13í Bigfoot axle replacement - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-11-2023, 02:47 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Nick
Trailer: Lil bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 7
13í Bigfoot axle replacement

Last year I bought an 87 Lil Bigfoot and have been getting familiar with the joys of old trailers. Got the appliances working and the saggy upper cabinets dealt with last summer. This spring Iíd like to deal with the axle. Itís likely original, the tube is bent and thereís signs that the tires rub a bit on the wheel wells. Iím looking forward to giving the trailer a smoother ride and a bit more clearance.

Iíve spent some time reading old threads about the difficulty involved with this trailer design and have been debating whether to mount the new axle as the original was with the arms leading or switch to having the arms trailing. The first option seems a bit simpler to mount but I understand it isnít recommended by the axle manufacturers. Iíd like to add brakes and I think this setup may complicate that also.
The second option means mounting further forward and with less space between the mounting brackets. Iím not sure if this may have stability implications or maybe stress the trailer by changing where the axle bears the frame. Does anyone on here have this setup on their 13í bigfoot?
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Old 01-11-2023, 09:34 AM   #2
Senior Member
Name: You can't call me Al
Trailer: 1977 Scamp 13'
Posts: 756
Contact @Ell Pea in CA, they did an axle replacement and might be able to help.

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Old 01-11-2023, 12:20 PM   #3
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Kenny Strong's Avatar
Name: kenny
Trailer: 93 "Lil" Bigfoot 13.5'
Posts: 518
I replaced my axle a year ago, maybe more ???
leading link axles are not manufactured. I used a dexter trailing link. it is mounted about 17 inches forward of the original. the spindle of the brake drum is centered in the wheel well. It has 10" brake drums self adjusting
it is a detuned 2500lb down to 1700 by dexter.
the original has mounting brackets set at 13 degrees. NO ONE will make you an axle like this. It was a poor design and dexter made the original axles they will not do it again.
To make a new axle work, the frame has to be widened to support the new position of the mounting brackets
I could have welded new mounting plates on the existing frame, but I did not. I bolted my plates to the frame. they could still be welded in place. I bolted the axle brackets to the new plates that are 1/4 inch thick. not welded,
the hole in the frame where the old axle went, must have a plate fabricated to make the frame whole again. No other companies cut the axle into the frame like our trailer; BAD DESIGN .
The new axle sits up against the bottom of the frame, and not inside the frame, it raises the body approximately 6 inches
It is a perfect repair.

I have plans and sizes as well as pictures

Later Kenny
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Old 01-11-2023, 01:30 PM   #4
Name: Denise
Trailer: Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Axel question

Depends where you are in BC, but Iíve gotten straight advice about changing an axle, and great service from Nomad Trailer Axle & Brake in Vernon. Theyíre also close to the Big Foot factory, although I canít say whether that might mean theyíre more familiar with Big Foot trailers.
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Old 01-11-2023, 05:47 PM   #5
Junior Member
Name: Matt
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 8
Following. I have a 1988 Lil Bigfoot due for an axle...
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:13 AM   #6
Junior Member
Name: Nick
Trailer: Lil bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Thanks for the replies. Iím in Nelson, so Iím probably about 4 hours or more from a shop that has any kind of relevant experience. Planning to do it myself, maybe with a little hired help if needed.

Kenny, Iíve read a lot of your posts on other threads but didnít realize you had replaced the axle. I thought you had just shimmed up the original for clearance. Good to hear you got it replaced. Iíd love to see some pictures of what you did, sounds very similar to what Iím thinking. Iím leaning toward ordering a flexiride axle. They have splined arms that can be adjusted. I like the idea of being able to make adjustments to the height if It seems too high or low once Iím done.
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Old 01-12-2023, 07:50 PM   #7
Junior Member
Name: Matt
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 8
small world

Nick, please keep posting updates

Surprisingly and against the odds for sure, I bought my 88' Lil' Biggy as I call her from a fellow in Nelson. He had stored her in a field between there and Salmo. Currently I'm living in my Lil Bigfoot year round (GNP summer/US SW for winters. Lil' Biggy ain't much beyond really functional (new insulated marine plywood subfloor, intensive structural repair to roof from excessive snow load overwinter in BC, fridge and heater gone, wall mounted cubic mini woodstove where closet was, 12v solar system, all upper cabinets gone, extra 1/2" white closed cell foam is interior finish; it's sort of a hut on wheels that still needs lots of tweaking. A new axle with a bit more ground clearance is a goal for this summer.

From weighted to unweighted my passenger side axle moves 1.25 inches. Somewhere, at Boler I think, I read that less than 1.5 is replacement time. Mine is nowhere near to making contact with the body, but it is basically a pogo stick with no dampening and almost zero travel.

Cheers from the Sonoran Desert, Matthew
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Old 02-02-2023, 08:35 PM   #8
Junior Member
Name: Nick
Trailer: Lil bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Hi everyone.
I think Iíve got a plan for my axle replacement and will likely order my axle next week. Just have to block up the trailer a little higher and do some careful measurements this weekend. Thanks to everyoneís help/advice on this.

One thing I havenít put a ton of thought into yet is what weight to have my axle built to. Any suggestions?

The base axle Iím ordering (flexiride) is rated to 2000lbs and can be destined to 1700 or 1400(roughly, canít remember the exact numbers). It sounds like the dry weight of this trailer is between 900 and 1000 lbs. gvwr is listed at 1429lbs. I think the original axle was rated at 1800lbs. Iím leaning towards detuning to 1700. Any thoughts?

Iíll post some pictures of how everything works out as I go.
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axle, bigfoot

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