Torsion Axle Lift DIY (Photo Intense)

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by thelmuth, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    I was not happy with how low my camper sat, even with a 6" drop hitch it is nose high and I had to be careful going over certain bumps, etc.

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    I checked into commercially available lift kits and found one from Dexter, which gave a 2 5/8" lift for around $80. I looked into how it was designed and implemented and decided I could do a DIY, get 3" lift and save a few $$$. I purchased a 2' piece of 2x4 rectangular steel tubing and 8, 1/2" x 1 1/4" bolts w/ washers and locknuts. Total cost ~$40. In retrospect 1" bolts would have been long enough.

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    I measured the mounting flange on the axle and it is about 10", so I cut the steel at an angle making the part that goes against the axle 11" and the frame 13". This allows for somewhat easier bolt access, rather than cutting directly in half.

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    The axle was originally held to the frame by 2 bolts on each side, bolted to flanges that stick down below the frame.

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    I removed the bolts on one side and lowered the axle a few inches to allow access while leaving the other side attached. I did loosen the bolts on the other side a bit to allow it to drop easier but did not remove them yet.

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    I measured for bolt holes and determined the front vertical and horizontal holes are the same distance fron the front, but the back ones are not. I marked a line around the tubing 1 3/4" back from the front. This provided about a 1/2" overhang on the axle flange front and rear. The top holes on mine were 7 3/4" apart, so I marked that as well. I then placed the block in position and jacked the axle back up, holding the block in place and marked for my holes. I removed the block and drilled the holes. I originally drilled to use the original holes on the side flanges but after installing it there wasn't enough clearance for the back bolts so I drilled a new back hole above the original allowing plenty of clearance.

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    I bolted that side in place loosely and repeated the process on the other side. After getting both blocks in place and the axle re-centered, I tightened all bolts. This is the view from underneath after all is tight.

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    This is the end result. Sitting nose down now.

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    Next step, new tires and wheels. Going from the 10" that came on it to 13". That should give me an overall lift of 5". After the new tires I should be able to replace ball mount with one that has a 2" or 3" drop.

    The entire project took about 2 hours. Granted I was working on a lift which made it much easier than laying on the ground, but even on the ground I wouldn't think it should take more than about 3 hours to complete.
     
    Haybale and Pirate Pup like this.
  2. crazybushcreature

    crazybushcreature New Member

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    This is what i want to do with my 1992 flagstaff by cobra tent trailer i just got. it sits so low i bought a 5 1/4 inch drop hitch for it. but the trailer itself still sits so low to the ground. Its only got 9 inch tires i wish i could put atleast a 12 inch on.So all it was was bolts you didnt have to weld anything?
     

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  3. crazybushcreature

    crazybushcreature New Member

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    so the tubing you got as well u said was 2 inch by 4 inch by 2 feet. how thick is it?
     
  4. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    I made a mistake in my original post. It was 2"x3"x2', not 2x4. I need to see about editing the post. I believe it was .120 wall thickness. Thicker an the frame of camper or axle pads.

    And no, no welding involved. The one from dexter is all bolted as well and the use a c channel rather than tubing. I think tubing is stronger.
     
    vaderhater22 likes this.
  5. crazybushcreature

    crazybushcreature New Member

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    Awesome sounds good. Will probably do this in the next couple Weeks. You posted at the perfect time when I was thinking on how to do this. Thanks haha.
     
  6. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    Since I cannot edit my original post, I will update here. I used 2 inch by 3 inch by.120 wall steel tubing for my lift, not the 2 inch by 4 inch as typed.
     
  7. chipperone1

    chipperone1 Member

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    Your workmanship looks good.

    It looks to me like you could add some more bolts to stiffen it up some, two in the bottom of the frame to the top of the extension 2"x3" and I would recommend you add a side plate that lengthens the side plate from the factory. [2C]
     
  8. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    Thank you.

    I did put a bolt in the extension to frame on one side where the frame is a c channel, just didn't mention it, however the frame on the other side is boxed in and there is no access to install a bolt. The lift kit from Dexter doesn't use top bolts to the frame, and they engineered it.

    I did think about different ways to add stiffness to it, but after everything was bolted down tight it feels solid. It is after all only a 2000# trailer. I think it will be fine.
     
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  9. Pozi

    Pozi Member

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    Nice innovation on lifting your PUP. I'd like to add my [2C]

    My hunch is that the kit you found contain thicker tubing with upgraded hardware.

    At the very least I would ditch those Grade-5 bolts and replace them with fine thread Grade-8. The peace of mind in having the stronger hardware would be worth it.

    Better yet. Take it to a welding outfit and have them weld up the tubing to the existing frame much like the existing setup. I would also weld in some lateral supports and scab plates to keep the tubing from crushing.

    [PU]
     
  10. xyloeye

    xyloeye New Member

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    Just a thank you for taking time to post this. My issue is that the trailer is so low, many times I can't even get enough clearance for the jacks to extend. I was concerned about possible suspension sag but the angles seem OK. Anyway, thank you so much for the detailed procedure. I think this will solve my problem.
     
  11. Davidflores

    Davidflores Love the outdoors

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    Did u end up changing the tires and how did it work out how much clearance did u get after all
     
  12. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

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    Looks like that came out pretty good for you. Not to be nit-picky but I would have done a little more finish work. File the sharp edges down (I always seem to cut my self on such if I don't) and prime/paint it before installation. That steel will rust pretty quick.

    Looking at your axle angles with them unloaded, did you check with Dexter to see what your angles should be? To me, that axle looks shot like it was overloaded a few times or is just old and the rubber gave up.
     
    mpking likes this.
  13. bigdad

    bigdad Active Member

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    Looks good nice job the way it sit looks better.
     
  14. lucky13don

    lucky13don Active Member

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    looks great...Might have to do that to my jayco. but I'm thinking of swapping axle for one with brakes. theres a shop up in sac that has a whole package for 1200 installed.
     
  15. vaderhater22

    vaderhater22 New Member

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    Well done!! Now I know what I need to do. I was afraid I was going to have to deal with a SOA conversion when I first looked at it. Then I found the torsion axle and was even more worried at first. But this makes total sense and sounds super easy. Thanks for the post!!
     
  16. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

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    I agree with the comment on the sagging torsion axle. If it were my time and money, I would have swapped out the torsion for a straight axle and SPOA on 3-leaf spring packs. Can get all the lift you want and lasts much longer than the torsion axles. To each their own, I suppose. Good job on getting what you wanted in the end. A lift makes a huge difference, congrats!
     
    Raycfe likes this.
  17. vaderhater22

    vaderhater22 New Member

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    Where did you get the steel tubing? I'm not finding anything like that at the hardware store.
     
  18. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    I ordered it online. I don't recall from where, but it was only a 2' long piece, so not very expensive and shipping was reasonable.
     
  19. thelmuth

    thelmuth Member

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    That would certainly be an option, however cost was a factor and what I did only cost me around $50 and no welding involved.
     
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  20. vaderhater22

    vaderhater22 New Member

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    Realizing that every set up is different and my axle set up may not match yours and what works on mine may not work on yours, theoretically, could 3 inch square tubing work for this modification. I ask because I just ran across a few pieces of 3 inch square scrap with .187 sidewalls at work that I could pick up for free. I'm sure I need to measure my own set up to be positive but I'm wondering if you think 3 inch square could work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017

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