Lil Bigfoot 13' needs new axle - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-12-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
Member
 
Name: Dee
Trailer: Currently shopping
Saskatchewan
Posts: 54
Registry
Lil Bigfoot 13' needs new axle

Hi everyone,
not sure if you remember me, it's been a while since i was actively posting here but i had a lovely time with a lot of you when i was considering buying my baby. You can read that journey here...
Hi! I'm Dena & hopefully about to become a lil bigfoot owner!


I am finally able to get some work done on the trailer so first thing was halling her off to the shop for a look see. I got her for a steal of a deal so i was prepared, almost expecting there to be some $$$ needed to go back into her. My guess was the axle was buggered. It sits low, like real low but after searching and chatting here with some other Lil Bigfoot owners I realize that is the norm. Low ground clearance!!

to have a visual of how low here are some measurements:
- ground to top middle of wheel well = 20.5"
- ground to bottom of door frame (not actual door) = 9.5"
- ground to bottom of skid plate = 2.5" <---WOW!!!!!! no wonder it scrapes over our driveway curb. I am shocked it doesnt scrape a lot more!

after two days i have my trailer back, for a bit anyways. I hate feeling like because i am a girl, a girl who is not educated in the mechanics of trailers and such, that i get taken advantage of. it is a sad feeling but such is life.

here is a detail of my bill from trailer shop#1,
- customer complaint = check lights, appliances, tires, brakes etc. unit has been sitting for three years
- corrections done: rewired unit, added correct plug, new propane hose, checked all systems in unit.
hose = $14.95
7way/plastic = $9.95 <--- assume that to be the 7pin plug??

-customer complaint = repack wheel bearings, if inspection reveals they are ok dont do them. (i did not state this but my mother may have when she dropped off trailer for me. GRR!!)
-correction - remove and replace wheel bearings and races. repacked. measurements done on axle/inspection/ordered axle for customer
- they only listed parts numbers but upon googling found
bearing cup qty 2 = $18.76
bearing qty 2 = $ 35.98


-customer complaint = check tire condition and report
-correction - tires are not bad, need recessed rims
no charges

- customer complaint = rear undercarrage seems to be low. are springs ok?let customer know if any repairs are reccomended. (again i am assuming my mother was chatting up the shop guys as i never mentioned springs, i asked for the axle to be inspected)
-correction - inspected axle. needs replacement did measurements for replacement of axle/called co.#2 to order part
labour cost = $28.75

there was a lot of phone conversations throughout the two days. I wish i wrote it all down now i remember being told some form of the following:
  • rubbing on wheel well. i forget why else he said axle needed replacing, sigh, but will ask again on monday.
  • tires are 13" and 15" might be better???
  • one bearing was broken off completly, the part was to take 4 weeks arrival, were willing to store trailer in their lot if i wanted. i asked if i could use it to go camping at end of month with the current axle. got back to me after talking to lead mechanics, was told if we avoided all big bumps and potholes, drove nicely and didnt load up the trailer to full it would be fine to drive the 1/2 hr to the provincial park and back. That they would fix the bearings that needed fixing and leave the others to be replaced with axle??
  • i remember being told about a 7pin plug being installed to replace wrong or broken one. I looked at my original post on forum when i was considering buying and i wrote there that it had a 7pin but that previous wner stated it did NOT have brakes. I do not understand why a 7pin with no brakes unless it has brakes and they just never knew??? will ask monday when i call the shop with my load of questions lol.

company#1 ordered the new axle immediately but has told me they do not feel confident in doing the job as it is a unique and unusal fix so they have basicly given me to company#2, a bigger trailer company that #1 feels is better equipped to do the job. All of this was decided on friday and i have no way to respond or reply until monday when stores open again. Frustrating lol but i appreciate the honesty about their abilities or lack of.

my concerns/worries/questions...
  • i was told this trailer does not have brakes so why a 7pin?
  • detailed list of why axle needs replacing
  • why recessed rims? could not having recessed rims have caused the wheel well rubbing they stated, instead of axle?
  • will new axle raise the ground clearance? and if not how do we go about doing that because only being able to go over 2" or less without skid plate scraping is nuts.
  • will company#2 have any issues/problems with company #1 measurement/axle order? #1 ordered the axle through #2.

This is not a simple fix and its especially confusing and troublesome and costly for a newbie who knows nothing!
__________________

__________________
denabear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 12:22 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Perry J's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
California
Posts: 975
Send a message via AIM to Perry J Send a message via Yahoo to Perry J
I refurbished a Lil Big Foot two years ago.
There is no way to change your axel without some frame modification as the frame rails where the axel is attached are not parallel.
The shop that did the work could not find a stock axel that was a direct replacement for the old one.
I even talked to a gentleman who designed the Lil Bigfoot and he told me the original was no longer available.
The parallel rails become an A frame going up to the coupler just to the rear of where the original axel is mounted.
I asked a trailer repair, not anything to do with RVs, axel and brake shop what he recommended.
He ended up modifying the frame forward of where the old axel was mounted and mounted a Dexter trailing axel with brakes.
It cost around $600.00
My Lil Bigfoot could go down a smooth road without everything bouncing out of the cabinets and the cushions remained in place.
With a new axel your trailer will not be low and the rear will not drag.

Good Luck with your Bigfoot.
I wish I had kept mine.
John
__________________

__________________
Perry J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 10:57 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by denabear View Post

my concerns/worries/questions...
  • i was told this trailer does not have brakes so why a 7pin?
  • detailed list of why axle needs replacing
  • why recessed rims? could not having recessed rims have caused the wheel well rubbing they stated, instead of axle?
  • will new axle raise the ground clearance? and if not how do we go about doing that because only being able to go over 2" or less without skid plate scraping is nuts.
  • will company#2 have any issues/problems with company #1 measurement/axle order? #1 ordered the axle through #2.

This is not a simple fix and its especially confusing and troublesome and costly for a newbie who knows nothing!
1) Its never a bad thing to change out an old trailer plug as it probable there was some corrosion issues on it which can lead to issues with your lights etc. They may have detected some voltage issue caused by corrosion when they checking the lights etc that you requested. The fact the tailer does not have brakes really does not impact the use of a 7 pin plug - simple means that only one (the blue brake wire) of the 7 wires going into the plug is not there - but all the others are - turning lights, charge line, brake lights etc. Putting a 7 pin plug vs a 4 pin on it is not a real biggy issue and brings the trailer up to standard and probable not a significant cost difference either - probable only a few dollars, but it will allow you to add a brake line in the future. Do you have a 7 pin on your tug side now?

Since you are getting a new axle make sure what they sell you has flanges on it to allow for brakes to be installed. Many folks buying new to them older small trailers have changed out the axle for the simple reason they want/need brakes on it and the old axles do not have the flange on them required to add brakes. The lack of a mounting flange on the axle is probable the reason the trailer does not have brakes. Check your tugs owners manual it may be that it states that if you are hauling a trailer over 1000 or 1500lbs brakes are required on the trailer. Also most Provinces have a law that if the trailer is more than half the weight of the tug the trailer must have brakes as well. Brakes are a good thing! Cant go wrong adding them. Cheaper than replacing the brakes on your tug frequently due to no brakes on the trailer.

2) Replacing the axle on trailers over 20 years of age is a pretty common thing to need doing. The fact there is tire rubbing is a safety issue. What is the clearance around the tire to the wheel well - those are the things they would have look at. If you see black marks on the inside of wheel well that would confirm that there have been some tire rubbing. If the tire is hitting the wheel well when traveling over bumps etc it will/can cause a blow out. The other thing to look at is tire wear - if the tires are not wearing evenly thats another indication of an axle needing replacing. Are things flying around in the trailer when traveling - cushions moving? curtains falling down? etc - again thats an indication you need a new axle. The shop would also look at the angle of the leading arm on your axle is sitting - another clear indicator that it needs replacing. You should be happy that the folks who looked at the trailer acknowledged that they don't have the no how to change out your axle, way better than them trying to do it and messing it up - thats been known to happen!

BTW I do not believe that bearings and seals are normally included with the basic axle pricing (I don't believe that the actual brakes are either)- so any new bearings you have already purchased should be usable on the new one assuming they are the same size. Ask the shop.

3) Don't think having recessed rims would change much if the axle is shoot. Here is a good explanation on Tire/Rim Protectors. Putting larger tires & recessed rims on it is not a bad thing but its not really necessary. Lots of us have gotten by just find with standard ST 13" tires with no recessed rims on the small trailers for years. But if your rims show signs of being rough and rust around the tires then they probable should be replaced, after x so many years that is also pretty common. But then again If the new axle is going to give you enough clearance for 15" tires (only the shop can confirm that) and you are having to buy new tires and rims anyways it would be well worth changing them to 15".

3) Yes the new axle will increase the clearance not only around the wheel well but from the ground - how much depends on what axle they are proposing to put on it. The shop should be able to tell you how much more clearance you will have. A lot depends on what axle they are proposing to put on the trailer.

4) Cant answer that. You will have to ask the company that you are actually paying for the axle install. Is company #1 doing the actual billing and just using company #2 as a contractor to them? If thats the case it shouldn't matter to you which company does the actual install as its not your issue.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Kenny Strong's Avatar
 
Name: kenny
Trailer: Bigfoot 13'
Utah
Posts: 250
Some things to think about.

If the frame is the shape of a circle, or some other shape, a non- square rectangle, ( trapezoid ) It does not matter!!!, as long as the distance from the hitch coupler center is equidistant to the same place on the right and left side of the axle, the axle must be perpendicular to the sides of the trailer; been there done it, to my Lil BigFoot. The axle will have to be moved forward or back from the original attachment depending if it were a leading or trailing arm axle.

The use of a 15" wheel will change the diameter of the whole wheel. by at least 1" +- higher, if used with the original axle it will then be closer to rubbing on the inside top of the wheel well. The new axle may be adjustable and can therefore, make clearance Ok. If it is leading or trailing arm axle, it will need to be reset from the original positioning. This will be a big deal. Hopefully Dexter can supply a straight thru axle like the BigFoot has.
My Lii BigFoot is a 93. Is the axle worn ? I think so. It is working well under extra weight! ??? I will see what happens to Dena to make a future decision. Why didn't BigFoot use 15" in the first place ? The inset rims are made to clear the brake drums, and allow the tire not to rub the outside of the wheel well. My insets just clear the outside edge internal face, on the driver side, 3"s on the passenger side. A national co. employe told me, I needed to buy new std. (replacement ) inset Wheels, perhaps they just wanted to sell another set of tires ? the space difference is an example of how odd the BigFoot set up is.

BTH I think an incomplete axle not ready to be used is like getting a new car and there are std. needed parts to be added. Lets say I order the axle with brakes, and it comes with just the backing plates ( flanges ? )and I will have to order the drums and shoes after the fact ?

An axle change after 20 years can be very smart, Dena's skid plate problem could be a function of receiver hitch height. My skid plate is 4"s off the ground, if I raise it 2"s ( it can be changed by taking out a pin and it can go up or down ) now the skid plate will be 2"s lower +-.
__________________
Kenny Strong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2014, 03:58 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Strong View Post

BTH I think an incomplete axle not ready to be used is like getting a new car and there are std. needed parts to be added. Lets say I order the axle with brakes, and it comes with just the backing plates ( flanges ? )and I will have to order the drums and shoes after the fact ?
It makes sense to me that you need to state what exactly you wish to replace as not everyone will want to replace their hubs and brake liners at the same time they replace the axle. For example I last year replaced the hubs and brake liners on my trailer - if for some reason I had to replace the axle tomorrow why would I want to buy new hubs and brake liners again when the ones I own are fine? assuming they will fit the new axle.

When you go to a tire store to buy new rims do you expect the rims to come with tires on them at no extra cost?
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Kenny Strong's Avatar
 
Name: kenny
Trailer: Bigfoot 13'
Utah
Posts: 250
Carol you are correct

I wanted new, brake shoes for my BigFoot axle same size as the Dexter. I had to buy both new drums and shoes. They would not sell them separately. I guess we never know what will happen until we try to achieve what we need, or want.

Later Kenny
__________________
Kenny Strong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2014, 05:38 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Perry J's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
California
Posts: 975
Send a message via AIM to Perry J Send a message via Yahoo to Perry J
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Strong View Post
Carol you are correct

I wanted new, brake shoes for my BigFoot axle same size as the Dexter. I had to buy both new drums and shoes. They would not sell them separately. I guess we never know what will happen until we try to achieve what we need, or want.

Later Kenny
northerntool.com and other sites sell just the backing plates and brakes, all assembled, without forcing you to buy new hubs.
John
__________________
Perry J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2014, 12:55 AM   #8
Member
 
Name: Dee
Trailer: Currently shopping
Saskatchewan
Posts: 54
Registry
Update,
Contacted company #2, and made arrangements for them to look at Rv. They wanted to confirm the axle indeed needed replacing and if so take their own measurements seeing as they are strictly who I am dealing with now. Have trailer back and they are waiting for my go ahead to order the axle. All parts and labour will cost 875$ Canadian plus taxes which is quite a painful pill to swallow lol. My only real hesitancy (other than forking over that kind of money because I don't have any other options ) is that he said the new axle would raise it by 6-8 inches and all I can picture in my head is the monster truck RV look that is so not for me!!

Example - Like this one posted here on the forums by AndrewJ of his new axle with about 9 inches lift. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByFiberglass RV1406353469.583369.jpg
Views:	37
Size:	102.4 KB
ID:	74089

Is that what the guy meant?? Not sure what to do if that is the only option.


Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
__________________
denabear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2014, 03:17 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,924
Wow, 6 to 8" lift ???? That seems a pretty big to me unless you're doing some serious offroading.
__________________
Borrego Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2014, 10:31 AM   #10
Member
 
Name: Dee
Trailer: Currently shopping
Saskatchewan
Posts: 54
Registry
Lil Bigfoot 13' needs new axle

I have an email in to the guy so hopefully I can get more info. What exactly is he planning to do if this would be the end result? I would hate it if my Rv ended up looking like the photo ( not that there is anything wrong with that Rv, it serves the owners needs quite perfectly I would think) as that look is not at all desirable to me for my needs.

Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
__________________
denabear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 05:01 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Perry J's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
California
Posts: 975
Send a message via AIM to Perry J Send a message via Yahoo to Perry J
Looks to me company #2 is using conventional springs.
__________________
Perry J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2014, 08:26 AM   #12
Member
 
Name: Dee
Trailer: Currently shopping
Saskatchewan
Posts: 54
Registry
For those following along , it looks like I will have a monster truck rv after all. got my reply in regards to the lift size and he said yes it will basically look like the photo I attached.

"The reason for it sitting so high is that the new axle will be a different style where as your existing axle is specially manufactured so that it sits up inside the frame and the replacement axle will have to sit below the frame therefore raising the trailer 6-8.

He gave me the info to contact a company that could straighten the axle but it's more expensive and In the end I think being raised with be a big benefit for hauling an whatnot.


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
__________________
denabear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2014, 09:02 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Roy in TO's Avatar
 
Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
Posts: 4,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by denabear View Post
Have trailer back and they are waiting for my go ahead to order the axle. All parts and labour will cost 875$ Canadian plus taxes which is quite a painful pill to swallow lol.
$875 is reasonable. Get ebrakes if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denabear View Post
"The reason for it sitting so high is that the new axle will be a different style where as your existing axle is specially manufactured so that it sits up inside the frame and the replacement axle will have to sit below the frame therefore raising the trailer 6-8.
I'm not familiar with the original axle setup on the 13' Bigfoot. Could you please take and post some pictures?

Is it a torsion axle?
__________________
Roy in TO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2014, 07:04 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Perry J's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
California
Posts: 975
Send a message via AIM to Perry J Send a message via Yahoo to Perry J
I think someone does not know what they're talking about Dena.
There is absolutely no reason for your trailer to set that high if they are replacing it with a torsion axle like you have now.
The reason you cannot but a new torsion axle today is the mounting brackets on the Lil Bigfoot axle were welded to the axle at an angle to fit the frame.
Todays axles are made to fit parallel frame rails.
My axle was a standard Dexter Torsion axle with brakes.
When I had the axle replaced on my Lil Bigfoot it raised it up about 5 inches from it's bottomed out height.
A Torsion axle does not set up between the frame.
It cost me about $650.00 dollars and that included a Dexter Torsion axel with 10" brakes and a frame modification so the axel could be added to non parallel frame rails.
I live in the Mountains of Central California so I'm not familiar with Canadian prices.
I am familiar with Lil Bigfoots as I completely gutted mine rewired it, added a solar panel to the roof and reupholstered the walls and reinstalled the interior.
Your price sounds like you may be going to an RV shop.
Any good welding shop should be able to replace your axle.
Mine was changed at a brake and commercial trailer repair shop.

Good luck Dena,
John
__________________

__________________
Perry J is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
axle, bigfoot


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
CA | NO LONGER FOR SALE: 1994 Lil' BigFoot needs a new home $9,995 Part II Bob Miller Classified Archives 0 07-14-2013 07:27 AM
CA | SOLD? 1994 Lil' BigFoot needs a new home $9,995 Bob Miller Classified Archives 8 07-13-2013 07:44 PM
Finally got a Scamp! Axle/suspension perhaps needs work HustonFamily Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 27 04-06-2008 02:22 PM
Finally got a Scamp! Axle/suspension perhaps needs work HustonFamily Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.