Sizing New axle for '79 4500 Trillium - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-29-2006, 05:29 PM   #1
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Today I put our 1550# Trillium into the garage to start a ground up restoration. It came from the factory with a 2000# tortion axle and 13" wheels. I'm going to replace the tortion axle and have to decide on the most appropriate replacement. Trillium has said the original axle was under sized and is recomending replacing it with a 2500# unit. I looked at the Dexter website and a 2500# axle is available with 10" brakes or they also have available a 2200# axle with 7" brakes. The advantage to the 2200# unit is it weighs less and is less expensive, so the 2500# axle only gains me maybe 200#'s capacity.
This is also the time to move up to 14" rims and a beefier tire if I'm going to do that.
I'm of the school of "If you really don't need it leave it at home."
If anyone has any thoughts or experience on the axle or wheels....
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:51 PM   #2
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I think the higher-capacity axle gains more than just a three hundred pounds of capacity: it also gains those larger brakes. If anyone sold a 3100 lb car with brakes as small as 7"x1.25" drums on all wheels it would be laughed at, so maybe the 10"x2.25" brakes are an appropriate choice. I don't believe in pointless extra weight, but this might be a case in which the difference is justified. Personally, I think the 10" brakes are not large enough for my 3000 lb (loaded weight) Boler, and would consider 12" if I were buying an all-new axle.

A similar argument could be made for the larger wheels and tires.

As Pete Dumbleton usually points out, you can apparently order the rubber to suit the actual trailer weight, less than the maximum axle capacity. I would want the rubber as soft as possible while still being adequate, for better ride and control over bumps.
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:57 PM   #3
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Get the 2500 lb axle and the 10" brakes with five lug drums. You won't regret it.

Roger
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:15 PM   #4
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David,
Is there a possibility you might replace the frame? If so, it might be wise to weigh the old frame and compare it's weght with the new one. Even a 2500# axle might be a little light weight. Also, was the 1550# including water, clothes, groceries, BBQ, tables and chairs, toys, etc?
Enjoy the restoration process and please keep us posted with before and after photos.
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Today I put our 1550# Trillium into the garage to start a ground up restoration. It came from the factory with a 2000# tortion axle and 13" wheels. I'm going to replace the tortion axle and have to decide on the most appropriate replacement. Trillium has said the original axle was under sized and is recomending replacing it with a 2500# unit. I looked at the Dexter website and a 2500# axle is available with 10" brakes or they also have available a 2200# axle with 7" brakes. The advantage to the 2200# unit is it weighs less and is less expensive, so the 2500# axle only gains me maybe 200#'s capacity.
This is also the time to move up to 14" rims and a beefier tire if I'm going to do that.
I'm of the school of "If you really don't need it leave it at home."
If anyone has any thoughts or experience on the axle or wheels....
Hi: With most "Eggs" over done is better than under done Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:40 PM   #6
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The 1550# weight is everything except water, firewood, groc, and a few clothes. It seems everyone is in agreement that 2500 & 10" brakes would be preferable. Once you jump to 2300# axle, weight ratings increase by 100# increments up to 3500#'s. There is no actual weight difference between a 2300# and a 3500# rated axle. Any thoughts on the quality of the ride?
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:44 PM   #7
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I forgot to answer that the frame seems to be in good shape. I'm planning on sand blasting, inspecting, and powder coating frame.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:59 PM   #8
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From empty and dry to loaded for travel (still little to no water) , my 17' Boler increases by roughly 600 lbs. Even if this Trillium 4500 carried that much, it would be less than the 2300 lbs rating of the softest #10 Torflex - I think I would go for that lightest springing of the larger series (#10) axle, but I don't have the personal experience to really know what to expect in ride quality, compared to #9 axle.

All of these trailer suspensions have very short travel by automotive standards, so they must be quite stiff - that's why I would try for the softest option. If the handling less controlled than ideal (and thus perhaps too "soft"), I think that adding shocks would be better than stiffer springs. Since it seems like the only Dexter shock kit is just for the leaf-spring axles, the Monroe retrofit kit or a home-brewed mounting would be required.
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:04 PM   #9
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Upon further review, the Dexter axle brackets weren't very compatable with the exsisting method of attachment. I looked further and found that the GKN axle by Henschen was an exact match and probably original equipment. They have 2000# or 2500# models, so I'm going with the 2500#, 10" brakes and ST205/75R14 tires and 5 bolt wheels. I highly recommend Cox trailers, a distributor, that really helped with the details.
937-548-4699 http://www.coxtrailer.com
Thanks for the help and input. Dave
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:17 AM   #10
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Upon further review, the Dexter axle brackets weren't very compatable with the exsisting method of attachment. I looked further and found that the GKN axle by Henschen was an exact match and probably original equipment. They have 2000# or 2500# models, so I'm going with the 2500#, 10" brakes and ST205/75R14 tires and 5 bolt wheels. I highly recommend Cox trailers, a distributor, that really helped with the details.
937-548-4699 www.coxtrailer.com
Thanks for the help and input. Dave
I have a 4500 with a Henschen axle. I could only see ---- chen on the axle tag and couldn't read the weight because of tag condition. I recently talked to someone who was actually in the Trillium factory while it was still running and he tells me they did use Henschen as original equipment. Did your 4500 originally have brakes? Mine didn't but the wires are there. Have you installed the new axle yet and if so have you had a chance to test it? I am also considering 14" wheels and definitely want the 10" brakes. Are you going to have enough room for the 14" wheels or do you have to use risers? I would really appreciate any feedback when you get everything installed.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:42 AM   #11
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I have a 4500 with a Henschen axle. I could only see ---- chen on the axle tag and couldn't read the weight because of tag condition...
The axle in my Boler came from Standen's (as confirmed by the supplier list in the Boler owner's manual), but the tag was only readable in fragments - no weight rating visible. I called Standen's with the bits of information which I could read, and they were very helpful - they were able to confirm the model and capacity rating.

Bill, now that you know "---chen" was Henschen, if there is any other readable information, perhaps they can help with a better description, if you're still interested.
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:02 PM   #12
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The axle in my Boler came from Standen's (as confirmed by the supplier list in the Boler owner's manual), but the tag was only readable in fragments - no weight rating visible. I called Standen's with the bits of information which I could read, and they were very helpful - they were able to confirm the model and capacity rating.

Bill, now that you know "---chen" was Henschen, if there is any other readable information, perhaps they can help with a better description, if you're still interested.
I will call them after Christmas but I thought it would make a lot of sense to talk to Dave because he is already doing exactly what I want to do on the same model of trailer with the 14'' wheel change and additional weight rating. Theory is a great thing but actual experience(especially on the weight rating) can be quite valuable as well. I think either over or under guessing the weight rating any substantial amount will lead to undesirable results, so going with a tried and tested rating appeals to me(I wouldn't want to have to do this twice).
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:25 PM   #13
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I have a 4500 with a Henschen axle. I could only see ---- chen on the axle tag and couldn't read the weight because of tag condition. I recently talked to someone who was actually in the Trillium factory while it was still running and he tells me they did use Henschen as original equipment. Did your 4500 originally have brakes? Mine didn't but the wires are there. Have you installed the new axle yet and if so have you had a chance to test it? I am also considering 14" wheels and definitely want the 10" brakes. Are you going to have enough room for the 14" wheels or do you have to use risers? I would really appreciate any feedback when you get everything installed.
Bill, Iam picking up my axle Dec. 26 from the factory in Ohio, so I don't have any feedback yet on installation.. Go to the "Helpful Links' on this site and you'll find the Heschen page which may clarify my answer. My old axle did have brakes, the mounting brackets are 53" OD,the hub to hub face was 68" and hubs are 5x 4.5". Axle and spindles were both rated 2000#. The original start angle on the arm was 15 degrees up.
To gain the clearance for the 2" larger tires, 1" on top and 1" on the pavement, you only need to change the start angle of the axle from the 15 up to the 10 degree down which yeilds a 2.3" additional clearance. I opted to go to the 22.5 start angle, 3.6" of additional clearance, to give a better ride and clearance for the frame which would contact front and rear over curbs. With the 22.5 degree start angle the arm is parallel with the road and has the best damping qualities. The 68" face to face measurement of the hubs may need to adjusted for tire clearance depending on the wheel and tire you choose. I ordered the spindals to be 3500#. The one oddity of my order was to spec the left side of the axle to be 1500# and the right side to be 1250# for a total 2750#. I did this because the left half of the trailer was built 200# heavier than the right side. I'm hoping that the trailer will be level instead of tilted left as it is now. Let me know if you have any further questions. Dave
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:14 AM   #14
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Bill, Iam picking up my axle Dec. 26 from the factory in Ohio, so I don't have any feedback yet on installation.. Go to the "Helpful Links' on this site and you'll find the Heschen page which may clarify my answer. My old axle did have brakes, the mounting brackets are 53" OD,the hub to hub face was 68" and hubs are 5x 4.5". Axle and spindles were both rated 2000#. The original start angle on the arm was 15 degrees up.
To gain the clearance for the 2" larger tires, 1" on top and 1" on the pavement, you only need to change the start angle of the axle from the 15 up to the 10 degree down which yeilds a 2.3" additional clearance. I opted to go to the 22.5 start angle, 3.6" of additional clearance, to give a better ride and clearance for the frame which would contact front and rear over curbs. With the 22.5 degree start angle the arm is parallel with the road and has the best damping qualities. The 68" face to face measurement of the hubs may need to adjusted for tire clearance depending on the wheel and tire you choose. I ordered the spindals to be 3500#. The one oddity of my order was to spec the left side of the axle to be 1500# and the right side to be 1250# for a total 2750#. I did this because the left half of the trailer was built 200# heavier than the right side. I'm hoping that the trailer will be level instead of tilted left as it is now. Let me know if you have any further questions. Dave
I've had other questiuons but I also had our daughter home for a week for the first time in 2 1/2 years, so axles sort of took a back seat. She had her new 7 month old son with her as well.
When I started going over your last e-mail I was curious why you changed the start angle by 2.3" when there should only be a 1" change in the tire radius(2" on diameter). I found the same 15 degree up start position(no load) on my trailer. Before I discovered it was a Henschen axle I was looking at the Dexter specs. and realized they were dimensioned in normal load position( trailer sitting on it's wheels). I found it next to impossible to measure the angle with wheels in the way so i put the trailer up on stands and took the wheels off. Then i used a floor jack to push up on the spindle until the trailer was no longer resting on the stand. As I understand it Henschen specs. claim 22.5 degree of movement between no load and normal load positions. My axle moves 6 degrees(from 15 up to 21 up). Now I don't know why. It could be there was a different spec in 1980, or the axle is overrated, or the rubber has hardened with age and doesn't compress as easily, or? If your old axle had the same movement as mine and now the new one moves the full 22.2 degrees you could end up losing the extra clearance you hoped to gain or if it moves only 6 degrees like my old one you could look like you are up on stilts. With 22.5 degree movement you could use spacers, but with 6 degree you have to live with it. That is why I was really interested in talking to you after you have yours installed. I certainly hope yours works for you.
Bill
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