Repairing an Axle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-03-2011, 06:59 AM   #1
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Repairing an Axle

I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't any more "spring" left in the axle on our Scamp. It's no wonder, the thing was manufactured in 1984 according to the records.

This morning as I was awakening I came up with an idea -- just an idea, and probably not a very good one! But here goes:

1) Jack up Scamp on the tongue and rear bumper so the wheels are hanging down.

2) With a torch (using it safely, of course) heat the axle until the rubber inside burns and the wheels drop.

3) After the axle cools, drill a hole on each side, tap it to accept a zerk fitting and drill another smaller hole near the center as a vent.

4) Get several tubes of RTV silicone rubber and fill a grease gun with RTV. Completely fill the voids in the axles with RTV.

5) Allow RTV to set up for a week or so before dropping Scamp back on its wheels.

What's the chance this would or wouldn't work to rejuvenate the rubber suspension. Maybe someone has already tried it!
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:15 AM   #2
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Initial thoughts are: watch carefully when you are heating the axle, you don't want to burn down the house. Pretty sure that RTV not up to the task. Seems like a lot of work compared with installing a new axle. However, it may be a great new innovation; let us know how it works.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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Good morning Loren G. Hedahl;

I'd suggest that you go back to bed and rethink this idea.

Personally I wouldn't attempt this while the axle is under the trailer.
Ever seen a burning rubber tire pile? Imagine all that black sooty mess curling around the sides of the trailer and make soot tracks all over the place. I wonder how long the smell would linger?
If it starts the trailer on fire, how do you put it out- burning rubber isn't the easiest to extinguish.

What kind of active suspension will you be getting with the RTV rubber when cured? Will the resultant suspension be even on both sides?
How long will it last? If your trailer starts to sway, oscillate, or whatever, will the resultant motion be enough to .....
Applying heat to the axle/bearing area, what could happen to your bearings? Any wiring, piping etc in the area?
If you have electric brakes that just adds to the mess.

I'd suggest spending the time, effort and money installing a new axlecomplete with brakes.
The last axle was in there since 1984, the new one will last longer than you probably will have the trailer. Plus its a selling feature.

Wayne
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
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I don't think this would work but IF you were to try it I think you need to char then remove the "only partiall burned rubber" before putting new rubber in. I don't think you want to use rtv, but there are self vulcanizing rubbers I have heard of.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
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Sounds like something I would Do, And then when it was done I would realize it was a bad idea.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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Sounds like something I would Do, And then when it was done I would realize it was a bad idea.

We've all been there, I think! Like, why did I ever do that!?
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:08 PM   #7
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I KNOW what burning tires smell like. I wouldn't want to be in the same neighborhood if you try this...
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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So am I on notice that there's a just a slight hint of a lack of support for carrying out this repair ? :>)
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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Loren, I would reall like to see this done or at least attempted. I think it is really wasteful to replace the whole axel, just because a piece or ruber goes bad!
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Loren G. Hedahl View Post
So am I on notice that there's a just a slight hint of a lack of support for carrying out this repair ? :>)
There's always someone who wants/needs to be first. We elect you! Document the process, have fire extinguishers handy... lots and lots of fire extinguishers and also your local fire department on speed dial.

Truly, I think the concept is interesting and I agree with Don... seems wasteful to me too. BUT, I'd think the axle manufacturer would sell replacement parts if it were possible....
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:50 AM   #11
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I feel that with a little perseverance, I could come up with twenty good reasons why this wouldn't work, but then that's me, an 'idea assassin'. Here are just a few:

This Flexiride drawing through a half-axle might help you see a few problems, like the Delrin bearing they put at the outboard end of the axle shaft, that you would melt out when the rubber burns. But maybe only Flexiride use that bearing.

What holds the axle shaft in the middle of the axle tube after you've burnt our the rubber and until the RTV silicone sets? Where did the burnt rubber residue go?

The rubber in your axle was put in there by being frozen and shrunk (typically in liquid oxygen). Once it gets back to ambient temperature, it is under a lot of pressure which helps keep it attached to the axle shaft. Your RTV silicone won't be under that pressure and will have to rely only on its adhesive grip of the shaft in order to support the trailer, which is a big ask.

But it would be a fascinating experiment to do (with someone else's trailer). Let us know how it works out....
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #12
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Call Paul

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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
But it would be a fascinating experiment to do (with someone else's trailer). Let us know how it works out....
my suggestion may be to call Paul (Fibreglass RV Parts, Repairs, and Service by Paul Neumeister) who sells the axles. I have chatted with him about buying a new one and he would probably be best suited to give you some advice. In fact, with the axles he sells, he may have a dead one around he has tried this (or a version of re-conditioning of the rubber) before. Although he sells them and that may colour his perspective, he deals with Boler people all the time and obviously has a similar passion for them. So, could spark a new business for him: re conditioned axles! I can't wait to hear, I'm subscribing to this thread!
Kyle
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:47 PM   #13
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What holds the axle shaft in the middle of the axle tube after you've burnt our the rubber and until the RTV silicone sets? Where did the burnt rubber residue go?
...
Let us know how it works out....
Excellent thoughts Andrew.
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:50 PM   #14
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Not to mention, we had a member here lose their 13' Scamp when it caught fire during an axle swap a few years back. That was being done by a pro!

Several questions...
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