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Old 08-04-2013, 03:37 PM   #1
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'62 axle weight

I'm near ready to change out the axles in a '62 ambassador. It appears they have been changed years back. The brackets are bolted and welded to the frame plates. The welds just look too sloppy for factory work, and the bolt holes in the mounting plates look torch cut. No ID of any kind I can find on the X's. I've seen ratings for this year/model ranging from 2100 lbs to 3000 lbs per axle. All this considered makes me wonder if they used one rating in 1962, the first year for torsions, than changed in '63 or '64 to a different rate due to problems. Anyone been through this on a '62 or know the proper axle rating?
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Old 08-04-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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I'm near ready to change out the axles in a '62 ambassador. It appears they have been changed years back. The brackets are bolted and welded to the frame plates. The welds just look too sloppy for factory work, and the bolt holes in the mounting plates look torch cut. No ID of any kind I can find on the X's. I've seen ratings for this year/model ranging from 2100 lbs to 3000 lbs per axle. All this considered makes me wonder if they used one rating in 1962, the first year for torsions, than changed in '63 or '64 to a different rate due to problems. Anyone been through this on a '62 or know the proper axle rating?
The original axle rating for a 1962 28 foot Airstream, was 2600 pounds each.

In 1963 that was kicked up to 3200 pounds each.

Today, they should be 3500 pounds each.

All of the 1961 axles and many of the 1962 axles, were indeed welded in place.

Andy
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #3
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All of the 1961 axles and many of the 1962 axles, were indeed welded in place.

Andy
Must make it more difficult to do an alignment.
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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Must make it more difficult to do an alignment.
Aage.

Nope, not one bit.

It doesn't matter if the axle is welded or bolted to the frame, as far as alignment goes.

To align the axles, you bend the square tubes, and that's it.

Andy
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:24 PM   #5
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Thanks Andy. That is what has me perplexed. Why did they increase the X rate by 600Lbs per axle in '63 over '62 on the Ambassador. I've never had a '63 stripped down to the frame but '62s and '63s seem very similar. Would it be reasonable to expect that the original 2600Lb Xs on this '62 were replaced with 3200 Lb Xs? Would that have been done per recommendation of Airstream? Most importantly can a '62 28ft ambassador take a pair of 3200lb axles with no negative issues in 2013? These old long ones a pretty flimsy, and damn hard to find. I'd hate to screw it up!!!
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:46 PM   #6
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Thanks Andy. That is what has me perplexed. Why did they increase the X rate by 600Lbs per axle in '63 over '62 on the Ambassador. I've never had a '63 stripped down to the frame but '62s and '63s seem very similar. Would it be reasonable to expect that the original 2600Lb Xs on this '62 were replaced with 3200 Lb Xs? Would that have been done per recommendation of Airstream? Most importantly can a '62 28ft ambassador take a pair of 3200lb axles with no negative issues in 2013? These old long ones a pretty flimsy, and damn hard to find. I'd hate to screw it up!!!
Airstream had to learn what happened to the trailers using torsion axles.

What they learned is that having the axles under rated caused some problems. Therefore they kicked up the ratings.

That was to be expected, if you wish, as a learning factor.

Then, as time went on, most owners travel with a lot of "stuff".

That then dictated even a higher axle rating.

Then some inexperienced people got involved with supplying replacement axles, much to the detriment of the trailer and safety.

Therefore a higher rating is now recommended, along with brakes that cannot only stop the trailer, but the tow vehicle as well.

Andy
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:05 AM   #7
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In 1962 the Airstream ad read "... axles that will never need to be replaced."
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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In 1962 the Airstream ad read "... axles that will never need to be replaced."
Frank.

Back then, the Airstream also had a lifetime warranty.

Then, attorneys got involved.

Next, you guess it, the warranty was cut way way back.

The axles never fail, but the rubber rods do. Back then, Henschen would rebuild the axles, which meant they would install new rubber rods, and within reason, would also increase the rating, if requested.

And then, guess again, attorneys got involved with the rebuild, so Henschen said "NO MORE".

Some might say that times have changed.

They are correct.

More frivolous law suits than ever.

Most attorneys are very nice, but like an apple tree, there is always a bad one.

So, we all move on and try to live with it.

Andy
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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I hate frivolous law suits! I wish people would actually take responsibility for their actions.

I was changing an axle the other day and at lunch I was reading a 1962 Trailer R News. I saw the two page Airstream ad offering a free test drive of a trailer to see how easy it was to tow. In that ad it stated that the new torsion axles would be worry free, never needing any maintenance and would last for the life of the trailer. I laughed so hard my ice tea shot out my nose.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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Andy, I really appreciate the clear and concise info on the axles. I suspected a history along the lines you explained but needed someone of experience and common sense to confirm it. No problem at all if you know the facts.
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