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Old 01-07-2004, 08:41 AM   #1
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lookin for diagram/drawin on floor/axle


i have a 1963 safari 22'.....

im trying to find some images or drawings on how the axle and frame are connected.....

im doing what people keep saying i cant do and that is putting an airbag suspension system on the trailer.....going to have the trailer lower for wheelchair access...

any help would be great


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Old 01-07-2004, 09:54 AM   #2
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How about this and this. It's not so much that it can't be done but finding areas of the frame that can be reinforced to take the loads. Link suspensions need a lot more area under the trailer than the 2 plates that are used on the torsion axle. The current axle ties the frame rails together and all side loads will be distributed, a panhard rod is going to transfer all side loads to one rail. The links that locate the axle front to rear also have to transfer braking energy. Depending on where you can find an upper attachment point for the air bags you might also need a new axle. They are not jack points, so loading it anywhere but very close to the current mount might cause trouble.

One other thing to look at is how much you will actually be able to lower the trailer. There is very little space between the frame and axle. That is what it can drop. If you change to a drop axle, how much space between the tire and wheel well? Also look at the low rider sites, that will give you an idea of what you will need to do.


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Old 01-07-2004, 12:40 PM   #3
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How about raising the floor? Say a ramp or something? Sounds like that would be a lot easier.
Elliott B
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Old 01-07-2004, 12:51 PM   #4
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Since a 63 model would normally have some floor rot just inside the door, you could install a chair lift outside of the frame rail and have a section of the floor drop with the lift.

It would involve cutting the bottom of the door frame out and then engineering a way to have the lift or the installed frame from the lift act as the structure and weather seal under the door when up. If the landing zone for the wheel chair was not large enough you could have a slide out extension or flip over extension that would be part of the floor when the lift is up.

The lift arm or ram then could be affixed to the frame of the trailer and would be inside and out of sight. To the normal eye it would look unmodified.

Just my brain wandering off, now I have to go find it.

One thing I do have to ask. Have you measured the door opening to be sure a wheelchair will fit through?
Brett G
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 01-07-2004, 07:04 PM   #5
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A 1963 trailer used mild steel "C" channel for the frame.

I would be very careful in attemting to attach anything to that type frame.

With side loads, that type channel will deform very easily, as there is nothing built in to stop any frame twisting.

Regardless of those facts, you will not be able to lower the trailer more than 3 or 4 inches.

I would suggest enlarging the door, and adding a ramp.

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Old 01-08-2004, 06:37 AM   #6
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I think Brett might be on to something. I thought you had said in an earlier post that your chair would fit through the door. If so is there enough space between the frame and inner skin for your chair? If there is enlarge the step well back to the frame and make this your lift. You could make false end panels on the cabinets to hide the cylinders. The outside step would have to go. Weight wouldn't be much of a problem, tie into the frame and closest outriggers.

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Old 01-09-2004, 08:39 AM   #7
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thanks for the feedback.....ill keep researching....
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Old 01-09-2004, 09:48 AM   #8
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Is it a Leaf spring or a Torsen arm suspension?

It could be done and maintain a relativly stock ride hight for traveling.
Our 59 is leaf spring and it would be VERY easy to do what you ask with it. The frame, Like Andy pointed out , is the issue. It will have to be reinforced to handle a new mounting configuration.

If it were mine I would go to a 3 link control arm configuration. You would have two main links that locate for and aft and a pan hard bar to locate side to side. Use a drop axle so that the tires will already be offset 3 inches off the centerling of the axle.
If you made the main links about 20 inches long and located a set of 2800lb air bags mid way down that lenght to create a cantelever design you should be able to vary the ride hight by about 10 inches with the amount of air pressure you use.

The trick is going to be build a subframe or reinforcing the existing frame to hold the new suspension and not stress the existing frame. One the frame is beefed up the rest would actually be easy.

Ohhh here is nearly exactly what I am talking about.

That is a 4 link. THe top two links work together to control the side to side axle placement. It's a better design but more involved and for a camper were your not worried about pinion angles it's not needed. That truck factory used a single Panhard/track bar.

The thing I want to to look at is how the air bags are mounted mid way down the lower control arms. This allows for a lot of trave at the axle with minimal travel at the bag. That style bag with 50 psi would have no trouble handling the weight or your 63 and maintaining a stock ride hight. at zero PSI it would let you lower at least 5 inches.

Here is a drop axle.

Ran across this looking for a piture of a drop axle.

Not enough travel for what your doing put intersting set up. Put the bag on the other side of the axle and double your travel.

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1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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