17Ft Bigfoot Axle - bent? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-26-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
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Name: Dave
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Hello -

Looking at a 1983 17.5' Bigfoot today and noticed the axle had an 'arch' or bend to it like so: /\

Coming from a 13ft Trillium, I wasn't sure if this was due to an accident or if it was part of the design for larger trailers

I asked the owner (who up to now seemed honest & straight up) if it was bent, and he replied that it was designed that way to be able to adjust the tow in and/or camber of the wheels. Now I'm not so sure as all replacement axles I've seen are straight and he was honest in all other answers/aspects.

Should the axle on these be straight across?

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Name: D.T.
Trailer: 1995 Casita FD , 2003 Chariot 13 (Stealth Egg) , 1987 Casita LD
Florida
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<span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%">Here is more of a non-answer ............

1) 30 years ago we aligned the front ends of Ford Trucks by bending the axel to get it within specs.

2) Last week I found an alignment shop in town that still had the old equipment and I took my 87 Casita in and had them bend the axel to align everything perfectly. I now have a visible arch to the center of my axel that looks exactly like I hit something. Prior to the alignment it was straight.

(and she now tows like a dream)

The PO may have had it aligned .................. Just a thought ............</span>...
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:47 AM   #3
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When I acquired my Scamp about ten years ago, the tire wear indicated an alignment error. I found a shop in Tacoma, WA that corrected the alignment by bending the axle.

The process is pretty crude -- just a heavy duty hydraulic jack against a chain attached at the ends of the axle. Jack, then check. Jack some more, then check. Repeat until satisfied.

All in all it took 15 - 20 minutes, as I remember, with the trailer on a lift.

After that the tire wear evened out and it tracks great.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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Hi Dave,

Quite a few Bigfoot trailers have Standens axles; ours does. A slight arc upward, highest in the middle is probably normal. Some axles seem to be built that way. The 2005-8 Bigfoot 17.5 has a drop axle, while our 2004 Bigfoot 17 has a straight axle. I just don't know about the 1983. Some trailers end up with bent axles from hitting curbs and other obstructions in campgrounds and on roads. That might cause uneven tire wear which can be corrected by having the axle re-aligned, straightened or replaced. If you don't have uneven tire wear, you are probably OK!
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:37 AM   #5
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New River AZ
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My Torflex axle was installed new in 2004 and it has the upward bend
Joe
A little hard to see the bend in the picture but it is there!

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Old 08-27-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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I looked at a Trillium 4500 that had the "arched" axle, so I did a bit of Internet searching. What I gathered was that it is normal for a torsion axle to have such an arch.

I don't know if that means every one should have an arch, but rather that the arch is not necessarily abnormal.

Raya
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:10 AM   #7
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Name: Dave
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Quote:
I looked at a Trillium 4500 that had the "arched" axle, so I did a bit of Internet searching. What I gathered was that it is normal for a torsion axle to have such an arch.

I don't know if that means every one should have an arch, but rather that the arch is not necessarily abnormal.

Raya

Having gotten under it finally, its a 'camber bend'.

However, the trailer sits too low for our intended use so I need to get about another 4" of clearance. Its a leaf sprung drop axle at the moment, so options are: move springs to overslung, straight axle with leaf springs, or move to a Torflex?

Any reason NOT to go up to the Torflex and lose the leaf setup?

Dave
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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Any reason NOT to go up to the Torflex and lose the leaf setup?

Dave

I've always got the same answer to give for this type of question: Look under the back end of any pick-up truck and you'll find leaf springs. Simple. Durable. Repairable. If you need ride quality on a trailer, then shocks can easily be added afterwards.

I'd say go with the straight axle, then add shocks. Even if you had a shop do all the work, it'd be much cheaper than a torsion axle swap.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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Name: Dave
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I've always got the same answer to give for this type of question: Look under the back end of any pick-up truck and you'll find leaf springs. Simple. Durable. Repairable. If you need ride quality on a trailer, then shocks can easily be added afterwards.

I'd say go with the straight axle, then add shocks. Even if you had a shop do all the work, it'd be much cheaper than a torsion axle swap.
Yep, looks like I'll go the way of the straight axle and throw shocks on if need be for damping.
Now, to price out 15" rims & tires
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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Trailer: 1991 17 ft Bigfoot
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Just another two bits on the axle bow. We have a 1986 Bigfoot 17'. When we bought it our tires leaned inward from the top and had their insides chafed. The axle appeared straight across. After an axle alignment the tires stood straight up and down and the axle had a bow in it the way you described. Subsequenly the problem returned, so we replaced the axle. The new axle also has an upward bow in it.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:04 AM   #11
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Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17CB)
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Just another two bits on the axle bow. We have a 1986 Bigfoot 17'. When we bought it our tires leaned inward from the top and had their insides chafed. The axle appeared straight across. After an axle alignment the tires stood straight up and down and the axle had a bow in it the way you described. Subsequenly the problem returned, so we replaced the axle. The new axle also has an upward bow in it.
Yes, tires leaning inwards on Bigfoot 17's is pretty common with age. This is because most are pushing the 3500lb axle rating and with time will bend the axle. As several have stated, the axle should have a upwards bend in the center, if it is straight, it is approaching it's design load or already bent.

I think people should really weigh their trailers fully loaded and with a full tank of water. I think some would be in for a shock.

Steve.
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