Axle Storage - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-18-2014, 04:23 PM   #1
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Axle Storage

We have a 2008 5th wheel Scamp. It has a torsion bar suspension. We have been told to jack the trailer up when it is put away for long periods of time. Do you jack the trailer up from the axle itself or from the frame? How much weight needs to be lifted to save the rubber cords of the suspension system?
Thanks for your help: Jerry
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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Myself I jack up the frame as close to the axle as I can and take off as much weight to take most of the bulge off the tire. I do not lift the tire.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:55 PM   #3
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Never jack it up by the axle. That is a no-no. Always jack it by the frame.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:53 PM   #4
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Never jack it up by the axle. That is a no-no. Always jack it by the frame.
I hear people say that a lot, but just out of curiosity, why is jacking by the axle a "no-no". I'd wager the axle housing is the single strongest structure on most fiberglass travel trailers. On torsion axles, the axle housing is bolted/welded solid to the frame, in a way that the axle supports the full weight of both the frame and the fiberglass cabin (it's even rated in such a way so as to guarantee supporting that total weight plus an additional amount of cabin contents). And then manufactures design jack stands to place under the axle to support the full weight of the trailer once a jack has lifted it. If you can support a trailer by placing a jack stand under the axel, seems like you should be able to jack it by that same axle. Granted, you might not want to place the jack in the middle of the axle where I guess it could potentially bow up in the center, but why would anyone want to jack a trailer from the center? So again, why do people say not to jack a trailer (or vehicle for that matter) by the axle? Just curious. I've done it for ages, usually placing the head of the jack as near the frame mount or leaf spring bracket as possible, and never had a problem. Just lucky, maybe?
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:44 AM   #5
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I hear people say that a lot, but just out of curiosity, why is jacking by the axle a "no-no". I'd wager the axle housing is the single strongest structure on most fiberglass travel trailers.

Guilty of posting a quick answer without going into great detail. I would not jack the axle where it is not supported by or perhaps I should say where it supports the frame or contacts the frame. Nor would I place a jack where it contacts the torsion arm while lifting (the real no-no), which is what I meant by not jacking "by the axle." I generally try to jack using a block of wood to distribute weight along the frame member immediately in front of or behind the axle mounting point, or where the axle attaches to the frame. That is what I meant by jacking on the frame. And actually, I would hope that the coupler/safety chains, not the axle housing, is/are the single strongest structure on all trailers, fiberglass or otherwise.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:48 AM   #6
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War Eagle I think you have the right idea. Supporting the axle close to the frame or on the frame close to the axle. The whole reason would be to take part of the full weight load off the suspension to preserve the rubber torsion axle and tires from a constant non moving load. Both points would do the job.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:19 PM   #7
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The real question is, where would you place the jack on this Scamp 19. And no, this is not photoshopped. It is a read mod.

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Old 02-20-2014, 11:36 AM   #8
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I saw that rig at Scamp Camp this past week. He did a nice job. great conversation piece.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:06 PM   #9
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That's Merle's tandem-axle Scamp. I worked with Merle 5-6 years ago developing the documentation on the swap. If you're really interested in how he did it, check out this info in the Document Center, it's the TandemAxleSetup: Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Axles and Running Gear

BTW: the center of a torsion axle tube is hollow. You don't want to jack up anywhere on the axle or you might collapse it. Jack on the frame as close to the tire as you can get.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:49 AM   #10
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I always jack it up by the axle, and will continue to do so. I wouldn't do it under the center of it, but that's just common sense. The axle tube is much stronger than the frame on my scamp, so if the axle would collapse, so would the frame.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:54 AM   #11
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I always jack it up by the axle, and will continue to do so. I wouldn't do it under the center of it, but that's just common sense. The axle tube is much stronger than the frame on my scamp, so if the axle would collapse, so would the frame.
You know the risks, you take your chances. You also weld and can replace the axle if needed. Most of us don't weld. Where to put a jack that will prevent damage is a no brainer for me. YMMV
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:08 AM   #12
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Axle Storage

It would be riskier to jack it on the frame (not that I'm worried about doing it that way, either), at least on my camper. The axle housing is twice as thick as the frame. It's also much lower. Even my 2.5 ton long frame jack would be iffy on lifting it high enough by the frame.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:28 PM   #13
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Maybe I am missing something here, but it would seem to me that jacking at the axle, as long as the torsion arm is avoided, is essentially jacking on the frame since the frame is supported by the axle. My preference is to jack on the frame immediately behind the axle using a piece of 2 x 4 to spread out the load. I generally place the jack on top a large block I have. That is for servicing wheels, tires, and bearings at home. Emergencies on the road are handled with whatever works. I also agree with Jared that the axle housing is much thicker than the frame and can be used without causing any damage. And Donna is right, that is Merle's Scamp. He lives a couple of hours from me. He has also put shocks on his "tandem."
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:18 PM   #14
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"Axle storage". Always store your axle outdoors, under the trailer.

I would venture to say that any frame too fragile to take a jack is too fragile to be towed. But axles are made in a certain shape to allow the torsion rubber to operate properly, and doing anything that could compromise that shape may also compromise the axle's function. I guess if the jack's load were distributed across a wide enough portion of the axle (with a board, perhaps), it would greatly minimize the risk.
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