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Old 02-08-2012, 10:31 AM   #1
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Question Original Axle Rating for ‘59 Pacer - Oversized?

OK I hate starting new threads in a topic as "covered" as axles, but searching is failing me....

I have a '59 Pacer 18 foot length. It's weight was stated as 2060#. My finished project weight will likely be on the order of 2500# (once you factor in average carrying weight of water, batteries, LP tanks, etc.)

I have what appears to be an entirely original reverse drop axle, mounted on top of the springs. The leafs are 26" long, not 36" or whatever appears to be more common. There is no evidence of any previous spring mounts welded to the frame at a longer length. The brakes are 12"x2". The bolt pattern on the seemingly original spindle matches the 12" brakes with the offset 5 bolt "house"-shaped configuration. The wheels are 15" on hubs with 6 bolt on 5.5 spacing.

MY QUESTION: Is this truly original? It seems to match up with a 6k axle if I just bought a replacement in kind? Isn't this complete overkill for a 2000# trailer? If I replaced, should I reduce this in order to minimize unsprung weight? Was this done in order to obtain the matching 12" brakes?

And the follow-up... How do I determine the rating on my springs, since my understanding is that is all that matters ? There are 5 leafs, double eye configuration, but I can't figure out what that translates to in 1959....

(and I don't want to get into the Torsion v. Leafs argument here, I understand all the pros and cons and haven't made up my mind, just trying to do research on the Leaf springs option)
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
OK I hate starting new threads in a topic as "covered" as axles, but searching is failing me....

I have a '59 Pacer 18 foot length. It's weight was stated as 2060#. My finished project weight will likely be on the order of 2500# (once you factor in average carrying weight of water, batteries, LP tanks, etc.)

I have what appears to be an entirely original reverse drop axle, mounted on top of the springs. The leafs are 26" long, not 36" or whatever appears to be more common. There is no evidence of any previous spring mounts welded to the frame at a longer length. The brakes are 12"x2". The bolt pattern on the seemingly original spindle matches the 12" brakes with the offset 5 bolt "house"-shaped configuration. The wheels are 15" on hubs with 6 bolt on 5.5 spacing.

MY QUESTION: Is this truly original? It seems to match up with a 6k axle if I just bought a replacement in kind? Isn't this complete overkill for a 2000# trailer? If I replaced, should I reduce this in order to minimize unsprung weight? Was this done in order to obtain the matching 12" brakes?

And the follow-up... How do I determine the rating on my springs, since my understanding is that is all that matters ? There are 5 leafs, double eye configuration, but I can't figure out what that translates to in 1959....

(and I don't want to get into the Torsion v. Leafs argument here, I understand all the pros and cons and haven't made up my mind, just trying to do research on the Leaf springs option)
A 6000 pound axle, of any kind, would beat the devil out of the trailer.

If you decide to go the torsion route, then a maximum of 3000 to 3200 would be it.

Or, if you stay with the leafs, then the same ratings would be OK.

Andy
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:48 PM   #3
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Ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
OK I hate starting new threads in a topic as "covered" as axles, but searching is failing me....

I have a '59 Pacer 18 foot length. It's weight was stated as 2060#. My finished project weight will likely be on the order of 2500# (once you factor in average carrying weight of water, batteries, LP tanks, etc.)

I have what appears to be an entirely original reverse drop axle, mounted on top of the springs. The leafs are 26" long, not 36" or whatever appears to be more common. There is no evidence of any previous spring mounts welded to the frame at a longer length. The brakes are 12"x2". The bolt pattern on the seemingly original spindle matches the 12" brakes with the offset 5 bolt "house"-shaped configuration. The wheels are 15" on hubs with 6 bolt on 5.5 spacing.

MY QUESTION: Is this truly original? It seems to match up with a 6k axle if I just bought a replacement in kind? Isn't this complete overkill for a 2000# trailer? If I replaced, should I reduce this in order to minimize unsprung weight? Was this done in order to obtain the matching 12" brakes?

And the follow-up... How do I determine the rating on my springs, since my understanding is that is all that matters ? There are 5 leafs, double eye configuration, but I can't figure out what that translates to in 1959....

(and I don't want to get into the Torsion v. Leafs argument here, I understand all the pros and cons and haven't made up my mind, just trying to do research on the Leaf springs option)
Peter,
am sure glad you are asking these questions so I won't have to! Just following your lead here.
Sandy
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:19 PM   #4
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I used this calculator to estimate the spring rate on my '59 Tradewind. It's certainly as accurate as you need for your work.
All you need is the number of leaves, the thickness, length and width. It doesn't tell you what springs to use, but if you double the spring rate (for two sides) and set the deflection where you want it (1.5 to 2.0 inches is what I used), it will get you real close.

Obviously if you calculate the deflection based on your sprung weight and find it is less than an inch, you will be pretty "stiff". If it's more than 2 inches it will be pretty soft and may hit the stops if you go over a jump.

Can't tell you more than that. I added a leaf to the original spring pack on my '59 to increase the weight capacity on our Tradewind and it worked out good. I used a 5200# Dexter drop axle in the same format as original, except I moved the shocks inside the frame to clear the radial tires.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ND10CentCan

Peter,
am sure glad you are asking these questions so I won't have to! Just following your lead here.
Sandy
Actually Sandy, once you work out all the title stuff it would be neat if you could check the length of the springs because that is the one aspect of my model which seems to differ from all others I've seen of the same era.

Also it would eventually be interesting to see what size brakes and stuff you have, but I'm sure I'll have my axle worked out before then, and it would be informational for historic purposes only.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I used this calculator to estimate the spring rate on my '59 Tradewind. It's certainly as accurate as you need for your work.
All you need is the number of leaves, the thickness, length and width. It doesn't tell you what springs to use, but if you double the spring rate (for two sides) and set the deflection where you want it (1.5 to 2.0 inches is what I used), it will get you real close.

Obviously if you calculate the deflection based on your sprung weight and find it is less than an inch, you will be pretty "stiff". If it's more than 2 inches it will be pretty soft and may hit the stops if you go over a jump.

Can't tell you more than that. I added a leaf to the original spring pack on my '59 to increase the weight capacity on our Tradewind and it worked out good. I used a 5200# Dexter drop axle in the same format as original, except I moved the shocks inside the frame to clear the radial tires.
Oh awesome, I'll crawl under the trailer for the thickness measurement ASAP.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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I think there's two issues here...
1) What's the "weight" rating of the drop axle itself... not the rating of the springs. I'm pretty sure AS sometimes just "used what they had" when making these trailers.. .which means it's probably the same drop axle as the tandems used of the era. It sure looks original in the pics you posted in your thread. It wouldn't matter if it was a 20K pound rating... it's just the maximal rating that horizontal piece of steel and the hubs could support. It wouldn't affect the ride.

2) However, the rate of the leaf springs WOULD effect the ride quality. I suspect the leafs are properly rated for your trailer.. the only way to know would be to take the springs to a spring rehab place and have them look.

So... if you keep the springs, just get an axle that matches 1) At least the GVCR of the trailer... (probably at least 3500#) with the bolt (wheel) pattern you want, with the brakes you want. You can go up in rating (with the original leafs or leaves?) of the axle without ruining your ride. Don't go TOO overboard, as that's just dead weight you have to haul around.

Hope that helps!
Marc
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #8
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A 6000 pound axle, of any kind, would beat the devil out of the trailer.

If you decide to go the torsion route, then a maximum of 3000 to 3200 would be it.

Or, if you stay with the leafs, then the same ratings would be OK.

Andy
CORRECTION

The rating of a non torsion axle can be as high as you want it to be.

The key to the smooth or rough ride as the case may be, is the rating of the leaf springs.

Torsion axles are an entirely different story.

Andy
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:13 PM   #9
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With some limits .... in leaf springs you can have any rating you want. Add or remove leaves to change the weight rating. And like stated above (for longer axle life) do not exceed the weight rating of the axle.

So in therory you could have a 6000 # rated axle with 3000 # rated leaf springs and the load should not exceed the lowest rated component. IN this example the 3000 # spring load.

Changing axle design ...... this is expanding your work of this single project exponentially.

Good luck!

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
CORRECTION

The rating of a non torsion axle can be as high as you want it to be.

The key to the smooth or rough ride as the case may be, is the rating of the leaf springs.

Torsion axles are an entirely different story.

Andy
Thanks Andy. I thought you were contradicting something you said in another thread, but I figured you are one of the experts, so I must be crazy. Glad to see I'm not. Well at least not because of this. I mean, I'm still crazy of course.

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Originally Posted by Action View Post
Changing axle design ...... this is expanding your work of this single project exponentially.

Good luck!

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
My goal is to NOT change anything on the trailer running gear as long as it is all safe and sound. I do know that the previous owners actually used it a lot for camping, and it had minimal visible damage from vibration. So I know that what was originally installed had in fact worked pretty well. Thus, I hesitate to change anything. However, I still like understanding what I have, and finding what appears to be a 6k axle on tiny leaf springs seemed strange at first. I understand the design concept now.

As long as I can fit new backing plates into the existing drums, that's my planned course of action.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:47 PM   #11
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Thanks Andy. I thought you were contradicting something you said in another thread, but I figured you are one of the experts, so I must be crazy. Glad to see I'm not. Well at least not because of this. I mean, I'm still crazy of course.
We is charter members of that club, ain't we not???

Some days, you know, the clicks just don't mesh.

We is what we is, even if we is don't know it yet. Right.

Andy
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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I can use data!

Quote:
Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
Actually Sandy, once you work out all the title stuff it would be neat if you could check the length of the springs because that is the one aspect of my model which seems to differ from all others I've seen of the same era.

Also it would eventually be interesting to see what size brakes and stuff you have, but I'm sure I'll have my axle worked out before then, and it would be informational for historic purposes only.
Peter,
I will be using what you find out because I am guessing they are similar as most everything you have, we seem to have. Once it gets nicer out, we will be trying to figure out the steps to start on with this one. It is such a cute little trailer and I am anxious to get started on it. I hope within the next few weeks, I should have some answers in working on my other plan to get the title.

The measurement you are talking about is the length of the springs measured from front to back on the longest spring? I might be able to get that soon as we have no snow (unbelievable!!) if I can figure out what to measure where.
Sandy
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND10CentCan

Peter,
I will be using what you find out because I am guessing they are similar as most everything you have, we seem to have. Once it gets nicer out, we will be trying to figure out the steps to start on with this one. It is such a cute little trailer and I am anxious to get started on it. I hope within the next few weeks, I should have some answers in working on my other plan to get the title.

The measurement you are talking about is the length of the springs measured from front to back on the longest spring? I might be able to get that soon as we have no snow (unbelievable!!) if I can figure out what to measure where.
Sandy
Yes, from eye to eye on the springs. No need to try to measure the curve, just the end to end horizontal distance.

The more I've been looking at mine, the more I think they are 2000# standard rating each that have just been flattened significantly over time.
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:17 AM   #14
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Measurements done.

Alright, I spent 3 hours today taking measurements so that I wouldn't have to pull the wheel and hub and everything off for a fourth time in 3 weeks... I'm sharing them here in case anyone else finds them useful in the future.

Starting from the outside:

Tires - Carlisle 7.00x15LT, Range D, Max 2040#

Wheels - 6 on 5.5 spacing bolt pattern, "T15x6" stamped, measures ~6.5" from rim to rim, with zero offset, i.e. hub is at 3.25" from inside rim.

Hub/Drum - "KHPH", "8A-2092" stamped?, Assuming Kelsey-Hayes. Inside dimensions 12" diameter, 2 3/8" deep to armature. Armature measures 11" diameter. Spindle seal measures 3 1/2" OD, 1 7/8" ID. Outside ridge of drum measures 13 1/4".

Backing Plate - "KH 0308", Assuming Kelsey-Hayes. 5 unequal spacing bolt pattern, with 2" radius to bolts from center, 2 1/8" distance between bolts (except bottom two).

Spindle - 7 1/4" long from hub to tip of threads. 1 1/4" of threads, outer bearing 1" ID x 1" long, 2" long reducer/expander section, inner bearing 1 1/2" ID x 1" long, grease seal 1 7/8" ID, 2" length remaining to hub.

Axle - 3 1/4" clearance from brake plate to outside of frame. 4" reverse drop. 2 5/8" OD round tube axle. Spring center to spring center 55 5/8", brake plate to brake plate 64 3/8", (need to do calcs for hub to hub or pull off both tires to get accurate measurement).

Springs - longest spring 26 1/4" eye to eye, 5 leaves, 2" wide, 5/16" thickness, 6 1/2" max vertical distance between frame and top spring. Calculator indicates this is a 1485 lbf/in spring rate.

So, what am I going to do? Order some self-adjusting 12" backing plates from my favorite supplier in nearby Corona and hope they fit. Otherwise, I've got much more tiring (and costly) decisions to make about axles...
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