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Replacement axle?

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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Replacement axle?
    Posted: 01 Oct 2018 at 1:30pm
If there's not a lot of heat then the brakes on that side probably really aren't that tight. Could be the drum or shoes are a little warped. Do you have an IR thermometer? You can get them on Amazon for about $25. I think I bought this one

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Lasergrip-Thermometer-Temperature-Non-contact/dp/B00DMI62HM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1538416741&sr=8-4&keywords=ir+thermometer+gun

May I suggest running down highway for awhile on flat ground with your trailer brakes disconnected (so no brake use so you will only have heat from the drag on both sides), then pull over and measure the drum temps on both sides. If they're really about the same then the tightness on the passenger side is not significant enough to be causing any real drag issues. Otherwise you'd get differential heat buildup.

Because I need to get on the road Thurs morning and my drums are scored so I needed new hubs anyway, I just bought complete brake and hub assemblies. That way I get new magnets and all the parts, bearings and seals greased and installed.  All I have to do is bolt on, connect and heat shrink the wires, install the hub, adjust the bearing play, perform the one time brake adjustment, done.  For the price and time involved it just doesn't seem worth it to me to go through a brake rebuild part by part.

I dislike drum brakes too. They retain heat and water and grease and hide damage and corrosion from view. Just a poor design all around. I had them fade completely out on my old VW bus in my early days, very scary, and those were new properly installed brakes. I'll never forget it. If you find disc brakes for our rPod axles at a reasonable price let us know. But I think you need to convert to an electric over hydraulic system so its really spendy. 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2018 at 8:02pm
That is why I will not convert yet. It is just too expensive at this time.
StephenH
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 7:43am
Agreed, plus I prefer electric over hydraulic. The current brakes are sophisticated compared to drums of the 50s and 60s, the fact they are self adjusting in forward motion is an improvement. My other thought is disc brakes don't alleviate seals and hub bearings, that will always be an issue.
Mike Carter
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 8:02am
mcarter, have you or do you know anyone who has made the disc conversion on an rPod or similar size trailer? What parts were used, what worked and what didn't, what was the end product like, etc? Thanks

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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 8:31am
It looks to me as if the disc brake rotors and mechanism while not cheap are not the most expensive part, but the electric over hydraulic controller which costs $600 and up is.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 12:11pm
I do know people who have converted to disc brakes, however they had a hydraulic equipped trailer. Have seen this on several occasions with boat trailers. In every case they went with a conversion kit. Which are available at etrailer.com. As SH said the conversion to hydraulic is a show stopper to me, to me it adds a whole other system to your TT. The parts are readily available should you want to go that way.
Mike Carter
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Countrygent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 1:34pm
Watching this thread.

I bent both sides toe-out pretty badly on a rough trip through Baja this Spring.  Roads were awful and unavoidable potholes and broken pavement in places, but I suspect it was some unmarked topes (those speed humps they have on the highways around towns)  that did us in.  Slapped on the brakes but still the trailer took to the air air once or twice, even though we were on the lookout ... best plans poor execution.  And the WDH no doubt made it worse.

Thought maybe just earlier tire replacement would be enough, but wore a set of new tires down to the cords showing after less than 5000 miles, so that is a no-go approach not just on cost and inconvenience, but also safety.  A preventable tire blow out is way too risky.

Not handy enough or mechanical enough to replace myself, so dreading the cost, but after looking around and researching I gather there is no easy fix but replacement, and the fact of the matter is these 3500# (or even if they are down-labeled 4200#) torsion axles are just not robust enough to leave a sufficient margin for typical unintended abuse over many years, whether from overloading or road hazards.  In my case we have never overloaded, but there just isn't a huge margin for vertical pressure on those spindles in any event.

I am developing a preference for better roads I think.  But have to say the axle did not pack it in until it had carried the trailer over some very rough terrain, we dragged it to some amazing places over the years.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 1:58pm
I have a preference for better roads, but sometimes the bad roads can't be avoided. I encountered some particularly bad ones this spring in Illinois.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Oct 2018 at 2:00pm
Countrygent,

Gotta love the topes in Baja....been "surprised" by those in the past too Embarrassed.  But Baja is just too nice to not visit just because of that. 

Sounds like you are shopping for a new axle.  For Lippert the load range we have is 3500-4400 lbs.  If so and you want to try to reduce the likelihood of a bent axle in the future, you might want to go for the next load range higher, which starts at 5200 lbs, otherwise is likely you'd be getting the same axle. The heavier axle has 6 bolt hubs, so new wheels would be required. Don't know about Dexter, but probably its similar. 

For me, I think I'm going to upgrade my wheels and tires to 15 inch load range D so that those will be good for 2500+ lbs. The axle will then last as long as it will last, depending on how lucky I get in missing the potholes and topes. At which point I can get a new axle. It doesn't sound like there are any cases of catastrophic failure, just bending and misalignments resulting in excessive tire wear. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Countrygent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 2018 at 11:04am
Thanks Offgrid.

The Baja roads are way better than in the good old days I gather ... but the portions of Highway 1 near the State border and Guerrero Negro were nerve-wracking and awfully narrow, crumbled and potholed.  Then we tried to cut up to the new road being built South from San Filipe on our way back North, which ended up being a 30 mile or so adventure over rubble and some really crazy rough patches more suited to rock-crawling 4x4s.  That road will be fantastic when completed in another year or so - they had a ton of crews and equipment working on it.

The trip was exceptionally interesting and exotic, there was beautiful solitude and camping right on the beach both on the Pacific side and Gulf of California.  We had only two slight negative experiences - out of the dozen or so military checkpoints one slow, surly search fingering stuff in our cupboards and drawers which was annoying, obviously intended for us to give some items away, but it ended with no problem.  Then a bad experience with town dogs in Santa Rosalia while we were walking.  Ended without any bites but I was definitely into fight or flight mode and do not like the way they let their very territorial dogs roam in some of the towns.

Sorry for any thread hijack ... our trip was actually an illustration of the “fake” marketing aspect of the HRE models made to appear as if they can be backcountry vehicles.  Not really.  The construction is too conventional and the bouncing, flexing aspects are not addressed by the engineering.  Even with the axle risers I have bent both rear stabilizers, bent the axle, broken some interior trim pieces, had drawers and cupboards fly open with ensuing mayhem and mess.  We have pushed the limits, true, but really the proper limits are well-graded gravel, and maybe very low speed last few miles to destination over less maintained roads.  

Will consider a 15 inch wheel - I gather it is far more common and there are a lot more tire choices, when I got caught with my tires wearing I found out there isn’t a lot of 14 inch choice readily available in the load ratings we require.  But maybe adding in new wheels and tires is too much expense.  I have to also figure I’m putting money into a 6 year old trailer that already has a list of to-do items as the components start to fail from age or use - broken electric switch on the water heater, broken support strap on the grey water outlet pipe, seals requiring their second major overhaul, new propane regulator, new TV/DVD player.  Last year we upgraded the mattress (great), replaced the rear curtain with a de-browned new curtain complete with black-out liner, new shower head, upgraded the dinette cushions ... repainted and de scaled all the exterior black steel ... I do catch myself looking at new Lances and, (lottery win required) Airstreams.  But I gather they all have their maintenance problems.  The Airstreams in particular leave a fair gap between the marketing position of being premium and the best, and a host of regularly occurring defects and failures, especially water infiltration, that’s disappointing to new owners.

Could be worse - I used to own a sailboat, and marine quality maintenance and repair was incredibly expensive compared to RV’s.  Love my Pod and the places it has taken us.




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