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Old 05-06-2004, 11:30 AM   #29
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whew!

Just traded emails with the owner on the axle issue, he says they look pretty good and is going to send pictures. Looks like if they were really bad and it wasn't towable on those axles, we'd put them on a truck as suggested.

How would I go about finding someone to tow it on a flatbed-type of thing? My husband is so swamped with work (not complaining!), it just might be cheaper to have it hauled.

i.
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Old 05-06-2004, 04:40 PM   #30
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Hey Guys,
I just came back from InlandRV, picked up my trailer from getting the running gear balanced and the bearings/brakes adjusted. I actually got to watch Andy's technician do the balance on my hubs/wheels. Amazing how out of balance these hubs were. Mind you the axles are only about a year old. So now things should be runnig smooth and safe for a while. Andy suggests 10000miles or once a year, whichever comes first.
It feels good to know that the few moving parts of this bucket of rivets are now in perfect running condition.
But to get to the point:
While strolling through Andy's silver toyshop, I saw several trailers with axle work in progress, and a good handful worth of trailer axles waiting to go to the recycler. All of them were complete junk, even off the trailer you cold see the torsion arm angle going way up, the wrong way. Looking on ebay and checking the pictures, I can tell that most have marginal axles, if not worn out axles. All the trailers I looked at pesonally recenty, with one exception, had bad axles. It just so happens that that is one of the main problems with trailers of this age. So, I must say that although many of the trailers might be marginal, they will need axles once you start loading and using them.
There are 3 scenarios, in my opinion:
Axles definitely shot, low rider look, torsion arms pointing up with trailer unloaded. Axles should be replaced, unsprung trailer this size not safe to tow, will cause body and/or frame damage.
Axles marginal, torsion arms parallel when unloaded - owner discretion determines axle replacements, or "wait for the tax return money", or not load heavily until new axles can be installed. ( that's where mine were when I bought the trailer)
Axles good, torsion arms point down, slight to moderate deflection when fully loaded - no worries!
I do agree whole heartedly that when you don't know how to check axles, go and seek professional advice before plunking down big bills. Trouble in the RV and trailer world is that it seems hard to find people that know the difference between an Airstream and a boat trailer. Which is one of the reasons that there are so many "opinions" and so few" facts".
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:00 PM   #31
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Are my axles bad?
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:18 PM   #32
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They look fine.............

Except for the minor crack in the midpoint of the axle tube itself, all they need is a coat of paint, fix that crack and you should be good to go
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:34 PM   #33
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Axle capacity on '59

..looking for some advice. I'm trying to decide whether to upgrade from a 3500lb axle to something higher (like 5200#) on my '59 Flying Cloud, which has leaf springs (not the duratorque setup).

I made the effort to weigh both my tow vehicle separately (4460lbs) and the trailer with tow vehicle (8040lbs) for a difference of 3580lbs. The reading on the weigh-in with the trailer for the third axle (trailer) was 3240lbs. Both these readings were taken with the trailer and vehicle mostly empty.

Since then I have added probably a couple hundred pounds in materials as I upgrade/renovate the trailer, and recently an airconditioner which weighs about 105. I figure this puts me in the 3800 range before adding people, food, water, etc.

I assume from what I have read on the forum that I have a 3500# axle. Does this mean I should upgrade? Is there anything between 3500# and 5200# available? Would I just need a new axle/hub or the whole set-up (with drum/brake and leaf springs).

Any advice?

Thanks,

John Lawrence
San Antonio, TX
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:03 PM   #34
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Try this thread
http://www.airforums.com/forum...t=axle+upgrade
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:11 PM   #35
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John,
Sounds like you are going down the same track I did. I'm adding A/C, and a greywater tank.

I purchased a new Dexter axle, loaded backing plates, and brake hubs for my '59 Tradewind. I don't remember the exact cost, but it was probably around $300.

I have a couple of cautions:

1. If you go with a new axle and drums, the clearance for your shock absorbers will be very tight. I moved the shocks inside of the frame, and fabricated some special brackets for the shocks.

2. I added a leaf to the spring pack to allow for the additional weight. You might decide not to do this. I'm not sure the benefit of more height and wheel well clearance is worth the investment. I took the springs to a spring shop and had the original springs reworked. The original springs are 2" wide and 36" long, which is a custom size.

Overall, I'm happy with the setup, although I haven't had it on the road yet. My biggest concern is that the added leaf will cause a slightly stiffer ride unless I load the trailer to near it's new weight rating.

I did a lot of calculations of spring rates, and detailed the whole thing on autocad to make sure the tires, shocks, and axle would clear the wheel wells and frame. If you need more information, I'll be glad to send more. You can see some of the pictures in my photoalbum.

Good luck and best wishes.

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Old 05-07-2004, 07:00 AM   #36
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New axle discussion

That looks awesome. Unfortunately, I don't have the shell or belly off (and hadn't planned on it.) Do you think it is possible to do this kind of work without removing the belly? (or shell for that matter...)

Thanks,

John.
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:43 AM   #37
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axles, not rocket science

Back to the part about getting opinions on the shape of your axles, my mechanical ability extends to changing my oil and other, very simple tasks. But I got under my Trade Wind and it was obvious that my axles are shot: even for a mechanically challenged person like me, I could relate those torsion arms to my own arm, and see that, pointing upward, they are at the absolute end of their travel, no bounce or cushion left to give.

So in my humble, untutored, new-experience opinion, quit hauling your compromised rig from shop to shop for opinions and roll underneath it. Those torsion arms tell it all.

Connie
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:50 AM   #38
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John,

The only difficulty doing this "shell on" is taking the measurements needed to order the axle. You would also need to cut holes in the belly pan if you decide to move the shocks inside the frame. Doesn't show in the picture above, but I have since added a crossbrace inside of the shocks to frame the opening for the bellyskin cut-outs.

I have the shell off for floor replacement and frame repair. You could certainly do an axle replacement without taking the bellypan off.
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Old 05-07-2004, 09:37 AM   #39
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Greg176

Nothing Super Glue couldn't handle, in just a few seconds.

Save the paint. It pollutes.

Andy

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Old 05-07-2004, 09:50 AM   #40
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The only problem that I see with the Markdoane installation, is that a hole will be necessary in the otherwise enclosed underbelly, to make room for the shocks and their movement. Otherwise, it looks good.

Shocks are normally within the wheel well, and not inside of the main frame.

Any axle rating dictates it's maximum weight carrying capacity. How that axle is attached to the frame, dictates the ride from very soft to very rigid.

A simple axle leaf spring installation is very basic. Having a torsion type suspension system is very different. The ride is dictated by the rating of the axle along with the weight that will be carried by that axle. As an example, a 5000 pound torsion type axle will certainly provide a very rough ride, if it's only carrying 2500 to 3000 pounds. On the other hand a 3500 pound torsion axle that is carrying 4000 to 5000 pounds will bottom out, causing extreme shock to the frame and shell.

Therefore, all torsion axles must be rated for the job intended. A rating too high or too lower, will result in long term damage of one sort or another.

Andy
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:02 AM   #41
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Good advice

I would say that Andy's comments are very true, and extend to leaf springs also. The only advantage with leaf springs is that you can modify them more easily by adding or subtracting leaves if necessary to increase/decrease the load rating.

I built a "pocket" in the belly pan to allow moving the shocks inside the frame. It doesn't look as good as the original, but I just wasn't happy with the clearance for the bigger shocks and deeper brake drums. Moving them inside the frame also makes it easier to replace them.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:19 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin
Back to the part about getting opinions on the shape of your axles, my mechanical ability extends to changing my oil and other, very simple tasks. But I got under my Trade Wind and it was obvious that my axles are shot: even for a mechanically challenged person like me, I could relate those torsion arms to my own arm, and see that, pointing upward, they are at the absolute end of their travel, no bounce or cushion left to give.

So in my humble, untutored, new-experience opinion, quit hauling your compromised rig from shop to shop for opinions and roll underneath it. Those torsion arms tell it all.

Connie
You go, Connie! Your post about sums it up.
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