Suspension Upgrade

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Suspension Upgrade

Postby billyq » Wed Jul 06, 2022 7:53 pm

Hello all. I built a Wyoming Woodie in 2020 and have been camping, mostly boondocking, since then. This last trip I noticed the axle was slightly bent. This isn't a big surprise. It's built on the NT 5x8 trailer so the axle is pretty light to begin with, and I used 1" wheel spacers so I could get 175/80R13 tires on. I don't need real off-road capability, just forest roads, but obviously I've covered enough miles on bumpy unpaved roads around here to need a better axle. What would you recommend as a moderate upgrade? I can install a replacement 2000-lb axle, but 72" wide so no spacers, or I could go to a 3500-lb axle, but this seems like it might be overkill. The drop does take quite a pounding on those forest roads, even at slow speeds. A bunch of nuts fell off my new Camp Chef stove on the drive to the first campsite last weekend. I carry anything heavy, like water, in the back of the car because the drop bounces like a ping pong ball, although maybe a bit more weight might actually help.
My trailer weighs 275 pounds, and I doubt I've added more than 200 pounds in the shell, and I only carry camping gear, so not a lot of weight. Maybe 500 pounds total. I would love to use something like Timbren but it looks like you can't get those for less than $700, and that's out of my budget.
Any suggestions?
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby KCStudly » Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:28 am

Is the bend you are seeing slightly pent up directly in the center of the axle? If so you might be seeing existing camber intentionally designed into the axle (I don't know if those trailers typically come with cambered axles).

If you are seeing a bend at either end that you know wasn't there to begin with, or if the axle is pent down in the center, I would check your suspension and frame above the axle for hard hits... even a small amount of paint loss could indicate full compression of the suspension, which is not good. Installing longer shackles would be a cheap and easy way to gain a little extra travel.

I suppose if the axle is pent down in the middle it could have been installed upside down at "the factory", assuming it has always been cambered and you just didn't notice it before(?).
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby twisted lines » Thu Jul 07, 2022 12:55 pm

I am using 3500 Lb. spindles / Bearings 2000 Lb springs.
You could go less if you need to replace spring's :thinking:
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby billyq » Sat Jul 09, 2022 1:25 pm

It's bent right at the inside of the hub, on the left side. Definitely wasn't that way before.
There's no indication the springs are bottoming out, though.
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby KCStudly » Sat Jul 09, 2022 2:34 pm

Go bigger.
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby gudmund » Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:37 pm

after replacing your axle you may want to check out the adding of a set of SumoSprings "TSS-106-40 trailer springs" between your existing leaf springs and frame. They are very easy to mount and install. Note - at the end of each year (Nov/Dec) Sumo usually puts everything they sell on sale = 15%to 25% off and this kit - thou 'not cheap' - runs around $200 but does seem to work well with leaf springs. (see pic)
164407 the left half of this pic is of fellow 'TnTTT' member "working on it" from Texas that he built himself = his 'poor man's' version - the right side pic is of my SumoSpring set-up = $$$. "working on it" stated his set-up works just fine and I am sure he spent 'alot' less on his set-up than I did on mine. But either set-up could be something else too think about.................

another thing to think about if you do end-up replacing the axle = buy the heavier duty one along with getting it a couple inches longer so as to be able to quite 'having the need' to use the "wheel spacers" for the bigger wheel/tires (you might want to size it up for even more extra room for an even a larger set of wheels/tires - say 205/75-14/15's............in the future) :thinking: :thinking:
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Re: Suspension Upgrade

Postby working on it » Sat Jan 21, 2023 11:52 am

gudmund wrote:after replacing your axle you may want to check out the adding of a set of SumoSprings "TSS-106-40 trailer springs" between your existing leaf springs and frame. They are very easy to mount and install. Note - at the end of each year (Nov/Dec) Sumo usually puts everything they sell on sale = 15%to 25% off and this kit - thou 'not cheap' - runs around $200 but does seem to work well with leaf springs. (see pic)
164407 the left half of this pic is of fellow 'TnTTT' member "working on it" from Texas that he built himself = his 'poor man's' version - the right side pic is of my SumoSpring set-up = $$$. "working on it" stated his set-up works just fine and I am sure he spent 'alot' less on his set-up than I did on mine. But either set-up could be something else too think about.................

another thing to think about if you do end-up replacing the axle = buy the heavier duty one along with getting it a couple inches longer so as to be able to quite 'having the need' to use the "wheel spacers" for the bigger wheel/tires (you might want to size it up for even more extra room for an even a larger set of wheels/tires - say 205/75-14/15's............in the future) :thinking: :thinking:


My trailer originally had a very weak axle with 8" wheels. I first changed the wheels to 14", after adding larger hubs/bearings and a 1/2" spacer/adapter (for frame clearance), while extending the frame fom 50"W x 60" L to 50"W x 96"L. I knew it was way too small for the 1400+ lbs (as loaded for my first trip) total weight. But, I was on a limited secret budget.

About six months later, while lifting the trailer in the garage (for a nut/bolt check & undercoating refreshening), I heard the right rear spring hanger tear loose, so I jumped on the chance to upgrade the axle to a larger one. By that time, my trailer was no longer on a "secret" budget. I ordered a 3500 lb Dexter axle, with brakes and easy-lube spindles, bought new spring hanger sets, hardware, and 3000 lb spring pair and proceeded to upgrade. The trailer's weight was going to increase, over time, so I went big on my choice of springs. I was correct to do so, as my 4x8 trailer now weighs 2225 lbs.

The torn frame on the right rear needed reinforcement, so I added 30" L 2"x"2" angle iron (1/4" thick), to each inner framerail, and 30"L x 2"W flat iron (3/16" thick) to each inner framerail. They were bolted/welded/glued to the existing frame, as were the spring hangers attached to them.

I had broken some springs on my car hauler trailer previously, so I fabricated what I call "progressive, active bump stops", that are bolted in place between axle and frame, always in contact so all spring action is absorbed (and the springs will never fold inward, and break). If the ride had been too firm, I could've cut a central ligament of each bumpstop to soften the ride, but it wasn't neccessary. They've worked fin for 8+ years, now.
Active suspension Daystar bumpstops.jpg
Active suspension Daystar bumpstops.jpg (457.3 KiB) Viewed 112 times
how it works (theory).jpg
how it works (theory).jpg (125.08 KiB) Viewed 112 times


Years later, I found that Sumo and Timbren had their own versions of the "progressive, active bump stop". gudmund showed the Sumo, and here's the Timbren
timbren bolt-on active offroad bumpstops.JPG
timbren bolt-on active offroad bumpstops.JPG (54.5 KiB) Viewed 112 times
much more expensive, and for 3" diameter axles, not 2 3/8"
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2220 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
156215157958148599
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