B 17 gets new springs... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-10-2014, 08:32 AM   #1
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 974
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B 17 gets new springs...

On my last trip I broke a spring....(no surprise there...my towing is usually 20% off pavement...."bushwhacking" is why I bought the thing)

short version: I got new, heavier duty springs installed for 550 bucks...

longer version: I took the trailer to a spring shop and explained that if I was going to get new springs (I had to) I wanted something that would be more "rough service" than what I had on there before (probably stock, but can't be sure)....a day and a half later picked up trailer only to find that the new springs looked and felt pretty much like the old ones...

I called the shop and said I was less than pleased with my purchase....as luck would have it the guy I had dealt with wasn't there and would be away for another 3 weeks....

Now for the good news...after some discussion the answer I got was: "Bring her back in and we'll put another leaf in....at no cost to you"....Given the circumstances I was expecting something a little more complicated.....so I'm a happy guy all around and that just reinforced the reasons why I went to that shop in the first place (it was the second time I have done business there)

before and after pictures....(one more leaf)
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:54 AM   #2
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Name: Rick
Trailer: TBA
Wisconsin
Posts: 143
For all the love that you have poured into your Bigfoot and for the way you use it I'm curious why you didn't decided to spend a bit more and install a straight axel? My understanding is you would have gained about 4 inches in clearance and would have cost about $1000.00.

Not judging your decision I'm just curious.
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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straight axle????

to tell you the truth it never occured to me....but if I got this right, I would have gotten 4" more clearance under the axle...not overall right?....if that's right the "cost benefit analysis" would not have been worth it for me...I drive on a whole lot of potholed logging roads but I do stay on roads....can't ever recall bottoming/dragging the axle....and I'm CHEAP! a thousand bucks is a lot of money given that I have a bunch of "must replace" items in my future (like the awning for one)....and I paid too much for "The Breeze" to begin with

and if the overall height would have increased I would not have done it...overall height of the coach is just right now(after the new springs), would not want anything higher or I'd have to buy an ajustable ball/head (fixed height right now)....the vast majority of the time I camp without unhooking...don't even put out stabilizers
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:38 PM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 17' DLX
Alaska
Posts: 379
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Hello Francois,

Replacing the drop axle with a straight axle raises the trailer about 4 inches. I did this last year and am very happy with the added clearance since I do a lot of the same type of "off the pavement" travels as you. Most importantly, it got my holding tank drain/valves out of harms way when driving up steep driveways, ramps, over curbs, berms, dirt moguls during off-road road travels, etc.

Here is the original thread on the upgrade I did...

Bigfoot 17 drop to straight axle

And here is what happened after one of the springs collapsed...

New leaf spring failed on Bigfoot

And the final upgrade I did to the chassis was a set of wet shackles, which I love and highly recommend...

Greasable (wet) shackle kit installed on Bigfoot

I know you don't want to raise it due to your hitch setup but you may want to look into a straight axle one day if you start having clearance issues. You can probably use most of the components you already have and just replace the drop hubs with straight ones, which would save you a pile of money.

BTW, I camp most of the time without unhooking too. I have a 2" drop, fixed ball mount that I inverted to get just the right amount of lift for the perfect downward angle for towing, even when my water tank is full. When I park for the night I usually put a couple levelers under the rear tires of the truck and pull up on them to level out the trailer without unhooking. It only takes a couple of minutes. Here is what the set-up looks like, including that evil hitch extender that we discussed earlier. *LOL*

Cheers!

Mike
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:58 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 17' DLX
Alaska
Posts: 379
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For reference, this is how the lifted trailer sits in towing mode, albeit with a pretty decent load in the bed of the truck but also with a full load of propane and water on board. The slight downward angle to the front of the trailer is perfect for stability and tracking. If I run with the bed empty, I just flip the ball mount over to get a drop.

This was taken last month in Delta Junction, Alaska at the beginning of my annual southward migration which happens every fall.
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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all this proves one thing....

there are a TON of variables in a discussion like this....for example

your "before" pic in your axle change thread show your trailer riding really low, a lot lower than mine was....who and when stuff was modified or had different set ups from the factory are all possibles

you tow with a pick-up...your rear suspension presumes a further load put on/in it....I tow with an SUV (not really the case).....I'm guessing that's why you don't see a need for a WDH (that's a plus for you).....towing with such a device is a first for me (after towing LOTS of boats) and although they are extra trouble I must say I kinda like the way they act as a shock absorber reducing the bouncing after going over a bump/hole

you towing with the nose slightly down increases tounge weight...I'm thinking you couldn't get that trailer to sway if you tried...LOL (the people who really know boat towing often opt for that configuration although they could easily move the axle or boat to acheive perfect tounge weight....they do it so the boat is a little closer to level on the ramp coming in or out of the water)

there are no absolutes in the towing biz....you just gotta find what works for you...that's pretty clear

below the first picture is my trailer today in my yard....that's plenty of clearance for me....you're right I could increase it to reduce further the risk of bottoming out in extreme grade changes.... but I would pay a certain price for that by more windage driving down the road (already substantial....my Nitro is shorter that your pick-up/canopy)

as I said LOTS AND LOTS of variables....the snake oil salesmen will tell you they can solve all your problems by buying this or that gizmo...but really most often the answer is understanding the geometry/physics and tweaking it to fit your particular circumstance

the second picture shows what probably will be another one of my projects....it's taking the rear passenger side window out and turning upside dowm....that's to put the slider in the middle of the trailer allowing me keep it open (with the awning out three feet like I usually park rain or shine) for ventilation and not worrying about rain while I'm not there....I got this idea from using the front window that way, for that porpouse....I can only really just crack the front window though...if I flip the rear one I'll be able to have it wide open and under cover....funny thing too I realized if I did that I could just swing the kitchen faucet outside !!!! not sure what use I could make of this new development but I'm sure I will come up with something LOL

ah, yes...another mod.....does it ever end???? LOL...cheers, F
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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oh, and almost forgot...

I was in an RV parts store yesterday and saw one of those "foots" you have....almost got one (I had already reached my "budget" for the day)

it was seventy bucks here on the Island...I'm guessing it's probably half of that in CAL.....maybe I should go on a trip south and really "go to town"
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:58 PM   #8
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
Posts: 1,226
Your axle has been mounted below the springs. Some people call this "flipped" Your trailer most likely came from the factory with the axle mounted above the springs.

By mounting the axle the way you have yours the trailer is raised about 4 inches but your ground clearance remains the same. The distance from the ground to the axle remains the same.

If you change to a straight axle and mount it above the springs you would have the same overall trailer height AND 4 inches more ground clearance. I put a straight axle on my 17 and it looks to sit at the same height as yours but I have 4 inches more ground clearance. It's wet under the trailer now so I can't take photos today but will try to post a photo later.
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:36 PM   #9
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
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This will give you 4 inches more ground clearance
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:18 PM   #10
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 17' DLX
Alaska
Posts: 379
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Francois,

You are correct, every circumstance is different. I was just sharing my personal experience with upgrading the axle on a 17-foot BF. But Jack is right, I didn't even notice it at first. Your axle/leaf is "overslung", which is why your trailer with the original drop spindles rides as high as mine does with straight spindles. The PO must have done this. And as he said, you have a taller riding trailer but less axle-to-ground clearance. If that's not a problem and it tracks/handles fine, no worries. Some people have had problems with flipping axles so it's always worth mentioning all the different ways to do this. Now that I see the side-on shot of your trailer, it's clear to see that your ride height is certainly adequate. I'm glad this works for you.

As for the FastWay Flip, I bought mine in Anchorage, probably at a highly inflated price. But it certainly makes the jacking process a whole lot easier on a lifted Bigfoot. I could have never used it when it was at the original, stock height but it's a perfect fit for the trailer with the 4 additional inches of lift.
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