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Thread: Light Capacity Trailers

  1. #1
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    Default Light Capacity Trailers

    Apropros of nothing, I was poking around trailer parts websites And stumbled across the Flexiride line of torsion half axles. They go down to as low as a 425 pound capacity. Sounds perfect for towing your motorcycle, lightweight sailboat or pulling poat.

    Technical details from the manufacturer: http://www.theuniversalgroup.com/flexiride/

    Looks like you can get a 425 pound pair of half axles, with hubs, bearing and seals for about $300: https://www.southwestwheel.com/c-25-...alf-axles.aspx






    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    The 550# model is on sale for $200.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    they work quite well until you hit a POT HOLE and knock one out of alignment

    w/o the leverage of the full axle to keep the spindles in alignment those 2 bolts on each side have to work VERY VERY HARD to do their job

    this tidbit is from my reading on a motorcycle forum so all i am doing is relaying the message

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by swoody126 View Post
    they work quite well until you hit a POT HOLE and knock one out of alignment ... w/o the leverage of the full axle to keep the spindles in alignment those 2 bolts on each side have to work VERY VERY HARD to do their job
    I'm a little dubious about that assertion. From watching that video and reading the literature, the system starts with a flat (but angled) base plate with 6 mounting holes. It gets welded to the trailer frame -- very precisely, since its placement defines alignment, camber and toe-in. The torsion axel cartridge is then bolted to the baseplate with 6 or 8 bolts (depending on the axle's designed load). Assuming that the bolts are properly sized and the holes have minimum clearance, they simply can't get very far out of alignment.

    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I was thinking the same thing. In the video the stubs are being bolted to a transverse framing member as well. I was thinking one of these might be a slick way to mount a wheel on the cargo-carrying sidecar I've been thinking of building for a while now.

    For me the biggest obstacles to getting to the "right" small boat trailer are getting the materials and then galvanizing the whole thing. Might have to see about switching my welder to aluminum and at least the chemical issues would be sorted.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I have a small utility trailer with torsion suspension and ABSOLUTELY HATE IT. Towed empty it makes 3' hops on the freeway when it hits potholes -- which is terrifying, dangerous and unlike any leaf spring suspension you'll encounter.

    There are a number of excellent reasons why torsion suspension isn't used on cars and most trailers. The primary issue is that torsion is OK for loads very near the top end of the support range, but awful for loads that vary or are near the low end of the range.

    So for battle tanks and portable large-motor water pumps, torsion is great. Otherwise I'd give it a pass. There are some other light-load suspension systems kicking around, check some of the threads here for more info.
    Last edited by Thorne; 05-17-2017 at 11:43 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I've always wondered why there isn't an adjustable suspension for light trailers of the sort we see on mountain bike forks where both the spring and damping forces can be altered for an empty trailer and a trailer under load, specifically to get rid of that bouncing.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  8. #8
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    In my experience empty trailers bounce whether they are leaf or torsion spring. In this particular milieu we are talking about boat trailers which in general are loaded with their boat when traveling over the road and only unloaded at the launch ramp and vicinity where the speeds are fairly low so stiff springs aren't that much of an issue.

    The ultimate would be an airbag suspension with an onboard air compressor so you could tweak the spring rates.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    It would be fun to test how the lightest torsion suspension works with a boat loaded to near the top weight range, but I'm not willing to spend the money on spec.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Will these kits handle larger dia wheels? Light-capacity trailers seem to key on 8" wheels, which I don't tolerate. I've owned two light trailers which came to me with 8" wheels. One was quickly converted to 12" trailer wheels, and one (still have it) runs on 13" auto wheels for which the spindles from the auto replaced the original Apache camping trailer spindles yielding a utility trailer with an attractive flare-side wooden box (quickly convertible to flat bed) instead of a sheet metal fold-out camper body. For me, conventionally-sprung light trailers are so affordable, why reinvent the wheel?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I have a torsion trailer for Emily Ruth. This is a small sailboat with a ballast keel. It weighs in the neighborhood of 1400 pounds according to the designer. I haven't weighed it but that estimate "seems" to be OK. It rides on a trailer rated for 2100 pounds and the ride is very smooth. I've never noticed any jumping or pounding. The tow is easy. That said... when the trailer is empty, the tow is anything but pleasant. The trailer jumps and weaves. This is probably because when unloaded, the tongue weight is too light because the axle has been moved forward to account for the ballast keel. Fortunately, I have an easy tow home after launching at our local ramp. If I were to have to tow the empty trailer a long distance, or on a high speed highway, I'd do something to calm the beast down.

    Jeff

    Edited; I first thought perhaps the jumpiness of the empty trailer may be due to the torsion axle. But upon further reflection, I remembered when I towed the new trailer home from the dealer it was as if there was nothing there. Then, the axle was toward the rear in the position needed for most outboard runabout boats.
    Last edited by jpatrick; 05-17-2017 at 03:18 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I have a small utility trailer with torsion suspension and ABSOLUTELY HATE IT. Towed empty it makes 3' hops on the freeway when it hits potholes -- which is terrifying, dangerous and unlike any leaf spring suspension you'll encounter.

    There are a number of excellent reasons why torsion suspension isn't used on cars and most trailers. The primary issue is that torsion is OK for loads very near the top end of the support range, but awful for loads that vary or are near the low end of the range.

    So for battle tanks and portable large-motor water pumps, torsion is great. Otherwise I'd give it a pass. There are some other light-load suspension systems kicking around, check some of the threads here for more info.
    This may be drifty, but my 1980 Toyota pickup has torsion springs in the front end.

    Completely different setup from the pics in the OP.

    The torsion bar runs fore and aft, and is splined into the lower control arm at the extreme inboard end.

    The torsion bar is about a meter long, as I recall . . . maybe shorter, so the amount of travel can be much greater. The control arm is about a third of the length of the torsion bar.

    It rides very nicely.

    I bring it up because the torsion bar suspensions I see on trailers seem to be so very short that they would have a lot of trouble with controllability .


    Lo and behold! Here's a similar system used in the front end of a 1993 Chevrolet truck:

    Rattling the teacups.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I think Thorne is only talking about rubber in torsion units, steel torsion bars are/were very common in cars and have nice characteristics at low loads, while handling the higher loads equally well. In reality, a coil spring is a torsion bar, just think about it. A while back, I wanted a light trailer to tow behind a 2CV, so used the rear torsion bars off a Renault 4. Made up the trailing arms and hinge pivots with bronze bushes and fitted 8" rims & 8x4 tyres. It rode very well, except that it tended to bound a bit after potholes, so I fitted some small shock absorbers. That cured any bouncing and one didn't notice it was there. 30 yrs later it was still fine and I gave it to a friend.

    The common torsion units often have a square housing with the tube that has the arm on, at 45 inside it and rubber rods inserted. This just about satisfies the legal requirement for suspension. The units in this thread have the inner tube bonded in rubber, this has a far better track record. I built a big trailer using units of this type and they worked a lot better, though I would still prefer other springing systems.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    I have a vintage (1976) Holsclaw trailer with coil springs and small RV shock absorbers to haul a 500 lb load. It is very well behaved.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    These used rubber torsion "Indispension" units on tne rear wheels.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Classic VWs used torsion rear suspension too.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    This may be drifty, but my 1980 Toyota pickup has torsion springs in the front end.

    Completely different setup from the pics in the OP.

    The torsion bar runs fore and aft, and is splined into the lower control arm at the extreme inboard end.

    The torsion bar is about a meter long, as I recall . . . maybe shorter, so the amount of travel can be much greater. The control arm is about a third of the length of the torsion bar.

    It rides very nicely.

    I bring it up because the torsion bar suspensions I see on trailers seem to be so very short that they would have a lot of trouble with controllability .


    Lo and behold! Here's a similar system used in the front end of a 1993 Chevrolet truck:

    The difference between this (and VDUB) suspension is that this one needs a separate shock absorber. The rubber torsion unit is both spring and shocker in one.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  18. #18
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    These used rubber torsion "Indispension" units on tne rear wheels.

    That is insane! Love it!
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    That is insane! Love it!
    If you think that the car is insane, people used to race them.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    If you think that the car is insane, people used to race them.
    A couple of friends used to drive those. You realy had to be desperate for wheels to do it. 197cc single banger bike engine driving the front wheel with the whole caboodle turning to steer it. words fail me.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Palmer View Post
    I have a vintage (1976) Holsclaw trailer with coil springs and small RV shock absorbers to haul a 500 lb load. It is very well behaved.
    The old Holsclaw trailers are the Gold Standard™ of the light trailer world, and several Forumites including my friend up in Humboldt have restored 'em. Sure wish we could buy them new!
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    Will these kits handle larger dia wheels? Light-capacity trailers seem to key on 8" wheels, which I don't tolerate. I've owned two light trailers which came to me with 8" wheels. One was quickly converted to 12" trailer wheels, and one (still have it) runs on 13" auto wheels for which the spindles from the auto replaced the original Apache camping trailer spindles yielding a utility trailer with an attractive flare-side wooden box (quickly convertible to flat bed) instead of a sheet metal fold-out camper body. For me, conventionally-sprung light trailers are so affordable, why reinvent the wheel?
    Yep, those 8" wheels have a way of finding every pot hole the road has to offer, had them on one trailer many years ago, never again. The 12" are much smoother riding especially if you're running a good radial tire, more sidewall flex than bias tires, smoother ride, and they run cooler than a bias, fewer blowouts, have been running Kenda's lately, very nice tire.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Light Capacity Trailers

    Karavan uses this sort of suspension on the trailer I bought for my CS 17. It seems to work fine, but it definitely rides smoother with a load than empty. In fact, it rides very smooth with a load.

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