My question is regarding electric brakes primarily. I've got a 1969 Northwest Coach with original electric brakes. I don't know if they work and i don't know the size but I was thinking of upgrading them with new everything including wiring. Will a modern brake kit fit into the drum? Or is there something special about older electric brakes? Also has anyone ever changed there leaf springs so the mounted on top of the axle instead of under the axle like mine is now? It just sets so low and it would give me about 2-3 inches off of the ground. I'm just worried about there being a handling or sway problem if I change the leaf spring orientation. Any tips or info is greatly appreciated.
Mark many people change the axle to under the springs but do not turn it over drill new locating holes in the top. Many electric brakes are still the same you need to pull the drums and measure the diameter then check for wear and deterioration then see if any new parts needed are available if so they are as good as new and maybe better than some of the imports. A 2 or 3 inch lift should not make a noticeable change in handling. Also make sure springs and bushings and bolts are in good shape.
I'm kind of confused about what you said about turning it over and drilling new holes. I'm assuming you're talking about flipping the axle 180 degrees which I have heard of but my axle is a straight square 1 3/4 inch tube then drops down about 5-6 inches then extends out for the hubs to mount on. If I turned it over the once higher part of the axle would be 5-6 inches lower and would be hitting the ground. I was just going to jack the trailer up, take the u-bolts and plate off. Then disconnect one end of each leaf spring and slide the axle out, re-secure the leaf spring end I disconnected, then put the axle under the springs and bolt everything back together (making sure everything is lined up obviously). Basically giving it a 1 3/4 inch lift (the width of the axle tube). What drilling of new holes are you referring to? I looked at the axle and springs this morning and it made me wonder. It made me think you thought my axle was a completely straight round tube like most axles. I've never changed leaf springs before so please forgive my ignorance. I hope all this makes since and I'm not making myself look stupid by not seeing something obvious. LOL.
DO NOT TURN THE AXLE OVER. When you get it apart you will find a small hole drilled into the bottom of the axle that the spring center bolt sits in. This holds the axle in line, once you go to put the axle under the spring there will be no hole so all you do is measure exactly where it goes and drill a new one in the top of the axle about a half inch deep exactly like the one in the bottom. You will understand once you get it apart. This whole process is very simple. I would suggest buying some PB Blaster or some type of penetrate and spraying all the bolts for a couple of days before you start. also make sure that you have the trailer sitting on some good sturdy jack stands so that it doesn't fall on you. The reason you have to drill new locator holes is now your axle sits on top of the springs so the bottom is touching the spring when you move it below the spring the top of the axle will be touching the spring. You will actually raise the trailer the thickness of the springs plus the thickness of the axle, probably about a 3 or 4 inch total.
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2014 15:52:49 GMT -8 by bigbill
Post by John Palmer on Jul 11, 2014 18:09:25 GMT -8
Everything that BigBill said, plus I would plan on replacing the spring U-Bolts while you have it apart. They are generally well rusted, and the bottom threads messed up. Lots easier to put new parts back on.