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Old 07-28-2007, 10:17 PM   #1
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Axle Measurements

Oh No, not another axle thread

No question about it, my axles need replaced. My question(s) are for those of you who have been-there-done-that.

I have a 1964 dual axle Overlander. I have gleaned the following information searching thru copious past threads.

Henschen:
OEM Replacement. Allegedly direct bolt in. Direct from Andy's mouth, they are NOT direct bolt in. $800 each plus shipping.

Dexter:
Price about 1/2 of the Henschens (no recent verification noted in threads)
#10 axle
3200# Rating (or 3500#)?
Type "A" 5200 lb spindle
12" Drums
Reverse mounting bracket Standard or high profile?
22.5 Degree down angle
EZ Lube
Hub face to face measurement 75" (Verified this matches mine)
Mounting bracket to mounting bracket 58" (Verified this matches mine)
Torsion arm length ???

Those who have gone with Dexter can you verify the torsion arm length, cost, ease of install, anything else I might be missing, or have wrong info on. My current axles have absolutely no identifying information on them anywhere that I can see. What is the original weight rating on my axles?
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatPumpkin
I have a 1964 dual axle Overlander. I have gleaned the following information searching thru copious past threads.

Henschen:
OEM Replacement. Allegedly direct bolt in. Direct from Andy's mouth, they are NOT direct bolt in. $800 each plus shipping.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Henschen axles for 1968 and older Airstreams, have different mounting brackets that the orginals. That change was requested by Airstream.

All it requires is that you set the axle in place, drill 3 each 1/2 holes thru the bracket, thru the axle mounting plate and install the 1/2 inch grade 8 hardware that we provide at no charge. Nothing to align.

That has never been a problem yet, for any one.

The shock bracket is a different story.

Prior to 1969 models, Airstream used several wheel well dimensions, both at the California and Ohio plants. In some older models, the shell was not centered sidways with the chassis, throwing most of the dimensions out the window.

That has made it impossible to "exactly" locate the shock brackets, with any reasonable degree of accuracy.

Therefore all shock brackets for axles that will be installed on trailers older than the 1969 models, are shipped separately.

You then can place and weld them so match your trailers wheel well dimensions. Additionally, some owners want to do away with the vertical shocks and use the horizontal shocks. That again, requires a different location for the bracket in their specific case.

Other than the above, there is "nothing" else to change or modify.

Spindle size, brake size, is never reduced as it is with some other torsion axle manufacturers.

In fact on some of the older Bambi and Caravel models, the brake size can be increased from 10 inch to 12 inch.

The Henschen axles at this point, are guaranteed for 10 years, and the brakes are guaranteed for two years. That program started January 1st, 2007.

No other torsion axle manufacturer offers those warranties.

To order Henschen axles, the only information needed is the trailer serial number. Other venders need the complete specs. If you make a mistake, you own it.

The only other information needed is for the Bambi and Caravel models. That information being the number of bolt holes in the present wheels.

Henschen has 44 years experience with Airstream.

Dexter is the new kid on the block, with limited to no experience wth the older trailers.

Alko isn't even in the running.

Axis quit the Airstream program, for their internal reasons.

Southwest wheel is not in the running either.

Andy
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatPumpkin
Oh No, not another axle thread

No question about it, my axles need replaced. My question(s) are for those of you who have been-there-done-that.

I have a 1964 dual axle Overlander. I have gleaned the following information searching thru copious past threads.

Henschen:
OEM Replacement. Allegedly direct bolt in. Direct from Andy's mouth, they are NOT direct bolt in. $800 each plus shipping.

Dexter:
Price about 1/2 of the Henschens (no recent verification noted in threads)
#10 axle
3200# Rating (or 3500#)?
Type "A" 5200 lb spindle
12" Drums
Reverse mounting bracket Standard or high profile?
22.5 Degree down angle
EZ Lube
Hub face to face measurement 75" (Verified this matches mine)
Mounting bracket to mounting bracket 58" (Verified this matches mine)
Torsion arm length ???

Those who have gone with Dexter can you verify the torsion arm length, cost, ease of install, anything else I might be missing, or have wrong info on. My current axles have absolutely no identifying information on them anywhere that I can see. What is the original weight rating on my axles?
Your original weight rating was way below 3000 pounds.

We use a better starting angle.

Your hub face dimensions are wrong.

Your bracket dimensions are wrong.

Torsion arm length will dictate the position of the tires, therefore if you get it wrong, some tires may rub the underbelly and/or outriggers.

Your price difference is wrong.

Have you considered the difference in warranties?

A couple of owners have replaced their torsion axles for less than $150.00 each, but they won't own up to what they installed, either.

Surely, hundreds of thousands of previous Airstream and Argosy trailers, can't be wrong.

Gosh, I heard from one owner that had a tandem axle Airstream, that he was going to make a 16 wheelers out of his.

Being curious, I asked him why he was going to do that.

His answer was to save money.

I asked how are you going to save money?

He replied, "I am going to install either roller skates on it so I can also lower the center of gravity, or 4 small kids wagons. It depends on the costs."

WOW.

Maybe we have all missed something..........

Everyone is welcome to change the design of their trailer, as they wish. But, if they make a mstake, they will pay the penalty.

On the other hand, they can sell on e-bay, and let someone else pay for their mistakes.

The choice is simple. Go with the known, or take your chances, how ever large or small that might be.

Costs are an excuse.

If someone wanted to get into RVing cheaply, they certainly made a mistake when they bought an Airstream.

And so it is.

Andy
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Old 07-29-2007, 01:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In

All ? it requires is that you set the axle in place, drill 3 each 1/2 holes thru the bracket, thru the axle mounting plate and install the 1/2 inch grade 8 hardware that we provide at no charge. Nothing to align.

? Why downgraded from the original size?


Quote:
...shock brackets for axles that will be installed on trailers older than the 1969 models, are shipped separately.

You then can place and weld them so match your trailers wheel well dimensions. Additionally, some owners want to do away with the vertical shocks and use the horizontal shocks. That again, requires a different location for the bracket in their specific case.

Other than the above, there is "nothing" else to change or modify.
Andy

Hence my statement "they are NOT direct bolt in"
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Old 07-29-2007, 01:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Your original weight rating was way below 3000 pounds.

What was the original rating?

Quote:
We use a better starting angle.

Wasn't 22.5 degrees the OEM starting angle?

Quote:
Your hub face dimensions are wrong.

Enlighten me with the correct numbers - I found those measurements in another thread where someone else has already replaced theirs. I verified this measurement myself on my axles.

Quote:
Your bracket dimensions are wrong.

Again, enlighten me with the correct numbers - I found those measurements in another thread where someone else has already replaced theirs. I verified this measurement myself on my axles. (OK mine came out to be precisely 57 7/8")

Quote:
Torsion arm length will dictate the position of the tires, therefore if you get it wrong, some tires may rub the underbelly and/or outriggers.

Completely understand that, hence the question on correct length.

Quote:
Your price difference is wrong.

Not according to multiple other threads from those who have been-there-done-that. I did state that there were no RECENT confirmations of this.

Quote:
Have you considered the difference in warranties?

Either axle should outlast me.

Quote:
Surely, hundreds of thousands of previous Airstream and Argosy trailers, can't be wrong.

Then why did Airstream switch? So Are you saying Airstream is wrong for switching to Dexters???


Quote:
The choice is simple. Go with the known, or take your chances, how ever large or small that might be.

Not so simple, or there wouldn't be multiple people going with and/or contemplating Dexter.

Quote:
Costs are an excuse.

Easy statement to make when you hold the monopoly on the "OEM" replacements. Easy statement for a "drop-shipper" to make trying to maintain his monopoly. Care to share information on what your profit margin on is on an axle you basically drop-ship from the factory??? Is there any reasonable justification for charging so much more than Dexters? You can't say it's quality - the mothership switched to Dexters because of a quality issue with Henschen IIRC. You can't say it's a direct bolt-in replacement, we've already debunked that statement.

Quote:
If someone wanted to get into RVing cheaply, they certainly made a mistake when they bought an Airstream.

I knew I could count on you to "answer" (reply is probably a more correct term here - no answers were given). I have seen you regularly deride others for looking at other options than what you sell.

Quote:
And so it is.
Quote:
Andy
And so it is. Now returning to our regularly scheduled program. This thread was directed to those who will provide the answers to my questions. Yes, you obviously have the answers, but don't appear to be willing to divulge them, only taking the time to tell me where I'm wrong. If you would like to proide the answers to my original questions (or to any of my secondary questions) then feel free to reply. If not - thank you for your time and please stay out of my thread. I may end up going with Henschen, but for now I'm investigating other options. Then I will make an informed decision.
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Old 07-29-2007, 01:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GreatPumpkin
[/COLOR]
? Why downgraded from the original size?



Hence my statement "they are NOT direct bolt in"
Dexters are not direct bolt in, even more so.

Andy
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Old 07-29-2007, 02:11 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=GreatPumpkin][/COLOR]
? Why downgraded from the original size?

The only time down grading is ok, is when an Airstream is for most part gutted, and will stay that way.

Upgrading an axle rating is certainly ok on many models, but not the smallest of trailers, such as the Bambi and Caravel models.

Upgrading also has it's limits.

Upgrade to far, without an increase in weight leads to a very rough ride for the shell. We all know the shell will not take a rough ride.

Without my books at home, as I recall your axles were 2400 or 2600 pound ratings.

Going to 3500 pounds, will kill the shell, unless, you add considerable permanent weight to the trailers.

Using the original starting angle of 22 1/2 degrees, at this point, is out dated.

Almost every tow vehicle today is heavy duty and high profile.

Accordingly, raising the starting ange to 35 degrees make more sense today than it did 30 or 40 years ago.

Going above 35 degrees is "NOT RECOMMENDED" by Airstream or Henschen.

Bump for bump, a 45 degree starting angle will have more torsion arm movement than 35 degrees, hence more shock to the shell.

Your 57 7/8 dimension is correct. 58 inches is incorrect. It wouldn't fit.

A commercial venture in a commercial building has higher operating costs than someone who operates out of their home.

Having and keeping an inventory of Airstream parts well into six figures, does cost money. Those costs must be recouped, or else..............

Andy

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Old 07-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #8
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Nice!

Educational thread folks!

Cheers,
Henry
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
All it requires is that you set the axle in place, drill 3 each 1/2 holes thru the bracket, thru the axle mounting plate and install the 1/2 inch grade 8 hardware that we provide at no charge. Nothing to align.
Andy
Andy, I have to admit, after reading some of the prior threads, I didn't expect to have to drill new mounting holes and weld on shock plates. I guess other than the extra work and time required to do the install, it's no biggy, but for the guy with no welding equipment, he might feel different about it.

I spent this last Saturday installing my new axle. My mounting plate only allowed two bolts (front and back) per side, which is all that attached the original axle.

I don't have the shock plates welded on yet. Are there any specifics (temp. control, weld points, etc.) that I should be aware of before doing this exercise?

Calvin
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem
Andy, I have to admit, after reading some of the prior threads, I didn't expect to have to drill new mounting holes and weld on shock plates. I guess other than the extra work and time required to do the install, it's no biggy, but for the guy with no welding equipment, he might feel different about it.

I spent this last Saturday installing my new axle. My mounting plate only allowed two bolts (front and back) per side, which is all that attached the original axle.

I don't have the shock plates welded on yet. Are there any specifics (temp. control, weld points, etc.) that I should be aware of before doing this exercise?

Calvin
The shock bracket can be welded on the torsion arm, to allow proper functioning of the shock absorbers.

That welding "does not" void any warranty.

1968 and older trailers have a small axle mounting plate, in that it does not go downward enough to utilize the original bolt holes.

Instead of modifying the axle mounting plate, simply drilling three 1/2 inch holes on each side, solves the problem.

The choice is adding to the axle mounting plate at considerable time and expense, or drill the three holes.

Airstream, Henschen and I came up with the three holes and 1/2 inch grade 8 bolts, making that installation stronger than two 5/8 inch bolts.

Andy
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:09 AM   #11
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Looks Like I need to place a third hole somewhere - on the front side (note in my picture that the third hole is located lower than my mounting plate)?
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:58 AM   #12
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I have put a new set of Dexters on my trailer earlier this spring but I have not been able to try them on the road yet as I am fixing floor issues at this time.
Price = I don't have the documents in front of me but I remember paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 apiece for a fully stacked/packed axle. Freight I can't remember... I also purchased new lug nuts my old axles were lug bolts. I don't have the exact specs in front of me on the length of the torsion arms but I can get that for you tonight after work.
I believe my axle was 22.5 degree, reverse brackets, dimensions were a little different.
If I would have done the project over I would have checked to see if I could get a better down angle on the Dexter. I believe the problem lies in the off the shelf Dexter axle comes in 22.5 and 45 degrees. I think others on this board may have been able to order something in between. CALL THE DEXTER ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT.
Installation - My trailer is a 1981 model. It uses two bolt holes on the side only. I had to make two modifications to the trailer and one to the axle.
1.) The Dexter axle tube is bigger than the Henschen tube. You will notice in the picture I had to grind away the rear side of the slot so the axle would fit. I took very careful measurement so the fit was snug.
2.) Bolt holes - The front hole on the trailer frame and the front hole on the Dexter axle bracket lined up perfectly (This assured me that the basic axle alignment was exactly the same as the originals). The rear holes on the trailer frame and axle bracket were off by 3/16" of an inch. I took a carbide burr on the end of a die grinder and made the hole a little bigger without touching the trailer frame hole.
3.) Shock brackets - Cut the old shock brackets off and weld them onto the new axles.
I did the installation with the help of a friend who works on truck axles for a living (Axle Surgeons). I would guess the job is probably worth $200 to $400. With the correct tools and a little help it's not a difficult job.

I would price the job out or see what tools you may need to purchase to complete the job and make your decision from there.
I didn't buy the Henschens because I had access to the resources for the job. Dexter is the biggest axle manufacturer in the US and parts are everywhere - my mechanic friend uses the Dexters all the time. From what I understand the brake systems on the Henschens are just Dexter parts. Getting the specs were the most difficult part of the project. I had to call Airstream and find somebody who had the information. I didn't want to call Andy because I didn't think it was right to milk him for information when I didn't have any intention on purchasing his product.Click image for larger version

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Old 07-30-2007, 10:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by crispyboy
I have put a new set of Dexters on my trailer earlier this spring but I have not been able to try them on the road yet as I am fixing floor issues at this time.
Price = I don't have the documents in front of me but I remember paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 apiece for a fully stacked/packed axle. Freight I can't remember... I also purchased new lug nuts my old axles were lug bolts. I don't have the exact specs in front of me on the length of the torsion arms but I can get that for you tonight after work.
I believe my axle was 22.5 degree, reverse brackets, dimensions were a little different.
If I would have done the project over I would have checked to see if I could get a better down angle on the Dexter. I believe the problem lies in the off the shelf Dexter axle comes in 22.5 and 45 degrees. I think others on this board may have been able to order something in between. CALL THE DEXTER ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT.
Installation - My trailer is a 1981 model. It uses two bolt holes on the side only. I had to make two modifications to the trailer and one to the axle.
1.) The Dexter axle tube is bigger than the Henschen tube. You will notice in the picture I had to grind away the rear side of the slot so the axle would fit. I took very careful measurement so the fit was snug.
2.) Bolt holes - The front hole on the trailer frame and the front hole on the Dexter axle bracket lined up perfectly (This assured me that the basic axle alignment was exactly the same as the originals). The rear holes on the trailer frame and axle bracket were off by 3/16" of an inch. I took a carbide burr on the end of a die grinder and made the hole a little bigger without touching the trailer frame hole.
3.) Shock brackets - Cut the old shock brackets off and weld them onto the new axles.
I did the installation with the help of a friend who works on truck axles for a living (Axle Surgeons). I would guess the job is probably worth $200 to $400. With the correct tools and a little help it's not a difficult job.

I would price the job out or see what tools you may need to purchase to complete the job and make your decision from there.
I didn't buy the Henschens because I had access to the resources for the job. Dexter is the biggest axle manufacturer in the US and parts are everywhere - my mechanic friend uses the Dexters all the time. From what I understand the brake systems on the Henschens are just Dexter parts. Getting the specs were the most difficult part of the project. I had to call Airstream and find somebody who had the information. I didn't want to call Andy because I didn't think it was right to milk him for information when I didn't have any intention on purchasing his product.Attachment 42183

Attachment 42184
Your new axle has 10" brakes.

That seems to be inadequate for a 22 foot Airstream, since Airstream used 12" brakes.

Andy
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:04 PM   #14
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If the 10" brakes are inadequate then it came from the factory in that inadequate condition - I just mimicked the original Henschen axle specs.
I would be more concerned if this were a heavy trailer (UVW = 3,200 and GVW = 4,200).
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