Torsion axle bad - any clever tips for temporary fix?

PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
Hi, I have been very very very hard on my poor pop-up trailer axle (lots of 4WD roads for my non-offroad PUP!) and the passenger side tire now rides directly against the fender in the fender well; also the whole trailer droops badly on the passenger side. My local Seattle Dexter distributor has a call into the Dexter factory about them building a new axle for it. However, sounds like 8 to 10 weeks is the best turnaround time I can hope for and in the meantime I'm living in the pop-up trailer and need to be able to move it every week.
As a temporary fix I've wondered if I can attach a thick rubber pad or a piece of coil spring, etc., to the 'torsion arm' (the piece that goes up and down to absorb shock) to force the tire back down out of the fender well some? (See attached picture).
 

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Arlyn Aronson

Super Active Member
Jun 11, 2014
2,084
Houghton, MI
Sure, putting a spring or chunk of stiff rubber might help but both will need to be attached somehow. How would you do that? Springs take up space, even when compressed and I'm not certain how much space you have there. Seems you might be better off finding a location to park your camper for the time being. [::)]
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,558
If you don't have to go far or fast could you go with a smaller wheel and tire while waiting.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,760
Oakland, California
Pat , answer = yes

btw, all these rubber element torsion axles will fail just like yours, which is why automobiles use steel torsion rods if they use a torsion spring design.
 

PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
Sure, putting a spring or chunk of stiff rubber might help but both will need to be attached somehow. How would you do that? Springs take up space, even when compressed and I'm not certain how much space you have there. Seems you might be better off finding a location to park your camper for the time being. [::)]
I'm imagining maybe a 6-8 in length of rubber block secured by a hose clamp around the torsion arm at either end, as one possibility.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,749
Albuquerque, NM
Ours didn't fail as badly, so I was able to finish a trip with it, and have a new one made when we got home. There's a local spring shop that has been in business since blacksmith days, services fleets of all sizes of vehicles, so we had them make a new one instead of going with the original manufacturer. They told me that the rubber parts do go bad eventually. Ours just went more quickly, which is apparently not unusual in our dry climate.
 

PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
I ended up sawing out a piece of rubber from my rubber chock block and attaching that to the top of the torsion arm with hose clamps to limit the torsion arms travel upward. I'm hoping that will keep the top of the tire from eating up the fender well.
 

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bluespruce

Active Member
Jul 6, 2011
124
necessity is the mother of invention.

i like it as a temporary fix. I’d probably check on it after a few miles down the road and see how it’s doing. One idea…. Could you run the hose clamp through the hole in the rubber instead of along the top? Might keep the hose clamp from getting smashed If it gets compressed too much.

and if possible, I’d use 2 hose clamps. In this case I think 2 is 1 and 1 is none. If the one clamp fails the rubber is bouncing down the road unless there is another clamp. Might buy you some time if you notice it soon enough.
 
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PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
I agree that definitely two hose clamps were necessary. If you look closely you will see the second hose clamp partially hidden.
 

ken1207

Member
Aug 26, 2012
93
Sure, putting a spring or chunk of stiff rubber might help but both will need to be attached somehow. How would you do that? Springs take up space, even when compressed and I'm not certain how much space you have there. Seems you might be better off finding a location to park your camper for the time being. [::)]
 

PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
I'm continuing to limp along with the rubber block spacer attached to the torsion arm (see pictures in previous reply), but I'm still seriously considering having small automotive type springs welded to the torsion arm as a temporary fix.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,749
Albuquerque, NM
I'm continuing to limp along with the rubber block spacer attached to the torsion arm (see pictures in previous reply), but I'm still seriously considering having small automotive type springs welded to the torsion arm as a temporary fix.
You might want to check around and see if there is a local shop that can make a new axle for it, rather continuing to try to jerry-rig it.
When our original axle wore out, we went to a local spring shop that made the new one for us.
 

Arlyn Aronson

Super Active Member
Jun 11, 2014
2,084
Houghton, MI
You might want to check around and see if there is a local shop that can make a new axle for it, rather continuing to try to jerry-rig it.
When our original axle wore out, we went to a local spring shop that made the new one for us.
Was that a Torsion style axle they made you?? Hummmm. Me personally, I'd stay with a OEM axle.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,749
Albuquerque, NM
Was that a Torsion style axle they made you?? Hummmm. Me personally, I'd stay with a OEM axle.
They made the same type we had before, just made locally. I do believe it is torsion, it had rubber parts that wore out, apparently common in our climate, New one is working well, but we figure it will have to be replaced or repaired one of these days.
I suspect the place we went makes all different types of axles, and more.
 

PatBarb

Member
Sep 27, 2019
15
They made the same type we had before, just made locally. I do believe it is torsion, it had rubber parts that wore out, apparently common in our climate, New one is working well, but we figure it will have to be replaced or repaired one of these days.
I suspect the place we went makes all different types of axles, and more.
True, I was very ignorant about axles and there might be local places that can indeed create something for me. I got the specs for this axle and it had some pretty specific details about trailing arm angle and all that kind of stuff, so would have been interesting to see if a local shop could deal with that.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,749
Albuquerque, NM
True, I was very ignorant about axles and there might be local places that can indeed create something for me. I got the specs for this axle and it had some pretty specific details about trailing arm angle and all that kind of stuff, so would have been interesting to see if a local shop could deal with that.
Depends on the shop. The one recommended to us has been in business since blacksmith days and deals with everything up to and including huge trailers. It was interesting to see the same carbonized stuff next to the wheel on a trailer that hauled backhoes that I'd seen when we had a bearing go. The shop had to replace the spindle that had been scored when that happened.
 

AZcanuck

Member
Aug 13, 2017
13
Dexter makes a "lift kit" for their torsion axles. You remove the bolts that mount it to the frame and insert metal spacers with new bolts. Lifted my pop up over 3 inches.
 

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PDXpopup

Member
May 28, 2019
18
I wanted to replace my sagging old torsion axle before it failed, there was no ID tag on mine, and Dexter was a 12 week wait. So, I went to a local trailer parts supplier (Potter Webster in Portland, OR) and bought a new dexter axle, hubs, bearings, leaf springs, and weld on kit. I installed the hubs and bearings on the axle, then found a local guy that does lots of small projects from his home welding shop. He fixes trailers all the time and has done a lot of these kits. I paid him $500 to cut off the old torsion axle brackets, reinforce the frame, and weld on the new spring hangers and set everything up. Now the pop-up has 13 inch wheels instead of the tiny 8 inchers. It also sits much higher, and I can tow it around in the woods a whole lot better. Worth every penny, and now if anything breaks or needs replacing, it’s all common off-the-shelf parts, instead of having to deal with that dexter axle wait time.
 

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