6000lb axle on a Boler 1700 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-13-2019, 06:48 AM   #1
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Name: Kit
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6000lb axle on a Boler 1700

Earlier this year, when I was just 100 miles from home, I noticed that the driver's side tire on our Boler was wearing very badly on the inner side. I was tired, it was raining, so I just replaced it with the spare and drove home. The next day, closer examination showed that the axle had a noticeable bend. I had replaced the original axle a few years ago, so this was obviously not age related. We've done a lot of modifications to the Boler interior and I am sure that in the process we've added additional weight. I am getting ready to replace the axle again. I have the option of getting a 3500 HD axle with the 3" tube or getting a 6000 lb axle. The cost difference is not very much with the exception that I will need to change to 6x5.5 wheels if I use the heavier axle. It seems to me that using the 6000 pound axle will give me a good safety margin, but I question if there are any reasons that a 6000 lb axle is not ideal? Other than cost is there a reason I should use the 3500HD axle rather than the 6000?
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
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A 6,000# rated axle will be too stiff, (suspension-wise,) for use on these little trailers. They don't weigh enough to work the suspension and everything in your trailer will get bounced to death. I'd stick with the heavy duty 3,500# axle.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:05 AM   #3
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Is there a difference in the tube for the 3500HD and a 5200/6000?

I can't find any specs, but It seems that the HD 3500 axle has the same 3" tube as a 5200 or 6000 pound axle and the capacity difference is in the hubs and springs? I read someplace on this forum that because of the longer overhang -the 3500 lb axle on the Boler is only rated at 2800 lbs which means that the larger tube size will correct the bending issue.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:31 AM   #4
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Actually it seems that there is a difference in tube size

I finally found a site that had the specs for the tubing for dexter axles - it seems that the 5200 and 6000 axles use .25 x3" tube and the 3500HD axle uses a .188 x 3" tube. I suspect the tube is stronger than the 2 3/8 tube but I would hate to go through the replacement process only to do it again in another couple of years. The 3500HD axles are still rated the same - but again this is probably due to the rating of the hub and springs.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:37 AM   #5
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Yes this is a bit of a conundrum.
As Greg said if the springs are too stiff for the weight of your trailer it will shake to pieces, but if the axle is too heavy for the springs the unspiring weight of it will be very hard on the springs and frame too.
I'd lean toward quality components close to the trailer weight which probably is under 3500.
You didn't state what type of camping you do though, is it possible the axle got bent by a road hazard in which case what you were running was probably sufficient.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:50 AM   #6
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I have a 1976 Boler and just replaced the axle this year with a 3000 lb axle. I weighed the trailer at the local scale loaded and it was 990 kg so the axle I used is perfect. You can use the heavier axle if you wish but it is unnecessary. The STIFFNESS referred to comes from suspension, not axle max weight rating. Talk to your local spring shop and get the appropriate suspension to handle your trailer weight, loaded. I use 3-2 inch leaf springs and it is plenty strong enough and rides beautifully. Good luck.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:44 PM   #7
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You can take your trailer to a scale and weigh it. Then you have your answer as to if you exceeded the 3500# capacity with your mods.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:51 PM   #8
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You can use the 6k axle in place of the 3.5k axle with no ill effects, other than the pocket book. Your suspension will still be limited to 3.5K do to the springs and shackles. The additional un-sprung weight will be negligible. I do have to ask when you say the axle is bent, is the bend in the center or is the spindle bent? Most axles have a designed bend in the center to provide the correct toe. I think the real question is how did you bend your old axle. It only takes a good pot hole or curb to do it. Come on fess up. I've been doing maintenance and safety in the trucking industry for 30 years and it is almost always a curb or hole. You haven't been running down any of the logging roads have you?
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:16 PM   #9
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I drove it from Maryland back to Cape Breton - along 95

I wish I could point to a certain road hazard that caused the bend, but in that 1200 miles I know I hit plenty of pot holes. The bend in the axle is about at the 3/4 point in the axle. The wheel is leaning in by 10 degrees. I replaced the worn tire (the steel bands were showing) 125 miles from home with a new spare and there is significant wear on the tire from just those few miles. The driver's side of the trailer has the refrigerator, the batteries (six 35AH SLA batteries) the bathroom and significantly more cabinetry - so I am sure there is more weight on that side. The trailer pulls quite straight (no sway) but it certainly rolls from side to side.

I'm exploring different options, but I am leaning towards a 5200lb axle with 2200 pound springs and 6 bolt hubs.
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:29 PM   #10
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The original spec for Boler 17's showed 2800 to 3000 pound gross vehicle weight. I believe the door sticker on mine indicates 3000 pound gross vehicle weight. I just replaced the springs on mine with 2000# springs, but I believe they are too stiff. I plan to replace them with 1750# springs (Universal Group part number UNA-216). Still have the original axle with the standard peak in the middle.

Any higher than 1750# spring is going to be hard on the body, hinges, etc. The frame is very sturdy, so it can probably tolerate the extra stiffness.

EDIT: Mine still has the original drop axle, and PO had moved the springs above the axle. Now with the new springs, the trailer is TOO HIGH, so I will probably move the springs back down below the axle with I replace the springs.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:42 PM   #11
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I have the axle under the springs currently

When I replaced the axle, I opted for a straight axle and mounted it under the springs and changed to 15 inch tires. I tow with an F150 and even with that height and my weight distribution hitch as low as possible the trailer still doesn't sit level (almost - but the rear is a bit more than an inch lower then the front).

The interior of the Boler has been completely redone and all of the original 1/8" plywood has been replaced with 3/8". The refrigerator is more than twice the size of the original the counters are made from Corian etc. All of this adds additional weight so I am sure I am pushing the upper limits of the 3500 pound suspension. If because of the narrow spring center spacing the axle capacity is downgraded, then I would think there might not be much of a safety margin.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:58 PM   #12
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Probably need to weigh your trailer. May need the higher rating axle and springs as you indicated. Again, the frame is sturdy and can probably handle the extra weight.

My Boler 17 weighs 2500 lbs. dry/empty.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:25 PM   #13
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I agree - the problem is the nearest place to get weighed is about 30 miles away, over some really bad rural roads - I'm just not sure the axle/tire will take me there and back.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:54 PM   #14
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I agree - the problem is the nearest place to get weighed is about 30 miles away, over some really bad rural roads - I'm just not sure the axle/tire will take me there and back.
If you have a waste transfer station closer to you that might work for getting your trailer weighed. Just don't show up at prime time when there is a long line of people waiting. Also concrete making plants often have weigh scales.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:24 PM   #15
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You can use any springs you wish, so the axle itself is a different issue than the springs.

The 6,000 is a pretty heavy axle, but remember, the 5,200 through 7,000 lb axles use the 12" brakes. The 3500 uses 10" brakes. The 12" brakes are much heavier. The backing plates have a different mounting pattern and the 3500 lb hubs will not accept the the larger bearings. If you got to 5200 or larger, you must go with 12" brakes and 6 lug wheels large enough to clear the 12" drums.

So, if you go to the heavier axle, you can still run lighter springs, but you will have to run the larger/heavier brakes, and you'll have the heavier axle. If weight is a concern, consider these differences.

Having said that, the 5200 lb axle is a very nice axle and the 12" brakes work very well, better than the 3500 lb brakes. If your trailer is less than 5,200 lbs all ready to go, I'd choose the 5200 lb axle. I think you'll have to switch to 6 lug wheels, but they are very good and give a nice safety marking over the 5 lug wheels. If you can fit 16" wheels, they would be nice because tires are so easy to get. A nice set or 16" LT tires would be a nice addition to your upgrade.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:31 PM   #16
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I'm still going back and forth on the axle. I like the idea of a stronger tube, but as everyone has pointed out it is probably overkill and I take the warnings about the suspension being too stiff seriously. One thing that would help with the decision is understanding more about the 3500HD axle. It seems to be rated the same as the standard 3500 lb axle, but there must be some other differences. Is the HD axle a 4200 lb tube with 3500 lb running gear? I can't seem to find any specifications on what is meant by HD.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:43 PM   #17
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Kit,
You and several others have mentioned "too stiff", with the 6,000 lb axle The axle does not determine stiffness of the suspension, the springs do. As I mentioned, you can run many different spring packs on any given axle. Some with more leaves, and some with fewer leaves. Or your original springs, if you wanted to.

One minor consideration is that with the "spring under" design most of us are running, the axle tube diameter limits the amount of travel before it hits the stop or the frame. It's not much of a difference, but a smaller axle tube can give a just a bit more travel.

Just keep in mind the 12" vs the 10" brakes and the possibility of needing new wheels to clear the drums, and the added weight of the 12" drums. My experience with the 12" brakes is that they are way better than the 10" size.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:53 PM   #18
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Name: Kit
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Point well taken - I should have said that I am a little concerned with the added weight and the fact that it might be overkill. But mostly, I am trying to just figure out what is the difference between a 3500 axle and a 3500HD axle. (And since the 3500HD axle is also a 3 inch tube - albeit lighter gauge, it would also present the same issue if mounted over the springs.) I'm just trying to get all the fact before I make a decision. Thanks.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:16 AM   #19
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Smile Axel Alinged or not!

I bought a 08 25B25FB Bigfoot in January this year. during inspection their was tire wear on inside right rear. Long to short trailer axels single or more need alignment just like cars to deliver even tire wear. My coworker told me of a business here where I live Redding Ca, https://www.allwheelinc.com/ they do alignments on trailers and everything else. And have been in business since 1981 doing something right. I pass the shop going to town and their is a constant flow of motorhomes and trailers. Now my trailer tows tracks and my tires will wear even.
When you replace tires and you will.
All Wheel Inc. offers a tire Hercules H 901 I have 4 ST225/75R15/12 the /12 refers to ply's. If you have 16 they are 14 ply
This tire is a commercial grade puncture resistant regroovable tire.
Before the install I was shown the side wall it must be 1-1/2 thick
It look like you could run it flat and they offer road hazard 17 dollars a tire extra unheard of for trailer tires.
That's my 2 cents and I hope you find the fix.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:11 PM   #20
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I would go for the heavier axle and brakes and use whatever springs suit the trailer weight. I'll take bigger bearings and brakes any time I can.



My wandering friend has a highly modified Burro 13 (new, longer C-channel frame with leaf springs, motorcycle rack behind, storage boxes front and rear, more water, solar batteries, etc.) He kept bending axles until he finally put a 5000 lb unit on, and that has not failed for many years now.
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