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mcbean7

Trailer axle question

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mcbean7

Hi guys,

I've got a question about trailer axles. What are the benefits of torsion axles over leaf spring axles?

Do torsion axles ride smoother?

Which one is more/higher maintenance?

Which one lasts longer, assuming proper maintenance?

Those with torsion axles, are you having any uneven tire wear?

The reason I'm asking all these questions is because I may need to repair/replace my axle or axles. I have an 06 Extreme tandem axle trailer and noticed (starting last summer) that tires do not wear evenly. It appears the inner edge of the tires wear MUCH faster than the outer edge. This is visible on all four tires. I have already replaced one tire last June and notice it's doing the same thing. I always check air pressure and have it set at 50 psi.

I spoke to my local Bu dealer and a couple trailer shops and have been told that it could be one or all of the following:

1. spindles going bad

2. rubber bushings in torsion axle going bad

3. bent axle

My local Bu service rep recommended I replace the torsion axles with leaf spring axles since they are less maintenance.

What do you guys think? I would hate to have to replace axles every 4 years if this is a common thing for torsion axles.

You advice is much appreciated since I know nothing about this.

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Pistol Pete

This is my total, unprofessional guess here, but I'd say leaf spring vs. torsion is about 50/50.

Leaf springs tend to squeak and have been known to break on occasion.

Torsion seemed like the new hot set-up but, I've heard of the rubber bushings inside going bad causing the owner to have to buy a whole new axle and have it painted.

I think torsion axles on Extremes are going to go the way of the oil bath hubs, bye bye.

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Bobby Light

Hi guys,

I've got a question about trailer axles. What are the benefits of torsion axles over leaf spring axles?

Do torsion axles ride smoother?

Which one is more/higher maintenance?

Which one lasts longer, assuming proper maintenance?

Those with torsion axles, are you having any uneven tire wear?

The reason I'm asking all these questions is because I may need to repair/replace my axle or axles. I have an 06 Extreme tandem axle trailer and noticed (starting last summer) that tires do not wear evenly. It appears the inner edge of the tires wear MUCH faster than the outer edge. This is visible on all four tires. I have already replaced one tire last June and notice it's doing the same thing. I always check air pressure and have it set at 50 psi.

I spoke to my local Bu dealer and a couple trailer shops and have been told that it could be one or all of the following:

1. spindles going bad

2. rubber bushings in torsion axle going bad

3. bent axle

My local Bu service rep recommended I replace the torsion axles with leaf spring axles since they are less maintenance.

What do you guys think? I would hate to have to replace axles every 4 years if this is a common thing for torsion axles.

You advice is much appreciated since I know nothing about this.

For ride quality the torsion axle is by far the best in my opinion, and they don't squeek all the time. I like the fact they can articulate indpendently as well. With that said a torsion axle trailer should be parked on level ground for storage so the axles aren't bound up. Torsion axles have a 3 year warranty if I remember correctly, not sure about the leaf spring. I've been using torsion axles for years on boat and enclosed snomobile trailers. If you do have to replace them on your dime step it up to 5K lbs axles, not sure what the load rating on the stock ones are. I had a 27' v nose snowmobile trailer they accidentally put 3500 lb axles on one time, they sure screwed that up.

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mcbean7

Thanks for the reply guys.

06-that was going to be my next question (can I get axles that handle more weight). I'm glad to hear that's an option. The local Bu dealer told me these wake boats are heavy and sometimes the axles don't do well with all that weight. I guess he's referring to the 3500 lb axles. Is there anywhere on the trailer that lists the axle capacity?

Yes, I do store the boat on a flat surface so I don't think binding is an issue (at least the floor looks flat, :unsure: ).

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WakeGirl

Have you looked at the alignment? That trailer is 4.5 years old right now (it was delivered Sept. '05), so I think that would be my first check. I never noticed uneven wear with it, so I'm guessing that an alignment may fix it.

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mcbean7

This is my total, unprofessional guess here, but I'd say leaf spring vs. torsion is about 50/50.

Leaf springs tend to squeak and have been known to break on occasion.

Torsion seemed like the new hot set-up but, I've heard of the rubber bushings inside going bad causing the owner to have to buy a whole new axle and have it painted.

I think torsion axles on Extremes are going to go the way of the oil bath hubs, bye bye.

Since I'm looking at replacing axles anyways, is there a system that's better than torsion and leaf springs that will work on the Extreme trailer?

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mcbean7

Have you looked at the alignment? That trailer is 4.5 years old right now (it was delivered Sept. '05), so I think that would be my first check. I never noticed uneven wear with it, so I'm guessing that an alignment may fix it.

Not yet WG, I'll look at doing this next. Can any tire shop do an alignment check (like Discount Tire) on a trailer?

I wonder why the Bu dealer or other trailer shop didn't recommend me do an alignment check first? They just recommended replace axle/spindle right off the bat.

Thanks for bringing this up. I'll start with that and see what I find.

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WakeGirl

Not yet WG, I'll look at doing this next. Can any tire shop do an alignment check (like Discount Tire) on a trailer?

I wonder why the Bu dealer or other trailer shop didn't recommend me do an alignment check first? They just recommended replace axle/spindle right off the bat.

Thanks for bringing this up. I'll start with that and see what I find.

I think that I'd find an alignment shop specifically & go from there. I definitely would not take it to just any tire shop, as my own experience with alignments over the years is pretty terrible with tire shops "that can do alignments".

Have you called Extreme & asked them about all of this? I'm not saying that it should be covered under warranty, but those guys are pretty knowledgeable & very helpful, & may have some other ideas on the situation.

Oh & as far as the spring vs. torsion, I've had both multiple times & I'd never go back to springs. So much bumpier, the torsions are just smoooooooth. Like butta. :)

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mcbean7

I think that I'd find an alignment shop specifically & go from there. I definitely would not take it to just any tire shop, as my own experience with alignments over the years is pretty terrible with tire shops "that can do alignments".

Have you called Extreme & asked them about all of this? I'm not saying that it should be covered under warranty, but those guys are pretty knowledgeable & very helpful, & may have some other ideas on the situation.

Oh & as far as the spring vs. torsion, I've had both multiple times & I'd never go back to springs. So much bumpier, the torsions are just smoooooooth. Like butta. :)

Are you referring to a shop that specializes in trailer repair doing the alignment check or a shop that does nothing but alignments? Sorry for the confusion. :blush:

I called Extreme towards the end of the season last year. Their response was "you have a bent axle, replace it."

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Bobby Light

Thanks for the reply guys.

06-that was going to be my next question (can I get axles that handle more weight). I'm glad to hear that's an option. The local Bu dealer told me these wake boats are heavy and sometimes the axles don't do well with all that weight. I guess he's referring to the 3500 lb axles. Is there anywhere on the trailer that lists the axle capacity?

Yes, I do store the boat on a flat surface so I don't think binding is an issue (at least the floor looks flat, :unsure: ).

They make several different models of the torsion and many different weight classes. For the parking on level ground I just meant it wasn't a good idea to park on an incline, or sideways on a hill, or up on a curb for extended periods of times. It puts added stress and improportionate weight distribution on the teflex inside the axle and can lead to premature fatigue. I've had good experiences dealing with Extreme, on my last boat it came with a short in the wiring system. They actually sent me all the parts and paid me to rewire the whole trailer.

Edited by 06vlx

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Pistol Pete

I'm no trailer alingment guy but, I'm pretty sure there is nothing that is adjustable on a trailer to get the axles/wheels back into alingment. Like Extreme said, you may have a bent axle and the only fix is replacing it for the tire wear issue. If I had to look into it, I'd be setting up a laser and getting some super-accurate measurements between all the wheels.

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mcbean7

They make several different models of the torsion and many different weight classes. For the parking on level ground I just meant it wasn't a good idea to park on an incline, or sideways on a hill, or up on a curb for extended periods of times. It puts added stress and improportionate weight distribution on the teflex inside the axle and can lead to premature fatigue. I've had good experiences dealing with Extreme, on my last boat it came with a short in the wiring system. They actually sent me all the parts and paid me to rewire the whole trailer.

Thanks for the clarification, 06. I'm good there, trailer is never on any uneven surfaces for long. AZ is as flat as a pancake compared to the Pacific Northwest. :biggrin: It makes sense that it would cause uneven wear due to uneven weight distribution, though. Good point.

I was hoping to get more help from Extreme too but their solution was very simple and to the point...replace axle. End of story. :unsure:

I'm no trailer alingment guy but, I'm pretty sure there is nothing that is adjustable on a trailer to get the axles/wheels back into alingment. Like Extreme said, you may have a bent axle and the only fix is replacing it for the tire wear issue. If I had to look into it, I'd be setting up a laser and getting some super-accurate measurements between all the wheels.

Following up on WG's advice, I'm going to call some places tomorrow that specialize in alignments and see what they recommend and will report back. I'll call Extreme tomorrow also to see if they have any other advice or give me the same advice...replace axle.

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WakeGirl

Are you referring to a shop that specializes in trailer repair doing the alignment check or a shop that does nothing but alignments? Sorry for the confusion. :blush:

I called Extreme towards the end of the season last year. Their response was "you have a bent axle, replace it."

I mean an alignment shop. There are shops that specialize in it, & they tend to be very good at it. Pete may be right though, not sure how adjustable it may or may not be. Of course with what I've seen of how alignments are done on some cars.....it would be worth a call to a good shop IMO. A good trailer repair shop may have some ideas too.

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A7X_LSV_23

Just throw a jack under both axles right in the center and let it sit for a week or two :D They'll bend back into place!

Totally kidding, please kids don't try this at home ;)

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footnlongline

Are you sure you are not overloading your trailer?

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edwin

Have you checked to ensure your bearings aren't too loose? I had the exact same problem on one of my trailers...

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mcbean7

Are you sure you are not overloading your trailer?

I don't think I'm overloading the trailer. The trailer is carrying an 06 VLX, half to full gas tank, 3-4 boards, vests, anchor, spare prop/puller, 2 batts, 2 amps, food/drinks, empty tower (no speakers), that's it.

Have you checked to ensure your bearings aren't too loose? I had the exact same problem on one of my trailers...

I plan on jacking it up this weekend and checking. I'll report back what I find. Thanks.

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MalibuTime

I don't think I'm overloading the trailer. The trailer is carrying an 06 VLX, half to full gas tank, 3-4 boards, vests, anchor, spare prop/puller, 2 batts, 2 amps, food/drinks, empty tower (no speakers), that's it.

I plan on jacking it up this weekend and checking. I'll report back what I find. Thanks.

Grab a square and see if you can determine whether your axle is bent. Not having a torsion axle I am not sure what you can square it to, but worth a try. Of course if your hub is loose then that would be it right there, and you would be very lucky your bearings did not disintegrate on the road.

Related to alignment, it would be if one axle was able to move forward or backward (like you see on the occasional pickup or van driving diagonally down the road) as opposed to camber, which is how much off vertical the plane of the hub is (like a bent axle or loose bearings would cause).

Edit - rereading the OP, since it is all 4 tires, that puts a little different spin on it and sounds like the aforementioned rubber bushings or some type of event that would have occurred to bend both axles, or possibly the axle alignment.

Edited by MalibuTime

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mcbean7

OK. Just an update.

I just got off the phone with Tony from Extreme and he recommended checking the following:

1. Tires should be radials...not biased (I'm almost certain they are radials...will double check). He mentioned that biased tires may develop uneven wear pattern.

2. Jack up trailer and see if there's any slack/play in the wheels when rocked back and forth. There should be very little to none. If there is some movement drain oil bath hubs and check center nut to make sure they are tight.

3. If there's no play in the wheels, then the only thing left is to replace axles.

Other than this, he says there's really no adjustments for camber or alignment on these trailers. Spindles don't usually go bad. If they do, it usually is on one, not all four wheels.

I called several alignment shops and got the same answer, there's nothing to adjust or realign on these torsion axle trailers.

I've got a long weekend ahead. I'll jack up trailer and see if any wheels are loose or have any play when rocked back and forth. If anything is loose, I'll drain hubs and check center nut for tightness.

I'll try to get pics also of the wear pattern and see if you guys think it's normal wear or if I do indeed have an abnormal wear pattern.

Thanks for all the feedback guys.

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water_junky

I'm no trailer alingment guy but, I'm pretty sure there is nothing that is adjustable on a trailer to get the axles/wheels back into alignment. Like Extreme said, you may have a bent axle and the only fix is replacing it for the tire wear issue. If I had to look into it, I'd be setting up a laser and getting some super-accurate measurements between all the wheels.

A good trailer repair shop has the equipment to straighten axles, yes there are no adjustments. They pull the axle and straighten it with hydraulic rams and reinstall it. I have had a number of axles that needed to be straighten due to various hazards on the highway and it's not that expensive.

Terry

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Pistol Pete

I'll drain hubs and check center nut for tightness.

Whoa, easy there McBean.

Something tells me you're not of mechanically inclined nature.

That nut that your gonna tighten is not just one of those "wrist tight" or "give it a grunt" type of nuts.

You need to know how to torque down a wheel bearing castle nut. There's a certain method to it.

You also need to know the exact torque required on that nut.

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mcbean7

A good trailer repair shop has the equipment to straighten axles, yes there are no adjustments. They pull the axle and straighten it with hydraulic rams and reinstall it. I have had a number of axles that needed to be straighten due to various hazards on the highway and it's not that expensive.

Terry

Terry,

If an axle is re-straightened using hydralic rams, will it be as strong as original or will it bend again? Will the bending repair weaken the metal?

Whoa, easy there McBean.

Something tells me you're not of mechanically inclined nature.

That nut that your gonna tighten is not just one of those "wrist tight" or "give it a grunt" type of nuts.

You need to know how to torque down a wheel bearing castle nut. There's a certain method to it.

You also need to know the exact torque required on that nut.

Is it that obvious, Pete? LOL :whistle:

No, I'm not very mechanically inclined. I can follow directions but don't have too much hands on experience with this sort of thing. Always willing to learn, though. :thumbup:

Maybe I'll just jack it up and shake the tires to see what I find. If it is loose and bearings and nut needs to be checked, I'll come back for advice.

Thanks for the heads up Pete. :biggrin:

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WakeGirl

FWIW Pete, those are the oil bath hubs that he's got.

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CumminsBu

Extreme Trailers use UFP axles and braking system. Here is a link to a details on Trailer Buddy Axle Maintenance, download the Gold series axle PDF.

http://www.ufpnet.com/Axles/tabid/55/Default.aspx

The spindle nut should be 18-29 inch-pounds or about finger tight.

Good Luck

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water_junky

Terry,

If an axle is re-straightened using hydralic rams, will it be as strong as original or will it bend again? Will the bending repair weaken the metal?

I have never had any more problems with axles that were straighten, generally they don't have to bend them very far.

Terry

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