Do I need a new axle? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-04-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
RLP
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 72 Boler
British Columbia
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Do I need a new axle?

I bought a 1972 13' Boler about a year ago but have not had it on the road yet other than bringing it home (15kms). I suspect it has the original torsion axle. Looking at pics of other Bolers, mine sits low as well.

Is there a way to check the condition of the axle? Are there clearance specs available (frame to ground maybe)? When I bounce on the rear bumper the trailer bounces correspondingly and nothing 'bottoms out' but I don't know what's 'normal'.

I intend to travel some back country Forest roads with it and need more clearance so I will likely raise the body 2 to 3 inches. If its determined that the axle needs replacing, that alone might give me some additional height.

Your thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by RLP View Post
I bought a 1972 13' Boler about a year ago but have not had it on the road yet other than bringing it home (15kms). I suspect it has the original torsion axle. Looking at pics of other Bolers, mine sits low as well.

Is there a way to check the condition of the axle? Are there clearance specs available (frame to ground maybe)? When I bounce on the rear bumper the trailer bounces correspondingly and nothing 'bottoms out' but I don't know what's 'normal'.

I intend to travel some back country Forest roads with it and need more clearance so I will likely raise the body 2 to 3 inches. If its determined that the axle needs replacing, that alone might give me some additional height.

Your thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
The primary indicators of axle wear are tire related..
As a torsion axle wears it will develope more negative camber and toe-out. The result is tire wear on the inside edge of the tires.
The "Fist test" is silly on it's face, since fist size varies , tire sizes get changed over time,weight of cargo and mods differ and wheel wells vary, not only from trailer to trailer but from side to side.
A Dexter axle will take a few degrees of "set" within the first few hundred miles, when new. It will then stabilize for a long period of time. Additional weight will increase the angle as well, of course.
Your trailer likely has a 1200# leading arm axle, Boler people here might know it's original set angle.
If you are not experiencing excessive tire wear as described above, then you probably don't need a new axle.
If you want more ground clearance and more cargo and accessory capacity, the conversion to a 2200# trailing arm axle would accomplish both and would be the best choice. If you would like even more ride height increase you could add a length of tubing between the frame and axle mount.
These mods would allow larger tires the possibility of adding brakes which would be a great addition to just about any trailer.

Here is a photo of a brand new 1981 Scamp to compare ride height....
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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Hi: RLP... Do I need a new axle? The simple answer is "Probably Yes"!!! The lightest axle Boler was using according to my 1977 brochure was a 1250#.
I have a 1972 Boler here in the driveway and the sheet in the cupboard lists a GVW rate at 1350#s max. The only bounce to this unit is from the radial tires I put on it. I wouldn't put it on the road without a new axle and some frame repairs.
Find a decent RV dealer who can supply and install a 2200# dexter 22* down angle which will increase your road clearance without lifting the trailer significantly. $$$'s could be 5-7 hundred and well worth it IMHO.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 12-04-2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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Rims and Tires, Axles items in Johnson's Surplus store on eBay!

Check with these guys, you will like the site
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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Other than the tire wear, you can test the amount of "life" in the rubber, by jacking the trailer up till the tire clears, then with a pry bar see how much you can articulate the tire vertically.

It's an educated guess, but if the rubber is hard, there will be little movement. If it is worn significantly, there will be little resistance.

A good bushing should have some resistance without trying to lift the trailer, and a fair degree of movement.
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:24 PM   #6
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If it's a '72 like mine you need a new axle, but I like mine low.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Earl E. November View Post
Other than the tire wear, you can test the amount of "life" in the rubber, by jacking the trailer up till the tire clears, then with a pry bar see how much you can articulate the tire vertically.

It's an educated guess, but if the rubber is hard, there will be little movement. If it is worn significantly, there will be little resistance.

A good bushing should have some resistance without trying to lift the trailer, and a fair degree of movement.
Because of the forces applied, If a torsion axle has bad rubber, it will be revealed by the fact that it allows the insert to move upward outboard and downward inboard as it wears. It will also cause it to move forward inboard and rearward outboard.since the trailer is normally towed forward.
These movements will cause an increase in negative camber and wear toward toe-out.
Wanting a new axle and needing one are two different things. If a good axle is bottoming out it is likely overloaded,at that point replacement becomes a mod , not maintenance.
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