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Old 02-18-2004, 11:58 AM   #1
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1959 26' Overlander
Putnam , Connecticut
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1956 Overlander

Whats the axel setup on a 1956. Torsion or other. Has anyone replaced similar axel? There is a 56 I really want but need to make sure parts are readily available.
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:14 PM   #2
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1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
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As far as I have been able to tell all pre 61 coaches have leaf spring axles. Parts are readily available.
http://www.etrailerpart.com/52kdroptraileraxle.htm A axle complete with brakes (no springs) is under $300 with correct lug pattern and 5200lb rating on that site.

You could probably find the same localy. The spring you need a few measurments off including weight. 22fts of that era were max GVWR of around 4k. 4.5k would probably bee a good guess on a 26ft single axle Overlander as to weight. Probably add about 300lb if a tandum. They should be able to get you the correct springs. Be sure to stress that this is a delicate coach not a cargo trailer so they don't recomend stiff springs. .
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:50 PM   #3
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56 axle

Is it possible? Yes!

First question: Would you want to stay with the original set-up or switch to the new Torsion axles? Many people have made the switch.

If you decide to purchase this unit, here are a few things to consider if you want to stay with the original set-up

1. The springs are longer and wider than the parts you can buy off-the-shelf at your local trailer parts store. This is not a problem if you can salvage the original springs, or can have a full service spring shop nearby.
On my '59, the springs are 36" long and 2" wide. Standard off the shelf parts now available are 1 3/4" wide and less than 30" long.
You will also need to find spring plates, U-bolts, and bushings which are no longer standard size, but are available from a good spring shop.

2. New axles, hubs, and backing plates are readily available from Dexter Axle or Reliable Tool. They are cheap and easy to install.

3. You may need to move your shock absorbers from the outside of the frame to the inside. This is especially true if you want to go to radial tires such as Goodyear Marathons. Monroe makes a good shock and adapter kit. The shock clearance between the frame and tire is tight to begin with, and with fatter tires it is almost impossible.

Overall, if you have the money and don't care about originality, go with the Henchen torsion axles. If you stick with the original, it's more work, but also more satisfying.
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Old 02-18-2004, 03:53 PM   #4
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Post axle/frame

mark -
i am drooling.... what a beautiful looking pic of what i assume is a airstream frame ?
can you share any info on it ?
is that then the Henchen torsion axle bolted to that nice frame ?

i am curious because my newly acquired 57 -single axle -overlander needs a frame transplant !

where can i learn more about the specs of the that frame /

thanks
paul

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Old 02-18-2004, 04:02 PM   #5
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Paul,

You are looking at Mark's 59 frame I believe. He has retained the original leaf spring configuration. I agree. . . he does very detailed, professional quality work. I will be bugging him soon when I start the same process with my 56 30' Liner.

Tripp
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Old 02-18-2004, 05:53 PM   #6
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frames

Thanks for the comments.

I am in the process of up-loading more pictures. I should really put them on the photos site to save time for those without high speed access.

You may be suprised at the condition of your frame once you get the floor off. I had some really bad rust in a few spots that could be repaired. The rest of the frame just took a good sandblasting and POR-15 paint.

The new axle is from Dexter. You need to measure carefully if you order a new axle, but they have instructions on their website.

I got a 5200# axle, which increases the weight I can lug around. I went with the larger axle because I am installing a greywater tank, and will go to a heavier high strength plywood floor. The original axle was rated 3800#.

For your Overlander, you may want to go to a 6000# axle if you plan to add any weight.

Good luck, and I'll be happy to give you any info I can.

I probably won't start installing my floor for about 2 months. The whole mess is under about 2 ft of snow right now.
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:44 PM   #7
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Post axle/frame

mark-
i look forward to seeing those pics... thanks

so... that frame in your post is your original 59 frame that has been sandblasted and painted and had a new axle installed?
it looks like you might have replaced at least some of the frame members !
if the frame on my 57 overlander can be slavaged i will be surprised indeed.
i know the yolk is totally shot and the rear frame rails are crumbly and disintegrated far into the undercarrige under the bath area. maybe portions of the centrally located frame are ok....
i sure hope so because it has got to hold together for its triphome from its present site (flatbed trip home).
the tires on the 57 are :

7.00 x 15 6 ply heavy duty / 6 lug / split rims.

6,000 lb axle. ok--- dont know what the rateing is for the present stock single axle but i do know any thing i can do to decrease the chance of excess stress on the tires so as to avoid a blow out.... is a good idea.
it sounds like you are in the midst of doing what i am just setting out to do.
later for now
thanks
paul

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Old 02-18-2004, 07:59 PM   #8
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56 Overlander

Paul,

What I did was weld deep U-channels over the original frame, from the front coupler all the way back to the first crossmember, about 6 feet. I replaced the rear crossmember, and moved some of the ones just ahead of the axle to make room for a greywater tank. The rest is original.

The tires on mine are the same as yours, but one piece rims. I am switching to Marathon radials for a smoother ride. The Marathons are a little wider, which is why I moved the shocks to the inside of the frame.

If you go to a 6000# axle you may have less choice in tires. The heaviest Marathons are rated at 2540#.

You can check my photos by clicking on the photos button at the bottom of this reply.
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:31 PM   #9
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Post photo album...

mark - thanks for posting those pics. they are really good .
very nice job.

paul
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:06 AM   #10
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1959 26' Overlander
Putnam , Connecticut
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Wow !!!! All I need now is a way to move a trailer 3000 miles cheap. Actually I'll have to hope a 54-57 24' + shows up closer to home in the Northeast. Want one to rebuild for long trips.
Your example is very encouraging to me and creates terror in my wife.
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