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Old 07-16-2011, 06:30 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign axle replacement

Just replaced the set of axles on our 1971 31' International. I ordered the two axles complete from Inland RV. They were shipped as stated to ODM, and within a day they were installed.

A few things were very noticeable to "do i need new axles?" The wheel wells were below both sides of the upper tire sitting on or below the rim. The arms as discussed on Inland RV sites were not at the degree of angle point down, but were in fact neutral on one side and opposite on the curbside.
The axle itself, had a "wave" in it from hub to hub, due to a high impact event by the PO that actually moved the frame a little. This was not known until the axle was removed.
At first I was going to buy the axle and remove hubs, brakes and all of that other stuff and just mount them on the new axles. Andy, with many eyars of experience, highlighted to me the cost of hubs, if if breaks in removing, brakes, brake backing, wheel bearings all of these items at the cost of 4 a piece due to the four tires, would exceed the selling price of his complete cost.
The great news is the axles were the originals at 40 years old. The bad news was the the hubs and everything on the original has basically welded itself to the axle and it would of been a nightmare and replace costs, not include 4 hours of labor, would of been very pricey for this repair.

I won't mention that the brakes were denigrated on he rear and I've been towing in the western NC mountains. Thank God for a duramax and Allison transmission.

Recommendation:
Buy the axles complete. They are a quick change out, nothing to worry about (no fabrications needed) and they mount right on the coach. Trying to save a few hundred bucks, actually would of cost me about five hundred plus labor, knowing what I know now.

Again, thanks for the advice and recommendation Andy (seriously no pressure, your choice) and ODM as always, comes through without question.

I'll post pictures of the before and after down the road. There is about a 4" difference in height and the coach looks good.

Well worth the time and effort and I hope I save you the time with this discussion point.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:34 PM   #2
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props for the post

You just saved me a lot of consternation! I have a 72 Trotter of the Globe in smiliar state. I plan to replace it all in one swoop too. Could you elaborate on the different axles you researched, and why you bought the ones you did?

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:18 PM   #3
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I swapped out a 76 year old

I like you changed out my axels on my 76 sovereign. Inland did as they promised. Yes it was expensive but when I pulled the drum and found a broken brake spring and couldn't find one easy I decided I wanted to spend years or miles with out worry and rework. Andy recommended a heavier axel and centrmatics. Now that it's finished I have no regrets.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:33 PM   #4
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SL,
I'm happy you have new axles. They sure ride much better don't they?

Rousseau,
I recently replaced my axles on my '72 Ambassador. I put all the information I could into this thread. There are many places you can get new axles for your Airstream.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:41 PM   #5
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SL,
I'm happy you have new axles. They sure ride much better don't they?

Rousseau,
There are many places you can get new axles for your Airstream.
But..... are they the correct axles, for an Airstream, quality and all, including the amount of the welds in key sections, including the brake bracket.

Andy
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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Top,
I pick up the coach on Friday and head west to the NC Mountains. I'll let you know how it tows. A fw weeks back we towed it down the 7-14% grade coming back to Greensboro, so there most likely will be a big difference with brakes that work. Never assume everything works, it needs to be inspected. I'll respond with pics on the before and after. The is a huge difference in height, and I'm glad for that. Once the old axles came off and we saw the bends, sways in across the old axle it was hard to imagine we towed this across America twice to include the great State of Montana, where there is no speed limit. The axles out lasted three tow vehicles. so for all curious, Airstreams last a long time. MTF


Rousseau,

I actually used Top's link to save me allot of research. Top, BTW, thanks for putting that together for everyone.

I ended up going with 3500# 12" axles with Inland RV as they responded while I was on the phone. Everyone else that I tried to contact, I e-mailed or left a message and never heard anything back.
I called Inland, was on the phone with Andy in about 10 minutes, no pressure, very experienced and recommended a couple of choices.

The axles were delivered as stated. On another note someone else had ordered axles earlier than I did from another provider and to this day, have not been delivered. Now saying that it could be the customers fault as much as the provider.

the axles went on in about 4-hours as some of the side wheels and frame needed to be riveted. I did not buy shocks from Inland, but ODM had them in stock and put them on as well, as it was the right thing to do as like I said, Andy recommended, but I replaced them seven years ago and thought they were OK.

I'll let you all know how she tows. With the Duramax and Allison, even with the 31' weighing only 5400lbs empty, we still should feel the difference.

next plan is possibly P&S refinishing it. But we've spent some money this year and it looks super for 40 years old. We love the space and i know it may not be the most desired due to it being over 28" and made by Beatrice, I'm hear to tell you, I would do it all over again with a 31' coach based on what I know now.

Upgrades include new Pergo on a very solid original floor, new hot water heater with the hot start, with new faucets, commode, new curtains from JPA, new beds from Bradd & Hall to include a few chairs and sofa on close out, new Zip Dee, Rock panels and even an electric black water release valve, it time to save some money with current concerns.

We're ready to boondock, if required for sure.Wasn't the intent, but we are certainly prepared.

I'll attach some photos after we take it out this weekend. We've had it out four times this year already.

Have fun and happy Airstreaming.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SL4BLLT
Top,
I pick up the coach on Friday and head west to the NC Mountains. I'll let you know how it tows. A fw weeks back we towed it down the 7-14% grade coming back to Greensboro, so there most likely will be a big difference with brakes that work. Never assume everything works, it needs to be inspected. I'll respond with pics on the before and after. The is a huge difference in height, and I'm glad for that. Once the old axles came off and we saw the bends, sways in across the old axle it was hard to imagine we towed this across America twice to include the great State of Montana, where there is no speed limit. The axles out lasted three tow vehicles. so for all curious, Airstreams last a long time. MTF

Rousseau,

I actually used Top's link to save me allot of research. Top, BTW, thanks for putting that together for everyone.

I ended up going with 3500# 12" axles with Inland RV as they responded while I was on the phone. Everyone else that I tried to contact, I e-mailed or left a message and never heard anything back.
I called Inland, was on the phone with Andy in about 10 minutes, no pressure, very experienced and recommended a couple of choices.

The axles were delivered as stated. On another note someone else had ordered axles earlier than I did from another provider and to this day, have not been delivered. Now saying that it could be the customers fault as much as the provider.

the axles went on in about 4-hours as some of the side wheels and frame needed to be riveted. I did not buy shocks from Inland, but ODM had them in stock and put them on as well, as it was the right thing to do as like I said, Andy recommended, but I replaced them seven years ago and thought they were OK.

I'll let you all know how she tows. With the Duramax and Allison, even with the 31' weighing only 5400lbs empty, we still should feel the difference.

next plan is possibly P&S refinishing it. But we've spent some money this year and it looks super for 40 years old. We love the space and i know it may not be the most desired due to it being over 28" and made by Beatrice, I'm hear to tell you, I would do it all over again with a 31' coach based on what I know now.

Upgrades include new Pergo on a very solid original floor, new hot water heater with the hot start, with new faucets, commode, new curtains from JPA, new beds from Bradd & Hall to include a few chairs and sofa on close out, new Zip Dee, Rock panels and even an electric black water release valve, it time to save some money with current concerns.

We're ready to boondock, if required for sure.Wasn't the intent, but we are certainly prepared.

I'll attach some photos after we take it out this weekend. We've had it out four times this year already.

Have fun and happy Airstreaming.
I had read Tops. Nice post man. I only extended this thread because it was very specific to what i was doing right now. Thanks for the replies. What is the safest way to jack up your vessel? I have two floor jacks available, so i was going to use those to place the stands, then use the floor jacks to drop the axle. Do i put the jacks directly on the frame or do i use something between like a 2 x 6 to even out the weight? How much height do i need? 1972 globetrotter probably needs the wheels replaced as well huh? I am away from it right now, but are they the 14.5 or are they 15's originally? Are they split rim originally? Wow, lots of questions. Any answers would be appreciated.

Roussaeu

He postulated that society only acts to harm mans greater inner good, and that to break away from society meant to be a better person because of less corruption. He didn't have airforums though, so thank you for helping me get away!
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:20 PM   #8
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1972 globetrotter probably needs the wheels replaced as well huh? I am away from it right now, but are they the 14.5 or are they 15's originally? Are they split rim originally? Wow, lots of questions. Any answers would be appreciated.

Roussaeu
A 1972 Globetrotter used 15 inch wheels with a bolt pattern of 6 holes on a 5 1/2 inch bolt circle.

They must also have a minimum weight rating of 2600 pounds each.

Split rim wheels went out with the tide in about 1962.

Airstream has never used them since they are also know to severely injure people, up to and including death, when they fly apart.

Andy
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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Will be calling you soon andy. Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:07 PM   #10
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Rousseau,
Smart call with Andy. BTW, I decided one day that I was going to change them after many months of thinking and researching about axles. The contact was made to everyone I could find and I went with Inland. Best move I ever made.

Andy,
on another note, the other day when I pulled into my yard, all grass, after towing 200 miles in triple digit heat, the tires left a burn mark ( all four tire tracks) on the grass as I went to park it over night. They are still there after two days of rain. Have you ever heard of this happening? Is this friction build up internal to the tires? They are Goodyear marathons, and I have had great luck over the years with these.
Thanks for any info that you may have on any tires, not just these. I towed the next day another 150 miles, high heat, no issues.

SL4BLLT
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:53 AM   #11
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Once the old axles came off and we saw the bends, sways in across the old axle it was hard to imagine we towed this across America twice to include the great State of Montana, where there is no speed limit. The axles out lasted three tow vehicles. so for all curious, Airstreams last a long time. MTF
The axle tubes are supposed to have bends in them. That's so they can carry their designed load and not have the wheels sit at weird angles.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:45 AM   #12
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Rousseau,
Smart call with Andy. BTW, I decided one day that I was going to change them after many months of thinking and researching about axles. The contact was made to everyone I could find and I went with Inland. Best move I ever made.

Andy,
on another note, the other day when I pulled into my yard, all grass, after towing 200 miles in triple digit heat, the tires left a burn mark ( all four tire tracks) on the grass as I went to park it over night. They are still there after two days of rain. Have you ever heard of this happening? Is this friction build up internal to the tires? They are Goodyear marathons, and I have had great luck over the years with these.
Thanks for any info that you may have on any tires, not just these. I towed the next day another 150 miles, high heat, no issues.

SL4BLLT
I would think hot tires could burn the grass, but I didn't think that they would get that hot.

Andy
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #13
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Overlander63,
let me clarify what I meant in the bends in axles. This was no in the area of the normal bend in the center that provides the lift. The axles actually has bends left to right as being bent/twisted, not arched as in the middle. They were actually almost like an "S" L-R, where it looks like the curbside hit hard by the PO. I'll see if they are still where I left them and get a picture.

Andy, I guess they got that hot. Mowed the grass tonight and just laughed. it could also be due to the dryness of the grass as where the Airstream sat for the night that is brown as well. Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:05 PM   #14
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Overlander63,
let me clarify what I meant in the bends in axles. This was no in the area of the normal bend in the center that provides the lift. The axles actually has bends left to right as being bent/twisted, not arched as in the middle. They were actually almost like an "S" L-R, where it looks like the curbside hit hard by the PO. I'll see if they are still where I left them and get a picture.
They are still there, along with several other axles. I'm pretty sure which ones are yours, even though the tech that did the work is on vacation this week. I can see if I can take a picture of them, possibly next to the "normal" used ones in the dead axle pile.
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