tube capped from the top to prevent moisture. A groove in the spindle and a screw in the upper tube will prevent the arm from travelling upwards and falling off.

your axle idea will work fine as the axle is tough not hard, ie will allow twist before snapping,
introduce a grease nipple around the same area as the locking bolt and you will get years of easy operation at a guess and rust will be held at bay with the grease as well

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