Axle Inspection - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-20-2018, 10:57 PM   #1
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Name: Mick M
Trailer: Scamp
Washington
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Axle Inspection

I am looking for a video or document on how to inspect whether an axle needs to be replaced on my 1994 Scamp 16. I believe it is the original and the trailer appears to tow well. Also, would like to find the specifications on the axles dimensions. It looks like a Dextor Torflex 10 with a 22 1/2 down angle.

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Old 01-21-2018, 03:21 AM   #2
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Generally Torflex lasts a long long time but they do have a good site.
Hope this document helps.

http://www.dexteraxle.com/docs/defau...stallation.pdf
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:28 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monk View Post
I am looking for a video or document on how to inspect whether an axle needs to be replaced on my 1994 Scamp 16. ..
Although Ian is talking about the sister make, Boler, I think this will be helpful:

Boler Rubber Torsion Axle - Boler-Camping
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:06 AM   #4
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I would check two things, consistent with Ian's great write-up.

(1) One failure mode is hardening of the rubber, resulting in a harsh ride (cushions flying, cabinets popping open, as Ian describes). Doesn't sound like you are experiencing any of those things, but if you want to check, jack up the frame (never the axle) on one side and measure how much the wheel drops (top of wheel arch to center of hub). It should drop a couple of inches (Ian puts it at 1-1/2"). I've read several posts where folks had those symptoms, did this test, and discovered the axle was completely frozen- no movement at all. Those were mainly 30-40 year old trailers still riding on the original axle.

(2) The other failure mode is toe out, resulting in inside tire wear. I'm not sure how you would check the alignment at home, probably some careful measurements between the front and back inside of the wheel to the frame when under load. A trailer/axle shop could also do it, but unless I had a reason (like inside tire wear) I probably wouldn't. Perhaps if the trailer were new-to-me AND the axle well past expiration AND I was getting ready to install some expensive new tires, I might.

Sag is a little harder to figure out and not as important as long as you have sufficient clearance inside the wheel wells. "A fist" seems to be the consensus for unmodified Scamp 13's (mine is a little more than that), but Scamp 16's ride a lot higher and have shallower wheel wells. From what I've read, it can be prevented to some extent by raising the trailer on jack stands for long-term storage to take weight off the axle. Scamp encourages the practice in their owner's manual.

Your axle is past what Dexter considers a "normal" lifespan (15-20 years), but most people would consider that a very conservative figure for occasional-use service on a lightweight molded fiberglass travel trailer. Lots of their axles see heavy, daily use on commercial utility trailers.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
... From what I've read, it can be prevented to some extent by raising the trailer on jack stands for long-term storage to take weight off the axle. Scamp encourages the practice in their owner's manual.
..
As does Lippard, although they do not explain the reasoning in this document (I did not check Dexter but no doubt its the same advice):

See page 41 of the manual:
2. Jack up the trailer and place jack stands under the trailer frame so that the weight will be off the tires. Follow trailer manufacturer’s guidelines to lift and support the trailer.
I jack mine up some, but I have stopped lifting the wheels off the ground - too much trouble. Just taking a good portion of the weight off the axle (and the rubber) should help IMHO.

More IMHO: Tires still supporting some or all of the trailer's weight should be fully inflated (as in my storage). Tires off the ground or removed should be deflated 1/5 to 2/5ths of full pressure.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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Name: Mick M
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Thanks

Appreciate the quick response!
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:21 AM   #7
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Negative camber resulting in wear to the inside edge of the tire tread is the primary indication of Torflex axle wear. Slight tow out is also the result of axle wear.
If you don't get down to 3/32" on the inside tread of the tire over the "time out" period of the tire, or if there is no more than 3/32" difference across the tread at that point, you can keep your axle.
If your axle is old and somewhat worn, inspect your brakes. If the brakes could stand replacement it might be a good time to replace the whole works as a unit. Why replace brakes and bearings on an axle approaching replacement soon anyway?
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Old 01-21-2018, 12:52 PM   #8
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Second thought to me is why not replace the assembly?
You will get everything with the axle assembly. Backing plates complete.
Swap it out and call it done. No guessing.
Just my two bits.
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Old 01-23-2018, 03:02 PM   #9
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Name: Joe
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We've had our 1999 17' Casita for 11 years and the trailer ride has started getting noticeably harsher in the last 5 years that would be when it was 14-15 years old.
Now at 19 years old I'm planning to replace it in the spring. No abnormal tire wear and it's probably one of the lesser used trailers with about 2k miles per year since we've owned it.
Another whose axle has just been replaced commented that the "porpoising" is greatly reduced.

I've read several places that 15-20 years is about it and to me that a "long, long time" and that fits my experience. I had "assumed" the rubber got soft over time but have learned otherwise.
I've previously replaced the brakes, hubs and bearings so I'll be just getting a bare axle.

So yes you can count on replacing a the original axle on a 1994 trailer. And since it's new to you do as "DOC" says and get the whole assembly and cross bearings, brakes and axle of your list.

Joe
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