Tower novice - Car badly affected - help please... - Page 8 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #99
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Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Missouri
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Yep, I agree Brian.
I see these torsion axles all the time. Most horse trailers ( at least the better ones ) have them. And I love pulling a trailer with a torsion axle. But..... I have never seen one that old, that was anything at all "like new", or even "like it should be". Anybody that thinks 20 to 30 year old suspension components are still functioning "as new", has most likely simply forgotten what new stuff really feels like. And that goes for tow vehiles or trailers.

I don't think anybody here would expect 20 to 30 year old rubber tires to be still good. Why would anyone assume that rubber suspension components would still be nicely elastic ? Ain't gonna happen.

Franck, the good news is, you are going to love the way your trailer tows when you get it all set up with a new, properly functioning axle. It will be a very different experience. And then you will have the benefit of seeing what happens when you go from one extreme to the other.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #100
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Nice explanation Brian.
If and when Franck decides to replace his axle, I'd like to see the old axle cut in 1/2 like the Scamps I linked to earlier. Bet it looks worse.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:32 AM   #101
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Here's my 2010 for comparison
Attached Thumbnails
image-1242152620.jpg   image-1060655983.jpg  

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:09 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
I tow a trailer multiple times a week. Just unhitched the 5x8 cargo trailer from my Outback. Every bump is felt as you described -- bump, bump, BUMP. Not so different with the car's axles, but when the trailer goes over a bump, it transmits a bigger jolt to the car.

I'm not saying that there isn't anything wrong... But I seriously doubt it is anything on the trailer other than maybe the weight distribution. It sounds like the issue is how you are feeling it in the car.

Hummm OP originally wrote:

"Basically, our car (1995 Mercedes E320 Wagon) is badly shaken by the trailer every time the trailer goes over a road imperfection." & "Exactly! For each bump: Front wheel... smooth..... rear wheel .... very very smooth ..... trailer wheel..... BLOODY AWFUL!!" in a later post the OP reported the same when towing the trailer with a Subaru.

I have towed thousands of miles a trailer with a Subaru Outback and my experience is apparently different from mcbrew's in regards to the ride when towing. Very easy to forget the trailer is riding behind - no jolting of the car etc as described by the OP or mcbrew unless I am going over something the size of a speed bump at 30 mph or more. Mine's a 21 year old trailer with axle to match so its not riding like a brand new axle would but yet it can do a 3000 mile trip or more without a curtain rob bouncing off or a cushion or door sliding around. many of the trips I have done with the trailer have been on roads that few would describe as smooth.

At this point without being able to take the OP's set up for a test drive my money is riding as I suspect it is with a number of others here that the axle on the OP's trailer is more than outlived its useful life.

Perhaps if they havent done so already they should hook it up and have the RV shop who told them the axle was good to take a look to ensure its a level or slightly down on the front set up and then take it for a spin around the block and have them reconfirm they still feel the axle isnt the problem.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #103
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Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
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I know my scamp '19 had an axle that looked like that, it didnt move when jacked up. Put the wheel on and set it down, see it the arm even moves when weight is on it. Mine bounced all over on the way home, rides great with the new axle.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:37 PM   #104
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Name: Ron
Trailer: 2008 13' Scamp
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I'm a great fan of step-by-step trouble shooting and not replacing items just on spec. I think this has been done in this case and I'm starting to agree that it's looking like the axle needs replacing.

I think that there's a good chance the the rubber has turned rock hard and no longer provides any suspension benefit.

I have some experience towing trailers without any suspension, a concrete mixer and a m/c trailer. Without a m/c on the trailer, both trailers had the same symptoms, much the same ones as mentioned. They danced around and would have been dangerous to tow at highway speeds or on a prolonged bumpy road.

I've also been along side a concrete mixer being towed. I could see it dancing around, the difference between it and a trailer with suspension was visible. Has anyone driven alongside and observed your trailer on a bumpy road. I'd check that but it's really looking like axle replacement time.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:42 PM   #105
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I agree, trailers with little or no suspension action are terrible. You might as well tow a two wheeled farm cart.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'm a great fan of step-by-step trouble shooting and not replacing items just on spec.
Me, too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I think this has been done in this case and I'm starting to agree that it's looking like the axle needs replacing.replacement time.
I don't think this has been done in this case, because the suspension condition that would logically explain the symptoms does not appear to have been seriously examined, and the tire replacement was advised as a completely knee-jerk reaction to the tires that were on the trailer.

Well, it looks like it's getting sorted out anyway, and in the end it may not matter if the path to happiness is not ideally direct.

Franck, what are your thoughts on the current situation?
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:11 PM   #107
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Trailer: FunFinder
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Step by step trouble shooting is fine, but I feel it's also important to "start" the process with certain things refurbed to something close to an original design parameter.
As an example, let's say we were trouble shooting a handling/ride problem of the front suspension of a car. And lets say our inspection revealed worn ball joints, tierod ends with excessive play, leaking shocks, and worn out tires. How much sense would it make to just replace the tires and tierod ends, and then go for a drive to see if we improved the situation ? The car would probably "drive better", and some might be tempted to say it's good enough. In fact, it's not "good enough", and this process of sneaking up on a solution one step at a time can be misleading. Better to get "everything"within design and wear specs, and "then" go for a drive for further trouble shooting, if a problem still exists.
Honestly, I only throw in on all this because this is all safety related. And I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone in particular, but all too often we see folks who try to get things to an "acceptable" level, as cheaply as possible. I really do understand that many folks must work within a budget, but, cutting cost corners in safety related items can end up being false economy, if you catch my drift.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:22 PM   #108
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Here's my 2010 for comparison
Excellent Thanks Raz.

Raz's photo shows the weld line around the end of the square bar more clearly. Like Franck's suspension, it shows the same zero start angle. The brake drum on Raz's trailer hides more of the arm than the idler hub on Franck's, but there is still a visible difference in arm angle.

Even Raz's nearly new trailer does show some permanent deformation from the horizontal, so they all take at least a bit of "set" while still essentially fully functional. This is why some experience (that I don't have) with "how much is okay" is important.

The difference doesn't look like much, but the entire travel from unloaded to the axle's full load (2200 lb for Torflex #9) is only 1.3" vertically, or about 12.5 degrees of arm rotation.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:39 AM   #109
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Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
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Hang in there Frank,
It is understandable to be fed up when getting to the solution proves to be a longer road than shorter.
Sometimes tackling the cheapest or easiest items first instead of a more obvious or complicated solution seems like a good way to go, but can take a longer path to the solution.
Complaints of rough ride when trailer axle hits a bump usually would point to a suspension issue. Rubber torsion suspension is at its best when new, and deteriorates with age. When new it will have best case travel and suppleness. As the rubber ages the axle will sag which will reduce usable travel. The rubber also gets harder causing exactly the kind of ride you are describing. Ideally a suspension should have enough travel to handle the roughest conditions that the vehicle would see, and have adequate spring rate to hold up the vehicle and damping to control the speed during compression and rebound. If you do decide to replace the axle you may also benefit from the additional height of the trailer which will eliminate some of your "tongue high" condition.
The replacement of the tires with properly rated towing tires would not affect harsh bump performance, but would be a safe and proper thing to do, so not wasted effort.
Re-drilling the hitch also had nothing to do with ride, but would certainly add strength to the connection, and would tend to aid against tail wagging the dog during a sway incident. (Like if the trailer was loaded tongue light) You effectively shortened your rear overhang which is a good thing and worth doing.
Adding the friction sway control also has nothing to do with rough ride, but will reduce the tendency for sway events. I use one and it does what it is designed to do. These are not band aids to compensate for bad loading technique, but will make a properly loaded trailer less "busy".
You haven't wasted any money on the items you corrected, but will not solve ride issue without looking at the suspension. If brakes are not in the budget, you can order the axle with flanges so the brakes can be added later. Even better would be to order the axle with complete brakes which is not that much more money, and not hook them up until wiring and a controller could be budgeted at a later date.
It will be worth the money and work. These trailers are a blast!
You'll have a nice combo with the Benz.
Russ

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Old 07-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #110
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Trailer: Westfalia
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Once again thank you all for this storm of tips and information.

Last night, a neighbour offered to tow our Trillium around the block with his GMC Jimmy. He's used to towing a large utility trailer and a large trailer tent (24ft - 3800lbs loaded). His verdict was what you expect. The suspension is dead. The trillium rocked the Jimmy so badly ..... worse than the M-B !!
And guess what.... The car is playing up too

So... Two days ago I was about to advertise the whole bloody lot. Then I settled a bit and decided to store the Trillium for now. Get the car fixed once and for all. Shop around to make the right decisions. I don't want any quick fix.
I'll go camping in a tent this season. My son is actually looking forward to it!!

I also found in my neighbourhood a u-Haul tows by a Suzuki SX4. I talked to the owner who gave me a feedback identical to my parents'. They only feel large bump such as speed bump. I might ask them to hitch their trailer to my MB, at least I know what to expect with a trailer in good working order!
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:45 PM   #111
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Once again thank you all for this storm of tips and information.

Last night, a neighbour offered to tow our Trillium around the block with his GMC Jimmy. He's used to towing a large utility trailer and a large trailer tent (24ft - 3800lbs loaded). His verdict was what you expect. The suspension is dead. The trillium rocked the Jimmy so badly ..... worse than the M-B !!
And guess what.... The car is playing up too
That is great Franck you got it figured out. Not surprised the Jimmy got knocked around more than your benz. The Benz would be a more stable platform overall than a Jimmy.

Note... Our 40 year old Airstream has it's original torsion axles (with shocks). They too have sagged somewhat but so far handling and performance is still great. I'm guessing the lightweight single axle trailers with the small tires are a little more sensitive to aging axles.

Note2... We like the P/XL tires on the Airstream.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #112
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Our 40 year old Airstream has it's original torsion axles (with shocks). They too have sagged somewhat but so far handling and performance is still great. I'm guessing the lightweight single axle trailers with the small tires are a little more sensitive to aging axles.
That makes sense to me. Also, sorry but I don't remember the details of this Airstream - it is a tandem, right? Even without inter-axle equalization, a tandem might smooth the bumps out a bit (although doubling them in number). A tandem would also likely have more excess axle capacity (due to the problem of overloading individual axles on bumps), so it might sag more slowly.
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