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Old 09-16-2003, 07:26 PM   #1
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1977 23' Safari
1976 31' Sovereign
Robbins , California
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Are our axles undersized ?

As someone with axles that need to be replaced I have been wondering if maybe our axles are a bit undersized. I am going to have to replace them and know that they could be specified heavier but how much is to much? I am wondering if in a case such as my own where my axles are rated at 2600# apiece and I usually am right at the limit or exceed my axle gross weight, if maybe a upgrade of 500# to 1000# per axle would help the long term reliability of the axles.
I do not know if the 2600# rating is max weight or average working rate. With a rate increase there would be a difference in the ride of the trailer but is it a small or a large difference. I am talking maybe a 30 to 35% increase in axle rate.
As I was thinking about the way a Henschen axle works if it was a bit oversized the rubber rods would not have to be so compressed to support the given weight and would the be more compliant to road imperfections.
Maybe I am all wet here but I would like to here what others have to say on this and offer differing opinions.

Mike B
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:04 AM   #2
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Mike.

There is an upper limit on the axle rating that you can use on your trailer.

The original axles had a rating of 2600 pounds each. You can increase them to 3000 or 3200 pounds each, if you wish.

Increasing them to 3500 pounds is not recommended, UNLESS, you travel heavily loaded "ALL" the time. Should you have 3500 pound axles installed, and travel lightly, the ride will be very rough and could cause internal damage.

Andy
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:59 PM   #3
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Robbins , California
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undersized axles

Thank you for your reply Andy,

We use the trailer almost always dry camping so we do run with the water tank full . We have not carried alot off stuff in the trailer usually because I have always been at the gross limit and have tried to keep as much stuff in the truck as possible . When we have a full load in the truck ( 2 dirt bikes , 1 quad , generator fuel and tools) it does not leave us much room for anything else so an axle upgrade would allow us to carry more stuff in the trailer.

I have been concerned about the axle being to light and having it bottom out due to the extra weight. This is why I have been real worried about getting the right axles for our application . When we go out to the desert or up in the woods the rural roads getting there are not in the best of shape so the bottoming has been a real concern. Some might think we are trying to put ten pounds of stuff in a five pound container but the trailer has been the perfect size for us because it allows us to get into almost anywhere we want to go. A bigger trailer would just not fit or would drag going in some of the areas we go. We do not abuse the trailer but we do use it. Anything I can do to help take care of it is my concern. I bet most SOBs would not hold up long doing this!

Andy, after hearing what our needs are do you think the 3500#s would be to much?

As a thought does anyone know if Wally made any changes to the trailers he used on the Caravans to help them hold up better for the long ,rough trips like Africa?

Thanks again
Mike B
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:20 PM   #4
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One thing you could try is to put some tape on the axle upstops and go on your usual trip. Check the tape after, if it does not get damaged the axles are not bottoming out.
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:49 AM   #5
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Mike.

3500 pound axles in your case would be too much, unless, you travel heavily loaded, "ALL THE TIME."

If you do not, then 3200 pound axles will work well.

Increasing capacity, in your case from 5200 pounds to 7000 pounds, is a little more than a 34 percent increase. Normally, a 10 to perhaps 15 percent increase is adequate.

But again, if you install 3500 pound axles, and are lightly loaded, you will punish the frame and shell.

Andy

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Old 09-19-2003, 07:21 AM   #6
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Axles

Thanks Andy,

I will go with the 3000# or 3200# then . I will spend some time this weekend and try to get an idea of just how much the extra stuff we typically take with us weighs.

Thanks again
Mike B
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