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Gaining Ground Clearance: Flipping RV Axles

Perhaps you’ve felt that undeniable thud of your RV’s back end rolling off the curb as you pull out of the gas station parking lot. Maybe you’ve forgone a boondocking adventure because you were worried about damaging your RV’s underbelly driving down semi off-road conditions. While there might be more than one reason for being interested in gaining ground clearance on your RV, there is just one, simple solution: flipping your RV axles.

Making the “Flip”

The concept of flipping RV axles can be a bit deceiving because your axles don’t actually move, they remain in the same position. It is the components attached to the RV axles that actually do the “flipping.” So rather than adjusting the axle rod, you will more accurately be altering the springs so that they sit above the axle rather than below. Here are some benefits and disadvantages to making the flip:

Pros of Flipping RV Axles:

  • Raises your trailer height by up to 6”

  • Allows space for larger tires with higher load capacities

  • Reduces the chances of sustaining damage to your undercarriage

Cons of Flipping RV Axles:

  • Makes the unit more sensitive to cross winds

  • Effects the performance of your leveling jacks*

  • Alters the height of your entry steps

*You can fit your RV with new leveling jacks that are long enough to accommodate the increased height adjustment, or you can simply use pieces of lumber to make up the difference.

How To Flip Your RV Axles

While you can always leave the work to the professionals by taking your RV into an axle alignment shop or RV service center, it is possible to flip your axles all on your own. When doing the work yourself, remember to put safety first. Always have a partner assisting you just in case something goes awry. If you feel comfortable and confident enough to do the work yourself, follow these basic steps for flipping RV axles:

Step 1: Buy an over/under conversion kit from an online wholesaler or local parts supplier. If you do not have suitable jacks for raising your RV, rent them from a nearby equipment rental company.

Step 2: Position the jacks on solid ground under your RV’s chassis, making sure not to damage any wiring or lines. Raise your RV by at least 8” and add hardwood chocks for increased support.

Step 3: Disconnect the brake wires. Remove the shackle plate bolts from the equalizer before removing the U-bolts from the axles. Before removing the springs, label each one so that you can reinstall them in their original positions.

Step 4: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your kit for fitting the new spring perch, spring bushings, U-bolts, equalizer, and shackle plates. If your current parts show no signs of wear, it is not necessary that you replace them.

Step 5: Reconnect the brake wiring. You may need to do some soldering of the wires to accommodate more slack for the increased elevation. Check that the brakes are working properly by fitting the wheel onto the braking hub and having your partner activate the breakaway braking pin. If your wheels lock up instantaneously, your brakes are working.

Step 6: Remount the shock absorbers and refit the tires before carefully lowering the trailer. Then take it out for a test run so you can get acclimated to the slight change in how your RV handles the road. Adjust the torque settings as you see necessary.

Would you recommend flipping RV axles? Why or why not? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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