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Old 02-10-2019, 10:04 PM   #1
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New axles or realign existing axles?

I bought a 2017 travel trailer last fall and notice when pulling it has the tendency to sway even when there is little wind so I put a 4ft level against the side walls of the tires and they are nowhere close to being aligned with each other. I have found a semi trailer alignment shop that will realign (bend) the axles back or should I just replace the axles (4400lb lippert)?
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:42 PM   #2
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If you end up replacing them, go with Dexter Axles.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:18 AM   #3
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Just curious, did you make sure the axles were straight when parking. When backing in to a spot you axles/tires will be crooked till you pull farther back or forward.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:53 AM   #4
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New axles or realign existing axles?

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Originally Posted by Cumminsfan View Post
Just curious, did you make sure the axles were straight when parking. When backing in to a spot you axles/tires will be crooked till you pull farther back or forward.


Yes I pulled forward in a old Walmart parking lot to make sure everything is straight
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:24 AM   #5
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If you and up replacing the axles I would replace the 4,400lb. axles with 5,200lb. Dexter axles. Also if you can find axles with disc brakes I would also do that. There is a noticeable improvement in braking with disc brakes.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:30 AM   #6
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First thing to do is find out what is out of line. Coupler to spring hangers same side to side? All springs same length and arch? If the axle is really bent they are not bad cost or labor wise to replace. Also, if it is really bent, why?
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:29 AM   #7
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Sway is a result of not enough load on the hitch. I would weigh it how you load it and correct weight distribution before doing anything with axles.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:01 AM   #8
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Sway is a result of not enough load on the hitch. I would weigh it how you load it and correct weight distribution before doing anything with axles.
It can be. But if the wheels don't track true you can adjust load all you want, and it won't track.
And think about it. A toad tracks good behind the MH. You add a few hundred pounds in the front seat of the toad. Does the TW change? Does the toad still track?
I built and towed for over a million miles a trailer that weighed 8,600 lbs, had less than 3% TW when MT. My legal max load was 36,000 and that did not change TW at all. MT, or loaded like that it tracked like on rails. (Get up around 20 tons, started to see some wiggle, but I think it tire squirm...)
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by charliez View Post
Sway is a result of not enough load on the hitch. I would weigh it how you load it and correct weight distribution before doing anything with axles.
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Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo View Post
It can be. But if the wheels don't track true you can adjust load all you want, and it won't track.
And think about it. A toad tracks good behind the MH. You add a few hundred pounds in the front seat of the toad. Does the TW change? Does the toad still track?
As Charliez posted above, sway is often a result of not enough weight on the hitch.

On to the toad: The tongue weight when pulling a toad generally only consists of 1/2 the weight of the towing device used (tow bar, whether it be Blue Ox, Roadmaster, Demco, etc), NOT a function of additional weight being added to the toad since it is being towed 4 wheels down.

Now let's move on to your analogy of putting weight in the front seat of the toad not causing the toad to sway . . .

I totally agree that adding weight to the front seat, between the axles, will probably not affect towing, BUT if we were to add a tailgator or some such device onto the back of the toad and put 1000 lbs THERE, BEHIND the last axle, I think you would see a significant difference in the tow characteristics of your toad, don't you?

Generally when an uninformed owner puts too much weight in the rear of the trailer, say in the garage, loads up the kitchen with stuff, maybe bikes and generator, etc, in a carryall on the rear bumper the tongue weight decreases, and the likelihood of problems increases significantly.

As Charliez suggests, I would look heavily into weight DISTRIBUTION before I started replacing axles.

Note: I purchased an enclosed trailer BRAND NEW once that had twin axles. It tracked off to one side all the time. Further inspection revealed that the axles were fine, but the shackles (where the ends of the leaf springs attach) welded to each frame rail were almost two inches further back on one side as compared to the other. I took it back to the dealer, explained the situation, asked him if he wanted to buy it back, or if he would take a significant amount off the sale price. He refunded me money, and I cut the shackles, re-located them correctly, re-welded them, and never another problem for the next 10 or 12 years.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:37 AM   #10
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I would suggest going to your local axle shop and first determine the cause for your trailer sway. Then you can look at the different solutions and determine what makes sense from a cost and investment standpoint. It's possible you may have some failed bushings or a hanger support mounted in the wrong position, but the root cause needs to be determined first.
Straightening an axle is usually a low cost repair if that's all that is needed. But why did it bend?
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:51 AM   #11
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Agree, go to an axle shop and determine issue, their first suggestion should not be to bend axles into alignment. As others have said, there are a few things to cross off the list, mount location, spring eye bushings, spring length. If you do get to axle replacement, up sizing might be a good thing.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo View Post
First thing to do is find out what is out of line. Coupler to spring hangers same side to side? All springs same length and arch? If the axle is really bent they are not bad cost or labor wise to replace. Also, if it is really bent, why?


My trailer has the spread axles and Iím just assuming the previous owner might of jacked knife it backing into a site. Iíve just heard a lot of people bending the spread axles by backing in to sharp.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:52 AM   #13
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Do the tires seem to be wearing weird?
I had a TT with 4400 Lippert axles and had a couple tires wearing weird. Went to a frame shop and they bent them back into alignment. The repair guy said the axles were kinda soft so he put extra camber in them.
I also have AL-CO 5200 lbs axles on my current 5th wheel. I noticed the left rear tire wearing on the inside. Again took it to a frame shop and get them bent back into alignment.

4400 lb axles are the same thickness as 5200 lb ones. In fact I had 12x2" brakes on the 4400 which are standard for the 5200 lbs axle. Spindles and bearings are different. Both are 3"x3/16ths".
Most spindles don't bend. The axle bends so up grading to 5200 lbs won't gain you more strength just more load carrying ability because of the larger bearings.
My TT was under the GVWR by about 2000 lbs. My 5er is under it's GVWR by 4200 lbs.
So even with the huge cushion of the 5200 lbs axles I still managed to bend one.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:55 AM   #14
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If you and up replacing the axles I would replace the 4,400lb. axles with 5,200lb. Dexter axles. Also if you can find axles with disc brakes I would also do that. There is a noticeable improvement in braking with disc brakes.


Can you use the same hub assembly off of the 4400lb to put on the 5200 axle?
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