5th Wheel Axle Upgrades: Can I Upgrade Axles In My 5th Wheel?

If there is a cheaper part available, you can bet that the different RV manufacturers will choose that part over a better-quality one. You may get a smooth ride with the stock axles but once you hit a pothole, it may be a different story as you face a high repair bill

Yes, you can upgrade your 5th wheel’s axles. There are lots of after-market companies that specialize in this type of work. They make some stronger axles that shouldn’t ruin your ride while they protect your trailer.

To learn more about upgrading your axles on your 5th wheel, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know so that you can make the right decision for your RV travels. It only takes a few moments to get this important information.

Can I Upgrade Axles in My 5th Wheel RV?


Yes, this is a very good possibility and project to take on. About the only aspect of your RV that would be affected would be your ride. Some people say that if you upgrade, you get a stiffer ride but that is not always the case.

It is also said, that if you buy the whole package from one dealer, you can get savings. That package includes axles, springs, bolt kit, rims, and tires. Savings could reach hundreds of dollars.

Sometimes, if you hit a pothole or had other issues with your axles, the damage done to your axles will be covered by your warranty. This won’t be the case every time you have a problem but you can always ask.

Some owners have felt that the 3500-pound axle capacity is not strong enough to handle the rigors of the road. They bend far too easily and do not seem to handle the weight load of your 5th wheel.

These same owners have upgraded or are going to upgrade to 5200 or 6000-pound axles and leaf springs. It may raise the trailer a little bit but some owners are comfortable with that difference.

5th Wheel Axle Upgrades


While this can be done, there are some drawbacks that you have to consider before making the decision. For example, if you are moving from a 6,000 to an 8,000-pound axle, not only are you faced with a stiffer ride but you may have trouble with the drum size.

The larger drum needed for the 8,000-pound axle makes it more difficult to get the right clearance. Because the larger drum, moves the wheels out, not up, an additional 1 1/2 inches, the tires were rubbing against the fender.

These are issues that you have to look at before you make your purchase. Since any good axle shop can make the upgrade, you can ask them your tough questions and get all the facts before you make the move.

Some owners experienced their trailer being raised, not going out, and they did not see or feel any significant change in their ride or handling. That is the advantage of doing this upgrade, you have many shops available throughout the nation who can do the work and advise you on the best course of action.

What Happens if You Overload Trailer Axles?


You are taking a big risk when you go over the official weight capacities listed in your owner’s manual for your trailer as well as for your tow vehicle. You are not going to be safe even though some people may have reported that they had no issues.

There are always risks involved whether they take place or not. For example, an overloaded trailer can damage or bend axles. This is not a cheap repair, especially when you are out in the middle of nowhere when it takes place.

Another risk that may arise will be tire blowouts. Not a good thing when you are traveling at 65 mph on a crowded highway. Then you may overwhelm or overpower the tow vehicle.

If it can’t do its job, then you are not going to make it up or down those mountain slopes without having a lot of trouble. Finally, you may cause frame damage. This will take place at the welds. While welds are strong, they only hold so much weight.

This too may be a costly repair, one you could easily avoid if you stayed below the weight capacity of your tow vehicle and axles. It is best to buy some items while you are on the road and stationary than to pack everything all at once and take these risks.

Can You Put Heavier Axles on a Trailer?


Yes, this is possible as well. Some people do not always agree as they put a smooth ride over practicality. When you upgrade to a heavier axle, you will face some issues due to the different sizes of the axles.

Slight differences in weight may not make that much difference nor will it affect your smooth ride. One owner went from 6000 to 7000 pounds and did not see any real difference between the rides.

The axle was stronger and could handle rougher roads a lot better and that is a good thing as you do not have to worry about ending your axles when you hit a bump. It is also said that if you increase your axle weight capacity, you can get more cargo and equipment inside your trailer.

This you will have to play by ear as you have to watch the tongue weight as well. Going over that 10% rule of thumb can cause issues for your tow vehicle’s axles and you need to be careful not to exceed any weight limits.

The best thing to do before you buy is talk to the experts. They can look at your specific make and model of the trailer and let you know all the facts about that trailer and your tow vehicle.

What will work for one may not work for the other and it is always good to get expert advice before making the leap.

Can You Make a Trailer Axle Wider?


It is possible to do this and some were successful at moving to a model that was 1/2 inch wider than was stock on the trailer. A small difference in width should not create any negative situations when you are traveling.

The best thing to do is to talk to a reputable axle shop that does this type of work all the time. One owner went wider on the axle but went smaller on the rims. You do have options and for your specific make and model of trailer, you need to get specific facts from the experts.

Sometimes this is okay to do and other times it may not be okay. it will depend on the design of your axles, wheel wells, and other factors. One of those factors will be drum size.

How Much Weight Can an Axle Hold?

This will depend on the rating of the axle. If it is rated for 2000 pounds, then that is the maximum amount of weight it can hold. If it is rated for 3500 pounds then it can hold that much weight.

If your 5th wheel is a dual axle then you just double those figures. 2 2000 pound axles can hold up to 4000 pounds and 2 3500 pound axles can handle up to 7000 pounds. The higher you go the more weight you can haul.

But be careful, just because you upgrade the axles does it mean that your tow vehicle can handle the extra weight. You should not go over that GVWR of your tow vehicle even though you have upgraded your axles.

This is something you need to talk to the axle experts about. You do not want to overload your tow vehicle either as that can harm its axles or motor. Make sure you distribute the weight in your trailer well. You do not want to overload one end or the other end as that packing can cause you some harm as well.

A rule of thumb is to pack your trailer and vehicle to within 80% of your GVWR. That way you know you will have a better traveling experience

Some Final Words

Upgrading your trailer’s axle is a good idea. The stronger, heavier component will help protect your trailer and prevent some damage from taking place when you hit little or large bumps.

The key is to make sure you do not overload your 5th wheel when you upgrade the axles. Be careful and make sure to stay within your weight limits. That way you can avoid other risks that may cause a lot of problems for you when you are on the highway.

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