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Old 03-25-2022, 10:42 AM   #1
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Exclamation Axle upgrade advice.

Our 2016 winnie drop axle needs attention. The low spec OEM build 3500 lb design is simply not up to the task and is unsafe for normal usage. It is towing out and causing the inner side walls to scub on the fiberglass with factory spec st tires. The clearance between the inner side wall and the trailer body when up to spec leaves no room for any safety margin. The trailer came with cheap 4 ply and I upgraded to six ply side wall st tires with the same size spec. And keep them at the correct pressure.

It seems that running down the road even with the trailer well below the weight ratings will over time hitting bumps and going around corners bend the cheap Lippert 3500lb torsion bar suspension that the trailer was designed with in the first place.

I fully understand the need to keep costs down, but the suspension is the worst place to do this IMO. And is a serious safety hazard that we are now forced to address at our cost.

I will be consulting with a specialist shop who builds trailers that is very reputable here in Victoria on how to proceed to change out the axle to one with at least 4200 lbs carrying capacity. Making the trailer safe again to run down the road. Nice trailer indeed and still useful as a guest house where we live but completely useless as a vacation trailer the way it was designed. I see why Winnebago stopped building them with cheap lowest spec single axles, they most likely had no choice.

I have read that this same situation has happened to a great many cheaper low spec trailers from other manufactures not just Winnebago. A very shameful state of affairs when the safety of the traveling public can so easily be hoodwinked and put at risk by the bean counters IMO.
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Old 05-08-2022, 03:54 AM   #2
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It helps greatly to tell us the make,model, actual loaded weight and GVWR of your trailer. Could it be your trailer is simply overloaded?
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:06 PM   #3
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We never "overload" the unit.

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Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
It helps greatly to tell us the make,model, actual loaded weight and GVWR of your trailer. Could it be your trailer is simply overloaded?
The gross rating is a ridiculous 3800 to a lippert 3500 lb diamond with an 11.5 inch spread from the trailer frame to the hub face. I fully understsand the fact that beefing up the axle does not change the capacity ratings of the trailer. Light loads will assure many years of safe motoring with our Winnie Drop.
Putting on a replacement minimum spec 3500 lb axle as the dealers do with bent axles on cheap single axle trailers will just do the same thing and it will just bend again for the next customer-sucker. Even driving completely unloaded because the load margin is not adequate for the application will cause a bent axle on these units especially on rough pavement or even good back roads.

I never load the axle with over 2900 and my hitch is never over the 350 lb spec. Stock from the factory the slide out side is 240lbs heavier than the passenger side.
It is not our fault that the axle is too low a rating for the application. We always balance our load and use a distribution hitch so the trailer does not wind up overloading the hitch when driving. I have logged our travelling loads over the past 3 seasons and none have exceeded 2950 lbs on the axle the scales are there for every one to use and trailer owners who don't use them are not thinking about haul safety. I was a professional driver in my 20s-30s so the act of weighing axle loads is second nature and the mermaids are my friends not foes as some rednecks and stupid movies would have the travelling public believe.

We are certainly not alone in having this particular trailer require an axle change to one with a higher rating.

Changing to a 5000 lb is not rocket science and the 11.5 inch overhang will down grade the capacity of the 5000 lb axle to 4200. We are using a reputable trailer shop and not an RV dealer because the RV dealers just want us to trade it in so they can put another cheap 3500 lb lippert on it and resell the unit at a huge markup.

Other than being built with a woefully low spec axle that will bend even under careful use the trailer is great
Winnebago is certainly not the only manufacture with the same issue of cheaping out on the running gear and then blaming the owners usage of the product.
Winnie drop 1780s and 1790s are more prone to having the axle bend from the slideout side than the lower weight older Rpods of the same design. https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/f272/winnie-drop-1790-axle-357372.htmego

We are satisfied with the trailer and upgrading the axle was expected because it was bent when we bought used 3 seasons ago. I was just hoping that it would last another season and was expecting the expense.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:31 PM   #4
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I would reuse the spring packs though, otherwise the ride for the trailer might be so stiff it will transmit road vibrations and bangs enough to start breaking the trailer structure.
I agree that trailer mfgrs cheap-out and put the lowest cost axles underneath that are allowed; this includes tires.
If the larger axles also come with larger rims and tires, make sure there is adequate wheel-well room for them.
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Old 09-25-2022, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
I would reuse the spring packs though, otherwise the ride for the trailer might be so stiff it will transmit road vibrations and bangs enough to start breaking the trailer structure.
I agree that trailer mfgrs cheap-out and put the lowest cost axles underneath that are allowed; this includes tires.
If the larger axles also come with larger rims and tires, make sure there is adequate wheel-well room for them.
He has a torsion axle, so the "springs" are really elastomer cords inside the axle itself. I believe swapping to 5000 lbs from 3500 lbs will increase the length of the elastomer cords inside the axle to increase resistance to deflection. Also, the remainder of the axle may be a bit more robust as well. You make a great point though, as the "ride" won't be as smooth after the swap and that could have consequences over time.

Reeman, I agree that they cut if awfully close with those stock axles. You seem to have the problem well in-hand though. Good luck! I hope the upgrade solves your problem and you don't have any unwanted destruction above due to harder hits from below.
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Old 09-26-2022, 10:43 PM   #6
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Thumbs up We have decided to change to sprung axle.

We are having a 3 inch 5000 lb rated tube axle created and it will nest on conventional springs and afford sensible strength past the connection to the trailer frame. Now any decent trailer shop will be able to repair problems and there will be no wait times ordering a new stock axle only to have the same problem crop up. I have read about Rpod owners that had to have the axle replaced several times until they just gave up and told Forest River , their rv dealer and Lippert to go to #@ll with their blaming them for bending axles.

11.5 inches to the brake drum face and a trailer which is too close to the maximum design is the cause of all the problems.
Worst of all is the trailer came with 14 inch load range c tires which is crazy because there is no safety margin whatsoever on the stock setup. A pair of LRC 14s on trailer with a gross of 3800 stock is just looking for blown ST tire troubles.
We will be keeping the 14 inch rims but with our new setup we can change over to load range e 14s and have 1000 lbs of safety margin.
The axle drum to drum is being increased by 1 inch as a bonus and the frame is being beefed up to spread the load over the distance of a set of springs instead of the puny attachment for the lippert diamond torsion axle.

The real bonus is that we will be able to use slightly heavier springs on the slide-out side to accommodate for the 230 lb difference in weight from side to side.

The brakes will still be 10 inch to five bolt so we do not need to increase the tire rim size and can use much higher rated tires that will give much better service on rough roads.

Springs are still the best way to distribute load shock evenly over the axle tube And can have bump stops applied to the existing connection points to help prevent spring failure. 3500 lb torsion axles are not the answer for this trailer or rpods which it turns out have exactly the same issues with the use of the lowest rated and cheapest torsion axles on the market. As an added bonus the job will cost less than ordering a new Lippert or custom Dexter axle and the product is a local one with a real warranty not just excuses from a manufacturer for using the lowest possible rated products on their offerings.
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Old 09-27-2022, 06:05 AM   #7
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That sounds like a really nice solution. Enjoy!
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