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SUBJECT: # 9980: How does a torsion axel work?

Submitted by Super Dave ( from TEXAS on 2/19/04 10:42:00 PM

Is there any maintenance required with the torsion aspect?

  1. 2/20/04 10:54:00 AM Submitted by Thom ( from WEST VIRGINIA says Ok
    How does it work, well the height of simplicity actually.

    Immagine a material that rebounds to its original shape if it is bent, like a spring. Now immagine that same material made into a shaft. Its properties remain the same, if you distort it within bounds it will return to its original shape. Now, anchor one end of it by bolting it down. If you twist the other end of it the shaft will try to return to its original form, which is to say it will try to untwist itself. Now, with one end anchored go ahead and weld an arm to the other end, like the hand of a clock attached to the little shaft. If you try to rotate that arm it will twist the shaft, but the shaft will try to return to its original position. Let's look at the clock analogy again. The litle shaft comes directly out of the center of the clock's face and the hand on the clock is pointing to the 3. We will presume that the other end of the little shaf it locked in place Now push down on the hand to force it to the number 5, and then let it go, it will spring back to the number 3. That is because the shaft acted as a torsion spring.

    A torsion axle acts just the same way. Inside of the axle housing there is a shaft made of springy steel. It is locked in place at its center and has each of its ends extending all the way out to the end of the outside axle tube. On the ends of the shaft there are arms (like the hand on the clock) and the wheels are attached to the ends of those arms (one on each side). As movement of the trailer and the mas of the load cause the arm to move up, as in when you hit a pothole, the springyness of the torsion spring (shaft) in the center of the tube will cause the arm, and as a consequence the wheel, to return to its original position.

    As for maintainence, its a matter of keeping them from corroding and making sure that the anchoring mechanism doesn't come loose.

    Did that make any sense?


  2. 2/20/04 12:52:00 PM Submitted by MrWalleye73 from ILLINOIS says Thom
    Hi Thom...long time no see!!!!


  3. 2/20/04 9:13:00 PM Submitted by Super Dave ( from TEXAS says Thom, nice question
    how do you determine load capacity of a trailer? Is it the weight of whats on it? Or, do you include the weight of the trailer?

  4. 2/21/04 12:58:00 AM Submitted by Thom ( from WEST VIRGINIA says I Think .....
    but I'm not really sure, but I think that its the combined weight, which is to say how much weight the tires have on the ground - load plus trailer. What I believe you'd call gross weight. I could be dead wrong on that through. I'm sure someone will set us both straight on it.


  5. 2/21/04 3:20:00 PM Submitted by Alex from GA ( from GEORGIA says Agree.
    I agree with Thom, it's the combined total weight.

  6. 2/22/04 9:58:00 PM Submitted by xctycoach from ILLINOIS says Thom, very well done!
    Great explanation. Thanks.

  7. 2/24/04 9:23:00 PM Submitted by Chris Smith ( from TEXAS says Just a little more
    On tandem axles, leaf springs are connected together in the center and pivot, so that if the trailer isn't level, the weight on the springs is still equal on the two axles.

    With torsion axles, if the trailer isn't level, one axle will be taking on more weight than the other. It's important to keep a tandem torsion axle trailer level when towing.

    The same effect makes it easy to limp home if you blow a tire on a tandem torsion trailer. You can just remove the blown tire. On a tandem leaf trailer, you may have to tie the axle up to tow with one wheel off.

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