How Much Travel Does A Torsion Axle Have? Explained
A torsion axle is a type of suspension system commonly used in trailers, RVs, and other vehicles. The system consists of a rubber torsion bar that is enclosed in a metal tube and attached to the frame of the vehicle at one end and the wheel hub at the other. When the vehicle moves, the torsion bar flexes and provides a smooth ride.
One of the key benefits of a torsion axle is its ability to provide a greater amount of travel than other types of suspension systems.
Travel refers to the distance that the suspension can compress and extend, which is important for maintaining stability and control on uneven terrain.
The amount of travel that a torsion axle has depends on a variety of factors, including the weight of the vehicle, the size of the torsion bar, and the angle of the bar relative to the ground.
Understanding how much travel a torsion axle has is important for anyone who owns or operates a vehicle with this type of suspension system.
What is a Torsion Axle?
A torsion axle is a type of suspension system that is commonly used on trailers, trucks, and other vehicles. It consists of a steel tube that is mounted to the frame of the vehicle, with a spindle attached to each end. Inside the tube, there are rubber cords that are wrapped around a central bar. When the vehicle is in motion, the rubber cords compress and expand, providing the suspension and ride quality.
How It Works
A torsion axle works by providing a smoother ride than traditional leaf spring or spring axle suspensions. The rubber cords inside the tube absorb the bumps and shocks of the road, providing a more comfortable ride for passengers and reducing the wear and tear on the vehicle.
Additionally, torsion axles are known for their independent suspension, which allows each wheel to move up and down independently of the others. This can improve handling and performance on rough terrain.
One of the key benefits of a torsion axle is the amount of travel it provides. Travel refers to the distance the suspension can compress and expand. Torsion axles typically have a greater amount of travel than leaf spring or spring axle suspensions, which can make them more suitable for off-road or rough terrain use.
Maintenance on a torsion axle is generally minimal, as there are no leaf springs or shocks to replace. However, it is important to ensure that the axle is properly lubricated and that the rubber cords are in good condition.
Torsion axles are available in a variety of sizes and weight capacities, making them suitable for a range of trailers and vehicles. They can be more expensive than leaf spring or spring axle suspensions, but are often considered worth the cost for the smoother ride and improved handling they provide. Dexter is a well-known brand in the torsion axle market.
In summary, a torsion axle is a type of suspension system that provides a smoother ride, greater amount of travel, and independent suspension. It is commonly used on trailers and trucks and is known for its low maintenance and improved handling.
Advantages of Torsion Axles
Torsion axles have become increasingly popular in the RV industry due to their numerous advantages over traditional leaf spring axles. Here are some of the key advantages of torsion axles:
Smooth Ride Quality
Torsion axles provide a smoother ride quality compared to leaf spring axles. This is because the rubber cords inside the axle tube act as a shock absorber, damping the bumps and vibrations on the road. The result is a more comfortable and stable ride for passengers and cargo.
Improved Handling and Stability
Torsion axles offer better handling and stability compared to leaf spring axles. This is because the equalizer between the two rubber cords ensures that weight is distributed evenly across the axle, reducing sag and bottoming out. This results in improved stability and better control of the trailer, especially on rough roads.
Reduced Maintenance and Wear and Tear
Torsion axles require less maintenance compared to leaf spring axles. This is because there are no moving parts or bushings to wear out, reducing the need for lubrication and replacement. Additionally, the rubber cords are less prone to cracks and corrosion, increasing the durability of the axle.
- Torsion axles are lighter and have a lower profile compared to leaf spring axles, making them more suitable for off-road vehicles and reducing wind drag.
- Torsion axles are more expensive compared to leaf spring axles, but they offer a stronger and more durable suspension system.
- Torsion axles have a consistent ride height, reducing the need to jack up the trailer to change a tire or perform maintenance.
- Torsion axles do not require equalizers or shock absorbers, reducing the risk of bump steer and improving damping.
Overall, torsion axles provide a smoother ride quality, improved handling and stability, and reduced maintenance and wear and tear compared to leaf spring axles. This makes them a popular choice for RV manufacturers and owners alike.
Disadvantages of Torsion Axles
Torsion axles have their advantages, but they also have some drawbacks that should be considered before purchasing one. Below are some of the disadvantages of torsion axles.
One of the main disadvantages of torsion axles is their cost. They are generally more expensive than leaf spring axles, which can be a deterrent for those on a tight budget. Additionally, if the torsion axle needs to be replaced, it can be costly to do so.
Limited Amount of Travel
Torsion axles have a limited amount of travel compared to leaf spring axles. This can be a problem for those who need a lot of clearance for off-roading or other activities. Additionally, if the torsion axle is overloaded, it can cause the suspension to bottom out, which can be dangerous.
Torsion axles are more difficult to service than leaf spring axles. They require special tools and knowledge to work on, which can make repairs more expensive. Additionally, if the torsion cartridge needs to be replaced, it can be a complicated process.
Warranty and Customer Support
Warranty and customer support for torsion axles can be a concern for some customers. Some manufacturers have limited warranties, and it can be difficult to find replacement parts or cartridges if needed. Additionally, customer support can vary between manufacturers, which can be frustrating for those who need assistance.
Overall, while torsion axles have their advantages, they may not be the best choice for everyone. Customers should consider their needs, budget, and other factors before deciding on a suspension system.
Torsion Axles vs. Leaf Spring Axles
When it comes to choosing the right suspension system for your trailer, there are two main options to consider: torsion axles and leaf spring axles. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. In this section, we will compare and contrast the two types of axles in terms of ride quality, weight capacity, durability, and ground clearance.
One of the primary benefits of torsion axles is their superior ride quality. Unlike leaf spring axles, which rely on metal springs to absorb bumps and shocks, torsion axles use rubber cords to provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. This means that torsion axles are less likely to transfer vibrations and jolts to the trailer and its contents, resulting in less wear and tear on your cargo and a more pleasant towing experience overall.
When it comes to weight capacity, leaf spring axles have the edge. They are generally able to handle heavier loads than torsion axles, making them a better choice for larger trailers and heavier cargo. However, it is important to note that torsion axles can still support a significant amount of weight and are often more than sufficient for smaller trailers and lighter loads.
Both torsion and leaf spring axles are designed to be durable and long-lasting. However, torsion axles are generally considered to be more durable in the long run. This is because they have fewer moving parts than leaf spring axles, which means there is less potential for things to break or wear out over time. Additionally, torsion axles are less prone to bottoming out, which can cause damage to the axle and suspension system.
Finally, when it comes to ground clearance, torsion axles have the advantage. Because they sit higher than leaf spring axles, they provide more clearance between the trailer and the ground. This can be especially important if you plan to take your trailer off-road or on rough terrain, as it can help prevent damage to the underside of the trailer.
Overall, both torsion axles and leaf spring axles have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences, as well as the type of trailer you are towing and the conditions you will be towing it in.
Torsion axles provide consistent handling over a wide weight range
Torsion axles have a major advantage in providing consistent handling over a wide weight range.
Unlike leaf spring axles, a torsion axle offers a smooth ride even when partially loaded. The suspension system allows each wheel to move independently, resulting in less bump steer and better tracking.
This feature is especially beneficial when traveling on rough or uneven roads.
Torsion axles also offer superior ground clearance and a lower ride height, making them a popular choice for small to medium-weight trailers.
They dampen vibration and shock, potentially increasing the lifespan of the RV. Airstream switched to a rubber torsion principle in 1961, and many RV manufacturers such as Boler, use torsion springs and axles in their models.
It is important to note that jacking up or lifting the trailer by the axle can cause damage and replacement may be necessary after years of use. 
Independent suspension improves stability and tracking
Independent suspension, such as that provided by torsion axles, improves stability and tracking when towing a trailer. With independent suspension, each wheel is able to move independently of the others.
This means that if one wheel hits a bump or dips into a pothole, the opposite wheel doesn’t necessarily have to follow suit. Instead, it can remain stable, reducing the likelihood of swaying or jackknifing.
Additionally, independent suspension can help to absorb shocks and vibrations, resulting in a smoother overall ride with less wear and tear on the trailer.
When towing off-road or on rough terrain, independent suspension can prove especially valuable as it helps to reduce the likelihood of bump steer and other handling issues.
Overall, independent trailer suspension can greatly improve the towing experience and make it safer for both the driver and other vehicles on the road. 
Advantages of torsion axles over leaf spring axles
Torsion axles have several advantages over leaf spring axles. One of the most significant advantages is that torsion axles provide a smoother ride with better dampening of vibrations and shocks.
This is because the rubber cords that make up the torsion axles compress and release as the wheels move, absorbing bumps and uneven terrain.
Additionally, torsion axles offer more wheel travel than leaf spring axles, which means the wheels have more room to move up and down, resulting in better ground clearance and a lower ride height.
Torsion axles are also low-maintenance and more resistant to corrosion, as they have fewer metal-on-metal contact points than leaf spring axles.
Overall, these advantages make torsion axles a popular choice for trailer and RV manufacturers looking to provide a smoother, more dependable ride for their customers. 
Leaf springs provide a smooth ride in a narrow weight range
Leaf springs are a common suspension system found on many trailers and RVs, and they do offer a smooth ride – but only within a limited weight range.
When the weight on a leaf spring axle is too light, the ride can become stiff and uncomfortable.
This is because the leaves of the spring do not compress enough to rebound properly. Torsion axles, on the other hand, provide a smoother ride throughout a wider weight range. Even when partially loaded, a torsion axle rear part still performs well and absorbs shock and vibration effectively.
While leaf springs may work well on larger RVs, smaller trailers often benefit from the consistency and stability provided by torsion axles.
Ultimately, the choice between leaf spring and torsion axle will depend on the weight and size of your RV and your personal preferences. 
Torsion axles dampen vibration and shock
Torsion axles are known for their ability to dampen vibration and shock, resulting in a smoother ride.
The unique design of the torsion bar front axles allows them to absorb shock and transfer it across the axle, rather than directly to the trailer frame.
This is because each axle is made up of a bar that is surrounded by rubber cords, which compress and release in response to bumps and uneven terrain.
This results in less stress and wear on the trailer and its contents.
Torsion axles are commonly used in trailers and RVs because of their superior ride quality and durability. Their ability to provide more travel than leaf spring axles is another reason why they are preferred by many manufacturers. Overall, torsion axles offer a more comfortable and stable ride for both the vehicle and its passengers. 
Torsion axles offer more travel than leaf spring axles
Torsion axles have become an increasingly popular option for trailers and RVs due to their many advantages over leaf spring axles. One of the biggest benefits is that torsion axles offer more travel than leaf spring axles.
This means that the rubber cords inside the axle housing can compress more, resulting in a smoother ride and better shock absorption on bumpy or uneven terrain.
In addition, torsion axles have a lower ride height and superior ground clearance, which can make them a better choice horse trailers used for off-road adventures.
While torsion axles may not be as easily repairable as leaf spring axles, they require very little maintenance beyond standard wheel bearing upkeep.
Overall, the improved ride quality and performance make torsion axles a great option for those seeking a reliable and durable suspension system for their trailer or RV. 
What’s the Big Deal About Torsion Axles On an RV?
Torsion axles on RVs provide a smooth ride throughout a wide weight range, unlike leaf spring axles that can get bumpy with lighter loads.
They also allow each wheel to move independently, improving side-to-side stability on uneven roads. Independent suspension is particularly helpful when towing on potholed paths or easy 4WD roads.
Airstream Travel Trailers have used a unique independent suspension system since 1961, switching from leaf spring to a rubber torsion principle.
Each wheel is completely independent, providing excellent road-handling characteristics and minimizing road noise.
The rubber compound used in the torsion axle design is effective at absorbing road shock and requires little maintenance or service. When coupled with horizontal type shock absorbers, Airstream trailers achieve a ride without equal.
However, it’s important to keep wheel bearings in the tire, wheel, hub, and drum assembly balanced to prevent damage and excessive wear. Overall, the torsion axle is a great suspension system for RVs, providing a comfortable ride and stable towing experience on uneven roads. 
In 1961 Airstream switched its suspension system from leaf spring to a rubber torsion principle
Back in 1961, Airstream made a big change to replace their suspension system. They switched from the traditional leaf spring setup to one that used rubber torsion.
This switch really paid off as the natural cushioning of the synthetic and natural rubber cords led to unparalleled performance when compared to other suspension systems.
The Torsion arm axle design worked well with Airstream trailers for many years.
Each wheel is independent, providing excellent road handling. Plus, this axle is extremely quiet as the rubber cords absorb all road noise.
No maintenance or servicing is required, and the installation is simple. The rubber rods that provide four cushion bearings each are able to absorb road shock thanks to their progressive compression in a rotating action. With this setup, the tires, wheels, hub, and drums must be balanced as an assembly. This switch to rubber torsion proved to be one of the strengths of Airstream trailers and is still used today. 
Independent suspension is a type of suspension system that allows each wheel on a vehicle to move independently of the others.
This means that when one wheel hits a bump in the road, only that wheel is affected, instead of the entire vehicle. Torsion axles are a type of independent suspension commonly used on smaller trailers and RVs.
They use a system of rubber cords and a torsion arm to provide excellent shock absorption and a smooth ride, regardless of the weight of the load.
Along with better handling and tracking on uneven roads, torsion axles also offer superior ground clearance and a lower ride height than independent wheel suspension. Independent suspension is a reliable and proven technology that has been subject to tough quality standards, making it a popular choice among RV manufacturers. 
Lower Ride Height
A torsion axle has several advantages over a traditional leaf spring axle. One of these is a lower ride height. This means that the trailer is closer to the ground, which can make it easier to load and unload.
It also improves stability and reduces wind resistance. Torsion axles are designed to provide a smooth ride even when the load is partial, unlike leaf spring axles which can become stiff and bumpy with a light load.
The suspension is integrated into the axle, which means there are fewer moving parts to maintain.
This can save you time and money on repairs. Lower ride height also means a lower center of gravity, which can reduce the risk of rollovers and make the trailer easier to tow. Overall, the torsion axle is a great choice for those looking for a reliable and efficient suspension system for their trailer. 
Superior Ground Clearance
Torsion axles offer many advantages over traditional sprung axles, one of which is superior ground clearance.
Unlike sprung axles, torsion axles are mounted higher up on the frame, creating more space between the bottom of the trailer and the ground.
This more ground clearance not only reduces the risk of damage when travelling on rough terrain, but also allows for easier navigation over speed bumps, curbs, and other obstacles.
Additionally, because torsion axles are mounted independently of one another, the clearance is consistently maintained even when cornering or travelling on uneven surfaces. Overall, the increased ground clearance provided by torsion axles makes them an excellent choice for smaller trailers and RVs that require reliable, smooth handling over a variety of road conditions. 
Axle Arm Start Angle
The start angle of an axle arm refers to its initial position when no load is applied. For torsion axle systems, this angle can vary depending on the manufacturer and model of the RV.
Airstream, for example, sets the start angle of their Torsion arm axle to a positive 20 to 25 degree angle.
As the load on the RV increases, the angle can approach zero degrees or even become negative.
It’s important to note that a slight up angle or a zero degree angle at the start will maximize the suspension geometry and provide a smoother ride.
This is because when the arm is positioned at zero angle upward and pushed down the road, the impact or compression of the suspension arms follows the direction of travel. However, if the suspension arms are positioned at a down angle, any compression actually forces the wheel forward against the direction of travel, resulting in a harsher ride. 
Along with the advantage of being proven over time, and subject to tough quality standards, an improvement was made in the rods beginning with Airstreams 1974 models
Torsion axles have been used in the RV industry for several decades, and their reliability has been proven over time.
They are subject to tough quality standards and are built to withstand all kinds of weather and conditions. Airstream, a popular RV manufacturer, started using torsion axles in their trailers in 1974. An improvement was made in their rods beginning with this model year.
This change increased the ride height ford front of the trailer which in turn allowed for increased clearance between the trailer and the ground.
This improvement allowed for smoother rides on rougher terrain and added durability to the axle. Torsion axles have since become a popular choice for many RV manufacturers because of their reliability and durability. They are an essential part of any RV, especially for those who plan on traveling long distances or on rough terrain.
Which RV Manufacturers Use Torsion Axles?
Many RV manufacturers use torsion axles on their trailers. One of the most well-known is Airstream, which has been using a rubber torsion axle suspension system since 1961.
Other manufacturers who use torsion axles include Bigfoot RV, Casita, Scamp, and Oliver. These axles are often used in smaller trailers, as they provide a smooth ride throughout a wide weight range and allow each wheel to move independently.
While torsion axles may cost more upfront, they often require less maintenance and can provide better handling and shock absorption than traditional leaf spring axles.
Overall, the choice between torsion axles and leaf spring axles may depend on the individual needs and preferences of the RV owner. 
How Much Space Should a Torsion Axle Have for Bump Clearance?
When it comes to torsion axles, it’s important to make sure there’s enough space for bump clearance.
This is the distance between the bottom of trailing arm of the trailer frame and the top of the axle tube when the trailer is loaded and in use. Experts recommend at least three inches of bump clearance to prevent damage to the axle and suspension system.
If there isn’t enough clearance, the arm of the torsion axle can bottom out, causing undue stress on the system and potentially leading to failure or damage.
To check your bump clearance, park your loaded trailer on a level surface and measure the distance between the frame and axle tube at the point where the arm attaches to the tube. If you don’t have enough clearance, you may need to adjust the height of your trailer or consider replacing your axle with one that has a higher start angle.