Irrespective of whether you have a small or a large sized trailer, if you are not careful with the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), then your trailer axle can be under a lot of unwanted stress due to the added weight.
The axle is assigned the crucial role of carrying the load and transmitting the power to the tires.
People often make the mistake of making fancy additions that increase the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) without upgrading the stock axles.
The result is that the axle gets damaged a lot sooner than it should. Some of the telltale signs of an axle gone bad are excessive vibration, change in the wheel alignment and a humming sound when you are cornering the vehicle. In extreme cases, the vehicle can put you in a deadlock right in the middle of a drive.
Not the best of situations to be stuck in.
If you have made excessive modifications to your trailer or are regularly exceeding the weight capacity, then an axle upgrade will save you from a lot of hassles and also a probable breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
However, an axle is not an inexpensive replacement. As a consumer, it is in your best interests to know what to look for when you are out to buy a replacement for your trailer. Unlike the days of yore, when a small junkyard trip would have given you a pretty good used axle, today the best place to search for one is the aftermarket.
Things to consider while buying a trailer axle
There are two different types of axles that you need to be aware when looking for a replacement.
Spring Axles: The leaf spring is the more common of the two and is usually the stock variety that is found on most complete trailer assemblies. It features flat and curved leaves that are layered one above the other and are usually installed below the axle itself. These are an inexpensive suspension system and can also be repaired if it gets damaged.
If your trailer features more than one axle, then a leaf spring assembly allows a more even weight distribution and provides a stable and steady ride. Each spring is independent of the other and this also allows better weight distribution when you are parking the trailer on uneven terrain.
However, these are slightly bulkier as compared to Torisons and will occupy more space in the assembly. Also, they are considered to be more durable and low on maintenance than Torison.
Torison Axle: Torison axles are a minimalistic but very popular option due to the easy construction and the adjustability. Further, it features four shock absorbent rubber cords inside the axle which also handles suspension. The compression of the rubber cords when each wheel moves allows for a smooth and hassle-free ride.
The pros of a torsion axle are that these are galvanized from both sides and there is little to no contact between metal parts resulting in less corrosion. Also, since the axle is attached to the trailer frame, it gives the trailer a rigidity.
However, the flipside is that if you have a damaged Torrison axle, then you cannot repair it. Replacing the entire suspension system is the only option due to the attached construction. Torrisons also perform poorly in snow or extremely low temperatures due to the rubber cords getting frozen and losing the elasticity.
If you are confused in your quest to seek a quality replacement for your trailer axle, then here’s a small list of the best trailer axle assemblies in the market currently. We have picked these on the basis of the quality, the price and the ease of assembly. Systems that bolt-on as a direct replacement for your existing trailer axle has been rated slightly higher.
1. Lippert Idler Trailer Axle
Replace your old and worn out trailer axle with this standard spring idler trailer axle from Lippert that has a 3500 lbs. capacity.
This is a direct replacement for most Alko Axles, Dexter Axles, and Quality Axles and if you wish to use it as a replacement for other axle brands, then you may need to make minor fabrication changes.
The axle is 72 inches from Hub face to Hub Face and the distance between the springs are set at 58 inches. If your spring shackles are set at a different distance, then you may have to cut and weld the brackets to be able to move the spring perches.
The main tube is 2 3/8″ and it has a 4 ½ inch 5 bolt pattern.
The greaseable bearings with the ½ inch lug studs allow you to maintain the axle in prime condition.
The ride quality with this axle is phenomenal thanks to the 25 ¼ inch long springs.
Lippert’s axles are CSA certified and feature a powder-coated axle tubing which offers excellent rust resistance. Further, you can also get self-adjusting braking systems on this axle.
-Meaty 3500 lbs upgrade for your old 2000 lbs axle
-Direct replacement for Alko axles, dexter axles, and quality axles
-The 72-inch length from hub face to hub face
-Rust resistant powder coated the main tube
-Lippert’s durability assurance
Verdict: This is a perfect replacement or upgrade for anyone looking for a quality, durable trailer axle with more than 3000 lbs. capacity.
2. Al-Ko Spring Trailer Axle
This 5200 lbs. spring axle is a heavy duty replacement axle from Al-Ko, who is one of the most popular brands for both braked and un-braked trailer axle systems.
This is a complete replacement kit that includes 12″ x 2″ Electric Drum Brakes. The Axle is designed for even weight balancing and smooth ride quality. It features a 3″ diameter with a 3/16 inch wall which is rust and corrosion resistant.
This helps to provide the much-desired stability without increasing the weight of the trailer. At the same time, you do not have to compromise on the carrying capacity.
The construction is top notch and features zinc-coated axles and drums.
If this is the first time that you are replacing the trailer axle, then you need to know that the axle seats need to be welded on to the axle. They do not come attached out of the box.
This is a low maintenance trailer axle that requires minimal grease lubrication.
-Heavy duty trailer axle with 5200 lbs. capacity
-Manufactured by Al-Ko who is one of the most popular brands
-Features a 6-5.5″ Bolt Circle
-Rust resistant 3-inch diameter x 3/16 inch wall round tubing
-Includes 12″ x 2″ Electric Drum Brakes
Verdict: Durable and reliable replacement axle. If you are looking to increase the weight capacity, then go for it.
3. Rockwell American Trailer Axle
Rockwell American’s axle trailers are known for their durability and longer lifespan. They have a whole range of 3.5k and 6k CSA approved trailer axles with electric brakes.
This is an Idler trailer axle kit with an Axle, 2 double eye springs, a complete U-bolt Kit and all hubs, bearings, lugs & nuts needed for an easy assembly.
Featuring a powder coated tube construction, the axles offer excellent rust and corrosion resistance which improves its performance and longevity.
Further, the bearings are protected due to the constant lubrication offered by the Posi-Lube Spindles on these axles.
This is a direct replacement for Dexter Trailer Axles and is available in five different sizes. The smallest size has a 62-inch hub face while the largest one has a 95-inch hub face. The Trailer Axle is extremely easy to install and is 100% American made with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.
-3500 lbs. CSA approved construction
-Made in the USA
-Complete kit that includes the axle, 2 double eye springs, a complete U-bolt kit and all hubs.
-Powder coated tube for rust resistance
-Posi Lube spindles
-2 years manufacturer warranty
Verdict: Good quality, American made trailer axle at a great price. Hard to go wrong with this.
4. Torsion Trailer Axle
The #4 pick in our list of best trailer axles is a Torison Trailer Axle for trailers with an independent suspension system. This is a good quality axle kit with a range of impressive features including a very durable construction and perfect shock absorption for a smooth ride quality.
Featuring a hard shell powder-coated finish, the axle is resistant to wear and tear and corrosion. Also, in case of any damage, the stainless steel wear sleeves and the easy-change removable spindles allow you to save both time and money.
The steel tube is rubber cushioned from the inside which provides excellent shock absorption and prevents the trailer from swaying on an uneven road. The axle increases the stability even if the wheels are not on level ground.
Re-greasing the bearings is effortless in this Ultra-Tow Torison trailer axle and you do not need to remove the hubs thanks to the fast lube spindles. Unlike conventional trailer axles, the rubber oil seals in this do not get worn out easily due to the stainless steel wear sleeves.
You do not need any springs, shackles, and U-bolts due to the built-in brake flange.
-Powder coated axle that is rust-resistant
-Easy remove spindles for re-greasing bearings easily
-Stainless steel wear sleeves that prevent rubber oil seals from wearing out
-Built-in brake flange that eliminates the need for springs, U-bolts
-Rubber cushioned steel rube for enhanced shock absorption and stability
Verdict: Great quality Torison for anyone looking to upgrade their trailer axle with an independent suspension one.
5. Torsion Trailer Axle 2
Last but not the least, we have this torsion axle from Flexiride that has a 3500 lbs. capacity. It features a proprietary design that allows the rubber to the bonded to the shaft instead of just lining it. This enhances the strength and the performance of all the steel components of the axle.
Also, unlike conventional torsion axles which operate in compression, this 3500 lbs. axle from Flexiride operates in shear. The result is enhanced vehicular stability, better compliance to angles and an overall smoother ride quality.
The axle also features support bushing which helps you to maintain camber even when you are making sharp turns and increases your damping control.
Also, the one-piece forged spindle arm that has the splined joint for the cartridge connection makes it a very sturdy and durable one.
Flexiride offers a five-year warranty on all the components of the trailer axle which is much better than what most other competitor brands offer.
-Proprietary design with a bonded rubber shaft
-The shear operation for better stability and less sway
-Nylon bushing for better damping control
-One piece forged spindle arm that connects to the cartridge
-5-year warranty on all components
Verdict: If you are looking for a torsion axle, then this is hands down the best one that you can buy. It is designed for efficient and long-term performance and you have a five-year warranty that secures you against component damage. Does not even warrant a second thought.