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How I lifted my lowrider bike trailer. AKA- My trailer saga

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I recently got back into riding dirtbikes after about a ten year hiatus. My buddy gave my son a bike, so I thought it would be a good time to get myself a dirtbike so we can ride together. After buying my bike, gear for both of us, and all the related crap a guy needs, I ran out of liquid capital before I was able to buy a trailer to haul the bikes on. I have a pickup, but I really wanted a trailer. I just didn't have any money to buy one. Poor me:cry:

A few weeks ago, my friend wanted me to do some work to his car. I remembered he had a trailer that he never used, and it might work out ok for a bike trailer with a little work. So we agreed to swap my labor for his homemade flatbed trailer. I got it home on some severly weatherchecked tires, where it sat for a while as I was figuring out what to do with it. I did find some good tires and wheels on craigslist for $50, so I put those on it and started planning my other modifications:

IMG_4556.jpg

It has a fold down ramp, but it had chain link fence on it instead of expanded metal. I needed to buy some expanded and weld it on, along with a rail or something in the front to cinch the front tires of the motorcycles against. The reaL problem though was the width of the trailer. It barely fit through the gate where I park it, and at over 8 feet wide, it was too wide to fit into the small side of my three car garage where I intended to keep it part of the time.

I decided I really didn't want this trailer after all. All I really wanted was a small bike trailer to hold mine and my son's dirtbikes. This monstrosity just wouldn't work. On a whim, I decided to put it on the "barter" section of craigslist. My flatbed for your motorcycle trailer. That night I got a reply froma guy that needed a bigger trailer for his 4-wheeler, and he had this bike trailer to trade:

trailer3.jpg

I liked it immediately because it is way smaller than the monster I had to start with. It also has a hide away ramp that stores under the deck of the trailer. We made the trade a couple of days later, both of us driving half way as our two towns are 50 miles apart. He seemed happy, and I was happy too. The only thing I didn't like about the trailer was that it sits way too low. Even with a 3 1/2" dropper, the thing was way dragging ass hooked up to my pickup.

I looked underneath the trailer when I got it home, and realized that the suspension was configured with the axle over the springs. It would be a simple thing to swap the axle so it rode under the springs, but the hide away ramp was for some reason, under the axle itself. With the ramp there, it was right in the spot that the axle would be if it were underthe springs. You can see what I mean in these pictures, although the ramp is not in place under the trailer, you can see the angle iron fram that holds it while it is stowed:

trailer2.jpg

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I decided to cut the weld where the ramp storage frame connected and move it uo to fit tight under the deck. First I had to remove the axle:

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Then I cut the welds, and moved the frame up tight under the deck of the trailer and secured it with c-clamps:

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Then I welded it up and tried to insert the ramp, but it didn't want to go all the way in:banghead:

Not to worry, I just forgot the take one of the c-clamps off! Afer I removed that, the ramp fit in just fine:

IMG_4595.jpg

After that, it was a simple job to reinstall the axle with the u bolts flipped and the axle below the springs:

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I gained about 4 inches of height on the trailer deck, as witnessed by the distance between the fender and the tire in this photo:

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So here it is, all raised up:

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I still have to reposition the fenders down so they are closer to the tires, but that is for another day.

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Nice work, and good score on the trailer!

I have an enclosed trailer with back doors (no ramp) and I'm planning on welding some angle iron running boards to mount my ramp underneath like yours.

How does yours secure the ramp in place under the trailer? So it doesn't fall back out, get stolen, etc?

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It's kind of hard to see in this photo, but the ramp and the back of the trailer both have a tab welded to them. The tabs both have a hole in them, and the holes line up with each other when the ramp is stowed. I have a pin through them, but you could easily put a padlock on instead:

trailer4.jpg

I'll try to remember to get a close up picture of the tabs tonight when I get home.

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Cool except for one fundamental flaw:

The axle has camber designed into it to provide near neutral camber when loaded. You flipped the axle 180 degrees, so potentially when you load weight on the trailer you will have significant negative camber. This will wear out bearings/tires at an alarming rate. Do yourself a favor and find a trailer supply store that will sell you perches just like what is welded on the axle now and weld them opposite the original perches so the orientation of the axle is what it used to be when it was "spring under axle". This will save you tires, bearings, and the most ill-handling trailer you'll probably ever tow in its current state

http://rvbasics.com/techtips/flipping-rv-trailer-axle.html

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Cool except for one fundamental flaw:

The axle has camber designed into it to provide near neutral camber when loaded. You flipped the axle 180 degrees, so potentially when you load weight on the trailer you will have significant negative camber. This will wear out bearings/tires at an alarming rate. Do yourself a favor and find a trailer supply store that will sell you perches just like what is welded on the axle now and weld them opposite the original perches so the orientation of the axle is what it used to be when it was "spring under axle". This will save you tires, bearings, and the most ill-handling trailer you'll probably ever tow in its current state

http://rvbasics.com/techtips/flipping-rv-trailer-axle.html

Interesting...

I'll have to give that some thought. What you are saying certainly makes sense.

I'm going to check it with a camber gauge before I get too worried about it, but I'll do just what you said if it is indeed way too far negative on the camber. I just can't imagine a super lightweight trailer like this one having a bunch of positive camber built into it. I'm thinking it may not be enough to make any practical difference, but thanks for the heads up anyway.

BTW- Unless camber differs from side to side, it does not really affect handling. It also won't make a bit of difference to the bearings. Camber does however affect tire wear, and that is enough to warrant looking into it.

Edited by zlathim

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Well, I have been using the trailer for a couple of months. I've put probably 1000 miles on it since I did the axle flip. I did measure the camber with the trailer loaded. The left side is straight up at 0* caster. The other side has 1/2* negative caster. It pulls fine, and the tires are wearing evenly so far.

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You may be spot on with this case, not a heavy load and maybe not a lot of camber (if any) built into the axle. I have 7500# dexter axles on my toy hauler so there is definitely camber in the axles unloaded.

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You may be spot on with this case, not a heavy load and maybe not a lot of camber (if any) built into the axle. I have 7500# dexter axles on my toy hauler so there is definitely camber in the axles unloaded.

Yea, the light duty axle saved me from having to do additional work to make it right. I do appreciate the info, just in case I decide to mess around like this with a more heavy duty trailer.:bonk:

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