Axle bent? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2015, 12:17 AM   #1
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Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
British Columbia
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Axle bent?

We just acquired our 1973 Boler 13' (built in Peace River AB by Glass-Fab) and I have already removed the axle to replace it. The up angle on the torsion was at least 30 degrees and ground clearance was not great. And the tires were wearing unevenly too; excessive wear on the outboard edges of the tires. Now that the axle is off, I note that it is not quite straight; there is a slight bend upwards of perhaps 1/4". And the bend is not in the exact centre but slightly towards the driver's side. Would I be correct in thinking this is damage and not design?

I have spoken to Paul Neumeister and would order a new one from him in a hearbeat but the shipping cost to BC is pretty nasty. So I will likely get Standens to supply the new axle. Unless someone else has a suggestion?

Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:56 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1974 Boler 1300 - 2014 Escape 19'
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The bend in the tube is normal, it is an alignment bend to make sure the wheels are aligned when the weight of the trailer is on the axle. The original up angle on Boler was 10 deg which will give you 7"-8" of ground clearance to the doorway step.
Here are the calculations if you are interested Boler Axle
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:16 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
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Thanks for the reply. I had already cruised your site and got lots of good info. Thanks for creating the site and sharing your hard-won knowledge! I'm still a little skeptical about the bend being "factory" because it is not in the middle.

In the first picture, the string is stretched and the tape measure is in the centre of the bend. The deepest part of the bend is about 5/16".


The next pictures are close-ups of the deepest part of the bend. It is hard to see, but the square tube of the axle is slightly deformed inwards along the weld bead. If the axle builder (Ingersoll Rub-R-Ride) had put a pre-bend in the axle, it seems to me that the bend would be centred and the axle would not be deformed. This has led me to suspect that either Glass-Fab bent the axle to fit the frame or someone managed to damage the axle later on?

We're getting a new axle in any case but just wondered what difference the bind might make, if any, when measuring for and fitting the new axle. The trailer is actually in very good shape for the age and the frame is in really good shape, for being original. We are going to keep her as close to stock as possible and do more of a refurbishment/clean up, than a restoration.
Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #4
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You are right that it would not be the original "axle" alignment. But I have seen axles bent off center like that when a trailer get realigned, the off center bend gives a greater amount of camber to one wheel than the other... but it could also easily be damage from hitting something, which it probably is from.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:55 PM   #5
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Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
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That bend could be the result of improper jacking. It is best to avoid placing a jack on the axle tube where it is unsupported.
Russ
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:24 PM   #6
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Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
British Columbia
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Axle replacement blues!

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenghost45 View Post
We just acquired our 1973 Boler 13' (built in Peace River AB by Glass-Fab) and I have already removed the axle to replace it. The up angle on the torsion was at least 30 degrees and ground clearance was not great. And the tires were wearing unevenly too; excessive wear on the outboard edges of the tires. Now that the axle is off, I note that it is not quite straight; there is a slight bend upwards of perhaps 1/4". And the bend is not in the exact centre but slightly towards the driver's side. Would I be correct in thinking this is damage and not design?

I have spoken to Paul Neumeister and would order a new one from him in a hearbeat but the shipping cost to BC is pretty nasty. So I will likely get Standens to supply the new axle. Unless someone else has a suggestion?

Thanks!

After a lot of back and forth with Standens, (during which they had a fire!), I came to the conclusion that they could NOT build an axle that would bolt in. So I sent drawings and pix to Pacific Spring and Axle in Langley, BC. They said they could build one, no problem. A week later I dropped off the old unit there, so they would have the template for the new unit. A day later, I get a call from them; problem!

The torsion arms they use are 1-1/2" shorter than the original unit (The arm dimensions were in my drawing but I guess they did not notice it). They can move the axle forward so that the spindles still end up in the centre of the wheel well, but then another problem. The drop-down floor framing (see pictures) is 1-3/4" below the the frame tubes that bolt to the axle brackets. The old axle beam fit just behind the drop down floor; the brackets are only 1-3/8" high above the beam.

But the axle beam will have to move 1-1/2" forward, to keep the spindles in the same location. The axle beam would then NOT fit behind the dropdown floor and the 1-3/8" high axle brackets would NOT reach the old mounting point on the tube steel. My solution is to increase the axle bracket height by 3/8" (from 1-3/8" to 1-3/4") so that the axle beam is UNDER the dropdown floor, and the brackets will reach up to the old mounting point. The red arrow in the picture points to the tube that the old axle bolted to and the approximate location of the axle beam. The blue arrow points to the dropdown floor that the new axle beam will have to fit under.

Has anyone else ran into this problem and if so, what was their solution? Does my solution seem acceptable? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-06-2015, 04:41 PM   #7
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Lots of smoke from the Standens fire.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:11 PM   #8
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Your new axle is a FlexiRide which has adjustable ride height by repositioning the arms on a splined shaft, but there suspension arms are 1.5" shorter at 4.5" long (as I mentioned my article in the link above)

The Dexter arms are 6" long. You could use blocks between the frame and axle brackets to drop the axle tube under the kitchen floor, then you have the ability to adjust the ride height to suit your needs.

Since you also provided the arm specifications in your request you could go back to the company and ask them to use a Dexter axle with the correct arm length
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. View Post
Your new axle is a FlexiRide which has adjustable ride height by repositioning the arms on a splined shaft, but there suspension arms are 1.5" shorter at 4.5" long (as I mentioned my article in the link above)

The Dexter arms are 6" long. You could use blocks between the frame and axle brackets to drop the axle tube under the kitchen floor, then you have the ability to adjust the ride height to suit your needs.

Since you also provided the arm specifications in your request you could go back to the company and ask them to use a Dexter axle with the correct arm length
Thanks so much for the info. The axle has not been built yet and the shop has committed to build the new one with a custom 1-3/4" height bracket, so the blocks are not needed. Jim (at Pacific Axle) said it would take him 4-6 weeks to get the longer arms ordered in. Given that the RV season is here (at least on Vancouver Island!), I am inclined to let him build the flexi-ride with the custom height brackets. Thanks!
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:46 PM   #10
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Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenghost45 View Post
Thanks so much for the info. The axle has not been built yet and the shop has committed to build the new one with a custom 1-3/4" height bracket, so the blocks are not needed. Jim (at Pacific Axle) said it would take him 4-6 weeks to get the longer arms ordered in. Given that the RV season is here (at least on Vancouver Island!), I am inclined to let him build the flexi-ride with the custom height brackets. Thanks!
I got the new axle a couple of weeks ago and it bolted right in. He (meaning Jim at Pacific Spring and Axle) built the new bracket about 1-7/8" high to give me extra clearance from the drop down floor. I am quite happy with the new higher ride height but have not done a test pull yet. As you will notice from the pix, I did elect to add brakes. The price including brakes was $636 CAD plus taxes. His first quote was a bit higher but I got him to make the price competitive with Standens, who quoted about $600. But it was simpler to deal with Pacific Spring, being they are in BC and they were more accommodating about the custom aspects of the brackets. The turnaround time was very fast; a couple of days. And the new unit is adjustable for the torsion arm angle!
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