2001 Coleman Utah Spring Over Axle Project

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by AZLetendre, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. AZLetendre

    AZLetendre New Member

    67
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    Apr 16, 2008
    Well, I finally got the time and money to do it, so here is a brief write up on my spring-over conversion on a 2001 Coleman Utah. I will try to document as much as I can so show others who may be interested.

    <b>CAUTION: If you are not handy in any way, comfortable with tools, and don;t have the proper safety gear, please DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. Be safe!</b>

    When you lift your PUP for work, brace all 4 corners on Jack Stands rated for the PUP weight and place them under the box frame rails, not the small support rails. <b>NEVER NEVER NEVER</b> rely on the jack to hold the PUP while you are working on it, the jack is simply the tool to get i ton the stands. Also, DO NOT use your stabilizers to hold the entire weight of your PUP.

    <b>First Step</b> is axle removal: In the Utah, the spring setup is a slipper spring, so you only have 1 bolt on each side to remove, the forward bolt. With an impact wrench and a small sledge (5 lb) this was easily done. THE AXLE SHOULD ALSO BE HELD UP WITH A SMALL JACK WHILE REMOVING THE BOLTS. Once they are removed, slowly lower the axle and allow it to rotate and rear springs will come over the retainer bolts very easily. Now, here is what you will have:
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3464.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3466.jpg" border=0>

    <b>Step 2</b> Remove the springs from the axle by loosening the 2 u-bolts on each side. The bolts will then require a small tap of a hammer (I used a ball-pin hammer) to get them free. Set bolts and nuts aside. Once they are off, you can remove the backing plates and springs from the axle.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3465.jpg" border=0>

    This is how far I got tonight after work. Be sure you have purchased new spring perches to weld on, that step comes later... Mine were bought at the trailer supply store near me for only $5.00 each, the only concern I have is there is a small gap in the lower portion on each one, but the size is the correct measurement... any suggestions would be appreciated. Pictures of my concern are here:
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3467.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3468.jpg" border=0>

    Stay tuned, I will keep you updated as I do more.

    Brian Letendre, KE6IRJ
    TV - 1998 Toyota 4Runner
    PUP - 2001 Coleman Utah
     
  2. recumbentman

    recumbentman Ventura, Ca

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    Apr 11, 2006
    Brian
    Great pictures and nice write-up. I will be watching this mod as you continue on. As far as the gap you mention. I am pretty sure its just for the tolerances of the dia. of the axle housing. Can you imagine the headaches if the notch-out was on the small side and you had to enlarge it.
    Keep use posted and great job so far.

    <center><img src=../Images/flags/us.gif border=0 align=middle alt="United States">05 Fleetwood Resolute<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 03 Jeep Cherokee /99 WinStar <img src=../Images/flags/us.gif border=0 align=middle alt="United States">
    *** Ride to Eat / Eat to Ride ***
    My<font color=blue>MODS</font id=blue>page</center>
     
  3. wileetoyote

    wileetoyote http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=13105.0

    223
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    Feb 13, 2008
    Chandler, AZ
    Nice project Brian. Your gonna love having the extra ground clearance.

    I wouldn't worry bout the gaps on the end. Its not ideal but it looks like you'll have more than enough of a weld bead if you weld just the good contacting areas. those spring purches are pretty massive so no worries.

    you gonna arc or wirefeed?

    WET

    Wile E Toyote
    'Super Genius'
     
  4. AZLetendre

    AZLetendre New Member

    67
    0
    Apr 16, 2008
    More progress, and completion...

    Once I had the axle out, we had a few days of insane business and snow of all things, so progress came to a halt. I finally got the few minutes it took to prepare the welds by grinding the axle areas down and beveling the perches, now I had to invite my friend over to do my welding.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3568.jpg" border=0>

    A huge thank you to Andrew (my welding buddy) who managed to come over on Sunday and do the welds. He did a great job and it only took about an hour total time.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3566.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3569.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3570.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3567.jpg" border=0>

    After the steel cooled down, I hit it with primer and flat black to protect it. I also hit the axle tube to clean it all up a bit.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3576.jpg" border=0>

    After that, I had to stop due to appointments with family.

    Tonight (Monday) after work I was back at the project getting the axle back together and installed. First, I reassembled the spring/u-bolt assemblies and attached them to the axle.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3577.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3578.jpg" border=0>
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3579.jpg" border=0>

    Next, I had to slide the axle back under the trailer and get it into place. I was doing this alone, so it took quite a few trips walking around the axle to move it just a little more... but I finally got it with the help of my floor jack and the steadying hand of my lovely wife.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3580.jpg" border=0>

    Finally, remount the tires and compare heights and the new look.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3581.jpg" border=0>

    <b>NOTE:</b> If you do this, jack the trailer up an excessive amount before starting, I had to raise all the jack stands to get the tires on, the new height was that much higher.

    We also lowered the step to see where it was now and if we would need a ground step, I think we will be okay, but we definitely are higher by around 4-5 inches.
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3582.jpg" border=0>



    So here is a picture of the trailer at the original height behind my 4Runner:
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG8259.jpg" border=0>

    and here it is now:
    <img src="http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd132/AZLetendre/2001%20Coleman/CIMG3583.jpg" border=0>

    It is hard to tell from these two pictures, but I got about 4" of lift from this conversion, and it also made the air flow under nearly equal for towing, so I am anticipating less drag from the air dam of a trailer. Overall, the project can be done in a day if you have a whole day to work and can weld or have someone helping who can. I did mine after work each day and had to get a welder to come over...
    total time = 1 week
    total hours actually working on project= 6-8 hours

    Brian Letendre, KE6IRJ
    TV - 1998 Toyota 4Runner
    PUP - 2001 Coleman Utah

    Edited by - AZLetendre on February 16 2009 23:42:35
     
  5. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

    5,391
    2
    Aug 20, 2007
    Western MA
    Wow, nice work and GREAT write up! Success!

    *Kevin*
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2001 Starcraft Constellation Gemini
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 96 Cherokee 2dr 5spd,
    Booked '09: 49 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tongue">
     
  6. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

    2,216
    124
    Feb 6, 2007
    Centerville, OH
    Excellent work. I actually like the "look" of the finished product better when it is behind your TV.

    ______________
    2004 Expedition & 2000 Palomino Mustang SL-SG-FT
    http://www.thecampingchild.com
     
  7. grcooperjr

    grcooperjr Lunatic

    1,557
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    May 21, 2007
    Tigard, OR
  8. NeedtoRoam

    NeedtoRoam Colorfull Colorado

    382
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    Dec 29, 2008
    Centennial, Colorado
    Brian, can you still use the stabilizers or are they too short.
    I'm about ready to have this done maybe this week at Starcraft dealer near my office for 125.00. Looks great just what I want, nice job!
    Fred

    2000 Coleman Westlake.1999 Dodge Ram 1500,1998 Dodge Durango and a 18' Tipi.
     
  9. AZLetendre

    AZLetendre New Member

    67
    0
    Apr 16, 2008
    Fred, with th eperches and time, mine cost a total of $14.00 (and that includes the paint too). As for the stabilizers, the reach barely on level ground, so in areas where I am offset, it may be close, but I have wood for that until I buy longer ones.

    Only thing I need now is a standard hitch ball, not a 4" drop. I have one, but the wrong size ball, so a little switch and I will be in business.

    Brian Letendre, KE6IRJ
    TV - 1998 Toyota 4Runner
    PUP - 2001 Coleman Utah
     
  10. ColemanBayviewMoneypit

    ColemanBayviewMoneypit New Member

    10
    0
    May 13, 2008
    Dang!!! Great write/pics up!!! I do know a Coleman Bayview that is gonna trought the same process..

    Since your camping season is much closer than mine please tell us if you see any difference while towing (less drag, more swing, etc..) Thanks and again, good job.

    ps: How hard was it to diconnect/re-connect the brake lines ?(my PU is stored and surronded by snow so i can't go and take a look at it).

    '98 Colemn Grandview 08Cherokee 3.0CRD
    '67 Patrick '68 France
    '98 Marie-Pier
    '01 Ariane '01 Daph
    Montréal,Québec
     
  11. NeedtoRoam

    NeedtoRoam Colorfull Colorado

    382
    0
    Dec 29, 2008
    Centennial, Colorado
    Brian,I think the wood blocks will be the best to go, even if you spent the time and money to lengthen the stabilizers you know you'll be in a situation where you'll need the wood blocks, so just carry them no big deal.
    I went be the Starcraft dealer today and talked to them about their deal for 125.00 to do the flip. I was asked to bring the Axel in and they would do the modification for 60.00. Their lot is packed with pop-up's and no space to leave the PUP.
    If I have to drop the Axel I'll just do the job myself, I know how to weld.
    Patrick mentioned above, how did you handle the electric Brake wires,is there a quick disconnect, I guess I'll find out.
    You did a great job!
    Fred

    2000 Coleman Westlake.1999 Dodge Ram 1500,1998 Dodge Durango and a 18' Tipi.

    Edited by - NeedtoRoam on February 17 2009 20:05:14
     
  12. AZLetendre

    AZLetendre New Member

    67
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    Apr 16, 2008
    Well, the brake wires were simple, I cut them and then reattached. I bought $1.00 worth of shrink tubing and re-sealed them good as new (I hope). I don't have a brake controller in the TV yet, so I am not sure. That is a $300.00 project to have them done right...

    Brian Letendre, KE6IRJ
    TV - 1998 Toyota 4Runner
    PUP - 2001 Coleman Utah
     
  13. magoo356

    magoo356 New Member

    2
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    Apr 22, 2009
    Brian,
    Many thanks for taking the time to post the excellent pictures.
    After looking at them and your project, I do have a question for you or others in this forum.
    I have a 1998 Coleman Westlake. When I looked at the axle/springs etc to consider raising it like you did, I panicked when I looked at the axle housing!
    It is bent. So after looking at your pictures, yours looks bent also. Well maybe not bent but not a straight housing.
    So is the axle housing NOT straight? Is mine ok? I bought it use so not sure what it has been through.
    What makes me wonder if it is bent is that the tires are cupped and wearing on the outsides enough to make the camper hop going down the road. Is it just bad tires?
    I hate to buy new tires only to ruin them if the axle is bent.
    Thanks for all the tips in this forum. It is really helpful!
    Neil

    2005 Chevy Silverado Ext Cab
    1998 Coleman Westlake
    Icom 706MKIIG/Z100/Hustler Mobile HF
     
  14. racedirt1

    racedirt1 New Member

    96
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    Jan 19, 2006
    Nice job with the axle flip, your 4Runner looks familiar? Are you on YT or T4R.ORG?


    ('72) Me
    ('71) DW
    ('03) DD
    ('05) DS

    2000 Coleman (Fleetwood) Fairview
    2001 4Runner
     
  15. RhinoDave

    RhinoDave New Member

    2,321
    1
    Oct 29, 2008
    Lake Orion, Mi.
    Neil. Don't worry. The axle is supposed to be arched like that to compensate for flexing from the weight of the trailer. That's why you can't just rotate the axle 180 degrees and use the old spring seats to mount the axle on the underside of the springs. You have to weld new spring seats on the top of the axle to maintain the axle in the orginal orientation.

    Built for comfort...not speed.
    97 Coleman Niagara 87 Coleman Sun Valley (project) 08 Chevy Trailblazer
     
  16. magoo356

    magoo356 New Member

    2
    0
    Apr 22, 2009
    Hey thanks for the info! wow, I was really worried.
    So what would cause the cupping of the tires only on the outside edges?
    Both tires are that way. Also, one of the rims has a dent in it right on the edge of the rim like they hit a pot hole or something. It still holds air, but I'm sure I won't trust it except as a spare from now on.

    Sorry if this is slightly off topic.
    Thanks,
    Neil

    2005 Chevy Silverado Ext Cab
    1998 Coleman Westlake
    Icom 706MKIIG/Z100/Hustler Mobile HF
     
  17. NeedtoRoam

    NeedtoRoam Colorfull Colorado

    382
    0
    Dec 29, 2008
    Centennial, Colorado
    Brian, Finished my axle flip on our 00 Westlake after seeing your and we like it allot!! and the stabilizers still work. Best mod I have done yet>
    Fred

    2000 Coleman Westlake.1999 Dodge Ram 1500,1998 Dodge Durango and a 18' Tipi.
     

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