Why Do Some RVers Flip Their RV’s Axles?
As RVers, it can feel like we’re always in the middle of one DIY project or another. One project that many RVers take on is flipping their RV’s axles.
Today, we’ll look at why someone would want to flip their axles and what’s involved.
Let’s dig in!
What Is Axle Flipping?
Axle flipping takes the existing leaf spring, which typically mounts below the axle, and instead mounts it on top of the axle. It’s a labor-intensive project and requires special tools and skills. There are some significant advantages to the change, however.
What Is the Advantage of Flipping RV Axles?
Why would anyone want to go through the work of flipping their axles? Let’s look at a few advantages.
Raises Your Trailer Clearance
One of the main reasons RVers consider flipping their axles is to gain ground clearance. This is especially useful on RVs that have low jacks or that sit low to the ground. Gaining even a few inches can help tremendously in getting past rugged boondocking roads without damaging the underside of your rig.
Pro Tip: New to RVing and want to try boondocking? Take the stress out of learning how to boondock by reading The Official Boondocking Guide for RV Living.
Increase Tire Height for Greater Weight Capacity
Because the RV sits higher with a flipped axle, you can use a larger tire. A beefier tire will allow you to carry more weight, which is always helpful when RVing. Still, play it safe and stay within the weight rating for your axles.
Keep in Mind: With a flipped axle you can use a larger tire, but how do you know what types of tires to get? We explored RV tires more to find out Do All Types of RVs Need Special Tires?
Minimizes Risk of Undercarriage Damage
Raising your RV means you have less risk of damage to the undercarriage of your rig. You can bottom out going up or down a steep grade if your RV is sitting low.
If you want to boondock, you likely know that the roads on public lands can go from very good to very bad quickly. Having a higher underbelly can increase your odds of making it to your boondocking site undamaged.
Why Wouldn’t You Want to Flip RV Axles?
While there are some significant advantages to flipping your RV axles, there are some disadvantages that might make you rethink this project. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides to flipping your axles.
You Have the Wrong Type of Axles
Before you begin the process of flipping your axles, you need to research if you even can flip them. Flipping your axles will only work if you have double-eye leaf springs.
However, if you have a slipper-spring suspension system, there’s not a viable conversion kit available. Confirm which type of suspension you have on your RV before purchasing materials or getting too far along in the research process.
Flipping your RV’s axles shifts the weight distribution. An RV is already susceptible to high winds and even more so when lifted. This can lead to frustration as you may need to delay travel days if you’re expecting high winds.
Higher Entry Steps
Because flipping your axles raises the height of your RV, the climb into your RV will be a bit higher as well. Depending on the type of steps your RV has, you may even need to replace your steps.
If this is an issue for you, you might consider bringing along a separate step stool to make the climb in and out of your RV safe.
How to Flip Your RV Axles
If you’ve done your research and you’ve decided you’d like to flip your axles, you’ll need to know where to start. Take a look at the steps.
Get a Conversion Kit
Ensure you have the correct conversion kit for your suspension system. Note your RV’s axle diameter and visit your favorite local or online retailer to purchase the correct over/under axle flip conversion kit.
Have the parts in hand before you embark on this DIY project.
Disconnect the Brake Wires
Jack up your RV about 8 inches off the ground and secure it. You can then disconnect the brake wires and remove the shackle plate bolts, U-bolts, and leaf springs. At this point, you’ll be ready to start with your kit.
Follow Your Kit Instructions
Read through your kit’s instructions in advance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t skip any steps. You must follow each step to avoid a dangerous mistake for you and your RV.
Reconnect the Brake Wires and Shock Absorbers
After finishing your kit installation, you can begin reconnecting the brake wires and shock absorbers. You may need to solder the brake wiring back together. Make sure your brakes are working correctly before finishing.
Have someone pull the breakaway pin to do so. This should instantly lock your brakes up and let you know everything is good to go. If not, check your wiring and ensure that you have a proper connection.
Would You Flip Your RV Axles?
While flipping your axles sounds great in theory, it isn’t without its pitfalls. Before you make your decision, speak to a few professionals and fellow RVers who have done the conversion.
Decide if you can handle this project or if you should leave it to the pros. If you’re a bit hesitant, you can always purchase new axles that come with an over-slung spring. Have you considered flipping your RV’s axles? Do you think it is a good idea, or is it just asking for trouble?
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