Advice on Flipping Axle on 2016 Bigfoot 25B175FB - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-23-2017, 02:54 PM   #1
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Name: Ryan
Trailer: Bigfoot
California
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Advice on Flipping Axle on 2016 Bigfoot 25B175FB

Hi All,

I saw a thread on this a few years ago, but wanted to get the latest info as I am looking at flipping my axle in the next week. My trailer is too low to the ground, and the front tray (which holds the propane tanks) scrapes when I go up even slightly slanted driveways. I'm looking to stop this problem, as well as enable off road trips with the trailer to get to austere campsites.

Here are the questions I have:

1. To flip the axle, do you just move the leaf springs from the bottom to the top?

2. Do you/Should I get a larger strut once the axle is flipped? If so, what is the recommended strut size (and brand)? Also, you can see from the pictures that the bottom of my strut has been bent; does this warrant replacement?

3. What is the total height difference I can expect once the axle is flipped?

4. Has anyone who has done this noticed any adverse handling characteristics as a result of the additional height?

5. While I'm going to the expense to make this change, are there any other recommended additions I should make? For instance, I read that the clearance of these trailers is limited a bit by the axle even after it is flipped. If so, is there a better axle which I could upgrade to that would give a better ride/better clearance? What about sizing up the tires- is this recommended?

6. Please post pictures of your flipped axles trailers if you have them! I intend to take my trailer in soon to get this done, and my shop has requested pictures to help them with the process.

Thanks,

Ryan Fancher
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:06 PM   #2
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Name: Daniel A.
Trailer: Bigfoot 17.0 1991 dlx
British Columbia
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I'm also looking to change mine in Oct. I have it scheduled.
I'm having new springs installed as my Bigfoot is a 91 my repair guy tells me to expect 3-4 inches more clearance once lifted. My hitch can be adjusted to level it out after and I use equalizing bars, my hitch also has a place to put a sway bar if needed. I'm told that this is the only potential issue by raising the centre of gravity there is a higher possibility of sway. I see you have 5 springs in your unit mine has 4.

Once lifted I'm going to look at changing to a 15 inch wheel.
At the moment the clearance I have between the tire and wheel well on the back side I can't get my fingers between its so tight if I had a flat its going to do damage.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:00 PM   #3
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
Washington
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Ryan; your photo shows a 4" drop axle. You could mount the axle underneath the springs and that would raise the body and frame about 4 inches, but it would not give you any more ground clearance. The axle tube would remain the same distance from the ground as it is now. If it was my trailer, I would get a new straight axle and mount it above the springs just like your drop axle is now. This would give you the lift you want and give you more ground clearance. A new straight axle, part only, about $200.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:05 PM   #4
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
Washington
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Daniel; your trailer and suspension are slightly different. Most likely you have a 3500# axle. Ryan's newer trailer has a heavier axle. If you have a drop axle, a straight axle would be something to consider too.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:34 PM   #5
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Name: Ryan
Trailer: Bigfoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
Ryan; your photo shows a 4" drop axle. You could mount the axle underneath the springs and that would raise the body and frame about 4 inches, but it would not give you any more ground clearance. The axle tube would remain the same distance from the ground as it is now. If it was my trailer, I would get a new straight axle and mount it above the springs just like your drop axle is now. This would give you the lift you want and give you more ground clearance. A new straight axle, part only, about $200.
Jack- are there any benefits to the 4'' drop axle over the straight axle? Also, as far as the straight axle is concerned, where should I research the best one to buy? Would I need/want to replace the struts as well if I get this job done?

Ryan
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:57 PM   #6
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Name: Daniel A.
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Its been awhile since I looked at mine Jack but I will check into that.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:16 PM   #7
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Name: Jack L
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Originally Posted by rdf0011 View Post
Jack- are there any benefits to the 4'' drop axle over the straight axle? Also, as far as the straight axle is concerned, where should I research the best one to buy? Would I need/want to replace the struts as well if I get this job done?

Ryan
I only see disadvantages to a drop axle unless you want your trailer low to the ground. Your current axle has a weight rating. Probably 5500# but maybe 6000. It should be on a metal tag on the axle. Determine the measurement from hub face to hub face on your existing drop axle. Order the same weight and dimension straight axle. You should be able to use the same shocks you already have.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:26 PM   #8
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Name: Yvon
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft 1992
Quebec
Posts: 144
Last year i have replaced my drop axle by a straight axle , and it is the best modification that a i made
Now no problem with drain valve to low , even better driving ,
Low cost parts, 250$ for new axle , brake , bearing and drum
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:23 PM   #9
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Name: Francois
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it's a 2500....

so my guess is there will not be a lot of experience around here with doing that mod as the trailer is just "too new"....that run of trailers is around ten years now....most owners will not have modified them

LOTS of people have flipped axles on 1500s....it was almost an "automatic" change....but that info would not really apply

I seem to remember that the axle on a 17.5 is rated at 4500...but you could check the BF website for exact specs.

here's a pic of a 97 (1500 series, 3500 axle) with a "flipped axle" courtesy of a PO... with the OEM springs....then with new beefier springs (extra leaf) by me....the extra leaf did lift the trailer a couple of inches from when I got it...

Like most people what you are looking for is more height front and back...ground clearance of the AXLE itself might no be much of a concern....if this was an "old" trailer going "straight" might be a good option...but this axle of yours is not TWO years old !!!!....if flipping it would solve your problem/concern I'd be tempted to just flip it.....LOTS of places you can spend money on a trailer.....you gotta make a list and PRIORITIZE !....

Let us know how it all works out...good luck
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:28 PM   #10
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Name: Francois
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oh yeah and....

to clarify: the reason I got new springs was not to lift the trailer....I broke one spring(logging roads)....I decided to upgrade....extra couple of inches of height was a bonus
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:20 AM   #11
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Name: Daniel A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
to clarify: the reason I got new springs was not to lift the trailer....I broke one spring(logging roads)....I decided to upgrade....extra couple of inches of height was a bonus

Can you now go to a bigger tire ?

In my case the big issue I have is not having any clearance around the wheel well, in the event of a flat it would do damage.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:28 AM   #12
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Name: Francois
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I guess....

but I have no desire to do so...with my set-up now (flip and bigger springs) I'm not looking for more clearance...

with the flip I didn't get more clearance under the axle....but that was ok....my "off-roading" is done on logging ROADS....and they are reasonably flat side to side ( I did get a LITTLE more height with the springs)

somebody correct me if I'm wrong but the reason for bigger tires would be to tow at higher speeds (???) tires run cooler (???)....if that is it, I RARELY go over 100 kph while towing

I had one blowout at 100 kph...it shredded the tire but did not do any other damage....

(tire, yours, mine and an EXTREME example of a lift on a trailer near where I live)

Happy trails, F
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:48 AM   #13
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Name: Ryan
Trailer: Bigfoot
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Great Info Everyone.

I'm leaning towards getting a straight axle, just because if I'm going to go to the labor expense to change it out I'd rather gain the extra capability in "true ground clearance" rather than just elevating the trailer and keeping the axle clearance the same.

With this in mind, any suggestions on where to order this axle? What about axle brands- what is the best brand to purchase?

Also, I've heard some guys talk about self-adjusting brakes. Is this a worthwhile modification while the brakes are presumably being taken apart as part of the new axle modification?

Thanks,

Ryan
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:25 PM   #14
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Trailer: Black Series HQ19
Smith Valley, Nevada
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Dexter axles are probably the biggest brand and are very good. You can decide on the weight rating and the spring rating. It might be time to go to a heavier axle to get bigger bearings and more durability. For instance, going to a 3500 lb axle instead of a 2500 lb axle. Or from a 3500 to a 5200 to get the bigger brakes that come with the 5200.

Go to E Trailer to look at the various types of backing plates and brakes. Galvanized, self adjusting, different brake shoe quality, etc.

You can also decide on E Z Lube or not if you get a new axle.

If you order a new one, you'll need the hub face to hub face measurement of your existing one. This is also a chance to make a small correction to the axle width if you'd like to. For instance, if the wheels are set too far inward or outward for your liking.

If you "flip" the axle, you'll need to mount the spring perches on the top of the axle instead of the bottom. That is if you don't actually flip the axle, but just mount it under the springs. If you keep your axle, and it is straight and not bent for camber correction, you can probably just turn it upside down and re-mount the backing plates 180 degrees to correct them. Then the spring perches would be correct. This won't always work with the backing plate mounting pattern.

You might also consider a "drop axle", mounted upside down to get more axle tube clearance. This would mount above the springs, as normal, but would reach down to the spindle to raise the trailer.

Lots of options here.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:55 PM   #15
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Name: Daniel A.
Trailer: Bigfoot 17.0 1991 dlx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdf0011 View Post
Great Info Everyone.

I'm leaning towards getting a straight axle, just because if I'm going to go to the labor expense to change it out I'd rather gain the extra capability in "true ground clearance" rather than just elevating the trailer and keeping the axle clearance the same.

With this in mind, any suggestions on where to order this axle? What about axle brands- what is the best brand to purchase?

Also, I've heard some guys talk about self-adjusting brakes. Is this a worthwhile modification while the brakes are presumably being taken apart as part of the new axle modification?

Thanks,

Ryan
I changed to self adjusting several years ago well worth the extra 20.00 dollars .
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:05 PM   #16
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
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Originally Posted by Daniel A. View Post
I changed to self adjusting several years ago well worth the extra 20.00 dollars .
Me too.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:19 PM   #17
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Name: abcde
Trailer: noneofyourbusiness
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Interesting thread

This is an interesting thread. I've been concerned about the low ground clearance of my 2008 25B175G and have been wondering about top mounting the springs or going to a straight axle as well. I think the shock mounts would have to be redone in some way as well as the length between the mounts is going to change.

We got the trailer last year and promptly bottomed out the front battery/propane storage area coming out of a gas station over a steep curb. No damage luckily other that scraped paint. A week ago we lost a brake cable on the trailer when we hit a big lump of wet clay sitting in the middle of a gravel road in Alberta. It ripped the brake electric cable off the top of the axle and took out four tie-wraps holding the cable conduit to the axle. Luckily it gave way at a crimped joint so repair was not too difficult, if wet and cold.

More clearance would be useful for sure .....
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:34 PM   #18
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Name: jack
Trailer: Bigfoot
Arizona
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I have a 2014 Bigfoot 2500 17.5FB. The trailer came with a 4" drop axle with a 4400 lb. rating. The clearance under the center of the axle tube was 5" and 2.5" under the shock mounting plates by each wheel (the trailer did not come with shocks but the plates/tabs are there).

I full-time now so my my compartments are full but I carry heavy stuff in the truck. Still, the trailer has 4600 lbs on the axle (plus 550 on the tongue with a full fresh water tank (31 gal) and empty gray and black water tanks. The axle was clearly overloaded, one of Bigfoot's engineering faux pas along with installing a sliding front window that was never intended by the manufacturer to be mounted on a slanting surface.

So, the solution was to install a straight axle with 5200 lb capacity along with new larger brakes and bearings. This is what Bigfoot should have done at the factory. The whole Joe was $1200. Including installation. Now the trailer has sufficient clearance and looks just right in my opinion. I have not had to modify the entry step or extend anything else.

A replacement front window (solid, not sliding) will be on me as well and will cost $600. When delivered considering freight from BC, duty, and installation.

Jacl
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:19 AM   #19
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Name: Daniel A.
Trailer: Bigfoot 17.0 1991 dlx
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I just had a lift kit put on my 17 foot Bigfoot, it gives me 3-4 inches extra clearance on the body.
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:02 AM   #20
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
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Daniel; Could you post a photo. I'm curious to know what a "lift kit" looks like.
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