Thread: Torsion Axles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    183

    Default Torsion Axles

    Hi all,

    I've seen a few discussions about torsion axles on the forum. I really don't have a strong opinion about them one way or the other. They are very popular in the teardrop trailer community. My trailer has springs, but I just built a frame for a friend who is using torsion axles.

    In the offroad environment my concern would be with their strength. If you buy a beefy 2000 lb axle, then your trailer is oversprung for the weight that you are carrying. If you buy 1000 lb axles then you might be understrength. With a spring axle setup you can purchase a 2000 lb axle and use 1000 pound springs to achieve the desired strength and still have the appropriate spring rate for the load.

    I don't think there is a "right" answer. Each of you will need to make the decision you are comfortable with and share you experiences with the rest of the community.

    I do want to post a word of warning here. (and a few photos). A friend of mine used torsion axles on his beautiful teardrop and recently had a major issue. The most important fact is that his axles were machined so they could be greased externally using a grease gun. It appears that the machining caused the axle to be weaker than it should have been.

    A few weeks ago a bunch of us met just outside of Austin Nevada for a weekend get-together. On the way home his trailer broke a spindle and ended up in the desert.

    Before:



    After:







    Again, I am not condemning torsion axles in general, but I would stay away from the ones that are machined for external lubrication!!

    Joanne
    New!! www.camp-cook.com - Like to camp? Like to eat? This is the place!
    Project Desert Dawg - I build my own camping trailer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Posts
    4,119
    Two issues here.

    1) Torsion axles for off highway use.

    2) Bad spindles.

    For the torsion axle issue it's easiest to read our article at http://www.adventuretrailers.com/suspension.html basically use torsion axles off the pavement at your own peril.

    Bad spindles. We use US made axle components only. Our experience with components made overseas has been variable. I'm not knocking where the components are made, just the QC on the parts. A badly cast spindle can result in what you see in the pictures.

    Spindles with zerk fitting at the end of the spindle are a common part, may have been a mixture of bad casting and machining, but it's unusual to have a failure like this because of the style of spindle. We use bearing buddies instead of the zerk set up.

    3500 lb torsion axles can be derated to 2200 lbs by reducing the amount of rubber inserts and still maintain the larger spindles.

    More than this technical aspect I'm really sad to see a lovely trailer like that totalled.
    Last edited by Martyn; 10-24-2009 at 05:44 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    183
    Martyn,

    Both good points! Just to be clear, this was a street-only trailer. The campground was dirt but the trailer wasn't an off-roader. Also, according to my friend, the axle was manufactured in Texas. As you point out, it was probably faulty from the get-go.

    As a side note, I finally got to see one of your trailers in person the other day. It looked like it was heading out of town pulled by a Toyota Pre-Runner. What a great trailer. You guys build amazing stuff! Also, kudos to you for freely sharing your knowledge and experience with everyone here. I'm sure your information has kept a number of builders on the right track. I always enjoy reading your posts...

    Joanne

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    Two issues here.

    1) Torsion axles for off highway use.

    2) Bad spindles.

    For the torsion axle issue it's easiest to read our article at http://www.adventuretrailers.com/suspension.html basically use torsion axles off the pavement at your own peril.

    Bad spindles. We use US made axle components only. Our experience with components made overseas has been variable. I'm not knocking where the components are made, just the QC on the parts. A badly cast spindle can result in what you see in the pictures.

    More than this technical aspect I'm really sad to see a lovely trailer like that totalled.
    New!! www.camp-cook.com - Like to camp? Like to eat? This is the place!
    Project Desert Dawg - I build my own camping trailer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    NORCAL/NORNV
    Posts
    1,932
    My Tentrax has DEXTOR 1400# axles/3500#hubs

    Three years, over 5000 miles with avg load carried (900) lbs on/off road

    Garage storage with battery maintainer on battery and (important), trailer always stored with ------WEIGHT OFF AXLES-----

    JIMBO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,566
    I have 3500lb axles on a 1800lb trailer, and it rides great. <shrug>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Forest Falls, CA
    Posts
    8,468
    Our Adventure Trailer is Torsion with a 3500# Dexter. Works fine and has been on the road for many years (its a 2004). Only drawback i see with it is that it's bouncy which i counter with air pressure.
    Dave & Yoshi
    The Adventure Duo
    2003 Sportsmobile EB 7.3 PSD
    1997 Landcruiser 80 Series Collectors Edition
    2005 Suzuki DRZ400s
    Tread Lightly! Trainer | Manufacturer of the Trasharoo

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