Camper Trailer springs

Submitted: Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 09:56
ThreadID: 22923 Views:3489 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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G'Day fellow travellers,
Just want to call on your experience as to whether we should carry a spare spring for the camper & whether I should fit shockies to it? We will be travelling The Gulf Track , GRR, To Alice Spring ,Kings Canyon Loop etc.

Troopytrek!!!!
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 10:08

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 10:08
G'day troopytrek,

I do, following some learning experience on the Cape. Have you ever tried to get this sort of stuff in a remote location (Weipa aint remote but they know how to charge a stranded traveller). I have sorted my springs, know their weight capacity, trailer weight and have fitted shocks following advice from another forum.

The spare spring and hangers are mounted under the "A" frame. Taking an inverter welder (4Kg) that runs on the Honda genie. Mate these opportunist are not stinging me again.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 110965

Reply By: Paul from Ozroamer Camper Trailers (Hire & Sales) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 10:21

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 10:21
Hi Troopytrek

My original springs were undersize (weight) and I broke one in Bamaga, one in Coen and one on the Gibb.

Carry the extra spring and make sure you have some chain and other types of fastners/clamps - I used clamps and large hose clamps and chain.

The extra spring is easy to fix to the side of the chassis rail - fairly out of the way.

Either springs or air bags are a good extra - If you have a soft floor you have to be careful that you dont raise the trailer body because the canvas wont reach the ground when you make camp. If you use Air bags you can deflate them when you make camp which lowers the trailer body if necessary. A mate of mine has this system and it seems to work fine - his was an Onroad soft floor that he has modified.
Ian Oak @ Opposite Lock Brookvale in Sydney also owns Ridgetop Camper Trailers and did all the work - He was very happy with the end result.
AnswerID: 110967

Reply By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 11:01

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 11:01
Troopy, I have just finished fitting all new springs to my camper, it snapped one on the Hemmansburg track but luckily with the extra loop (military wrap) the spring stayed in place till civilisation. Under warranty, Camptrek in Sydney replaced only one spring and cleaned the other one up to look new (paint) to save their cost...much to my disgust.

Concequently after a year one side has dropped considerably and the bushings are breaking up.
The spring they used was an ALKO, very well made and looks new still, so I stayed with them. Grabbed two new ones and also their shock kit ($140) with brackets to attach!
As for a spare spring...to keep the weight down, you only need to carry the TOP leaf, just separate the centre bolt of an old spring (thats still in good condition) and remove the rest of the leaves. Its only the top leaf you will break and you can bolt it up under the chassis (where you can still get to it if the thing drops a tad!) and if you need to rip it out and change it on the track. Even use it as a bit of counter balance for loading!

Same goes for the hubs...you can assemble a complete spare hub and use it for the mounting point of your spare tyre. tThat way if you do a hub bearing, its a case of a few wheel nuts off and then the hub nut and you can swap the spare hub straight on. Fix up the other hub back in civilisation!

Goodluck, you wont regret the shocks fittment (your gear will thank you) and happy travels!

Matt.
AnswerID: 110973

Reply By: DARREN - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 12:44

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 12:44
I think a spare spring and wheel bearing set is a good idea.

To shock or not to shock, everyone has their view. I have leaf springs with rebound dampeners on my off road trailer and together with decent diameter wheels (split rims in this case) and tyres at correct pressure I believe shocks are simply unneccessary. The beer in my trailer gets shaken less than that ones in my car, a GU Patrol.

Prior to a Cape York trip not having towed an off road trailer before and seeing all the whiz bang types of suspension available I was very concerned and took spare everything but found that the trailer rode suprisingly well and I had no problems what so ever despite driving past many broken trailers and seeing lots of people welding in Weipa. Most broken trailers I saw I would not tow to the tip (rubbish that is)

I now am a big fan of a well set up (not overloaded) leaf sprung trailer

Cheers

Darren
AnswerID: 110994

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:03

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:03
Darren, tell me about your rebound dampners...traditionally a rebound dampner is a shocky, as that is what they do, dampen the springs occillations?
Dont tell me I just welded up brackets to fit shockies and there is a better dampner out there!! Oh well, for $140 bucks it was easy to do and very cheap for a good ride.
Thanks
Matt.
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FollowupID: 367425

Follow Up By: DARREN - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:39

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:39
Hi Matt,

The dampener things are like smaller single leaf springs which actually are permanently clamped onto each top half of the leaf and actually come with the leaf setup. They would not work as well as shocks technically speaking but as far as keeping things simple, not intefering with the internal area of the trailer, durable and easily repaired I think they are a good thing, I was amazed at how well the leaf setup worked mind you I think you also get a lot of suspension out of the tyres with correct pressure when off road. I was a real sceptic on the simpl leaf thing beforehand and also went and saw http://www.obrienstrailers.com.au/ as I was going to get one made before I found a secondhand one, Obriens are expensive but seem pretty cluey and also swear by leaf springs with these dampeners.
I think a lot of so called "off road" springs are more like garden trailer springs. My springs, axle and brakes setup came from www.melbournetrailers.com.au, but unfortunately their web site provides contact details only and does not have pics to point you to.
Cheers

Darren
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FollowupID: 367433

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 19:46

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 19:46
Ahh yeah, have those on my ALKO spring as well, so now I have leaf springs (natural occilation dampners) and the dampner spring and shocks!!!
ALKO Springs Website
[ View Image]springs
[ View Image]
and shocks

Phew I should be right as rain!

Yeah I know and love the simplicity of the leaf spring setup, easy to use, repair and maintain. Not (officially) the ride quality of coils but for my trailer....terrific and more than adequate.

Thanks for your reply.

Matt.
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FollowupID: 367472

Reply By: Rod - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:00

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 16:00
Troopy

Took a leaf-sprung CT round Oz (cape, GRR, Bungle-Bungles etc) few year back. lessons learned were:

* Take spare spring shackle plates and bolts. The cape ate a few sets with corrugations
* I took spare u-bolts and fish plates but never needed them
* My mate did a wheel bearing on the cape
* I cracked the trailer hubs somewhere on the GRR
* Springs lost their set. Had extra leaves installed in Darwin
* Have bumpstops on the trailer suspension
* never broke a leaf
* Daily inspections are a must
AnswerID: 111017

Reply By: colin - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 22:03

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 22:03
Hi Kolks, desert trip, 5 trailers ( 2 new ) 4 leaf and 1 coil, the only trailer that had no problems was the coil. Col
AnswerID: 111100

Follow Up By: Member - Matt Mu (Perth-WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:49

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:49
Colin

All that aside, there are a million differring standards and quality in leaf spring construction and fittment to the trailer. There is also usually a bout $1000 + difference in cost to the equivilent quality of leaf to coil setups!
For this to be a subjective comparison, you would need to set all the brands side by side and costs, side by side to get any results!

Matt.

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FollowupID: 367572

Reply By: Member - Jeffrey - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:06

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:06
Hi Troopytrek,
Cruising.. I think ebay..I seen this idea which I thought was a good idea,actually I think it was a auction!..where if you damaged your stub axle back of bourke you can actually bolt and chain a new stub onto your buggerd axle once you hackswaed the damaged thing off, that was the part I didnt like but when faced leaving your hard earnd camper..well the sweat is worth it.I know this is not about springs and dampers but I thought it worth a mention.
All The Best In Health And Wealth
Jeffrey AKA (JD)
Good luck on your trip
AnswerID: 111107

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