fit for purpose

Discussion in 'Taking Your Camper Off Road' started by Anthony Hitchings, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    elsewhere I have posted out replacing spring on my 2003 Scout, which we bought used in February 2019. Its factory unloaded weight is 895 Lbs per the placard.

    So, we do take it off road for BLM campgrounds and boondocking. We try to not jounce it egregiously. The springs have flattened for the 2nd time since the trailer came off the showroom floor.

    My sense is that I prefer to use the same springs and replace them as needed in kind. I don’t want to put in stiffer springs and shake the Aliner into it constituent components.

    The spring hangers are about 20” apart, so there are no options for a softer spring that still has 1,000 Lb rating.

    BTW, the online spring outlets for these small leaf springs do not list spring constants (stiffness).

    That is all I have to say at this time.
     
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  2. generok

    generok Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I didn't go through the numbers, but springs should not be a consumable item like tires and brake shoes. The only thing that should cause permanent deformation is deflection beyond the design range of the spring (or heating the spring under load). Something is afoot here, but I can't put my finger on it. You're sure you're loaded within the max weight of the axle, right?
     
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  3. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    What he said^^^
     
  4. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes, I am sure of my weight; by two different methods. My sense is that the on-road Aliner camper is not suited for off-road use; due to its light suspension

    Too bad, its going to continue to be used off-road. Its what we have, its the right size, and it meets all our other needs.

    What I just did, a minute ago, is to order slightly stronger springs, at 1,290 Lbs each, from easternmarine.com (they have a good range of springs). I also had to order new bushings, to get the correct size.

    Lets see how that slightly stronger spring approach works out.

    I don't want to do a big jump in springs in case the trailer shakes itself to bits on the back roads.

    FYI - I uploaded the catalogue from the suspension parts vendor.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
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  5. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Active Member

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    Anthony, if you are towing one of these factory PUPs off road much at all you will destroy it. We have a Flagstaff 228BHSE. It comes from the factory with a spring over suspension, 15" so called off road tires. The frame is 2X4 tubing. Other than the frame being stiffer, heavier and the spring over and large tires giving it more ground clearance giving the fat boy more room to crawl around under it it is no stronger or different than a standard Flagstaff 228 that I can see. I would not consider a 40 mile trip on a rough road with it. It just won't handle it. The main reason I bought it was the 15" tires and I wish I had not did that because our old dog has trouble getting in and out of it. We had a pretty bad ass off road teardrop but, no creature comforts. It was tuff and had an outdoor kitchen. But hard for me to get in and out of.
     
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  6. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, our not-for-off roading ALiner 's only problem so far has been flattening the springs (twice). The cabin box and roof have held up great, as has the chassis. We obviously slow down a lot off road. And in terms of miles, the off-road miles are not a lot. I do think that the axle on our unit never had any camber. We tend to to the Aliner to a base camp and it stays there for a few days, while we do day trips on the Jeep - or simply on foot.

    FYI, our recent trip total in the Jeep was 4,360 miles. the ALiner did less. Of that, the ALiner travelled about 200 miles on gravel or dirt.
     
  7. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Active Member

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    Just be careful with it because they all are easy to bend. I have thought about trying this. Your A-liner would be more suited because it is quicker to set up and take down.
    https://sites.google.com/site/northamericaadventuretrail/home/trans-america-trail
     
  8. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    We take our little flagstaff 176ltd down rough FS roads 35 - 40 miles one way almost every time we camp. We flipped the axle years ago and put bigger tires on and that’s it. No issues twenty years later. These pups can handle more abuse than you think. As far as the springs one side is now slightly lower than the other. Not enough for a new set of springs yet. We just level it at the campsite. I can see the springs wearing out over time.
     
  9. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Active Member

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    A forest road is not like Kamikaze Anthony drives on and having an older PUP you probably have one built much better than what we are buying today.
     
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  10. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I thought he lives in Cali. God knows our dirt roads in NW Wyoming got nothin on those lol.
     
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  11. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    most of our dirt road travel towing the Aliner has occurred in Utah, in Cedar Mesa and Escalante. At Canyonlands we did NOT drag the trailer down to Mineral Bottom.

    On a side note, even with the 3+ inch lift on the camper, from the spring over axle change, we still catch the rear end when crossing some minor drainages on dirt rods. The rear bumper is no longer cosmetically like-new.
     
  12. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    Springs theoretically never wear out from normal use, and I would include taking it off road as normal use.

    I'd look for a spring shop and have them take a look. They usually work on heavy trucks, but I'm sure they could get your camper properly fixed.
     
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  13. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Active Member

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    Despite Kamikaze Anthony being a prune picker he ain't scared to try stuff and is a remarkable judge of where to go for adventure and he has a vast knowledge of the area. I have said this before that I have been to Moab 3 times all for 5 days and I have not seen 1/3 of the place. I believe one could spend the entire summer in that area and never see everything with in 200 miles of Moab. The minimum navigation instrument is a Fun Treks map. then you need a National Geographic's maps of the area and I will get back to that. GPS and cell phones don't work in some of the narrow slot canyons. After I lost two tires on a shelf road and spent the night there I came home and ordered several NG maps of the area like 10. The reason I ordered them is the Fun Treks maps have great detail and turn by turn navigation the map is strictly of the trail. If you get off of their map to explore something you have nothing. Back to the NG maps, when they get here there is a pamphlet guide Labeled Camping with Bears. I wasn't billed for it but, I called them thinking I had someone else's stuff. They told me they sent it to me because all the maps I ordered were in Bear country. You talk about puckered up after them telling me that! I spent the night an a 12' wide road R side rock wall L side 400' or more straight down. Anthony, have you been in the Manta LaSalle National forest NE of Moab? How about White Rim road? White rim can be a 2 day drive w/o a trailer. The drive down the Schafer switchbacks from the visitors center at Canyon Lands is worth the price of admission it is a big wide easy drive winding along the Colorado River. I have seen Tour busses going down it and tons of MH's Check it out. And rent a Jeep at least one day there. You can see most of Arches in your TV. Fall is the rainy season there and they have dangerous flash floods.
     
  14. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Speaking of National Geographic maps - they are a travesty. They have lines on them all right, but most features of real interest are not named, rendering the map pointless (e.g., the Cedar Mesa Grand Gulch etc map). And you wonder why kids use maps on their cell phones?

    The NG maps look pretty, just like the "Interior Decorators" at Windows like to gussy up your desktop PC experience. But the NG maps lack a lot of substance.
     
  15. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Re Canyonlands, Moab, Cedar Mesa etc, I don't know all that much, but wife and I have poked around on wheels and on foot here and there! At Cedar Mesa, recently, while hiking, we turned around part way down Sheiks Canyon - it was too steep for oldies, but we were rewarded by finding a granary and "house" on our way back via a side canyon.

    Separately, we did make it all the way to the "Wall" Ruins on the South Fork of Mule Canyon - very rewarding.
     
  16. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    We have not spent time in the Manti La Salle "forest".
     
  17. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    We drove down Shafer Trail switchbacks a few years ago (no camper) and came out via Potash Road. This last trip, we drove down (and later, back up) the Mineral Bottom switchbacks, in order to hike up part of Taylor Canyon. I do not care for the White Rim Road (named for white knuckles holding the steering wheel).

    A great partial day hike is Murphy Pt trail, take one leg (only) down to the plateau below your starting level, then head SW (or maybe S) till you get to the edge (don't hike out to Murphy's Hogback). Its a nice round trip on a good trail that really gives you a feel for being "in" canyonlands. Do not do the full loop hike. We stashed a 28 Oz water canteen at the bottom of the foot trail switchbacks.
     

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  18. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Active Member

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    I don't use them to find points of interest. I use them to find my way when I run off of the page on the Fun Treks maps. They are too big for everyday navigation. A good place to find maps and guides is Back of Behind the Rocks book store in Moab.
     
  19. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    On a prior trip we drove out to Arches N.M. directly after an early breakfast in Moab. It was cloudy so we did not expect much. As it turned out, the presence of clouds in the photos made the photos much better.
     
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  20. George Dion

    George Dion New Member

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