Torsion suspension - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-09-2012, 05:10 PM   #1
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Name: Garry
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Manitoba
Posts: 32
Torsion suspension

Hi,
I am new here. I was referred her by a helpfull guy from Brandon named Bruce. I live in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
I purchased e a 1972 Boler 4 years ago and have been working on it myself to get it to where my wife and I really enjoy the camper. I am a retired office worker and have come to a problem that has me stumped.
We took a run 2 weeks ago and found that we had worn the tires right down to the wire on both tires. It was on the outside of each tire. The tires were on the trailer when I bought it so I do not know how old they were.
We put new tires on it and continued about 1500 kms home.
As we look at it now, there is a bit of wear again on the outside of each tire. My wife say that as she looks at it, it is a bit pigeon-toed. I put a straight edge on each wheel and measured six inches in front and 6 inches behind the tire and there is about an inch difference (with the front being shorter). I do not know if it is the suspension or the axle. I did not have trouble the first 3 years.

Here is my question - Can the torsion suspension go out of line and can it be fixed.
I have contacted Cal Tire, Fountain Tire, the local RV dealer etc about the problem and no one seems interested in helping me.

Can someone give me an idea about where to start please.

Thanks a bunch
Lionel
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Trailer: 72 Boler
British Columbia
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I wonder if the bearings on the spindles are badly worn or loose causing a toe in/out?? Surely you would hear and odd noise if they were loose. You might try towing the Boler for awhile, pull over and stop and grab the spindle where it protrudes the outside of the rim. Is it hot??

I have never heard of this happening but the axle beam under the trailer should be at a near perfect perpendicular position to the trailer frame so the wheels are tracking correctly. Maybe something moved?? Can't see it though because the original beams were welded to the frame.

I would suggest locating a trailer company in your area, one that builds/repairs utility, flatdecks, travel RV's, etc. They should be able to do a thorough inspection.

Let us know what you find out.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Tow-in should be 0-1/8th inch.
Normal wear should tend toward tow-out and negative camber, either condition would wear to inside edge of the tire.
Sounds like a bent axle housing. You can check it, but (sorry to say) most likely you will need a new axle. The good news is ... they really aren't that expensive.
it's not likely bent spindles or loose and worn bearings for two reasons,
1]they would cause a breakdown in a short distance.
2]worn or loose bearings would cause tend toward tow-out.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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Name: Darwin
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Send a message via Yahoo to Darwin Maring
Check with Dexter Axle for prices.
http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/produ...flex_11-06.pdf
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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Flexiride kindly supply a geometry drawing for their torsion axles - sorry if it's a bit big, but you want to be able to read it:

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Name: Garry
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Manitoba
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thanks a bunch

As we are older, we stop every hour or so. I learned a long time ago to feel the hubs for heat. I done the bearings last year and back them every year.
I contacted a suspension place in Brandon and they are very busy but will see me in a month. They have a place that can supply an axle.
I got a reply from Scamp but I did not understand the specs they sent.
I sent an email to Dexter.
This is really helpfull.
I am going to try to post a picture of the suspension. Also a picture of the camper inside and out. It was not pretty when I started and I have put a lot of work into it.
Thanks again.
Lionel
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Trailer: 72 Boler
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Lionel - Your Boler looks great!! Can you post more pictures especially of the interior? What is on your sink/stove countertop? Type of flooring? Any thing else - load us up with pictures. Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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Your Boler looks great! I've got a lot of work to do on mine before it gets anywhere close to looking like to yours.

I recently had to do the axle on mine. The PO had managed to bend both spindles. Like most most people on here I went with brakes since I had to do it all anyways. Hope yours is a simple fix.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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Lionel, you need to know that torsion axles "typically" only last 15-20 years. After that the rubber gets hard and dies (hard ride, goes through tires). And YES, there are a few people running really old axles... but that's not the usual. I'm betting getting a new axle (with BRAKES) will solve the problem.

I wish I could tell you, it was easily fixed with balancing the tires... but, I won't. There are several good places for a new axle... Dexter, Scamp trailer manufactuer, Outback (Trillium Outback), Escape Trailer Industries, Fibreglass RV Parts, Repairs, and Service by Paul Neumeister, etc. Tell us EXACTLY what you need or where you're located... we will help if we can.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #10
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Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
As we are older, we stop every hour or so. I learned a long time ago to feel the hubs for heat. I done the bearings last year and back them every year.
I contacted a suspension place in Brandon and they are very busy but will see me in a month. They have a place that can supply an axle.
I got a reply from Scamp but I did not understand the specs they sent.
I sent an email to Dexter.
This is really helpfull.
I am going to try to post a picture of the suspension. Also a picture of the camper inside and out. It was not pretty when I started and I have put a lot of work into it.
Thanks again.
Lionel
Lionel, your trailer really does look nice, you've done a great job. The pic of your suspension looks to me like it ain't original. Dunno how the Boler axle was originally mounted but in your pic, it appears that something has been cut (torched?) off the axle itself where the current 'angle' bracket is welded, leaving a rather messy joint. That may possibly be where your excess toe-in comes from? On the upside, the mating mounting bracket that is welded to the trailer chassis gives you a perfect mounting point for a new axle using either a side mount or top mount bracket (both are described/pictured on the Dexter website). Does your trailer have leading or trailing torsion arms? Appears you have maybe a 10 degree up angle arm?? You can order a new Dexter #9 (2.2K rating) with 7" electric brakes to fit your trailer's mounting point configuration, with either up or down angle, & either leading or trailing arms. A bolt-on mounting bracket kit adds only a few bucks to the price & is well worth it.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:46 PM   #11
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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Lionel has a bolt on configuration now. It looks weird. I'm not sure if that is because of lens distortion or things are actually bent. Perhaps the bracket needs to be reinforced as per the instructions on Dexter for a C channel frame.
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
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On further examination of Lionel's pic of his suspension (full size) I don't believe I'd trust that thing for another mile of towing.

It appears the original mounting bracket (which actually surrounded the axle tube) was torched off completely, unless only the rear(?) portion of the bracket was removed & there's still welded material on the unseen side of the axle (possible as it appears part of the original bracket may still be attached on underside of the axle??) and a new 'angle iron' bracket was welded on with just a single weld on top of the tube (the weld can't be more'n about 2 1/4" in length & has to support the new axle mounting point as well as withstand any torque applied on/by the torsion arm when the wheel/tire encounters any road obstacle such as pot holes, curbs, bumps, etc. If only part of the original bracket was removed this may not be as unstable as it appears, but still left the axle tube weakened.

Additionally, it appears that when the original bracket was torched off, the torch actually cut into the axle tube part of the way around, weakening the axle tube & probably doing severe damage to or even destroying the rubber 'flex' material that provides suspension for the torsion arm. This could possibly result in the 'toe-in' condition as the torsion arm spindle may no longer be 'square' inside the tube. I also see what appears to be some kind of 'residue' has exuded from the axle tube where the torsion arm spindle emerges from the tube.

Also, it appears that the lower, horizontal part of the upper welded on mounting bracket has bent upward from either stress or simply the weight of carrying the trailer.

Here's my notated copy of Loinel's suspension pic -
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:30 PM   #13
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I'm thinking along the same lines but would like a better picture to start with.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:49 PM   #14
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Name: Garry
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Manitoba
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Thanks

Thanks for all the input. I am ok at crafty things but the axle is beyond me. I do however hope that if someone has more ideas that they will share them.
RLP - The countertop and the table are butcher blok style laminated pine (stained and finished). I took the stove, sink and fresh water tank out and put them in storage. We use a dining tent for old style camping.
I am going to try to post a few more pictures of the inside.
Harvey - The torsion bar points forward (in front of the axle).
Roy - I am posting another picture on the right wheel. Hope this helps.

Starting monday, I am going to contact some trailer people and local trailer manufacturers here in Manitoba to get a new axle (the whole assembly) and install it for me. If they have the trailer and the manufacturers listed above they should be able to get it right.

Lionel
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