Starcraft Meteorite Suspension Upgrade

When I decided to remodel the interior of our camper, one large problem loomed – GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The camper could not handle any additional weight and any improvement would push it over its GVWR of 1,180 lbs. A little investigation and crawling on my back led to the following discoveries:

  • The axle had a capacity of 2,000 lbs.
  • Each tire had a max load capacity of 590 lbs

So my limiting factor was the tires. 590 X 2 = 1,180 lbs. So… just put on bigger tires that could handle at least 2,000 lbs. Pretty simple. But the bad news was that a larger tire would not fit into the wheel well. Hmm. So what if I raised the trailer a few inches for more clearance above the axle? That would work. However, the axle was not a leaf-spring type axe, which would be easy to do. The trailer had a torsion axle, which meant no springs. With a leaf-spring one would simply move the spring to the top of the axle, instead of the normal configuration of under the axle.

After some measuring and brain storming, I decided I could unbolt the axle-to-frame mount and insert a large metal plate. But that would entail some cutting and welding of heavy steel, which I was not equipped to do. So I made some measurements, removed the axle assembly and drove down to a local welding shop to see if they could fabricate some plates… “no problemo,”  they said.

I would also need to buy larger tires and wheels and new hubs to mount the wheels. Additionally I would now need a step to get into the trailer, longer stabilizer jacks, and a new trailer hitch. So while the welding shop was making the plates I drove to Arrow Trailer Supply in Colton, CA to purchase the rest of the parts.

A couple days later my plates were finished. All I would have to do is bolt each plate to the trainer frame and then bolt the axle to the plate. When I was done, the trailer frame was now 4” higher than before.

 

 

 

Old hub on the ground. New hub on the axle.

 

 

Old tire on the left is a 4.80 X 8. The new one is 5.30 X12. Also check out the cool white spoke wheel.

 

 

 Tightening wheel with a torque wrench.

New stabilizer jack.

 

We had to install a new double step.

Total cost was under $300.