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Old 02-21-2021, 12:14 AM   #1
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Axles on conventional vs baja models

I did an around-town tow to practice with my new-to-me 174BH Baja. Due to the tall height the air resistance impacted fuel economy enough to leave me concerned.

So what I'm curious about is how the non-Baja models' axles are set up. The Baja appears to have an undermount straight axle. Is the non-Baja basically just a straight axle mounted above the leaf springs, or would it have a drop-axle to lower the trailer frame even further?


I ask because doing an axle-flip to mount the axle above the springs is not beyond me, but I'm hesitant to lower the trailer too significantly. If the non-baja models have drop axles then those would sit even lower than a straight axle that has been flipped, so that would tell me that even flipping the Baja axle would not put it as low as the conventional model.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:37 AM   #2
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Towing any trailer or 5th wheel will pull your mileage down, and I don't think what you're proposing will increase it much if any. Our truck drops from mid 20's mpg to around 10 or 11 mpg. It's the nature of the sport. The best we can hope for is a tail wind to make it better.

Keeping tire pressures up, and speed down will help. Hills and mountains will make it much worse. We keep our highway speed to 60 to 62 mph (in a 65 mph zone), to get the best mileage with our truck.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:01 AM   #3
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Old skool 7.3 powerstroke, the difference between 65 mph and 75 mph comes out to be a 5 mpg difference.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:56 AM   #4
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I guess one of these days I'll have to redo my test with better mileage tracking. I've seen a project where a guy replaced his 21 gallon Frontier fuel tank with a 28 gallon Titan fuel tank, he had to move a frame crossmember in the process but it was otherwise reasonably straightforward and got him ~500 miles on a tank for just regular mixed driving.

I'm still admittedly curious about the axles though, just to know how they built 'em. Somewhere I'd seen a post where a guy's new-to-him old travel trailer ended up having a 4" drop axle that had been installed upside down, it was crazy tall and sounded unstable, but it made me wonder if one could take a 2" drop axle, mount it above the springs and upside down possibly reworking the perches, then using larger diameter wheels and tires could achieve more axle clearance underneath along with better performance off-pavement while essentially centering the spindles in-line with the leafsprings. any issues with axle-wrap from the 2" drops might well be negated by having the spindles in-line with the leafpacks rather than significantly above or below them.


But this is all just a thought-experiment at this point. I'm more likely to try to modify the black/gray tanks drain point for better ground clearance before doing anything as significant as suspension changes.
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Old 02-21-2021, 10:33 AM   #5
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What do you mean by an "around town tow"? The mileage in town suffers terribly. Once you hit the highway, it's still bad, but better than in town.

I doubt lowering your RV 4" is going to make any difference.
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Old 02-21-2021, 10:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
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What do you mean by an "around town tow"? The mileage in town suffers terribly. Once you hit the highway, it's still bad, but better than in town.

I doubt lowering your RV 4" is going to make any difference.

Forty miles on the freeway, around ten miles on small neighborhood streets. Roughly the same route up and back, so the slight uphill on the way was offset by the slight downhill on the way back.


I am also admittedly thinking about how wind can affect a travel trailer. I speculate about a lot of things though.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:21 AM   #7
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Better not to think much as it can turn out to be an expensive hobby.
The change you try to accomplish wouldn't make any difference. Therefore concentrate on enjoying your RV and keep it well maintained.
(90% of our dreams go down the drain, only 10% get accomplished)
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:28 PM   #8
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I have the 174BH, and I wish it was the Baja. I've had the rear bumper drag on the ground twice at 2 different camp sites. I've also had to get my WHD hitch a new a extended drop when I got my F150 to make the trailer ride level.
My axle is a straight type, BTW. I may someday flip my axle to raise the trailer for more ground clearance.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:45 PM   #9
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how do you know your mileage after only a 50 mile tow?
If your using the vehicle computer - I have never had one of those which was accurate to
within a few to several miles per gallon with the actual measured mileage.
I also don't trust anything less then several consecutive fuel fill-ups averaged together.
On a partial tank fill, it doesn't take much difference on fill level to make a bigger difference than you may think.
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:45 PM   #10
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on my 184 bs the axles are the same as the baja just mounting location is different. Top vs bottom mount.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:02 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jeffmcpa View Post
how do you know your mileage after only a 50 mile tow?
If your using the vehicle computer - I have never had one of those which was accurate to
within a few to several miles per gallon with the actual measured mileage.
I also don't trust anything less then several consecutive fuel fill-ups averaged together.
On a partial tank fill, it doesn't take much difference on fill level to make a bigger difference than you may think.

We actually did a proper test with the Nissan Frontier today, drove 95 miles, around 40 uncongested freeway, 40 suburban main roads, 10 small neighborhood streets, with three major stops. Averaged basically 10 miles per gallon. This was with 30 gallons of water in the fresh tank, a mostly full load of propane, and 10 gallons of gas in two jerry cans in the bed of the truck.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by oeastham View Post
I have the 174BH, and I wish it was the Baja. I've had the rear bumper drag on the ground twice at 2 different camp sites. I've also had to get my WHD hitch a new a extended drop when I got my F150 to make the trailer ride level.
My axle is a straight type, BTW. I may someday flip my axle to raise the trailer for more ground clearance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrman View Post
on my 184 bs the axles are the same as the baja just mounting location is different. Top vs bottom mount.



@oeastham, sounds like you have a ready solution assuming a four-bolt flange for the brake, which as far as I know has symmetrical bolt holes. Only major hassle is you'll either have to pull the leafsprings completely before rotating the axle, or you'll have to disconnect the wiring so you can drag it back off the leafsprings where you've disconnected them from the shackles.


Then once axle is flipped, flip the brakes to put them the right way up.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:35 PM   #13
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The biggest difference you will feel is top heaviness and fuel mileage loss because of more air drag. As the load gets higher it has more leverage on the springs.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:05 AM   #14
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I don't think any one has asked about the elephant in the room...A Jayco Baja edition is often the more expensive version of the single axle jayco trailers.
You live in AZ with acres and acres of dirt road dispersed camping in the desert.
Why would you purchase a Baja Version only to change the axle/spring position to a ground dragging version that limits your use of the recently purchased TT???
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Old 03-08-2021, 05:38 AM   #15
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I don't think any one has asked about the elephant in the room...A Jayco Baja edition is often the more expensive version of the single axle jayco trailers.
You live in AZ with acres and acres of dirt road dispersed camping in the desert.
Why would you purchase a Baja Version only to change the axle/spring position to a ground dragging version that limits your use of the recently purchased TT???
Because one of the first big uses we have planned is a 6000 mile road trip to take my octogenarian mother in law home to pay respects to her fairly recently deceased husband's ashes. It'll be an over the road trip that is expected to remain on paved roads the whole time. We have to drive to New England, so every bit of extra stability and reduced drag is helpful.

If just an axle-flip and then flipping the brakes back over along with short bumpstops is all it takes to lower it down to conventional height, I can do that in a few hours myself once I figure out how to safely lift the trailer by its frame. I am admittedly concerned about the black/grey drains, even on the Baja they hang lower than I wish they did, but given the issues I found when I went through the TT on Saturday I may just see about any possible changes to those for added ground clearance anyway.

We'll see though. I averaged basically 10 miles per gallon on yesterday's test run. I'm going to modify the tow vehicle too, I'm going to install a larger fuel tank out of a Nissan Titan to hopefully up my range to closer to 300 miles while towing, but I expect that will be a fair bit of work as I'll have to move a truck frame crossmember and notch an under-bed crossmember to make it fit. By comparison flipping the axle would be a walk in the park!
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:51 AM   #16
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For several years we pulled our 145rb baja with an 09 Nissan Xterra. Basically it was the 4x4 SUV version of the Frontier. Gas mileage was in basically in the same range as yours. When using a V6 Nissan, the real issue is not the weight of the TT and contents, but rather the giant wall of sheet metal behind your tow vehicle. Also a Nissan Xterra or Frontier equipped with a 3.73 rear axle is helpful when towing.
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Old 03-08-2021, 11:02 AM   #17
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TWX: I'm not surprised that you're only getting 10 MPG with the Frontier. I have a company-issued Frontier that gets about that mileage when I tow an enclosed snowmobile trailer. Trailer is 8.5 feet wide by 12 feet long.
The Frontier is a great compact truck. I've put about 126,000 miles on it, with no problems at all. Just routine maintenance.
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:29 PM   #18
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3.73 gears are great for towing anything unless you already have a lower gear. If you talk to a real hot rod shop they are going to tell you the most bang for your buck is a lower gear change.4.11's are even better. I love how my grease ball drives. With 4.11 behind the 4.6 I feel like I am driving a Harley or Lightning. Don't sniffle about gas mileage this ain't exactly a cheap hobby to begin with. Are you going to bark from the porch are chase School Busses trying to bite their tires off?
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Old 03-08-2021, 05:19 PM   #19
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I average about 13-14mpg highway towing my 145rb with a 2019 Ranger XLT FX4 from Maryland to Yellowstone last year, The Ford Edge we had would get only 9-10 mpg with a V6. I took the Edge I for a oil change and window motor wire repair and came out with a New Ranger never looked back Might be time to trade the Nissan in for a Ranger. With the turbo you pass anything you want for the most part, hills are not a problem
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Old 03-10-2021, 01:06 PM   #20
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I have a regular 145RB, and I am planning on an axle flip, had I known there was a Baja edition, I would not have to do this. Most of my camping is in Provincial parks, and although quite nice the roads can be with pot holes and ruts. I was in a site that was on quite an angle last summer, lost my stabilizer and scraped the drain spouts. NOT fun.
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