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Old 08-08-2020, 09:23 AM   #1
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Default Flipping Axles

We have been spending the last (2) weeks modifying our new to us -- 2009 189FBS for our usage.

I will post photos and explain what has worked for us -- some of you may get an idea or two -- or offer us an idea to do.

My question is about repositioning the axles under the springs instead of the current factory location above the springs.

We would do this to gain perhaps 4 or 5" additional ground clearance for rougher terrain.

What can you tell me about this procedure?

I have researched it a little -- and determined that it is not that hard to accomplish -- and might be a good mod. Looks like we need a couple of brackets welded onto the opposite sides of the current spring brackets -- maybe extend the brake wiring -- and that might do it.

Our trailer is clean as a pin underneath -- just like new.

I am capable -- but not a welder. So I would take this job to a local trailer shop.

Any thoughts, hints, and/or ideas?

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-08-2020, 05:49 PM   #2
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This is called an axle flip. It is pretty common. I had it done on my trailer because we go off-pavement and I needed more clearance for the rocks and bushes. I've towed the trailer for about 70,000 miles with no problem.

That said, raising the trailer does raise your center of gravity. So there is a theoretically greater risk of tipping over. So far, so good, but I am a very cautious driver. (My sons used to call me "Grandma Dad" because I refused to drive much above the speed limit.)
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Old 08-08-2020, 06:36 PM   #3
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Thanks, Profdant --

Appreciate the info.

Best, Fred
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:11 PM   #4
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Our FF actually came from the factory with the axles flipped. It is very stable AND a better match for the height of our truck.
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:11 PM   #5
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Thanks, James --

I think the axle flip will be a good height match for my truck also.

Will be calling a shop tomorrow for an appointment.

Want to have a trailer shop verify the setup and make sure the trailer brakes are set properly and good, anyway.

Had a local U-Haul install a Prodigy brake controller before picking up the trailer in Colorado.

And I was prepared to address any wiring issues upon connecting. But, surprise...every light worked as it was supposed to -- no issues -- and the trailer brakes seemed to work fine. 1441 mile trip back to our home in California -- but I really do not know how to set the brake controller. No owners manual -- U-Haul said to go online for one -- I did, and still do not know exactly where I am at on the brake controller. So, I will get some help from the trailer shop, hopefully. The ones I have used 25 years ago -- did not have all of this digital code readout stuff.

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:43 PM   #6
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This is probably way too simplistic, but my brake controller manual said to experiment with the controller in a parking lot. Keep nudging up the settings until the trailer smoothly stops the rig during a low-speed glide.

Again, bear in mind that I am no expert. I just did what the manual said to do.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:20 AM   #7
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Default Appt. to Flip Axles

Just set up an appointment to flip the axles at The Outdoorsman, in Fresno, for tomorrow morning.

$270 including all new brackets, 1/2 day, 8:00 AM.

Looked again online at the brake controller understanding. Seems like I should be able to do it myself. Guess I was just confused before. Without an owners manual (ordering one this morning) -- I did not know if the digital symbols were a "6" or a "b". Seem to understand it more now. Will take ProfD's advice on going to a parking lot.

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:05 PM   #8
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Flipped the axles.

Actually, just welded new brackets onto the opposite side of the axle housing -- then placed the axles UNDER the springs.

Tows exactly level now with 15 pounds of air in the airlift bags (15%).

Gained exactly 4.5" of ground clearance.

Tows very well.

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-15-2020, 04:08 AM   #9
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Well done!
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Old 08-16-2020, 04:01 PM   #10
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I have a 2006 X139 and I'm going to flip the axle as well.
I don't see the need to weld on new brackets, I'm thinking just unbolt the brake backing plates from the axle, reposition the axle below the springs by rotating axle 180 degrees then bolt the brake backing plates back to the axle in the correct clocked position. Add wiring if needed.
Anyone see a problem with this?
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Old 08-16-2020, 05:30 PM   #11
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Default Axle Flip

I asked this same question before doing my double axle flip.

If they weren't welded it's very likely the axle might turn in the spring seat. You really only have to tack weld them in one spot to prevent this. Taking it to a welder is cheap -- as well as cheap insurance. If you are going to be on any rough roads, unpaved roads, or boon-docking -- it is not a chance I would take. It is a quick and easy job for a welder to run a bead on both sides of the brackets. And it is about the same cost to run welding beads as it is to "tack weld"..

Most trailer axles have a bit of a bow to them which once you put the weight of the trailer on them they flatten out and you get the correct angle for the wheels and tires. If the axle turns the alignment is going to be ruined and you'll most likely go through tires quickly and have other bizarre behavior too.

I have too much riding on my axles -- to shortcut what the experts recommend.

One less thing to worry about, IMO...

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-16-2020, 05:37 PM   #12
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I wasn't going to cut the spring seats off, merely rotating the axle 180 degrees and the spring seats are thereby below the springs, no welding required.
Merely relocating parts.
I'm not aware the axle is bent, might be so, mine is a single axle, have to go look into that, thanks for that info, that would negate my process entirely.
Saved me. Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2020, 06:13 PM   #13
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Default Flip axles

It is likely that you won't be able to see an upward bow -- or a bend in the axle -- unless the weight of your trailer is off the axle completely.

Just drive it over to a reliable & experienced independent trailer shop (not an RV dealer). See what they recommend.

It is also very likely -- that any reputable and professional trailer shop would never recommend NOT welding the brackets due to liability and reliability issues down the road.

Anything CAN be done. The question is whether or not it will be a solid modification from a longevity, economical, and safety aspect.

I just went through this same scenario last week.

Best,

Fred
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Old 08-17-2020, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peteislost View Post
I wasn't going to cut the spring seats off, merely rotating the axle 180 degrees and the spring seats are thereby below the springs, no welding required.
Merely relocating parts.
I'm not aware the axle is bent, might be so, mine is a single axle, have to go look into that, thanks for that info, that would negate my process entirely.
Saved me. Thanks.
I assume you're pulling the brakes and reinstalling them back on right side forward.
Check the axle near the center with a straight edge. Most axles have a very slight bow and some even a little bit of "toe-in" added in as well. Your's may be different.
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Old 08-17-2020, 06:38 PM   #15
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Yeah, I was going to pull the brake backing plates and rotate them 180 degrees on the axle which would put them back into correct orientation.
I didn't know the factory bowed the axle nor toe in. Seems to me logically the design would be best totally neutral but that's not always how things work in the real world.
I just looked at the axle and it has an upward bow in it, never noticed before, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch without actually measuring.
I'll probably measure the axle tube and find some spring perches and weld on. Not a hard task and as I have a small buzz box for just this kind of mod or repair I'll probably do it that way which will be easy peasy. Can probably get away with old u-bolts as well although I would replace them if commonly available. Might cut of old spring perches as well, might interfere with re-positioned u-bolts.
Thanks for your advice, still thinking through the mod process and am very appreciative for the advice from all of you, that's why I came here and posted.
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Old 08-18-2020, 01:58 PM   #16
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Default Flip Axles

Here is how ours turned out on a 189FBS --

Best Always,

Fred
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Old 08-18-2020, 09:30 PM   #17
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Thanks, good pics
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Old 08-30-2020, 07:39 PM   #18
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I believe all Dexter axles tubes have an arc (curvature) and that the camber actually changes with the weight on the axle. Rotating the axle 180 degrees would seeming invert the curvature and mess up the camber.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profdant139 View Post
This is called an axle flip. It is pretty common. I had it done on my trailer because we go off-pavement and I needed more clearance for the rocks and bushes. I've towed the trailer for about 70,000 miles with no problem.

That said, raising the trailer does raise your center of gravity. So there is a theoretically greater risk of tipping over. So far, so good, but I am a very cautious driver. (My sons used to call me "Grandma Dad" because I refused to drive much above the speed limit.)
I looked under my 2006 139X and I don’t see any leaf springs at all... we would like more ground clearance but not sure if it can be done on ours.
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Old 09-06-2020, 05:13 PM   #20
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SafeWalli, it sounds like you have torsion axles. Although they can't be flipped, they can be lifted -- there are kits available online. Folks say it is a do it yourself project. I am a chicken and would probably have it installed by a mechanic. That way, I have someone else to blame if it fails!

I think the kits add two inches of ground clearance. That sounds trivial but it is not, if you consider the percentage improvement in your current clearance.
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