Raising a Compact II - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-19-2013, 09:56 PM   #15
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Hi Frederick, what size wheels and tires are you going to install on the new axle? Also, are you going to make a straight axle for the Jr.?
I was at the tire shop today looking at wheels and tires. I expect to raise the unit about 5" in total. How hard is it to pull the frame out? Do you raise the body away from the frame, slip in a 4x4, block up the beam, remove the wheels, and pull it out? Is the fiberglass body/plywood floor strong enough to start the lift?
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthwestOregon201 View Post
  1. what size wheels and tires are you going to install on the new axle?
  2. are you going to make a straight axle for the Jr.?
  3. How hard is it to pull the frame out? Do you raise the body away from the frame, slip in a 4x4, block up the beam, remove the wheels, and pull it out?
  4. Is the fiberglass body/plywood floor strong enough to start the lift?
  1. I'm staying with the original 13" wheels
  2. No. I had a drop axle made with the same 4" drop. My goal is to keep it as light as possible with a low frontal area to tow behind my 2005 Pontiac Vibe. That's why brakes were necessary.
  3. I stripped the body down to just the fiberglass shell. Took the top off. Pulled the interior out, removed the windows and door, and pulled the floor up and out the door opening. Removing the floor also disconnected the body from the frame, the same bolts hold both. With nothing but fiberglass left, had one person at each corner lift the body up off of the frame and the 4 of us walked it over and set it down beside the frame.
  4. I wouldn't lift the fully assembled body, but man-handling just the fiberglass by itself is easy.
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000_1393.jpg   000_1394.jpg  

000_1395.jpg   000_1396.jpg  

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:49 AM   #17
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I used 15x5 wheels and tires are Carlisle ST.205/75R15.
As far as body roll I can't comment being I haven't attached the body to the frame.
As Frederick stated removing the shel from the frame requires gutting the interior and floor removal.
The reason I raised mine was my tv is a 4x4 full size truck and it just didn't look rite in my opinion with little tires plus axle to ground clearance was a concern.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #18
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Name: Bret & Ellen
Trailer: Escape 19 - 2009, '73 Compact II
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Tim and Frederick,

I'm so glad to be watching this thread, since I have plans to significantly spruce-up our recently acquired Compact II.

I know that I definitely want to remove the frame from the body so I can clean, inspect, and repair the frame (as needed), and to "flip" my axle to gain some towing clearance. Is gutting the interior a "must do" in order to separate the frame, or can the frame be "dropped" from a trailer that is carefully blocked-up like I have seen others post for Scamps, Bolers, etc.

My trailer has a fridge, toilet, water tank, demand pump, etc.

Thanks,

Bret
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #19
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Bret,

Based on what it took to remove my shell from the frame, I wouldn't attempt to separate the two without removing the interior. The location of the frame bolts would prevent this.

What type of frame repair are you talking about? The axle could be flipped by jacking and blocking the whole unit up and removing and reinstalling the leaf spring.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:04 AM   #20
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Thanks for the information about the body lift. My project is not going to be a complete frame off. I was afraid it was going to be too much of a challenge to get the existing bolts back into the frame and aligned straight. However, my tongue area and back bumper are in need of sandblasting, so I will see how close we can get to the main body and repaint. Even the safety chain is in need of replacement.
Here is the tongue area now:
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bret Tresidder View Post
I know that I definitely want to remove the frame from the body so I can clean, inspect, and repair the frame (as needed), and to "flip" my axle to gain some towing clearance. Is gutting the interior a "must do" in order to separate the frame, or can the frame be "dropped" from a trailer that is carefully blocked-up like I have seen others post for Scamps, Bolers, etc.
The picture in post #13 is before my total disassembly, but after the original axle was flipped. The original stance was lower than shown. "Flipping" the axle is quite simple:
  1. Remove the tires & wheels.
  2. Unbolt the 4 U-bolts holding the axle to the top of the springs.
  3. Rotate the axle 90 degrees and pull it out sideways from between the frame and spring. Without brake drums the hubs fit through the arc of the springs.
  4. Place it below the springs in the same orientation as before.
    (You are flipping the position; NOT the orientation of the drop!)
  5. Reattach the axle to the bottom of the springs with NEW U-bolts.
  6. Reinstall the tires & wheels.
This raised my Compact Jr's body & frame 5", from 7" off the pavement to 11" off the pavement as measured at the back bumper. Mounting a straight axle in the original above-the-springs position raises the body & frame the same amount; mounting a straight axle below-the-springs will double the lift.

I edited post #16 above to add pictures of the stripped body just before the lift off of the frame. As pictured in post #13 my Compact Jr weighed 1420 pounds dry total after my 1st rebuild. My goal for the 2nd rebuild is to reduce weight and correct all the mistakes I made the 1st time. The floor in the Jr is only down the middle; I don't know if the II is the same or if it extends all the way to the side walls.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:59 PM   #22
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Name: Bret & Ellen
Trailer: Escape 19 - 2009, '73 Compact II
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"What type of frame repair are you talking about?"

Our frame appears to be "caked" with multiple layers of paint, so I would like to remove all of the old paint and gunk, check for any cracks, and possibly reinforce the connection of the "A" portion of the tongue/frame and add a metal tongue box.

Demo'ing the interior may be our best bet anyway, so the trailer will have a fresh start in its 40+ year life. Since the trailer will be a "loaner" for family and friends, I want to make sure that it is road-worthy, fully functional, and free of any old odors.

Just a few more other chores around the house and I'm ready to start !

Thanks,

Bret (and associates)
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:26 PM   #23
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Edit note: In the next post, Tim suggests that the axle has a square tube - if the tube is square, the leaves can bolt on without perches (although this practice is cheap and I think unadvisable - albeit common in light trailers), and my comments above would be invalid. Indeed Frederick's photo shows a square tube with no perches, and so his procedure is complete as he posted it.

I am leaving my post here (with a fix), in case anyone wants to apply this method to a round-tube axle (which is most trailer axles), or to a square-tube axle with perches (as they should all have).

Also, in Frederick's photo of the axle though the open floor, there is a hole visible in the top of square axle tube. This is to presumably to clear the end of the bolt which holds the spring pack together (perches have a similar) hole, as well as to locate the springs on the axle (keep them from slipping). If the axle does not already have a hole on each side, the conversion will require drilling the hole.

---------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post
"Flipping" the axle is quite simple:
  1. Remove the tires & wheels.
  2. Unbolt the 4 U-bolts holding the axle to the top of the springs.
  3. Rotate the axle 90 degrees and pull it out sideways from between the frame and spring. Without brake drums the hubs fit through the arc of the springs.
  4. Place it below the springs in the same orientation as before.
    (You are flipping the position; NOT the orientation of the drop!)
  5. Reattach the axle to the bottom of the springs with NEW U-bolts.
  6. Reinstall the tires & wheels.
Nice clear description, but if it were applied to a round-tube axle it would be (see edit note above) missing one key item: the spring perches (or "seats") which and sandwiched between the round axle tube and the flat springs. Originally, with the springs under the axle, the spring perches must have been under the axle tube; "flipped", with the springs over the axle, there must be spring perches on top of the axle tube. Before re-attaching the axle to the springs, a perch must be provided such as by one of these four methods:
  1. there were already double perches on the axle (top and bottom) - not likely, but possible
  2. the original perches are ground off and welded back on (on the other side of the tube)
  3. new perches are welded on
  4. a bolt-on conversion kit (new perches bolt to originals) is installed (the Dexter kit includes the new U-bolts which Frederick mentioned; it also has new tie plates)
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:29 PM   #24
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Frederick,

Please no disrespect but I'm a little confused how would flipping your axle (moving the springs from below the axle to above the axle) when the axle is a 2x2 square tube with a 4 inch drop be the same lift as a straight axle. Wouldn't there be a 2 inch difference and when flipping the axle on a straight axle net you 6 inches?

Additionally larger tire diameter plus taller side wall would gain another 1-2 inches.

Axle to ground clearance when going from 4 inch drop to straight would be a minimum 4 inches plus tire size change.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:05 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim 972 View Post
... but I'm a little confused how would flipping your axle (moving the springs from below the axle to above the axle) when the axle is a 2x2 square tube with a 4 inch drop be the same lift as a straight axle. Wouldn't there be a 2 inch difference ...
There's the thickness of the leaf springs and perches, as well. Imagine an axle tube on top of the springs and another identical one below the springs: if the axle tube is 2", the distance between the centres of the tubes is 2" plus the thickness of the stack of springs, plus the thickness of two of whatever spring perch is used (if any).

For instance, the change is about 4" for a typical Dexter D3500 axle with 2-3/8" tube, 4-leaf pack, and standard Dexter perches.

The change in height is unrelated to the axle drop, if the drop is unchanged.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:35 PM   #26
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Thanks for clearing that up for me, i wasn't including the spring height in my calculations.

Couldn't see the forest for the trees!
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:22 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
... Indeed Frederick's photo shows a square tube with no perches, and so his procedure is complete as he posted it.
Actually, the original Compact Jr. axle is a square solid bar. The hole is drilled completely through the bar, providing the location for the spring pack's bolt on both sides.
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As Brian pointed out, my new axle is a round hollow tube, and I had it made with perches on both top and bottom. This way the new axle has the option of being "flipped" even though I plan to mount it spring under for lower overall height.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:44 PM   #28
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Cool

Here's a note to several of you considering the straight axle. You really only need to mount one pair of spring perches. The springs have a bolt through the center of each leaf. You can mount the axle on the top or bottom and place the 'U' bolts up or down depending on how you like the axle.
I just did this on another trailer. Axle below the springs - 'U' bolts up, axle above the springs - 'U' bolts down.
If you have to have the 'U' bolts down, then mount two sets of the perches.
When I put this axle together I realized that I didn't want the axle below the springs. In about 5 minutes I changed the orientation and mounted it up under the blocked up trailer (a 1969 Scotsman) with aluminum skin.
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