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Old 03-23-2020, 11:07 AM   #1
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1977 23' Safari
Carberry , Manitoba
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Axle advice or opinions please

I finally got around to checking the condition of the dual axles on my 77 Safari 23'. It doesn't get a tremendous amount of use, never over a thousand km in a season, usually half that. It never seemed to tow particularly rough as I never really had trouble with cupboards emptying themselves or things flying about, as long as the roads were reasonable.
So today I took some measurements on how much the wheels settled when lifted. I measured distance from wheel well to centre of hub while level and on the ground and again after jacking each side until the tires were free and wheels could spin. The differences on the road side were both 1 1/2" front and rear, the differences curb side were 1 5/8" front and 1 3/4" rear.
I know from previous threads that wheel drop should be about 2 1/4"
So, the question is... what does it mean? I am going to repack the bearings and I am considering changing my brake controller from a vacuum control to an electronic control for the disc brakes. However, if the consensus is that the axles must or should be replaced, I will save my time and effort and just order complete wheel/axles.
Looking forward to hearing from the forum, its been awhile since I undertook any work of significance on the old silver bullet.
Lorry
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:22 AM   #2
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Welcome Aboard...👍

Lorry,

Do you have a photo showing the wheelhouse with the trailer level at rest?

Bob
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Before we replaced....
This is what our Safari looked like. Notice how much of the tire is covered...not good.
It wasn't so much how far the axle moved when lifted, it was how much it compressed under full weight.

Sweet Streams...
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:59 AM   #3
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1977 23' Safari
Carberry , Manitoba
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not a great pic, I will take one today and post it.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:52 PM   #4
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1977 23' Safari
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Better picture of wheels and wheel well
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:11 PM   #5
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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2003 25' Classic
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Well...the stance doesn't look bad at all. Are there any tags on them?
But in reality, if they are 43yrs old...I would replace.

Bob
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:18 AM   #6
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Another measurement of axle performance is how the arms appear when under load. If negative, they are done. If horizontal under full load, they might be Ok.

From the picture, the axles do appear normal, but if this is near empty weight, I'd load to max weight and see what things look like.

Simply due to age though, am with Bob where my vote is replace. Especially if they are likely original.

For replacements, get with a Dexter dealer / reseller. I am in the middle of replacing mine and the shop doing the work is reporting that they need to cut-off the brackets from the old axles and weld them to the new Dexters. So take that into account in case it applies to your trailer as well.

With the 6 lug wheels, might consider 16" wheels when it is time to replace the tires. Search on pro's / con's. Am deliberately not going to elaborate as discussion of tires is fighting terms to some. Not sure why, but it is.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:34 AM   #7
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1994 30' Excella
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Originally Posted by cp1977 View Post
? I am going to repack the bearings and I am considering changing my brake controller from a vacuum control to an electronic control for the disc brakes. However, if the consensus is that the axles must or should be replaced, I will save my time and effort and just order complete wheel/axles.
Lorry

Are you still using the old vacuum brake system?
This would be a great time to swap over to electric drum or electric/hydraulic disk brakes. It doesn't sound like you take your trailer a great distance so you could save a few bucks and order new axles complete with electric drum brakes. If you think your going to travel a lot more in the future spend the money now for disk brakes - that is if your putting on new axles.
I have changed out several axles and my hunch is that the axles are shot. Your measurements seem to confirm this.

Consider jacking up the trailer and getting the weight off the axles if it is going to sit idle for more than a month or two.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:45 AM   #8
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1988 29' Excella
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I’m on my 2nd 29’ 1988 Excella. I’ve put new axles on both of them. Both rules of thumb on when to replace axles have been mentioned here. 1. Over 30 years old. 2. Axle arm at an up angle rather than a down angle with the trailer’s weight on it.

I did both myself. If you and the person you are buying the axle from are careful in the measurements it’s not a hard job at all. The hardest things are breaking the old bolts loose (use lots of penetrant, a long cheater and be patient) and working around the belly pans if they overlap the axle mounts.

On the other hand, if the fit is not perfect there is very little wiggle room and you’ll be looking for a good machine shop/welder. Remind the welder that no heat should be applied to the axle itself. Only weld to the mounts.

The absolute critical dimension is outside to outside on the mounts. Really need to be within a sixteenth but you may be able to make an eighth work. The second dimension they tend to miss is the bolt spacing. Both of mine I was able to enlarge one hole on each axle to the proper dimension.

If I buy again there are only two places I will consider buying from. Period. And neither is close to home. But they can ship them to a place where I can sort out the details. The axles do need to ship to a commercial place with a forklift.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:26 PM   #9
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Axle advice or opinions please

I agree with crispyboy. Replace the axles.

I recommend Colin Hyde.



Dan
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:30 AM   #10
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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2003 25' Classic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post

Consider jacking up the trailer and getting the weight off the axles if it is going to sit idle for more than a month or two.
^
X2

Especially important for our Classic, equipped with 2 3500lb axles with a 7300lb GVWR. We have never loaded under the GVWR, axle load usually around 7600lb loaded with WD set.

Two 4200lb axles on the way.

Bob
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