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Old 05-18-2015, 05:07 PM   #1
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"High lift axles"

This isn't really about a specific modification, but there doesn't seem to be a forum category for technical discussion of mechanical components...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
The high lift axles aren't listed as an option anymore because they're standard on new builds.
Okay, that means there's no higher option. What features of the standard configuration constitute "high"? I'm not questioning whether or not the current configuration is appropriate... just wondering what it is, and what it was.

The height of a trailer with Torflex suspension depends on three factors:
  1. the arm starting angle
    • This is the angle from horizontal of the suspension arm when there is no load on it. Sit the trailer on the ground and the arm tilts up, add cargo or go over a bump and it tilts up further.
  2. the bracket height
    • The low choice puts the square tube against the trailer structure with only the thickness of a steel plate between them; the high brackets add an inch or so of space.
  3. spacers between the Torflex structure and the trailer frame
    • Spacers are usually steel tubes, and boost the trailer frame and body up, with the axle/suspension assembly staying at the same height.
  4. tire radius

Robert and other 21-foot (or even other size) owners, the attached photo shows a demo unit at the factory 2014 Apr 21; it may be a 17-foot, but I think they all had the same suspension arm angle, bracket type, and mounting style (this photo is just from the best angle for this purpose).

Does yours look like this? It has:
  1. moderate down angle under load of empty trailer
    • it's hard to see in this photo, but the bulbous end of the arm at the hub is down toward the camera from where it pivots in the end of the square tube, not (for instance) at the same height (which would be zero angle) or higher than the tube (which would be an "up" angle)
    • this one has a moderate down start angle of probably 22.5 degrees, and so it sits about 10 degrees down when carrying the trailer weight; I think this is typical of Escapes
  2. low bracket (square tube right up against frame)
  3. no spacer
    • (every demo trailer I've seen at the factory has no spacer)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EscapeSuspension.jpg (51.0 KB, 66 views)
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:55 PM   #2
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I'm in Louisville on business so I can't check it but I can tell you our 19 rides just a little higher than some older 19s at the Bluebonnet Rally. They didn't order the high lift.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:42 PM   #3
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Thanks Robert - there's no rush.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
I'm in Louisville on business so I can't check it but I can tell you our 19 rides just a little higher than some older 19s at the Bluebonnet Rally. They didn't order the high lift.
You ordered high lift? I understood that 19's had it standard from three or four years ago. No telling from what we hear.
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:01 PM   #5
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Timely thread. One of the things I'm wondering about since I plan offroad, blm etc.

I'd seen lift kit listed for the 17 but not the 19. I asked ETI and Crystal told me last week "The 19 can have a lift kit installed, $300. Many of our customers take their trailers “off the beaten path” – I would suggest consulting the forum for more first-hand feedback."

I'm planning on getting this but hadn't gotten to searching the forum on this topic yet.

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Old 05-18-2015, 08:09 PM   #6
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I will be watching this thread as we plan to go offroad some in ours... I may have to add this to my options. However, when we got our casita we got high lift and I think it added maybe
1 1/2". The Escape option may be very different.
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
You ordered high lift? I understood that 19's had it standard from three or four years ago. No telling from what we hear.
No, we didn't. Ours came with a higher lift standard. I was comparing it to older 19s where the high lift was optional but not ordered.
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff in Salinas View Post
I'd seen lift kit listed for the 17 but not the 19. I asked ETI and Crystal told me last week "The 19 can have a lift kit installed, $300. Many of our customers take their trailers “off the beaten path” – I would suggest consulting the forum for more first-hand feedback."
That suggests a bolt-in spacer kit... but the fact that it is available, and in addition to the now-standard "high lift axle", suggests that the "high lift" is something else, such as a downward arm angle.

Thus my desire to learn how the suspension is configured when "high lift" and otherwise.
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:58 PM   #9
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This is where I need to learn more about this. If a 'high lift axle' already do I really need the lift kit? What are the differences? Anyone have any issues with just the new high lift axle and going boondocking?

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Old 05-19-2015, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff in Salinas View Post
This is where I need to learn more about this. If a 'high lift axle' already do I really need the lift kit? What are the differences? Anyone have any issues with just the new high lift axle and going boondocking?

Jeff
Ours appears to have a good amount of clearance, but then again, we don't take it in rough off road conditions or roads with a high center or ruts. In a few of the places we boondocked, the road was rough or unpaved, but not rutted or having any obstructions which would hit the bottom. As to how much extra clearance is obtained by a "high lift" vs the standard, my suspicion is that it's 2" or less. I suppose if you wanted to take your 19 on much rougher terrain, a lift kit would be advisable, but there's more to taking your trailer into such rough conditions than just the ground clearance.
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Old 05-19-2015, 02:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
...but there's more to taking your trailer into such rough conditions than just the ground clearance.
I fully agree with RBryan's above statement. There is a thread I started a while back (Any Damage From Driving on Rough Roads?) in which there was quite a good discussion on various types of damage that Escape owners have incurred while travelling on rough roads. It is good to have adequate ground clearance such that you are not bottoming out on ruts and rocks, however, at some point the ability of the Escape trailer shell and its contents to withstand the rough roads becomes the limiting factor rather than the clearance between the road and the trailer.
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Old 05-19-2015, 03:19 PM   #12
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Thanks Dave. I'm not planning any technical 4X jeep trails but like options and not sure where I'll be going. Would like to do BLM lands etc. and a friend has a cattle ranch, land locked, so 5 miles of dirt roads thru hills to get to. I'll check that thread. Thanks for the link

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Old 05-19-2015, 09:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
I was visiting ETI about a month ago and noticed a 17 with a High Lift Axel out on display. To my eye it looked to be too high - visually significantly too high..... Dennis was near by and when I asked him about that he told me that I could order a 22.5 degree lift.
So what did that trailer have? What arm angle, and did it have a spacer?

"A 22.5 degree lift" presumably means a suspension arm start angle of 22.5 degrees down. That suggests that the stock angle is less (so the trailer sits lower, probably 10 degrees), and that the 22.5 degree option is the "high lift axle". There are two more extreme angles (32 and 45 degrees), but that's generally not advisable for ride quality.

Dexter Axle's Axle Measurement sheet explains the idea of a "start angle" (as well as showing the low profile and high profile brackets).

The Dexter Axle catalog section for 2300 - 4000 pound capacity shows the Torflex model used by Escape (the #10), with the available angles, heights, and amount of travel when load is added.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
It was an empty trailer and I don't know how much a 17 will "settle" with a load on board and that might be a factor on how high that trailer looked.
Typical trailer suspensions - including Torflex - have very short travel. Adding the maximum allowed 3500 pound load to an unloaded 22.5 degree Torflex #10 only compresses it 2.3 inches, so adding several hundred pounds to the weight of the empty trailer to the weight of the loaded trailer might make half an inch of difference.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff in Salinas View Post
This is where I need to learn more about this. If a 'high lift axle' already do I really need the lift kit? What are the differences?
That's the point of this topic - to understand what "high lift axle" actually means. Until we know what it is, we don't know if you even can add spacers (a "lift kit") to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff in Salinas View Post
Anyone have any issues with just the new high lift axle and going boondocking?
When we know what we're dealing with, it will be easier to interpret the responses from existing owners.

Of course, everyone will have encountered different conditions. What works fine for one owner may not for another, and vice versa. Some people may camp in entirely unserviced places with smooth and easy access, while others may use full-serviced campsites that almost need off-road vehicles to get into.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
As to how much extra clearance is obtained by a "high lift" vs the standard, my suspicion is that it's 2" or less.
The spacer is apparently about 1.5".

The height difference at full load between (for example, guessing what might be appropriate) 10 degrees down and 22.5 degrees down is 1.3 inches.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:18 PM   #16
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I think Brian-BP mentioned this in a previous post, but a hi-lift axle doesn't change the axle, it only lifts the body. The tube for the axle is at the same distance from the tube to the ground. The only way to lift everything is to change the down angle on the axle.

I had a 45 degree down axle put on my Scamp and it lifted everything. Not just the body.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:31 PM   #17
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As Donna explained, a spacer (which apparently is currently available from Escape) lifts the frame and body leaving the axle tube at the same height, so if you're looking for under-centre clearance for rocks this is not the complete fix (although tanks and stabilizers are lifted).

Jeff said Dennis suggested that there is an arm angle choice. A further down arm angle does lift everything, as Donna did with her Scamp.

Either one raises the tongue and bumper, so if the clearance concern is dragging through dips, then either lift method will help.

Now, which one does or did one get with the "high lift axle" option? What is now standard equipment in a 21-foot?
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:42 PM   #18
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For what it is worth , our original 2010 5.0 came with a lift kit. It consisted of a section of 1.5" square tube between the axle and the frame. This piece was welded in by people who build the Escape frames (Level Fabricators of Chilliwack) at the time the frame was built. It also came with larger tires than stock as of 2010. 2 years later we acquired a new vehicle that did not require the lift and we had it removed by Level Fabricators. Gerri found the lift made it very awkward for her to get into the trailer. A double step would have helped. When I was contemplating lowering the trailer Reace explained that I could remove the piece of tubing or I could purchase a new axle with a different down angle as Brian has explained.

Fast forward to this spring. The new owner off our 5.0 was interested in reinstalling the lift. I did some research and found that Dexter makes a lift kit for the #10 axle that supposedly raises the trailer 2 5/8". That's a lot. I asked Reace about the Dexter kit and he was not aware of it but suggested he was going to order one to test it. For those who are interested the kit from Dexter does two axles, so if you have a 17' er you can sell half of the kit to someone else.



Quantity:



#10 Torflex Lift Kit (K71-707-02)
Price: $170.94


#10 Torflex Lift Kit K71-707-02

Tandem #10 Torflex Lift Kit (K71-707-02)
The lift kit will raise the units frame height 2 5/8".
This kit will only work on a #10 Torflex axle that has been mounted using the side mounting axle system option. Will not work on top mounted Torflex axles.
The kit has enough parts to do a Tandem axle unit.To determine the bracket hole dimensions that the kit has click here.
Caution: This lift kit can't be used with 3" tall brackets.
(4) 003-377-02 Frame Spacer #10 (2 5/8" Tall)
(24) 005-111-00 Washer
(16) 006-126-00 5/8"-18 Hex Lock Nut
(16) 007-177-00 5/8"-18 Screw Hex Cap Bolt 1.50" Long



Hope this helps, Mark

PS the Dexter site has an installation guide for this kit that shows one installed.
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GerriJ View Post
For what it is worth , our original 2010 5.0 came with a lift kit. It consisted of a section of 1.5" square tube between the axle and the frame. This piece was welded in by people who build the Escape frames (Level Fabricators of Chilliwack) at the time the frame was built.
Thanks Mark. That adds another interesting wrinkle: a spacer which is welded to the frame (the more obvious approach would be to bolt to the plates Escape uses as brackets, as the Dexter kit does). If you happen to know... in the raised configuration was the axle welded to the spacer? With a spacer only 1.5" wide, that seems like the only choice. The conventional approach would be to bolt it to the spacer with vertical bolts (which Dexter calls top-mounting), but the spacer would need to be wider; without the spacer, the standard Escape method is side-mounting (horizontal bolts through the plates which Escape has welded to the frame).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GerriJ View Post
PS the Dexter site has an installation guide for this kit that shows one installed.
You inspired me to search that out:
Torflex Lift Kit instructions
This illustrates the Dexter kit, and the general idea of any bolt-in spacer, quite well.

I note, with a mix of disappointment and amusement, that the instructions provide a bolt tightening spec... then show the use of an air impact wrench without a torque limiting bar.
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