Axle Question for Camping Trailers Plans

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ShadowHawk
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Axle Question for Camping Trailers Plans

Post by ShadowHawk »

Hello,


I'm currently deciding upon whether to build the Sequoia, or the Trail-a-Camp camping trailers, and before committing to purchasing the plans, I'd like to know if there are provisions for using a torsion-axle instead of leaf-springs for the trailers? The plans look to be kind of... well... aged... and I personally feel that the torsion axles will give a smoother / safer ride for anything in the trailer.

Image

Also - Could a section of the new Boatbuilder connection be added for the Rec. vehicles builders?

Thanks,
Rex Smith

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ShadowHawk
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Post by ShadowHawk »

Well, I was hoping someone from Glen-L could reply to clarify the suspension question... I emailed the same question to them early this week, and have no reply via email either.

Rex

Dave Beem
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Axils

Post by Dave Beem »

Hello there
The ones your asking about are a bit more spendy but will give you a outstanding ride. There far better than the old leafspring type. Those are the ones I got for my sailboat trailer.

Barry
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Post by Barry »

ShadowHawk,

I apologize, I have seen the post, but don't know the answer. I had meant to ask Glen, but forgot. He will be back on Monday, will ask him then.

For what it's worth, I think they can be used, but would likely require some alteration in the wheel wells.

Will get back on the 26th.

Barry

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ShadowHawk
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Post by ShadowHawk »

Thanks for the update, Barry.

Rex S.

Barry
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Post by Barry »

The plans do not detail torsion springs, but they can be used.
This is covered in the "How to Build Boat Trailers" book, but not in the RV plans.

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ShadowHawk
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Post by ShadowHawk »

Thanks Barry,

I thought long and hard about getting the trailer book, and now I suppose I should have. I ordered the Trail-a-camp plans on Friday a.m. - and guess what showed up in todays mail? Thanks Glen-L for such quick service!

On that note, these guys happen to be local to me in Dallas: http://www.etrailerpart.com/ - so I'll give them a ring to see what a torsion axle will run me... for the purpose. At a glance - it looks like it'll be about $185 for the axle WITH hubs (2000 lb rating).

I'll order the trailer book in the morning.

Thanks again,
Rex

KenF
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Post by KenF »

Princess Auto has half torsion axles for $256CAN each. What's nice about them is you make the axle yourself, whatever length you need. I don't think I can get a 8' axle any cheaper for my pontoon boat trailer.

They are rated at 2500lbs - does that mean 5000lb axle rating?
Ken Franks
Calgary, Alberta
CANADA

denverd0n

depends

Post by denverd0n »

You'll have to ask how they rate them as to whether it's 2500 lbs. for the axle or 5000. Sometimes they list springs and torsion axle by their capacity for one and you double it for two, and sometimes they list them by the pair (since you always have to use them in pairs). So the only way to be sure is to ask.

JimM
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Post by JimM »

...torsion axles will give a smoother / safer ride...

My suspicion is that the type of axel won't affect the ride or safety (assuming it's properly sized), but the chassis mount of the torsion axel sits a lot lower, allowing you to get the CG lower, which in turn WILL improve the ride and safety. That's assuming you really can redesign to get the CG lower.

Torsion axels always scared me a bit, though, because of the danger of the one-piece spring breaking. But if it has a positive stop, I guess it would be fail-safe. Wonder how much a replacement spring costs, compared to a leaf or two?

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ShadowHawk
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Post by ShadowHawk »

I don't know about safety - but I did speak with a friend who was a welder for a local (Dallas area) trailer manufacturing company about the torsion axles.

He related to me that he had made a small trailer - small enough to carry camping gear behind his Mazda Miata - and had used the torsion axles with it. On it's first venture out over a bumpy dirt-road to get to the camping area, there were some pretty nasty bumps... he said that the trailer never bounces left/right at all - but that because of the independently suspended axles on torsion bars, that it rode along VERY smoothly.

I think that there may be something to safety along with that smooth ride... if the trailer's not bouncing around after hitting bumps/potholes, then it's sure to be a safer ride.

BTW - I did order and receive the boat trailer book for the additional info on using torsion axles with the trail-a-camp. I was a little disappointed - as it did not go over any adjustments that would have to be made with the wheel-wells when using torsion axles... it really only gave an overview of what a torsion axle is, and some of its benefits... Nonetheless - I'll keep the book.

Rex S.

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Dave Grason
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Post by Dave Grason »

KenF wrote:They are rated at 2500lbs - does that mean 5000lb axle rating?
In my lawn biz, I've been running Dexter axles for years. The basic models are rated at 2000lbs and then the next models up are 3500lbs. Beyond that, the 7000lb axles start getting into some serious dollars so many of the trailer builders build tandem trailers with 2 3500lb axles on each trailer. They like to CALL it 7000lbs but in reality it's somewhere considerably shy of that mark. Here's why:

If you were carrying an evenly distributed load of 7000lbs down a perfectly smooth street, the trailer would be fine. However, when you come to a sharp bump in the road, or you let one side of the trailer drift of the pavement and into a pothole, the axle recieves a sudden shock load that can and will easily overly stress the axle for a split second. In the above example, the forward axle would take the hit first and for an instant, the entire 7000lbs would be on that axle.

Around here it's not unusual to see lawncare guys with bent axles on their trailers because everyone wants a trailer for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper and they literally are running around with unsafe trailers because the manufacturers are cutting costs in places that are not obvious to the eye - namely the axles. Once an axle is bent, the trailer doesn't want to trail straight, it will definately NOT back straight and will go through tires like Pac-Man sometimes shredding new tires in just a few miles. We've also seen this in the RV market with larger and larger travel trailers on increasingly smaller and smaller axles. In this country, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration is the only governing body that attempts to "police" this problem and they only take action after class action lawsuits have been filed. Something has to give. For this reason, I refuse to buy any trailer locally and for the past 8 years I've only built my own. That way I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that my trailers will be safe for the intended use. In the process, I got set up with the state of Tennessee as an official trailer manufacturer and I have builder status with Dexter axles. I do NOT try to make a profit because the price gouging is outrageous here and there's no money in it. However, in the last 5 years, I've built 23 trailers for myself and many of my lawncare buddies but only at my cost. And I usually stipulated that if one of my lawncare buddies wanted a trailer, he had to pay for the parts and shipping ahead of time and help me do the build.

As a side note, Dexter will custom make any length axle you want, but they need about 2 extra weeks to turn them out. In the past, there has been no extra charge over the standard sizes, only the wait. You'll need to know your spring center distance and the distance between the hub faces. Also, I personally would never build a dual axle trailer without going with brakes on both axles. Having one axle as an idler only, is just stupid IMHO, unless your intended load is way below the tow vehicles GVRW. But even then, many times things change when you're trying to stop in rain or snow. It's better to have brakes.

Anyone on this forum that wants axles or trailer parts can go to www.redneck-trailer.com and look at the entire catalog in PDF format. If you find what you want, contact me and I will have the part drop shipped to your door at my cost plus shipping. That deal doesn't get any better.

Contact me at dgrason@comcast.net

There are some caveats with this offer. You'll probably need to be located in the continental US. I may be able to ship to Canada, but I'm sure that other parts of the world are out of the question. Also, I may need to change this offer if I get so many people wanting stuff that it monopolizes my time. I'm not making anything on this, only helping my fellow boat building friends.
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

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