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Torsion Axle Failure and Replacement - Prestige Trailer


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I'm officially in the Boat Club - Bust Out Another Thousand. This forum gave me great info on my problem and wanted to also post a thread regarding my torsion axle issues to help the next person.

On the return maiden voyage of my 2007 Chaparral 190 SSI (my 1st boat) I proudly looked in the passenger side mirror admiring my freshly fixed side marker lights glowing proudly when I saw smoke, lots of smoke followed by a screeching sound and a heavy tug on my GMC 1500.  I thought to myself, welcome to boat ownership, 1st world problems. Luck was on my side, I was a few hundred years from my house, was able to back it in the garage for a closer inspection.

A clear torsion axle failure. I'm technical but not very mechanical. Per research contacted UFP and they are sending my a replacement. The Axle S/N was the most needed information and on my 2007 Prestige trailer it was a welded plaque near the center of the axel. The part should be here in a week or two. If anyone has a good resource on how to replace, my more mechanically inclined friends and I will be replacing with photos and documentation of successes and failures.  It seems to be very, very common. 

 

My biggest concerns are:

How to replace?

Did it mess anything else up? Disc brakes. 

What did I do wrong? hitch height

Understanding torsion axels, surge disc breaks, and just a general check list outside tire pressure, lugs, and general safety precautions. Given the history of these failed parts I am very surprised a recall has not occurred. 

http://www.ufpnet.com/ContactUs/tabid/60/Default.aspx

1041 Baxter Lane
Winchester, TN 37398

Telephone: (931) 967-5101

(800) 835-9211

Fax: (931) 967-1828

Email: dbackussr@ufpnet.com

Warranty Form

 

 

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Torsion axles are nice as they provide independent 4 wheel suspension. That said, it is important that the trailer tongue is level as an upward angle takes weight off the front axle, and throws it to the rear one. The opposite happens with a tongue down angle. You will need to remove the wheels/tire, brake calipers, rotors, and if the replacement comes without a spindle, you will need to transfer your old hub and spindles over. Some spindles are part of the axle, and some are removable. Take your wheel off and send us a picture of yours.  W

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Welcome to the world of BOAT trailers.  They require maintence and replacement parts just like their companion boat.   Get someone who knows what they are doing to help you repair and replace your trailer parts.  If one wheel side is bad the other will go soon. Also check the date on the tires, if it is over 5 years replace them.  Tire pressure is very important in trailer tires.

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I had an incident on mine where the brakes froze up on my trailer (smoke and smell was terrible) - it was my fault because I didn't release the emergency cable that I accidentally pulled out.

I was so worried about it I had the wheel bearings re-packed and new seals put in.  No damage to the disc brakes though.  I caught it in time.

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The wheel bearings should be fine, if they were good before. Tire will need to be replaced. You will have to rebuild the bearings/seals as you transfer the parts from old axle to new axle. Good opportunity to inspect all parts. 

brick

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been there done that with my '07 Prestige trailer as both of my axles failed.  The axle itself is pretty easy to remove/replace as it's just bolted on.  HOWEVER, the difficult part is getting the trailing arms off.  After hours of trying everything including heat and PB Blaster galore, and breaking multiple breaker bars, I cut the nut off on that holds the trailing arm and replaced the bolts/nuts with new ones.  Reassembly was not hard though but use anti-seize on the splines of the axle when reinstalling the trailing arms.  

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Oh, and the brakes and spindle can just stay attached to the trailing arms to be transferred to the new axle.  Just zip tie the brake calipers to the frame to hold them out of the way.  You will also need and angle finder to set the proper angle when reinstalling the trailing arm on the new spline on the axle.

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I was in a pinch to get my trailer on the road so I just spray painted it with Rust Stop primer and Paint.  3 years later it's still fine.  If you need any tips, PM me since I went thru the pain of doing this in the driveway of my rental house while on vaca!

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you have to use a magnetic angle finder to set the angle properly.  When I did mine the guy from UFP helped me thru it and also sent me detailed instructions.

FYI, I ended up cutting the nuts/bolts off of the trailing arm.

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I contact Dennis from UFP about that and actually requested some information/documentation and this was the reply:

I've also purchased a angle finder from the good ol' amazon. 

"You will have to compare the one that didn’t fail.  We only sold them beams and end units and Prestige put them on. Measure from the end of your trailing arm, up to the frame and duplicate that."

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We have a rolling trailer! We were able to slide off all the brake business without to much issue. The bolts cooperated nicely (Dewalt impact wrench). The brake lines did run in a bracket that did not come on the new axle so i'll be finding a solution for that. We had to take a sawzall and cut the brake line bracket off. The brake line pictured on this post did have a bit of oil around it. The other one was very clean so possible damage and will be keeping an eye on it. 

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On 5/27/2016 at 9:48 AM, ahood1 said:

We have a rolling trailer! We were able to slide off all the brake business without to much issue. The bolts cooperated nicely (Dewalt impact wrench). The brake lines did run in a bracket that did not come on the new axle so i'll be finding a solution for that. We had to take a sawzall and cut the brake line bracket off. The brake line pictured on this post did have a bit of oil around it. The other one was very clean so possible damage and will be keeping an eye on it. 

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So far, so good and the angle finder should make it easier. Before replacing the wheel and tire, refill the master cylinder, and use a long bar stuck in the ground as a lever to compress the trailer coupler head back and forth several times and check for leaks. This essentially pumps the brakes, and if you have a leak, then the same process can be used to bleed the system after repair. Top off the master cylinder, open the bleeder on the caliper, compress the coupler with the long bar, close the bleeder, de-compress the coupler, and repeat until all the air is displaced. Good luck and when you are all finished be sure your trailer tongue is level when attached to your tow vehicle so that the tare weight is equally distributed between all 4 torsion units.   Enjoy the summer.   W

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