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Axle Options for Fabricating Camper Trailer from 4 x 8 Utility Trailer

Question:

I’m building a camping trailer from a small 4’x8’ trailer. I want to upgrade the axle and have it as wide as my Jeep. Is there a problem with having a 48” wide trailer and a 60” long axle? Seems like the springs would be mounted way to the inside of the end of the axle.

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Expert Reply:

The most important factor when selecting an axle is the weight capacity you need. You want to ensure your completed trailer's fully loaded weight is less than the axle capacity, or that it at least matches. Axles of a given weight rating will tend to have specific hub-face dimensions and spring center dimensions. You can use an axle longer than the trailer's width but spring centers must match your hangers. This really depends on all the details of your starting 4 x 8 trailer.

Often 4 x 8 trailers will have a 2200-lb axle. This weight rating comes in both 60-inch and 72-inch overall lengths and with spring center spacing of 48- and 58-inches respectively. Naturally your leaf springs need to have a proper mounting point under the trailer, at the spacing that matches your spring hangers.

You can avoid a lot of these design considerations by using a Timbren axle-less suspension like the 2200-lb-rated kits # ASR1THDS03 and # ASR1THDS02. Kit # ASR1THDS03 has spindles that lift the trailer 4-inches; this gives you better ground clearance which is great if you're planning to take the trailer off-road to camp. Since you completely eliminate the need for leaf springs, hangers, shackle straps, etc the design process using Timbren kits can be a lot easier. Both of these kits include brake flanges but we also have idler hub kits too, like 3500-lb kit # A35RS545.

Timbren kits bolt or weld on to the frame. Sometimes you will need to use 2 x 2 steel tubing (that fits into cutouts in the assemblies) to provide reinforcement.

The two linked articles on trailer suspension may be of interest.

expert reply by:
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Adam R

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