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Old 12-18-2013, 07:29 AM   #29
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There is no way to access for NDI (Non Destructive Inspection), the square torsion bar that broke, without disassembling the axle.
It looks like a similar failure to this one from 2011.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...tml#post977161
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #30
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THIS IS TOTALLY SPECULATION!
I am not an expert in metallurgy! I have seen some large bolts shear similarly during my days in heavy construction.

My guess: I think there were two breaks that happened very close in time. That is why there is very little surface rust.

I speculate this because there are two distinct colored areas. I think the darker color near the bottom of the photo was the first break. I think this happened when some large force bent the axle upward. After this initial break the axle repeatedly flexed during travel until it finally broke completely.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:43 AM   #31
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gee whizz;
welcome to california, home of some pi$$ poor public roads, potholes, undulations etc.
nice to see you got it repaired. travel safe.
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Old 12-18-2013, 05:47 PM   #32
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A W, I am with you on the shear. that was first thing to came to mind when i saw the end of the axle.. the "waves" on the end sorta give it away to me. but like you i am not a metallurgist either.

I guess over time the torque of the rubber inserts and the constant twisting can cause the metal to shear over the years..




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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
THIS IS TOTALLY SPECULATION!
I am not an expert in metallurgy! I have seen some large bolts shear similarly during my days in heavy construction.

My guess: I think there were two breaks that happened very close in time. That is why there is very little surface rust.

I speculate this because there are two distinct colored areas. I think the darker color near the bottom of the photo was the first break. I think this happened when some large force bent the axle upward. After this initial break the axle repeatedly flexed during travel until it finally broke completely.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:14 AM   #33
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We were very lucky this past week. Pulled into campground in Aberdeen SD for a WBCCI unit rally, and backed into site with help from the wife on the drivers side. She started visiting right away, and I got out to unhook and went around to the curb side, and found the front wheel of the trailer laying on it's side, jamed against the front of the wheel well. Axle had broken when backing into the site. We had just left the highway. Thank god this didn't happen on the highway. Trailer is still in Aberdeen, and 3 new axles will be installed. Is this something that is unique to the 34' triple axle Airstreams? I know there is more stress when turning with the triple axles, but there is no way to inspect for this type of damage. We love the 34', but if this is going to be a problem again, I think I will have to look hard at going back to a tandem axle. Here are a couple of pictures of the axle.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:20 AM   #34
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Call Andy at Inland RV - best advice - will order new axles to fit and perform better than original.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:20 AM   #35
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Can you take a macro image of the broke end with it in focus?

The 3 axle trailers put more stress on the axles during turns, especially when backing up at extreme angles. I can't seen the broken end with enough detail to tell you if it was fatigue or not. The rusted area at the top indicates that it had a crack in it long enough to rust.

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Old 09-16-2014, 09:55 AM   #36
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CB, Contact Colin Hyde, he knows more about Airstream axles than anyone outside of the factory.
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:50 AM   #37
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Just got off the phone with the repair shop in Aberdeen. They are ordering 3 new axles from Andy today. Can't get any more pictures as the trialer is 7 hrs away. Have one that shows the break on the axle a bit better. Just glad that there was no serios damage to the unit. Sure wish that there was some way that the axles could be checked for a problem. I will be making the trip back to Aberdeen once the traielr is fixed. Checked with my insurance about coverage, and they will only pay for damages caused by the break, not the break itself. Such is life, and we have to look at the positives!!!
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:01 PM   #38
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CB, Contact Colin Hyde, he knows more about Airstream axles than anyone outside of the factory.
How about my almost 50 years?

Andy.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:10 PM   #39
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The INTERNET means we ALL hear a lot more about everything. It doesn't take a genius to know how a torsion axle works - and the very word "TORSION" should leave us all with some idea that the metal part of the axle is subject to some stress from torsion. This last one was what, 20 years old?

Some of us put a lot more miles on our units than others.
Some of us drive on better roads than others.
Some of us drive a lot faster than others.

How many 34 foot trailers have you seen over the years - versus how many have ever broken an axle. My immediate question to each of these three (and remember one was over a year ago) was it always the same axle that broke? The front one? And here's a goodie... always the same side? (If you do a lot of backing in, would you put more stress on the streetside front axle than on the curbside front axle?

How much travel - miles per year for each of the three.

(And here's a wild idea no one will want to think about... Maybe you shouldn't rotate tires.... Maybe you should rotate tires and AXLES! )

I'm sure Andy has a great depth of knowledge regarding Airstream axles - but he doesn't have a shop on the east coast. There ARE a few real gurus on the eastern side too. Colin Hyde's shop and Out of Doors Mart are a couple. I've also never heard bad stuff about Colonial Airstream for service... so we are not totally bereft on this end of the country, eh?

I don't own a 34, but if I ever buy an older one, I think I will do a preemptive strike on the old axles!

Y'all have a great week.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:28 PM   #40
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I know I've posted this before, but here it is again.
Note the "CAUTION" at the bottom of the info sheet.

http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/6149609/f/...flex_11-06.pdf
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:05 AM   #41
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I know I've posted this before, but here it is again.
Note the "CAUTION" at the bottom of the info sheet.

http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/6149609/f/...flex_11-06.pdf
I don't guess Airstream read that last part.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:42 AM   #42
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Well, I'm sure Airstream started making torsion axle triples long before Dexter cautioned against it.
I'm sure Airstream's engineers factored this in the design of the triple axle 34'er.


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