How to Determine if a Trailer Axle is Out of Alignment or Suspension is Worn

Question:

I have had many opinions regarding this. My trailer started dogtracking last year and from a thorough inspection I have found nothing is out of measurement. The leaf spring bushings are in very bad shape and will have to be replaced. Will bad leaf spring bushings cause a trailer to dogtrack or is this a symptom of a bent axle. Opinions seems to differ widely on this

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Expert Reply:

It is unlikely that worn bushing would cause poor tracking or sway unless something else was also worn. Look for any egg-shaped holes in the hangers, spring, equalizers and any other suspension component. This would be an indication of excessive wear and replacing the worn parts would likely help.

If you were to measure from a single point on the trailer coupler to the center of the the axle on one side, then do the same thing on the other side, the measurements should be nearly identical. If they are not that is another indication of worn suspension though it could be a bent axle.

A bent axle, depending on where it is bent, should be a concern. A round axle will have a bow in pointing up at the center. If the tires are toed out at the bottom with no load on the trailer, that is another indication that something could be bent whether it is the axle or the spindle.

It is also possible the frame of the trailer is bent if it had been struck or overloaded enough. You may want to bring it to a shop that works on trailers or an RV dealer with a service department if you cannot find anything wrong yourself.

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Michael H

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