Author Topic: steering axle on a trailer  (Read 829 times)

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Offline RedneckInTraining

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steering axle on a trailer
« on: July 18, 2020, 11:39:20 am »
So I've been using my friends tandem axle trailer alot recently and I've been noticing how much of a bear it is to turn the trailer, even unloaded. Even on the highway you can feel it slow the truck down in corners just from the drag of sliding the tires sideways. My old single axle trailer is a breeze to tow by comparison. Even the dreaded tire blow is a non issue with the cars I typically haul on my single axle because of all the tongue weight, although everyone tells me I should get a tandem axle for hauling cars. Ive seen semi truck trailers use steering axles either as a dolly or a tag axle so I was thinking what if I made the rear axle of a tandem axle trailer steerable? I have an old closed knuckle dana 44 front axle that is all but worthless other than scrap. I was thinking of gutting the axle, and then cutting the tubes off the pumpkin then find a bent section of tube that the axle tubes would slide into and give proper camber. Then use the D44 outers as steering and possibly brakes.According to theory the axle would track straight going forward then it would need to be locked out for reverse. It would only need a few degrees of steering to not drag the tires sideways so the leaf springs should not be a problem. Anyone see any problems with my thinking or is this just asking for disaster?
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    Offline SuperBurban

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #1 on: July 18, 2020, 02:19:05 pm »
    You have the theory right, most big trucks lift the steerable axles for reverse.

    I think you are over reacting. I cannot say I notice a difference between a single axle, or tandem. Yes, sharp turns on gravel, I can hear the axle scrubbing the tires.

    Check the spring bushings, I suspect there might be worn parts causing what you feel.
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    Offline Mojack

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #2 on: July 18, 2020, 10:06:19 pm »
    Sounds like a fun project, but I've thought my tandem pulls really easy.  Check the wheel alignment on all four wheels of your friends trailer. ?
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    Offline Elwenil

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #3 on: July 19, 2020, 06:07:56 am »
    If you notice the tug of tandem trailer axles so much, you probably need a bigger tow vehicle.  If the axles are located normally with them very close together, there shouldn't be much noticeable bind or tire scrub.  Triple axles, yes, even tandem duals, yes, but normal single tandems like just about every car trailer built?  You shouldn't feel much of anything from it.  I usually feel the trailer tug a little from it's momentum wanting to go straight, but I never notice anything else except the annoying banging and rattling of an empty trailer.  I hate towing and empty trailer.
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    Offline W_A_Watson_II

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #4 on: July 19, 2020, 07:48:06 am »
    Could be very worn, spring system (Shackles, Shackle Bolts, Spring Bushings).  I know when ever I noticed a lot of motion I had worn out another set of shackles and bolts.

    Very sharp turns are hard on them, and will wear things prematurely.
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    Offline RedneckInTraining

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #5 on: July 20, 2020, 11:21:46 am »
    My friend's trailer is only a couple years old, its still on the original tires. So I doubt it has worn bushings already. Its just a heavy bastid. My tow vehicle of choice likely is too small, its only a 94 dodge ram 2500 diesel 4x4 truck with a regular cab and a long box so its roughly the size of a modern "midsize.
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    Offline SuperBurban

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #6 on: July 20, 2020, 01:12:28 pm »
    I have seen a lot built with plastic sleeve bushings, which are not designed for the weight. Does not hurt to take a look. Does it have equalizer setup, or a sway control device?

    I and many on here have towed more with less.
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    Offline u2slow

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 02:57:05 pm »
    My tow vehicle of choice likely is too small, its only a 94 dodge ram 2500 diesel 4x4 truck with a regular cab and a long box so its roughly the size of a modern "midsize.

    I dunno... more than capable tow rig IMHO . Not a small/light truck either. Are you running with a flimsy/soft tires? (truck or trailer) Trailer brakes set too aggressively? Loose/sloppy auto trans? Stock 160hp?

    I borrow a tandem car hauler now and again, ranging from empty to loaded with another cummins truck. Feeling 'slowed down' in corners is not a fixation for me.  ???
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    Offline RedneckInTraining

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #8 on: July 20, 2020, 08:09:02 pm »
    my truck has a " reverse " level. I put shorter blocks in the rear to level the truck. I'm running BFG all terrains in 285/75/16 E rated. Manual transmission, no trailer brakes. The truck normally puts out 310 hp and 686 ft-lbs at the rear wheels, although the(new) overflow valve is acting up.
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    Offline u2slow

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #9 on: July 26, 2020, 02:29:52 pm »
    my truck has a " reverse " level. I put shorter blocks in the rear to level the truck. I'm running BFG all terrains in 285/75/16 E rated. Manual transmission, no trailer brakes. The truck normally puts out 310 hp and 686 ft-lbs at the rear wheels, although the(new) overflow valve is acting up.

    I think we can tick the 'enough truck' box. Lol! Not sure what to say other than what you're experiencing is normal.

    Does you have a traction aid? Does it matter if you have weight in the bed or not? Have you noticed a difference between heavier tandems vs lighter ones?
    DD: 90 D250 6BT|5spd|D60/3.54/Lockright
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    Offline RedneckInTraining

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #10 on: August 2, 2020, 12:52:32 am »
    I dunno I haven't really towed other lighter tandems in quite some time.
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #11 on: August 2, 2020, 08:01:08 pm »
    In the big truck world we just lived with it. Try pulling a 53' trailer with split tandems. You make sure you're giving it enough throttle.

    A steerable axle is possible but it isn't necessary. Some dump trucks have steerable lift axles. There is a pair of big coil springs attached to the tie rod which keep the tires pointing forward. But when you take a corner, the springs give. Going in reverse is not possible with the axle down, they would just plow.

    You could change your driving style to compensate. When possible, try to avoid turning tight. If you can steer wide, less resistance will occur.

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    Offline RedneckInTraining

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #12 on: August 3, 2020, 11:21:17 am »
    Seems like that's an area worth improving on, myself or my truck shouldnt really notice when a trailer is empty or lightly loaded, and yet I have yet to come across a trailer that "tows like its not even there".
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: steering axle on a trailer
    « Reply #13 on: August 4, 2020, 05:10:39 pm »
    Seems like that's an area worth improving on,

    I wouldn't see it that way. A trailer serves a purpose and then you unhook it when you're done

    Quote
    myself or my truck shouldnt really notice when a trailer is empty or lightly loaded, and yet I have yet to come across a trailer that "tows like its not even there".

    Not me. I want to notice it. Thats how it tells me whats going on back there. When I drove long haul. I could tell when a trailer was loaded or empty by how it felt, or how it pulled. You always have to adjust your driving style with a trailer. You could never take a loaded trailer for granted.

    Ed
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