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1983 Toyota Mirage-Rear Axle Replacement


KaneM
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So I've been trying to buy a van for a 6+ month road trip next year and came across a 1983 Mirage camper. It runs and appears to be in decent shape, but it has the 5 lug rear axle. Were these axles okay in the mirage since they're on the smaller side, or would I be taking a massive risk not replacing it? And speaking of replacing it, if I could find a solid replacement axle, is it something that someone with very little mechanical experience could do if they had access to an automotive garage + lift?...If not, about how much would I expect to pay for the replacement? I really love the look and style of this, but im not sure if it's worth the trouble now...They're asking $5,500 for it which seems like a steal. 

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 Those are generally OK without the full floating rear end. The issue is in finding one if you did decide to swap out. It's a fairly easy job IF you can locate a rear end but as I said, I would run one of those with the rear it came with. 

 

 It's a really cool little RV.

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Sorry John but your dead wrong. Those can break too. There used to be a long story on the internet about the axle failure in a 1985 Mirage and the troubles he went to to fix it. We have also seen 18 ft Sunraders axles fail and they are about the same size. Finding the axle can be difficult. Expect to pay about a thousand plus you need at least 4 dually wheels to fit that axle. Just the wheels can cost a hundred each. 

As far as fixing it with limited mechanical experience, it's a very big job. You'll need new shock mounts welded on plus a bunch of other stuff. 

What you can do is run it with single wheels in the back. Buy bigger tires to handle the weight

Federal Ecovan ER02 205R14C D/8PR BSW Tires (tires-easy.com)

You should also have your existing axle serviced and bearings replaced. 

For stability you might need a sway bar too. Plenty available for Toyota's

Linda S

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21 minutes ago, john*thomas said:

 Those are generally OK without the full floating rear end. The issue is in finding one if you did decide to swap out. It's a fairly easy job IF you can locate a rear end but as I said, I would run one of those with the rear it came with. 

 

 It's a really cool little RV.

Negative..... The only time 5 lug axles are OK is if they’re running single rear wheels (from the factory). Any Toyota motorhome with duel rear wheels and 5 lug axles will need to be upgraded to a ff axle.

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More tire options

These are the best tires available in my opinion, not cheap

4 Tires Maxxis Bravo UE-168 205R14 Load D 8 Ply Commercial | eBay

These are the cheapest but OK tires

4 New Nankang Cw-25 - 205/r14 Tires 20514 205 1 14 | eBay

When you consider the money your saving by not doing the axle I would buy the best but both are from huge tire retailers

Just selling on ebay

Linda S

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18 minutes ago, linda s said:

More tire options

These are the best tires available in my opinion, not cheap

4 Tires Maxxis Bravo UE-168 205R14 Load D 8 Ply Commercial | eBay

These are the cheapest but OK tires

4 New Nankang Cw-25 - 205/r14 Tires 20514 205 1 14 | eBay

When you consider the money your saving by not doing the axle I would buy the best but both are from huge tire retailers

Just selling on ebay

Linda S

Hm, that would be much better than replacing the axle...but any idea how risky that is? Is it something commonly done by folks on here? Thank you for all your help btw. 

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Although Linda and myself are usually in agreement on most things, I’m not sure that switching to single wheels at this point in time is any safer. Yes, it will remove the immediate stress caused by the fake duel wheels but do nothing to address the metal fatigue caused during the last 30+ years on the axle shafts themselves. It will be better than the duels but don’t get a false sense of security. I still advocate to upgrade the axle itself.

Edited by fred heath
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Yes your rig has axle wear. That's why I said you need a full service on it with new bearings. As far as safety when driving on single wheels that set up was used all over the world on RV's with no problem. Dually wheel set up was only made for the US because our manufacturers made the motorhomes huge. Yours is not huge. Single will work just fine. 

Linda S

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2 hours ago, linda s said:

Sorry John but your dead wrong. Those can break too. There used to be a long story on the internet about the axle failure in a 1985 Mirage and the troubles he went to to fix it. We have also seen 18 ft Sunraders axles fail and they are about the same size. Finding the axle can be difficult. Expect to pay about a thousand plus you need at least 4 dually wheels to fit that axle. Just the wheels can cost a hundred each. 

As far as fixing it with limited mechanical experience, it's a very big job. You'll need new shock mounts welded on plus a bunch of other stuff. 

What you can do is run it with single wheels in the back. Buy bigger tires to handle the weight

Federal Ecovan ER02 205R14C D/8PR BSW Tires (tires-easy.com)

You should also have your existing axle serviced and bearings replaced. 

For stability you might need a sway bar too. Plenty available for Toyota's

Linda S

 

 With your reply you are still running the factory axle. With none of us originally aware of what the unit was running, that would be a swap of wheels. 

 

 I suppose I should have been more indepth but I would run that axle all day. Any axle that old should be serviced also if it never has been.

 

 To add, those are really cool little units and I would buy it and do whatever made me feel the most comfortable. There are many regular style campers to be found already upgraded so in that case I would hesitate. They are even cooler with the wide rear wheels. 

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AFAIK new replacement axles are no longer available. A wrecking yard rear axle would be almost as a big of a crap shoot as what you have.

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Lets just be very clear about this. His 83 Mirage would have come from the factory with fake duallies installed. Not the Toyota factory, the manufacturers factory. The manufacturers were ordered to replace those axles in a recall in about 1990. Many of these motorhome companies had gone out of business by then so the owners had no where to go and many were not notified. 5 lug duallies are an absolute NO. John there weren't enough Nissan motorhomes before 1984, when Nissan came out with the true dually, to instigate a recall but those early Nissan's failed too. 

It's the dually that is the problem. It puts offset weight on the bearings causing them to fail. Switching to single wheels is the cheapest and easiest option for small lightweight rigs like a Mirage. 

Linda S

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  • 1 month later...

So linda, you're saying that it's ok to drive with single tires on the existing rear axle? Apologies for my novice, but would the dually tire setup look totally strange with 2 tires instead of four? or is it possible to remove the bolts on the false-dually and just run on 2 tires?

thanks in advance

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2 hours ago, iona said:

So linda, you're saying that it's ok to drive with single tires on the existing rear axle? Apologies for my novice, but would the dually tire setup look totally strange with 2 tires instead of four? or is it possible to remove the bolts on the false-dually and just run on 2 tires?

thanks in advance

Weight over the rear axle will determine if you can run singles. Rule of thumb is 4K pounds or less over rear half of the motorhome. More than that you’ll have to stay with duels.

switching to singles in the rear will reduce the track width of the rear axle. Only you can decide if you like the look.

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Yes it can run with only 2 wheels in the back but I don't recommend cheaping out on it. Full axle service is a must and some wider tires like the ones I posted above would be a good idea. Toyota wheels are readily available at any junk yard but new ones aren't all that expensive. It will look fine and be far safer than what you have. You might also want to install a sway bar for stability but wait until you do the tires and wheels and see how it feels. Your rig is pretty light. Smaller than my Sunrader and no full bath I'm guessing 4500lbs max unloaded. All of this will cost way less than a full float upgrade

Linda S

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