axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

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axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby working on it » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:32 pm

  • Why I chose leaf-springs again, as a replacement for my original ones:
  • Though I've been a die-hard devotee of leaf spring axles for many years, I've had/have vehicles that use automotive torsion suspension components, and appreciated their qualities, too. (several VW Beetles, a '64 Dodge Dart, a '67 Dodge Monaco 500, and a '04 Chevy 2500 HD pickup). But, my only contact with a torsion axle-sprung trailer, was with a worn-out 20+ year-old (maybe 30+??) pop-up trailer, that I was inspecting, when thinking of fixing it up, many years ago. There was no "spring" left in the sagging suspension, but perhaps the rubber had deteriorated? On the other hand, steel leaf springs (and coil springs, too) also sag after many years and miles of usage, and I've replaced many over the years (a '56 Chevy 150 4-door sedan, a '56 Chevy 150 2-door sedan, 73 Volvo 142, '81 Ford Courier pickup, '69 & '75 Chevy 1500 pickups, '66 Chevelle, and many on friends' vehicles, too). I've also replaced springs on several trailers, too many to remember, some of mine and of friends and relatives, so I'm very aware that all springs will definitely deteriorate over time.
  • On my squareback TTT, when I was faced with removal/replacement of the original leaf-spring axle on my TTT, I considered using a Timbren axle-less suspension (a variant inspired by torsion axles), or a Dexter Flexiride torsion (or a Torflex), in any case, with 3500 lb rating and with brakes. But, I decided that the large price difference between using a Timbren, highest-price, or Torflex or Flexiride, at less, or a Dexter leaf-spring axle, at the lowest price (as fully assembled), made me stick with the leaf-spring unit. As usual, I was on a low/no-budget, and I knew I needed to also reinforce my frame (and having to buy a welder to do so), so pricing of all parts & tools was a major concern. I bought the steel using my discounted price (job-related) from the supplier, and the inexpensive welder (actually two different ones, after I found out that my garage wiring wasn't sufficient to power the 220vac unit) at Northern Tool, and those expenditures practically forced me to choose the leaf-spring axle, to meet my budget (even though I would eventually spend another $75 for the actual springs/shackles/hardware -also at Northern- to finish the job). I ordered my axle with the spring seats welded at the Dexter factory, with the brakes already assembled, and the optional EZ-Lube hubs.
  • Another major consideration was that my fenders were firmly welded onto the frame, and would be very difficult to remove and reposition, to accommodate the installation of a Timbren or a torsion axle. I had never used either, so I was (still are) unsure where to place the axle, to ensure that the wheel would travel into the fender-space, without conflict/contact or interference. I wanted to use the fenders as-is, without removing (and possibly having to replace with new ones...another expense). So, I stayed with what I had experience with, leaf-springs, though I'm sure that the other types offer advantages over them, though at a price. At the time, I chose the cheaper and more familiar axle type...but I would try a Timbren or torsion axle, in a ground-up new build, just to see how they perform. Maybe someday?
  • pricing of torsion & Timbren was too high for me.jpg
    pricing of torsion & Timbren was too high for me.jpg (162.95 KiB) Viewed 897 times
    probably not a problem for a high-roller
  • 3500 lb Dexter leaf-spring axle from Nuera.jpg
    3500 lb Dexter leaf-spring axle from Nuera.jpg (143.08 KiB) Viewed 897 times
    price advantage; and parts are available everywhere
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: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby Sparksalot » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:59 pm

Nice comparison. I've had way down on my upgrade wish list a new axle. It's so far down it may never occur.
You don't know the power of the Dork Side.

The Compass Rose build thread
viewtopic.php?t=23213

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http://tnttt.com/Design_Library/Trailer%20for%20Two.htm
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby Lucky J » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:26 pm

Personal experience with torflex /flexride type axle.

I like the simplicity of it. Hardly no moving suspension parts.

But, unless you load them at the spring rate that they are tune to, they will be way too stif. I have purchase a flexiride axle for my utility / off road trailer about 8 years ago with 3500 pbs capacity. I went 3500, cause I wanted the biggeer axle / bearing and a bit of the load capacity. What I also like about flexiride are the independante parts. Shaft and arms are seperated piece that can be easily change even in the field. I actualy carrie a complete set of trailing arm with hub pre mounted wth full bearing.

With the Nucamp T@G outback tear drop we got last june, came a torflex 2200 pds axle. Trailer is about 1200 pnd loaded. Again, to stiff, but 2200 pds is the minimum I would go for bearing, axle size. Every thing is bouncing in the trailer. And on top of that, the system I have can not be fixe in the field, no removable component, complet assembly need to be swap.

An other draw back to those system, and that was mentioned to me by one of the tech guy at the trailer parts store, is that when flexiride is heavely used washboard dirt road at capacity, the rubber spring insert tend to warm and can get hot enough to jump a notch, making the suspension useless and it can not be fixe in the field. Maybe the arms could be rotated for a temporary fix. But this can not be done with the torflex with also broke down, this was mention by a couple of traveler that were stuck out west until they got a replacement system. They were using a regular T@B on the road.

In my case, I am looking to fab an air suspension on the T@G, but I am looking for a long travel leaf spring for an other project. Leaf would be coming from a 4.5" YJ spring.
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby tony.latham » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:53 pm

...when I was faced with removal/replacement of the original leaf-spring axle on my TTT...


Which begs the question; what happened to the old axle?

Tony
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:44 pm

I sure would like to see some photos of the axle failures due to washboards. I have read that happening a few times now but it always "I heard someone say that someone told them" type thing. I'm not saying it didn't happen but lets see the proof. And what were the conditions, Axle rate, trailer weight, size of tires, pressure.

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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby tony.latham » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:39 pm

...the tech guy at the trailer parts store, is that when flexiride is heavely used washboard dirt road at capacity, the rubber spring insert tend to warm and can get hot enough to jump a notch, making the suspension useless...


:thinking:

I'm leaning towards the "dead Torflex" story being a myth. All of the new U.S. Military utility trailers have Dexter Torflex axles. I can't even imagine what the testing procedures are. :o

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(That's my Torflex equipped 'drop on two hours of bad washboard. It cost $265 from Dexter) :frightened:

There are a few instances ––floating around the 'net-- of guys welding a torsion axle to the chassis instead of welding a bracket and then bolting it on. And perhaps that's where the story began --if it's true.

Tony
Last edited by tony.latham on Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:44 am

A 3500# axle is substantial overkill for a 1500# camper. I bought a custom Dexter Torflex #9(rated for 2200#), with brakes, from Redneck Trailer Supply, for $400.
Last edited by absolutsnwbrdr on Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby rkanz » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:46 am

My TD weighs about 600 pounds and is built on a NT aluminum 5x8 trailer. To improve the ride I removed the smallest leaf spring. I also just added 2" teflon spring liners which significantly improved the ride - reduced bouncing. I put a small piece of 1/2" vinyl tubing over the slipper spring retainer bolt, this reduced the banging. Best $10 I have spent.


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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby Lucky J » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:18 pm

This is the link to the person that as live the experience on the road on a cross canada trip.

http://golittleguy.com/forum/#/discussion/comment/60916

And the other was coming from the tech that work at the distribution center / parts dealer that sell the trailer parts in Quebec city. Why would I not trust the guys who sell and repair them??

A could provide you with an other forum link from a guy who built is own small offraod td trailer, and he went with a 1500 axle cause his yrailer was about 1000 pds, and he had to leave his trailer in the wood causse the shaft did snap while on a weekend trip in the northern quebec forest road. Went back the following weekend with an other axle. Picutres were realy nice and obvious.

3500 pns is for the axle hub /Bearing /Hub assembly, not the suspension springs.
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby tony.latham » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:26 pm

This is the link to the person that as live the experience on the road on a cross canada trip.


"In Fort Smith we managed to bend the spindle on our Dexter Axle."

Isn't a bent axle stub a bent axle no matter what the suspension?

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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby Lucky J » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:35 pm

tony.latham wrote:
This is the link to the person that as live the experience on the road on a cross canada trip.


"In Fort Smith we managed to bend the spindle on our Dexter Axle."

Isn't a bent axle stub a bent axle no matter what the suspension?

Tony


Not necessarly. Cause on those, you can not realy play with a bigger axle with softer suspension. You just don't have the flexibility of custom suspension with those. And some are easier to repair than others.

Hey, I'm not saying that they are pos, just that on some set-up, I just don't trust them nore like them that much. But on a road set-up I guess they can work, but again, having to wait 5 days for a custom axle to be shipped, to me, it is just to long. I will reuse my dexter axle that will be pull from under our TD for a small light weight flat bed utility trailer that I will use at towing distance from my place and I am sure I will be very happy with it, even with the brakes on it.

But that is me. If you like them, go for it.
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby working on it » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:00 pm

tony.latham wrote:
...when I was faced with removal/replacement of the original leaf-spring axle on my TTT...


Which begs the question; what happened to the old axle?

Tony
  • The old axle didn't break, but was bound to fail, eventually. I had a spring hanger tear loose from the frame, because the shackle bolt attached to it had been over-tightened (not by me!) when others had helped me during the original axle re-install, following the bearing/hub upgrade. The 1.25" square-tube was rusted/pitted, and had developed negative camber from overloading, as well as other shortcomings, and worried me whenever I towed the TTT. It was non-standard (which is 1.75" wide, and 25.125"- 25.25" eye to eye), and was of unknown weight rating, which was my main concern. It also only had single u-bolt and plates holding each spring to the axle (I made a supplemental locator/security strap to temporarily hold the axle in place, if the original u-bolt failed), that I couldn't find replacements for, being non-standard. Luckily, the hanger tore off when I lifted the TTT in my garage, for nut-and-bolt checking, post-trip.
  • original axle had problems.jpg
    original axle had problems.jpg (396.43 KiB) Viewed 621 times
    single u-bolts, deteriorated condition, over-loaded, negative camber....
  • I was actually happy to have a reason to replace the axle assembly with what I really wanted/needed for the TTT to be capable of semi-offroad travel, at least over un-improved roads. I specifically ordered the new 3500 lb axle non-cambered, since I didn't want any tire or bearing problems from not exactly matching load to axle rating (cambered axles will always have some tire scrub, unless the load is correct). I also installed standardized leaf springs, with the normal width and length (eye-to-eye), when I constructed new hanger/shackle/spring assemblies, that I welded/bolted together, before installing the assemblies in the original axle's location. I kept the old axle for three years, until my local handyman (helping me with my new home project yard & garage cleanout) saw it, and said he could use it. I gave it to him, with everything that I had removed from the TTT, along with the axle...the wheel spacers, too (I couldn't remove them!), the big bearings & hub conversion, as well....
  • absolutsnwbrdr wrote:A 3500# axle is substantial overkill for a 1500# camper....
  • ...not if it will be used over bad roads or be over-loaded, ever. I knew my TTT's weight (when loaded) would eventually meet or exceed the 2000 lb weight-rated springs that I first thought I would need (I had long envisioned the axle upgrade), so I bought the next step up, a 3000 lb weight-rated spring set, at a local Northern Tool.
  • sw3 springs rated at 3000 lbs (for a pair).jpg
    sw3 springs rated at 3000 lbs (for a pair).jpg (99.14 KiB) Viewed 621 times
    the best spring choice for my intended use (at the time)
  • I looked around for a 2500 lb set, but there were none available at the time, around my area), and the 3k set, would also offer some leeway in possibly ever exceeding 2.5 k springs. I think the listed standard-sized springs skip that weight-rating, though I now find them offered at E-trailer.com https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Suspension/Universal-Group/SP-219275.html. In any case, my trailer now weighs 2025 ls, and I use a homebuilt version of Timbren's Active Off-Road Bumpstop (designed by me, and built and installed years before they started selling their's). from their website>>> Active Off-Road Bumpstops---Active Off-Road Bumpstops help you take control of your suspension travel. They’re designed with a progressive spring rate that can absorb the energy created when they “bottom out.” In other words, they allow for a smoother ride when they “bump” down on the axle. My bumpstops eliminate the roughness associated with using the leaf springs, being over capacity, by 32.5% (or 42% as compared to the axle capacity, itself), since I made them more flexible, and always acting upon spring travel, not just when "bottoming-out". I may, at some future date, get the lighter springs, if I unload the trailer's current load, but for now, they work fine, as-is.
  • my active bumpstop suspension is always active.jpg
    my active bumpstop suspension is always active.jpg (135.87 KiB) Viewed 621 times
    if I need a softer ride, I can sever the inner ligament
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
153929148599153928
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Re: axles: TIMBREN $$$$ / TORSION $$$ / LEAF-SPRING $$

Postby tony.latham » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:04 pm

[img]But%20that%20is%20me.%20If%20you%20like%20them,%20go%20for%20it.[/img]

I've sworn by them for years. And the Army is committed to them.

Tony
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