Choosing your Offroad TD AXLE

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Choosing your Offroad TD AXLE

Postby Dave Nathanson » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:50 am

A lot of opinions about what kind of axle to use for an off road teardrop trailer. A lot of people told me in no uncertain terms that the drop axles / torsion axles were the newer design, and better all around for everything.

Me, I'm still partial to the simplicity of a leaf sprung straight axle. Something I can fix on the trail if need be. When we were building, I was going to get the 2000 pound rated axle, but after talking with the famous Larry Sorensen who bent his 2000# axle running the washboard dirt roads in Baja Mexico, he convinced me that the 3500 lb axle was a better, stronger choice.

It doesn't actually weigh 3500 pounds, that's just the amount of load it can carry. The 3500# axles are a lot sturdier than the 2000# axles. If you are an offroader, this matters. If your TD never leaves the pavement, and never known how brutally tough a few dozen miles of washboard road can be, then you're probably fine with any axle.

But we are here in the Offroad TD forum, and for us folks who are in here - I'm strongly recommending a 3500# axle. With electric brakes, even if your local laws don't require them. Here's a link to a photo of our axle. You can even read the numbers.
http://td.roughwheelers.com/OurTearDrop ... tml#3.html

We bought the axle from Mighty Mover Trailers in Corona, CA 800-920-2233. It was $312 in Nov of 2003. They had to special order it. The receipt says:
51-3500# Axle w/ Elec Brk.
74" HF- 56SCB. 5-4.5
(that's the lug nuts; 5 on 4.5 to match the Jeep). the trailer is about 5 feet wide.

Anyway, we're real happy with it, and it's holding up great. I feel that I made a good choice of axle for this purpose.
-- However If I had known that I could have ordered the same axle with electric brakes and also with a parking brake, I would have. --
Last edited by Dave Nathanson on Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby jagular7 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:07 am

Dave, welcome to the offroad forum. I've seen your website on the trips and build. Looks great.

I'm starting off with a military M101 trailer frame. I'm going to keep it leaf spring also. But will be looking for a straight axle with parking brake. I'd prefer a parking brake as it's usually not flat in a primative camping spot.

Question I have is why use electric brakes?

I've got a 97 TJ, 4"+ lift, 34" LTBs, 4.88s, locked front and rear, D30/8.8, stock 4cyl/auto/231 tcase.
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Postby Joanne » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:26 am

Dave,

I haven't seen you around for quite a while! Welcome back!!

Although I probably won't do a Baja trip like yours, I sure enjoyed reading your journal. My dad and I used to travel down to the Sea of Cortez quite a bit but over on the mainland side (Guaymas and Rocky Point). I've also done some scuba diving out of La Paz.

I could see where your experiene would be a benefit in the Offroad forum.

Joanne
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Postby Dave Nathanson » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:05 pm

Hi Mike,
I've got a similar Jeep! Mine is a 98 Tj, 4" Currie JJ lift, swaybar disconnects, 32" BFG ATs, 4.10s, ARBs front & rear, onboard air, factory Dana 30& 44, 6 cyl, 5 spd, 231 Tcase, tailshaft shortening kit, currie drive shaft, lots of custom skid plates, full cage, R&M Specialty products Hot Water Jeep Shower, Areo Tanks steel 21.5 gal gas tank with 3/8" skid plate... and like that.

I just posted a message a minute ago with a scenario of one thing that can happen if you don't have trailer brakes when going down a steep offroad hill with an unbraked trailer.

I also know an Aussie who's small trailer flipped his Cherokee said that it probably wouldn't have happened with a braked trailer. Scroll to the bottom to see his flipover photos.
http://go.jeep-xj.info/Specs.htm

Anyway, brakes would have helped, even if they wouldn't have totally prevented the roll. I also really feel the difference if I forget to connect the trailer plug - so the TD brakes aren't working.

When the TD brakes are hooked up, it stops well, otherwise it will stop, but in a much longer distance, and more slowly. Feels like work.
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Postby Dave Nathanson » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:57 pm

Joanne wrote:Dave,

I haven't seen you around for quite a while! Welcome back!!

Although I probably won't do a Baja trip like yours, I sure enjoyed reading your journal. My dad and I used to travel down to the Sea of Cortez quite a bit but over on the mainland side (Guaymas and Rocky Point). I've also done some scuba diving out of La Paz.

I could see where your experience would be a benefit in the Offroad forum.

Joanne

Thanks! It's good to be back. I've been really busy taking a bunch of little trips, and trying to keep up with work. Too busy to even update my own web page for quite some time. I will try to check in here as possible. I have a passion for the 4x4 teardrop, and I like to help.
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Postby jimqpublic » Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:34 pm

Also note that the 3500# axle gets 10"x2" brake drums instead of the 2000# axle's 7"x1-1/4" drums. That's 2.3x more braking area.

Why get brakes?... Because my feet aren't as tough as Fred Flintstone's?
Jim
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Postby Heepin » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:06 am

Hello fellow jeepers. :peace2:

Something I've also been thinking about is that the heavier & taller wheel / tire combination on an offroad td is going to have significantly more leverage on the axle/spindle/bearing structure. That, and a 33" tire on a steel wheel could easily add 10-20 lbs of rotating unsprung weight.

I'm fairly sure I'm going with a 3500# & 10" brakes. Wheels and tires in the beginning will be 33x10.50 BFGs and cragar soft 8s.

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Postby Sonetpro » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:42 am

I used a 3000lb axle with 2000lb springs I also added Jeep shock's. Tires are 235x70x15 The bolt pattern is 5x5.5 same as the CJ. The clearance is 19" the same as the Jeep.
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Postby Dave Nathanson » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:00 am

Hi SteveT,
That looks great!
Does your TD come off the ground when you hit a rock? I'm wondering about springs, and how light or heavy they ought to be. Our TD really gets airborne when I hit a rock at 15mph.
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Postby Sonetpro » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:42 am

Hi Dave,
It doesn't get airborne. But I don't go rough offroading with it. Just rough beach to the secret spot. The shock's seem to keep the tires on the ground.
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Postby jagular7 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:46 am

Dave, rather than beat up your TD looking for the r&d on springs and shocks, why not work with just a frame. You could look for a trailer frame on the craigs list, an old camper no one wants, etc. Configure it to be near same weight as your TD.
I'm thinking that your springs is too short and stiff, and the shackle bolts too tight. I've loaded my utility trailer with wood and really didn't notice any squat from the springs. The springs/axle is 3500#. IIRC the springs are only 18" long, shackle 2". The tires took the squatting more.
Think of the Sami with stock leafs vs using YJ springs.
Mike
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Postby PresTx82 » Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:19 pm

It looks like most agree with a 3500# axle for off roading, but what about the frame? A 2" tube frame I think should be the minimum don't you think?

Sonetpro, I love your Teardrop! Looks like it has been there and back!
Mark
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Postby mamos » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:18 am

How about using the rear torsion spring suspention from an old VW beetle

These have a proven off road history

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Postby TD4FREEW/CTD » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:41 am

i wonder if the fact that a leaf spring setup puts the loaded points farther away from each other on the frame makes it fundamentaly stronger than putting the loaded point of the frame all in one small area (like a torsion axle).
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Postby CaBowhunter » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:45 pm

I went with a swing arm/coil with standard shocks . It handles very well and off roads just as well .



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