Uncambered Back Axle in 5.0-TA - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 03-10-2019, 03:54 AM   #1
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Uncambered Back Axle in 5.0-TA

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My back tires on my 2018 5.0-TA, with about 7000 miles, are showing some excess wear on the outer edges.
When I look at the back tires, they tilt out at the top. The front tires are almost vertical, or tilt in just a tiny bit.
On a level surface, the black frame of the trailer is about 1/2" higher at the front than at the mid-axle area.
I spoke with Dexter Axle, and they said it sounded like I had lost my camber (I think I lost my mind when I decided to buy a trailer . Dexter mentioned that putting a lift kit on can cause loss of camber. They did give me a claim number.
I have the factory installed 3.5" lift kit.
At any rate, I think I've heard about axle replacement somewhere on this forum.
What I want to know is should I bother to try to find out why my tires are wearing out prematurely? Does axle replacement solve the camber issue? Should I try raising up the ball in my Andersen Hitch to try to level out the ride? I'm assuming that leveling out the ride would put more weight on the back axle, and hopefully restore my camber (if not my mind )
I went to the local trailer shop, (serious work trailers, not travel trailers), and the guy thought that replacing the axle would not solve the problem--that a replacement axle would have the same camber/tire wear problem.
Talk to me, please!
Katrina
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Old 03-10-2019, 04:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
When I look at the back tires, they tilt out at the top. The front tires are almost vertical, or tilt in just a tiny bit.
Camber is positive if the tops of the tires tilt out, negative if they tilt in. So you have positive camber in the back axle, and zero or slight negative camber in the front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
I spoke with Dexter Axle, and they said it sounded like I had lost my camber (I think I lost my mind when I decided to buy a trailer . Dexter mentioned that putting a lift kit on can cause loss of camber. They did give me a claim number.
I have the factory installed 3.5" lift kit.
Are they saying you lost the camber in the back axle (as in the title), or the front axle (the one which has less camber)? It's strange that the front has less camber, since more load reduces camber and your rear axle is more heavily loaded.

A Dexter Torflex axle has a deliberate upward bend in the tube which runs across the trailer, so that it has positive camber. When load is placed on the axle parts bend and arms twist and rubber distorts and the camber goes toward zero or past that to negative. The positive camber is really desirable; it's just there to compensate for this change, so that with load the camber is roughly zero.

It makes no sense for a lift kit to change camber - it's just a spacer on each side between the axle bracket and the frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
At any rate, I think I've heard about axle replacement somewhere on this forum.
What I want to know is should I bother to try to find out why my tires are wearing out prematurely? Does axle replacement solve the camber issue?
The only things that can cause the wrong camber are high load and bent axle components. Replacing them fixes the problem if something is bent. But I think it always makes sense to understand what is going on before changing things.

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Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
On a level surface, the black frame of the trailer is about 1/2" higher at the front than at the mid-axle area.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
Should I try raising up the ball in my Andersen Hitch to try to level out the ride? I'm assuming that leveling out the ride would put more weight on the back axle, and hopefully restore my camber (if not my mind )
You're saying that the front is already a bit higher, and raising the ball would lift it even more, making the already more heavily loaded rear axle even more heavily loaded. The trailer is almost perfectly level now, and only slightly off in the direction which is more desirable anyway, so I don't think it makes sense to change the hitch height at all.

The more heavily loaded tires in the rear, plus the greater camber in the rear, could explain the outside edge wear.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:07 AM   #3
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Haven't hit anything with it have you? something that may have bent a wheel or the rear axle? Hitting curbs and such is fairly common with trailers. Around here it's pot hole season that eats suspension. I wonder if a good tire shop or mechanic can look it over for you. I too would hesitate to put on new tires without knowing more.
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:04 PM   #4
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I misspoke, the trailer tilts the opposite way, that is, it is 1/2" LOWER at the front than at the mid-axle area.
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:08 PM   #5
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Haven't hit anything with it have you?
Who hasn't hit a pothole or run over a small rock in an unpaved campground? I'm sure I've done both. Could the stress of thunking through a pothole bend the axle?
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:30 PM   #6
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you'd need to hit one pretty hard.
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:38 PM   #7
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Are there any scuff marks on the wheels of this axle, that may show you may have run along a curb going around a corner? Not run up and over a curb, but the trailer was pushed going around a corner?
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:48 PM   #8
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Or where the tires under inflated?
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:04 PM   #9
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There were a couple of instances here where owners found one side of the tire wearing more than the other and I believe Dexter took care of the the issue.
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
I misspoke, the trailer tilts the opposite way, that is, it is 1/2" LOWER at the front than at the mid-axle area.
Then yes, raise the Andersen ball up one hole and see if that changes the camber. Sounds like the rear axel is not loaded as much as the front.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
I misspoke, the trailer tilts the opposite way, that is, it is 1/2" LOWER at the front than at the mid-axle area.
Thanks for the clarification.
Then yes, I agree with this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
Then yes, raise the Andersen ball up one hole and see if that changes the camber. Sounds like the rear axel is not loaded as much as the front.
... which means 'yes' to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
Should I try raising up the ball in my Andersen Hitch to try to level out the ride? I'm assuming that leveling out the ride would put more weight on the back axle, and hopefully restore my camber
It's possible that it is just the load difference which is causing the inward camber in the front axle. The extra wear on the outside edges of the rear tires may be the result of the (normal) camber, plus the rear tires scrubbing sideways more than the front tires in turns (because the front tires have more traction and "win" the traction contest between the two axles which fight each other in any turn).

Shifting load to the rear axle will make the trailer more stable, as a bonus... but it will also increase load on the hitch.

You may need to raise the ball 2 positions (1.125" per position) to get the trailer level or slightly nose-up - if you can, since there are only three positions of the Andersen Ultimate ball. Don't raise it more than necessary, but if you can't raise the ball enough, you may be able to lower the pin box, which has two positions (but may already be in the lower position). Lowering the pin box has the same effect as raising the ball, but is a lot more work.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by KatrinaOstby View Post
Who hasn't hit a pothole or run over a small rock in an unpaved campground? I'm sure I've done both. Could the stress of thunking through a pothole bend the axle?
Only if the suspension (axle) was forced right to the limit of its travel, which is unlikely at campground speeds - that would be an extreme jolt.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The extra wear on the outside edges of the rear tires may be the result of the (normal) camber, plus the rear tires scrubbing sideways more than the front tires in turns (because the front tires have more traction and "win" the traction contest between the two axles which fight each other in any turn).
This is what I was thinking could be the problem.
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #14
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Katrina, may I ask who did your hitch install?
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Old 03-11-2019, 11:22 AM   #15
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Katrina what is your tow vehicle?

Just as a point of reference I know there are a few of us with late model F-150s towing the 5.0TA without the lift kit and using the lowest setting on the Andersen. If you have a similar size tow vehicle it would make sense to me that with the lift kit you would set the Andersen at a higher level. This also seems like a pretty easy possible solution.
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Old 03-11-2019, 11:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Katrina what is your tow vehicle?

Just as a point of reference I know there are a few of us with late model F-150s towing the 5.0TA without the lift kit and using the lowest setting on the Andersen. If you have a similar size tow vehicle it would make sense to me that with the lift kit you would set the Andersen at a higher level. This also seems like a pretty easy possible solution.

I met up with Katrina last July in Tehachapi and got some photos of her rig.
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Just as a point of reference I know there are a few of us with late model F-150s towing the 5.0TA without the lift kit and using the lowest setting on the Andersen. If you have a similar size tow vehicle it would make sense to me that with the lift kit you would set the Andersen at a higher level.
The current lift option raises the trailer by 2.625"; that approximately corresponds to the entire height difference between the lowest and highest positions of the Andersen Ultimate ball (2.25").

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilola View Post
I met up with Katrina last July in Tehachapi and got some photos of her rig.
It's apparent in the photo that Katrina's trailer has the lift, as she mentioned. The current lift (which this should have because it is a 2018) is 2.625", not 3.5".

It's hard to see the detail, so I'm not sure, but it looks like the pin box is already in the lowered position; if so, I hope the ball isn't already in the top position.
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:56 PM   #18
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Havenít heard once maybe you might just need to service your bearings.
Since everyone is guessing, this is mine,
Jackup your axle and see if the wheel will wiggle aliitle and the angle changes back to normal.
These axles have a different style bearing keeper used on them. And adjustment isnít the same as the old cotter pins.
Just did my buddies 25í dual axle stick built last Saturday. Had two wheels doing the same thing. Corrected the problem. New trailer, just needed to tighten up the bearings.
Spacers wonít cause the problem.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:43 AM   #19
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No curb runs. I check the tire pressure before EVERY trip, so no underinflated tires, ever.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:47 AM   #20
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Katrina, may I ask who did your hitch install?
Heacock Trailer in Arroyo Grande, CA installed the B&W thingy in the bed of the truck. I slapped on the Andersen Hitch. Escape adjusted the height of the ball.
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