Search This Blog

Monday, February 8, 2010

Willy Update…My Axle Problems Continue.

I left Oaxaca early Saturday morning,about 6:45,to avoid any traffic rush.This was actually the first road test of the new axles.I could feel a little slow releasing brake drag as I pulled away from each traffic light,but was soon climbing out of the city and on to the Toll highway.

Just before the first toll booth,about 20 minutes out,I stopped to check everything.First I could smell something hot and found the 2 rear brakes were hot.You couldn’t keep your hand on the drum,so figuring something was amiss with the wiring we did,I cut the wires feeding the rear temporarily,a further test found them cool,so it wasn’t an adjustment,I think.

When we installed the new axles,we noticed that the wheel well clearance was less than before,(top of tire to highest point in wheel well)but figured it would be ok because there was only about an inch of clearance before and there was never a problem.Calvin and I discussed manufacturing a lift kit for better clearance,but I decided to take a chance that it would be ok,not realizing that the spring bars when I hook up would add some pressure to the trailer axles,possibly even lessening the clearance.And what about full holding tanks and the weight of that?Which I didn't have at present.

Just before Puebla I checked again and found that any pothole or rough spot in the road was causing the wheels to bump the wheel well lining and was showing a crack and some rub marks.Regular road movement was ok as there was about 1/2 inch clearance. (NOTE:There is nothing wrong with the new axles,we had 3 choices of starting angle of the swing arm when ordering them,and really, we picked the wrong one).

Here is what is happening,below

003 004

I continued along doing a frequent check and finding that I’m fine if I stay out of the potholes and in Mexico that is very difficult.

I stopped for the night in the same Pemex as the trip over just before New Years.Over 8000ft and boy did it get cold when the sun went down.This is just north of Atlacomulco about 6 Km’s for those of you familiar with the area.Quite a difference from Oaxaca at 5000ft where it stayed in the 60’s overnight.

Just after noon yesterday,(Superbowl Sunday),I arrived back at Hacienda Contreras,south of Guadalajara,where I spent Christmas.Welcomed back by Barb and Sal the owners,who have been following my blog and knew of my problems.


I thought if I’m going to have to add a lift kit to this axle setup,I need a place with room to work and also to have the advantage of “hopefully”Sal’s help.Being Mexican/American,having Sal as an interpreter with the metal fabricator,if we can find a good one,will be important.

There is an OEM lift kit available and I downloaded the info and found it was very close to what Calvin and I had discussed,so all I need now is time and a fabricator that will come here and listen to exactly what I want,and maybe he will even have a better idea.All of this I will find out today.I also have to sort out my braking problem at the same time,so I will probably be here for awhile getting all of this done squeezing  my return home time even more.I could try travelling home under present conditions,but it would be white knuckle worry the whole way.

For any technical minds out there that may be interested,here is what the lift kit looks like installed.That C channel is bolted on to the original mounting point.So I need to have channels and backing plates made like this,then its all bolt on work….This winter trip has I believe,become the trip from hell.

lift kit 2


  1. I would almost say I'll trade you my 5th wheel for your trailer! That way we would both have a new and different set of worries for a while.

  2. I'm so sorry for your troubles - but you are a warrior! One step at a time gets the job done. Sending creative energy for inspiration - - in hardware and software!!!! Good luck! keep us posted. ~ Bobbi

  3. You are in a good place to get help Willy! As you know, Mexican workers are very inventive and the parts you need do not look all that complicated. Just make sure they weld in some supports so the channel does not collapse under weight.

    Speaking of weight, could excess weight have been the original problem?

  4. Oh Willy, wished we could come on down there & give you a hand somehow. This has been a very difficult trip for you & we can feel your frustration. At least you will have 3 big sighs of relief ahead of you. First crossing back into the United States, then Canada, then home:))

  5. This has been a trip you'll never forget for sure, Willy - nor will those of us following your blog. It's like waiting for one of those old serial movies to see what's going to happen next! Hope you get a quick fix and are back on the road soon.

  6. aww dad sorry your having so many problems, please take it easy, and don't take any risky chances when your on your way home...

  7. Deep, cleansing breath, Willy. These problems will pass in time. I feel your pain. Good thing you are (relatively) close to Guadalajara. Even 45 years ago when I lived there, many mechanics and truck shops called Guadalajara home. Getting what you want made will be easier there than in many places you have visited. Vaya con Dios, muchacho!

  8. Willy, You know at times like this you think you’re the only one who had problems but we all have the grief from time to time... I am sooo sorry that you're having a pain in the axle! Hopefully the new fix will work! Try to have fun & travel safe...

  9. Sorry to hear you are having more problems. There is nothing more frustrating than having machanical problems on the road. Hang in there at some point it will get better.

    John Rosasco