Welcome to a new installment of Trailer Tech! This entry, we’re taking a look at the importance of cambered axles and how this can affect your lift/lowering endeavors.
Camber refers to the measurement of a vehicle’s wheels vertical alignment with the ground. The camber angle can have a profound impact on a vehicle’s handling, as well as the grip and overall lifespan of the tires. If the bottom of the wheel sticks out further then the top, this is called a “negative camber”. On the other hand, when the top of a wheel sticks out further than the bottom, this is a “positive camber”. Most trailer axles come with a slight arc in them by design, allowing them to compensate for any unwanted cambered angles while bearing the weight of the vehicle and keeping its wheels straight. These angled axles are also known as cambered axles (pictured below),
The axle pictured above is oriented correctly for both the lowering state (suspension pictured in front) and the lift state (suspension pictured in rear). With weight applied to the suspension, the arc in the axle straightens and the wheels stay straight. Consider that if a cambered axle such as the one pictured is rotated 180 degrees while retaining the current suspension orientation, it would cause a positive camber angle when the weight of the vehicle is applied. Positive camber angles are particularly unsafe as this position reduces the tire’s contact with the ground, reducing overall grip and increasing wear and tear.
If an axle is being transitioned from a lowering state to a lift state or vice-versa, spring seats opposite of each other are required so that the axle can remain in the same orientation.
Thanks for reading.