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Axle Replacement Advice Needed


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#1 woodse

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 05:26 AM

I need advice from the experts and where better than the owners website. I have the original axle that seems pretty rigid. Its a leading arm angle down of unknown capacity. Its also welded so I have just ordered a 10 pack of grinding wheels. I remember about two years ago someone had posted a how to on this site on this same topic. I want to weld on new brackets for bolt on replacement for a trailing arm angle down. My questions:
1. Capacity-the trailer weighs around 2000# (subtract tongue #). The new Casitas advertise a 3500# axle. Do I order a 3500# and have it derated?
2. Trailing arm angle- what are the considerations for selecting the angle;a 45 degree arm when loaded settles at 22 degrees? That equates to "x" inches.
3. The replacement brackets; do they come with the axle or should I fabricate from angle iron?
4. How do I locate the replacement axle; pull equal dimensions back to the trailer coupler? With a trailing arm angle down I assume that I want to locate the axle slighty forward of the centerline of the wheel well so the loaded axle swings up towards the center line?
5. Someone had recommended installing monroe shock, does this work with torsion suspension?
6. Wheel size; I have the opportunity to go up to 14",; any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

#2 Indy-hp

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 06:26 AM

I need advice from the experts and where better than the owners website. I have the original axle that seems pretty rigid. Its a leading arm angle down of unknown capacity. Its also welded so I have just ordered a 10 pack of grinding wheels. I remember about two years ago someone had posted a how to on this site on this same topic. I want to weld on new brackets for bolt on replacement for a trailing arm angle down. My questions:
1. Capacity-the trailer weighs around 2000# (subtract tongue #). The new Casitas advertise a 3500# axle. Do I order a 3500# and have it derated?
2. Trailing arm angle- what are the considerations for selecting the angle;a 45 degree arm when loaded settles at 22 degrees? That equates to "x" inches.
3. The replacement brackets; do they come with the axle or should I fabricate from angle iron?
4. How do I locate the replacement axle; pull equal dimensions back to the trailer coupler? With a trailing arm angle down I assume that I want to locate the axle slighty forward of the centerline of the wheel well so the loaded axle swings up towards the center line?
5. Someone had recommended installing monroe shock, does this work with torsion suspension?
6. Wheel size; I have the opportunity to go up to 14",; any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

My best advice would be for you to confer with Larry Gamble at Little House Customs. He's done several and will give you sound advice. That said, I would:
1. Order a 3500-lb axle from Dexter.
2. Order a 10-deg. down axle, what Casita installs as the optional "high lift" axle. Dexter publishes a chart that will give you exact dimensions and range of motion of the various axles. Try their website.
3. Order the brackets with the axle.
4. Ask Larry for specifics of where to measure, you want the wheels centered in the wheel wells with a normal static load.
5. Several folks have installed shocks if you wish. I think them unnecessary unless you expect to travel rough roads.
6. I would go up to 15" wheels, what Casita is currently installing.

Edited by Indy-hp, 28 January 2012 - 06:32 AM.

Henry & Debbie
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#3 woodse

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 08:04 AM

Excellent, Thank you. I suspect I could go with a greater down angle with less tire? I didn't mention earlier that I have the original Bias Ply tires (ready for Smithsonian).

#4 Don in OKC

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:30 PM

If I read your original message correctly, you have the older Casita with the axle that has the swinging link facing FORWARD?!

Casita did this on early 13/16s.

If so, ask Casita (or Larry G.) what to do.

Folks here on the forum have routinely chosen an axle with a greater degree of 'lift'.......but these are all for axles that have the 'swing arm' link trailing rather than forward facing.......does this make sense?!

Anyway, Dexter designed this axle as a 'trailing link' and Casita for some reason, first installed it in a 'leading link' position. I don't know when they turned it around...... as it should be.

For this reason, I'd be cautious about increasing the 'down' angle.

And I don't know if you can 'turn it around'. Could have been something to do with the step frame design that Casita chose to use it 'backwards', I dunno.

As you can see, I don't know the whole story, but am only throwing out a caution.

And yes, the original 16's came out with a 2,000 lb axle (7" brakes) and switched to a 3,500 lb axle in the late 90s. My 2000LD was in that era. The visual tip off was the bigger brakes (10") came on the 3,500 lb axle.

===

No shocks! ;)

Edited by Don in OKC, 28 January 2012 - 12:35 PM.

Don in OKC - (Useta have a) 2000 16' LD, 98 Chrysler T&C

#5 woodse

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:01 PM

2 votes for the 3500# axle.... The frame looks clear for a trailing arm configuration; no plumbing

#6 woodse

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:26 PM

I plan on calling Larry G. tomorrow. I was just under the trailer and there is a step up forward on the the axle mount and the existing axle is welded to a 2" square tube steel spacer, not enough to step down to the adjacent frame rail level. I may box out a frame rail to extend the level of the adjacent frame rail. I just bought a pair of used wire wheels with new tires 215/70/15, 5x 4.5" lug with neutral off set. Any issues with running car tires on a trailer?

#7 woodse

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:07 PM

The casita is up in th air and wheels off. I will be cutting out the original axle and welding in a "bridge" of channel steel that will start at the front frame elevation and extend past the existing mount and then continue vertically up to the raised frame. This frame was made in Thailand out of bent square tube over / under and welded together. It looks like the original is a leading arm 10 degree up. Larry G recommends another option: http://www.trailerpa...sionaxles.htm.. Did some measuring of the existing axle relative to the wheel well and the driver side is off center 2". Need to figure out which is off; the axle or the tub.

#8 Joe Z

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:35 PM

The casita is up in th air and wheels off. I will be cutting out the original axle and welding in a "bridge" of channel steel that will start at the front frame elevation and extend past the existing mount and then continue vertically up to the raised frame. This frame was made in Thailand out of bent square tube over / under and welded together. It looks like the original is a leading arm 10 degree up. Larry G recommends another option: http://www.trailerpa...sionaxles.htm.. Did some measuring of the existing axle relative to the wheel well and the driver side is off center 2". Need to figure out which is off; the axle or the tub.

Your link didn't come in on my computer but i have a 1994 casita sd 16 foot with the raised rear section and the person that owned it before me had the rear changed in 2004 with a 3500# 10 degree up rear trailing axle with welded on brackets...... while this is fine and i could probably fit 15" tires under there i would like the 10 degree down just for a little more room ....hope these pictures help some.
Joe

Left side view from rear
29.JPG

Left side view from front
27.JPG

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#9 Larry & Debbie Gamble

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:28 PM

Woodse and I have visited and he's taken a path that will yield good results. This is a difficult project to design but not so tough to do with basic fab skills.

Casitas from the 80's are very different critters. Correcting the leading/trailing arm issue is a challenge to design. Since the wheel must remain in the wheel well of the body, the axle must be moved forward by twice the length of the torsion arm. Early frames were stacked 1.5" square tube with arches at the wheel wells much like car and truck frames have. Moving the axle forward places it in the upward rising section of the arch and changes the start angle. Bridging this arch and using an adjustable start angle axle minimizes design problems. The axle from Trailer Part that Woodse linked to has an adjustable start angle in 6 degree incrememnts allowing some fine tuning for ride height as well as tire size. It's a bit more expensive but it's a problem solver.

We're anxious to see pics of the project as it evolves.

Larry
Larry & Debbie Gamble
Original owners 96 17 SD
The Honeymoon Cottage


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#10 woodse

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:05 AM

I wanted to share the following explanation from Dexter's technical adviser on axle angle determinations, this is for a zero angle axle:

Let me explain the permanent set. You mount the axles and load them to capacity and set the trailer on the ground. The arm will move 22.5. So you start with a 22.5 down start angle and now the arms are at 0. You take the unit out on the road and use it for a month. You now measure the arm angle and it would be somewhere around 8 up. That is the permanent set that happens.

I will be ordering a 10 degree down for resulting 2 degree down after permanent set.