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Old 10-29-2003, 07:29 PM   #1
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1984 34' Excella
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Are My Axles Bad?

How do you tell if axles are bad? I had a tow service pick up my trailer when I bought it and he pulled it back at 70-75 mph which I thought was way to fast. Is there a way to check axles? Do you always have to replace them or are they repairable? Tim
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Old 10-29-2003, 07:33 PM   #2
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Bad axel

Check out inland rv they have a fairly comprehensive write up on the subject.
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Old 10-29-2003, 07:39 PM   #3
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For info on Airstream axles go to
http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:00 AM   #4
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trogers....,
A quick way to check is to look at the wheels head on, and see if the wheel cutout on the trailer covers the top of the wheel rim. If this is the case, then most likely you will need new axles. Make sure the trailer sits level and consider it's load. The inspection refers to an unloaded trailer.
If you can see a few fingers width of tire above the wheel rim, then chances are that your axles are ok. If the trailer is empty,and level, the torsion arms should point downwards. The torsion arms are the short "levers" that the wheel swivels on. You have to get a lamp and get under the trailer to see them.
If the torsion arms ar parallel to the frame, or pointing upwards, then the axles are definitely shot. If the axles are bad, then road shock will transfer into your frame and body shell, potenially causing lots of problems with the trailer's integrity.
The axles are available as complete assemblies, with new brakes and bearings etc.
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:34 AM   #5
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Uwe...Thanks for the information...I will check and see how mine look....Tim
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:41 PM   #6
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Axel

Just a quick follow up question. How much should I expect to pay in labor to have two new axels installed?
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Old 10-31-2003, 09:57 AM   #7
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STINKY.

Total man hours to replace two axles runs between 4 to 5. Add another hour if the shocks are also being replaced at the same time.

These are average times and depend on the experience of the installer, and the type equipment available to lift the new axles in place.

Alignment is automatic, as the bolt holes in the new mounting brackets exactly match the holes in the axle mounting plates.

Sole exception is some of the 62 -63 models, as well as the Caravel models through 1967.

Replacing tamdem axles is actually easier than replacing a single axle, in that with the tandem, a jack is not required to lift the trailer.

Andy
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Old 10-31-2003, 12:56 PM   #8
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The new axle took some extra work on my ‘67 Caravel. The new axles come with a mounting bracket that sits the axle about 7/8” higher than the old axle. When I positioned the new axle in the old space the trailer frame bracket was too short in height to drill new mounting holes. After the axle arrived I called Andy about the axle not fitting in place. He told me I needed to extend the trailer frame bracket downward using 3/16 steel. The frame modification allowed me to drill new horizontal mounting holes through both the trailer and axle bracket allowing the axle to bolt on. The shock mounts (which came unattached) were then welded on. It did take more time and money than I originally anticipated but solved a problem of thetire rubbing in the wheel well on the curb side. Having a new undercarrage under my 35 year old trailer gives me an added sense of security and I like the way it tows now. Here’s a photo of how I did it.
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Old 10-31-2003, 12:57 PM   #9
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I'll try that photo again...
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Old 10-31-2003, 01:05 PM   #10
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Rick, great job.

Three new 1/2 inch holes can also be drilled through the bracket and axle mounting plate, if someone did not want to extend the axle mounting plate.

That would adapt the new brackets to the old, very short, axle mounting plates eliminating the need to do any welding, except perhaps for the shock brackets.

Andy
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Old 10-31-2003, 04:06 PM   #11
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Just to give you a visual, here is a pic of my 74 with the original and decent axles. There is still ample room left between the top of the wheel rim (not the tire) and the fender lip. Not exactly a scientific approach but a good quick way to get a general idea. I am sure a new axle would have even more distance between the two points.
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:29 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Axels

Thank you so much guys this was a great help!
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:08 PM   #13
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Years ago, when this site was just starting, I remember a discussion about Airstream axles, when they are not moved for a long time, take a set and do not support the trailer properly. I believe it was Inland Andy that suggested when an Airstrean is to set for a long without moving, the axles should be unloaded. I have looked but cannot find that thread. Any of you old timers remember this? I am at a point where my 93 Excella may sit up to a year in my garage without being moved. I am trying to remember if the wheels need to be off the ground, or if just raising the trailer a 2-3 inches would do the job of preventing a set on the rubber. Any thoughts would be appreciated if it will help me to preserve the axles on my trailer and not have to worry about axle shipping costs. Thanks. Jeff
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:45 PM   #14
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Jeff,
I believe that 3-4 inches of lift would be sufficient to unload the axles and to keep the rubber from setting. Of course, if you lift it so the tires are just off the ground, then you will avoid the flatspotting that occurs when tires sit in the same spot for a long time.
The trailer should be lifted on the axle mounting plate between the wheels, and that is where the jacks should go to keep it up high. It is important that the trailer is stabilized in teh front and back, so if you are going inside, it won't fall off the jacks, or teeter towards the back. I would use the regular stabilizing jacks for this, and some 3" blocks etc.
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