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Has anyone considered down-sizing the LE2 wheels and tires to 15”, with 5 on 4.5” lug bolt pattern?


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There are a couple of reasons, from my point of view, to change the wheels and tires….

16 inch LT (10 ply) TRUCK tires are gross overkill for a 7000 pound trailer, they are expensive and they are really heavy. Going to a smaller 8 Ply tire saves money when the time comes to replace the tires if one gets damaged or as they age out (7 years is commonly recommended), plus they are a lot lighter and have less rolling resistance. 

You could buy an electric over hydraulic disk brake kit for a 3500 pound tandem axle setup and it would be completely plug and play.

The current wheels are 6 on 5.5” bolt pattern, which is typical of heavier axles (like on the LE1) that have a 5 bolt brake mount pattern, but the LE2 has little 3500 pound axles with a 4 hole brake mount  pattern. Pardon my language, they are bastards, neither here nor there. Nobody makes a bolt-on disk kit for this combination - the hubs have the wrong number of studs OR the brake plate is wrong….. . If you want to install disks, you must replace the axles on an LE2 with the bigger ones, with the proper matching brake plate and lug pattern, which gives you oversized parts and lots of extra mass. Or change the wheels and keep the old axles, and install a lighter system that is better matched to the trailer weight.

I think it is crazy that Oliver decided to do this, it completely cripples any future brake upgrade. It will be a couple of more years before I have to replace the tires, enough time for Oliver to come up with a solution for me that does not involve complete axle replacement…..  IMHO changing the wheels and tires when your current tires are fine makes no financial sense at all, but suddenly it does make sense when they get too old… Keep in mind your old 6 hole wheels would have some value, they could be sold on Craigslist or here in the Classifieds.

Comments? I opened a Service Ticket, to see if there is any hope…..

Here is the 10” Dexter slip-on kit (5 hole wheels):

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And the 12” kit (6 hole wheels, HEAVY parts):

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John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I do feel like the current drum brakes on the Oliver's are useless - at least the ones on mine are (relying on them is dangerous), so this mod would be compelling to me.  It's too bad that it takes a smaller wheel to upgrade the brakes because I like the look of the current tire/wheel combination on the Ollie's.  I think small wheels on a tandem trailer look cheap.   I suppose you could still get "bigger" LT tires with the 15" rims and it wouldn't be that noticeable.

Thanks for bringing this to light JD, I didn't realize this design boxed us in so much.  😞 

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John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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There are good looking SUV tires in a 15” size that would look fine. The Michelin LTX 225/75R16 on “Mouse” are discontinued, I don’t know the specs for the current ones being used. They have an outside diameter of 29.4”, max load 2680 lbs @80 psi, 6-7” rim, and weigh 38 lbs (which is actually very light for an LT tire).

The current equivalent in a 15 is the LTX Defender M&S 235/75R15 Load D. 28.8” OD, section width 9.3”, max load 2271 @50 psi, 6-8” rim, 34 lbs.

These Coopers would look more aggressive and offer some sidewall protection for gravel, which is important to me. I am a big fan of Coopers…. A real AT offroad tire like a BFG A/T KO2 will be a whole lot heavier, maybe 44 lbs.

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You would need to choose a 15x7” zero offset aluminum trailer wheel, there are plenty of them out there. Total package weight (5 sets of wheels and tires) would save about 20 lbs of rolling mass. Whether or not these non-LT tires with their softer sidewalks are “appropriate” to install on a trailer is another discussion, but I think they would look fine and not at all teeny. But I like my trucks to have tall sidewalls, smaller wheels look better to me🙂

If an owner were concerned about rim damage (potholes), rock chips (gravel), or winter towing (deicers) a painted steelie  would be a good choice and very easy to repaint when it gets scarred up, I would buy something like this one:

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 John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Very interesting to hear the opinions of others on similar equipment.  My first response to the title here was  - Why on earth.... But as usual - JD has a well reasoned answer to that question.

I have no complaints with my brakes - after 17k miles they remain in decent shape - and I'll take another look at them in the fall. But then I tow with a 2500 with a robust breaking system - and the Oliver doesn't have to work that hard on the braking. 

The Oliver seems to represent a great platform for the "I can make it better" crowd. And conversely - works really well for the rest of us....

Now here is a counter opinion - I have a mind to switch from the E-II down to a E - I, Find a pre-owned - basic - and go from there.... 

Carry on.

RB

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
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1 hour ago, BackofBeyond said:

I have a mind to switch from the E-II down to a E - I, Find a pre-owned - basic - and go from there.... 

That is no problem for me, if I were to be suddenly single, I would be strongly tempted to do the same, and add big tires, independent suspension and an offroad coupler, and be very happy to ditch the Andersen hitch entirely. Downsizing is not bad, just different.

Be glad your brakes have been doing well, that is very unusual, and when they do go Tango Uniform, it is not a simple fix like a disk system, especially if you choose a disk kit with idler hubs with slip on rotors and Nev-R-Lube bearings. No more bearing repacking, just bring a spare hub and install it in 30 minutes if one fails, then get the old one's bearings replaced at a machine shop. Ten minute brake pad changes! Go drink a beer instead of mucking around with ancient and cranky drum brake technology...

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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1 hour ago, BackofBeyond said:

I have no complaints with my brakes - after 17k miles they remain in decent shape - and I'll take another look at them in the fall. But then I tow with a 2500 with a robust breaking system - and the Oliver doesn't have to work that hard on the braking. 

Your Oliver's brakes must work better than mine.  I know mine don't work as well as I'm used to because when I slide the manual knob on my brake controller over to max, the brakes barely grab and slow me down.   I've had horse trailers whose brakes could easily make the trailer tires skid if desired.  Anyway, I also tow with a heavier 2500, so I agree the brakes don't have to work that hard in the Oliver.  But....  with wet or slick roads, having good brakes on the trailer would sure make me feel better.  🙂  

John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

States Visited Map

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1 hour ago, BackofBeyond said:

Very interesting to hear the opinions of others on similar equipment.  My first response to the title here was  - Why on earth.... But as usual - JD has a well reasoned answer to that question.

I have no complaints with my brakes - after 17k miles they remain in decent shape - and I'll take another look at them in the fall. But then I tow with a 2500 with a robust breaking system - and the Oliver doesn't have to work that hard on the braking. 

The Oliver seems to represent a great platform for the "I can make it better" crowd. And conversely - works really well for the rest of us....

Now here is a counter opinion - I have a mind to switch from the E-II down to a E - I, Find a pre-owned - basic - and go from there.... 

Carry on.

RB

Same here - F350 brakes do most of the work!

I understand wanting to size down to an E-I if you want to tow with a smaller vehicle, but for us, the reduced interior storage of the E-I would be difficult to accept.

 

 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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10 minutes ago, NCeagle said:

Your Oliver's brakes must work better than mine.  I know mine don't work as well as I'm used to because when I slide the manual knob on my brake controller over to max, the brakes barely grab and slow me down.   I've had horse trailers whose brakes could easily make the trailer tires skid if desired.  Anyway, I also tow with a heavier 2500, so I agree the brakes don't have to work that hard in the Oliver.  But....  with wet or slick roads, having good brakes on the trailer would sure make me feel better.  🙂  

Our F-350 super duty has tow mode with assists downhill braking.  As far an emergency braking, we haven't had the opportunity to test them in that respect; hope we never do.

 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Are the brakes on our trailers self-adjusting or manual adjust?  I have mine inspected annually when I get my bearings repacked.  I can adjust my brake controller so that the wheels skid when I squeeze the controller.  With my new truck I have the BC set on 6 and I get a good tug from the trailer when I squeeze the controller.  My brakes are 5 years old with 60K miles.  Last spring my maintenance guy said they were almost down to half.  Now that we’re home from our spring trip I’ll be taking it in for the annual check.  

I agree with others towing with a 2500 or larger, the truck does the majority of the work.  I haven’t had an emergency braking incident with my 2500, but had several with my 1500s.  The trailer tracked as it should each time.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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56 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Are the brakes on our trailers self-adjusting or manual adjust?

The "easy" way to tell is to take a look at the back of the drum.  If there is a rubber plug take it out and look for a "wheel" on the inside of the drum that can be turned (via the notches in the wheel).  Turn it one way and the brakes tighten while turning it the other way loosen the brakes.  These are manually adjusted brakes.

Since I'm hull number 117 and you (Mike) are fairly close, I'd guess that you have the same brakes as I do - self adjusting.  Basically these brakes adjust each time you drive the Oliver in reverse.  These are not as finely tuned as the current Dexter "never adjust brakes", but, generally they do a good job.  This is particularly so if during your annual wheel bearing job the brakes are adjusted properly when you hub is put back on.  Right after this annual job your first few stops just might be a bit lacking in stopping power - that is because you probably haven't backed up the Ollie enough times yet in order to allow the self-adjusting mechanism to full work its magic yet.

As long as the big magnet inside the drum is still good, the magnet is getting power, and, you have reasonably good brake lining, you should be able to get more that reasonable stopping power from drum brakes under "normal" circumstances.  Yes, this is arguably ancient technology.  Yes, disk brakes are easier to service and can provide more consistent and reliable stopping power under a broader array of circumstances.  But, properly serviced drum brakes have proved to be a reliable source of stopping power for many years on many vehicles and trailers.

Bill 

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Bill, thanks.  I was pretty sure our brakes were self adjusting.  I was just wondering why some owners would feel that these same brakes were so inferior.  BTW, I do plenty of backing up!  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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Just now, Mike and Carol said:

 I was just wondering why some owners would feel that these same brakes were so inferior.

Well, they (drum brakes) are inferior in some (even perhaps most) circumstances.  Repair is one area where disks are much easier to work on.  In "performance" situations disk brakes are also superior.  If I was doing a bunch of hills or needing my brakes to be applied for relative long periods of time then disk brakes are much better.  But, having said this it does not necessarily mean that drum brakes are junk from the standpoint of - do they get the job of stopping the vehicle done.  I believe that while drum brakes are not the most elegant nor the newest or greatest technology, they still get the basic job done - i.e. they stop the trailer (assuming that the maintenance factors pointed out above are good).  If I had the choice of drum versus disk brakes - I'd take the disks every time.  But that is not to say that drum brakes are junk.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Well, if you did that, John, you could also consider st tires,  e rated, higher speed tires. (Ours our rated for over 80 mph.)  Just a thought. 

I think Oliver went to lt tires because most folks thought it was "best." I have no problems with good st tires. Never changed from st, third set, three brands. Not cheap, but less expensive.  Stiff sidewalls. Gone are the days of 55 mph  only st tires 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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8 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Your Oliver's brakes must work better than mine.  I know mine don't work as well as I'm used to because when I slide the manual knob on my brake controller over to max, the brakes barely grab and slow me down.   I've had horse trailers whose brakes could easily make the trailer tires skid if desired.  Anyway, I also tow with a heavier 2500, so I agree the brakes don't have to work that hard in the Oliver.  But....  with wet or slick roads, having good brakes on the trailer would sure make me feel better.  🙂  

The manual knob is a great tool - mine lets me know what is gong on out back.

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, John E Davies said:

That is no problem for me, if I were to be suddenly single, I would be strongly tempted to do the same, and add big tires, independent suspension and an offroad coupler, and be very happy to ditch the Andersen hitch entirely. Downsizing is not bad, just different.

Be glad your brakes have been doing well, that is very unusual, and when they do go Tango Uniform, it is not a simple fix like a disk system, especially if you choose a disk kit with idler hubs with slip on rotors and Nev-R-Lube bearings. No more bearing repacking, just bring a spare hub and install it in 30 minutes if one fails, then get the old one's bearings replaced at a machine shop. Ten minute brake pad changes! Go drink a beer instead of mucking around with ancient and cranky drum brake technology...

John Davies

Spokane WA

Thank you JD  - Tango Uniform - brought a smile to my face - my son - the military dude - introduced me to the phrase - which you have "cleaned up"!!

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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Got that 

There is a Yukon Territory  campground, built in ww2 days, one of our faves. SNAFU.  (you guys know what that means.)

I can't recommend it for most folks. Super sandy drive , easy to get stuck. 4wd engaged, preferred,,and a run at the bottom of the hill.

We know the drive, and like the hilltop sites overlooking the lake. Best for 4wd  van campers, or.... those who know the way. There are a few sites at the lower lakeshore that are really  nice, and easier access,  if available.   We camp there every trip on our way to AK. 

Edited to add: seriously,  if you are not experienced,  don't have 4wd don't try this. Even the lower sites 

We know what were doing,,and a tow  truck is really  expensive. If you have signal to call one. This is seriously in the boonies.

Pit toilets, no water, no sewer.

Our kind of quiet place. 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well as has been opined - Oliver brakes are not the cats meow - what to do, where does one go,  - perhaps buy the best   - an AS, a SOB, my gosh, we re all  gonna die from insufficient breaking, - yeah another subjective topic. Get yours checked - do it yourself, ask one of those alien's the Navy says strafed SD in 2019 - just have them checked, get a vaccine, wear a mask, run, hide aaaaaaagh.

OK  it is relief factor - feel young again - get the quick  start pack today - your brakes will love you.

OR - just do the normal maintenance , and then you can spend quality worrying  about which adult beverage  you might run out of on the next boon docking escapade.......!!!!!!

Oh crap - this isn't the Twilight Zone - sorry, I ran out of semi adult beverages and must have sobered up....

Thank you 

RB

sniffing too much JB Weld - repairing the infrastructure. - can be hard on ones mental acuity. 

Wait - where is my tin hat

and on

EDIT- Ok  - I realized I missed an important fix for the whole kit and caboodle - get your perfect pillow today - what pillow - well we all have a choice - I like mine - my pillow works, but not his My Pillow - it is an anthemia to common decency - what would John Locke say, not to mention Rousseau. Common Sense says T Paine. 

Edited by BackofBeyond
lack of beverage
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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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Annual maintenance and readjustments, along with cautious downhill technique of using the TV low gears to help maintain a safe speed, etc have worked for my 2008 Elite I's 137,000 miles so far.  But disk brakes would be the cat's meow.  Having only one wheel and tire on each side, I pay special attention to how things are going on "back there", combining regular maintenance with a tire pressure monitoring system so I can check the pressure and temperature health of the tires while going down the highways and hills.

Failure to maintain our equipment in tip top shape is just asking for things to go FUBAR!

 

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17 hours ago, topgun2 said:

The "easy" way to tell is to take a look at the back of the drum.  If there is a rubber plug take it out and look for a "wheel" on the inside of the drum that can be turned (via the notches in the wheel).  Turn it one way and the brakes tighten while turning it the other way loosen the brakes.  These are manually adjusted brakes.

28044938_ManualvsSelfAdjBrakes.thumb.jpg.67598274710c4e735cd0e890fccfdfe7.jpg

They both have star wheels, and both have two slots, the rubber plugs may be missing and are not needed, the real difference is that the self adjuster ones have an extra spring and also a cable with pivoting arm that is supposed to adjust the wheel. Mine were self adjust type and they never did work well, I replaced the front pair four years ago due to grease contamination (grabbing) from a failed seal, and I am in the process of changing the rears now, and I am using manual adjust assemblies.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2778-brakes-auto-adjust-vs-manual-adjust-what-are-the-differences/

The manual ones work great, you just have to turn the adjusters every now and then, depending on how hard you are on the system. Every 3000 miles works for me, in until the wheel won't turn, then back out 8 clicks... https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-50700-Brake-Adjusting-Tool/dp/B0002SQU6S ... The auto ones are lipstick on a pig. They make the drum brakes more complicated and lots more trouble prone.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

They both have star wheels, and both have two slots, the rubber plugs may be missing and are not needed, the real difference is that the self adjuster ones have an extra spring and also a cable with pivoting arm that is supposed to adjust the wheel.

Yes, this is basically correct - the "star wheels" are used even on the self adjusting models to "snug up" the brakes after servicing (usually the bearings) but the self adjusters should still work even if this set is not followed - its just that braking performance will be reduced until one has backed up enough times for the self adjusters to do the magic.  The rubber plugs indeed may be missing but they do help keep un-wanted things out of the area and suspect that is why some engineer put them there in the first place - I always replaced mine when/if they disappear.  I've had many campers and boat trailers over the years that have had self adjusting brakes and have NEVER had issues with any of them.  Particularly with trailers that are routinely driven/towed over 5,000 miles per year and with boat trailers that routinely see water, bearing service at least once per year is necessary.  Because of this I have always cleaned/serviced the brakes at the same time and I suspect that is the reason they have always performed well for me.  Of course, on the other hand, I could just be one lucky dude.

1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

The manual ones work great, you just have to turn the adjusters every now and then, depending on how hard you are on the system.

I'm not surprised that this manual process works - that is how it was designed.  However, even though the process of lubing the EZ Flex system is simple, doesn't take much time, is not really labor intensive, nor, does it require any special skill, I still find myself reluctant to do it.  This same thing would apply (at least in my case) to manually adjusting the brakes.  I'd prefer to make sure that the self-adjusting system is working properly once per year when I have the hubs off anyway versus keeping track of my brake mileage, getting under the Ollie and spinning star wheels.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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As a Who Cares update, I did some researching of weights for different configurations. 

 

BRAKES

Electric drum 10 x 2 1/4”

Drum with bearings 48 lbs pair

Brake assembly manual adjust 22 lbs pr

70 lbs per axle, 140 lbs total

 

Electric drum 12x2”

Drum with bearings 60 lbs pr

Brake assembly manual adjust 32 lbs pr

92 pounds per axle, 184 pounds total

 

Disk brake 10” slip on 5 on 4.5”

Kodiak 38 lbs pr

Idler hub (Dexter) with bearings 22 lbs pr

60 lbs per axle, 120 lbs total

Plus actuator, etc 137 lbs

 

Disk brake kit 12” slip on 6 on 5.5”

Kodiak 58 lbs pr

Idler hub (Dexter) with bearings 26 lbs pr

84 lbs per axle, 168 lbs total

Plus actuator, etc 185 lbs 

 

Hydrastar electric over hydraulic actuator 12 lbs

Wiring, plumbing, hoses, fluid, mounting plate 5 lbs (guess)

17 lbs total

 

AXLES

3500 ? lbs each

5200 ? lbs each

GUESS 10 lbs each heavier, 20 lbs total

 

TIRES

Michelin LTX M&S 225/75R16 Load E Discontinued

29.4” OD, section width 8.8”, max load 2680 lbs at 80 psi, 6-7” rim, 38 lbs, 5 tires 190 lbs

Generic 235/75R15 Load D, 34 lbs, 5 tires 170 lbs

 

WHEELS aluminum generic

16x6, 6 on 5.5” 20 lbs, 5 wheels 100 lbs

15x7, 5 on 4.5” 18 lbs, 5 wheels 90 lbs, 10 lbs lighter

 

So there you go, bigger is heavier.... a 10inch disk setup would be about the same weight as a 10 inch drum setup (it is actually a lot lighter but the weight of the actuator and hydraulic parts brings it back up), and it is about 60 pounds lighter than a 12 inch disk one. Not counting the weight of wheels and tires. Note that this is unsprung weight, which should be kept as low as possible. Going from 10" drums to 10' disks would remove 10 pounds of unsprung weight, per axle, and the lighter wheels/ tires would reduce that by another 12 pounds. A 22 pound total reduction in moving mass per axle would really reduce stresses on the spindles, bearings and shocks, and allow the tires to deal with holes and bumps more easily. (Plus you won't have the same problem trying to avoid brake lockup because your 12" system is really way too big for the load carried.)

FYI I once had a 4 x 6 foot aluminum offroad utility trailer, I had it built with a 3500 pound axle with 10"electric  brakes. Under a full load of mulch or lumber they were fine, but when it was lightly loaded with a few hundred pounds of camping gear they always were problematic, so  I normally did not use them at all. Big brakes on a light trailer are not great.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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