Originally Posted by Shawngrona
I guess my question should be more "does it sound like I need a new axle?" ...given than I've got a downward facing bow of a quarter to a half inch. I'd be happy to only replace the brakes with the loaded assembly if that's all it would take. But I want to err on the side of safety and maintain ability as we'll and am thinking a new round axle with the brake assembly included tied into the original leafs might be better. I'm a newbie though re running gear
There are several approaches to this dilemma, & I have tackled both. First of all, you can replace the original backing plate with modern versions, using your original drums. I did this on my 59 Ambassador International about 10 years ago.
I also checked into replacing the leaf springs as they were old & the shackle pins were worn. As the available leaf springs did not have the same center to center distance, I would have had to weld new hangers on to accomodate the new assemblies. I ended up replacing the bearings & seals in my original drums, installed new loaded backing plates, disassembling the leaf spring packs & painted them, replaced the U bolts & shackle pins.
This was a lot of work, & if I'd paid someone to do all of this work, it would have cost far more than just installing new torsion axles. Since I did that work, one of the 50+ year old leaf springs broke, & fortunately it happened near home & I had access to another used spring, otherwise I would have had to go though the whole process again, replacing the springs with a modern equivalent or had them custom made. I will never take this approach again.
The most cost effective approach is to install a modern torsion axle, built to suit your trailer & its intended use. You will end up with an axle assembly with superior suspension ability, much greater ground clearance than your old leaf spring assembly & parts availability at any Mom & Pop Auto Parts or RV shop.