Should I cut here? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2007, 11:44 AM   #1
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I need a new torsion axle on my 13' Scamp. I took a picture of the bracket. What I need to know is where I should cut off the old axle. See photo- Should I cut on the yellow line?

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Old 11-23-2007, 12:37 PM   #2
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NO! DON'T CUT THERE!

The new axle will come with mounting brackets. You can cut the old brackets off the frame with a cutting wheel on an angle grinder, and then re-weld them in the same location.


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This illustrates where the bracket is welded to the frame. THAT would be the weld to grind off, but don't cut your old axle off until your new one has arrived so you can see what you're doing.

Welding something back in that location you had indicated with your yellow lines would also likely melt the rubber rods in the new axle that cause it to be a torsion axle.

Roger
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:12 PM   #3
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Roger H
Thanks for the tip. I will have to wait until spring to do this project. Which is a better axle ------Dexter-----AL-KO------Flexiride ------Reliable Rubber Torsion Axle------ DURA-FLEXô------- or ??????
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:23 PM   #4
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A rubber torsion axle has a design life of about 15 years. Most make it to twenty. Some even to thirty, but no one brand of axle is particularly better than another for these applications. That is most likely a Dexter Tor-flex currently mounted, and a new one would most likely be a direct replacement, although the bracket design may have changed slightly over the years. Scamp has switched to Al-Ko in the past few years. All of the major manufacturers mostly all use Dexter spindles and axle components including the brake components, so from that perspective it's pretty much a wash.

Al-Ko and Dexter are probably the two best known for reliability simply because there are so many of them out there. There are also some of these trailers out there with Henschen axles; I know of at least two Plymouth MN manufactured Burros with Henschen axles under them. The Sac City, IA manufactured Burro that I bought had a Dexter #9 as original equipment, though. Airstream recently switched from Henschen to Dexter on their frames. The major manufacturers get them from whoever gives them the best contract price, so quality-wise I guess they're all similar.

I ordered the Dexter #10 replacement axle I bought for my Burro from Midwest Wheel in Cedar Rapids, IA. I'm sure there are similar businesses in the Twin Cities that can order them as well. You can save a ton of money on freight if you pick it up from them rather than having it shipped directly to you.

Here's a link to the Dexter page that shows their retailers in the Twin Cities area.

Roger
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:06 PM   #5
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Which is a better axle ------Dexter-----AL-KO------Flexiride ------Reliable Rubber Torsion Axle------ DURA-FLEXô------- or ??????
I can't say which is best, and Roger has already reviewed what is common, but perhaps I can clarify the list a little...
  • Dexter Axle makes the Torflex
  • Henschen (part of GKN) made the Dura Torque, now apparently called Dura-Flex™
  • Trojan (in New Zealand) makes a different axle called Duratorque
  • AL-KO doesn't seem to have a brand name for their rubber suspensions
  • UCF makes the Flexiride
Torflex and Dura-Flex are virtually identical in design.

There are lots of brands which look just like a Torflex and are probably built to the same design and with Dexter hub and brake components. The original equipment for Bolers built by Vanguard Trailer is from Standen's, which is an example of this type of supplier; while my Boler B1700 has a leaf-spring axle and that is all they show in their current catalog, they may well have made the rubber torsion units in the B1300 model.

The AL-KO design is the same as Torflex and Dura-Flex in the arms, but the tube containing the rubber rods is a different shape. The standard Al-KO brackets are more substantially constructed on one respect, but are shorter (causing higher frame attachment stress); I don't know if this really matters in a typical installation; both can be welded or bolted on.

AL-KO sells more modern suspensions for trailers in Europe (and supplies them for the U.S.-built Tab), but does not normally offer these versions in North America. In Europe their competition is BPW, but North America is about the only place where BPW is not active; they have a distributor (Jost International), but I don't think they sell much here.

Flexiride is the only one which has a distinct rubber element design: while most have round rubber rods between an outer tube and an inner bar (usually both square), Flexiride uses cartridges with the rubber completely filling the space between the outer tube and inner rod, bonded in place. This seems like a more sound design to me, but I don't know if in fact it is more durable or effective.

Flexiride is also the only product (and even then not in their smallest sizes) which attaches the arm to the inner rod of the rubber part with a splined fitting so that it can be adjusted in position, for different ride heights. The rest are fixed at one "starting angle" (a variety of starting angles can be ordered).
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:16 PM   #6
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Can you take apart a stock scamp torsion axle and replace the rubber inside the axle with new rubber?
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:21 PM   #7
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Can you take apart a stock scamp torsion axle and replace the rubber inside the axle with new rubber?
The short answer: No.

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Old 11-23-2007, 03:21 PM   #8
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Can you take apart a stock scamp torsion axle and replace the rubber inside the axle with new rubber?
Generally, no. During the initial assembly the rods are chilled to make them slightly smaller, and as the temperatures of the parts equalize they are all jammed together. The usual assessment is that there is no practical way to either disassemble or reassemble them; however, I have seen offers of axle rebuilding services in Europe (I think for AL-KO axles), which suggests that it is possible for some.

In the end, I'm sure it would not be worth the expense, even if it were possible, which is too bad since it means wasting (hopefully, recycling the metal) perfectly good parts when just the rubber has "died".

The cartridge of a Flexiride can normally be replaced, but I don't think any stock Scamp would have a Flexiride suspension.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:33 PM   #9
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Hi Kevin, as you are in Minnesota anyway, why not give the Scamp factory a call on getting the axle from them. You could drive up there to pick it up or maybe they may be able to change it for you for a fee.
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Old 11-24-2007, 07:26 AM   #10
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Kevin,

Agree with all the above ...

I'm not sure what your set-up is, but if there is already an axle bracket welded to the frame of your trailer, I would be tempted to bolt the new one on. That is what I did with my Surf Side three years ago (axle bought from Standens in Calgary Alberta). It was significantly easier from my point of view. That said, if you have to take your trailer in to have the old axle cut off (not doing it yourself), it is probably just as easy to have them weld the new one on ... afterall, you'll probably never have to put another on for the next thirty years eh?


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Old 11-24-2007, 12:59 PM   #11
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It'd be reasonable to order an axle with the bolt-on brackets, but the older brackets can't (to my knowledge) be used for the bolt-on axles.

Roger
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:10 PM   #12
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It'd be reasonable to order an axle with the bolt-on brackets, but the older brackets can't (to my knowledge) be used for the bolt-on axles.
I think the difficulty with net being able to do a bolt-on installation has more to with the box-beam, not C-Beam, construction of our trailers. It very difficult to get a nut inside a box-beam to hold the axle in place and tapping and threading the beam metal itself wouldn't provide enough structural support for the bolts to hold the axle in place.

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Old 11-24-2007, 05:43 PM   #13
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Peter, Dexter has a bolt on bracket option. The old bracket still needs to be removed, and the new bracket still welds onto the frame, but the axle then bolts to it. I bought one when I installed the new axle on the Burro a couple of years ago... in twenty years when it needs to be swapped out again, it'll be a no-weld job. But... like Kevin, I had a standard welded on, solid-bracket axle to remove. The brackets were quite different between the 1987 Dexter axle and the '05 Dexter axle.

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Old 11-24-2007, 07:55 PM   #14
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Just to clarify, the rubber rods are chilled in liquid nitrogen and then inserted in the axle beam, not exactly a home project.

You really want to go to the Dexter web site and download the application PDFs to get more info on the dimensions, mounting brackets, etc., because there are lots of variations.

If I were replacing an axle, I would use the weld-on axle bracket from Dexter (get it from Redneck Trailer Supplies, which BTW is a good place to get a Dexter axle price-wise).

Not mentioned is that your Scamp likely has the leading-arm axle, where the wheels are in front of the axle, like a wheelbarrow. Dexter apparently doesn't supply those axles anymore (and you can't just turn one around because of the wheel alignments). I'd suggest joining the Yahoo Scampers group and researching archives there for solutions to that problem.

You can call Scamp with your VIN and get the original axle specs and you can also read the axle tag and call the appropriate Dexter plant with your axle's serial number to get the exact build specs for your particular axle.

Don't forget to include the brake flanges because they cannot be added later if you or subsequent owner wish to add brakes.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:35 AM   #15
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Information I found on scamp trailer axle. -----> Older fiberglass trailers (Boler, Casita, Scamp, etc.) used leading arms.(leading means the wheel is in front of the axle, trailing means behind). Dexter used to make axles with leading arms like the scamp trailer axle --BUT NO MORE--Swapping sides affects the alignment of the wheels and tires. So my question is what do I do now to replace my axle. I know you can buy one from Scamp but I would like to purchase one from the dealer for a cheaper price.


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Old 11-26-2007, 12:45 PM   #16
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Kevin,

We're in the process of replacing the axle on our Scamp 5th wheel. Hubby spoke with Kent at Scamp for the specifications and a quote. Then he called Dexter directly. With brakes, brackets, and shipping for the 3500 lb. axle was $381. He ordered through Dexter and everything arrived in 4 days. You can get their contact information from their website.

Good luck on your project.

Nita
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:34 PM   #17
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I just talked to Kent at Scamp . He said they use dexter axle's on the 13' Scamp 2200 lb with 22 1/2 degrees down --Hub to hub 63" and frame to frame 49 3/4" $300.00 for the axle and $475.00 total price installed.
He said I would have to modify the frame on my 1983 scamp to make the axle work because they use the trailing arm dexter axle now.

I would have to modify the axle location to use the trailing arm dexter axle. I also would have to weld a bracket on the retangle lower part of the frame, this would raise the trailer up 1 1/2" taller from the stock location.
I think I can change the trailing arm angle from 22 1/2 (4.38") to 10 degree(3.13") this would lower the axle 1.25" (4.38" - 3.13" = 1.25")which would be the height of the rectangle part of the frame under the trailer now.

-----------------------See photos

Old axle mounting

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New axle mounting (yellow)

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Old axle mounting

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New axle mounting(yellow)

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This might explain it better

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Are their any 13' scamp owners out their that have changed their axles from leading arm to trailing arm ?
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:40 PM   #18
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Kevin, I'm glad that Pete caught that you had a leading arm axle... I certainly didn't!

It looks like you'll just have to do the mods to the frame to use the trailing arm. It shouldn't be too tough tho.

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Old 11-27-2007, 12:16 PM   #19
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I'm a little uncertain about the arm angles... the quoted specs are for a 22.5 degree down angle stock (which is about as far down as available), with a 10 degree down angle proposed, and the nice illustration shows both setups with down angles, but the original axle in the photo has the arms way up. I realize that the rubber is dead in the original axle, but even fully collapsed they only travel about 45 degrees, and this one must be nearly 45 degrees up, so is probably started up from the horizontal, rather than down. Leading-arm suspensions are normally set at up angles.

The original was setup with the leading arms so the axle cross-tube could be tucked up in the step of the frame, to allow the trailer to sit low. Switching to trailing arms (thus bumping the mounts down that 1.5") and changing from an up angle to a down angle could be a lot of height increase. Some of that is likely deliberate, as the current fashion is to set trailer ride heights much higher than they were in the 1970's, but it would be unfortunate if a confusion of up and down angle made the trailer sit like it was on stilts...

Just to clarify: "up" starting angles have the hub above the point where the arm pivots, while down" means the hub is below the pivot.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:39 PM   #20
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My mistake on the illustration for the 1983 axle, it's wrong, it should be at a angled up like in the photo.
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(GOOD CATCH) So you think it might have been at a zero degree angle when new or maybe 10 degrees down angle ? I have 1" clearance from bottoming out on the wheel well as it sits now with the old shot scamp axle. Any other 13' Scamp owners have some information on the angle of there axle?
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