Tag Archives: Samsonite

Hack: Replacing the wheels on Samsonite Luggage

We have this Samsonite which has been with us for many years. It was redeemed using points from a credit card. Free stuff is always the best!

It predates the fancy-schmancy spinner bags, and has been with us/me traipsing through Europe, Australia, China and most of South East Asia. On a particularly memorable trip, it was dragged through the dirt road border crossing of Trapeang Piong (Cambodia) and Xa Mat (Vietnam).

The rubber on the wheels had started to fall off about two years ago, and I didn’t do anything about it until I realised it was the absolute LOUDEST piece of roller luggage in any airport or city I went; grating and scraping the plastic wheels sans the rubber on every conceivable surface.

Went shopping for a replacement bag recently, and realised that they don’t make them like they used to. Spinner bags with their tiny articulated wheels on castors look like they would snap off the second bounced off any pavement, and the telescoping handles feel flimsy and wonky.

Time to hack up the bag then, and try to replace the wheels with some I scavenged from my highly neglected pair of inline skates. If I failed, well, I had to buy a new bag anyway…

Some notes on this hack after the pictures.

I understand some newer models use torx/allen screws to secure the axles, but the axles on this particular model were permanent and had to be drilled out using a drill press. Be careful not to get over enthusiastic on the removal, and enlarge the axle holes in the carriage. I did; and ended up having to backfill with some hobby cement.

The axle was 6mm thick, and luckily so were the axles from my rollerblades. The wheels from the skates were 76mm, but were too large for this carriage and would bind. I used the more worn-out front wheels from each boot and fixed this issue.

I’ll use this setup until it breaks, then implement these in V2. Time to find a skate shop in my area.

Things I would have done differently.
1. Not unnecessarily enlarged the axle holes.
2. Used smaller wheels (say 74mm), with protruding (oversized?) bearings.
3. Got longer axles secured on one end, instead of in the middle.
4. Properly sized washers.
5. Loctite.