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Old 10-15-2012, 08:39 AM   #1
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Axle guess on a trailer I might buy.

I need to know if I can replace the RV Axles & Electric brakes with those that are sold by Ag Supply or Harbor Freight?
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:49 AM   #2
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I need to know if I can replace the RV Axles & Electric brakes with those that are sold by Ag Supply or Harbor Freight?
Ag Supply should have brakes but I don't think they would have torsion axles which would be needed to replace torsion axles. If you have an Airstream that is old enough to have leaf spring axles they may have something that will work.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:25 PM   #3
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I need to know if I can replace the RV Axles & Electric brakes with those that are sold by Ag Supply or Harbor Freight?
Quality Trailer Products carries torsion axles (Rockwell American) that you order to spec. They have a location 40 miles from you in Timmonsville, SC. We ordered mine with new drums, bearings, brakes, etc. I just got back from Albuquerque and they're working great. You have to select the right bracket when you order them, but with that bracket they bolted up perfectly to my '75 Argosy with no drilling.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:41 PM   #4
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Axle advice

The axles do have leaf springs. The axle is probably 4" above the ground. The frame and everything is very rusty. I can not get under the camper to really inspect anything. I do know both the rear bathroom floor area has rot and the frame below is rusted through in several areas. I am not sure I should buy it at all.
I would appreciate your thoughts it is a late 50's A/S Ambassador.
Thanks
Rodney
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:59 PM   #5
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i went through a major repair of our Airstream in the bathroom area. I reinforced the frame and replaced the plywood floor and rebuilt the bathroom (still no shower and it works but isn't finished), It was and still is a major project. Most of the frame in the back was OK but the cross members under the shower pan had rotted out and the bottom part of the frame on the passenger side was also rough. A friend who knew how to weld helped me put it all back together. If you look up in the Frame section, around 2007, you will probably find my old posts and what I went through.

I wouldn't take on that type of a project again unless the Airstream was a very good price, essentially free. That or it was extremely rare and in a restored condition would command a better price than what I would have in it. I need to point out that the Airstream is not my only hobby, if it were I might have a different view on the matter.

The new axles and brakes are the last of the major components to be replaced on the Safari. When I get that done, the only original running gear components will be the wheel rims, and they seem to be in pretty good shape (I would love to replace them with a nice set of Mag Wheels though).

Tom
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for your advice

Yes it will be a major project for me to undertake. That is why I am hesitatant. The price is $1000.00 as is. It is an Airstream 1957 or 1958 (I think) Ambassador. The interior is still there and moldy. Just to move it will take a professional wrecker company and it will need to be pulled up on a trailer to be transported 40 miles to me.
What is the Rule of Thumb concerning rusty frames? Inspect, clean, inspect again the weld all areas that have rusted through? At what point do you decide the frame is to far gone to weld?
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:31 AM   #7
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New axles

A word of caution regarding new axles.

Not every manufacturer uses the same rubber rods, nor do they temper the steel shaft.

When the super cheap rubber rods are used (confirmed by lab tests) the axle will fail in a short period of time.

As most people know, the rubber rods are not replaceable.

Choosing a well know manufacturer, will avoid the short life issue.

There is always a reason for cheap prices and down grades, which typically comes from an inferior product.

Andy



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Old 10-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Yes it will be a major project for me to undertake. That is why I am hesitatant. The price is $1000.00 as is. It is an Airstream 1957 or 1958 (I think) Ambassador. The interior is still there and moldy. Just to move it will take a professional wrecker company and it will need to be pulled up on a trailer to be transported 40 miles to me.
What is the Rule of Thumb concerning rusty frames? Inspect, clean, inspect again the weld all areas that have rusted through? At what point do you decide the frame is to far gone to weld?
I have built a lot of trailers in my time, and my opinion on when to build a new frame may be condiderably different than other folks. If I am going to do a shell off restoration on an AS trailer that has considerable rust, I would build a new frame. If I had any of the major cross members rusted out, or significant damage to even one frame rail, I would build a new frame. The cost of steel for a new frame would be about $1,500 or so, depending on the size of the frame. Keep in mind the original frame isn't that strong to begin with and by the time I replaced even one cross member, and then tried to reinforce the original frame, it would be easier to build a new one. If I found a nice AS trailer with a great shell and a rusted frame, I would seriously consider doing the project.

Pictures of my last trailer frame, still on the jig. This one took about 2 weeks to build, but more time was involved in the design than the build.






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Old 10-20-2012, 06:23 AM   #9
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M2HB I am very jealous of your fabrication frame! ! ! !

Looks like you can clamp down everything in place and square before you stike the first rod.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:55 AM   #10
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An Airstream is engineered to flex and twist as it goes down the road. It is not engineered to be a rigid box like all the other trailers out there. As impressive as the frame pictured above is, it is going to lead to exterior skin splitting under the stress.
Human nature seems to be that everything must be built like Fort Knox but sometimes there is a reason why things are as they are. Airstream was not being skimpy on the metal(unless you are talking about the quality of it during the early 1970's) they were making a frame designed to move a little.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:15 AM   #11
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If you go ahead with the purchase, you will not be able to find replacement leaf springs at your local Ag Supply or Harbor Freight.
The springs stocked at those outlets are never the same width or length as the ones that were used by Airstream.
However, you probably don't need to replace the leaf springs, just have them inspected and rebuilt by a reputable spring shop.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:29 PM   #12
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M2HB I am very jealous of your fabrication frame! ! ! !

Looks like you can clamp down everything in place and square before you stike the first rod.
You are correct.
The jig used to be in a building with a concrete floor and an overhead crane. It has sides that bolt on to create a perfectly square frame for equipment trailers. When we sold the building, I kept the jig. It isn't in the same nice environment, but it still works. When building a narrower trailer, you just build off of one side and square off of all the cross member pieces that are removable. It takes a lot of time out of building a trailer frame. When you know that the main frame rails are straight, it makes the build go real fast.
I still run a string line down the center, from the back to the tip of the coupler and I also check the "square" with cross measurements, just to verify how good the frame is, before I weld it out.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:48 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for all of the excellant advice on axles and frame replacement. I think that I will keep looking for a better A/S.
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