Please forgive me, but I'm a newbie with no previous trailer exposure and apparently am confused by some of the jargon associated with trailer anatomy. Now I am not sure how I can solve my dilemma and hope that someone (or many) can clarify what I need to do regarding my axle
I recently bought a 1970 Campster
that has an axle
with leaf springs. When I took it to the trailer shop for a more detailed inspection and to have the bearings packed, I pointed out to the mechanic that I was not comfortable with how low the axle
hung on the trailer because I frequently camp in locations that require driving distances on some pretty rough dirt roads. I also explained that I wanted to purchase a pair of 8" rims so I could put them on the trailer and wheel it under my 77" high garage door. I needed to lose about 6" from the trailer's current height if I was going to be able to put the trailer in the garage. (The current rims are 14" and the overall wheel diameter is 24".) I was also concerned with the condition of the axle and wondered if it would be worth my purchasing a torsion axle (I'd really like to have brakes
too!) He responded that a torsion axle would cost more than what I paid for the trailer and that although the current axle is old, it is still in good enough condition. He thought a torsion axle would be a waste of money. Part of my inquiry about getting a torsion axle is that I am aware that they are straighter and I thought torsion axles would also provide more ground clearance than the low-slung axle that is on the trailer now.
The axle on my Campster
hangs like a "U". The mechanic pointed out that the leaf springs were currently on top of the axle and are normally located on the bottom side of it. He said that the previous owner probably wanted the trailer higher and that is the reason the leaf springs were not in their normal location. Then he stated that if he "flipped the axle" and put the leaf springs on the bottom of the axle then this would, in effect, lower the trailer by about 3". Well, I was quite happy about this idea and gave him the okay. However, after I picked up the trailer last weekend and got it home, I discovered that the axle remained in the "U" position, when I had expected it to be inverted with the leaf springs on the lower side. Much to my dismay, what he had done was merely put the leaf springs on the underside of the axle. Now, the bolts holding the leaf springs onto the axle are closer to the ground than before and when I put the 8" wheels on one side of the trailer (he had called me and said the trailer was substantially lower and told me I could now get the wheels on the 8" rims and would then be able to maneuver the trailer much better than rims alone) the bolts were within 1/4" of touching the ground. The tires
were so completely compressed that I discovered the wheels were too small at this point and risked being unable to move the trailer at all if I put the other small wheel on the trailer.
Now I know this may be semantics, but when someone tells you that he is going to "flip the axle" and put the leaf springs on the bottom of it wouldn't you expect the axle orientation to be inverted? To me, it sounded like he was going to do two separate things: 1) Invert the axle; and 2) Change the position of the leaf springs to the underside of the axle. I just spoke with the mechanic, who is a genuinely nice guy, and he explained that you cannot invert the axle or the wheels won't fit on the trailer. He is willing to "flip it back" but says if he does this the trailer won't fit in my garage.
So now I'm back to my original set of questions. . . Is buying a torsion axle (with brakes) going to lower the height my trailer compared to how it is with it's current axle? Will a torsion axle have more ground clearance? What size rims or rims with tires
should I buy so I can get the trailer in my garage? The trailer is in my garage now with the original tires
but I let a lot of air out of them and put the trailer on jacks. If I keep the original wheels I'll be forced to deal with inadequate ground clearance, when actually using the trailer, and am certain that I'll bottom out in a pothole or rut.
Thank you in advance for any pearls fo wisdom you have to offer on this subject!