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Old 10-16-2011, 07:37 PM   #1
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Name: Hillary
Trailer: 1974 ECO ~ Just purchased!
California
Posts: 32
Gaining Clearance - Raising/ blocking up axel?

Hey everyone!

I think I've finally found the trailer I'd like to purchase. One downside is it's clearance - it's LOW. The current owner says that I can get a welder to raise or block up the current axel position to gain clearance.

Has anyone done this? Any suggestions? Any idea how much it might cost...?

Thanks
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:54 PM   #2
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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What year is the trailer? Torsion axles last 10-20 years... It may just need a new axle to raise it. Raising a trailer by adding metal between the frame and the axle is done, but if your trailer needs a new axle all you're getting is height... not a smooth rider...
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:04 PM   #3
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Name: Hillary
Trailer: 1974 ECO ~ Just purchased!
California
Posts: 32
Hey Donna, Thanks for your reply.

It's a 1974 - not a torsion axel. I need height because I'd like to take it camping in places that might be a little more rugged. My job takes me to those places most of the time!
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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Name: Rudi
Trailer: 17' Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 12
Raising trailer

Hi,

You could be looking at several options.

The leaf springs may be shot. Changing these could increase your height by a good couple of inches depending on how bad they are. I priced these out for my Boler 1700, and they can be had for about 40-50 bucks each in Canada.

A common practice to gain clearance is to "flip" the axle. This is actually accomplished by changing the position of the axle to being overslung of your leaf springs vs underslung. It requires welding on new leaf spring pads on the opposite side of the axle. Parts are cheap- less than 20 bucks, but you need a welder.

Note that this is not recommended procedure for a drop axle!

That being said, another option is to replace a drop axle with a straight axle. This will give you about 4 inches, or whatever the drop is.

I replaced the drop axle on my Boler 1700 with a straight axle and new leaf spings. My height increased an easy 7 inches.

Replacing springs and axles on these little trailers can be done if you are handy, and an extra set of hands is nice too.

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-17-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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Trailer: former Boler, now 1980 Trillium 4500
Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntHoodoo View Post
Hey everyone!

I think I've finally found the trailer I'd like to purchase. One downside is it's clearance - it's LOW. The current owner says that I can get a welder to raise or block up the current axel position to gain clearance.

Has anyone done this? Any suggestions? Any idea how much it might cost...?

Thanks
Yes. When I bought my 1974 Boler, the previous owner had raised it up about 6 inches for his big pickup truck by removing the bolt-on axle, welding risers on to the axle (they were a sideways U shape) and then bolting the risers to the original bolt holes in the frame. When I replaced the old torsion axle, I added about 1 inch of height to make the wheels ride higher, just because I thought the original Boler height did not have enough clearance. I used a 1 X 1 ˝ inch rectangular steel tube about 8 inches long (the length of the axle mount) and drilled the holes right through it. I then purchased the same grade longer bolts from a local bolt shop and bolted it on all together. It worked perfectly. The total cost for the steel and bolts was about $15. Certainly it can be done with welding as well, but the Boler bolt on system makes it easy to do at home. It should be an easy job for a welding shop, but make sure the axle is welded on straight, otherwise you can get wandering or sway when towing. One advantage of the bolt on system is that you can slightly loosen the bolts and adjust the axle if it is not perfectly aligned.

Rick G
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:09 PM   #6
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Hillary, what brand of trailer do you have? Your profile doesn't say. It would be helpful and you'll get the information you need if we know more....

Just remember, you can put metal between the axle and the frame, but if the axle stays at the same height you can still hang up in ruts if going 4 wheeling... you need the axle higher too to gain that clearance.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:29 PM   #7
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New York
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If the axle gets moved to gain trailer height, larger wheels may then fit to increase the axle to ground clearance.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:06 PM   #8
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Name: Hillary
Trailer: 1974 ECO ~ Just purchased!
California
Posts: 32
Hey everyone! Thanks for your helpful replies!

Donna - I will add a camper profile as soon as I can. In the meantime, here is my new-to-me camper, although she's 10 years older than I am! I have some photos from their listing and from my phone. I'll read up on how I can add them here.

It's a 1974 ECO - same body as Scamp / knock off. She (I've named her Shelby) is still with her old owner. They will be bringing her to their welder friend to do work on it to raise the axel. They are definite enthusiasts and seem very knowledgeable. I trust them.

They've asked me how much clearance I'd like - she currently has only 6-8 inches. I'd like to be able to pull her onto BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land - unpaved roads, as I'll be using her to save my per diem from work.

What do y'all suggest for a suitable amount of clearance that would allow me to do this (and to add larger tires at a later date) without compromising too much of the ride and making her jittery on the road?

Thank you! You are all so great and I look forward to sharing my experience fixing her up with you all!
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:16 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1974 ECO ~ Just purchased!
California
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For now ~ this is her: 74 Eco in CA
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:24 AM   #10
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Name: David
Trailer: 16 foot Scamp
Oregon
Posts: 314
Hi Hillary,
A few things to consider:

You need 2 types of clearance to go onto unimproved roads. The first is clearance under the axle. If you have a torsion axle that is shot, you should replace the axle. Yours looks like a Torsion. I would guess that any 1974 torsion is shot unless it was stored on blocks with wheels off. This will return your underaxle clearnace to normal. You are also going to need the travel of a new axle to take up the bumps you will encounter. Traveling offroad with shot torsion axles will send everything in your trailer onto the floor. If you have a straight axle, then you will need the right tires to get the clearance. Your under axle clearance doesn't need to be any greater than your tow vehicle. If your tow vehicle is a Honda Accord you'll be dragging the muffler off long before the trailer axle drags! Measure the lowest point down the middle of the vehicle and try to match that on the trailer if you can.
The second type of clearance that you need is when crossing washouts or uneven terrain. This is where the front or rear of the trailer drags. This type of clearance can be improved by blocking the axle. I wouldn't go too crazy on this though! If you are really going to be crossing deep gullies, then you will need quite a bit, but otherwise, lower is better for towing. Remember that the talller it is, the more tree branches you will hit too! Most smaller 2 wd vehicles can't drag a trailer over very much anyway, so excess clearance is of no use.
One last comment. 4 lug axles generally are not designed for the added stresses of 14" tires and wheels. If you go that route somehow, you should keep good watch on the bearings and hubs. Make sure they get regular lubrication and inspection for looseness. If you invest in a new torsion axle, consider a higher weight rating with 5 lug hubs. It will be stronger and hold up better to offroad driving.
David
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #11
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:03 PM   #12
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Name: Tom
Trailer: 1978 Scamp
Missouri
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I have a 78 Scamp and just put a new axle under it. The original was a weld on leading arm axle, 22 degree up and it’s been changed to a Dexter trailing arm, bolt on 0 degree axle.

Originally, the camper came with 13” wheels and with the original setup the door’s threshold was at 8”. Now the door’s threshold is at 15 7/8” empty. With this change (repositioning of the axle and the 0 degree angle of the trailing arms) I was able to change to 14” wheels.

There are no problems with how the camper handles on the road riding at this height. I too plan to use my camper for off road situations and this height will give me a lot more clearance and keep the rear of the body from dragging on uneven ground.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:30 PM   #13
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Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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It's hard to imagine a set of springs sagging that much. From the picture I'd say it looks a lot like torsion axle sag. But if you looked underneath already I guess you would know better than I.
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