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Old 10-07-2017, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default Stuck Torsion Axles

Just bought a used '97 22 foot Hi-Lo.
The stench and grossness of people who use black water with no odor control and leave it too long will sour mine a little, but working to get it in good shape.
I had a blow out on the way home, old tires, hoping they would make it, but didnt.
I noticed the arm of the torsion suspension was not dropping very much.
This was originally a FL camper, so there is a bit of rust under, hoping there is metal under the rust.
Do these axles freeze?
I have torsion axles on my other camper with no issues ever so this one is new.
How do I fix?
or
How hard is replacing axles?
and
What would going to a leaf spring do for it all?
I would not mind gaining 4-5 inches of lift if I have to replace the axle…
My understanding is the torsion spring is a metal piece floating in rubber inside the axle, so I do not know how it could freeze.
or
How could I verify that I have full range of motion, really looking for easy tricks rather than the most obvious way.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:51 PM   #2
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I don't know if this is a good enough picture. The Black tank leaks, so I am reluctant to crawl around under it much.

Seems like the axle arm should drop down more. I do not know how it could be stuck, but worried if it is that I will tear the trailer up, and the tires, with little or no suspension. Roads are bad.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:18 AM   #3
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Don't know if this helps, but, during bearing re-pack, brake changes, etc, I run the trailer onto a Road Aid and the free tire does not drop but a couple inches at most! During a routine tire or brake inspection, I only note a SMALL drop. The torsion portion really only comes into play when you hit a pothole or speed bump, a small amount of movement. Do you notice any play on the UP side? Just to see, you could put a 2 X 4 under that brake, lift and look for upward play (without disturbing that jack). I also spray a light oil in that area once a year.
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:38 AM   #4
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My experience is the same as Tree's, marininn. The torsion axle does not drop much at all when the wheel is lifted off the ground.

If you look on Dexter's site (I think, it's been quite a while since I did this), there are different designs of torsion axles. Some of them, like mine are virtually horizontal with no weight on them (like yours seems to be). Mine is like that too.

The important thing is the upward movement it allows. If the axle arm stays nearly horizontal when weight is back on the wheel and there is space above the wheel, then it CAN go up if it hits a bump.

- Jack
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:27 PM   #5
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I wonder what the travel is on these axles is at the hub center.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:27 AM   #6
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I have no idea. My Dexter axle book never mentioned it.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:53 AM   #7
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A few years ago I had "lift" put under my axles , thus lowering them and raising the trailer. Im glad I did. AT the time I was also having uneven wear issues on the tires and had the axle guy inspect the axle for bend. There was some, and he was able to take some of it out. It wasnt inexpensive. That said, my sense is the "flex" is integral to the engineering and design of the axle, much like a steel beam has flex . How that is engineered exactly I cannot say. That said, many of the trailers I now see out there, especially smaller/"lightweight" ones seem to incorporate torsion axles and I assume there is a reason they are preferred over springs.

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Old 10-17-2017, 10:20 AM   #8
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I had a friend who in the 80s n 90s built trailers and used torsion axles. The other trailer builders hated on him for doing that and said they were weak and fragile, they said to use springs, but he was a military guy, and said the military only used torsion axles. I don't know if thats true or not, but that was his claim to the durability of them. Now all off-road trailers use torsion. 4-wheel independent suspension is better than a rigid axle.
There is no exposed moving parts on torsion axles.

Here is a photo of my right and left rear axle, the view shows the drop in the arm. The right side, with tire, is weighted and sitting normally. The left is unweighted, and the arm is almost in the same position as the weighted arm on the other photo.

The little trailing arm that the hub is attached to should drop completely bottomed out when unweighted, and the weighted one should sit in a neutral position, somewhere in the middle of the travel range.

That my unweighted one is not dropping much is of concern.

[IMG][/IMG]



sorry it's fuzzy, but you can se the general shape and position still
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:38 AM   #9
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Marininn - I don't think you've got this quite right. You have a "Trailing Arm" torsion bar axle. The part that you are concerned about is called the "arm". The "torsion" spring is inside the horizontal part of the axle that extends from side to side under the trailer. Essentially, it's just a rod that can twist, which will rotate the arm up and down. It is made of spring steel, which wants to return to it's "untwisted" position anytime force is removed from it.

Now, when you have a tire and wheel mounted on the arm, it applies weight to the arm, which twists the torsion bar and causes that arm to drop somewhat. If you remove the tire and wheel, that weight is removed and the torsion bar returns to its unstressed position, which would be higher.

So, from what you are showing, your axle appears to be functioning as it should.The arm with the tire SHOULD be lower than the one that doesn't have that weight.

Your friend is probably talking about US Army tanks and other tracked vehicles. They DO use torsion arm suspension instead of springs. Torsion bars are a simpler, more robust suspension system.

- Jack
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:10 PM   #10
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I believe the kind of suspension, at least on newer Hi-Lo's, incorporates a highly compressed rubber block that is pushed into the axle housing with the hub end inserted into it. Here is an example explanation of them:https://www.trailerpart.com/c-26-torsion-axles.aspx
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