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Old 06-05-2006, 11:03 AM   #1
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Ferndale , Washington
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Axle issues

Okay, I have determined that the axle on my recently aquired '78 Argosy 6 Metre Minuet has lived life to the fullest and is in need of replacement. I have scanned all of the other posts on the Airstream site and this one and basically come away confused about the best path to choose for relacement.

Apparantly the guy who has the exclusive rights to sell OEM Henschen axles recommends that as the best way to go. Sounds reasonable. There is much discussion among many others that modifying a Dexter axle is the best way to go and consideribly cheaper too.

I have inquired with the local RV repair facility and was no necessarily convinced that they were experts in this field. What I have read in the other posts indicating that the Dexter way is cheaper did not seem to hold true with the local shop. They were indicating a cost in excess of $800 which is the cost of the OEM Henschen axle from Inland RV. I am not sure what shipping would add to this.

We are planning a big road trip next month and I basically want it done right. I believe I can do it myself if I go with a replacement Henschen axle as it appears to be an un-bolt the old and bolt up the new. I would probably go with the complete axle (hubs, brakes, etc.).

My question is this: Of those out there with the same model Argosy as mine, what choices have you made concerning axle replacement and after having made that choice, what has your experience been? i.e. happy as a clam at high tide with your choice? You rued the day you made the decision you did?

What axle rating did you run with? Original specifications? Uprated? I was hoping to find that there is a consensus I could go with as across the board on the Airstream forums for axles there seems to be nothing but controversy and a wide divergence of opinion.

Thank you in advance for the continued assistance.

Gergstuff
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Old 06-05-2006, 11:14 AM   #2
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I think there's a lot of different opinions because people do it a lot of different ways, and there's a lot of different specifics for different trailers. If you can do the work yourself, and Henschen can send you an axel ready to bolt up, go for it. I couldn't do that, and so I had to have it done locally, and that RV shop was comfortable putting on a Dexter. In the end it all cost about the same either way.
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Old 06-05-2006, 11:15 AM   #3
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Well we obviously have had lots of opinions and unfortunately I'm not sure whether you will ever reach a consensus here. At this point though, I don't believe we have gotten posts from anyone who has regrets with their choice of axle manuafacturer.

So rather than take this new thread down the same old tired road , what about folks who have done the job, post the bad or difficult side of the job. If you bought a Dexter for example, what would you do differently either on the installation or order itself? Same issue with the other brands of axles.

Maybe from this discussion you might learn the caveats and things that you can do on the front end, that will make your new axle purchase a wiser decision and with information that you can use that might be specific to a particular manufacturer. Let's use the school of hard knocks to make this thread informative.

OK???

Jack
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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Sorry, I did not mean to create any problems.

I think your plan is a good one, I was hoping to get opinions and experiences from other owners of the same trailer that I have ('78 Argosy 6 Metre Minuet) who have made the axle change so I could hopefully feel comfortable in making the correct decision on what to purchase.

Installation experiences good and bad would certainly be helpful too.

Thanks,

Gergstuff
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gergstuff
My question is this: Of those out there with the same model Argosy as mine, what choices have you made concerning axle replacement and after having made that choice, what has your experience been?
I doubt you will find a large population of people to draw on that:

a) have the same model Argosy as yours
b) have replaced their axles
c) are on this forum
d) have done it themselves
e) are going to reply in a timely matter so you can get yours ordered and replaced for a trip next month

That's a pretty narrow audience. I think there are multiple "right choices", you just need to pick one and go with it based on your opinions, research, convenience & billfold. My guess is very few (if any, vendors included) have done it both ways on the same trailer to have a true "which is better", first hand opinion...seems to me it's the same as the ol' Chevy vs Ford vs GM discussions. People are aligned to one over another for various reasons and rarely can you convince someone to change their mind...

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Old 06-05-2006, 12:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gergstuff
Okay, I have determined that the axle on my recently aquired '78 Argosy 6 Metre Minuet has lived life to the fullest and is in need of replacement. I have scanned all of the other posts on the Airstream site and this one and basically come away confused about the best path to choose for relacement.

Apparantly the guy who has the exclusive rights to sell OEM Henschen axles recommends that as the best way to go. Sounds reasonable. There is much discussion among many others that modifying a Dexter axle is the best way to go and consideribly cheaper too.

I have inquired with the local RV repair facility and was no necessarily convinced that they were experts in this field. What I have read in the other posts indicating that the Dexter way is cheaper did not seem to hold true with the local shop. They were indicating a cost in excess of $800 which is the cost of the OEM Henschen axle from Inland RV. I am not sure what shipping would add to this.

We are planning a big road trip next month and I basically want it done right. I believe I can do it myself if I go with a replacement Henschen axle as it appears to be an un-bolt the old and bolt up the new. I would probably go with the complete axle (hubs, brakes, etc.).

My question is this: Of those out there with the same model Argosy as mine, what choices have you made concerning axle replacement and after having made that choice, what has your experience been? i.e. happy as a clam at high tide with your choice? You rued the day you made the decision you did?

What axle rating did you run with? Original specifications? Uprated? I was hoping to find that there is a consensus I could go with as across the board on the Airstream forums for axles there seems to be nothing but controversy and a wide divergence of opinion.

Thank you in advance for the continued assistance.

Gergstuff

Hi Gergstuff.

I can recall part of some folks' concern about Henschen axles is in the shipping of them, and how they're handled by the freight companies - read: badly. Since you're already on the west coast, and if you don't mind the drive all the way to the L.A. area, you could tow the trailer to Inland and have the work done there, where the inspection of the shipped axles would already have taken place. But if the cost difference works out to be a wash, then you might be better served by going through a Dexter dealer there in WA. I understand Dexter will build what you want if you can provide specific measurements. Figuring labor and all, that seems about right to have them installed, versus DIY.

Hope I didn't just take this down the same old road, Jack! My apologies if I did!

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:55 PM   #7
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I have followed a few leads from some input I have received. Nothing has panned out. The few local places I called felt the job could be done with a Dexter axle but were reluctant to quote a price to complete the job, I could almost hear the $$$ signs spinning in their eyes with the modifications that would be necessary @ $80 an hour. I really did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling from them that this is something they have done before.

Is it wrong to expect someone to have experience and instill confidence in a consumer?

I shall perservere.

Gergstuff
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:16 PM   #8
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If you want to drive down to Vancouver, WA, RV Pro (360-993-4295) is the shop I used. They're a small family run business, and have done my trailer, and did a Safari shortly after mine, and last I heard those folks were happy with their new axel too. They already had experience putting new axels under other brands of trailers, so that's how I ended up going with them.

As for folks with minuetes who have done their axels, I think there's a couple on here. Janet's one of them.
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Old 06-05-2006, 04:28 PM   #9
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OK - We have a 77 minuet 6 metre. We replaced the axle ourselves with a henschen ordered thu Inland rv. We increased the angle a little based on Inland rvs recommendation. The axle has to be ordered from the factory - unless they just happen to have one in stock.... It takes several weeks and ours was shipped yellow fright. We picked up tha axle at the frieght yard - but I think you can make arrangements for door to door deleivery. The installation is straigh forward. You need you serial number when you order.

The new axle is great and the ride is smooth. No complaints. We did have one giant snafu when the axle arrived - it was the wrong one -shipped from the factory. We sent it back and a new one arrived - Inland rv picked up the additional shipping costs. This was our experience - it was basically a good one (except for the shiiping snafu). We have been pleased with the result.
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Old 06-05-2006, 05:02 PM   #10
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I contacted Inland RV and got the low down on what they would do. It certainly sounds like the easiest way to go. I am in a bit of a time crunch now as my window of opportunity for travel is set in stone and it may or may not be enough time to get a axle from henschen.

I have read the issues that can occur while driving on a worn out axle, I gather than it would not be recommended to take a 5,000 mile road trip on a very tired axle?

Gergstuff
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gergstuff
Sorry, I did not mean to create any problems.

I think your plan is a good one, I was hoping to get opinions and experiences from other owners of the same trailer that I have ('78 Argosy 6 Metre Minuet) who have made the axle change so I could hopefully feel comfortable in making the correct decision on what to purchase.

Installation experiences good and bad would certainly be helpful too.

Thanks,

Gergstuff
We bought an OEM Henschen replacement for our Argosy from our friendly online Vendor, and installed the axle with no problems at all.
Dexter makes high quality replacement axles for our coaches that are considerably less expensive, but at the cost of having to preform some modifications to the axle, otherwise known as "making it fit".
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:01 PM   #12
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I wouldn't worry too much...

We have a 26ft Argosy... the axles point straight, but I'm sure that rubber rod is getting kind of hard. We've done two 1200 mile trips + numerous trips over the 3+ years we've had it. The trailer is still standing! A few interior rivets have broken, but I'm not convinced it's not just a age thing. Freeways here (I-5 south of Seattle) used to be SO bad... I'm not sure newer axles would've made them much better.

Just FYI, I've had good service at Evergreen RV in Lynnwood. They told me that they'd be able to do Dexters .... however I did not get a price quote. Personally, I'm thinking of doing the Dexter thing (myself)... but $$ is limited too.

Your trailer is so short, it will probably bounce more than it should, but it doesn't have enough rear overhang to do much frame damage.

I would repack your bearings and check those brakes and brake shoe springs.
Where are you going? A 5000 mile trip seems fun.
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:24 PM   #13
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Axle thoughts...

Hi! I just installed two new Dexters on our '65 Overlander. I can say with assurance that:
1. Dexter axles are about 1/2 the price of Henchens.
2. Dexter axles will take a little engineering to install. (My install is posted, complete with pictures. Do a search for "Dexter axle installation started")
3. If your not very handy, the Henchens would probably be the better choice. As I understand, they will just bolt in, a no-brainer.
4. The quality of either should be fine. I'm REALLY pleased with my new axles!!!!
5. Get a friend to help with the removal and replacement...It will make life much easier!
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:46 AM   #14
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I am probably going to have to go the Henschen route mainly due to time constraints and a lack of trusted service businesses in my area. Since my axle is pointing up I think it has had it. Our trip is to Chicago and back, Route 2 out and which ever way the wind blows us on the way back. I have received some helpful input from this forum and I do appreciate it, thank you.

If I were not is such a hurry I would try the Dexter route and see if I could save some $$$.

I could probably figure it our by myself as I have a welder and some welding ability.

At this point I think I would rather not be penny wise and pound foolish.

I will update this when I get the parts and hopefully get the job done.

Gergstuff
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