We had the 2000 Ford F250 before we bought the trailer, and the trailer wasn’t even in our minds yet. The truck came with an 8″ lift on 37″ tires. It rides pretty high, and the standard height of a fifth wheel trailer would not suffice. Without a trailer lift, the RV would still clear the truck bed rails easily, but the trailer angled down from front to back. This places more weight on the rear axle of the 5’er, and this is not acceptable.
We bought the RV at PPL Motorhomes in Cleburne Texas, and would be immediately towing it to Utah, so a fix had to be done right away. Our 2011 Keystone Alpine is 12′ 6″ from the factory. With the 8″ lift we needed, it would sit at 13′ 4″. I was comfortable with any number below 13′ 6″, which at or above that height, travel and low clearances become a lot more of a PITA. There are a few things that can be done to lift a trailer, and below you’ll see why we did what we did.
Option #1: Most of the time, the trailer’s suspension springs are on the bottom of the axles. For a very cheap cost, you can ‘flip’ the axle, placing the springs on top of the axle. This will lift the trailer around 3″-4″. On most larger trailers, this is already done from the factory. This was the case with ours, and it would not get us the 8″ lift we needed. Therefore, this was not an option for us. The next two pictures are not mine, they are just provided as an example of what I’m talking about.
Option #2: Add lifting blocks and use longer U-bolts. The springs sit right on top of the axle, and attach to it via U-bolts. You can buy lifting blocks which increase the distance between the springs and the axle, and then buy longer U-bolts to hold it all together. In my opinion, this is what I would call a poor man’s lift. I don’t mean that as an insult to anyone, it is just a saying passed down from my father. This lift is ok for smaller lifts, but not for an 8″ lift. I am not a rich man, but there is cheap and then there is right. This is not right for such a heavy trailer (14,000 lbs) in my opinion, so this was also not an option for us. The following picture is not mine, it is provided as an example.
Option #3: Here is what we ended up doing. We found a business that only worked on trailers. I wanted a subframe built under the trailer, and they knew exactly what I was talking about, and had done it many times before. My RV has 12″ I-beams, which is what the suspension, axles and wheels attach to. Here is what I wanted and they did a beautiful job. They cut off everything from the 12″ I-beams. Then, they built a rectangular box frame to fit under the I-beams. They used 2″ x 8″ steel with a 1/4″ wall. Once this subframe was complete, they welded it up to the 12″ I-beams and then reattached the suspension, axles and wheels. Please excuse the bottom ugliness, as it is all cut out and exposed for other mods I am doing.
The result is a trailer frame that is stronger than the original, and gave us the 8″ lift we needed. Everything rides level now and we absolutely love it. It rides just fine in strong crosswinds, we have never felt any issues with the higher center of gravity. Boon docking is amazing, as the ground clearance is phenomenal.
There are so many negative people when this idea is brought up, so I wanted to share how we did it and how we feel about how it affected the rig and its towing.
Please leave any comments or questions below and I will respond if asked.