XV-2 Axle Rating Advice

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
Morning, folks.

I've decided not to build up my M-416 or Bantam T3-C trailers for camping or daily use, for a variety of reasons I'll put in another thread, perhaps. They're both up for sale if anyone is interested.

I'm a short breath away from ordering an XVenture XV-2 trailer. Definitely getting one, and am all set for most options and extras but wonder if anyone here has personal experience with their 2300# or 3500# rated axles, or similarly rated axles on your own trailers of any type. I know their 4200# would be too heavy/stiff/bouncy-when-empty for my general purposes, but I'm undecided between the 2300 and 3500. They're shipping stock these days with 2300# axles. I'm leaning towards the 3500# axle.

Tim K, at Schutt Industries, has been extremely helpful and very patient with my many questions. I'd like to see what additional wisdom I can glean from people here who have more experience than I have with axle ratings for different trailer uses.

Primary Use: Extended cross-country travel, both on-road and off throughout lower 48, Canada, and up to Alaska for photography, writing, and workshops of various types. With an extended body GMC cargo van (155" wb) as primary tow vehicle, I have no delusions about doing any super technical trails or serious rock-climbing. Also will be offering base-camp support for small group outings; sort of chuck-wagon/first-aid/photog/drone operator guy. The trailer may be towed by other vehicles at times.

I will be hauling more fuel, water, and gear in my trailer than most might, so I can stay off-road and back-country for longer periods, if I choose. Up to 280 lbs of fuel and water. Spare rim and tire on swing-away arm, RTT and annex of anywhere from 150 - 225 lbs, recovery gear, hi-lift jack and kit, lots of photog gear, 270 awning and side panels, camp furniture/camp kitchen/work tables (mostly aluminum gear), two deep cycle batteries (to start, potentially more for off-grid living), multiple solar panels, Honda eu2000i gen (46lbs), eBike (55lb), propane tank, and a bunch of gear I'm testing and reviewing.

She'll be packed chock-full most of the time I'm on the road, with RTT overhead and stuff strapped under the elevated rack. Sometimes a kayak or canoe. I don't even know how to gauge the weight of all of it together before actually getting the trailer, packing it, and going to a scale. My loads will change drastically from one trip to the next, depending on destination, purpose, and length of journey.

Secondary: Main support for small off-grid housing (month or more at a time) and remote building sites, as it provides solar capability, 12v and 110 power, hot water/shower, built-in LED lighting system, and ability to haul just about anything I need.

Tertiary: Urban household/garden/light carpentry (soil, stone and other landscape and building materials) and helping friends/neighbors move belongings. Occasional farm use, too. The rack comes off and the XV-2 bed is pretty much pick-up sized at 59"W (49" between wheel wells), 89"L, 19"H. I know all too well I'll be hauling everything from appliances to pallets full of building materials to hay and bedding for horses.

XV-2-cargobed.jpg

I also plan to build an aluminum-skinned hardshell slide-in camper unit at some point to extend its versatility even more.

A lot of highway miles, a lot of dirt road miles, and a good bit of neighborhood miles. Used regularly and hard, rarely empty, though potentially under-loaded at times while under way. That's the plan, though I know from experience plans often go awry. Things could change up dramatically, but at the heart of it will be an extremely functional trailer that will support a wide variety of use and terrain.

The XV-2 base package has a dry weight of 1200lbs and for suspension has a rubber torsion axle.

XV-2-underside.jpg
:Axle and plumbing config:

Xv-2-underside-watertankshield.jpg
:underside shield protecting 22gal water tank:

I know a lot of guys building their own trailers go for Dexter or Timbren set-ups rated for 3500#, though under steel frames and often steel boxes. Have you been happy with the 3500, or wish you had lighter or more?

The XV-2 box is all aluminum on a legendary military spec, all aluminum, Alcoa huck-bolted frame. They've made some 50,000 frames for governments and military around the world. Though light in weight, this trailer is a rugged beast, truly severe-duty, so I'm not awfully worried about it shaking apart in my lifetime, or even in my kid's lifetime. Along with much of my other gear, I expect it to be around long after I'm gone, getting used hard.

What do y'all think, based on your experience and my uses as described above...2300# or 3500#? I think I may have answered my own question in putting it all down above, but am very interested in other opinions.

Much appreciated.

Dry roads and open skies to everyone,

Road
 
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DanCooper

Adventurer
You, Sir, are facing a conundrum: You want the trailer to behave under both light weight and heavy weight conditions. Not gonna happen. I just finished my Sawtooth XL, which weighed in dry at 1080 pounds. It is sitting on a 3500 lb axle and spring pack, which I bought and installed because I wanted to have some extra weight capacity. After towing it a little over 4000 miles the last three weeks, it is clear that the trailer is too light for its suspension. It hops. That is not good for either the trailer or the tow vehicle. I suggest you decide what you are going to use the trailer for the majority of the time, and pick your suspension for that weight.
 

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
You, Sir, are facing a conundrum: You want the trailer to behave under both light weight and heavy weight conditions. Not gonna happen. I just finished my Sawtooth XL, which weighed in dry at 1080 pounds. It is sitting on a 3500 lb axle and spring pack, which I bought and installed because I wanted to have some extra weight capacity. After towing it a little over 4000 miles the last three weeks, it is clear that the trailer is too light for its suspension. It hops. That is not good for either the trailer or the tow vehicle. I suggest you decide what you are going to use the trailer for the majority of the time, and pick your suspension for that weight.
Hey @DanCooper, thanks for your input and experience with a 3500# rated axle.

Not a real conundrum really, and nah, I'm not expecting the trailer to behave the same under both light and heavy loads, and know full well that it'll either bounce a bit or feel bogged down, depending. But I am very interested in experience and opinions from those who have used one or the other a lot, or both, to help me choose one over the other. It's just a decision to make, and your experience is really helpful. I've always wondered why so many trailer builders go for 3500# rated axles under small builds, even if of steel frame and box.

As I wrote in my primary uses, I already know what it will be used for most of the time, and have found out--at least with the XV-2 axles--it's not a big deal to swap one axle for another at a later date, if I choose to. So, based on that and your good input, I'm leaning more and more towards Schutt's 2300# rated axle. Which will give me, as I understand it and depending on which place you go to for the XV-2 dry base weight (1200-1500), a GVWR of 3500lbs. A ton of load.

That ought to do me.

Now I need to figure out if I can actually get GM 8 lug hubs on it. Some input says 8 lugs hubs are meant for way heavier axles, others have said with the right adapters it's possible.

Thanks again for your input Dan, very helpful. That's one cool trailer you built; very impressive.
 
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RagnarD

Adventurer
I would go for the 4.2k. Doesn't take much to get to 3k of gear/materials.

Definitely cross the 2.2 axle off. 1k of payload....

I recall reading that tortion axles do not like
to be overloaded.

I prob would have gone through several 3500 lbs axles on my trailer if I had one.
 

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
I would go for the 4.2k. Doesn't take much to get to 3k of gear/materials.

Definitely cross the 2.2 axle off. 1k of payload....

I recall reading that tortion axles do not like
to be overloaded.

I prob would have gone through several 3500 lbs axles on my trailer if I had one.
Hey RagnarD - thanks for responding. I was just going through 'RagnarD's M101A3 Build' last night and skimmed through your Dad's build just now. some really great fab work. I see Shiner is a valuable part of parts and provisions. I agree.

Your trailers with tubs end up around 1200-1500 lbs, looks like, and you're running 4200# rated axles under them all? A lot of miles? I've seen more than one video and review of XV-2s with 4200# axles with a lot of bounce and hop, so am still not fully decided. I'm going to add up weights for more of my stuff for typical loads and see what I get.

I appreciate your input.
 

DanCooper

Adventurer
I wanted to clarify something in my earlier post: It's not the axle rating so much that makes it hop, it is the spring pack sitting on the axle. Each spring pack is rated at 1450 pounds, giving me 2900 pounds. If I go to an 1175 pound rated spring, it will be softer, still be enough for my trailer and gear, and should leave me in better control of the trailer. etc. For example, see Post #9 of The Sasquatch build.

Just trying make clear what I expressed so poorly before the trolls (rightly) come after me.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
I would ask them if the end user can order the heavier duty one, then adjust/remove 1 or 2 of the rubber torsion rods themselves, for lighter loads & less bouncing. Not sure if that is even possible after it leaves the factory but it does not hurt to ask.
 

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
I wanted to clarify something in my earlier post: It's not the axle rating so much that makes it hop, it is the spring pack sitting on the axle. Each spring pack is rated at 1450 pounds, giving me 2900 pounds. If I go to an 1175 pound rated spring, it will be softer, still be enough for my trailer and gear, and should leave me in better control of the trailer. etc. For example, see Post #9 of The Sasquatch build.

Just trying make clear what I expressed so poorly before the trolls (rightly) come after me.
Ha! Dan, I like your style, and appreciate you clarifying your earlier comments. To hell with the trolls.

The XV-2 from Schutt Industries has a torsion axle, so no conventional spring pack sitting on the axle, as I understand it. No leaf spring arrangements at all, whether over axle or under. I'm often wrong, though, so take this with a grain of salt. I'm still educating myself with all things trailer. All very fascinating, really.

Here's a brief vid of a Dexter Torsion axle in action that I found informative: http://i.imgur.com/XZr2x8L.webm?_=1

In researching both Schutt's record of over 50,000 trailers of same build for governments and militaries around the world (for which they have an unparalleled success rate with no frame failures, according to them) and torsion axles in general, I'm finding that the properties and reaction of a torsion axle are much more in-line with my needs than a spring-assisted axle like I have on my M416 and Bantam T3-C trailers. Torsion axles allow a more independent travel for each trailer wheel, as there is no axle from wheel center to wheel center, but an arrangement that allows each wheel to travel in response to the terrain it encounters, independent of the other. There is, though, a square tube containing the hard rubber 'cords' that connects things from side to side, though higher than a conventional spring axle. That square tube becomes integral to frame rigidity in a way that a direct axle supported by leaf springs cannot match. It also allows a greater ground clearance.

In the end, whatever trailer and axle config we each choose, I think we're looking for what best suits our use and purposes. So far, torsion axles seem to be what fits my needs best.

I appreciate your continued input. I'd love to see your Sawtooth XL in person, and when/if I make it up Anchorage way, would like to meet up and do an interview/photos of what you've created. It's quite impressive.

Dry roads and open skies, brother,

Road
 
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Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
I would ask them if the end user can order the heavier duty one, then adjust/remove 1 or 2 of the rubber torsion rods themselves, for lighter loads & less bouncing. Not sure if that is even possible after it leaves the factory but it does not hurt to ask.
Hey TwinStick - you've been on here a long time! Thanks for your input and suggestion.

I'm not sure how easily an adjustment/removal of the torsion rods could be made (though I have no idea, to be honest). It's also been suggested by a Schutt XVenture dealer that it's an easy swap from a 2300# rated axle to a heavier rated Schutt-supplied axle, one that would only take about an hour. What would stop someone--if they had both the funds and space to do so, of which I have neither, really--from having two differently rated axles and switching them from one season to the next, or occasionally depending on need? A 2300# and a 4200#, for example.

Sounds ridiculous, perhaps, but something I'd consider if it is in fact that simple to switch over. And if I had the funds and space to keep both. Ha!
 

RagnarD

Adventurer
Thanks for the compliments. I am going to guess the axles start out at 7K rating based on tube diameter and lug pattern. Down rated for overhang and offset fab stuff. Have not cut one in half so I dont know for sure how thick the tube is. Lots of miles on it. Its a bit different because it a leaf spring set up so the ride is independent of axle rating. My use sounds similar to your intended use and you also have a full size tow vehicle. Things add up quickly especially if you take others along with their gear.

I missed that you want 8x6.5 lug pattern as well. This makes getting the 4.2K even more appealing as I believe that the 1101/1102 use a 4.2K rated axle with 8x6.5 hubs.

Not sure about suggestion to remove some of the rubber tubes to lower the rating of a torsion axle. Never heard of it being done.

For 1101/1102 trailers, the axles just bolt onto brackets. Aside from the hand brake cables/hydraulic lines or electric brake wires, it should be just a few bolts each side. If you decided to go with the dual axle set up, still need to pick one to start...

Sounds like more effort than it is worth.

Could try a 3500 lb then scavenge an 1101/1102 take off axle if you need something heavier. Doubt the ride is that much different for a 700 lbs difference in rating. Could just throw some more water/fuel/wood into trailer to smooth out the ride a bit.

You mention using it as a general utility trailer at times. Building materials and liquids are heavy…

If you can, weight all the gear you know you want to haul around. Then double it, it should give you an idea of what you will actually end up hauling around. Not a fan of running things at their max rating either.
 
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TwinStick

Explorer
Upon watching their video closer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0Jkeg_LNkw , it looks as if they cryo the rubber torsion springs before installation ---(i assume, to shrink them slightly, for a rattle free fit ?). So maybe switching them out yourself would be impossible ? It is at the 1.28 minute mark of this video. Check it out.

One thing is for SURE. This is THE most HD trailer, of it's size, that I have ever seen. Period. I have looked at them, climbed on them & underneath them. We drove to OK4WD, just for that purpose. I would still love to get one some day. But, being married has a way of making you compromise. We ended up going a different route.
 
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Winterpeg

Active member
Trying to hunt down a matching leaf spring in the nearest little town really sucks when you break one.

I was under (or very near) the rated load weight... but going over tough trails. The static weight then becomes a dynamic weight and sometimes the full weight of the trailer ended up on one side at a time and sometimes at an angle. I learned that the rated weight is for a static load and for being on a decent road.

I have now upgraded my axle (oh yeah, I bent that too) and both leafs.

So my point is... for my purposes I would much rather have an overbuilt trailer than be too close to the max weight.

(one day I will likely buy an XV-2... they look like great trailers)

IMG_20160609_155500.jpg
 
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