axle is an automotive axle on my casita - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-27-2007, 09:23 PM   #15
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I just checked the tire are Carlise 14ST tires with decent tread. I have a purchase receipt from '05 with the paperwork. My son said the rims are off a Ford Ranger.

i just took pics and will upload them in a few when I resize them.
I would advise that you NOT use the Ranger wheels, or any other automotive wheels, unless you can be certain that they are lug-centered, not hub-centered, wheels. The axle hubs will be lug-centered and automotive wheels are usually hub-centered. Just because the bolt spacing is the same as Dexter/Al-Ko/Henschen or whatever, doesn't mean the wheel and the hub are good mates.

You may be able to still use the 14" tires with the spacer installed and that will give good ground clearance and lessen the underside 'air dam' effect.

Looking at your pictures, I have two comments.

1. The cut wires are likely from the electric brakes from the original axle.

2. I see that Casita has used C-channel on your trailer, but I can't make out exactly what the axle-modifier did to connect the auto axle. Normally, Dexter recommends that their axle be BOLTED to C-channel, using tapered washers to keep it all vertical, instead of welding, and I have heard (but don't really know) that Casita is indeed now bolting. I don't know what Casita does when they install their HiLift -- Do they weld on another piece of C and bolt the axle to it or weld both? Maybe someone knows? or a call to Casita?

One reason it's important is that the extra existing welding may have to come off to get the right horizontal spacing for the new axle brackets, so you may need to reproduce the HiLift to keep the 14" tires...

I'm getting out of my depth here because my knowledge of Casita undersides and practices is only half-vast, not vast...
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:54 PM   #16
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thx for the info on the wheels Pete. I'll definitely change them out if they are indeed ranger wheels that are hub centered.

as far as the welding part with the previous mods, the trailer place should be able to square all that away. He's looked it over and given me his quote. He's very reasonable, so whatever he needs to do within reason, I'll do it. Want to be safe on the road and not worry about it. He may even sell wheels there.

thx for looking at the pics. I haven't a clue what the one of the previous owners was thinking when they modded it. Luckily these trailers are so simple that they can be modded back
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:02 PM   #17
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One reason it's important is that the extra existing welding may have to come off to get the right horizontal spacing for the new axle brackets, so you may need to reproduce the HiLift to keep the 14" tires...
Casita uses a greater down angle axle to gain the extra 1 7/8.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:56 PM   #18
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I would advise that you NOT use the Ranger wheels, or any other automotive wheels, unless you can be certain that they are lug-centered, not hub-centered, wheels. The axle hubs will be lug-centered and automotive wheels are usually hub-centered. Just because the bolt spacing is the same as Dexter/Al-Ko/Henschen or whatever, doesn't mean the wheel and the hub are good mates.

You may be able to still use the 14" tires with the spacer installed and that will give good ground clearance and lessen the underside 'air dam' effect.

Looking at your pictures, I have two comments.

1. The cut wires are likely from the electric brakes from the original axle.

2. I see that Casita has used C-channel on your trailer, but I can't make out exactly what the axle-modifier did to connect the auto axle. Normally, Dexter recommends that their axle be BOLTED to C-channel, using tapered washers to keep it all vertical, instead of welding, and I have heard (but don't really know) that Casita is indeed now bolting. I don't know what Casita does when they install their HiLift -- Do they weld on another piece of C and bolt the axle to it or weld both? Maybe someone knows? or a call to Casita?

One reason it's important is that the extra existing welding may have to come off to get the right horizontal spacing for the new axle brackets, so you may need to reproduce the HiLift to keep the 14" tires...

I'm getting out of my depth here because my knowledge of Casita undersides and practices is only half-vast, not vast...
Washburns Dexter axle Install Box the c channel fwd & aft of hub center line Than Weld a length Box tubing under that than a l channel fit up to the dexter plates Center it all up in well equedestance from center line fwd& aft. Your local guy will under stand this i would hope. Iam just a marine fab welder. But have seen casita thats is how they did it on my 17 sd. Ask dexter how they would do it They more than likely have a plan u could use. Its a no brainer. lee
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:47 PM   #19
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WASHBURNS DEXTER AXEL INSTALL BOX THE C CHANNEL FWD& AFT OF HUB CENTER LINE THAN WELD A LENGTH BOX TUBING UNDER THAT THAN A L CHANNEL FIT UP TO THE DEXTER PLATES CENTER IT ALL UP IN WELL EQUEDESTANCE FROM CENTER LINE FWD& AFT. YOUR LOCAL GUY WILL UNDER STAND THIS i WOULD HOPE. IAM JUST A MARINE FAB WELDER. BUT HAVE SEEN CASITA THATS IS HOW THEY DID IT ON MY 17 SD. ASK DEXTER HOW THEY WOULD DO IT THEY MORE THAN LIKELY HAVE A PLAN U COULD USE. ITS A NO BRAINER . lee

thx Lee. Yeah I think it is a no-brainer to the trailer guy. He did assure me it will be the same height and i will love it. He's been in business for 40 yrs and it's a father/son operation with many employees.

I think I'll let him do what he needs to do and trust him, b/c if I keep telling him how to do it I'll just tick him off. You know how these southern guys are with women (especially a yankee woman lol) asking alot of questions that they don't really understand to begin with.
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:36 PM   #20
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Lee, thanks for pointing out the welded brace across the C-channel beam; I had forgotten that part. Here's a copy of one page of the Dexter Application Guide PDF (Said it before and I'll say it again, there is a cornucopia of axle and related information at the Dexter and Al-Ko sites!!!) showing the installation.
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C_channel.jpg  
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:44 PM   #21
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Hmm, that didn't come out as well as I had hoped, but the brace plate is welded across the C-channel and the axle bracket is bolted to the bottom of the channel, with sloped washers to get the angle right.

If all Casita does is use a greater down-angle to get lift, then that angle should be used.

I don't know how Casita works with used-unit owners and things like this, but I do know Scamp, if given the VIN, will look up the specs on the original axle they installed.

BTW, adding to axle lore, if one gets the plant number and serial number off a Dexter axle ID plate (which also tells what capacity the axle was assembled for), one can call the plant (look it up on the
Dexter site), ask for the records keeper and get every dimension and option that the axle had when it left their factory. I believe, but do not know for sure, that Al-Ko can do likewise.

Lee, is your axle bolted to the channel? Or is it welded?
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:46 PM   #22
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I don't know how Casita works with used-unit owners and things like this, but I do know Scamp, if given the VIN, will look up the specs on the original axle they installed.
Casita doesn't have any info by vin. I tried that the first day to see what options it had. nada
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:03 PM   #23
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I'll definitely take pictures for you guys, tonight or tomorrow.
Thanks. I'm dial-up today, so I've only looked at one photo (the one in the post) but it shows the setup well.

I can't image what this is from. It is mild drop beam axle (my Boler's Dexter-type leaf-spring axle has 4" of drop from hub centre to beam centre; this looks like less) with a square beam. It is similar to a Chrysler/Dodge minivan, but doesn't look quite the same, and those would typically have drum brakes.

I wonder if it is really a trailer axle, with automotive springs. Trailer disk brakes are available... they just aren't cheap to use in an electrically-controlled system, as I mentioned.

Quote:
...so leaf spring axle is out and I need a torflex axle (dexter or equiv) ?
Well, not really. Either design can work. I wouldn't choose a leaf-spring suspension for several reasons (although my Boler came with one), especially for a Casita which is always independent from the factory, but it's a valid option.

Trailer suspensions have very short wheel travel: the wheels can move up and down very little compared to a car or truck. This makes them cheap and rough-riding. The springs which were added to this trailer are much longer than trailer springs would be, which allows them to move further, potentially allowing a smoother ride (but maybe allowing too much lean). It would be possible to just put a trailer axle (with trailer hubs and brakes) on the existing leaf springs... but a complete trailer axle assembly is probably better for later resale. Also, without looking at all the photos the beam-to-spring mounting hardware looks suspect.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:27 AM   #24
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thx brian. I just called the trailer guy and i'm going to go with a leaf spring axle - alco. that's what he's already ordered. he said he could check on a price for the torflex axle, but honestly it's been so modified under there, that the leaf axle is really the only way to do it without spending a small fortune.

because i don't know what's going on under there, I'll trust his judgement. At this point he can't even tell what the trailer came with

I will watch for lean, and maybe there is a way to stiffen that up underneath with anti-sway bars or something? I did notice coming out of the guys yard and down a 2 ft embankment, that it did lean, but it didn't tip over. It pulls pretty easy.

i have a quick question about weight. do the leaf spring axles weigh more than torflex? I'll wait till the axle is replaced (2 wks) and weigh the trailer to see what i have. My TV is rated for 5k pounds, so I should be more than fine.

thx again.
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:36 PM   #25
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A typical leaf-spring axle should be pretty close in weight to the rubber torsion type - the hub/brake hardware is the same, both have a tube going across the width, and the leaf springs probably weigh a little more than short little arm and rubber bits of the torsion axle design. The automotive leaf springs already in this trailer are much longer than typical trailer parts, and as a result are thicker as well, so they are quite likely heavier... I doubt this is an issue with the excess tow vehicle capacity which is available.

I would like an anti-sway bar in my trailer suspension, and we talked about this as a side note in an earlier topic. The problem is that the trailer frame is quite wide compared to motor vehicle frames, so it would be unlikely that any existing bar could be salvaged and adapted... custom fabrication is possible but I have not resorted to that. It might not be necessary at all, but it is something to keep in mind. Shock absorbers don't do the same thing as an anti-sway bar, but may help if side-to-side movements are excessive.
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:45 PM   #26
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A typical leaf-spring axle should be pretty close in [b]weight to the rubber torsion type - the hub/brake hardware is the same, both have a tube going across the width, and the leaf springs probably weigh a little more than short little arm and rubber bits of the torsion axle design. The automotive leaf springs already in this trailer are much longer than typical trailer parts, and as a result are thicker as well, so they are quite likely heavier... I doubt this is an issue with the excess tow vehicle capacity which is available.

I would like an [b]anti-sway bar in my trailer suspension, and we talked about this as a side note in an earlier topic. The problem is that the trailer frame is quite wide compared to motor vehicle frames, so it would be unlikely that any existing bar could be salvaged and adapted... custom fabrication is possible but I have not resorted to that. It might not be necessary at all, but it is something to keep in mind. Shock absorbers don't do the same thing as an anti-sway bar, but may help if side-to-side movements are excessive.
thx brian. you guys are great for explanations. i really appreciate it.

i was thinking shocks too to maybe stabilize it if needed. I know the trailer doesn't sway at all and tracks the TV like glue, so maybe those wouldn't help in my case. I think casita has sway bars as an option after market. I called them last year when I was looking for used and asked if they could add them to a used casita and they said no problem.

i took the trailer in to a local rv dealer today for a systems PDI to see what works/doesn't. The fridge got frost in the freezer on a/c, but didn't get cool. it was in the 90's that day, so I didn't expect too much. at the very least the door seal would need replacing b/c of age. I'll be happy if it works on propane.

I found a great place for parts, thru:

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv_part...accessories.htm

and here for a thorough parts list by category:

http://www.rvdealership.com/

excellent prices and they even have all the parts for my old RM2201 dometic. amazing.
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:50 PM   #27
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...I think casita has sway bars as an option after market. I called them last year when I was looking for used and asked if they could add them to a used casita and they said no problem...
I'm sure what Casita meant by [b]"sway bars" would be a weight-distributing hitch system (including the spring bars which are often mis-labeled "sway bars"), and/or a friction-type sway control device (which is bar-shaped and thus often called a "sway bar", but not by the companies that make them).

An actual [b]suspension anti-roll bar (or "anti-sway bar", or "swaybar", or "stabilizer bar") is the torsion spring which connects the two sides of the suspension together. This is what I meant, and it is essentially never used as a separate component in a trailer suspension, although most commercial truck trailers now include a stiff anti-roll component in the form of a axle tube which must twist to allow the trailer to lean.
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