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Old 01-13-2009, 11:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Flipping axles on toyhauler

I have a 26' tandem axle toyhauler and I am tired of replacing the stabalizer jacks that are on each corner. Just welded on a new one yesterday. I hit them on some of the uneven roads when we go out to the desert to go bike riding. My F350 has plenty of ground clearance, but I just dread going to some sweet camping spots because of the possible damage and expense.

I have what I believe are called underslung axles and they sit on top of the leaf springs. On the part of the axle that sits on top of the leaf springs, a "C" channel piece of steel is welded on facing front to back with a cutout matching the contour of the axle.

If it was a straight axle I can see that it is pretty straightforward, just put axle under leaf springs, bolt it all together again, make sure brakes still work, and adios! But with these underslung axles I just don't know.

How hard is it to do this? Is it even safe for a DIYer to do?


Thanks for any help
SV
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is there a way to make the stabilizer jacks swivel up out of the way while youre towing, and then be able to pin them in the "down" position when you're camped?
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Most campers I've seen have steel brackets that hang below the stabilizers when they are fully up. The brackets protect the jacks and trailer body from dragging. OR buy some scissor jacks at a junk yard and put them out when you get to your camp site.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by svlandscape View Post
I have a 26' tandem axle toyhauler and I am tired of replacing the stabalizer jacks that are on each corner. Just welded on a new one yesterday. I hit them on some of the uneven roads when we go out to the desert to go bike riding. My F350 has plenty of ground clearance, but I just dread going to some sweet camping spots because of the possible damage and expense.

I have what I believe are called underslung axles and they sit on top of the leaf springs. On the part of the axle that sits on top of the leaf springs, a "C" channel piece of steel is welded on facing front to back with a cutout matching the contour of the axle.

If it was a straight axle I can see that it is pretty straightforward, just put axle under leaf springs, bolt it all together again, make sure brakes still work, and adios! But with these underslung axles I just don't know.

How hard is it to do this? Is it even safe for a DIYer to do?


Thanks for any help
SV
Some trailer axles have a bend/bow in them to compensate for axle flex, some are stronger and don't have the bend. If yours have a bend, you can't flip them because the bend would be down instead of up. If they are straight you can flip them.

How hard is it to do, and is it safe for a DIY'er? Based on the mere fact that you are asking may indicate inexperience, so I would say "difficult, and "no"". I would really feel bad if I told you easy and yes, then read about you on the evening news getting squished by an RV!
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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On the part of the axle that sits on top of the leaf springs, a "C" channel piece of steel is welded on facing front to back with a cutout matching the contour of the axle.
No, any decent RV/trailer fab shop or supply has a variety of ready-made spring perches (the name for what you describe above) in stock. They're reasonably priced and will fit you axle diameter and spring pack width perfectly.
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How hard is it to do, and is it safe for a DIY'er?
I can't speak for your ability, but wasting the better part of my life away as a heavy truck mechanic, I did my own in less than a day. Here's the procedure on my '24 gooseneck Prowler travel trailer and maybe you can decide for yourself:
I jacked up the trailer plenty high enough to give me working room and put 4 jack stands in front of and behind the tandem axle assemblies. Then I removed tires/wheels, unbolted the U-bolts, cut the electric brake wires and unbolted one end of each spring main leaf. Then I rolled each axle out, (probably slid them on a sheet of plywood) out towards me from under the trailer. Then I arc welded each new spring perch on top of each axle directly over the underaxle old ones. After bolting the spring packs back up, I slid the axles back into position, and reinstalled everything and spliced in longer wire for my electric brakes. One important thing, we all say "flip" the axles but you DO NOT flip them over, most all of them have a built-in camber bend to them so you don't get abnormal tire wear. The up side of each axle stays up after they're are mounted under your spring assemblies. I did mine over 12 years ago before I ever pulled it, right after the seller delivered it to my place, due to a lack of proper bed rail to gooseneck subframe clearance with my Ford.
It's easy to determine how much of a lift you will get if you crawl underneath with a tape measure. It will be the width of your spring pack + spring perch. It's been so long ago I can't remember, but I think in my case I didn't even need to buy new U-bolts.
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I did my own on my 30' Damon 5er. One thing that I had to address was new shock mounts since the perch was now further away. New u-bolts and perches from a spring shop was about all it took. It can be done by an average ability DIYer but it might also be wise to see how much a spring shop would charge in comparison
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Right, I was just going to add that. If the OP has shocks, that has to taken into consideration. Monroe makes complete kits for trailers, don't know if they sell mounts separately.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As LMJD mentioned, you don't literally "flip" the axles. Instead you move the spring perches from under the axles to on top of the axles. Not only are almost all RV axles the kind that have a slight curve in them, the electric brakes wouldn't like being upside down. The amount of lift you get will be the outside diameter of the axle plus twice the depth thickness of the spring perch.

This will work only on trailers that have the normal suspension of leaf springs and shackles and perches. Mor-Ride and other fancy trailer suspensions are a different kettle of worms.

Another more risky way to raise the trailer an inch or two is to install longer shackles. But understand the physics of leverage before you do that. The longer shackles will probably also need to be beefier to handle the increased leverage, and then you may have trouble with frame strength.

And yes, if your trailer has shocks, that's an added complication you must deal with. But most smaller and medium-size RV trailers don't have shocks.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The reason they put underslung axles on toy haulers is to give it a low profile for the rear door (ramp) "steepness". Maybe you just have to add shocks on or replace the springs with heavyer ones,or just add a leaf . You can't believe how much RV's bounce, unless you rode in one . RLDSL member just flipped his axles, you might PM him about flipping yours.

Your quote:
" I have what I believe are called underslung axles and they sit on top of the leaf springs. On the part of the axle that sits on top of the leaf springs, a "C" channel piece of steel is welded on facing front to back with a cutout matching the contour of the axle."
If what your saying that the springs are under the axle, then you could weld a C channel on top of the axle in the same location. That should lift the trailer up about 4 to 6 inches.

What does Flipping an RV Trailer Axle Mean? - RV Basics .com Look here. Good info.

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Old 01-14-2009, 02:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here is what I did to mine, or rather had the dealer do it. He flipped the axle and installed this kit from Dexter. It is well worth installing this kit at the same time you are flipping. The trailer ride is 1000 times better than stock.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Dexter HD Suspension & EZ-Flex Install (long w/ pictures)
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Not sure if it would work or not but could you add a set of air shocks/bags to lift it up when you are in the dirt and then just drop down for better highway travelling
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for all the very helpful info guys.

My toyhauler is just a simple leaf springs/shackle/perch setup, no shocks or other fancy suspension.

This is something I know I could do, but the only thing that worries me is the welding of the perch on top of the axle. I consider myself somewhat handy with my wire-feed welder, but I am by no means an expert at it and I think I would worry about things coming apart at 65MPH with all my gear in it. I think I will leave it to an expert.

I will go to my local RV repair shop and get prices on this, I'm sure they have done this before.

Once again thanks for the help!
SV
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I just took my axles off and brought them to a welder I knew. I am sure one would do it for less than the dealer. I would also bet a welder will do a better job of welding then the dealer. They might not even weld the new spring pearch. Dexter does have a kit that does not require welding but I had mine done anyway.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This is something I know I could do, but the only thing that worries me is the welding of the perch on top of the axle
Like Beast posted, take the axles to a welding shop along with the spring perches. You're talking 1/2 hour labor max to weld the perches on and you'll save hours of labor cost if you do the rest yourself. I bought my trailer used, so when I did the axles it was a good time to inspect and pack all my wheel bearings and adjust trailer brakes. I think it was at that time I replaced all my spring and shackle bushings too. If yours are worn, replacement's a lot easier (and way easier lifting and prying involved) with the axles out of the way.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for all the very helpful info guys.

My toyhauler is just a simple leaf springs/shackle/perch setup, no shocks or other fancy suspension.

This is something I know I could do, but the only thing that worries me is the welding of the perch on top of the axle. I consider myself somewhat handy with my wire-feed welder, but I am by no means an expert at it and I think I would worry about things coming apart at 65MPH with all my gear in it. I think I will leave it to an expert.

I will go to my local RV repair shop and get prices on this, I'm sure they have done this before.

Once again thanks for the help!
SV
"No shocks", eh?

If you're going to do this, set it up to put shocks on it!!! It's the best handling mod you can do for the money. You'll thank me for the advice after you drive it once.

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