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Old 11-10-2011, 02:23 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info Andy. What's the difference between a horizontal shock and a vertical shock (other than the position they are installed on the AS)? Are they made differently?
The horizontal shock is designed to work that way, and vertical shocks are designed to work vertically.

If you try to use a vertical shock horizontally, it won't work properly, therefore it becomes useless.

Airstream horizontal shocks cost less money than vertical shocks, to boot.

Andy
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:06 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info Andy. What's the difference between a horizontal shock and a vertical shock (other than the position they are installed on the AS)? Are they made differently?
Airstream went to a horizontal design in '67 essentially to save interior space in the coach. This presents a problem for shock makers because the fluid inside a shock dampens the movement of the shock by forcing the fluid through an orfice or a small metered hole internally. This also assumes the shock is in a mostly vertical position, because gravity is a part of the mix as well. When the shock is mounted in a mostly horizontal postion the fluid is not forced through the valving and there is no or very little dampening action on the axle assembly or wheel movement.

So while yours look nice, likely they provide very little resistance to wheel movement which is what they are supposed to do.

As a side note there is a different theory that shocks are not needed for this axle type because of design and for that you can go to the shock forum and do some searches.

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Old 11-14-2011, 07:28 AM   #17
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Thanks for the information. I'll check into whether or not the Monroe shocks are compatible as horizontal shocks. If not, I'll change them out for the Airstream/Gabriel shocks.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #18
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David,

Thanks for documenting your adventure. How did you decide on the 3200# axles? Your trailer is about 4000# total and it was my understanding that if you went too high there would be issues with harsh ride and possible damage to the trailer.
I have a 1974 27' Overlander and was planning on 3500# axles and was worried about over capacity and damage.
Maybe Andy or Colin can weigh in on this(no pun intended).

Thanks, Jay.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:25 AM   #19
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David,

Thanks for documenting your adventure. How did you decide on the 3200# axles? Your trailer is about 4000# total and it was my understanding that if you went too high there would be issues with harsh ride and possible damage to the trailer.
I have a 1974 27' Overlander and was planning on 3500# axles and was worried about over capacity and damage.
Maybe Andy or Colin can weigh in on this(no pun intended).

Thanks, Jay.
Jay.

A 1974 27 foot Airstream was equipped with rated 2800 pound axles.

Those can be increased to 3000, 3200 or 3500 pounds.

However, increasing the rating also means that you misu increase the loading, especially if you went with the 3500 pound axles.


Increasingt up to 15 percent is ok, but the 3500 pound rating is 25 percent. For sure, more than required, but not if you will always have a higher pay load.

Andy
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:26 AM   #20
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Jay,

I had originally planned to upgrade both axles to 3500 pounds, but Colin suggested that I go no higher than 3200 pounds unless I was planning a complete renovation with granite counter tops, etc..., which I am not, so I followed Colin's advice. If I remember correctly my old axles were rated at 2700 pounds each, but I might be mistaken on that. Colin, Andy or Frank will know the answer.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #21
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I emailed the Monroe folks and asked if the Monroe Gas-Magnum (Matic) 55503 shocks would work correctly in my installation application (horizontal install) and here is their response:

"Thank you for contacting Tenneco Automotive.

The 555003 shocks are designed to be mounted vertically. They will not operate in the horizontal position.

Thank you for your interest in our products.

For further questions or assistance, please contact technical assistance at 734-384-7809 M - F 8:30am - 5:30pm EST.

Monroe Team Member,

Andy"

So, I'll order a set of Airstream shocks this winter and replace the Monroe 55503's with Airstream shocks before our first trip in the Spring.

Thanks go to Andy and Action for pointing me to the correct shock for my axle install. I appreciate the information and assist!
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:44 AM   #22
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The horizontal shocks are designed differently...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pickerdd View Post
Thanks for the info Andy. What's the difference between a horizontal shock and a vertical shock (other than the position they are installed on the AS)? Are they made differently?
David:

Can't tell you exactly what's different in their design, but the AS horizontal shock is definitely different in design than "vertically mounted" shocks... Get the Black Airstream Horizontal Shocks for your running gear - not too expensive, usually on the north side of $29USD.

My $0.02

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Old 02-25-2012, 04:57 PM   #23
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Thanks for the info MaxAB. I have 4 black airstream shocks in the garage that will be installed in the next couple of weeks.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:55 PM   #24
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Airstream (Gabriel) shocks installed.

I replaced the Monroe shocks with Airstream (Gabriel) shocks last weekend. Very easy job - lift up one side of the Airstream by using a floor jack, remove the wheels, loosen and remove the nuts on the shock attachment bolts. The only issue is that the bolts supplied with the Airstream shocks aren't long enough to align the shocks when using the axis axles I installed last fall.

So, to recap I originally installed Monroe shocks that aren't horizontal shocks. I ordered 4 Airstream (Gabriel) shocks from Out Doors Mart and received shock bolts and nuts with the shocks.

The Gabriel shock bolts are about 1" shorter than the bolts supplied with the Monroe shocks. I initially installed the street side shocks with the Gabriel shock mount bolts, but was dis-satisfied with the alignment as shown here:



So, I used the Monroe shock bolts with the Gabriel shocks to achieve better alignment with the shock bracket and the trailer frame. I ended up using the Monroe spacer, 2 locking washers and 2 flat washers on the shock bolt.



I'll report back if there are any issues with the way I installed the shocks. It's not the prettiest install, but it seems to work.

After I installed the shocks I towed Moe around our area for an hour to test out the brakes and such. I was really pleased with how much of a difference the new axles, brakes and shocks made in how well the trailer towed. I'm very satisfied with the axles , brakes and shocks. The 4Runner pulled them very well. We'll take Moe out a few times this summer if it cools down, but the first long trip with the new setup will be in September to the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Kansas.
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:25 PM   #25
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Well, this is a concern. I just installed my new Axis Axles from Colin on Tuesday, and he said to use the Monroe 55503's. I couldn't find them locally so I ordered them online. They will be here by Friday. Not sure what to do now. I was hoping to have this all done by the weekend.

The axles went in to place in about 4-5 hours doing it by myself. Lots of back and forth, back and forth getting them in to place. An extra set of hands would have cut the time in half. Everything aligned perfectly. No drilling or shaving the mounting holes.... just the shock of the shock issue now.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:42 PM   #26
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Well, this is a concern. I just installed my new Axis Axles from Colin on Tuesday, and he said to use the Monroe 55503's. I couldn't find them locally so I ordered them online. They will be here by Friday. Not sure what to do now. I was hoping to have this all done by the weekend.

The axles went in to place in about 4-5 hours doing it by myself. Lots of back and forth, back and forth getting them in to place. An extra set of hands would have cut the time in half. Everything aligned perfectly. No drilling or shaving the mounting holes.... just the shock of the shock issue now.
Unless I am mistaken, Airstream is the only company that uses horizontal shocks, which were originally made by Delco and now made by Gabriel.

To my knowledge, no one else make a horizontal shock that will work on Airstream trailer starting with the 1969 models and up to current models.

If I am mistaken, I sincerely and humbly apologize to any and all that I may have offended by making this statement.

To install vertical shocks, when the trailer design called for horizontals, is a waste of time and money, since they will serve no useful purpose other than draining ones pocket book to some degree.

Andy
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:15 PM   #27
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It's time for an update on the axles on my Safari...

Last summer I wanted to change the tires to Michelin LTX M/S2 LT 235/75R/15's. I'm not sure what's on there now other than they are 15's. The good folks at Discount Tire jacked up one side of the AS then pulled off the tires and mounted the new Michelin's on my rims. We mounted one tire on the AS and found it was wider than the current tires. The Michelin tire butted up against the nut on the shock mount bracket bolt, so they mounted the original tires back on the AS and I went on my way. It didn't occur to me at the time (September 2013) to remove the nut and bolt from the shock mount as I had planned to leave the following day for a 2000 mile trip. I knew that I'd have to deal with it again when I changed tires. So, I guess now's the time to deal with it as I want new tires on it before the trip to Kansas in September.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread I had problems with the clearance between the original tires and the shock mount bracket bolt/nut. At the time I didn't realize the sock mount bracket on the new axles are positioned in a different location than the original axles. This also explains the mis-alignment of the shock bolt on the frame to the shock bracket on the axles.

After comparing photos of the original axles and the new axles I see the issue - the shock mount bracket is probably 2-3 inches closer to the tire than the original bracket.

The current options seem to be:
1) not use shocks (not sure that will buy me enough clearance for the new tires). I'd prefer to use shocks.
2) reduce the length of the shock bracket to the point that they don't interfere with the wider Michelin tires.
3) cut the current shock bracket off and weld it on the axles in the same position as the original bracket.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:08 AM   #28
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David,
You should consult with your axle vendor on this.
I've had this problem a few times and it can be fixed.
You have a few options-
Since you prefer to use shocks, I think you should cut the shock brackets off the torsion arm and weld them back on in the inboard side of the torsion arm. This may require removing the axles. Another option would be to bend the shock bracket inboard enough to give you clearance. Also make sure you have the bolt head facing the tire.
Another option is to use a similar tire to the original 7.00x15LT such as the Yokohama RY 215.
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