Anyone have experience with Flexride axles? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-15-2012, 07:15 PM   #1
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1977 Trillium 1300, 1980 Scamp 16
Posts: 28
Anyone have experience with Flexride axles?

So I have the frame out from under my '75 Trillium and am shopping for a new axle. I must say I am impressed with the Flexride engineering claims, and I'm wondering if any of you out there have experience with these axles. They are a bit pricey, but if they are indeed better I might go for one.

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Old 02-17-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
Jeff Richardson's Avatar
Name: Jeff
Trailer: 1977 13-foot Scamp
Posts: 71
Hi Bob

Based on the underwhelming response to your question and what I found when I searched for any information on replacement axles I don't think a lot of people are using them under small fiberglass trailers.

A year ago I searched for any information about replacing the axle on my 1977 13-foot Scamp. Most people use the Dexter axle as a replacement but I did find a couple that went with the Flexiride. They didn't tell too much about the axle or have detailed pictures of the installation.

Last week I found this discussion here on the site:

"Adjustable" axle? - Info requested

That is the best information from someone that installed a Flexiride axle on a fiberglass trailer that I have found.

I thought long and hard about going with the Dexter with it's fixed start angle or the Flexiride. I was concerned that I would choose the wrong start angle with the Dexter and be stuck with a ride height I didn't like.

I was impressed with the information that both companies provide on their web sites. In my search of the internet I didn't find any bad reviews of the Flexiride.

I really like the idea of being able to adjust the ride height so I went ahead and ordered the Flexiride axle last May. I did run out of time to get it mounted on the frame. I didn't want to miss any camping so I decided to use the original axle that was on my Scamp. I had a great time in my first season of camping. I went out eight times.

I ordered the 2000 lb. version from Southwest Wheel's They are in Lubbock, TX. They assembled and shipped it within 2 days. I received it in a little over a week from ordering.

I was surprised when the FedEx man said he had two axles for me! For some unkown reason they made two. I refused the second one and it went back to Texas. It took a couple of calls but they refunded the money they charged me for the second one.

I was impressed with the look of the axle. It looks well made. I like the radiussed slot in the spline on the axle. As long as the bolt is in the arm it will not work it's way off the splines.

This weekend I will start taking my Scamp apart again for more upgrades and to install the new axle and a grey water tank on the frame. I will have lots of time to do the job right. It would have been a rush job before.

I'm going to mount the new axle so the arms are trailing. This means adding a length of 3 x 1.5-inch tubing under the existing frame rails so the axle can be mounted under the dropped center floor.

After towing my Scamp for 8 trips I realized that I really would like to have brakes on the trailer. I will be buying them locally. I'm pretty sure the Dexter 7-inch brakes and hubs will bolt right on. They seem to be the industry standard.

I wish I could tell you how the axle works under load but what I can provide are what I wanted to see when I was considering the Flexiride. No one had detailed pictures. I've attached four so you can see what they look like.

I will be taking lots of detailed pictures of my installation and plan on sharing them here.

I hope this helps you make your decision,

Attached Thumbnails
IMG_2952a.jpg   IMG_2953a.JPG  

IMG_2954a.jpg   IMG_2956a.jpg  


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Old 02-17-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1977 Trillium 1300, 1980 Scamp 16
Posts: 28

Thanks Jeff!

Yes, the silence has been deafening! Thanks for all the info. I will look forward to hearing how your installation goes. I just returned from a visit to a licensed dealer/builder for Flexride. I too was impressed with the quality and flexibility of the axle design. This dealer builds a lot of axles for a lot of different type trailers. They told me that in their experience, 7 inch brakes are just not very effective, and just about useless in emergency situations. I was planning to go with a 2000 lb axle, but it will not accept 10 inch brakes, so I would have to upgrade to the 3500 lb axle to get them. Going from 2500 lb and 7 in brakes to 3500 lb and 10 in brakes adds $225 US to the bill, a fact that is not totally lost on me. Having said that, I examined both brakes, and I must say there is no comparison. The sheer difference in braking surface area is considerable, and the difference in strength of construction is noticeable.
So I guess now my question is how happy are you folks out there with seven inch brakes? Has anyone found them insufficent? I have been told they aren't sufficient to lock in an emergency situation.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
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I typed a reply yesterday but it must not have taken. I don't have any personal experience with the flexride axel but someone who had attended Scamp Camp in Fla. seemed real pleased with his new axel. His problem was his trailer was heavy on one side and with the flexride axel he was able to adjust the swing arm to make his trailer set level. He said his trailer had never set level until he installed the flexride axel.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Posts: 723
Bob, if you live in northern Ohio you may want to go to Elkart or Branson, White Pegion. Axles are dirt cheap at the trailer parts places.
They have piles of axles. Was there last week.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:38 AM   #6
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Name: Joel
Trailer: 1981 Boler
Sarnia, Ontario
Posts: 190
wow jeff, thanks for posting the info and detailed pictures. I'm really looking forward to seeing how you make out.

what did that axle cost you without the brakes?? I think this is the way to go vs. the dexter axles personally. I like the Idea of adjustment. I find most ppl jack their trailers up way to high and it looks awful. so its nice to have the option to edit the high.

appreciate the post. will look for future photos and info.

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Old 02-18-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
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Name: Roger
Trailer: U Hall VT
Posts: 394
Axles, Rims and Tires items in Johnson's Surplus store on eBay!
Johnson's are just west of Whitepigon Michigan
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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Trailer: 1972 13 ft Boler American
Posts: 262
I researched all of this too, when trying to decide between the Dexter and Flexiride. You can PM Jean-L who has a Flexiride axle on his Boler - I know he has liked it. When I was comparing, my axle quotes were from Southwest Axle, the same place that Jeff mentioned, as there isn't a distributor close to me.

I ultimately chose the Dexter Torflex #9 with brakes for various reasons, one being that my local welder charged me what was nearly his cost. So price was a factor.

As for the 7" brakes - I have a 13' Boler and the 7" brakes are just fine. I wouldn't need anything more. I would think that going to a 3500 lb axle would be too rough of a ride - so wouldn't be worth the bigger brakes.

However, you may post that question alone as a new post - "are 7-in brakes adequate for 13' glass trailers?" You'll get lots of answers, from the Dexter-axle folks who may not have caught that question in your post.

Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:05 AM   #9
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Assorted thoughts, from someone who hasn't even seen a US Flexiride axle:

- some repeat builders over on the teardrop trailer really like Flexiride axles - I've never seen a complaint about them;

- admittedly, being able to choose/change the ride height may be a more important factor for teardrop builders that don't know how much their trailer will weigh;

- one teardrop manufacturer reckons the 'sweet spot' for a rubber torsion axle starts at 50% of rated capacity - below this loading the axle will virtually not flex;

- Dexter, Flexiride and other made-to-order rubber torsion axles can be de-rated below their maximum, so a Dexter #10 can be ordered for any capacity between 2300 and 3500 pounds and a Flexiride 3500 pound axle can be ordered down to 2500 pound capacity (both are the smallest axle with 10" brakes).

So I think 10" brakes on an axle suitable for a 2000 pound trailer is possible.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:01 AM   #10
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Name: Joel
Trailer: 1981 Boler
Sarnia, Ontario
Posts: 190
I think these flexiride axles sound like the perfect way to go. at least for myself anyways, i love being able to adjust the ride height.

anyone have an idea on cost? for an axle 2000-2500Lbs rating? with and without brakes? any idea on price would be appreciated. I'd like 7" brakes, but just want an idea on cost.

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Old 02-19-2012, 07:25 AM   #11
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Name: Kinga DeRode
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Originally Posted by idiotsniff View Post
I think these flexiride axles sound like the perfect way to go. at least for myself anyways, i love being able to adjust the ride height.

anyone have an idea on cost? for an axle 2000-2500Lbs rating? with and without brakes? any idea on price would be appreciated. I'd like 7" brakes, but just want an idea on cost.

Google is your friend.

Trailer Torsion Axles
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: 1977 13-foot Scamp
Posts: 71

I'm glad you liked the pictures and information.

I ordered my Flexiride axle from Southwest Wheel Trailer Parts in Texas because they were the next nearest dealer. There is a shop in Arizona that might be a few hundred miles closer but I liked the Southwest Wheel web site better. It had more information. I live in western Washington state which is about 1800 miles from their shop. Here's a link to the page for the 2000lb rated axle:

My axle cost $274.95. The freight charge was $65. I see the price has not changed since last April.

I ordered mine with a 63-inch hub face to hub face (where the wheel contacts the hub) and 49 inches over the frame. The frame on my Scamp is actually 48 inches outside width but I needed the inside of the axle brackets to clear the dropped floor walls which are 45 inches wide. The brackets on the axle are 2 inches wide (49 -4 = 45). They stamped these dimensions and axle rating on the axle.

I was going to buy Dexter 7-inch brakes locally at place called Six Robblees' but in comparing prices with them and it looks like I will save $100.46 by ordering them online from etrailer. Plus, since the order is over $150 the shipping is free. Here are the brake assemblies:

7" Electric Brake Assembly for 2K Axles - RH Dexter Trailer Brakes 23-48

7" Electric Brake Assembly for 2K Axles - LH Dexter Trailer Brakes 23-47

And the hub & drum assemblies:

Trailer Hub & Drum Assembly - 2,000 lbs. Axles - 4 on 4 Dexter Trailer Hubs and Drums 8-173-16UC3

Note that these are the hub and drums for 7 x 1 1/4 electric brakes. There are different hub and drum assemblies for the slightly wider 7-inch hydraulic brakes.

The total for the brakes and hubs will be $233.80.

Etrailer claims to have the lowest prices and guarantees them. I ordered my LED tail lights and marker lights from them last year and like all reviews say, their service is excellent. Very fast shipping.

Hopefully the 7-inch brakes will work ok. A lot of people are using them.

It was interesting what Bob said in the first reply to my original message. The axle dealer he visited said "that in their experience, 7 inch brakes are just not very effective, and just about useless in emergency situations."

I don't think locked trailer brakes in an emergency situation would be a good thing. Skidding tires are out of control. I think the trailer brakes should assist the tow vehicle and help to slow the extra weight of the trailer.

I decided to search for some past discussions on this topic. Here's one I found:

How do I adjust Scamp electric brakes?

There is a link in the last message of that one to another message about Setting Your Trailer Brakes.

Here's one I read last year and was impressed with what people had to say about the need for brakes:

Brakes for a 13' Scamp?

I liked what Bob Longest said in a reply in this discussion about someone at a Florida meet adjusting the lean out of their trailer with the adjustable arms. I had never thought of that one.

After I put on this new axle I will not longer be able to get my 1977 Scamp into my garage with the 7-foot hight door. It barely clears now. I have read of people putting 12-inch tires on to get them low enough for a 7-foot door. I have some of those but maybe they won't clear the brakes.

With the Flexiride I could move the arms to lower the height of the trailer just for putting it in the garage. The manufacturer of Flexiride does not recommend a starting angle of more that 10 degrees above horizontal for towing. I think I will have to go higher than that to get it in my garage but it would just be temporary.

The way my old axle is now I had trouble putting new Carlisle ST175/80R13 tires on the trailer in July. There was no problem removing the 14 year old passenger car tires that were on the trailer when I bought it nine months before. I did not feel comfortable towing a trailer with 14 year old tires on it. I really wanted trailer rated tires on it.

The new tires are a little bit taller and wider than the old ones and I could not get the wheels to go on the hub. The tires were jammed against the inside of the trailer walls. Now I had a trailer stuck in my garage on jack stands.

I went back to the tire dealer which is about two miles away to get my old tires remounted so I could use my trailer and he said no way! They could not remount 14 year old tires that are not trailer rated. He said the old tires could explode if re-inflated. I then thought of a possible solution.

I let the air out of the new Carlisle tires and the sidewalls were flexible enough to go into the wheel well of the Scamp and mount on the hubs. I have a 5 hp air compressor so inflating them at home is not a problem.

I knew I would be able to get a flat tire off on the road but would have to carry a portable air compressor to inflate the spare tire once it is mounted. I did not have a flat in the four times I went out with the new tires. The fact that they were new made me feel somewhat confident.

Fortunately with the new axle and higher ride height I'm sure I will be able to mount an inflated Carlisle trailer tire on my Scamp.

The three pictures I attached to this message show the ride height of my 1977 Scamp now. Raising it is one reason for a new axle but not the main reason.

It looks like someone tried to jack the trailer up by placing a jack to the right of center under the axle. I thought I read in the Scamp owner's manual that a jack should never be placed under the axle and this is why.

This messed up the camber on both wheels, especially the right side one. I could see excessive wear on the outside edge of the tread of that 14 year old tire. I wasn't too concerned with damaging my new tires as I didn't go more than 500 miles and I wanted to go camping!!!

When someone who looked at the Scamp before I did told the seller it needed a new axle she dropped the price $1000 to my benefit. She asked me about it and when I saw the bend I agreed.

It looks like Dexter axles come from the factory with a slight arc to them but not as much as mine. It really looks bent.

The third picture shows what looks to be some kind of shock absorber mount that some previous owner welded on the brake flange of this original axle. I cut that ugly thing off both sides so I could roll the frame out from under the body on a small dolly I made.

I would recommend downloading information on the Flexiride axle on the manufacturer's web site, especially the Axle Data Sheet. Here's a link to their Technical Data page:

Technical Data

That's enough for now. I've enjoyed all the replies to the previous messages.

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Old 03-21-2012, 12:17 AM   #13
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
Posts: 588
The Flexride looks good with the splined trailing arms. The arms can be rotated in 6 degree increments up or down if you want to change ride height.
Another unique design of the Flexride is that they bond the torsion bar to the rubber damper. The damper is press fit into the square outer tube. The damper acts in tension in stead of compression like the Dexter or Al-ko. When the Dexter or Al-ko rubber dampers age the trailer will sag, but since the dampers are in compression during loading they can't fail completely, where the Flexride relies on the glue joint to prevent total failure. I have not read of any failures unless the axle was welded on. Heat could damage the bond. The Flexride axles should be bolted on only (according to their instructions). You can change the ride height by rotation of the arm, but optimum ride is achieved at around 24 degrees down angle. If you raise your trailer by rotating the arm down to 30 degrees the ride will be a little choppier. Opting to space the axle down may be a better way to go, so the ride quality would remain cushy.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:34 AM   #14
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Name: Tim
Trailer: Class B for now
Posts: 761
I do know that Parkliner uses the Flexride axles, they are very happy with them.

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