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Old 05-24-2019, 10:10 AM   #1
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Explain my axle to me

I have a Lippert tandem axle trailer. Forgive my complete ignorance on how to describe it, but the wheels have “movement” That is, they can pivot from side to side and aren’t fixed on the front to back plane. But if I’m making a tight radius turn they will “pop”. A lot. Is that normal?

I vaguely remember the tech on my PDI mentioning that these are prone to blowing some seal but it would be obvious if that happened because the rim would have (grease?) all over it.

Can someone give me the axles for dummies basics? Thanks.
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Old 05-24-2019, 03:49 PM   #2
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Look at the frame around the axle hanger plates. Look for obvious cracks in the steel or even cracks in the paint (which is actually a powder coat, but it will let in road water with salts if cracked and cause the steel underneath to fail). That is the issue I had with my popping sounds.

If you frame is solid, then I would suggest inspecting the bearings. When was the last time you inspected or repacked the bearings?

This is an example of what you *DON'T* want to see on your frame. This was mine (one of several places) before the factory repair.


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Old 05-24-2019, 04:09 PM   #3
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I had the bearings repacked before the season last year. The trailer was only two years old then and less then 3000 miles on it. They said everything looked good.

I just checked the frame and didn’t see anything surprising.

The popping sound seems to be coming from where the hubs connect to the axle crossbar (again. I apologize for not knowing what I’m talking about here) and seems to be related to the “flexing” that the hub does.

If I’m making a tight turn (in my cul-de-sac, for instance) the wheels will flex as much as 10-15 degrees off center.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:21 PM   #4
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Are you sure the popping sound isn't coming from your WDH?

The grease comment from the tech may be regarding the EZLube hubs if you have those. They're prone to blowing seals if not done properly and maybe even when done properly. I don't want to hijack this thread on that topic.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:28 PM   #5
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Are you sure the popping sound isn't coming from your WDH?
Hmmm. I don’t think so but we’re heading out tonight so I’ll pay more attention to where the sound is coming from. But does anyone know what I’m talking about with the wheels flexing or am I absolutely crazy? I’ll take a picture when we pull out tonight.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:29 PM   #6
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Two thoughts when I read your post.

First, you said you had your bearings packed. I'd have them checked. Wouldn't be the first time the mechanic left the bearings too loose. If he didn't follow the proper procedure the bearings could be quite loose which could account for the popping noise. If you have leaf springs supporting the axle the shackles (the link on one end that lets the spring get longer or shorter as it's deflected) and bushings (on both ends, both shackle and fixed ends), can be the source of popping noises too in tight turns.

If no obvious mechanical source the "leaning" could well be an optical illusion. When a travel trailer with tandem axles is in a tight turn the tires are under immense side forces. The treads will be forced either in or out (in relation to the center of the trailer) until they actually skid sideways on the pavement. When you look in your mirror and see the upper sidewall in line with the wheel and the lower sidewall at an extreme angle your mind logically jumps to the conclusion that the wheel itself is "leaning". It might lean some if there is any flex in the spindle end of the axle but usually not enough to actually cause a mechanical lean in the amount you are seeing.

Again, perhaps an illusion due to what I explained.

If you can, jack up the wheels and check for looseness by gripping at top and bottom of tire and see if it can be wiggled. Can also check at 3 and 9 for good measure. Shouldn't be more than the slightest feel of looseness. If the wheel moves enough to see the movement, not just feel it, have a mechanic check. Perhaps not the same one as last time
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLBCamper View Post
Hmmm. I don’t think so but we’re heading out tonight so I’ll pay more attention to where the sound is coming from. But does anyone know what I’m talking about with the wheels flexing or am I absolutely crazy? I’ll take a picture when we pull out tonight.
Tandem axles are going to flex on turning. Avoid overloading and very sharp turns as that could lead to frame or hanger damage.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:49 PM   #8
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TitanMike, since you’re in the PNW you probably know Les Schwab Tire Centers. Good reputation and I trust them. That’s who packed the bearings.

The tire lean is definitely NOT an optical illusion. I’ll post a pic but it might be after the long weekend.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:52 PM   #9
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Tandem axles are going to flex on turning. Avoid overloading and very sharp turns as that could lead to frame or hanger damage.
So, should they “pop”? Like I said, even going around a normal size cul-de-sac they pop every few feet or so.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:00 PM   #10
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So, should they “pop”? Like I said, even going around a normal size cul-de-sac they pop every few feet or so.
As I mentioned earlier, you need to determine if it is definitely the wheel hubs popping or if you're hearing the sway control in the wdh. Have someone drive slowly and turn while you walk beside the tt.
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