Surfside axle angle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2017, 08:13 PM   #1
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Surfside axle angle

First post here on this rv.

Just got a '77 TM14. It's pretty much intact, but has no suspension travel at all. It was a _very_ rough right home. I've spent a couple days searching around including here and have not found any good info on what initial angle the torsion arms were set at. It's the first thing I'm going to have to fix and I'm expecting a call back after the inspection from a big trailer repair place tomorrow.

The Surfside literature lists dry weight around 1450; the axle is spec'd at 1650. I'm going to try to get a 1600# axle since I don't plan to load it up too much. But that given, I still need to spec the starting angle. "Standard" for this type of axle seems to be 20D or so (22?), although the range can be from 45D to -10D.

What concerns me is that the existing torsion arms appear to be "resting" at -22D (all the way up, compressed), but when looking at the trailer from the side the tires in the wheel well appear to be right where I would expect them to be - if the suspension were working right. IOW, my trailer appears similar to all/any of the photos I've seen of a Surfside. If I'm understanding the situation, a standard 22D (positive) starting angle would lift my trailer by at least 3" and probably more. Now I don't automatically have a problem with that but it would put the tires that much lower in the wheel well and on the face of it that does not appear to be what other trailers of this type have.

Does anybody have actual info on what the starting angle for a 1600# axle on this trailer is supposed to be?

Thanks for all thoughts.

Rufus
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:34 AM   #2
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,860
If your axle is like a Scamps axle look at this thread. In the first post is a picture of the axle where the inner part of the axle goes through the arm of the axle.

It is a square going through the arm. When the axle is in its proper place the square forms a diamond with its points straight up and down. So if your worn axle is rotated up then measure the degrees that it would take to rotate the axle back down until the points of the axle are vertical up and down. That will tell you how much your axle has moved up. You will need to jack up and remove both tires at the same time and cross check both sides of the axle.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...amp-64253.html
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:25 AM   #3
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Steve (and Brian)

Thank you!. Brian pm'd a link he wrote several years ago that explains w/pictures what Steve describes.

Now I have a way to ascertain the original angle which will help considerably when talking with the repair people. Haven't heard back from the shop yet and if the communication doesn't develop quickly I'll be looking elsewhere for the work and it's a great help to know what I'm talking about.

Again, thanks all.


Rufus
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:46 AM   #4
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Triple E Surfside
British Columbia
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlaggren View Post
First post here on this rv.

Just got a '77 TM14. It's pretty much intact, but has no suspension travel at all. It was a _very_ rough right home. I've spent a couple days searching around including here and have not found any good info on what initial angle the torsion arms were set at. It's the first thing I'm going to have to fix and I'm expecting a call back after the inspection from a big trailer repair place tomorrow.

The Surfside literature lists dry weight around 1450; the axle is spec'd at 1650. I'm going to try to get a 1600# axle since I don't plan to load it up too much. But that given, I still need to spec the starting angle. "Standard" for this type of axle seems to be 20D or so (22?), although the range can be from 45D to -10D.

What concerns me is that the existing torsion arms appear to be "resting" at -22D (all the way up, compressed), but when looking at the trailer from the side the tires in the wheel well appear to be right where I would expect them to be - if the suspension were working right. IOW, my trailer appears similar to all/any of the photos I've seen of a Surfside. If I'm understanding the situation, a standard 22D (positive) starting angle would lift my trailer by at least 3" and probably more. Now I don't automatically have a problem with that but it would put the tires that much lower in the wheel well and on the face of it that does not appear to be what other trailers of this type have.

Does anybody have actual info on what the starting angle for a 1600# axle on this trailer is supposed to be?

Thanks for all thoughts.

Rufus
Hi Rufus, can't add much knowledge. But i do have a 79 Surfside and I can send photos (frame only, loaded or gutted) if that would help you. It will be gutted again within a week. Click image for larger version

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Dave
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:07 AM   #5
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Dave

Any pics showing frame or suspension/wheel-position would be great. I'll pm an email if you don't want to post them here.

Looking at the frame pic above: Is that the original frame? Looks like it has a -10D (ie. upward) starting angle; but maybe that's because of the frame weight and that starting angle is really 0D standard... Not an expert here.

(edit to correct mistake viewing pic)

The initial report from the trailer shop noted a seriously loose ball/hitch fit w/no adjustment possible. Frame that's visible looks sound except the rear 4x4 bumper has cracked where it's welded to the frame. $250 estimate for new welded hitch and bumper welds w/welded caps added (no caps there now and I don't see needing to carry a dump hose).

Comments?

The bolt-on axle is off and at a subcontractor and price s/b in Monday.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:17 PM   #6
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Triple E Surfside
British Columbia
Posts: 56
Click image for larger version

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These photos might help.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:31 PM   #7
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Hi Dave

Thanks for the pics. I have been around the bushes with the repair shop and finally talked with their axle subcontractor. The axle guy is morally certain that the existing axle is 3500#. As I understand it that is just not appropriate for this small 14' RV. After extensive discussion in which everyone was trying to ensure that their position was understand beyond doubt, especially as regards later complaints(!) I arranged to have them supply a 2000# axle (Dexter). The gent running the axle shop swore around the block that he _never_ installed anything less and that 2000# axle was flimsy enough for any small trailer.

I think I can live with that, especially compared w/what is there now. There _is_ a tendency for bloat in life. I also spec'd a 10D (down) starting angle in hope that loaded it will come up to about horizontal.

I am curious a little because he really was adamant that the existing was 3500#. He based that not especially on the axle itself (it is quite old and he could not figure out a manufacturer - probably Canadian) but on the spindles and brakes and bearings. I'm suspecting it might have 10" brakes (didn't try to explore the issue further since we had other things to straighten out). The #9 Dexters have 7" brakes.

The pic of your wheel hub looks like a brake drum to me. If that's the case, would you happen to know the (inside) size of the drum? Or the outside size might be just as telling.

Thnx

Rufus
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:47 PM   #8
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Triple E Surfside
British Columbia
Posts: 56
They are definitely drum brakes, I can measure tomorrow but i think they are 7 inch.
D.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:37 PM   #9
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Seems like 7" is what the brakes should be. I think the drawn out discussions w/this repair shop are because they normally don't handle small trailers. Semi's are more their norm. A 1600# axle is just hard for them to envision...

Rufus
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:06 PM   #10
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Name: Rolf
Trailer: Triple E
Alberta
Posts: 3
Hi Rufus, did you ever get your axle replaced and if so with what?
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:42 PM   #11
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Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
Rolf


I got the 2000# Dexter and it made a big improvement in the trailer's behavior. I have my doubts about what initial axle angle the installer got. I spec'd 10D but the guy was in his 50's and didn't like being told what was right. IAC, I just got back from a couple thousand miles towing the Surfside and the axle at least has worked well. It's likely just fine that it's 2000# instead of 1600#, which I planned initially, because I hope to add a second battery, a second propane tank and a tool box on the tongue. At the rear I hope to add boxes for a BBQ and firewood and also something to hold firefighting tools (shovel, rake, mattock, bow saw) readily available. That's definitely the Phase II plan - if the weather keeps trending like it is, I may not be building many camp fires in the next years.


I also replaced the 13" wheels with 14" and they fit well and look OEM. I have had no issues with towing the trailer, even w/out brakes; mostly at 60-70mph but occasionally 80-85 the few time I felt impelled to pass something _much_ slower. Not something to do as a habit but it seemed to work ok and I favor getting the puck out of the oncoming lane quick. Yes, I still have not hooked the brakes up; I got the vehicle wiring finished last spring but could not get to the trailer and then had the choice of travel or wrench. I traveled. Going to have to pull the wheels off soon to grease bearings and check the brakes are clear and moving.


I don't know what you've got or your plans, but if it involves a Surfside I would _strongly_ recommend putting a bright light just in front of the wheels, pointing up, and opening up the cabinets and looking very carefully at the front bottom of the wheel wells. Both sides were severely cracked on my trailer, dangerously so. I cut the bottom out of the closet about 16" up and cut the floor out from under the sink to access the damage. I used epoxy and glass roving, mat and cloth to repair the damage and try to strengthen that area.



Unfortunate to say, but I have found several resin starved areas around the door and windows. This means the glass there did not get enough resin to absorb and glue it together. They are definitely weak spots and I would not be surprised to find others similar. This may be model year related - mine is a 1977; there were production problems with bad batches of resin that appeared around then in numerous boats and cars and it seems the problems may have affected other GRP products, too. Or maybe the guy laying the glass had a bad day.


Regards,
Rufus
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:33 PM   #12
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,860
running a chopper gun is very complicated but works well when all the stars align once something goes wrong you make allot of bad stuff fast. we had to give up running solo and have one guy watching the pumps and contents while the lesser experienced person actually ran the gun. then things ran pretty good. every time running solo it screwed us sooner or later.
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:53 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Name: Rufus
Trailer: Surfside TM14
Illinois
Posts: 23
> gun


Yeah, I'd heard they were kinda finicky. Not my line of work, though. I just learned a bit when I had to repair 3-4 boats early 2000's.



Amazing stuff, but there's a bunch of details that had a steep learning curve. For me at least. I can do repairs, but getting the right resin/glass ratio is a challenge the first couple tries after not doing it for a while. I tend toward way to much resin. And outside corners... Gotta go to church first. <g>




Cheers,
Rufus
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