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Old 11-22-2014, 08:16 AM   #1
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Are axles standardized per year and model?

Hello Airstream villagers!

I'm at the point in the restoration of my '61 Overlander Land Yacht where I need to deal with replacing all the running gear. Do I just find the nearest dealer for axles and tell them the year and model or do I have to crawl under there and measure the distance between spindles or search for a part number?


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Old 11-22-2014, 09:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Hello Airstream villagers!

I'm at the point in the restoration of my '61 Overlander Land Yacht where I need to deal with replacing all the running gear. Do I just find the nearest dealer for axles and tell them the year and model or do I have to crawl under there and measure the distance between spindles or search for a part number?


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It is my understanding that the axles and hole placement were not standardized until 1964 or so.

We have a 1962 Ambassador and we changed our axles. We ordered them from Inland in California ( closer to us to save shipping) we measured the mounting plates for them on our trailer, to ensure we had the correct spacing. We did have to drill new holes as the holes in our mounting plates did not line up with the holes in the Axles, We only had to drill 4 holes if i remember correctly.

I'm sure there is an axle dealer in your area who can order what you need.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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Most Airstream axles were made by Henshen, which I believe is out of business. The dealer for Henshen axles was Inland RV in California. Used to be you could just give them the VIN and they would order you a axle which would just bolt in. Maybe they still can. If you don't feel familiar or comfortable with your own measurements start with them, One measurement off by a fraction of an inch will get you an axle which is unusable.

I ordered mine from Dexter Axles. and yes there is critical information you need to include: torsion arm angle, reverse mounting bracket, distance between the mounting brackets, brake drum mounting plate distance, #10 or #11 axle, shock absorber mount or not and maybe a few others I have forgot about.

If you do a search there is more information in the anals of the forum than you ever would want to know.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Hello Airstream villagers!

I'm at the point in the restoration of my '61 Overlander Land Yacht where I need to deal with replacing all the running gear. Do I just find the nearest dealer for axles and tell them the year and model or do I have to crawl under there and measure the distance between spindles or search for a part number?


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A dealer that properly knows what axle/axles you need, is easy, all that is necessary is the trailer serial number.

Andy
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Old 11-22-2014, 03:55 PM   #5
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Yes, Inland RV is good at it. I used Colin Hyde in New York state and they are good at it. You will likely encounter frame modifications for your new axles. Your 61 axles might even be welded on! Your trailer is close to the first year of the Henschen Dura Torque axles.

Taking a wheel off and then crawling under the trailer and taking a picture of your axles where they mount to the frame might help Inland or Colin Hyde spec your new axles.

David
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Hello Airstream villagers!

I'm at the point in the restoration of my '61 Overlander Land Yacht where I need to deal with replacing all the running gear. Do I just find the nearest dealer for axles and tell them the year and model or do I have to crawl under there and measure the distance between spindles or search for a part number?


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All 1961 torsion axles were welded to the frame.

Andy
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:39 AM   #7
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Inland Andy, I thought you had told us that. So bongo will have a little more cost to plasma cut the axles off his trailer. And he will have to size the notch and drill the new mounting holes. And being mindful of proper axle alignment. It's more work than the later models where they just bolt up.

David
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:11 AM   #8
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It seems like there is an exception to every rule. The torsion axle on my 1961 Safari was not welded to the frame from the factory. It was instead welded to the mounting plates which were then bolted to the frame. Removing the 6 bolts ( 3 per side) dropped the axle and mounting plates in a single unit from the trailer.
When I replaced the axle I needed to make new mounting plates. I then bolted the new mounting plates to the frame and bolted the axle to the plates.
Sam
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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I'm just doing this now.
To prevent any mis-communication I
dropped the fwd. axel and physically (!! 200+ Lb !!)
delivered to an axel specialist for new Dexter axels.
I called another fellow who had just done it and asked
advice on the various axel ratings and down angle he
had used and he gave me excellent advice.
I then contacted a mobil welder and had him over to
spec. out the job to ensure that every thing would be
as strong and straight as possible. This is because my
trailer had been in a wreck sometime in the distant past
and a hack repair had been made so I probably have a
lot more issues than most who do this job.
I now await the axels (4-6 week delivery)
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:20 AM   #10
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I was at Inland not that long ago, good guys and they had a number of axles on hand. I don't think that Inland is installing them anymore though.
In my case though I have a Spring Mounted Axle. I went through a local DEXTER Distributor (Arrow Trailer, Ontario, CA). I did have to give them MY Dimensions but now I have a New Axle with Electric Brakes!
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samb View Post
It seems like there is an exception to every rule. The torsion axle on my 1961 Safari was not welded to the frame from the factory. It was instead welded to the mounting plates which were then bolted to the frame. Removing the 6 bolts ( 3 per side) dropped the axle and mounting plates in a single unit from the trailer.
When I replaced the axle I needed to make new mounting plates. I then bolted the new mounting plates to the frame and bolted the axle to the plates.
Sam
Sorry, but that's not how your trailer was built.

Axle mounting plates were never used until the mid 62 models.

Perhaps a previous owner installed what you see.

Andy
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Gurney View Post
I'm just doing this now.
To prevent any mis-communication I
dropped the fwd. axel and physically (!! 200+ Lb !!)
delivered to an axel specialist for new Dexter axels.
I called another fellow who had just done it and asked
advice on the various axel ratings and down angle he
had used and he gave me excellent advice.
I then contacted a mobil welder and had him over to
spec. out the job to ensure that every thing would be
as strong and straight as possible. This is because my
trailer had been in a wreck sometime in the distant past
and a hack repair had been made so I probably have a
lot more issues than most who do this job.
I now await the axels (4-6 week delivery)
Dexter axle will build an axle for an Airstream, with some upgraded changes.

Starting angles, weight ratings, self adjusting 12 inch brakes are always something to consider, and typically a dealer that has not been around Airstreams, don't have a clue as to the dimensions, as some owners unfortunately, have already learned. But, once again, to each his own choices.

However, delivery is never, ever, more than 2 1/2 weeks.

Andy
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Old 11-23-2014, 07:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samb

It seems like there is an exception to every rule. The torsion axle on my 1961 Safari was not welded to the frame from the factory. It was instead welded to the mounting plates which were then bolted to the frame. Removing the 6 bolts ( 3 per side) dropped the axle and mounting plates in a single unit from the trailer.
When I replaced the axle I needed to make new mounting plates. I then bolted the new mounting plates to the frame and bolted the axle to the plates.
Sam



Sorry, but that's not how your trailer was built.

Axle mounting plates were never used until the mid 62 models.

Perhaps a previous owner installed what you see.

Andy
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I posted this here only because the original poster asked "Are axles standardized per year and model" and I thought that others, especially with 1961 models, may have the same axle mounting method as mine.

Here is what I know about my Safari:
# 221D495
I found the date January 17th, 1961 hand written on the inside wall of a cabinet.
The person I bought the trailer from was the original owner who bought the trailer new in Arkansas in 1961. He had the original title.
He towed the trailer to Oregon, used it briefly, then left it parked for 44 + years.
He stated to me that he did no repairs, including no axle replacement.
The axle mounting plates I removed with the axle included the upper shock bracket welded to the plate.
I carefully cleaned off the frame and it showed no signs of ever having anything welded to it. There were no weld marks or any sign that welds had been ground off, including where leaf spring shackles might have been.
The only signs of axle fastening were the 3 5/8ths" holes in the frame on each side. The holes on each side were identical in spacing, side to side and alignment, as if a template had been used.

If anyone else has encountered this mounting method, or if Andy has any more
theories on how my trailer axle mounting system came to be I would certainly like to hear more. The only thing I can think of is that mine was a prototype of some sort.

Sam
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:34 AM   #14
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Andy-
First, thank you for being such a solid knowledge base to our community!!

I am running into the same issues that others have. I am looking to replace 3 axles on my 1990 34' Limited as well as the shocks. If I recall right a few years back you had mentioned that Airstreams take a specific shock, not a vertical shock. That is why I turned right around the last dealership when they said they could order them from NAPA??

I would like to order the OEM or its equilvant from you if you have them in stock.
Would you be kind enough to tell me what axles and shocks I need for my 34' limited??

VIN 1STGLAU34LJ507497

Please PM me with a price or post it here if you so desire. What is your lead time? Shipping would be to a business address in Bozeman MT Zipcode 59718
Many Thanks
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