Torsion Axle VS Individual Torsion Suspension Units?

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Torsion Axle VS Individual Torsion Suspension Units?

Postby Grandadeo » Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:24 am

As a newbie, here's my first real question for Y'all. I see a lot of full width torsion axles used under the teardrops but so far haven't noticed anybody using the individual or independent torsion units, one per side. I used them on the fiberglass Mullins luggage trailer I tow behind my '32 and they have worked fine. I did a forum search for "torsion" and didn't see where this question had been raised before but I would think it has. Here's the Northern Tool site where they sell both.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/ ... allpartial

Your thoughts please?

Lee
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Postby asianflava » Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:28 am

Check this thread

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=761

The stub torsion axles are also discussed.
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Postby David Grason » Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:21 am

I see at least 3 "no I don't want thats" with the individual torsion axle ends. All these axles are is a torsion style axle with the center section of the support beam removed to save money.

#1. Aligning these units so that both wheels track the same is going to be much more critical. If you get it wrong, your trailer is going to be doing the hula down the road while drastically wearing tires out faster than you could believe. Also, it looks as though a really hard hit could knock them out of alignment. The Dexter Torflex is a heavier duty version of what the Northern Tool catalog is showing.

#2. One of the biggest advantages of having a torsion unit is that the axle beam becomes an integral part of the chassis actually adding strength to the frame itself. These individual units can't offer that. I really think that if you were to beef up your chassis to equal the Torflex, you'd have spent more time and money on materials than the difference in price would be worth. In other words, over the long run, you'd be spending dollars to save pennies.

#3. The Torflex comes with its own mounting brackets. You weld the brackets to your frame and then bolt the axle onto those brackets.* It's an excellent system. Go to my Yahoo photo album in the "Hall of Fame" and you'll see what I mean. With the individual torsion axles, you're going to have to fab your own mounts OR you're going to have to weld the axle ends straight to the frame. Do you really want to do all that extra work? If you do that, you're going to have probs down the road when the thing gets knocked out of alignment and you have to start cutting with a torch or saw to get everything back where it should be.

I just noticed a 4th disadvantage. The axle ends in the Northern catalog don't show any flange for the wheels to bolt to. Are you going to use direct spindle mounted wheels? If you want a conventional bolt up wheel, you'll have to come up with the flanges and that will put you up into the price range of the Dexter Torflex.

The only advantages that I see for these axle stubs are for really light duty applications where the trailer would be very small and carry very little weight - trailer that you would pull behind an Electra-Glide or a Goldwing.




*Actually, I bolted the brackets to the axle, place the axle in position after making careful measurements to insure everything was right, then tack welded the brackets, removed the axle and finished welding the brackets.
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Postby Nitetimes » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:33 am

Ditto what David Grason said. It's just too much work and not enough strength for the dollars saved.
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Postby angib » Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:32 pm

David Grason wrote:I see at least 3 "no I don't want thats" with the individual torsion axle ends.

David, I'd encourage anyone to go with the suspension system they prefer but that's not the same as saying other systems don't work. For example, there still seem to be plenty of people who don't trust torsion axles and want to have a tube axle on leaf springs.

In general, a one-piece torsion axle will be the easiest suspension system to use and probably the cheapest, but some of the points you've made need to be looked at:

#1. Yes, you do need to fit independent torsion units with the tires facing forwards. This is dead easy - you clamp the units to a straight piece of tubing (actually wood will do) while you tack weld their mounting plates in place. Anyone who can line up a one-piece axle will be able to line up individual units.

My experience is that the individual units generally seem to be more solidly made than the one-piece axles, but I don't think the difference is significant - both are plenty strong enough.

#2. Yes, a one-piece axle becomes a part of the frame - but I've not seen anyone here build a trailer that actually needed that - the axles's always an addition to existing frame cross members, so why is it needed?

A one-piece axle can't serve as a floor support so it's not actually a very useful part of the frame - unlike the cross member connecting independent units.

#3. Yes, you do need to make mounting plates - rectangular flat plates with holes made using the suspension unit as a drilling jig - not rocket science! I'm surprised that the supplier doesn't offer these plates ready-made (as they do here). Because the brackets are so adaptable, many of the restrictions of using a one-piece axle disappear - for example, you can mount the suspension to a transverse frame member.

#4. That's a spindle you're looking at - it's what the bearings and hub mount on.

The method to fit independent units is to make the mounting plates and bolt the units to them. Clamp the units to a straight tube or piece of lumber while you're lining them up. Tack weld the plates to the frame, unbolt the suspension units from the plates and then fully weld.

The main reason for using these independent units is if you want to build a lightweight trailer, for which they are invaluable.

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Postby David Grason » Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:50 pm

angib wrote: That's a spindle you're looking at - it's what the bearings and hub mount on.


Yes, I know what I'm looking at. But for the price, and THEN you have to buy the bearings, hubs and such, you're getting real close to the price of a Torflex. I don't see the advantage but I do agree that these would be wonderful for really lightweight trailers. That's why I mentioned earlier about pulling such a trailer "behind an Electra-Glide or Goldwing." I probably should've just said "motorcycles" instead of naming common touring motorcycles here in the states.
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Torsion Axle VS Individual Torsion Suspension Units?

Postby Grandadeo » Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:08 pm

Thanks Asianflava for pointing out that thread, that seemed to cover the issue pretty well. Don't know how I missed it when I did my search. I checked the independent torsion units on my Mullins trailer and they are the Flexiride brand that Cary Winch talked about in that thread. Called the Trailer parts outfit down in West Palm that they came from about full width axle Flexiride units but they only sell the independent units per the guy on the phone. Guess I'll do some more manufacturer surfing. Thanks David for your input too.

Lee
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Postby Nitetimes » Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:17 pm

I can see where these have their uses, and I also know their drawbacks. They really don't save a lot of weight because on a steel frame trailer, in order for them to be used to their full potential there needs to be a 2"X2" cross-member centered directly over where the stubs mount. This is necesary to keep them from twisting the frame when a load is added. They are by no means easy to set up 'properly' for the inexperienced. This is not just a simple bolt them on type procedure, if it is not done right all sorts of problems can result.
For anyone that has never used them or is unsure exactly how to mount and align them it would be much better just to go with a full axle, either solid or torque flex, either of which can be ordered to fit most any width frame.
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Postby SteveH » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:47 pm

#1. Yes, you do need to fit independent torsion units with the tires facing forwards.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Stop it, Andrew! You are killing me over here.
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Postby SteveH » Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:10 pm

All kidding aside, I considered using the stubs when I built my frame. I've seen them used on a lot of street rod luggage trailers, they were mostly the super lightweight units, and everyone I talked with that had them gave them the thumbs up.

The one thing that made me change my mind was the fact that it would be very difficult to move the axles to a different location under the trailer after it is built if the tongue weight (balance) did not come out right.

Now, haveing worried about this, built my trailer with the feature of being able to move the axle easily, the tongue weight came out perfect and moving it was not needed. So, if I were doing it again, I would use the stubs, but that's just me.
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