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Old 10-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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1948 14' Boles Aero

I'm starting a build thread for the 1948 14' Boles Aero that I picked up a few months ago (after a year of searching). This forum has already been invaluable and I'd like to contribute to the discussion as well as document the progress for myself and others.

I was looking for a smaller trailer that my V6 Toyota pickup could tow and wouldn't be too obtrusive if I wanted to set it up in the driveway or street. I settled into looking for a Boles Aero for their simple yet solid construction. I knew how much I was going to be putting into it and didn't want to deal with a wood frame. An Airstream is out of my budget in addition to being too large for my project. I also like the ideal of working with a trailer that has less cultural presence.

I'm a photographer/designer/artist with a background studying landscape architecture and landscape/space/environment is the primary influence in my work. The intent in building out this trailer is to create a mobile studio. Like a writer's retreat, but on wheels, I intend to use the presence of the environment to produce work - rather than being immersed in internet, phones, friends, fun diversions, other projects, etc. I'm aiming to create an interior space that I can program for the specific project at hand.

Rather than seeing the traveling, camping, "getting away from it all" as escapism - I think there is something essential that those moments provide and wish to bring that into the production of my work.

I'll make some "ex-post facto" posts to keep this thread complete and bring it up to speed.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:37 PM   #2
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I picked up the trailer in Hemet, CA. It was listed as a 'utility trailer' on craigslist - originally for $600. That price went up and I eventually picked it up 5 months later when I finally had a chance to check it out.

I had an assignment in the Grand Canyon and drove 7 hours over to Hemet, CA to check it out. Luckily it was worth it and the registration process went pretty smooth in CA and thus the plates are from there. Fortunately, I have a good friend in LA who let me park it outside her place for a week while I rigged up some lights and repacked the bearings


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Old 10-26-2010, 07:44 PM   #3
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trailer brakes

I repacked the bearings before hauling back. While doing so I encountered the trailer's brake system which was non-functioning. I think there was a hydraulic actuator on the tongue that operated these. Right now I'm running it without brakes as it is light enough not to worry.

If anyone has any thoughts on getting these brakes up to speed, let me know.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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What a great find. Keep us all informed as you refurbish this classic. (But I can't imagine someone using it as a utility trailer! How sad!)
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #5
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Nice trailer.
Does it have a torsion axle? I would replace the axle, spindles, brakes, hubs completely. You can do this for around $500 from Dexter.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:42 PM   #6
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Don't think they had torsion axles until around 1960...
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:20 AM   #7
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Those are electric brakes. One wire to ground on tow vehicle through the plug and one to the brake wire. These were designed for six volt and will react violently to modern 12v brake controlers so you have to dial your gain way down or put a resistor in-line. This old style electric brake system is simple and works well. Just run new wires and they should work. No reason to replace the axle if it's mechanically sound.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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After looking at the pics again I'm wondering if someone may have changed out the original axle since you mentioned a hydraulic actuator up front and these are obviously electric. Maybe it's just the camera angle, but where are the springs?
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:18 PM   #9
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It is a torsion axle. I'm not very familiar with it. I do have the sense that it is not the original axle. It does have 16" wheels and I believe they should 15" or maybe even smaller. Should I rebuild the torsion system or just pump some more grease in there?

I believe the brake are electric, but there was a hydraulic line running up the frame to the tongue.

Below is a picture of the "Sure Stop" 7 pin circuit box and the torsion axle. All the various wires and lines were mangled and disconnected when I purchased it, so I'm don't have much to go on as to what should work.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:04 PM   #10
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Mr Aage, your are really close with the torsion axle comment! My father held the (US) patent on it (it was in the 50's). He also held a patent on a "contraption" axle. It had a coil spring wrapped around the actual axle and the hub was on an arm about a foot long, which gave it suspension travel. One end of the coil spring was attached to the hub arm and one end was attached to a stationery bracket. You would have to see it to believe it. He made a few boat trailers using it They had a telescoping tongue the extended so you could get he trailer into the water and not get your car wet! They flopped! The torsion axle lasted a little longer!
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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That is basically the same brakes on my 48 Spartanette,they work just fine from 12 volt,I pulled it from Florida to Ohio with no problems.Good luck with your project. Dave
On the spring on the axle,I did have a utility with type of suspension. Worked great.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:50 PM   #12
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In regards to the axle and brakes. Why would you try to use the old stuff. Just to get it home, you can maybe take a chance. When it does break, and it will if you tow it. Your stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way to get any parts. I think $500 is dirt cheap and it's all new, with no headaches. The only thing between the trailer and the road is those two wheels. I think a new axle, brakes, wheels, and tires is cheap insurance.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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I don't know anything about Boles Aero but I suspect from the photos and your description that neither the axles nor the brakes are original to the trailer. I would guess they are mid-1960s replacements.

And I would think you would be better off replacing the axle system entirely, based on the sag.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:27 PM   #14
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Any perceived sag is classic Toyota truck rear spring sag that will be taken care of in due time with some new rear springs.

I wanted to update the thread as I've done a lot of work in the past two weeks. Prior to the start of this thread, I have been through these steps:

-removing the old floor (it was incorrectly attached to the frame)
-pressure washing both inside and outside
-cleaned and painted the frame with POR-15
-replace two broken windows
-install new door handle
-clean/reassemble clearance lights
-install license plate holder and light
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:41 PM   #15
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For what it's worth, my 1948 14' Boles Aero also had a torsion axle when I got it. I thought it was original to the trailer. On looking back, it was badly in need of replacement. Very rough ride, no spring at all left.
The 14 footer is a great size ..... room for a full double bed in back.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:35 PM   #16
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I suppose I'll add an axle to the list. It is a rough ride from what I can tell. It sounds like leaf springs are more desirable. Is there a recommended way of doing that and keeping or lowering my ride height. There are 16" rims on there so it is a little higher than it could be.

I'm not really interested in getting new wheels and rims though. Also, what is likely to fail on the axle outside of bearings/hubs? They looked fine.
------

My inquiry here is about the seals on my window. I have an older window setup which I believe are the Air-O-Lite windows. I picked up some gasket material from VTS but the way they are all setup now is different from what they supply.

The windows are secured with 1/8" glazing and then there gasket material on the L,R, and top of the window frame on the body. Keeping it this way would be a much cleaner setup.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to find a replacement seal? I have searched Vintage Camper, VTS and McMaster-Carr many many times over with no luck. McMaster-Carr comes very close but they're smallest gasket is too big and would pose problems.



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Old 05-13-2011, 11:02 PM   #17
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Contraption Axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhilley View Post
Mr Aage, your are really close with the torsion axle comment! My father held the (US) patent on it (it was in the 50's). He also held a patent on a "contraption" axle. It had a coil spring wrapped around the actual axle and the hub was on an arm about a foot long, which gave it suspension travel. One end of the coil spring was attached to the hub arm and one end was attached to a stationery bracket. You would have to see it to believe it. He made a few boat trailers using it They had a telescoping tongue the extended so you could get he trailer into the water and not get your car wet! They flopped! The torsion axle lasted a little longer!
I have a 1946 Curtis Wright model-2 that has the coil spring wrapped around the axle. I had no idea what it was called or that it was an original part. I have a farmer friend and he told me that old farm trailers had the same kind of suspension. It's nice to see the all aluminum inner parts on the Boles Aero. The Curtis Wright has all wood inner framing and is a nightmare to work on
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:10 PM   #18
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Wheel size

The 46 Curtis model 2 has 16' wheels with tires that look like they were for military jeeps I think the large tire gave the trailer ground clearance and still kept it low at the door so a step wasn't necessary. I'm just guessing about the step.How is the restoration project going?

[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgordon View Post
I suppose I'll add an axle to the list. It is a rough ride from what I can tell. It sounds like leaf springs are more desirable. Is there a recommended way of doing that and keeping or lowering my ride height. There are 16" rims on there so it is a little higher than it could be.

I'm not really interested in getting new wheels and rims though. Also, what is likely to fail on the axle outside of bearings/hubs? They looked fine.
------

A modern rubber torsion axle would be the way to go in my opinion, as they are very light & simple, compared to leaf spring set ups. The ride from a torsion axle is also far superior to leaf springs as well. The ride height & load rating can be designed into the axle to suit your trailer & it's intended use. Mounting plates would need to be added to your chassis to support the axle, but this is not difficult. A new axle will give you a lot of "piece of mind" while travelling & parts will be readily available.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:55 AM   #20
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ride height????

Is there a formula that will help figure out the proper ride height from a worn out sagging suspension on a 60 year old trailer These old canned ham types need so much work that a new axle is the only way to start the project.
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