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Author Topic: Enclosed Trailer - Best Axles/Suspension  (Read 7787 times)
LGMCCARTHY
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« on: September 30, 2013, 09:01:40 PM »

Looking at getting a 20' enclosed trailer with tandem axles in the near future for hauling the autocross car to distant venues.  Car weight 3500# maximum.

I have a couple of questions for the experienced trailer users on this forum:

1.  What is the best axle suspension system to get?  Torsion?  Leaf spring?
2.  What axle capacity?  3500# or 5200#

Thanks for your help!
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Larry McCarthy
2012 Miata - CS
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 07:39:50 AM »

Just went through upgrading axles on my trailer.

The torsion axle allows a lower deck height by at least 3" - 4".  This helps stability as it enables a lower center of gravity.  Also, keeps overall height of trailer lower which helps with wind resistance. That's what I'd get.

Regarding 3500 vs. 5200 lb axles: My 20' Pace originally came with 3500 lb axles and load range C tires. I started having wheel bearing and tire issues with my trailer after about 8 years of use.  I replaced bearings, hubs, tires, etc. and could not figure out what was going on.  I got frustrated with it all and upgraded in August to 5200 lb axles and load range D tires.

In my case, I use the trailer as a portable garage and have it packed with all sorts of stuff (as you've seen).  Do I really need it all? It's nice at far away events to have all the stuff I need, but the price I pay is probably 500 lbs of extra stuff I am hauling around. 

I suspect as time went on I packed more and more in it pushing it to near the load capacity of the axles. This combined with wear on the axles creating slop in the spindle & axle bearing surface leading to my problems.  Raleigh Boreen in Indianapolis had very similar issues with his 20ft enclosed and upgraded to 5200 lb axles and load range D tires during the summer.  I took his advice and did the same just before Nationals.

Note that my trailer has at least 30,000 miles on it.

The down side of the heavier axles is that the trailer rides rougher.  I've found that stuff in the trailer (storage bins, etc.) moves around and needs tied down better. 

In your case, it all depends on what you plan on doing. If its autocrossing in the nearby states with minimal spares, then 3500 lb. axles are probably just fine.  In my case, I bought it for road racing (it's been 10 years now...) which requires more tools and spares, the heavier axles are probably better.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
LGMCCARTHY
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 09:18:56 AM »

Rich,

Thanks for the feedback!  I do remember your nationals thread talking about your trailer issues!

I have only looked at a couple of new enclosed 20' trailers, I actually just finished looking at a new PACE "Journey" enclosed 20'.  The dealer told me that he is not ordering any new torsion axle equipped trailers because the torsion axles are "not rebuildable" in his words.  I am assuming he means that there is no way to replace the any worn out torsion rubber inserts, you can only replace the axle assembly.  I don't know how important that would be.  I know that you can somewhat rebuild leaf spring equipped trailers.

Have you had any experience with leaf springs on an enclosed trailer?

I suspect that as I get more into autocrossing at other venues, that depending on distance traveled, I too will start carrying more equipment/tools, and creature comforts.  I am just not sure about investing more $ into a trailer initially to get the heavier payload capacity.

What are your thoughts on:
1.  16" vs. 24" support spacing?
2.  Seamless top vs. panels?
3.  Flat vs. "V" front?
4.  Side door size, 36" vs. 48"?

Finally, did you buy your enclosed trailer new or used?  Do you have a dealer you would recommend?

Thanks again, your feedback is greatly appreciated!  Smiley
I apologize for all the questions, but the "retired engineer" analyzing kicks in automatically these days!   Roll Eyes
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Larry McCarthy
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 10:16:44 AM »

Best piece of trailer advice I got was to ask people what they liked and disliked about their trailers.  Everybody uses their trailers a little differently so it helps with education.

Personally, I'd love to have a pimpy Featerlite like Eric Campbell's, but don't have the $$$ right at the moment.

See below for additional comments.

Rich,

Thanks for the feedback!  I do remember your nationals thread talking about your trailer issues!

I have only looked at a couple of new enclosed 20' trailers, I actually just finished looking at a new PACE "Journey" enclosed 20'. The dealer told me that he is not ordering any new torsion axle equipped trailers because the torsion axles are "not rebuildable" in his words.  I am assuming he means that there is no way to replace the any worn out torsion rubber inserts, you can only replace the axle assembly.  

- I'd ask the dealer what is the service life and why would you need to rebuild them?  They don't have rubber inserts to my knowledge; they are similar to the torsion bars on a truck or sprint car. All steel. Should last forever from a spring perspective.

The leaf springs tend to wear around the shackles and such.  Also, I am not convinced they have the same degree of lateral stability.  That is just my opinion - no factual data.  I once had a small 16' enclosed with leaf springs, and hated it.

To me, it sounds like the dealer makes more money on the leaf spring equipped trailers.


I don't know how important that would be.  I know that you can somewhat rebuild leaf spring equipped trailers.

Have you had any experience with leaf springs on an enclosed trailer?

I once had a small 16' enclosed with leaf springs, and hated it.

I suspect that as I get more into autocrossing at other venues, that depending on distance traveled, I too will start carrying more equipment/tools, and creature comforts.  I am just not sure about investing more $ into a trailer initially to get the heavier payload capacity.

What are your thoughts on:
1.  16" vs. 24" support spacing?
16" is stronger and gives more places to hang stuff on the walls.
2.  Seamless top vs. panels?
Seamless is less opportunity for leaks. My 2002 Pace Pursuit has panels and has never leaked.
3.  Flat vs. "V" front?
I would assume the V front would help some with gas mileage.  But, don't have direct experience.  Storage might be a little funky depending on how you do it.
4.  Side door size, 36" vs. 48"?
I have a 36" side door. Larger comes into play if you are putting something big like a golf cart in it.
Finally, did you buy your enclosed trailer new or used?  Do you have a dealer you would recommend?

Thanks again, your feedback is greatly appreciated!  Smiley
I apologize for all the questions, but the "retired engineer" analyzing kicks in automatically these days!   Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 07:08:22 PM by 31rx7 » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 07:10:07 PM »

Also, I bought it new via Rock's Trailer Sales in Grove City.  Always had good service from them.  Not always the cheapest but you pay for what you get with trailers.  Mine is 12 years old with really only one issue (front top cap was a poor design and cracks).  I've seen other brands that are cheaper but look like crap after 6 years.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
LGMCCARTHY
Sr. Member
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Posts: 200


« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 11:46:56 PM »

Thanks for answering all the questions!

I have a utility trailer that I bought at Rock's Trailer Sales.  I will probably talk with them as I do more research.  I will do some more research on the torsion axles to understand service life and maintenance requirements.
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Larry McCarthy
2012 Miata - CS
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2013, 10:49:10 AM »

I agree with everything rich said. When I bought mine used I liked the V nose but after towing it I love the V nose. It seems to help with wind resistance and mine has cabinets top and bottom with counter tops! Or there is the option of no cabinets, then customize it as needed.

Happy hunting,
Darin
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