Offroad trailer suspension

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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Dave Nathanson » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:48 pm

Here are 3 photos all showing pretty much the same view; the inside of the drivers side trailer wheel. The important differences are that the first photo is with leaf springs, then second with the Timbren axle-less suspension with Straight spindle, and the 3rd photo is the same Timbren except with the 4" lift spindle.

Leaf straight axle IMG_7994.jpg
Leaf Springs & straight axle
Leaf straight axle IMG_7994.jpg (109.43 KiB) Viewed 1674 times

Timbren straight spindle IMG_9217.jpg
Timbren Axle-less with straight spindle
Timbren straight spindle IMG_9217.jpg (81.01 KiB) Viewed 1674 times

Timbren 4Lift spindle IMG_9342.jpg
Timbren Axle-less with 4" lift spindle
Timbren 4Lift spindle IMG_9342.jpg (74.88 KiB) Viewed 1674 times
Last edited by Dave Nathanson on Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Dave Nathanson » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:58 pm

Here are photos of the Timbren straight spindle and the Timbren 4" lift spindle. Both are the heavy duty 3500# models. Both of these are right-side-up. They bolt onto the top of the suspension arm. So the flat side of the spindle mount does face down. I will mention that I'm impressed with the sturdy construction of the Timbren suspension.

Timbren straight spindle IMG_8117.jpg
Timbren Straight spindle
Timbren straight spindle IMG_8117.jpg (134.63 KiB) Viewed 1673 times

Timbren 4Lift spindle IMG_9215.jpg
Timbren 4 inch lift spindle
Timbren 4Lift spindle IMG_9215.jpg (79.95 KiB) Viewed 1673 times
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Dave Nathanson » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:21 pm

More Timbren details... Yes, there is a crossbar to connect & strengthen the two side suspension pieces. Timbren says this bar is optional, but I definitely wanted it. It is a 2" square tube, bolted in at each end.
Before installing the Timbren suspension we welded on a 5 inch by 1/4 inch plate from tip to tip along each side. That might be overkill for most people, but I've torn this frame before, so I knew some reinforcement would be very helpful. Actually we had to remove some of the previous angle iron reinforcement so we could add this reinforcing plate. The secured reinforcing plate also makes it less likely that the suspension can twist in or out.
Timbren crossbar & plate IMG_9341.jpg
Timbren crossbar & plate IMG_9341.jpg (186.11 KiB) Viewed 1666 times

Here is the end of that crossbar (driver's side). Timbren recommends bolting and welding it in, but that would make it very difficult to repair on the trail... As you can see, when my TD is connected to the Jeep, the lower edge of the trim is about 20" high just forward of the wheel. (ok, it is 19 7/8) Slightly lower in back, at 18.75".
Timbren crossbar end-measuring IMG_9336.jpg
Timbren crossbar end-measuring IMG_9336.jpg (53.41 KiB) Viewed 1657 times
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Dave Nathanson » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:06 pm

For those who may still be wondering about the difference between the Timbren straight spindle & the 4" lift spindle, here are two photos. Same trailer, same driver's side trailer wheel, same suspension, but different spindle.
Timbren straight spindle from rear IMG_9254.jpg
Timbren straight spindle from rear IMG_9254.jpg (77.03 KiB) Viewed 1638 times
Timbren 4 lift spindle from rear IMG_9346.jpg
Timbren 4 lift spindle from rear IMG_9346.jpg (90.49 KiB) Viewed 1638 times
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby working on it » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:11 am

Dave Nathanson wrote:...Before installing the Timbren suspension we welded on a 5 inch by 1/4 inch plate from tip to tip along each side. That might be overkill for most people, but I've torn this frame before, so I knew some reinforcement would be very helpful. Actually we had to remove some of the previous angle iron reinforcement so we could add this reinforcing plate. The secured reinforcing plate also makes it less likely that the suspension can twist in or out.
The attachment Timbren crossbar & plate IMG_9341.jpg is no longer available
....
I've torn my frame, too, ripping a hanger off the frame. Because of that, when I was going to fix it, I added a 2"x2"x 36" long, 1/4" thick angle (with spring hangers welded - and bolted) to the frame, and a corresponding length of 2" tall 3/16" thick steel to form a "sandwich" around the original frame. It has stood up to an airborne trip over a massive pothole at 75 mph, without any ill effects. I'm sure that the reinforcement resisted a landing force that would've torn/bent my un-reinforced original frame. Not overkill, but thinking ahead.
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torquing of hanger assembly (theory).png
torquing of hanger assembly (theory).png (129.98 KiB) Viewed 1606 times
frame reinforcement &  spring hanger assembly installed.jpg
frame reinforcement & spring hanger assembly installed.jpg (93.55 KiB) Viewed 1606 times
2013 HHRv a "squareback/squaredrop" 4x8 TTT,
semi-offroad?, at barely under 2000 lbs travel weight
  • 3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube axle, w/brakes
  • 27x8.5-14LT all-terrain tires (x 3)
  • LED lighting, triple fans. Pioneer stereo
  • A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator
  • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill
  • zinc/stainless steel front racks
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby drewh1 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:05 pm

IMG_0958.JPG
IMG_0958.JPG (20.38 KiB) Viewed 1143 times
Dave Nathanson wrote:Here are 3 photos all showing pretty much the same view; the inside of the drivers side trailer wheel. The important differences are that the first photo is with leaf springs, then second with the Timbren axle-less suspension with Straight spindle, and the 3rd photo is the same Timbren except with the 4" lift spindle.

The attachment Leaf straight axle IMG_7994.jpg is no longer available

The attachment Timbren straight spindle IMG_9217.jpg is no longer available

The attachment Timbren 4Lift spindle IMG_9342.jpg is no longer available



Dave - just wanted to thank you for these posts. I ordered the Timbren with the 4" lift after reading your post. I haven't mounted the wheels yet (waiting on hubs) but it looks like I will have plenty of ground clearance when done.
"If only I knew what I know now when I started . . ."

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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Dave Nathanson » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:59 pm

drewh1 wrote:Dave - just wanted to thank you for these posts. I ordered the Timbren with the 4" lift after reading your post. I haven't mounted the wheels yet (waiting on hubs) but it looks like I will have plenty of ground clearance when done.


Right on. Let us know how it goes for you. I had a hard time getting the right info, but together, we can get it all figured out for the next guy! :-)
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby drewh1 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:24 pm

IMG_0963.JPG
IMG_0963.JPG (18.31 KiB) Viewed 924 times
well it is not a great photo but this is it - 18" of ground clearance, I had to turn over the trailer hitch to raise it up and replace my wheel/jack as it was no longer long enough. So even with the 14" wheels and tires, I still have more clearance than the FJ.

I only drove it around the neighborhood but noticed it felt very solid and did not rattle over bumps at all. Can't wait to try it off-road this spring in Oregon.
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby slowcowboy » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:06 am

I really enjoyed this tread lots of good info. I am happy with my leaf springs and gas shocks since I am a mild off roader in the local wind river moutains here in Wyoming. but it might be a good option choice for a four wheeler trailer. you can get way more off road with them to dump atvs for trips in to the woods. I think from your photos you need a good trailer frame which I don't have and I think its over kill for my travels but I like the idea a lot big time. I got a new kampmaster I am building with a better frame than the harbor freight one on my old tear. its a thought idea for the future. I like it. slow
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby drewh1 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:42 pm

slowcowboy wrote:I really enjoyed this tread lots of good info. I am happy with my leaf springs and gas shocks since I am a mild off roader in the local wind river moutains here in Wyoming. but it might be a good option choice for a four wheeler trailer. you can get way more off road with them to dump atvs for trips in to the woods. I think from your photos you need a good trailer frame which I don't have and I think its over kill for my travels but I like the idea a lot big time. I got a new kampmaster I am building with a better frame than the harbor freight one on my old tear. its a thought idea for the future. I like it. slow


Well the gas shocks have to be a big help. As far as the actual trailer goes, I imagine I will be doing some welding on mine as time goes by. It is definitely not beefy enough for constant heavy off-roading but so far it is holding up. Nice thing about metal is you can always weld more on to it :lol:

BTW, that is a beautiful spot you travel in, Love Wyoming and always wanted to have that license plate on my trailer.
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby wavebreaker » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:22 am

Noticed not been posted in for a bit but I thought I would add my views.
I have built 9 off-road trailers 8 that are in use and one still under construction. 5 of these are teardrops.
I have used timbren/torsion/springs and airbags.

Was the first in north America to use a timbren suspension system on a off-road trailer. dealt with the engineers at timbren to make the first 1500# with 3000# spindles for brakes. The system worked fine for several years then the primary bushing on the main pivot failed , it was a major failing the tires at the top tilted into the trailer while I was traveling down a dusty road (did not notice smoke)if not for an obstacle I would not have stopped till after trailer was in flames. Tires had heated up to the point of burning thru side of trail and melting carpet and mattress inside of trailer.it is imperative that the front bushing be lubed regularly. On mine there was no grease fitting they now come stock with one. they also line bore the bushing after installing into the arm rather than using one pre drilled. The force applied to that bushing goes up with the larger sized tires. its a constant twist on that bushing.
Now all that being said I called timbren after the failure to find out how to fix it and they ended up selling me a new pair at cost They stand behind their product and are awesome people to deal with.

The fellow that has that particular tear has put many miles on it with no further issues but he keeps it well lubed.

As for leaf springs I find a few things to them I don't like. They bounce way to much it adds a lot of stress overall to the trailer. Off-camber situations can get truly hairy with springs a bad bounce and it can lead to a flop. wash board roads those springs at speed cant keep up the trailer looks like a jumping jack. The axle on 30 inch tires you only get 14-15 inches of clearance not a lot (trust me I have got stuck on tree stumps. But again it is only my opinion.

Torflex axles I have used once was not for me was for another person they seem after several years to have no issues. Thought the trailer has never really seen any hard off-road and maybe has 10,000 miles on it total.

Leads me to my final system trailing arm airbags. The tear I am building now is the third I have done this way. I design the trailer so as to have nothing under body at all the trailing arms are it.
on airbags at full rise I have 22 inches of clearance on 31 inch tires. I can adjust this from 18 to 22. the system works well the trailer hardly bounces on washboard roads and stays solid in off-camber situations. I have an onboard air compressor to keep bags inflated. I air up and down for parking and road conditions. highway hard off-road a little softer and when parking I drop to bump stops for steadying.

trying to remember how to add photos will add later.
20160702_160237.jpg
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Lucky J » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:49 pm

wavebreaker wrote:Noticed not been posted in for a bit but I thought I would add my views.
I have built 9 off-road trailers 8 that are in use and one still under construction. 5 of these are teardrops.
I have used timbren/torsion/springs and airbags.

Was the first in north America to use a timbren suspension system on a off-road trailer. dealt with the engineers at timbren to make the first 1500# with 3000# spindles for brakes. The system worked fine for several years then the primary bushing on the main pivot failed , it was a major failing the tires at the top tilted into the trailer while I was traveling down a dusty road (did not notice smoke)if not for an obstacle I would not have stopped till after trailer was in flames. Tires had heated up to the point of burning thru side of trail and melting carpet and mattress inside of trailer.it is imperative that the front bushing be lubed regularly. On mine there was no grease fitting they now come stock with one. they also line bore the bushing after installing into the arm rather than using one pre drilled. The force applied to that bushing goes up with the larger sized tires. its a constant twist on that bushing.
Now all that being said I called timbren after the failure to find out how to fix it and they ended up selling me a new pair at cost They stand behind their product and are awesome people to deal with.

The fellow that has that particular tear has put many miles on it with no further issues but he keeps it well lubed.

As for leaf springs I find a few things to them I don't like. They bounce way to much it adds a lot of stress overall to the trailer. Off-camber situations can get truly hairy with springs a bad bounce and it can lead to a flop. wash board roads those springs at speed cant keep up the trailer looks like a jumping jack. The axle on 30 inch tires you only get 14-15 inches of clearance not a lot (trust me I have got stuck on tree stumps. But again it is only my opinion.

Torflex axles I have used once was not for me was for another person they seem after several years to have no issues. Thought the trailer has never really seen any hard off-road and maybe has 10,000 miles on it total.

Leads me to my final system trailing arm airbags. The tear I am building now is the third I have done this way. I design the trailer so as to have nothing under body at all the trailing arms are it.
on airbags at full rise I have 22 inches of clearance on 31 inch tires. I can adjust this from 18 to 22. the system works well the trailer hardly bounces on washboard roads and stays solid in off-camber situations. I have an onboard air compressor to keep bags inflated. I air up and down for parking and road conditions. highway hard off-road a little softer and when parking I drop to bump stops for steadying.

trying to remember how to add photos will add later.
20160702_160237.jpg


Wave braker, thank you for all that info.

I have about the same views that you have with the different types of suspension.

But I do not have experience with air bags and trailing arms. My main questions is what to use as pivot points. I know some use bushing, and others use rod end, and johny joints. The only worries I have with bushing, is them wearring out, and loosing alignment. What did you use so far, and how did it held up?
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TV 1 2005 Unlimited 2005 TJL
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby tony.latham » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:48 pm

I've read the rumors of the Torflex that failed. My suspision is that the guy welded the axle to the chassis instead of welding on the brackets. I've seen that method done on forums. Dexter advises against it. It can cook the internal rubber pieces.

The new U.S. Army trailers are being axled with Dexter Torflexs. Don't discount them.

Having said that, on 'drop #4–– if it happens–– I might pony up for Timbrens.

Tony
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby Lucky J » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:34 am

I am not going to pull my 3500 pds dexter from under my utility/off road trailer, I can leav with the 3500 capacity and It is never close to capacity in overlandind (when I am far from populated area and only loaded to capacity when I am close (firewood and other duty). But it is to bouncy to carry light capimg and xpedition gear on washbord and rough dirt road.

Same with the 2200 dexter from the TD, can not leave anything like eggs, and other soft food that need to be cool in the galley fridge, it will all be lost.

The dexter from that TD will be reused for a light utility/motorcycle/atv transporter.
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Re: Offroad trailer suspension

Postby working on it » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:16 pm

Lucky J wrote:I am not going to pull my 3500 pds dexter from under my utility/off road trailer, I can leav with the 3500 capacity and It is never close to capacity in overlandind (when I am far from populated area and only loaded to capacity when I am close (firewood and other duty). But it is to bouncy to carry light capimg and xpedition gear on washbord and rough dirt road.

Same with the 2200 dexter from the TD, can not leave anything like eggs, and other soft food that need to be cool in the galley fridge, it will all be lost.

The dexter from that TD will be reused for a light utility/motorcycle/atv transporter.
  • I don't agree that a leaf spring axle is too "bouncy" to ride right, and that only Timbren axles, or torsion axles are the way to go. I like, trust, and have easily repaired leaf spring axles, before, and wouldn't write them off to history, as being out-dated or incapable for light or heavy use. with a little planning or modifications, you can tailor leaf springs for any road condition.
  • As I stated before, earlier in this thread and in others, I stayed with leaves on my last trailer mod/upgrade, when replacing my original axle and springs (overloaded spindly axle of unknown capacity) with a Dexter 3500 lb axle w/brakes. I replaced the original equipment with off-the-shelf springs from Northern Tool. I bought the 3000 lb (a pair, sold individually) springs, because I knew I was loading my trailer heavier with each trip, and modification, and was pretty sure it would weigh more than 2000 lbs eventually. I would've preferred a 2500 lb rating, but they didn't offer a rating in between 2-3k lbs in the size/type I was using, I got the 3000 lb set which has worked pretty well, so far.
  • northern trailer springs asst..JPG
    northern trailer springs asst..JPG (128.95 KiB) Viewed 364 times
  • Since my previous spring set had a shackle tear loose from the frame. I reinforced the frame rails with 1/4" angle, boxing in/ covering over the trailer frame, I opted for all new hardware. New leaf springs and all the associated hardware are easy to come by in North Texas, and I chose to stay with leaf springs due to ready availability everywhere, and standardization of the hardware making repairs easy to do. I previously had another trailer spring problem, on my tandem trailer, which I had grossly over-loaded with engine blocks and heads, breaking one spring when it over-flexed (used a ratchet strap, 5000 lb rating, to secure the broken end). I replaced it in a parking lot near the Redneck Trailer Supply that I passed on my way home, where I got a replacement spring. Later on, I replaced much more hardware, worn and rusted out, on that trailer in 2007, when I replaced both axles with new Rockwell-American axles (each 3500 lb w/brakes), at a friend's shop near Azle, where there is another ready source for spring axle parts.
  • I added an oversized, progressive, bumpstop (modified to fit between axle and frame, with no gap), to serve as a means to soften hard jolts, and prevent the springs from over-flexing (which tore loose the shackle on my TTT, and broke the spring on my tandem trailer). I tried it as an experiment, in lieu of using shock absorbers, or air bags, or Timbren airless springs. Since I made my own "active airless suspension", I see that Timbren makes their own version, which wasn't made back in 2014, when I made mine.
  • Timbren active bumpstops, active suspension.png
    Timbren active bumpstops, active suspension.png (504.13 KiB) Viewed 364 times
    vs homemade, earlier version
  • my active suspension modification.jpg
    my active suspension modification.jpg (183.36 KiB) Viewed 364 times
  • It works very well, proving itself when it protected my springs from breakage, when my trailer flew after hitting a major pothole at 75 mph (so bad that it caused belt separation in three of my truck tires, 10 ply, on my Chevy 2500 HD). I haven't taken it off-road yet, but I think it will serve well there, too, and if too harsh, then I can adjust the bumpstop by cutting the center ligament, and make it more compliant. IMHO, leaf springs are more easily repairable/cost effective/modifiable than the alternatives.
2013 HHRv a "squareback/squaredrop" 4x8 TTT,
semi-offroad?, at barely under 2000 lbs travel weight
  • 3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube axle, w/brakes
  • 27x8.5-14LT all-terrain tires (x 3)
  • LED lighting, triple fans. Pioneer stereo
  • A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator
  • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill
  • zinc/stainless steel front racks
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