Crack on T4500 axle and tire question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-03-2014, 12:32 AM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: '84 Bigfoot b17
British Columbia
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Crack on T4500 axle and tire question

Hi, I've turned my attention to the running gear since leaks are sorted for now. Looking to get some road miles in!
But hold it....those tires don't look so new after all! Hmmm....and what is that crack on the axle tube weld all about! What the heck? The other side is the same!!
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:45 AM   #2
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Can you see the crack along the top weld on the square tubing?
Is this the decision point of new axle time? It could be original for all i know. Would be a shame to get it welded up only to find axle is toast. Turns out the tires on the rig are I think dated 1998! 3 digit date code on tires from what I see 43rd week of 1998??....and the spare I think is the original old school bias ply from factory!
I will jack up the other side and put the frame on blocks, then reassess the axle with no weight on it? How to tell if the torsion axle is clapped out it does not seem to sag judging only though from the tires filling the wheel well with plenty of clearance? Really used to leaf springs, struts and air bags!!!!
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:05 AM   #3
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I'll let someone else talk about the axle. Your tires are way past their life span no matter how they look, change out all of them.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tyhee View Post
Can you see the crack along the top weld on the square tubing?
Is this the decision point of new axle time? It could be original for all i know. Would be a shame to get it welded up only to find axle is toast.
You cannot weld it there without damaging the rubber inside. That area is welded before the rubber is inserted during manufacturing.

Although written for a boler, the first few posts in this thread tells you what to look for when deciding to replace an axle: Replacing an Axle - leading arm to trailing arm

Hint - You are looking for movement of the spindle arm. An axle is not all that expensive and a good investment for years to come.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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And a new axle would have new brakes.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:04 AM   #6
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As others have indicated the tires are way past due! No matter how good a trailer tire may look on the outside they will more often than started to have degrade from the inside out after 4 or more years and fall apart on the highway. Especially if the trailer has been sitting for awhile in wet climate.

Don't know where you are located in BC but if you are concerned about the axle you could a take it to Escape Trailers in Chilliwack and have them take a look at it. Not only did they build trilliums for a year or so on contract but they also do repairs on all brands of Fiberglass trailers and are known to be one of the most reasonably priced places in BC to get a new axle done, although this is a pretty busy time of year to be looking to get one done by them.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:29 AM   #7
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Name: John
Trailer: '84 Bigfoot b17
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Thanks everybody

Agree new tires all around for sure!
I'll have to read over the axle replacement threads again since I got distracted with leaks and other fixes. Thanks Roy for the link and vital no weld info. Carol, we are located in a neat spot called telkwa in BC right next to Tyee lake prov park. I would want to get the current axle checked out here to see if it would safely make 1500 Klm journey to escape trailers.
For interest I'm going to try and see if I can order a replacement axle from napa here (with brakes).
I was going to try and find a set of ford ranger rims and upgrade to. 14" tires but the tree planters have just rolled through and cleaned out the wreckers of every kind of trailer rims possible. Beat me to them I guess...
Tires are easy to deal with, but this axle issue is a bit of a setback. I believe David did call this though right from the get go when I announced our new To us ownership. A bit bummed out...but it is an old trailer.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:53 AM   #8
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Update

90$ each plus tax for Carlisle 175/80/13 load c st tires will get 3 new ones tomorrow ...ouch! Should I hold out for load d rating? Not speeders at all.

Also will limp the trailer to escape at some point I decided b/c ordering one here will be a big pain, plus install. I have the tires off both sides and trailer frame on blocks. Standing on hub can barely move the spindle arm, plus the stress cracks. Hmm....

What would be the stock axle setup for t4500 in terms of degrees up or down? And travel length? I know it is a trailing arm type but is it up to preference on ride height for example that sets the spec on the specific axle needed? I would shoot for dry weight if 1600 lbs and would not mind another inch of height clearance.

Bit of debate 10" brakes vs 7" and 2500 lb axle rating vs 3500 I read. I have no brakes now so any would be better than what I have currently. We'd like to boondock as you say often and that means to us anyway travelling down bumpy logging roads. Suspect the 2500 axle would have best ride for this use. Do you air down the trailer tires a bit to provide some more "give" or is that the axles job? I know you generally cannot run under inflated tires.
Thanks! Much appreciate the advice.
John
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:58 AM   #9
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What would be the stock axle setup for t4500 in terms of degrees up or down? And travel length? I know it is a trailing arm type but is it up to preference on ride height for example that sets the spec on the specific axle needed? I would shoot for dry weight if 1600 lbs and would not mind another inch of height clearance.
The axle specs used to be on the TrilliumRV site. I just checked and they are not there any more. They will probably be posted in a thread somewhere here. Maybe somebody has them available. I can look up the specs for the axle I put on my Trillium if need be. Dexter recommends 10 degrees down for optimal function.

When you order a Dexter axle, you have choices in mounting heights. I recommend the bolt on brackets for an extra $40 or so. They are cheap insurance if you ever need to replace the axle in the future. Essentially these are a piece of angle iron that is welded onto the frame that the axle bolts onto. It will give you about 1/4" extra lift. Considering your axle has no movement, replacing with new at the same specs should give you about 1-1.5" more lift.

1600 Lbs. is a bit light, you will need to factor in your camping gear etc.
Trailer Weights in the Real World

I recall ordering an axle in the 2500 Lb range, that will give you 10" brakes. The dexter #9 with 7" brakes stops at 2200 Lbs. the #10 is the next step up and comes with 10"
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:44 AM   #10
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If your going to take it to Escape you should phone well ahead as they are really busy right now. Also they will be able to advise you as to what axle is needed or recommended etc....
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:05 PM   #11
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Thanks Roy. That is some solid information there and I do like the bolt on axle brackets idea - I will get them at the same time as new bolt on axle and hopefully the 10" brakes. If you could dig out that axle spec you ordered/used for your 4500 I would be very grateful. I will comb old threads on here and see if I can find it as well and post it on this thread also. More homework needed and saving some $$ for this one.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:09 PM   #12
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Hi Carol, understand your advice. To clarify: we would not be rolling into the LM for quite awhile... likely fall and will phone well in advance to order the right axle, book time for labour etc. Am going to just focus on getting new tires so we can safely use the trailer on local trips around here and have some fun with it.
Cheers,
John
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:38 PM   #13
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Looks like someone posted the old (original) specs here:
Axle inspection in Massachusetts?

I'm still looking for the paper work for mine.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:41 PM   #14
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In thinking about new tires and a future axle swap I would consider if the new axle used the same rim/tire as the old. In others words, when I swapped the old 2200 lb axle on my Scamp for a new 3500 lb I had to change to 5 lug rims from the old 4 lug. I suppose I could have bought just rims for the old tires but figured it was a good time to spring for new tires also.
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