Alignment - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
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Trailer: 17.5 ft and 25 ft FB Bigfoot
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Alignment

Not sure how to set up a poll but I would like to know how often:

1. You check if you need an alignment?
2. How often you do need an alignment?
3. Type of trailer.
4. Approximate milage per year.

I just had mine done on my 1985 - 17' Bigfoot and I expect it may have been the first time ever. However after 1 year with my 2008 - 25' Bigfoot and about 10,000 km it badly needed an alignment.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #2
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Are you talking about a wheel alignment?

I have only casually looked at the suspension on my Scamp but don't believe it allows for alignment adjustment.

Are you sure you got an alignment or did you pay for an alignment?
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mark G. View Post
Are you talking about a wheel alignment?

I have only casually looked at the suspension on my Scamp but don't believe it allows for alignment adjustment.

Are you sure you got an alignment or did you pay for an alignment?
Are you suggesting I got ripped off? The work was done by Standons in Calgary. I'm no expert on this subject but from my understanding all trailers need to be aligned properly or you will get uneven tire wear.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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About the only alignment you can do, potentially is to square up the axel to the frame. Anything like toe and camber would require the axel to be physically bent to change it.

This may be differeant with newer trailers though, specially those with more then one axel, but to my limited knowledge, there is no way to do a proper alignment.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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Are you suggesting I got ripped off? The work was done by Standons in Calgary. I'm no expert on this subject but from my understanding all trailers need to be aligned properly or you will get uneven tire wear.


I hate to say this but suggesting you got ripped off is exactly what I am saying.

The typical solid axle does not have any provisions for alignment.

Uneven tire wear is normally related to a bent wheel or improper tire inflation.

As mentioned by Orcus79, axle to frame alignment could be a possible issue but this would require a hard hit. Hard enough that it would bend the axle assembly (requiring replacement) or compromise welds.

Unless they torched off your axle, aligned the assembly with the trailer and and re-welded everything, you most likely just gave someone some cash for nothing.


Edit…. You may have some options for alignment on your 25' if it is dual axle. Orienting the axles to each other and such….. Only speculation here…..

Even with that, many trailers have been on the road for decades without issue.

The suspension systems are incredibly simple and for the most part unadjustable.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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It appears that Tamid has a 25 ft Bigfoot which is likely a dual axle trailer. I can see the possibilty that the 2 axles would need to be aligned with each other to avoid tires "scrubbing" and wearing prematurely.

Russ
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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21’ and 25’ Bigfoot models are using two axle leaf spring suspensions. There is nothing there requiring alignment. What should be done on a regular basis is checking potential bending or excessive wear of some of the components. On my 2008 21’ Bigfoot, while modifying suspension with the airbags, I found that a few of the shackle links were worn excessively with the obvious possibility of being stranded somewhere. I replaced thin, factory shackle links with the thicker ones from Dexter http://www.dexteraxle.com/inc/sdetail/1049. This kit includes equalizer and lubricated bronze bushings to extend the life of the Bigfoot’s 19th Century suspension.
George.
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:42 AM   #8
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I'm afraid I have to agree with Mark!
I have lost count of the trailers I have had in the last 45 years. In those 45 years I have never had to align an axle on a trailer.
Everything from a tent trailer, small Shasta TT, 10,000 lb. stock trailer, 3 boat trailers, a big dual axle 5th wheel TT, a Trillium, 2 Scamps a motorcycle trailer and now an ATV trailer, sail boat trailer and a 16' Scamp.
At my late age in life I'm sure I have forgotten a few.
I broke a spring shackle on my stock trailer and had to have it replaced.
Not one of my trailer had any adjustments for axle alignment.
I have refurbished four or five Scamps, two Trilliums, two Burros and one U haul.
None of their axles were adjustable.
I don't think there is a TT made with an adjustable axle.
The only reason I can think of for a misaligned TT axle is excessive wear or a broken component or an accident.
New people to travel trailers don't worry about axle alignments. I personally have never heard of it.

John

PS I forgot, a Trails West Campster was my first fiberglass trailer.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:21 PM   #9
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Previous posters are correct. The only possible alignment is squaring the axle to the trailer tow point (NOT the frame). Unusual tire wear, usually scrubbing of the tires, is a clear sign something is amiss. An axle may be out of alignment for the following reasons:

1. Bent axle - solution - new axle
2. Modified/changed trailer coupler - May change connect point, requiring trailer axle alignment.
3. Axle repair (new axle, new springs) - may require trailer axle alignment,
4. Flipping the axles for ground clearance - may require trailer axle alignment

I have done #4 on three trailers now, and no matter how careful I was (marking points, etc), a re-alignment was required each time.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:46 AM   #10
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I just checked with Standen's on exactly what they did on my 17' single axel bigfoot. They told me the axel was bent and the tires were toeing out by 5/16" and the correct measurement should be toeing in by 1/16". I was getting uneven tire wear to the point the steel bands were showing through on one tire. They bent the axel back to the 'correct' position. They said that all axels can bend, it depends on how the trailer is used, i.e. rough roads, pot holes, driving over curbs, hitting a rock, etc. This trailer while in my ownership is used for back trails and camping in the foothills. It does go through some rough country.

I bent the axels on my 25' dual axel Bigfoot by having to turn it at a 90 degree angle to park it. Standens said the axels were rated at exactly the GVW and that wasn't really enough. They replaced the axels with higher rated axels and said it wouldn't need to be checked for 5 years unless I noticed uneven tire wear. They also said on dual axel trailers they should be checked after about 10,000 miles. I put on that much in the 2 years I've owned it.

I was explaining what has been said on this tread about possibly been given bad advice by Standens. The manager invited me down to watch what they do when they measure and have to re-bend an axel.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:55 AM   #11
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I believe there is confusion arising from my poor choice of wording. My understanding now is that my trailer needed a wheel alignment because the axel was bent. That was accomplished by bending the axel. As has been mentioned there is no such thing as an axel alignment unless as Mark G mentions the axel to frame is way off for some reason requiring the axel to be torched off and welded back.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:18 PM   #12
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Glad to here you were not taken advantage of. Thanks for the explanation.
John
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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The manager invited me down to watch what they do when they measure and have to re-bend an axel.
I would be fascinated to see a photo of them doing that.
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:42 PM   #14
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I would be fascinated to see a photo of them doing that.
Sorry although it would be interesting I really don't have the time to take up the Manager's offer.
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