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Old 02-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
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New axle installation

Received the new axles (Axis) today. Working alone, it took just over four hours to remove one axle and install the new axle. This includes the time it took to unload the axles from the freight truck. I did have the opposite axle up on blocks prior to starting. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate the level of difficulty as a 4; 10 being the most difficult. Did I mention, I will be 67 in four months. Not too bad for an old guy.
I must say that I am disappointed by the fact that some kind of documentation was not include with the axles. I would have thought for the price there would have been some instructions on the maintenance of the axles. ie bearing maintenance along with instructions for adjusting the brakes, as well as specifications of brake pad thickness and brake drum specs etc. In order that one could determine when these items are worn beyond operating specifications.
I was also surprised the axles were just banded together. There was no pallet or crating of any kind to protect the axles during shipment. While the axles I received did not show out right signs of damage other than scratched paint from the various material handling methods used to load and unload the axles. I guess I was expecting some protection from damage. If they would have had damage, I would have lost at least another 6 weeks getting replacements. Not to mention the hassle of dealing with the return and replace process.
On the positive side, I received the axles 5 weeks from the order date.
One other note: The new axles will give the trailer a wider track by about 3" as compared to the original axles. Which should make it even more stable. There is more than ample clearance on both sides of the tires. There was no problem getting the tire inside the wheel well even with the wider stance.
I will complete the installation of the second axle tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing the end results and how much difference it makes in the height of the trailer.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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The second axle took 3 1/2 hours. Looks like this project raised the trailer about 3".
Can't wait to hitch it up and see how it tows. Also want to weigh the rig since these axles are significantly heavier than the originals. Even though they are rated at only 200# greater in load carrying capacity.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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Did you take pictures?
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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Sorry! No pictures. Too busy trying to beat the weather. It was 53 yesterday when I started, 43 was the high today. Just finished pulling the trailer into it's shelter from the shop. Now the wind is blowing at 25 mph and it's beginning to snow. Got it done just in time.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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That's about what it took me to replace ours. Working alone is a bitch, huh? I especially enjoyed working on nice, unforgiving gravel to do the work.

A good friend of ours is going to do his this spring sometime, and I plan to go down and try to help. At least there'll be four hands rather than two. Maybe we can beat my speed record.

On level of difficulty, I'd put it closer to 2-3 rather than 4, though. None of it was difficult, apart from the physical part. Doing the new AC was a lot more demanding, including the physical part.


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Old 02-02-2012, 05:39 PM   #6
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TG
I picked up Axles last year from Axxis and received a packet on how to pack the bearings and suggested PM. Can't remember if it had any info about the brakes. If you call them I am sure they will mail you a copy.

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Old 02-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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I'm glad you beat the weather.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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TG,
Congrats on the new axle install. Luckily you beat the weather. You were fortunate that they arrived in good shape since they were shipped loose. All the axles I have installed were banded and bolted to a pallet that exceeded the width of the axles. They also come with all mounting hardware and a service manual. You'll enjoy the new axles, I'm sure.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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Weighed the rig today. Trailer has a full fresh water tank (30 gal) and 2 full propane bottles. Trailer is packed with everything but food and clothes.
Truck weight not hitched: 6,180
Truck weight trailer hitched: 7,040
Truck and trailer combined weight: 11,460
Trailer axles weight hitched to truck: 4,400
Tongue weight: 860
Trailer weight not hitched: 5,280
Trailer GVWR. 6,200
Trailer axle rating: 3,000: x 2 = 6,000
Truck:
Front axle weight trailer not hitched. 3,280
Front axle weight trailer hitched. 3,000
TV specs:
'98 Dodge 3/4 ton long box extended cab: 2 wheel drive
Axle ratings:
Front: 4,400
Rear: 6,084
360 cubic inch V8; 5 speed manual transmission; 4:10 rear end.

Conclusion: Plenty of Truck
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #10
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Left the coffee pot sitting on the counter by accident. It was still there after a 20 mile round trip to the scales. Looks like the new axles ride pretty smooth. Hooray!!
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Weighed the rig today. Trailer has a full fresh water tank (30 gal) and 2 full propane bottles. Trailer is packed with everything but food and clothes.
Truck weight not hitched: 6,180
Truck weight trailer hitched: 7,040
Truck and trailer combined weight: 11,460
Trailer axles weight hitched to truck: 4,400
Tongue weight: 860
Trailer weight not hitched: 5,280
Trailer GVWR. 6,200
Trailer axle rating: 3,000: x 2 = 6,000
Truck:
Front axle weight trailer not hitched. 3,280
Front axle weight trailer hitched. 3,000
TV specs:
'98 Dodge 3/4 ton long box extended cab: 2 wheel drive
Axle ratings:
Front: 4,400
Rear: 6,084
360 cubic inch V8; 5 speed manual transmission; 4:10 rear end.

Conclusion: Plenty of Truck
The front of your tow vehicle, should have "more" weight on it when hitched to the trailer.

Never less.

Less means the hitch is not adjusted correctly.

Or did I maybe misunderstand your weight readings?

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:22 PM   #12
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No! You didn't get the weights wrong. This setup does not have a weight distribution hitch. Therefor one would expect to see the front axle weight be reduced as a result of the 860 pound tongue weight of the trailer.
The rear axle rating on this truck is 6084# . With the trailer hitched to the truck the weight on the rear axle is 3740#. Well below the load carrying capacity of the truck. The GVWR of the truck is 8800#. Again, well above the actual weight of the truck with the trailer hitched 7040#
If I can't haul a load of 860# in or on the back of the truck without using some kind of weight distribution hitch. Then how can I haul anything in the truck alone, since there would be no trailer connect it the WDH to?
I must admit that I was surprised at the 860# tongue weight. What concerns me more than the load on the truck is the load on the trailer frame. Since they seem to be so fragile.
But this truck is fully capable of hauling a 10,000# 5th wheel down the road. Without a WDH. The hitch weight of the 5th wheeler is far greater than the hitch weight of the Argosy. Granted the 5th wheel weight is over the rear axle, but the front end axle weight will be reduced when the trailer is connected.
I find a number of design problems with this trailer, as I'm sure there are with the SOB's as well. Case in point. The majority of the heavy equipment is located on the street side of the trailer ie refer; water heater; battery; closet etc. Even with the new axles which are rated higher than the originals, the trailer sets lower on the street side.
The truck and trailer set level as a unit when hitched. I have had no handling issues with the rig. No rivets popping or other issues blamed routinely on the running gear being out of balance. I believe that WDH's even when set up properly create a much harsher ride and therefore could be some of the reason for things shaking lose in and on the trailer.
I sure I will get plenty of arguments on this subject.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:02 PM   #13
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WDHs are about more than dealing with the total weight of the load; they change the dynamics of the entire rig, and greatly affect the handling of the vehicle.
No, your axles are not in any risk of buckling under the shear weight of the trailer, but WDHs don't "remove" weight; they shift its effect from where it is causing potential harm to where it can do some good.
A 5th wheel hitch is usually forward of the rear axle. (picture a Mack tractor, and where the actual connection is). This tends to naturally distribute the weight more evenly between the front and the rear axles.
With a ball-mount, the weight is (obviously) as far back as it can be, which, even at a much smaller weight compared to a 5-er, is going to unload the front axle at least some, and that will have a marked effect on handling and stability.
Along with the less effective steering, you also have a huge lever effect from the entire weight of the trailer. It isn't an issue of 800 extra lbs on the truck; its an issue of 6000lbs pushing your truck around with a 4-foot lever, (the distance from the ball to the rear axle), while the front end already has a less-than-optimal grip on the road. The 5-er doesn't have this added leverage, which is a major reason they are so much better "behaved" on the road. That modest sized airstream, while an easy haul for the truck, could also toss the truck around like a little toy, given the right (or wrong!) circumstances.
A WDH will eliminate this unloading of the front axle, and mitigate the leverage issue quite a bit, if it has integrated sway control, like the Reese Dual-cam or "Equalizer" brands. (a Hesley Arrow or Propride will eliminate it entirely, but at a premium price).

I have friends who have towed their vintage bambi (tiny) with a 3/4 ton truck, with and without WD, and they report that there is a noticeable difference in the feel of it, even with such an extreme example (big big truck, little little trailer). not that it can get along just fine without, but it is noticeable.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
No! You didn't get the weights wrong. This setup does not have a weight distribution hitch. Therefor one would expect to see the front axle weight be reduced as a result of the 860 pound tongue weight of the trailer.
The rear axle rating on this truck is 6084# . With the trailer hitched to the truck the weight on the rear axle is 3740#. Well below the load carrying capacity of the truck. The GVWR of the truck is 8800#. Again, well above the actual weight of the truck with the trailer hitched 7040#
If I can't haul a load of 860# in or on the back of the truck without using some kind of weight distribution hitch. Then how can I haul anything in the truck alone, since there would be no trailer connect it the WDH to?
I must admit that I was surprised at the 860# tongue weight. What concerns me more than the load on the truck is the load on the trailer frame. Since they seem to be so fragile.
But this truck is fully capable of hauling a 10,000# 5th wheel down the road. Without a WDH. The hitch weight of the 5th wheeler is far greater than the hitch weight of the Argosy. Granted the 5th wheel weight is over the rear axle, but the front end axle weight will be reduced when the trailer is connected.
I find a number of design problems with this trailer, as I'm sure there are with the SOB's as well. Case in point. The majority of the heavy equipment is located on the street side of the trailer ie refer; water heater; battery; closet etc. Even with the new axles which are rated higher than the originals, the trailer sets lower on the street side.
The truck and trailer set level as a unit when hitched. I have had no handling issues with the rig. No rivets popping or other issues blamed routinely on the running gear being out of balance. I believe that WDH's even when set up properly create a much harsher ride and therefore could be some of the reason for things shaking lose in and on the trailer.
I sure I will get plenty of arguments on this subject.

Fifth wheel trailers do not need a load equalizing hitch to be safely towed.

BUT truck or no truck, you CANNOT safely tow your trailer with your truck, the way you currently have it rigged, or not rigged as is the case in point..

Best suggestion I can make, is make sure you have tons of "liability insurance", because you will need it when you lose control of your rig.

It's not a matter of what, it's a matter of when in your case.

Thousands of owners will agree as well as Physics says you cannot do what your doing and be safe.

Your weights confirm the Physics question.

Sorry, no harm intended, but your an accident looking for a place to happen.

Andy
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