2002 Bigfoot 21RB axle flip - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-16-2018, 11:46 AM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
Florida
Posts: 43
2002 Bigfoot 21RB axle flip

I have noticed that our 21RB sits low on the port side. I crawled under and measured and on the starboard there was 3 1/2 inches of axle to frame clearance and the port was 2 3/4 inches. That combined with the fact that the rig wants to drag its' rear in any kind of unusual hump or hollow situation. Fuel station entrance exits always had to be evaluated as to whether it would cause dragging. Traveling on undeveloped roads and maneuvering into uneven parking is less than optimal. I decided to switch it from underslung to overslung suspension.

I found a distributor for Standens axle components in Indiana and they had 4 #125-5 springs and they are on the way. I put a stringline on the axles and they do have a camber built into them so I have 4 spring perches coming from etrailer. I sold my welder before I moved to Florida so I will have to hire a mobile welding service to stop by and weld them after I build a jig to control their placement. Today I removed the brake backing plates and found good news. First the brake components are all original Dexter brand and look to be in almost "like new" condition and the bolt pattern is concentric so flipping 180 degrees is simple.

The only surprise so far was that the installer of the holding tank enclosure got it a little too far forward and on the port side the bolt for the rear spring
mount could not back out. I had to use a vibro saw to cut out a relief and will use an adhesive like 3M 4200 to replace the piece after the bolt is back in.

I know others have done this and would like to hear from anyone that has advice or experience that may help me through this.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:36 PM   #2
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16
North Carolina
Posts: 254
I had also done the underslung to overslung suspension conversion on my amerigo fg-16 & feel it is one of the best upgrades I made on it. I had the same issues pulling out of gas stations w/steep entrance angles with the low ride height of my trailer & knew this wasn't gonna work for me.

You don't have to rotate your brake backing plates 180 degrees since your axle is staying in it's original orientation, they should go back on as they were before.

On your issue with the spring bolt I would try running the bolt in from the opposite side, that way you won't have to re-cut the fiberglass the next time the bolt needs to be removed. Check your spring bolts, some have a knurled shoulder that keeps it from turning in the frame or shackle. If that's what you have check the fit before bolting it from the opposite side.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:46 PM   #3
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Name: John
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
Florida
Posts: 43
By golly you're right Steve! I had been thinking about rotating the axle if it had no camber but now that I found it is cambered, it cant be rotated. I just still had it in my head that the brake plate needed rotating. Thanks for catching that. It would have become obvious eventually but you saved me some work before I caught my dunderheadedness.


That is a good plan on putting the hanger bolt in backward. I will check it out to make sure the knurling will bite something. Thanks again.
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:10 AM   #4
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Name: John
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
Florida
Posts: 43
I have welded on the additional spring perches and have received the springs from Standens. I am ready to start reassembly and have been thinking about the additional clearance that will now be between the springs and the frame. When the axles were on top of the springs there was 3 1/2 inches travel before the axle hit the frame. There is no bump stop there and there is no sign that metal to metal contact ever occurred. Now that there is going to be 6 inches or so clearance, I am wondering if a bump stop is needed to limit the available travel difference. If anyone has addressed this or considered this before I would be interest in your thoughts. I just wonder if the fact that the axles together have a 7000 lb. capacity and the trailer weighs around 4500 lbs. would negate the need for over-travel protection. Thoughts???
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