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Old 02-22-2014, 03:24 PM   #1
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2014 16' Sport
Abita Springs , Louisiana
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New 2014 Bambi with Negative Torsion Angle

Seventh RV, first airstream and the following is my issue - hoping some of you streamers out there can advise!

Specs call for hitch height of 18 1/2" but at level my new 16' Bambi Sport is no better than 16". Went underneath to look and the torsion axle is absolutely negative (from axle heading back to spindle the torsion bar goes up about 20 degrees). When I measure where I think it should be at positive angle (downward) that measurement is 2 1/2 inches which would bring trailer up to spec coupler height of 18 1/2 inches. When I towed it home I had mentioned to my wife that the tire sidewalls were flexing more than I have seen in my towing experience. It was enough to make me nervous and if the axle is bottoming out (as Andy's voluminous writings on the subject would suggest), our inaugural trip in one week is probably in jeopardy.

Am I on the right track that we have an issue?? Thanks to all! Scott and Carol, Abita Springs, LA

I should mention the trailer has full water and propane tanks and is otherwise unloaded. Couple of pics included. Click image for larger version

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Old 02-22-2014, 03:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by zoieone View Post
Seventh RV, first airstream and the following is my issue - hoping some of you streamers out there can advise!

Specs call for hitch height of 18 1/2" but at level my new 16' Bambi Sport is no better than 16". Went underneath to look and the torsion axle is absolutely negative (from axle heading back to spindle the torsion bar goes up about 20 degrees). When I measure where I think it should be at positive angle (downward) that measurement is 2 1/2 inches which would bring trailer up to spec coupler height of 18 1/2 inches. When I towed it home I had mentioned to my wife that the tire sidewalls were flexing more than I have seen in my towing experience. It was enough to make me nervous and if the axle is bottoming out (as Andy's voluminous writings on the subject would suggest), our inaugural trip in one week is probably in jeopardy.

Am I on the right track that we have an issue?? Thanks to all! Scott and Carol, Abita Springs, LA

I should mention the trailer has full water and propane tanks and is otherwise unloaded. Couple of pics included. Attachment 206154Attachment 206155Attachment 206156Attachment 206157Attachment 206158
Torsion axles all lose their starting angle, in time, about 25 years is the average limit.

However, your Airstream is brand new.

The starting angle for your Airstream should be 22 1/2 degrees downward as the torsion arm goes rearward.

Check that angle with "zero" weight on the wheel.

Unless Airstream has radically changed their design, in my opinion, your axle should be replaced immediately.

Call Airstream and talk to the service people.

Andy
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:26 PM   #3
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Thanks Andy for the lightning (and enlightening) response! I'll check the no load angle tomorrow and see what that suggests and update. Will call airstream service on Monday as well. Thanks again!

P.S. And I know how to properly raise the trailer as I've been lurking on the forum for years and I'm pretty sure I've read every one of your posts...Thanks again!
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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I have the spec sheet for the axel in our 2012 Bambi and it says that the axel has a 10 degree down angle in an unloaded position. If you call Dexter with the axel serial number I am sure they will send you yours. My torsion bar ends look much like yours with the weight of the trailer sitting on them. PM me with an email address if you want a copy of the spec sheet for my trailer to peruse until monday....
Bruce

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Old 02-22-2014, 07:03 PM   #5
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Here is the spec sheet for my 2012 16' Bambi axel.
Bruce
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File Type: pdf 20131010092933673 - Copy.pdf (331.5 KB, 69 views)
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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When jacking one side, at 2 1/2 inches raised the tire just came off the ground and the torsion angle was 0 degrees or just a tad still negative.

I don't think I have the axle spec sheet in my package but I'll look.

If I secure the axle LN number can I assume JC can provide my specific spec sheet? Wouldn't think it would change much from yours....thanks!
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:28 PM   #7
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I didn't get the spec sheet from Airstream. I too wondered if my trailer was ok and I called Dexter. They are very helpful. ..They sent me the sheet.

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Old 02-23-2014, 03:21 PM   #8
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I'll call dexter tomorrow. I'm guessing that if the axle installed is supposed to be 10 degrees down, I may not have much of an issue as when I look again from a different perspective, the unloaded angle may be just more than positive or even close to 10 degrees - mighty difficult to ascertain when squeezed under a Bambi trying to get a look...
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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Your pics look the same as our Bambi. I hope that's normal! Seem to recall an 18.0 inch hitch height in our owners manual. It's been awhile since reading so I could be wrong.
Your 16-inch measurement sounds like what you'd get if measured from the bottom of the hitch instead of the top?
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:55 PM   #10
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Measured to the inside of the coupler which would equate to the top of the ball. Double checked that too many times to count setting up the blue-Ox sway-pro WD hitch (which required an 11 hole drop bar for a 2008 Tundra Crew Max to bring trailer down to level with WD bars set right which is one big drop bar)...
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:34 AM   #11
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Spoke with Dexter and the IN number for my axle comes back as a 10 degree down angle axle. Spoke to Airstream Technical Assistance and was originally told they use a 22.5 degree down angle axle on all airstreams. When they pulled the specs on the 2014 Bambi 16' Sport however, it calls for a 10 degree down axle which is what is on the unit. Was also told that the spec hitch ball height should be 18" at level which my trailer shows 16-16 1/2 inches unless my level no longer follows the laws of physics. My conclusion is it is the right axle as designed and I dont have an issue. Could always upgrade the axle brackets with the high profile kit and upgrade the rims and tires to 15" but if other recent bambis are the same and the tow is as expected with airstream trailers, I'll leave well enough alone...

Thanks for all the input...inaugural trip is back on!
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:30 AM   #12
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For reference: dexter axles currently in use for airstream. Don't know if all inclusive but the 3500# axles are here...Click image for larger version

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