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Old 07-13-2012, 04:27 PM   #1
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new axle on 14' Boles Aero

I've had axle questions peppered throughout my build thread (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f417...ero-70994.html) over the past year or more, but I think it would helpful to bring that under one thread. This is on a 1948 14' Boles Aero.

The trailer came with a non-original torsion axle and older electric brakes. Best guess is that it was from the 60s. There is very little life left in the suspension and so a new axle would bring better suspension and peace of mind. Now that I've rebuilt a most of the trailer, I don't want to take risks on the structural issues.

The axle that sits on their now looks like it rests at 10 degrees up. With the wheels off and no weight on it, it looks about level with the frame.

I have 16" wheels and 225/75R16 tires on it. Taking the tires off is a bit of a challenge as the Boles does not have an open wheel well. The frame rests about 16-1/2" off the ground.

I weighed it earlier this week and with a moderate load it weighed in at 2380. I could see adding a few hundred pounds at most. I can also see trimming it down slightly.

I spoke with a Dexter distributor a couple of times and just put in an order for a new 3500# Torflex axle with brakes and 22.5 down starting angle. I was originally thinking about 10 degree down, but I have heard that 22.5 down gives a better ride. Does anyone have opinions on the torsion start angle? It should add about 3" to the ride height. 10 degrees down would add about 2" so it is not a big difference. I do like the ride height where it is now. The 16" wheels contribute to that.

I have thought about going down to 15" wheels but I have heard the tire choices are better at 16". I am going with a 6 on 5.5" bolt pattern so I can use the existing wheels. 15" wheels would keep the ride height at a more desirable level and look more appropriate on the trailer, but that is a secondary concern to safety/function. Any thoughts on wheel/tire size?.

Lastly on the axle specs, I was interested in down-rating the 3500# axle to 3000# as I don't ever anticipate ever going over 3000# on the trailer. And while towing 10% or so of that weight would be taken up by the hitch. The rep kept telling me it was the same cost so I might as well go with the 3500#. I'm interested in the best ride/efficiency of the axles. She stated that the 3500# axle functions fully down to about 2200#. Any thoughts on down rating with the weights I have?

The previous axle is welded on all four sides of its mounting plate. I'm assuming its going to be a pain to get off. I had originally thought that I would get the new axle welded on, but it sounds like welding the axle once the rubber rods are installed is a bad ideal. Is bolt-on installation the (only) way to go?

Thanks for the all the advice. This should really help out with some peace of mind while towing. I took it home from California to Texas on the original axle after checking and re-greasing the hubs and disconnecting the brakes - it was an empty box at that point. I've since hauled it up to Colorado. It has worked fine, but I can tell the suspension is a bit stiff. Just using the brakes of the TV has worked well too, but the new brakes should increase the safety margin. Just need to look into a brake controller, etc. now.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
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I think a 3500# axle is too much for your trailer. 3000# is more in the ball park. Your comment about the tongue weight is correct.
If you were putting the axle on a utility trailer it may be appropriate to up the weight rating.
I would recommend you contact Colin Hyde and get his opinion. He is very knowledgeable in this area.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:45 AM   #3
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In my experience with Dexter axles the mounting brackets are welded to the axle before the rubber rods are installed. You get to configure the position the mounting brackets are attached to the axle to fit your frame. Then the mounting bracket can be welded to the frame or it can be bolted on, probably with the use of a mounting plate that is welded to your frame.

My opinions based on my '48 14' Boles, '49 12' Boles, my '52 14' Boles, and '61 22' Safari:

I like the 22.5 degree down angle. Your tires will be much easier to remove with a
new axle with 22.5 down angle.
I have found "bullet proof" LT tires in both 15" and 16" sizes for my trailers.
I bought a 3500# Dexter for my Safari with a "dry weight" of about 2800#. I thought
a 700 # margin for food, water, propane, etc. would be more than adequate. I was
wrong. My completely loaded weight was about 3780. I bought and installed a
4500# Dexter and am now happy with the ride. Drawers and rivets all stay put.
I do not think a 3500# axle would be too much for a 14' Boles. A '48 Boles is not
constructed the same as an Airstream.

My opinions are just that, opinions.

Sam
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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I like the 22 degree downward angle on the arms and it doesn't hurt to go as far as 0 degrees. You can go at an upward angle but it isn't recommended.
As far as weight is concerned, don't down rate it. Some folks think that you need to have a rubber torsion axle rated at what you are going to carry on it. I like to have a margin of safety in my axles. Besides, rubber torsion axles start riding good once you get them at about 50% of the rated weight. That doesn't mean that they ride the best there, but they ride decent. You will probably put more weight in the trailer than you think. Just make sure that your frame is up to the task.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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The frame should be good. It is 3" structural channel.

The axle came in today and I am heading to pick it up.

3500# Dexter Tor-Flex axle / 22 down / 6 on 5.5. / electric brakes.

I just need to figure out the mounting. The previous axle is welded on so will be a pain to take off. If I can bolt the new one on then I should be able to install it. I was give a rough quote of $250-300 to put the new one on - with the shop removing the old axle.

Below is a picture of the current axle and mount.

How does one dispose of the old axle? Steel scrapyard?

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Old 07-25-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
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Looks like a right angle grinder will remove the welds to the frame.

If you would like, I have some photos that I could email to you of mounting plates I built for a Dexter axle that either bolts or welds to the outer side of your frame.

I took my old axle to a salvage yard and was paid $18 for my old axle.
Sam
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:42 AM   #7
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I picked up the Dexter mounting plate.

We had to cut through the old axle to get access to the welds. There was a full weld on the wheel side and interior side of the frame. There were no other marks on the axle and I'm inclined to believe that was the original axle.

The frame was cleaned up for the new axle. We mounted the brackets to the axle and raised it into place, checking a couple points to make sure it was aligned.

The new axle mounting plates sit flush on the inside edge but have a slight gap (1/8") on the outside (wheel side) edge . I guess the frame could be slightly bent. The scissor jacks on the rear of the frame seem to toe out just a bit - but I'm not sure that's the case.

When I put the wheel on and lowered the frame the gap seemed to close a little. This is after we tack welded it with 110V. I am going to take it to a shop in the next day or two to get a full weld.

Any thoughts on the gap? The new Dexter axle is cambered and I was told that it will flex as it takes on weight. I'm wondering if I should just reinforce the welds as they are does there need to be a little more wiggle room between the axle and its mounting plates to account for that flex. Where is the flex of the axle taken up in relation to the frame?

M2HB suggested (from my understanding) that the welds be along the front and rear of the plate. Part of that thinking was if I welded the axle straight to the frame sans mounting plate. The other part of the thinking was to account for flex.

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Old 07-27-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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Hi, I think I would clamp the frame to the axle mounting brackets [close the gap] before welding it together.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
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That would be my thinking. It would, of course, open up a gap between the axle and the mounting plate.

Going to check with a shop.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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I'm not sure of what is going on with the frame and mounting plate. It looks tight on the outside, except when you get to the end. I like welding my mounts on with 7018 rod. You certainly want enough to hold it and you weld the ends and around the ends, but I leave the center unwelded to allow for flex of the axle. The manufacturer should have instructions (sometimes on the internet) where they want the bracket welded to allow for that flex.
The way that they have the angle iron bolted to the axle mount (on the side) may be their design allowning for the flex that is required. Check with their instructions.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:04 PM   #11
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Check out installation instructions.

Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - Torflex Axles
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #12
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Thanks. I normally look in that direction.

The install instructions leaned toward a top mount bolt-in install as I have structural channel. However, there isn't a ton of room to put in a large bolt. I submitted and Dexter fabricated the correct outside frame length, but it seems that it would've been better to overshoot that number so the bracket on the axle would sit center on the frame (picture below).

Some of that gap is probably the result of that alignment. The install manual didn't specify where welds should be to allow for flex. It did mention to reinforce structural channel with a vertical piece of steel.

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Old 07-29-2012, 04:05 PM   #13
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I would put more weld than you show in the picture. Maybe across the end and one inch on each side. I vertical reinforcing piece would be easy to make using a piece of 1-1/2" x 1/4" strap.
I think that since the factory put an angle iron piece on the actual mount to the axle, it will allow for flex. The larger axles don't come with that angle iron and the mount that is welded to the axle tube also gets welded to the frame, near the ends.
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
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The welds in place are 110v welds and are temporary. The plan is to go into a shop and get full welds and the reinforcing plate.

The mount did not come with the axle but is made by Dexter to compliment the axle. It's just another option for install. I thought bolt-on would be nice as it was a big pain to get off the old axle and could save some work (way) down the road.
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