'71 Boler 13' New Axle is too high! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2016, 03:26 PM   #1
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
'71 Boler 13' New Axle is too high!

A little back story:

We bought this boler a few months back with the intention of towing it behind my 2011 Subaru Impreza wagon this year and then with a new Subaru Outback next year. The ride height of the boler was a bit high for my liking, and it had already been changed out once from the original torsion axle to a leaf spring/drop axle setup by the previous owner. Unfortunately, the PO hacked their way through the axle install and the frame has had some pieces cut away to facilitate the axle, which meant that I was not able to go with a torsion axle to drop the ride height back down to a manageable height for cars to tow at or near level.

I chose to go to a friend of mine (a trailer specialist) for the install and on his recommendation we agreed to install a straight axle on top of the leaf springs as opposed to the previous one that was a 6" drop installed under the springs. Once the axle was installed, we were attempting to reinstall the wheels and one of them would not fit over the hub! Not sure what happened, but the wheel was very difficult to remove from the old axle but we discounted that, expecting that it was simply a bit rusted on. As a result, I ended up purchasing 2 new ST175/80R13 tires and rims from Princess Auto so that I would have a matching set and they would both fit properly on the new axle. Unfortunately, the combination of all of these "upgrades" has resulted in a very high slung boler. Right now, my tongue measures 21 1/2" from ground to top of ball mount, and the door height is roughly 14".

My car is equipped with a 1 1/4" receiver and a 5" rise ball mount, and the height of the top of the ball is at 17" with very little cargo in the hatch. Once the boler is hooked up, it pitches forward towards the car, and the car's rear suspension compresses a few inches. The end result is quite a mismatch and it does not tow very comfortably at all. Over bumps and waves in the road, the car seems to tug forward and back. There doesn't seem to be any sway from side to side, and I don't think the axle brakes are causing it either.

My solutions as I see them are:
1. new Flexride axle, adjusted to level the ride height out.
- this would require some frame modifications as far as I can tell, and I would have to beg Standen's to take back the currently mounted straight axle.

2. get Standen's to make me a 6" drop axle (which was what we had initially asked for from them), mount it over the leaf springs, and hope that the ride height becomes more manageable.

3. increase my ride height on the Impreza (taller springs/struts) and look for a stiffer spring rate as well to resist sag under load.

4. resist the urge to smash everything in sight, cut my losses, and buy the Outback now. Outfit to be the tow vehicle, and forget about my experiment.

If anyone has any words of wisdom to pass on, I'm all ears. This has been such a frustrating process, especially because while we were waiting 2 1/2 weeks for the new (wrong) axle to arrive, I put a lot of work into the interior and also purchased new cushion covers and foam to make sure that we would be able to use it this year. If I can't figure out a good solution, you may soon find our boler in the For Sale section of FGRV.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:41 PM   #2
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Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 3,912
I'd do what I did. Dump the Impreza ( in my case a Loyale GL Wagon ) and get a proper tow vehicle.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:24 PM   #3
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Name: Ellpea
Trailer: Bigfoot
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I feel your pain. We went through similar trauma, and although our now much-taller Lil Bigfoot still tows well, its look is much different and the disappointment is palpable. I'll get over it, once we travel again. You'll feel better with the right tow vehicle.

In the meantime, isn't there a receiver out there that reaches up to the height of your trailer?
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:34 PM   #4
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
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Before you install a drop axle try to visualize where the axle tube will be. With a drop axle you would have very low ground clearance. The distance from the pavement to the bottom of the axle tube would be your ground clearance. Any rough road could cause a issue.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:42 PM   #5
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
Mid-trip update: Impreza towing Boler

Well, from Edmonton to Red Deer, AB the towing has been acceptable. I definitely think that my current setup could be improved but I'm less worried after 150km. I'm able to maintain 110km/h comfortably, and while I need to downshift climbing the most subtle of hills, I think this will be a good interim TV until we pull the trigger on the Outback.

More updates to come when we hit Calgary.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:22 AM   #6
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Name: Randy
Trailer: In the Market
Oregon
Posts: 49
Newer TV

Look at the Escape / Mainer / Tribute V6 4X4. heck of allot better than the impreza. Outback is gonna run hot but if that's what you want get the 6
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:28 AM   #7
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
Towing with Impreza

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. View Post
Look at the Escape / Mainer / Tribute V6 4X4. heck of allot better than the impreza. Outback is gonna run hot but if that's what you want get the 6
Thanks for the advice. Do you have experience towing with Subarus? I would love to hear more about that.

I'm well aware of the benefits of towing with a bigger SUV/truck/V6/V8/etc. This is not my goal, however.

I chose a Boler for a few key reasons, but my ability to tow it with a car like the Outback was at the top. If I wanted to drive a large SUV or truck full time, I probably would have decided on a much larger and heavier camper. I live in the land of big trucks and ridiculous RV's and it just doesn't fit my family's needs, so I posted this to find out what options others have explored to get their Bolers to sit at a more reasonable level for my type of tow vehicle.

I know that towing with the Impreza right now isn't ideal, but it's working for now, and I believe that the Outback will be a lot more capable. After towing from Edmonton to Calgary and back yesterday, I think that if I'm able to keep my camping destinations within a 3 hour range until the new TV arrives, the Impreza will be more than capable of handling the job. I may still look into lowering the Boler somehow, but I'm also going to look at the towing height of a new Outback to make sure I don't go too far.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:19 AM   #8
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Name: Philippe
Trailer: Boler Voyageur 1977
Quebec
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheech00TS View Post
Thanks for the advice. Do you have experience towing with Subarus? I would love to hear more about that.

I'm well aware of the benefits of towing with a bigger SUV/truck/V6/V8/etc. This is not my goal, however.

I chose a Boler for a few key reasons, but my ability to tow it with a car like the Outback was at the top. If I wanted to drive a large SUV or truck full time, I probably would have decided on a much larger and heavier camper. I live in the land of big trucks and ridiculous RV's and it just doesn't fit my family's needs, so I posted this to find out what options others have explored to get their Bolers to sit at a more reasonable level for my type of tow vehicle.

I know that towing with the Impreza right now isn't ideal, but it's working for now, and I believe that the Outback will be a lot more capable. After towing from Edmonton to Calgary and back yesterday, I think that if I'm able to keep my camping destinations within a 3 hour range until the new TV arrives, the Impreza will be more than capable of handling the job. I may still look into lowering the Boler somehow, but I'm also going to look at the towing height of a new Outback to make sure I don't go too far.
I have a 2003 Outback, H6, pulling a 1977 boler. The setup is great, I've climbed 10% hill with no issue, I just had to downshift to stop the transmission from always changing gears.
Larger hills will get the (My) engine hotter, but I doubt all is in pristine condition on this car.

The new outbacks with the CVT may be powerful enough with the 2.5, but I'd get the 3.6 anyway. Brakes on the Boler are not mandatory, but would be a good safety measure.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:16 AM   #9
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,173
Maybe a taller ball on your mount would help a little until you can make a long term decision. Your small 1-1/4 receiver is your neminis.
Your trailer guy could also make spacers to fit between the axle and spring and use longer u-bolts since your axle tube is now on top of your springs instead of under them. This is adding bad design to bad design but could buy you time for this season. I would have your trailer guy start anew with a proper torsion axle mounted to a fab up cradle and then weld the whole thing to your butchered up frame. That will fix the compromised frame issues. A good fabricator could also leave the trailer axle as is and lower the front coupler. All this type of work is expensive but so is a new trailer.

To give you some perspective the 22" coupler height is perfect for my 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 to use a straight tube stinger with ball mounted on top.
This is a very tall truck from the factory and I have to use a 6" drop stinger for my 13 foot scamp.

https://www.etrailer.com/Balls/Curt/C40032.html

https://www.etrailer.com/Balls/Curt/C40034.html
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:59 AM   #10
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Name: Randy
Trailer: In the Market
Oregon
Posts: 49
Talking

[QUOTE=Cheech00TS;598838]Thanks for the advice. Do you have experience towing with Subarus? I would love to hear more about that.

I'm well aware of the benefits of towing with a bigger SUV/truck/V6/V8/etc. This is not my goal, however.

Outbacks have changed a bit; we towed with a 2004 6 cyl LL Bean, Rated at 3500 it towed great. Needed a trans cooler and really needed to drop a gear in the hills it got a but sluggish. Now the upside of Subaru the engine is non-interference. We had the belt snap in the mountains still made it to a dealer (60 miles) with no damage to the engine. (We did have a dead battery by the time we got there) My Aunt was looking for the Outback but they did not have the color she wanted so she went all out on the Tribeca because of the color (Woman thing)
Currently she has 2014 Tribeca H6. (I do the driving for her) Putting a Hitch on the Tribeca was a snap 10 minutes easy.... Wiring 4 pin wiring as a snap simple plug in but 7 pin took a bit of Doing. I think you will be happy with the Outback combo given the weight difference of the Outback and the Impreza the 6 will be beneficial!!!
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:19 PM   #11
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
Raising ball mount

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Maybe a taller ball on your mount would help a little until you can make a long term decision. Your small 1-1/4 receiver is your neminis.
Your trailer guy could also make spacers to fit between the axle and spring and use longer u-bolts since your axle tube is now on top of your springs instead of under them. This is adding bad design to bad design but could buy you time for this season. I would have your trailer guy start anew with a proper torsion axle mounted to a fab up cradle and then weld the whole thing to your butchered up frame. That will fix the compromised frame issues. A good fabricator could also leave the trailer axle as is and lower the front coupler. All this type of work is expensive but so is a new trailer.

To give you some perspective the 22" coupler height is perfect for my 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 to use a straight tube stinger with ball mounted on top.
This is a very tall truck from the factory and I have to use a 6" drop stinger for my 13 foot scamp.

https://www.etrailer.com/Balls/Curt/C40032.html

https://www.etrailer.com/Balls/Curt/C40034.html
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I ended up getting the originally-ordered 4" drop axle in today and what a difference in ride height. The Boler looks normal again. I'm still using the 5" rise ball mount, with a few washers to raise the ball even further, but I may be reducing that soon.

To my dismay, the towing still feels a bit bouncy so I'm apt to blame the Impreza (sorry old girl) as it seems she's just not the ideal choice for towing (a fact that I am well aware of...). I'm much happier with the ride height of the Boler overall, and I'll post some measurements when I get the chance. For now, I'm content with the setup and I'll be shifting my focus to repairing the windows to eliminate the many leaks that I've discovered since purchasing it. The PO was adamant that there were no water issues, but after mouldy cushions and covers, and the repeated puddles of water after a rain, I'm inclined to disagree. I'm afraid that honesty is not as common as I assume it to be.
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:23 PM   #12
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
Outback v. Impreza towing boler

[QUOTE=Randy B.;599052]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheech00TS View Post
Thanks for the advice. Do you have experience towing with Subarus? I would love to hear more about that.

I'm well aware of the benefits of towing with a bigger SUV/truck/V6/V8/etc. This is not my goal, however.

Outbacks have changed a bit; we towed with a 2004 6 cyl LL Bean, Rated at 3500 it towed great. Needed a trans cooler and really needed to drop a gear in the hills it got a but sluggish. Now the upside of Subaru the engine is non-interference. We had the belt snap in the mountains still made it to a dealer (60 miles) with no damage to the engine. (We did have a dead battery by the time we got there) My Aunt was looking for the Outback but they did not have the color she wanted so she went all out on the Tribeca because of the color (Woman thing)
Currently she has 2014 Tribeca H6. (I do the driving for her) Putting a Hitch on the Tribeca was a snap 10 minutes easy.... Wiring 4 pin wiring as a snap simple plug in but 7 pin took a bit of Doing. I think you will be happy with the Outback combo given the weight difference of the Outback and the Impreza the 6 will be beneficial!!!
Thanks for sharing your experiences! I'm pretty excited for the upgrade to an Outback. I think it will be a great TV. I've always been a manual guy so no worries about the tranny cooler, and the belt info is something I was totally unaware of! I'm not sure if we'll go for the H6 or not (mostly because I can't shift it manually anymore!) but it would certainly make towing a little easier.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:18 PM   #13
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheech00TS View Post

To my dismay, the towing still feels a bit bouncy so I'm apt to blame the Impreza (sorry old girl) as it seems she's just not the ideal choice for towing (a fact that I am well aware of...). I'm much happier with the ride height of the Boler overall, and I'll post some measurements when I get the chance. For now, I'm content with the setup and I'll be shifting my focus to repairing the windows to eliminate the many leaks that I've discovered since purchasing it. The PO was adamant that there were no water issues, but after mouldy cushions and covers, and the repeated puddles of water after a rain, I'm inclined to disagree. I'm afraid that honesty is not as common as I assume it to be.
The bouncy is from the leaf springs. Axles using leaf springs usually have shocks on them to help slow the rebound. If you don't have shocks you might want to look at adding them if they can find room.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:23 PM   #14
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Name: Chad
Trailer: boler
Alberta
Posts: 29
Leaf spring control

Good call, but I'm going to wait and see how it goes behind the Outback before I make any more adjustments.

On the plus side, the 4" drop axle, and a little less air in the tires, allowed me to squeeze the Boler into my garage so I'll have a dry place to work on all the windows! Maybe this Boler thing wasn't such a bad idea after all!
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