Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

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Postby danlott » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:07 pm

My trailer is on the lighter duty side, but the springs are just a lot more than should have been put on the trailer. I plan on weighing the trailer after I am finished and determine what to do with the springs then.

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Postby BC Dave » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:19 am

wow got an "edu-m-acation" on trailer suspension & how to lube ...

one question ... wouldnt the dust collect in the grease on the leafsprings creating an abrasive?
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Postby 48Rob » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:24 am

Dave,

Sure, but no more than it would without grease.

Dirt will certainly collect on the exposed surfaces, but the main purpose of the grease besides lubrication is to prevent rust.
While a little dust may find its way between the leaves, water/moisture is the main intruder.

You can use nylon or teflon inserts between the spring leaves to accomplish the same friction reduction as the grease provides, though at a much higher cost.

There is no "perfect" solution, each method has its problems.
Grease is simply the least expensive method.

Rob
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Postby RogHodge » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:45 pm

I did the leaf “rebuildâ€
For those who would like to have a look I have a build journal and covet your feedback.
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=33547
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Postby Noob » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:55 pm

So how often does a regular trailer in the rust belt need this service ... ( becuase the pic of the rust-y springs, its more on the non-rusty side of the range, rather then the exremely rusty side ... just based on what I see around here )


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Postby 48Rob » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:59 pm

Rog,

Glad it helped you!

Noob,

Hate to sound like a broken record...or is that "DVD" these days ;)

It really depends on how the trailer is stored, where it is stored, how often used, and conditions it is used in...

Brand new springs on a brand new trailer have a very thin layer of really cheap paint that seems to invite rust quickly.
The outside (the part you see) looks okay for some time, but the first time you pull the trailer, the springs flex, rubbing off the paint, allowing rust to begin forming where it can't be seen.

I'm of the opinion that if the trailer will be kept for a while and used regularly, the service should be done when you buy it, new, or used.
The greasable bolts should be greased each year, or every couple thousand miles, and any pivot points not greased should be sprayed with grease or heavy oil.
Taking the assemblies apart for cleaning and re greasing would depend on usage, but for the average camper in the rust belt, maybe every 10 years, assuming you spray lithium grease, or some other good sticky grease against the sides/in-between the leaf springs yearly.
If a person is really religious about it, you may never need to take the springs apart in your lifetime.

Maintenance; do it regularly, or pay big later...

Rob
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby frank_a » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:47 pm

48Rob wrote:Hi All.

I recently rebuilt an axle and spring sets for a friend.
His nearly new cargo trailer was one of the roughest riding trailers I've ever pulled.
He asked me to fix it... I did, and now it is very smooth and comfortable!

The link below will take you to the Web page that has the story and pictures if you're interested in how to make corrections and or upgrades for your trailer.

Rob

Link to axle rebuild


This link doesn't work for me. Something maybe I'm doing wrong? Could somebody check me on this, I would really like to see what Rob posted here!

Thanks,

Frank
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Postby 48Rob » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:18 pm

Frank,

My apologies.
I was forced to move that page and didn't update the link.

It is corrected now.
Here it is so you don't have to go looking for it...
http://48rob.yuku.com/topic/21

Rob
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Postby frank_a » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:40 pm

Thanks Rob.

I think I saw that before, and was very impressed with it. I have rebuilt a lot of old trailers, and am pretty good at bearings, seals, stuff like that. Bad springs I often just replace. But I have learned all sorts of new stuff from that link, and have saved the info so I have use of it in the future if the link ever goes away again. You do great work!

Thanks again,

Frank
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby vwbeamer » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:55 pm

Thanks :D
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby dustboy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:28 pm

Thanks! This is exactly the info I needed, my tandem axle cargo is tolerable on the highway, but a nightmare off pavement.

I have the same exact axles and springs, I'm wondering though how removing that tiny little short spring can make such a difference? Seems like it would hardly be flexed at all throughout most of the axle's travel. That is, it only really goes into action at the upper end of the load capacity?
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby KCStudly » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:12 pm

Think about it this way, if you had a long piece of 1/4 inch flat bar held in a vise at one end and 2 ft long, you would probable expect to be able to push the other end down somewhat easily.

Now take a much shorter piece of same profile steel, clamp it in the vise and try to push the other end. It won't move as far. Stiffer.

Same reason that a coil spring gets stiffer if you shorten it. Same wire diameter, same coil diameter, same coil pitch; the shorter spring will always be stiffer because there is less metal to flex under the same load.

In a leaf spring pack, it is the shorter springs that stiffen the longer softer springs. Take away the stiffness of the short spring and the longer flexy spring is allowed to "work" more.
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby 48Rob » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:56 am

KC,

Good explanation! :thumbsup:

Rob
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby dustboy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:44 am

Makes sense.

Any idea what the capacity would be minus the two lower springs? I looked all over Dexter's site and couldn't find a listing of their different leaf springs.

If I follow your lead, then I will end up with 4 wheels at 1250 lb = 5000 lb GVWR, which is coincidentally the tow rating of my truck. I may, on rare occasion, need to use that full capacity.
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Re: Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby Tripmaker » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:41 pm

Great write up Rob. I never knew that there was so much to consider about leaf springs. I've just stripped down a 1975 pop up for my next build and reading up on axels and springs. I have a lot to learn.
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