Having trouble deciding between 10 or 22.5 down angle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-18-2021, 05:44 PM   #1
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Name: Dub
Trailer: WTB
CA
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Having trouble deciding between 10 or 22.5 down angle

My current axle is 10 years old on my new-to-me 2006 Casita. It is sitting rather low, very squeeky and appears to be rubbing the wheel well. It also seems to have a crack in one of the arms. For those reasons, I think I should replace it.

That said, the spec sheet for the current one says 22UT for the arm angle, which I think means 22 degrees UP. The appearance of the arm angle fits this description.

So, in upgrading the axle, I would like to get some lift as I do plan to take many fire road excursions with this trailer. Also, it sits relatively low to my truck. I ordered a WDH which will help out with the sag, but that said, I still want some lift on the trailer.

I'm not sure if I should go with a 10 degree DOWN angle or a 22.5 degree down angle. In speaking with one Dexter distributor, they were a little shocked/concerned at going with any down angle for fear of making it too bumpy of a ride...and just how drastic of a lift that would create moving from 22 UP to 10 or 22 DOWN, which is around a 4" or 6" swing, respectively.

I've got some pics here to show the low-ness of the trailer on my truck, and a pic of the wheel in the wheel well (not sure why the pic uploaded sideways).

So.....in not really getting too much guidance from the distributors, thought I'd reach out to the fgrv community. Think I should play it safe with a 10 degree angle? Think a 22.5 will be fine in terms of ride quality?

PS, I will move from 14" to 15" tires.

Thanks!
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:59 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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First, axle does not appear to be centered on the wheel well. Looks like a bad install, as you are saying current axle is not original. Something happened here, as very few 2006 Casitas would be on their second axle, and needing axle #3.

Cracked torsion arm? If you are right, thats more indication something is wrong here. Your trailer appears to be in excellent condition other than the axle.

I would not tow that trailer with the tire in that position as you risk body damage to the trailer, as well as tire failure.

The picture I have attached is the wheel clearance on my Trillium, with a 44 year old axle... Yes, I plan to replace the axle.

Better off starting with a trailer (not RV) shop that builds and repairs trailers, like cargo trailers and similar.

According to this article, Casita started with level torsion arms, the high lift have 10 degrees DOWN. In the article, they went with a 22 degree down axle.

I'm a big fan of the flexiride axles. In that case, you can adjust the angle after installation. Gives you the option to try out several angles.

https://www.humbleandfree.com/casita-axle-replacement/
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:14 PM   #3
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Name: Dub
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CA
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Thanks Bill. Hereís a pic of the arm. Maybe itís an illusion of a crack or maybe itís real. Will definitely get it inspected.
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Old 10-19-2021, 07:49 AM   #4
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Looks like a casting mold seam to me. I think you have a combination of the wrong axle in the wrong location.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:10 AM   #5
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Name: George
Trailer: Casita 17FD
Alaska
Posts: 3
Tire rubbing

My 2014 Casita also has a tire rubbing on the front bottom of the right wheel well. It has the factory high lift axle with the 15 " wheels. I phoned and emailed the factory several times but they just say that is the way that trailer got built. To fix it will require cutting off the axle mounts, and re-welding them onto the frame. Welding that close to flammable fiberglass is not my idea of fun. I'm probably going to remove the 15" wheels, install 14" and go with the smallest diameter tires I can find.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:27 AM   #6
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Name: Dub
Trailer: WTB
CA
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Interesting, George. I was actually thinking that replacing the axle from the current 22 up angle to a 22 down angle would drop the tire out of harms way, as it should lower the wheel by over 4 inches.

I'm still open to moving the mounting bracket. Currently shopping around for that skilled labor.
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Old 10-19-2021, 03:33 PM   #7
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Name: Pat
Trailer: Scamp 19
Enchanted Mountains of Western New York State on the Amish Trail in Cattaraugus County!
Posts: 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by montereyfgrv View Post
My current axle is 10 years old on my new-to-me 2006 Casita. It is sitting rather low, very squeeky and appears to be rubbing the wheel well. It also seems to have a crack in one of the arms. For those reasons, I think I should replace it.

That said, the spec sheet for the current one says 22UT for the arm angle, which I think means 22 degrees UP. The appearance of the arm angle fits this description.

So, in upgrading the axle, I would like to get some lift as I do plan to take many fire road excursions with this trailer. Also, it sits relatively low to my truck. I ordered a WDH which will help out with the sag, but that said, I still want some lift on the trailer.

I'm not sure if I should go with a 10 degree DOWN angle or a 22.5 degree down angle. In speaking with one Dexter distributor, they were a little shocked/concerned at going with any down angle for fear of making it too bumpy of a ride...and just how drastic of a lift that would create moving from 22 UP to 10 or 22 DOWN, which is around a 4" or 6" swing, respectively.

I've got some pics here to show the low-ness of the trailer on my truck, and a pic of the wheel in the wheel well (not sure why the pic uploaded sideways).

So.....in not really getting too much guidance from the distributors, thought I'd reach out to the fgrv community. Think I should play it safe with a 10 degree angle? Think a 22.5 will be fine in terms of ride quality?

PS, I will move from 14" to 15" tires.

Thanks!
Is your bottom pic looking at the passenger side, while the top 2 pictures are drivers side? If so, I'd say that the axle is mounted crooked.
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Old 10-19-2021, 03:47 PM   #8
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Name: Dub
Trailer: WTB
CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parmm View Post
Is your bottom pic looking at the passenger side, while the top 2 pictures are drivers side? If so, I'd say that the axle is mounted crooked.
Correct, the pictures of the truck and trailer are driver side and the wheel shot is on the passenger side.

I'm quite confused on how an axle can be mounted crooked

And this axle has been on there for 10 years....Heck, I've even towed it 300 miles. When I picked it up it didn't look that bad. I wonder if the suspension is just completely shot now too. I think it just sat for much of the last decade, maybe not even on jacks.

Edit: Just want to edit to say it is mounted on the mounting brackets....so again, not sure how it'd be mounted crooked.
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Old 10-20-2021, 04:02 PM   #9
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Name: Dub
Trailer: WTB
CA
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adding to the story here, I measured from at the corner of the frame and inside of back bumper up to the backside of the mounting brackets. Bothe are 60", so I don't the brackets are crooked.

Trying to find frame specs to know if 60" is correct though...
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:52 AM   #10
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Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parmm View Post
Is your bottom pic looking at the passenger side, while the top 2 pictures are drivers side? If so, I'd say that the axle is mounted crooked.

You nailed it. Axle probably fine. Just need it installed properly.
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:40 AM   #11
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Name: Dub
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Originally Posted by computerspook View Post
You nailed it. Axle probably fine. Just need it installed properly.
I measured the axle bracket placement from the rear, where the frame connects to the rear bumper. Both axle mounts where 60" from read bumper, so I don't think it was mounted crooked. Also, the other wheel not pictured in similarly close (about .5" further back).

Now it's TBD if the axle is indeed mounted too far forward. Finding this info online or from Casita is proving difficult. Anyone with a Casita 17' care to grab some measurements on your axle mount placement to compare?

That all said, the current 22 up arm angle is contributing the issue for sure....swinging the wheel placement up and in on the wheel well. It also makes for a much lower ride than I will want since I plan to go on many fire roads and on the beach. So I think I'll be getting axle to replace this, with a 22 down arm angle. This should lower the wheel down from the well by at least 4.3", and about an inch back. With 14" wheels, I should see a safe amount of clearance. Though I do hope to move up to 15" wheels, which reduce my clearance by 1.1".

So, I think it'll be close. If I ultimately need to move the axle mount brackets back, I'll do that. I just need to find a cheaper option. The more economical trailer shop near me quoted $700 (6 man hours) to do the job of cutting off and moving back the axle mount brackets. That's a tough pill to swallow!! I may roll on 14's until I find a cheaper welder.
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Old 10-23-2021, 01:15 PM   #12
DJD
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: Casita
Louisiana
Posts: 16
Slightly (maybe more) off topic

The trailer appears to be sitting level. Youíve gotten good advice about axle placement. One other consideration for the Casita 17 SD is excessive tongue weight, often in the 20% range of loaded weight. I reduced tongue weight and added convenience by:1) I removed one of the propane bottles and made a lightweight plywood jig to replace the bottle. A full bottle lasts a very long time so I make sure (using a scale) that my propane supply matches the length of my trip and my intended use (I rarely run a gas heater). 2) While you have a welder hired?? I had a double receiver hitch added to the rear of the trailer and either use a steel cargo tray with a storage box or a bike rack. I usually add these to the top receiver and ignore the lower one since my 17 SD does not have a lifted axle. In doing these two things, I think Iíve directly removed 25 lbs from the tongue and indirectly removed another 40 lbs by adding 90 lbs (approximately) to the rear. The rear receiver had to be attached with other steel to the frame, and had to clear my rear-mounted spare tire. I must be careful with parking lots/ curbs with my low clearance but your newly lifted trailer will more than compensate. The extra rear storage is great to have. Best of luck.
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Old 10-23-2021, 01:24 PM   #13
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Name: Dub
Trailer: WTB
CA
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Thanks DJD. Just to clarify your response....saying I've gotten good advice about axle placement....are you saying you think the placement if off? And should I get the mounting brackets moved?

I'm hoping the high lift axle takes care of the issue...
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Old 10-23-2021, 02:39 PM   #14
DJD
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: Casita
Louisiana
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Trust the expert

Quote:
Originally Posted by montereyfgrv View Post
Thanks DJD. Just to clarify your response....saying I've gotten good advice about axle placement....are you saying you think the placement if off? And should I get the mounting brackets moved?

I'm hoping the high lift axle takes care of the issue...
It may need to be an ďon the flyĒ decision. With the high lift tacked in place, the direction of travel of the axle shall be considered. Thatís when, IMO, youíll know if the high lift axle fixes the issue. With your expressed uses in mind, get it right, go to 15Ē wheels, enjoy your adventures.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:16 AM   #15
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Name: Frank
Trailer: Casita 17' LD
Florida
Posts: 12
Monterey, your pictures could have been how my Casita looked before axle replacement. I think your present axle is totally shot, not mounted wrong. After replacement in original location, the wheels are centered up just fine and I've replaced the tires with 15" The result is 1000% better ride and tire life. The only question now is which one did I pick? It's 2:00 AM here and I'm not going out to check the records, but I know for sure it is a DOWN. # of degrees to be determined at a better time.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:02 PM   #16
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Name: Randy
Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD
Duluth,Minnesota
Posts: 58
I changed out my axle on my 03 Casita from a standard axle 10* up to a 22.5 * down. I would have liked to have installed a 45* down for more lift but then I wouldn't have been able to get it in my garage. My wheels were not centered in the wheelwells either but not as bad as yours. The place that did the install made sure that the wheels were centered perfectly before they welded in the AP166 brackets. Bolted in the new axle, installed new 15" tires and rims and it tows like a dream now!
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:36 PM   #17
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Utah
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Dub
Measure the position of the axle placement on the frame , take a tape measurement from the center of the axle spindle on both sides to the center of the hitch; they should be the same, a isosceles triangle
A question ? is the shell symmetrical, are the wheel wells exactly in the same position from the front of the trailer ?

Later Kenny
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Old 10-24-2021, 01:25 PM   #18
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Name: James
Trailer: 1976 Boler Voyager 13'
Ontario
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Wheel/weel clearance

G'day; My 2 pesos says Kenny may well have hit on what I was thinking, and a good way to verify by checking from hitch to axle. My own experience with my Boler was that the body was mounted crooked--bolted on where it landed when they dropped it on the frame. Does not take a whole lot of misalignment of the body on the frame to throw it off that far. The misalignment on my Boler was obvious with a little careful scrutiny. In my case, the body alignment was corrected when the axle and frame were replaced.
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:39 PM   #19
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Name: Dub
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Thanks for all the replies, folks. When I get a chance to visit my trailer this week I'll measure spindle to hitch. Good idea!

I was also able to contact the owner from the time of the replacement in 2011. His records were left in the trailer's manual binder. He said a tire had blown out while it was being towed -- which messed up the torsion bands in the axle, so they replaced the axle. I asked why replace with 22 degree up angle arms and he didn't recall knowing anything about arm angle when it was replaced. So, that explains the first replacement when the trailer was 5 years old.

And so.....I do suspect the 22 up angle is a big culprit to this....and additionally I think the current torsion bands are shot. The owner of the trailer for the past 5 years didn't pass along any trailer stabilizer jacks, and I know she was trying to offoad all of her gear, including tow vehicle, so this leads me believe the trailer has been resting entirely on the tires/axle for the past 5 years. Weak bands + steep arms angle = wheels being "up and in" in the wheel well, imo (I hope).

That said, will come crying back if I discover the wheels or body are indeed misaligned

I think I'll approach this with first replacing the axle with a 22 down angle arm. The 4.3"-down and 1.5"-back placement of the spindle should give me at least 3" of clearance with 14" tires. If it's apparent that clearance issues will persist if I get 15" wheels, I'll get the brackets moved. Fingers crossed the new axle resolves the wheel placement issue...
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:43 PM   #20
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Name: You can't call me Al
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If you get a Flexiride axle, you will be able to adjust the up or down angle to whatever you want after you get the trailer loaded.

I did something like 12-degrees down and have never had to take it apart and adjust it. It's perfect for me.

(This also has a 3" lift kit in between the axle and frame.)
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