Drop Axle Turned Upside Down? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-30-2013, 09:44 PM   #1
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Name: Kees
Trailer: Boler 1700
British Columbia
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Drop Axle Turned Upside Down?

Hey All, I've been searching around the forum for awhile here as I just purchased a 1978 Boler 1700. Its been great to have such a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips moving forward with my project, and its always nice to have others make and share their mistakes before you repeat them.

However I have decided to dive in with a thread of my own as I have a bit of an odd question that searching the forums hasn't been able to answer. Within the posting for the boler the previous owner stated that the trailer had an 'adjustable axle' allowing you to increase and decrease your ground clearance. At the moment the trailer is raised way up and looks like a gangly teen. Looking at the axle it looks to me like it is a regular drop axle which has been rotated making it a 'raised' axle using the U shackles to lock it in place. I was wondering if this is true or if it really is an adjustable axle? If not I really don't like the idea of the trailer sitting way up there clamped in place by the shackles.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeesV View Post
Within the posting for the boler the previous owner stated that the trailer had an 'adjustable axle' allowing you to increase and decrease your ground clearance. At the moment the trailer is raised way up and looks like a gangly teen. Looking at the axle it looks to me like it is a regular drop axle which has been rotated making it a 'raised' axle using the U shackles to lock it in place. I was wondering if this is true or if it really is an adjustable axle? If not I really don't like the idea of the trailer sitting way up there clamped in place by the shackles.
No, it is not an "adjustable" axle. A drop axle is designed to get the load floor (or body) of a trailer lower than you can with a straight axle. Axles are normally installed "Spring Under" with the axle crossing the top of the springs. A quick and dirty way to raise a trailer's body is to change the mount to "Spring Over". The axle is still dropped, but it crosses under the springs. This would raise the body to the point it would be at if the axle were straight but crossing under the springs.

That just looks dangerous to me.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:16 PM   #3
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Nothing "adjustable" about that axle - as you have already realized, Kees, it's a regular 4" drop beam axle turned upside down. Since the clueless previous owner also went from spring-under-axle to spring-over-axle, the spring perch didn't need to move to commit this atrocity. The height increase would be about a foot (8" from reversing the drop, another 4" or more from flipping the spring position).

How well do the brakes work? It looks like the backing plates were not re-mounted the right way up, so the top pivot point is on the bottom (the oval adjuster hole is still hidden behind the axle "drop")... electric brakes are not supposed to work this way.

The good news? Buy some new U-bolts, unbolt it and bolt it back on the right way, and you can have a properly handling Boler again with brakes that work properly and which you can get into without a ladder!
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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See a stock Boler B1700 suspension (although not from as informative an angle) in Shock Absorber Retrofit.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:47 PM   #5
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Whew, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this set up was a bit crazy. So it looks like I'll have to rotate this axle back to safety. As for the spring over set up, is this something that adversely affects the ride of the trailer? Or am I required to go to a straight axle setup to receive that little bump in clearance?

Thanks for the link to the pictures of a standard setup, its always nice to see what 'factory' looks like.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:01 PM   #6
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You can leave it spring over, but you'll need to weld spring perches on the other side of the axle. The axle definitely has to be rotated, though. Honestly, if I was going through that much trouble for an old axle, I would be going back with a new one that fit all my needs.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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I've never seen a trailer tire that came with white sidewalls.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
I've never seen a trailer tire that came with white sidewalls.
And when this trailer was built, there was no such thing as a specific trailer tire.

There are lots of tire discussions already in FiberglassRV... I think that for this thread, it might be reasonable just to suggest that as the axle is sorted out, it might be time to also consider new tires, which might not be the same type as are currently on the trailer. Any more discussion should probably be separate, and it would be good to look at some of those earlier discussions before asking the same questions again.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #9
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Worth it to point out that although this technically would work fine, except being really high, it would handle poorly because trailer axle beams have an arc to them.. When the weight of a trailer is placed on the axle beam it flattens out and causes the tires to ride properly on the ground. (correct camber)

If you flip it over you get the opposite effect..and besides oddball tire wear the trailer would probably bounce back and forth constantly on the road (too much camber)
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:27 PM   #10
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Yeah, I think we can all agree that its not the recommended mounting position haha. I will take a look at the axle next time I get a chance to check the tire wear and to see if the axle is bowed due to the flip. As for now it looks like I'm in the market for a new axle
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:29 PM   #11
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Hey Keesv I just ordered a new axle from Standens - I wanted a higher stance due to the size of my tow rigs.. if you want to buy my old axle off me i'm open

or you can order a new axle from Standens too.. I got mine with a bigger axle tube, straight axle so it's higher, brakes, perches, ubolts, top plates, springs and frame hangers for just under 500 delivered to their surrey location for me to pick up..


or you could just buy ubolts and flip yours back down
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by KeesV View Post
I will take a look at the axle next time I get a chance to check the tire wear and to see if the axle is bowed due to the flip. As for now it looks like I'm in the market for a new axle
Okay, but I was serious about this:
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Buy some new U-bolts, unbolt it and bolt it back on the right way, and you can have a properly handling Boler again with brakes that work properly and which you can get into without a ladder!
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Originally Posted by Kinslayer View Post
... you could just buy ubolts and flip yours back down
I agree.

Even though the intentional bow would cause undesirable camber while used the wrong way up, I don't know of any reason it would cause damage. Flip the axle back the way it should be - with new U-bolts but no change to anything else (i.e. use the original spring perches as-is) - and all should be fine. If it isn't okay you have spent very little, and can choose a next step then.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:22 PM   #13
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That was my first thought as well. It's hard to see from the photo but those springs are worn pretty flat, I don't think the axle would have enough room for travel if I revert back to the leaf under arrangement. So it's new springs and old axle, or new everything. I guess I shouldn't be too astounded as I'm sure that trailers seen a lot of road on those springs
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:51 PM   #14
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Or you could keep it spring over, and put new perches on to flip it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:29 PM   #15
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I wouldn't consider for one moment doing the work to convert to spring-over without replacing the known-dead springs... maybe that's just me. If the springs need to be replaced anyway, how about putting the existing axle back in without modification - but with new springs - then looking at what you have for ride height and handling, before spending any time or money on modifications?
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:50 PM   #16
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I haven't seen any evidence of them being bad. If so, I agree. They look like regular trailer springs to me. Ideally, the flatter the spring, the better, although mounting can force a change.

Does anybody have a picture of stock boler springs with weight on them? the only thing I've seen is the ones with the unsprung weight hanging, which doesn't mean much.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:58 AM   #17
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I would like to see a video of this arrangement passing over bumps, as I think the axle must be waggling around a lot - forwards and backwards as well as up and down. It is effectively cantilevered below the springs so the load on the springs must have been big.

But on the other hand, it's interesting to know that doing this doesn't cause the trailer to burst into flames, get hit by thunderbolt, etc, etc. And presumably it tows OK?
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #18
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Name: Kees
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Thanks for all the comments. As far as I can tell I think I've got two options I'm comfortable with. If the electric brakes work (I still need to test them) I will buy new springs and components to return the axle to its original position. If the brakes don't work I'll just buy a new axle with brakes. If they do work I'm wondering what the spring sizing is like. It looks like most springs are 25 1/4 center eye to eye. I have found springs from princess auto that look like a good fit, let me know what you think (see link below)


1,750 lb 4-Leaf Double-Eye Trailer Spring | Princess Auto

As for how the trailer tows. When I purchased the trailer I dragged it 90km from surrey to abbotsford and it towed great, no wobble. That being said I did not have a camera set up to see the axle in action. I know the current set up isn't ideal, but I believe its been run that way by the PO for quite some time.
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