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Old 05-22-2011, 02:38 PM   #1
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Bent axle?

Could my '79 Sunspot axle be bent, or are they built with a slight curve for the load they carry? Please see the pics and advise. It is a 4" drop axle with 5 X 4.5 hubs on 1 1/16" spindles.

I just rebuilt the hubs, then wanted to drop the axle to move the spring seats so the springs would ride below the axle in the stock position as opposed to the above the axle position a previous owner did. You can see in the second pic my framing angle up against the brake bracket showing as it sits that the tires would be angled in on the bottom to a small degree. It doesn't seem right to me, but I am no expert!

Thank you for any help.

Frank
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File Type: jpg axle.jpg (46.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg brakebrkt.jpg (43.1 KB, 0 views)
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:32 PM   #2
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Frank

The axle tube itself should have an arch "up" in the center, especially when uploaded and even while loaded.

See here on mine before I replaced them for toe issues. Don't mind the worn shoes...




That arch "up" creates camber at the wheel providing the axle has not been overloaded in it's life and bent from the axle seats to the bearing spindle.

If your camper is on a "level" surface you can use a level and an angle finder to see if you still have positive camber when under a fully loaded camper.


You can also see it at the break drum or in your case wheel hub when unloaded and the axles level to the frame and ground.




By your pic the arch still exists in the center of the axle tube. However I cannot tell about the wheel hub as I do not know what relationship your square is in referenced to.

Looking at the wheel straight on at the 12:00 and 6:00 location, the top of the tire should be tipped "out" and the bottom be tipped "in". Both empty and loaded. This means positive camber. If the wheel is dead plumb up and down that is zero camber and is on the edge of being OK to most likely close to overload. The axle tube would be straight across then and no arch left when overloaded.

However if there is still arch up and the wheel is plumb then odds are the axle was overloaded and bent from the axle seat to the wheel hub. The axle tube is suppose to be a straight line from the center of the arch all the way to the wheel spindle when no load is on the axle.

Also I see you have the axle off. There is actually a front and back to them and if not known you could install it 180 degree wrong. On brake axles many times the brake wire is on the back side.

Toe at the wheel is created in the axle spindle when it is welded into the axle tube. Zero toe to slight toe in is OK. Excessive tow out is a problem and will burn tires over time.

To figure out which way the front is suppose to point you can do this. Do not assume it was put on right.

Get a straight edge clamped to the hub or drum. I used 2, 18" scales. Level them up on each end and put scale centered on axle.


Then with a tape measure at say 8" left to right measure. You can see which way the hubs/drums are pointing. Again providing the axle is not bent.






The axle front should be the side where the tires toe in or are exactly zero. Do not pick toe out. The toe in angle will flex outward some when towing down the road ans approach closer to 0. If you start with a lot of toe out then they plow out even further creating a scrub angle to the road.

Since you have every thing apart, when you bolt the U bolts back up you should check the tow ball to each wheel to check for thrust angle. You can actually tweak it back in or out of spec with the play on the hole of the axle seat.

See this post for the entire axle setup deal showing how to center the axle before bolting it up tight. And tighten the U bolts in an x pattern and torque them.

TT axle alignment - Details (long with lot's of pics)

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:22 PM   #3
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Okay, that's great! It certainly helps John.

Because I flipped the springs back under the axle where they belong, and I still have that arch where it's supposed to be. Just got in, gonna have dinner, then will post some pics. I'll check out the details of your post later tonight or tomorrow because now that I got that done, everything will be coming apart again for new u-bolts (at least). Sure was great to find the right spring seats at Tractor Supply too! I'm beat!

Frank
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2008 Subaru Outback
1983 Sunline T-1550

Image to come as soon as I figure out how to flatten a pic!
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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Got the new spring seats in and the axle is now where Sunline designed it to be. I'll be removing it again soon for some other stuff, just wanted to get the springs moved, everything back together, and moved into the pole barn before rain started. Next is pulling ALL the wiring and completely re-wiring it for 12V and 110V.

Thanks again for all the help!

Frank
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File Type: jpg lowered.jpg (49.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg lowered1.jpg (48.1 KB, 2 views)
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