Torsion to leaf-spring axle conversion ? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-20-2018, 04:51 PM   #1
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1981 Boler
British Columbia
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Torsion to leaf-spring axle conversion ?

I am in the process of rebuilding my Boler frame and since my stock Boler torsion axles are shot I thought it might be a cool idea to replace them with a conventional leafspring axle to get some addition height

has anyone else swapped successfully from the torsion to a conventional axle on a 13' boler?
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Martin.peacey View Post
I am in the process of rebuilding my Boler frame and since my stock Boler torsion axles are shot I thought it might be a cool idea to replace them with a conventional leafspring axle to get some addition height

has anyone else swapped successfully from the torsion to a conventional axle on a 13' boler?
First post! Welcome out from the shadows Martin!

I don't know whether anyone has done this. Personally, I've been impressed with torsion suspension since I first learned about the setup on my Dad's 1965 Dodge Dart. If you buy a torsion axle, you can have it set up at various angles to achieve different ride heights.

Utility Trailer Axles,*Spring Vs. Torsion: What's The Big Deal?

Naturally, the choice is yours, and you may have other goals in mind.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:09 PM   #3
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Dexter Torq-flex axles are ok, and there's a lot of them out there, but if I ever had to rebuild or replace my axle/suspension, it would definitely be with a solid axle and leaf springs.

Don't have a Boler, but a lot of people have done this mod on their Casitas, and love it.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:18 PM   #4
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1981 Boler
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I was thinking going the solid axle leaf spring route for two reasons

1)keep the cost down a bit
2)increase the ride height allowing me to take it more places camping.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:20 PM   #5
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Torsion to leaf-spring axle conversion ?

I'm a fan of rubber torsion suspensions, too, for their smooth, quiet ride and independent action.

As Mike says you can order different start angles on the axle arms to give you as much additional clearance as any reasonable person might want.

You can also install a Flexi-Ride axle, with user adjustable start angle. Set it low for better aerodynamics and easier step-in on that cross-country highway trip, and raise it up when you head into the backcountry.

With a leaf spring axle you can raise the cabin, but you have to use larger tires to get more clearance under the axle beam.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Dexter Torq-flex axles are ok, and there's a lot of them out there, but if I ever had to rebuild or replace my axle/suspension, it would definitely be with a solid axle and leaf springs.

Don't have a Boler, but a lot of people have done this mod on their Casitas, and love it.
Would you mind elaborating, Greg? What is the improvement? Would you also add shock absorbers?

For anyone... I'm also wondering whether the door cutout in the frame creates any issues mounting leaf spring axles on 13' Scamp/Boler trailers?
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:14 AM   #7
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My Perris Pacer, similar to a Boler, originally came from the factory with leaf springs. On very smooth roads, it towed perfectly. However, on less-than-perfect roads, that trailer bounced down the road, lurched from side-to-side, and even fishtailed if only one tire found a bump or pothole. Fortunately for me, the frame developed a stress crack and the entire frame was replaced under warranty. The replacement frame featured a torsion axle. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT! The trailer's torsion suspension soaked up bumps like a luxury car. I might add, no frame cracks in the last 40+ years, either.

If you decide to go with the leaf springs, make sure your springs are NOT too beefy for your 13 foot featherweight, and make sure you include shock absorbers to control the bouncing.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:35 AM   #8
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Hi Martin, if you change to leaf springs I suggest having the springs mounted on top of the axle for added clearance and you might have room for 15 in tires if so desired. I have done that to my 17ft Boler and like it except I had leaf springs to begin with.
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:16 AM   #9
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Leaf Springs

I don't know what my Companion came with from the factory, but last winter I changed out the untrue axle and leaf springs with new of both. It seems that the key to a good ride is the amount of leaves and capacity. The new leaf springs and uncambered axle handled great to Arizona and back.
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Old 04-21-2018, 03:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Would you mind elaborating, Greg? What is the improvement? Would you also add shock absorbers?

For anyone... I'm also wondering whether the door cutout in the frame creates any issues mounting leaf spring axles on 13' Scamp/Boler trailers?
The leaf spring suspension will give a better ride, but there is a caveat to that. If your leaf springs aren't sized for your trailer weight, then they can be too stiff and won't give you the suspension you may be looking for.

They will give you added lift over a Dexter Torque Flex rubber axle, even if the axle is "over slung" above the leaf springs. Under slinging may give you more lift than you may want.

IMO, having shock absorbers is always better than not having shock absorbers, for dampening the "bucking bronco" repetitive bouncing inherent to any undampened suspension system. Most small trailers seldom have them from the factory, but the same rules apply to trailer bounce as would apply to a car or truck without shocks. For a weekend trash trailer or firewood hauler, it probably wouldn't be worth it, but for a travel trailer, I would say they would be a good addition.

FWIW, I have the after-market shock kit and, to my observation, really does make quite a bit of difference in the ride. I can tell because I don't find all my cushions all over the floor and cabinets open when I get to where I'm going any more.

Not being a Scamp or Boler owner, I can't speak to whether or not there may be specific issues to mounting them on those trailers, since I only know that they work well on a Casita, as attested to by several people have done that mod successfully. I guess it would entail a bit of measuring to ascertain whether or not it would be feasible with another brand of trailer before you start such a project.
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:24 AM   #11
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just an update

turns out there is a company in Langley BC that could and did make me a new torsion axle

I gained my increased ride height (and adjusted for the new axles slightly shorter arms) by first mounting a 3' long 2"x4" HSS to the bottom of the frame and mounting the axles to that

I have gained a substantial amount of height that can be adjusted higher or lower (the new torsion axle is adjustable )
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:04 AM   #12
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Sounds like you went with the Flexi-Ride axle.

Out of curiosity, what weight rating did you specify? I'd love a performance report after you get some miles on it.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:17 AM   #13
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Trailer: 1975 Ventura
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Originally Posted by Martin.peacey View Post
just an update

turns out there is a company in Langley BC that could and did make me a new torsion axle

I gained my increased ride height (and adjusted for the new axles slightly shorter arms) by first mounting a 3' long 2"x4" HSS to the bottom of the frame and mounting the axles to that

I have gained a substantial amount of height that can be adjusted higher or lower (the new torsion axle is adjustable )

I am in the Vancouver area for the next little while and need to get a new axle. Could you share the name of the company that did your axle? Did you have to wait a while to get it in to be done?

At present my trailer only has a straight axle and I was leaning toward a leaf spring. I do not want added height because I am towing with a car that is quite low. Do you know if I can get either of these axle upgrades without a height increase and having to replace my almost new tires?
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Patricia D. View Post
...At present my trailer only has a straight axle and I was leaning toward a leaf spring. I do not want added height because I am towing with a car that is quite low...
A straight axle is a type of leaf spring axle. Perhaps you mean you currently have a rubber torsion axle?

Going from a torsion axle to a straight (leaf spring) axle, you will almost certainly gain height. A drop axle (another type of leaf spring axle) might be possible.

The shop will be able to advise you what options are feasible with your trailer and frame.

My preference for a small, lightweight, molded trailer remains a torsion axle. Shoot- even Airstream uses torsion axles!
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