4" lift and shock upgrade Bigfoot 19' - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-15-2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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Name: Jared
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alberta
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Thanks for the compliments!


Brian - I did look at the Dexter kit but did not want to have to take it in for welding, it is more expensive and the shock selection for that style of mount is limited. I mounted the shocks on the inside due to space constraints on the outboard side. While they would fit with the trailer static, they did not have sufficient clearance once the axle goes through its range of movement. They are also protected by having them on the inside.


Jim – springs are fine, might be sagging a wee bit ~1/2”, but for 29 years old, they are in great shape. Don't forget trailers used to have less ground clearance and the Bigfoot’s fibreglass shell extends well below the frame in many areas. I think my trailer was babied/barely used by the previous owners, though I believe they had not waxed it in more than a decade. I can now drag myself from one end underneath the trailer to the other with out any jacking, and I am no small guy either. It has more clearance than my 4runner now!


Brian – exactly what I though about the spring capacity, The axle, bearings and brakes are still rated at 3500. Just had a uh-oh moment. I did not tell Standens to de-rate the axle alignment for the lower weight. ( I might have uneven wear on the tires - though the sidewalls will crack and split before the tires tread is gone.


Tom – rusty fasteners at a minimum tripled the work, more likely 4 times. If everything was brand new, I could probably do it in a day.


John – I raised the ball height about 2”. it now rides with the front slight low as opposed to slightly high before the lift. I had to keep the ball higher pre-lift due to a really bad exit from my driveway. No issues now. Shocks are very rare from the factory. I mainly added them because of the washboard on logging roads and the fact that I go off-road prevented the addition of weight distribution and sway control. I have a very good mechanical aptitude and rusted fasteners were my largest challenge. You need to be confident in using a torque wrench, and have access to one. Having inspected and repacked your bearings would go a long way as well. Watch some of the videos online and if that scares you; bribe, beg or blackmail for some help – any qualified auto mechanic could get you through the hard parts. As Brian mentions the process for a torsion axle lift is different though.


Perhaps someone can chime in on torsion axle lifts?
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #16
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So...the question remains: How's the beer and soda like the new ride? :-0

Still have to wait to enjoy the carbonated beverages?
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:05 PM   #17
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Name: Jared
Trailer: Bigfoot
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I still don't know how well the BEvERageS fares with the shocks. I was cramming to get this done for my parents visit (they steal my trailer and truck to go up into the mountains every year, seniors are the new teenagers!) at least I got to visit them while Calgary got swamped. Interesting story: I left early in the morning of the day the floods began. We had no clue about the extent of flooding till we got back four days after the evacuations. I remember the news radio saying that there were no worries of flooding in Calgary as i left radio coverage on my escape to the mountains. I'm a little late getting this posted as i had been helping a friend out who was 6 feet under during the floods and getting the rest of the visit sorted out. Fortunately I was high and dry through it all.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:59 PM   #18
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What do you think of the shocks after having them for a while
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #19
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Name: Jared
Trailer: Bigfoot
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Just got back from a 900 km trip up to the Crows nest pass and to White Swan with a good 80km of rough logging roads. The trailer handles washboard better than my 4runner, but high speed potholes are still a little rough. The BEvERege test was very positive, though a little foamy. What surprised my was the paved road handing. No bouncing no sway and very stable cornering at speed. One very happy camper.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:41 AM   #20
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Sounds good. Improvements are a great thing.

With the leafs and good shocks you have probably optimized your Bigfoot's behavior.

Wondering if any anyone has installed torsion axles on a bigfoot. Not cheap but the ride would be creme de creme.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:52 PM   #21
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Torsion axles just to keep down the foam on the beer? I guess so....
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared L View Post
Just got back from a 900 km trip up to the Crows nest pass and to White Swan with a good 80km of rough logging roads. The trailer handles washboard better than my 4runner, but high speed potholes are still a little rough. The BEvERege test was very positive, though a little foamy. What surprised my was the paved road handing. No bouncing no sway and very stable cornering at speed. One very happy camper.
I love White Swan Prov Park. Did you sample that beverage while at Lussier Hot Springs?
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:49 PM   #23
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Name: Gardnpondr
Trailer: 1985 BigFoot G
Mississippi
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OK I just GOT to ask you! We have a 1985 Bigfoot double axle. It doesn't have an AC but I see yours does. Did yours come with it or did you put it on there. We have GOT to have an AC and I am trying to find out IF there is enough room in the roof for one. What kind of AC is yours? Just praying we can put one on our roof to.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:43 PM   #24
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Name: Jared
Trailer: Bigfoot
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The trailer came with the unit. I plugged it in when i bought the trailer and I worked! Never used it since then but use the furnace from time to time. It is a coleman so i am not sure who really made it. If you are headed up to Calgary i would sell it for a pretty good price but i would assume it needs a recharge and being old, that may be a problem with refrigerant types. From what i have read it fits in the same hole as a standard roof vent. I may pull it this year as it does nothing but sag my roof and provide increased wind resistance when towing. I spend my camping time in the mountains in BC off the grid so about as useful as [![$ on a bull.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:14 PM   #25
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My Bigfoot's original owner bought and used it in Alberta. One of the first things I added when I got it to Texas was air conditioning. My unit is a Coleman-Mach 13.5 BTU. It cost $1000 installed. I've never regretted the money or weight added to the roof. It works great. When it's 94 degrees F. at 10 P.M. you will not be a happy camper without AC.

Lake Bardwell, TX Photo by tomNjo | Photobucket
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:58 AM   #26
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Name: Rich
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel
Texas
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Gardnpondr, for whats it's worth, I have a 20' 87 Bigfoot 5er with a roof A/C. It is a DuoTherm BriskAir. I've only had my BF three months and have no idea if it was factory installed. I do know the PO did not install it, but the PPO may have, as he did a number of improvements. I have not yet needed the A/C, only the heat strip. But our Texas summer is approaching and A/C is essential!

I can put you in contact with the PPO if you want to inquire about the A/C.

There is plenty of roof space room on my trailer, but it's a 20 footer. I can see that the roof is not as uniform as it must have been when new.

One someday project is to mount solar panels up there. I believe there is room for 200-300 watts of panels, maybe even 400 watts. No sense in doing that unless I upgrade to two 6V golf cart batteries. Currently I have a 100W external panel which well accommodates the needs of my single 12V battery. The PPO installed the solar charge controller and wiring. I only had to acquire the panel, cabling, and a plug to the match the Attworod trolling motor connector he installed. It was plug and play!

Jared, nice work on the shocks! Another someday project is to look into shocks. So many projects so little money! At least as a new retireee, I have the time.

Rich

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Old 04-08-2015, 09:00 PM   #27
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Trailer: 1985 BigFoot G
Mississippi
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Thank you guys. Someone was telling me the roof might sag if I put one on top they wasn't sure it could handle one unless we did supports. Oh I am a lonnnnnnnnnnng way from you Jared. Thank you though!!!!
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:53 PM   #28
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Name: Val
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Deluxe B19 19 ft / 2007 Nissan Frontier V6 NISMO 4x4
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Thumbs up Thank you so much for sharing this!

Hi Jared,

I have a 1988 Bigfoot B19 Deluxe and while I had the drop axles changed to straight axles when I first got it (because it was dangerously low to the ground), after reading the forums discussions about shocks, I have decided to go ahead add them since I have to replace the brakes, bearings and tires this year anyway. As this type of project is way beyond my skill level, I am very grateful to have an amazingly talented, extremely honest mechanic whose prices are always less than half of what any shop would charge, but he has not put shocks on a travel trailer before so I am doing the research to share with him and was so happy to come across your post, since you have the same size trailer as mine. I have a couple of questions - some related to the shocks and some related to your experience towing the B19, which is a fairly rare size. If you have a chance to respond, I (and my mechanic) would greatly appreciate your input:

1. Did you install the shocks facing in the same direction on both axles or facing in opposite directions to create counterbalance in movement?

2. Now that you've been driving with the shocks for awhile now, do you still feel it was worth installing them - did it improve the ride and handling? I will be taking mine on some washboard roads as well.

3. Do you use a weight distribution hitch when towing? I use an Equalizer bar which provides both weight distribution and sway control but I would SO love to not have to use it because the shank that attaches to the truck hitch is so awkward and heavy. At the same time, safety and handling is a top concern, so I wouldn't forgo using it if it's necessary. I know that many Casita owners are able to do fine with just a sway control bar (which does not have a heavy shank like the weight distributions systems do) but I wonder what your experience has been? I don't know if it makes a difference, but my tow vehicle is a 2007 Nissan Frontier V6 NISMO 4x4, which has the off-road suspension.

4. Did you stick with the ST 205/75R14 tires and if so, what load rating did you go with or have you changed tire sizes since raising the axle and adding shocks? Are you happy with the brand of tires you have and if so, would you share what brand you went with? Have you heard of tires with heat rating? (since you're in Canada, that may not be a necessary feature, but I am in Arizona and heat resistance would be a really good idea).

5. Have you had to replace or repair any of the circuitry (electrical panel, etc.) - have you added any solar panels? What type of battery do you use?

Sure appreciate seeing another B19 owner out there. Thanks so much for your wonderfully detailed step-by-step description of your awesome modification and congratulations on doing such a great job!
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