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Old 10-13-2013, 10:33 AM   #1
LG
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Default ground clearance T-160

I bought a used 2002 T160 in August this year (2013) - 13ft trailer with overall length of 17ft from coupler to tail lights - and I love it...but the waste dump plumbing at the rear on street side is so close to the ground that it drags on just about any kind of dip in the roadway - such as pulling into gas stations, going through intersections, etc. I'm afraid it's going to cause serious damage some day soon.

I've seen where people have welded on scraper bars to protect the plumbing and increased the size of the tires, but I'm thinking the scraper bars will just cause lots more scraping since they are even lower than the plumbing. The tire and wheel size seems like it is the best bet but I'm wondering how much I can actually get out of that. Right now I'm running the stock 13" wheels with 205 tires. How much more clearance will I get out of 14" wheels with, say, 225s on there?

I've also read and watched videos about "axle flipping" where people put the axle on the bottom of the leaf springs instead of the top, but I'm not sure the T-160 has leaf springs on it's single axle. I'd have to look at it and right now it's in storage for the winter and I can't easily check it unless I drive about a half hour to get to it. I probably should have thought to look at it before I stored it but truth is I just forgot.

Does anybody on here have any experience with this model and year and have any ideas on how to increase the ground clearance in a significant way? Of course, I do understand I can't go too far without upsetting the towing stability but I'd like to get about 4-5 inches more out of it. if I could. Is this even reasonable? If not - how do you guys deal with this? Even towing it from my house to the storage lot I had to scrape it twice due to dips at intersections. Seems like it should be a pretty common problem. I also note that I see newer trailers with much higher clearance than my little T-160 so looks like the mfg'ers are getting it together but that's not much help to me in this situation.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you guys may have.
LG
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
M&M
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Default Trailer height

Hi,

I have no answers but maybe a few ideas to mull over.

1. I am not familiar with your model trailer but some smaller trailers use a rubber bushing affair instead of leaf springs. This type of suspension does sag as the trailer ages with replacement the only cure I know of. I agree you might want to look at what type of suspension you have.
2. You could get a little more clearance at the back of the trailer by using a lower hitch. You wonít want to lower front of the trailer very much, but you could tip the front down a little. The tow vehicle should remain level.
3. If you want to figure out how much clearance you will gain by switching tire size, you can go to TireRack.com and look at diameters of various tire sizes.
4. Scraper bars unusually work pretty well and are probably a good safety feature on most trailers.
5. As you raise the trailer, it will stick up higher behind the tow vehicle. This may create more drag making it a little harder to pull and use a little more fuel and may make it slightly more top heavy. The extra height also makes it higher to step into and sacrifices some top clearance for obstacles such as trees. Like most things, it is a tradeoff and depends somewhat on what you are pulling the trailer with and where you intend to pull it.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.
I did verify that the suspension is the torsion type - I have it on good authority that the 2002 T160's were built with AL-KO Kober torsion axles (Wes Leggett at the Shadow Cruiser Fun Finders forum on Yahoo). He's got a web page with specs: http://staffweb.psdschools.org/wlegg...a2002t-160.htm.
According to him a spacer can be welded on to increase ground clearance. However, that said, I think I'm going to start out by getting a 2" drop hitch and having my son-in-law weld on a steel scrape-guard around the dump-stump. That's the cheapest option to begin with.
Then, if that doesn't get me enough, I'll look at 14" wheels and bigger tires. and if that doesn't do enough then I'll start thinking about pulling out the axle and welding something in there to raise the frame up. With my mechanical abilities, that is the hardest option to do. It would probably be much cheaper than buying new wheels and tires but Wes' experience was that the larger tires also contributed to towing stability so not a bad investment in my mind.

It's going to be spring at any rate before I get to mess with the trailer any further. Thanks for the thoughts and ideas. everything helps.
LG
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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Default ground clearance

Hi again LG,
Our previous camper also had an aging torsion axle suspension that we had to deal with. The first problem with the sagging suspension is ground clearance, but a second and probably equally bad problem is when the suspension is sagged, it no longer has as much travel as it did. It basically starts to act like there is little or no suspension. Spacers will solve the clearance problem, but the lack of suspension travel may jar and shake up your camper.
On our trailer, we purchased a torsion axil suspension complete with axil, suspension, hubs, and bearings from Pioneer Rim. This worked really well. I think the total parts cost was around $200, but this was several years ago.
I donít know if your present axle has 4 or 5 wheel bolts, but it you decide to buy a new torsion set up and are still thinking about bigger wheels and tires, it might be a good time to go to 5 bolt hubs if you donít already have them.
Good luck!
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Pretty sure they're 5-bolt already. The thought about that torsion set-up wearing out had definitely occurred to me. As you know, the big idea behind it is that the rubber, after compression, doesn't want to spring back past it's original shape, like leaf springs do, making shocks unnecessary. But my thought, which you just verified, was that the rubber would tend to compress after flexing thousands and thousands of times and eventually it would probably stop wanting to "spring back" to it's original shape - hence the sag. With leaf springs one can replace springs or shocks. With torsion suspension I guess it becomes the entire axle eventually. Big improvement! ha ha!

I don't know how many miles are on this trailer or what was done to it prior to my purchase as I purchased it as-is from a private party in Broomfield CO last August. I have nothing to compare to in order to know if it's sagging down further than it should so I'll have to get it checked out next spring and see if it's worn out or what before I do anything to it. It doesn't seem like it's overly bouncy or anything during towing (I have an '06 Tacoma v6 4-door w/5' bed and towing pkg) and I don't use any sway control or weight distribution equipment and it seems pretty stable as long as I keep it to about 60-65 mph max, so it might still be ok.

This is my first trailer and my learning curve is on a very steep trajectory.

LG
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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Default ground clearance

LG,

Your approach to the problem seems wise to me.

Our camper is stored for the winter also, and spring seems like a long ways off.

M&M
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