VanDweller Community Forums
dispersed camping means high clearance - Printable Version

+- VanDweller Community Forums (
+-- Forum: Reviews and Recommendations (
+--- Forum: Boondocking Reviews (
+--- Thread: dispersed camping means high clearance (/showthread.php?tid=2567)

Pages: 1 2 3

- Boonie - 10-14-2012

I will soon buy and convert a cargo trailer to become my "travel trailer" for dispersed camping (i.e., outside official campgrounds) on public lands. Of course the emphasis will be on high ground clearance.<br /><br />I am only familiar with Dexter Torflex (rubber) axles. Has anyone done a "lift job" for a cargo trailer with these rubber axles? It looks more difficult than lifting a trailer with leaf spring axles just by putting the leaf springs on top of the axle, in order to get 4-4.5" higher ground clearance.<br /><br />The Dexter manual on leaf spring axles recommended maintenance (regreasing the bolt and shackles) every 3000 miles. That sounds like a nuisance. Of course the leaf spring axle and its part are cheap and easy to get.<br /><br /> But I'd like to stick with rubber axles if there was a reasonable way to get the trailer a couple more inches off the ground. So deciding which of these two kinds of axles to get really is step one. What's your opinion?<br /><br />

- josephusminimus - 10-14-2012

Considerable nuisance and probably that recommended greasing would be more necessary on the two-tracks of the western US.&nbsp; You might consider gaining what you can by putting the axles&nbsp;over the leaf springs instead of under them, which won't buy you axle clearance, but will mean the only high centering you do is the axle, as opposed to something on the trailer.&nbsp; Oversized wheels and tires would buy you some of that 4-4.5 inches clearance on the axle, reducing the margin of advantage the pesky rubber axle buys.<br /><br />If you've never used buddy-hubs for greasing the wheel bearings you might consider that, too, even on the steel axle option [unless the trailer has brakes].&nbsp; Most wheel bearings could be greased more often than tends to happen.

- highdesertranger - 10-14-2012

hey boonie,&nbsp; i take you already have the trailer.&nbsp; if you don't then i would get leaf spring suspension for several reasons but back to lifting a torsion axle.&nbsp; basically you have to cut the axles off the frame nice and neat,&nbsp; then weld a spacer to the frame and weld the axles to the spacers.&nbsp; keeping everything in alignment of course and there you go.&nbsp; if you have the torsions that don't cross the frame like half axles i would not even attempt.&nbsp; those are only good for very light weight trailers if you off road.&nbsp; highdesertranger

- Boonie - 10-14-2012

[QUOTE=highdesertranger]hey boonie,&nbsp; i take you already have the trailer.<br />Answer: no, I have not bought it yet.<br /><br />I had to have a welding shop cutoff my existing rubber-torsion axles from my current travel trailer. It was expensive -- several hundred dollars for each axle. I'd hate to go through that again. Thanks for reminding me how this requires the welding shop to get the two axles aligned correctly and with equal weight.<br /><br />Meanwhile, any trailer store can perform the routine operation of moving a leaf-spring axle from above the springs to below the springs.<br /><br />Then again I have seen rubber-torsion axles bolted to trailer frame via bracket/flanges on both members. But they never show photos of that on websites. Maybe I'll just have to keep crawling underneath cargo trailers on dealers lots.<br /><br />But it would sure help if somebody has had direct experience with rebolting a rubber-torsion axle to a cargo trailer frame so as to lift it by 2" or more.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

- RAILROADGREEN - 10-15-2012

boonie, i have a 3500lb&nbsp;dexter torflex rubber axle on my 2009 casitia, an i wanted higher ground clearance, they trun the axle up side down, to get me extra 4" of clearance it has work great for me here in baja mexico&nbsp;on the speed bump's really nasty.also alot of washboard road's have not&nbsp;had any problem's.i don't know if your going to buy new or used. bottom line call dexter. gary ps if your are going to do offroad meaning fourwheelind i would go with the leaf-springs an offroad trailers in steaded of a cargo trailer j.m.o

- dragonflyinthesky - 10-15-2012

I am having the axels flipped on my old vintage Shasta 10 ft TT. The vocational school is doing it for free and some welding, a small place on the back for a light weight trunk and a spare tire holder. The&nbsp;spare&nbsp;may go on the front though. You have to be careful when you start doing things like this though, it changes the center of gravity.. I just need to buy the parts and the labor is free.&nbsp;

- Boonie - 11-10-2012

Thanks to people who got me off my butt and encouraged a little more homework on the dexter axle website. Many people might prefer a rubber torsion ("Torflex") axle to the older leaf spring-mounted axles, since the latter are supposed to be inspected and greased every 3000 miles. I'm NOT talking about the bearings, I'm talking about the bolts, bushings, shackles. In contrast the Torflex rubber axle is maintenance-free, except of course for its bearings. <br /><br />The rest of this discussion is limited to how to lift a trailer that uses rubber Torflex axles so as to get higher ground clearance, the all-important feature of dispersed camping.<br /><br />1. For an existing or used trailer: Buy the lift kit sold by Dexter: K71-707-02 #10 Torflex Lift Kit. This will lift the trailer 2 5/8" . It doesn't sound like a lot, but it could make a huge difference as I found out on my old trailer. The lift kit is really just square steel channel with holes drilled in the right places, which is inserted between the trailer frame tube and the existing bracket at the top of the Dexter axle. A trailer/welding/machine shop could easily make the same thing for you, perhaps 3 or 4 inches in height.<br /><br />2. For a new trailer that you are ordering: the usual Torflex axle has a HORIZONTAL torsion arm (about 12" long). But you could order the trailer with torsion arms that do DOWN by 22.5 degrees and even 45 degrees! That will lift the trailer several inches.<br /><br />3. Cheapskate fantasy trailer: find a used trailer that has visibly bent Torflex axles -- notice the tires are worn on the inboard side. Buy it for a song, then put new axles on per #2.<br /><br /><br />

- highdesertranger - 11-12-2012

ok i'll chime in again.&nbsp; leaf springs are cheap and easy to service.&nbsp; torsion axles do not hold up well for many miles of off road use.&nbsp; they wear out to fast.&nbsp; you cannot service them and are a pain to replace.&nbsp; that is why i said go with leafs.&nbsp; nowadays everything is nonserviciable just throw away and buy new.&nbsp;most new vehicles have few if any grease fittings. &nbsp;i do not know about you guys but i would rather service than buy.&nbsp; &nbsp;highdesertranger

- Boonie - 01-07-2013

Continuing on with the issue of raising the ground clearance of cargo trailers:<br><br>I've noticed&nbsp; that several off-the-lot cargo trailers with (Dexter Torflex) rubber torsion axles use torsion arms with negative 22 degree orientations. This lowers the ground clearance by a couple inches. Why would they do such a "terrible" thing? -- probably because many customers want higher "cargo weight" ratings for a given size or cost, and getting the trailer closer to the ground helps with that, and with towing safety and fuel economy. (Just guessing.) The point is that it is something to watch out for when you're buying a cargo trailer.<br><br>Another possible way to get more ground clearance for an EXISTING cargo trailer: if the wheels stick outside the box (as most do), it looks pretty easy to remove the light metal skirt/shield that surrounds the wheels. Basically they are just mud flaps. Then you might be able to increase the size of the tire. I love big tires!<br><br>Has anyone ever done this?

- sparky1 - 01-07-2013

what you are proposing is against the law-In Virginia For sure,Plus there is a safety reason to have fenders over tires,PLUS Raising the center of gravity also causes more sway-then again the Hitch height is changed too,all trailers or towed Vehicles,should be level as close&nbsp;to possible when towing so NOT to change the weight stress on either the Hitch or the axles,<BR>I would NOT want to be behind you with NO fenders.<BR>always cross safety chains in virginia &amp; other states the chains MUST have locking hooks as NOT twist the chains,