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Old 01-01-2018, 06:49 PM   #57
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Axles Bad, Removed

It's been two weeks. I've been fitting my new waste water tanks and designing the mounting scheme. I think I got it all figured out. More on that later...

I purchased this trailer knowing full well I would be replacing the axles. They were hard as a rock. Hard axles exacerbates rear end separation due to bump impact loads. Just for the record, the first photo shows the axles on the trailer. You can see how the swing arms are horizontal, not at the downward 22 degree "starting angle". The black line I drew on the square axle rod is the 22 degrees. These axles are shot, big time.

I've been soaking the bolts with penetrating oil for the last week. A shot every day or three. Today I removed the shocks. Please remind me when I mount the new axles that I MUST fit the shock and nut to the stud before lifting the axles into place. Forgetting to do so will cause a major cussing episode.

I removed the axle bolts with little difficulty. Last time I had to cut a couple of the bolts to get them out. I used jack stands and my floor jack to stabilize the axle and lower it to the floor. The axle is an unbalanced weight. I work alone, so it takes me longer. Two people could just lift the axle and lower it to the floor. It weighs about 100 pounds I'm guessing.

The name plate says they are 2800 pound axles, which seems about right. The trailer GVWR is 6200, but the dry weight is 4600 pounds with a hitch weight of 520. I can't imagine loading 1600 pounds of gear in this trailer. No dear, we're not taking the piano this trip.

I'm going to try to order new axles from Dexter through my local distributor and commercial trailer store. I plan on increasing the start angle to something like 25 degrees to gain an inch or two of ground clearance. The bracket design and location, shock mounts, mounting holes, brake wire hole, spindles need to be exactly like this axle. I'm going to stay with my 12" drums cause they are new and cause I live in Colorado with many long downhill grades.

By the way, I have found no cracks in the axle plates or frame rails. . . yet.

David
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:22 PM   #58
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I'm going to try to order new axles from Dexter through my local distributor and commercial trailer store. I plan on increasing the start angle to something like 25 degrees to gain an inch or two of ground clearance. The bracket design and location, shock mounts, mounting holes, brake wire hole, spindles need to be exactly like this axle. I'm going to stay with my 12" drums cause they are new and cause I live in Colorado with many long downhill grades.

David

David

Looks like you are moving right along. The work you are doing looks spot on- just what was needed.

The frame rails look much larger than 5”. What size are they? So you aren’t going to have to recut the frame so the axles will fit as you had to do in your Tradewind. That’s a good thing. Good luck getting axles built so they are plug and play. Mine fit just fine but I did need to drill new mounting holes. No complaints here though.

Dan
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:55 PM   #59
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1975 27' Overlander
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Hi TouringDan: The frame rails on my Overlander are 5" channels. The photo above shows the axle mounting plate welded to the frame rails. The photo below is a frame rail itself.

I hope I don't have a lot of messing around to mount the new axles. I'm told the newer Airstreams like this 75 Overlander have a more standard axle configuration where an exact replacement is available.

Where did you source your new axles? My Trade Wind axles came from Colin Hyde.

David
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:27 PM   #60
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David

I got my axles from Colin Hyde as well. As you know he is difficult to get a hold of but once you actually talk to him you realize that he really is an expert, and he is who you want to order your axles from to make sure they fit your Airstream properly and that the shock mounts get attached.

Dan
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:27 PM   #61
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Thanks for the info. Colin Hyde is where I got my axles back in early 2014 while living in Minnesota. Now I live in Colorado, another 1000 miles away. I had to drill new holes in the Trade Wind axle plate to fit up the new axles.

Inland RV in California is another source that people have had good luck with. As stated above, I did not have good luck with my local Dexter distributor. "What's an Airstream?" they asked.

I decided to give a Colorado business a try. I'm referred to Luke's Maintenance in Fort Collins, CO. 970 222 4065. I called, got an answer right away, and Luke spent an hour with me discussing axle specifications for my Overlander. I understand he has ordered and installed over 200 axles over the last 10 years. He also renovates vintage Airstreams. Maybe the Colin Hyde of the west? Luke could answer all my questions. He had some good recommendations for me. I will have shock mounts with welded in studs installed, and no interference when installing the shock nut.

I'm happy to find a source that knows Dexter's ordering process and can deal with them. I am confident Luke knows the necessary specs to get new axles under my old Overlander. I feel I have a recourse if they don't fit or are built wrong.

Luke did say that our friends at Dexter have a standard mounting bracket, will locate it for you on the axle beam, but won't be doing any hole patterns to fit my Overlander (9" hole spacing, 2 1/2" below the frame rail in the axle plate.) I have to adapt to the Dexter standard hole spacing. Luke suggested some drilling tools that would make the job easier for me. I'll be pecking new mounting holes to get the axles up.

I will also get 10" drums with 2 1/4 wide brake shoes. This was the same situation I got on the Trade Wind. Dexter builds to the "under 3500 pound" industry spec. Luke wasn't positive 12" drums are available unless I order over 3500 pound axle rating. Disc brakes are an option. I will have a six bolt wheel mounting studs on the drums. I live in Colorado and going down long, steep, curvy grades makes trailer brakes important. My new axles will have less braking force. The Overlander weighs 800 pounds more than the old Trade Wind.

Oh well, what's a guy to do? I wonder how many new Airstream models have 10" drums.

David
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:14 PM   #62
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David

Sounds that you have found a good axle supplier, as you say the Colin Hyde of Colorado.
Glad that you will be getting a 6 lug bolt pattern that will fit your Airstream wheels. I was told that was not an option that the 3,500 Lb axles came with the #84 spindle (5 lug nuts).
10” brakes should be fine. You will have more braking force per pound than a new Classic with the 12” drums.

Dan
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:08 PM   #63
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My new axles for the Trade Wind came with six studs for mounting the wheel. See photo below. I'm hoping the new axles for the Overlander will be the same way. 6 stud drums on a 5.5 bolt circle are specified on my order form. I don't want to purchase 5 hole wheels.

I won't know for sure until the new axles get here in several more weeks. I do know it was done in 2014.

David
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:14 PM   #64
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1986 34' Limited
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Frame Welding Done

Today was a "hump" day. Over the hump with needed frame welding. I found a local fella, lives close to me in fact. I had nine areas needing welding on my frame. He got these necessary frame welds done today. And we didn't set the trailer on fire. Yea, clap, clap, clap.

I inspected the frame, identified the weak spots, and made the parts needing welding. The biggie was the rear cross member welded to the frame rails ending the rear end separation. I also made a "stiffener" for the street side frame rail. This frame rail has some rust on the top flange. I also had a broken cross member, a rusty outrigger, and replaced the two skid rails at the rear of the trailer.

For some reason, the street side frame rail was quite a bit rustier than the curb side. The rear end separation was worse on this side too. I don't know the reason. On suspect is the wheel house. I see a gap between the bottom outrigger and the wheel well cover. I could see where towing in the rain would put a lot of splash pressure on this gap, and maybe drive water down the frame rail. I had some rotted subfloor just after the wheel well on the street side. Makes me suspicious.

With the frame repairs now done, I can move on to painting the rear half of the frame and mounting the new wastewater holding tanks. Then insulation, then belly pan, then mounting axles. You guys know the routine.

David
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:28 PM   #65
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More Floor Rot

I noticed another rotted out plywood subfloor hole while the welder was under the trailer. It is in a bad spot and I will repair it.

I had to take off the street side rear banana wrap to gain access to it. The photo shows the hole and the C channel that is no longer attached to the subfloor.

I cut back to solid plywood, cut a piece of 3/4" oak board to fit, and made a metal splice to link the patch to the frame rail. I glued and screwed the patch to the C channel. I'm satisfied it is solid now.

Since the rear cross member has been welded solid to the frame, I was able to "splice" my oak board to the old plywood subfloor under the bath. I could not use the traditiional way of making a splice joint out of plywood. My new black water tank will encroach into this splice. So I make a splice out of a piece of sheet steel. I glued and screwed this metal splice to the oak board and plywood subfloor. I will insulate the tank from the screw heads with a strip of rubber sheeting.

The rear end of the body is no longer separated from the frame and subfloor. The frame rails are straight and strong. Mission accomplished.

David
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:08 PM   #66
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Hi Dave

When I ordered axles from Inland he suggested upgrading to 3500# axles which is what I did he also welded on the shock brackets.
I also ordered brakes bearings wheels lug nuts shocks and balancers and hardware .

The axles were a direct bolt in. The were not Dexters.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:11 AM   #67
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Hi Glenritas: It's strange for me not to have a Trade Wind anymore. I was looking for a 70s Trade Wind when this Overlander popped up. What's 2' amongst friends? I'm not sure which model sold more during the 70s; Trade Wind 25' or the Overlander at 27'. I bet it was the Trade Wind. I consider the Overlander the shortest of the long trailers; Overlander 27', Ambassador 29', and Sovereign at 31'. I think it was 78 when Airstream went to 3' increments instead of 2', and the Overlander went away at that time. The Ambassador became a 28'. The 25' trailers remain the most popular, it's a perfect size.

I wonder who did build your new axles? The "dura torque" axle business has shrunk to one supplier now, Dexter wins. Henshen is gone, Axis was bought by Dexter. I know of no other manufacturers in North America. I wish Airstream Jackson Center would distribute these special order axles for vintage trailers. They have all the specs and have the relationship with the axle supplier. Heck, Henschen used to build axles in a factory right there in Jackson Center, see photo of my axle serial number tag.

My old Henschen axles of 1975 were 2800 pounds. I've ordered 3100 pounds to accommodate some extra cargo weight like larger water tanks and a microwave. I also ordered the high brackets for a bit more ground clearance, welcome here in Colorado.

Thanks for signing on to my Overlander thread.

David
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:08 PM   #68
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Exterior Circuit Breakers

My Overlander has a 7 pin receptacle on the front of the trailer. So you plug the umbilical cord in to the trailer, and then into the tow vehicle. I have never seen such an arrangement before. You can take your umbilical with you into the restaurant. Hang it around your neck like a snake. I feel it doubles the chance of trouble due to a loose connection or corrosion in one of the plugs. My old 66 and our 86 are hard wired in to the trailer.

So I aim to hard wire the 75 Overlander 7 pin umbilical cord in the same way. This trailer has 12v circuit breakers on many of the 7 circuits from the tow vehicle to the trailer. They are 1. brake lights, 2 tail lights, 3 turn signals, 4 brakes, 5 marker lights, 6 back up lights, 7 battery charging, and ground wire. I believe these are old fashioned "thermo"style breakers than open when the element gets hot from an overloaded circuit. Then they close back up when they cool down. I much prefer fuses as they go open and stay open until you find the problem.

Most tow vehicles have fuse protection on the 7 pin circuits too.

Do I need circuit protection for the exterior trailer lights? Are fuses adequate? Has anyone else eliminated the trailer plug and hard wired the umbilical cord to the trailer?

David
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:45 PM   #69
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Our '69 has the detachable cord also , but yours has oneuped ours by adding circuit breakers.

Are the breakers near the inlet ?

The good thing is they protect the TV from the trailer and by resting they give you an indication there is a problem by "flashing" the troubled circuit on and off.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:48 PM   #70
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75 Overlander Improvements Journal

Should not use self-resetting thermal breakers. Given enough cycles, the self-resetting kind can fail closed, frying wires in the walls. If you must use circuit breakers instead of fuses, use the kind that need manual reset by pushing a button. That way the circuit wiring is truly protected from overheating which is what a protection device is supposed to do.
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