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Old 05-31-2016, 02:09 PM   #1
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Chassis and axles

I just bought a 1972 31' airstream Soverign and am wondering if anyone has experience with the reliability of the original chassis and axles for this model. Do they likely need to be replaced or are they commonly still in good condition?
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:22 PM   #2
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I am afraid the answer to your question is it depends. The 70s frames are 3" frames and less ridged than earlier and later 4" frames. The frame killer is rust and the amount of rust depends on the conditions the trailer have been subject to over the years, particularly humidity and salt. If you have original axles the chances are they need to be replaced. There is a plethora of info on this. You might be lucky and find what you need if you do a search, but the search engine does not work too well. Another serious problem these trailers are subject to, also related to rust and subfloor rot is "rear end separation". Which is the separation of the body of the coach from the subfloor. Again, this has been written about extensively in the Forums.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jimgregg View Post
I just bought a 1972 31' airstream Soverign and am wondering if anyone has experience with the reliability of the original chassis and axles for this model. Do they likely need to be replaced or are they commonly still in good condition?
1969 and up have 5 inch frames.

Torsion axles, re4gardless of brand, have a limited life.

That life is ball park, 25 years, if the trailer was used every few months or so.

The short life happens when the trailer was parked with the tires on the ground, for an extended period, any where from 2 to 3 years. The rubber rods, that MUST BE exercised, will turn gummy or solidify, in each case rendering them useless.

The following article will teach you how to check the axles out yourself, in just a few minutes.

http://www.airstreamcentral.com/arti...xle/Page1.html

Andy
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:35 AM   #4
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Thanks Andy.

The underside of the trailer has a skin covering it. Should that skin likely have protected the frame from rust?
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:01 AM   #5
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1969 and up have 5 inch frames.
Andy
I'm sure you must be right Andy. I guess I was mistakenly thinking about the A-frame. I do remember reading the frames in "The Beatrice Years" were lighter as both a weight and cost saving measure after which they went back to a heavier frame. Do I have that right?

My answer to the belly pan question is there are plenty of Airstreams with belly pans with extensive rust. The belly pans did not have sealed seams so that trapped moisture will escape. So, I can't say whether or not a belly pan protected the frame from rust or not.
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