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Old 05-31-2020, 11:54 AM   #1
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Winnie Drop 1790 Axle

Hello all,
We have a 2017 1790 Winnie Drop with slide out on the driver side (kitchen).
I was wondering if I am alone in this problem: The axle keeps failing. Only on the driver's side but to the point of the tire rubbing on the body. As I said, it is a 2017 that we bought new in 2018 and used for one season before the first failure. That took all summer to fix (another story) and we used it once last summer. When I pulled it around this year, I could see that the tire was leaning and took the picture you see.
I guess the question (s) I have is, " Is this normal? Is there a difference in axles on those with slides and without? Is the axle strong enough for a slide? Can I get a stronger axle?" all questions I have asked the dealer to no avail.

This is a good trailer otherwise.

Thanks,
Had to rant a bit.
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:54 PM   #2
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I feel your pain Jeff. We're on our 3rd axle now, but I believe we've solved our problem. We own a 2017 Winnie Drop 170S, which is similar to yours in that the kitchen slide out is also on the drivers side AND we had the same problems. After the 1st season, we had the same problem with negative camber on the drivers side and the rubbing as well. Even though the axle was past it's warranty, Lippert sent us a new axle however we had to install it. After season two, the problem returned. Here's my analysis on the problem.

Our trailer has a GVWR of 3800 lbs, and is equipped with a 3500 lb axle. Subtracting the 300 lb tongue weight, a fully loaded winnie Drop is right at the max capacity of the axle. Adding to this, is the fact that the axle to frame mounting points are almost at their maximum distance to the wheel hub, it's no wonder the axle bends. Also note, the trailer is heavier on the slide out side because of the additional weight of the slide, and all the appliances. I have found that our trailer, unloaded sags about 1/2 to 1" on the slide side. Regarding the rubbing issue, I also found our axle to be shifted 1/2" towards the opposite side.

Our fix.

I upgraded our Lippert axle to a 5200 lb Dexter Torflex unit. Additionally, we ordered it 1" longer to provide better wheel to inner fender clearance. Dexter "downgraded the axle to 4900lbs due to the excessive axle to frame mount point to hub distance, but 4900lbs is more than adequate. Because Dexter has a different offset mounting bracket, we had adapters fabricated from 1/4" steel plate to accommodate the 1" offset of the Dexter mount. This worked out well , as the adapters also provided us with the functionality of a 3" "lift kit". Also note, the new axle required us to upgrade the 14" wheels and tires to 15" units.

Was it cheap, no. But we are now 15,000 miles into this new configuration, and things are perfect. Tows like a dream, stops better with the bigger 12" brakes, and we no longer worry about dragging when exiting a gas station.

So your not alone, my friend.

BTW, Rpods, and Jayco Hummingbirds all have the same problem. I've noted that current models have higher rated axles now. Not the 4900lbs that I enjoy, but they do give a little bit more safety margin. And yes, I spoke to Winnebago about this and their response was, "your fine".
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:20 AM   #3
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Axle

Dewey,
Thanks for the reply. That was my guess from the beginning. The slide side is the only side rubbing. We just had the third axle put on (5200 lb) so I'll keep in mind the down grade from the manufacturer. Winnebago told us to quit overloading it. We also had to upgrade to 15" wheels. I've been reading a few books on building teardrop trailers and (the ones that I've read) they all recommend 15" wheels as a minimum. It usually means a better built trailer.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:15 AM   #4
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Dexter 5200lb axle upgrade.

Dexter 5200lb axle upgrade. What is the hub face
your hub face measurent on custom Dexter axle?
I want good tire clearance, since original axle on Winnie drop170s was also alowing tires to rub.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:17 AM   #5
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Dexter 5200lb axle upgrade. What is the hub face
your hub face measurent on custom Dexter axle?
I want good tire clearance, since original axle on Winnie drop170s was also alowing tires to rub.
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Old 12-29-2020, 07:16 AM   #6
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Axle Dimensions

These measurements are what I ordered for my 2017 170S. I would advise, you physically verify your own measurements.

Hubface was 87" (1 inch wider than original, adding 1/2" additional tire-to-inner fender wall clearance). Even though it has not rubbed in 10K miles and If I were allowed a "do-over", I'd add 1.5-2"

Outside of brackets dimension is 62.375" As mentioned earlier, Dextor downgrades the axle capacity to 4984.57 lbs. That calculation is based on the (87-62.375)/2 = 12.3125" dimension. Note that adding 1/2-1" more to the axle length will decrease the capacity further.

Still far better than the original 3500lb Lippert unit.
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Old 12-29-2020, 09:29 AM   #7
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Thanks DEWEY! What size of tires did you put on the trailer. st205 75r 15?
I was thinking of 88" hubface with
ST 225 75R 15 but don't know if there would be clearance issues.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:46 AM   #8
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Tires

Morning dbax62

I upgraded to Goodyear Endurance 225/75R15 117E mounted on:

https://www.trailer-wheels.com/15x6-...ad_p_1248.html

The wheels have a 0 offset and are manufactured by Sendel (same as original wheels)

Even with the wider tires, I have not experienced any clearance issues.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:59 AM   #9
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1" Offset

Remember, although the Dexter axle brackets will bolt directly to the existing 170S brackets, the axle will be shifted an inch closer to the front and not centered in the wheel opening.

I addressed this with a set of custom fabricated 3" lift brackets with a 1" offset bolt pattern.

Also check with Dexter. Who knows, maybe they have a centered bracket option now.
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Old 12-30-2020, 02:33 PM   #10
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Dexter axle

Thanks soo much for sharing this information with me DEWEY. It helps answer questions that only Winnie drop owners can. I'm new to this forum but absolutely loving it so far. Again thanks for your reply!
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Old 03-21-2022, 12:40 AM   #11
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Caveat Emptor Incorporated IMO. We are facing an axel replacement now on our 2016 170. I am reading that Forest River did the same bull #^@Q under-spec engineering on their tear drops with putting a 3500 lb on a trailer and then telling the suckers that they are either driving too fast or overloading their 2800 lb dry trailer. Our drop has a 230 lb dry difference between the slide side and the door side so who ever did the specs on these and the way the manufactures are cheaping out on travel trailer axel specs is getting down right criminal IMO.

We are now getting wheel scub to fiberglass on both sides and the bend is getting worse. AND NO I do not over load the trailer or go around corners too fast fellow winnie drop suckers.

I guess our only option now is to rip off the cheap crap axle and put on a real one if we don't want to start creating "China Bombs" by scubbing the crap out of our six ply ST 14s on the fiberglass of our trailer.

Like I said Caveat Emptor Incorporated in the travel trailer business from a once very reputable firm is now the norm. Better to build your own and be safe going down the road than to rely upon CSA and American Standards specs that are controlled not by regulation but by the tight wad bean counters in chairs!

Now I know what happened to the a trailer that I watched flip over an embankment on highway 5 a few years back. The driver most likely scubbed and blew out a tire because it was so pathetically under-spec that the owner didn't even see that it had a bent axel. No wonder why our economy is starting to tank we are entering a new age of shoddy design for the sake of saving nickels and dimes.
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Old 05-27-2022, 11:09 PM   #12
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Old thread but an important one. We put the lippert lift kit on our 2016 because it was impossible to take some places and backing up hills with any incline at all would scrap the and hang the stabilizer making it impossible to take on some BC ferries unless it was high tide.
I though that the axle was suspect but it turned out that our spindles are still within spec than my lucky stars. We have been super careful not to over load the slide side and keep well within weight load. The trailer is 200+ lbs heavier on the slide side as built dry weight. This is not that much of a concern as all on needs to do is compensate by loading the storage on the bathroom/passenger side. I check the balance yearly to ascertain if things are getting out of whack when we pack and to make certain that we do not have a load of greater than 3200lbs total on the axel except when heading slowly to a sani dump.

Today we changed the drums and bearings, the shoes were fine and not a worry. But the bearings were at warn and at the end of their service life.

So to sum things up:

If you own a drop design trailer or any trailer with a 3500 lb single axel do not load up to the gross at all and if you are up at gross maximum DO NOT DRIVE ON THE HIGHWAYS AT HIGH SPEED and never drive on back roads heavily loaded with water, sewage and the trailer stuffed up over about 3000 on the axel.

Change over to load range d 14 or 15s and keep them fully inflated.

Check for wheel bearing play at least every year and change the drums and the bearings before they reach the end of their service life, never wait for them to start to fail. It goes without saying; always replace both drums and bearings and if you need to replace the shoes the same thing applies.

Above all ignore the 80mph nonsense speed rating on ST tires! Stick to being in the slow lane even if it means that you will not be the first to the campsite.

None of the trailers on the market are safe at the new speed ratings of ST tires. And indeed most travel trailers scrimp horribly on safety margins. So the owner must take this into consideration and drive accordingly.

It turns out that we have not bent our lippert axel but we have scuff marks on the fiberglass from driving on rutted back roads like the one to Bamfield BC. Even with load range D 14s and the tires up at over 55 psi the sidewalls flexed greater than factory spec tire sidewall to trailer outside clearance and rubbed on the fiberglass sidewalls.

On rutted back roads expect the sidewalls of even higher rated ST tires to flex enough to rub on the sidewalls. But if it starts happening on the highway at high speed that is a very dangerous fault that must be avoided.

Stop frequently to check for tire temps any signs of the wheel rubbing on the side of the Winnie drop. If there are any signs of overheating of the tires at all then check for wheel bearing heat on the back of the spindle where the brake wires go into the brake backing plate that attaches to the spindle mount.

I will be picking up an infra red gun to do the deed and do check the trailer's running gear at every rest stop or at the first signs of any problems with the trailer tracking while moving down the road.

If a trailer is built to minimum spec with the running gear as most of today's trailers are then it only makes sense to keep your eye on them for axel, bearing and brake issues at all times when on the road.
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:21 AM   #13
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Travel Trailers are extremely price sensitive. They are entry level RVs for the most part and even a few hundred dollars increase in pricing can lead to sales losses. Specialty models that appear unique, more rugged, etc do try to buck that trend but still are built to a low price threshold.

New TT buyers drive by a dealer and see one and start shopping without doing much if any research. These buyers assume a great dealÖ that frames, axels, tires, brakes are all up to snuff and they concentrate on two things - features and price. They donít know the manufacturer has minimized the specs to the absolute minimum in order to meet the price point competition from other brands all doing the exact same thing.

Itís a sorry truth but there it is.
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Old 02-11-2023, 10:47 AM   #14
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Another Solution to the 1780 Tire Rubbing Issue

This post includes both what I did to hopefully solve the tire rubbing issue and what I did as far as investigating the original cause of the problem. My 2016 1780 was experiencing tire rubbing on both sides of the box. It was clear that something needed to be done, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go to a leaf spring setup. I considered wheel spacers, for a few minutes, and decided that was not a bright idea. I also could not detect any bending of the axle, which suggested to me that this might be an internal issue with the torsion axle. As a side note, I had installed the 3.5 inch Lippert lift kit shortly after we got the trailer.



What I Did: One thing I found, at least in my area, was that axle manufacturers are not interested in talking directly to consumers. In some ways I can't blame them. I called a number of trailer service centers near me and found a guy who was willing to help me come up with a usable axle. He had contacts at Dexter and Lippert and interestingly, given Dewey's experience, Dexter wanted no part of this axle build. My contact was sure it had to do with the bracket-to-hub face distance being longer than they liked. In any event, Lippert was willing to build whatever we wanted.


My original axle still had a legible Lippert sticker (see photo below) which listed all the relevant data for that build. Using the sticker, I ordered an identical axle with two changes: first, the hub-to-hub distance was increased from 86 to 88 inches; and second, the capacity was increased from 3500 to 4400 pounds. The new axle came with the same size brakes and wheel stud pattern, so I was able to use my original wheels and tires. I specified a zero-degree angle for the spindle arm, because the spindle arms on the original axle were parallel to the ground, but Lippert pointed out that the sticker showed the original axle was built with a 22 degree downturn angle - so that's what I ordered. The second part of this post will look at what happened to the the original 22 degrees of downturn.


The axle took about 3 weeks to arrive and bolted right in place under the Lippert lift kit. For anyone who plans to do this, buy four 5/8x1.5 inch grade 8 bolts, washers and nuts ahead of time. I found that the original Lippert supplied lift kit washers had crushed onto the bolts. In the process of removing them, the threads on most of the bolts were damaged, so I replaced them all.



I still need to wire up the brakes, so I haven't put the wheels back on tight yet and loaded the new axle, but I suspect the box will sit a bit higher, given the new axle's downturn angle. The tire clearance is now about 2 inches on each side, which is more than the lengthening the axle would have caused. The next part of this post will address that as well.


What I Think Happened: Up until this time, I had not seen the inside of a torsion axle. However, I spent most of my career as a forensic engineer investigating motor vehicle accidents, so it just wasn't possible for me to leave this alone. As the photos below show, I cut off one end of the axle, being care to minimize damage to the rubber cords. I slid that section out of the axle tube and discovered that the cords were pretty deformed and not very "springy". Once the axle was cut apart, it was clear how it functioned and it would be good to talk about that now. The spindle arm is welded, at a 90-degree angle, to a 16-inch long, 1.5 inch solid piece of steel square stock. The square stock is inserted into the axle tube such that if the axle tube is in a diamond orientation, relative to the ground, the faces of the square stock are parallel and perpendicular to the ground. The rubber cords are placed (I sure would like to see how they do this) inside the axle tube along the 4 faces of the square stock. This is a ridiculously tight fit. As the spindle arm rotates under wheel load, it forces the square stock to rotate inside the axle tube. That rotation is resisted by the rubber cords - and that is how the axle provides suspension.


As one of the photos shows, the square stock is not in the orientation described above, but is rotated relative to the axle tube. I believe this occurred due to deterioration of the rubber cords and it explains where my original 22 degrees of downturn went. The deterioration of the cords also explains why my tire-to-box clearance increased more than the increase in hub spacing on the new axle. As the cords wear, the square stock will no longer be parallel with the axle tube, which will allow the tires to lean in at the top. The new axle doesn't have that issue, so the tires are now standing vertical.



So, in my case, the axle wasn't bent, but the rubber cords were deteriorated and this led to the tire rubbing issue. It's reasonable to ask whether Winnebago goofed this up by specifying an under capacity axle, or too small a hub spacing, or both. Maybe Lippert's cords were an issue. Lippert might argue that 6-7 years is a reasonable life for an axle. I don't see a clear answer as to who is at fault here, if anyone, but I'm very comfortable with my fix.
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Old 02-11-2023, 07:07 PM   #15
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Thumbs up Nice post with great explanations @crashman

Great analysis and very well understood. Yes the manufacturers have been using far to low a spec axle for the application. FYI the spring setup we installed was not a heavy one at the wheels or to the frame 3800 lb spec with a 5000lb cross bar instead of a lower rated 4400 cross tube and like the A frame attachment has break away tabs that indicate miss use or load shock problems. The springs are rated for over 4000 so they flex nicely and the trailer tows and rides like a dream with no bouncy bouncy that you would expect from leaf springs. We never put a load of over 3000 on the springs going down the road and if we are loaded with water and waste at all we dump before hitting the highway at high speeds. If the springs weaken over time I will put on some air bags in future to augment the springs as it is now possible to install them correctly and not hurt the existing axle attachment setup. It is not possible to install air bags at all with the torsion axle setups. We could just as easily install short shocks if the spring locking end tabs start to fail at all from load shocks.

FYI There are also welded thin 18 or could be 20 gauge steel slivers welded to the hitch frame at the bolted and welded trailer connection to the front a frame. I check them for weld cracks every season and make certain that we never over load the hitch and watch for hitch troubles considering the close tolerance load levels of the rig. At least the Lippert/Winnebago design of the trailer frame make safety checking the frame connections for potential ongoing serious problems at the frame connections possible. This year I will check for deflection with a laser level and make sure that it is still within tolerances. So far the frame looks decently straight to the hitch but again fixing things before damage is done is always the ticket with any gear that is not quite as robust as it should be for the application.

Slowing down to a crawl over road heaves with rv trailer setups like you were driving a logging truck is crucial and if there are severe frost heaves en route to a destination the owners of this trailer must pay careful attention and either avoid them or not be pushed to get where you are going.
There are more trailers with broken axles and frames being used as storage sheds in Northern BC, the Yukon and all the way to Alaska than I think are actually on the road in some cities, most junkyards in BC are woe to salvage travel trailers because they are worthless by and large in salvage value once the frame is cooked and are too expensive to rebuild. Most sitting jacked up in the back forty suffer from severe load shock damage to running gear going over frost heaves at warp 40!

Owning one of these trailers and staying safe on the highway by not driving like you are in a bouncing betty even if you have a distribution hitch as we do is absolutely essential! Avoiding load shock to the trailer frame is the most important consideration and will cause all kinds of issues if not very carefully managed by the driver(s) at all times!

Lesson here is to safety check these so called "light" or if you must "LITE" trailers regularly or have trusted shops do it at least at the start of every season of use.
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