I have used leaf springs on trailers 99% of the time. They have always work, to the point of getting us back home(warehouse, home, etc.). We have pull them over some really nasty dirt and heavily rutted roads, sometimes really over weight also. We have also broken a leaf spring along the way, but was always able to use bailing wire or duck tape, a couple 2x4's to the bottom of the frame to keep the axle from bottoming out, also had to drive alot slower, but always made it out for repairs. On the other hand a friend had a trailer with a torsion bar suspension that I have pull a couple of times, the trailer handled excellent on the roads at higher speeds, around corners, in the wind, etc. even on the back roads. Plus, I just felt like I had greater positive control with the torsion bar setup.
Think the Timbren axle-less axles are over priced and dumb. The only use I could see them being useful for is a low rider drop deck trailer. As far as in an offroad trailer application its just bragging rights of who spent more on there "overlander" utility trailer. on an off road application you usually match trailer tire size to tow vehicle size, so what ever the tow rig clears the trailer will too.
EZ lube spindles and bearing buddies are a gimmick at best. By the time you force grease thru the bearing you've blown out your wheel seal and caused more damage. Use a good marine grease and actually pack your wheel bearings.
Dexter axles will build to spec. If you can afford it I'd go torsion but there thousands of boat trailers that have gone millions of miles with old school leaf springs.
The biggest thing to consider in my opinion isn't torsion or leaf but axle size.
A 5k axle has substantially bigger bearings then a 3k. It also gives you a larger choose of tire size. You might never need to carry 5k but I'd rather have a trailer grossly under loaded then a trailer that is pushing its max capacity.
Why ez lube hubs are a bad idea.
I've never seen this happen before, and I've built and sold over 400 trailers. Looks like the wheel seals were either improper or worn and needing replacement. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it looks like the brake shoe is worn quite a bit... As well, the seal and bearing are on the axle, were it installed correctly the seal and inner bearing SHOULD come off with the hub, and need to be pried out of the hub...
Once you initially fill the hub cavity with grease, it shouldn't take more than a couple pumps a year with a grease gun to maintain the bearing lubrication, there's significantly more grease in there than a couple pumps.
As it's cheap and simple to do, I disassemble mine every couple years and replace the seals and bearings just as a precaution, I got stranded once in Boise ID with a failed bearing that was only a year old, trashed the spindle and had to sit and wait for another, paid thru the nose for it. A set of bearings and seals runs about 40 bucks here in CO. Cheap insurance.
I pulled an $11 seal to get the part number off of the $7 bearing. haha.
and remember to write down your part numbers. Put them on a slip of paper in your breakaway battery box or a sharpie paint pen inside the fender. My dad always wrote them inside the tack door in the horse trailer. haha
I’ve built and repaired a lot of raft trailers. If you’re going to build one just get the dexter axle. I’ve built a couple with the 3500lb axle. They bounce around like crazy unless you’re going loaded with multiple multi day trip boats. Realistically a 2000 lb dexter axle is perfect for one or two loaded boats or up to a triple stack of cats running day trips. As far as bearing buddies, they aren’t effective. EZ lube spindles as supplied from dexter axle are functionally amazing. They force lubricant through the rear bearing, if you’re not impatient and slowly pump the grease in, you can go years without servicing. Provided you don’t submerge the axle hubs. I replaced my bearings last year after 15000 miles. The bearings were not bad, but were cheap to replace as a precaution. There is a reason almost every major trailer manufacturer uses dexter axles exclusively.
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