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Old 10-14-2004, 10:52 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Axle observations

I have been looking a lot at the axles (I should say tire side walls) and I have noticed something. Maybe I'm just missing something, but there only seems to be around an inch of tire showing in all the photos I see. These photos are in the 1967 brochure and in the Airstream book I have. I plan on getting a few more sources of old photos.
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Old 10-14-2004, 12:04 PM   #2
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Tedd,
What you're seeing is a little known photographic effect called 'emulsion emulation'. When a heavy item is photographed, the item will gradually sink into the photograhic emulsion to simulate what would actually happen over the time period since the photo was taken.

Unfortunately, new digital photographs cannot reproduce this effect as the image is stored in bits. Bits do not have sufficient softness to replicate what would happen to the real pavement over a period of 37 years.

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Old 10-14-2004, 01:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Tedd,
photographic effect called 'emulsion emulation'.
Boy, that's a good one.
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Old 10-14-2004, 02:45 PM   #4
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Don,

You had me there for a minute. It's that new math isn't it?? Kind of like the Dorian Gray.
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Old 10-17-2004, 10:37 PM   #5
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I know that the regular photographic process contains some silver.

So in a regular photo does the silver content of the photo process have a condusive aspect ratio that is simlar to aluminum? (Or is shine just shine no matter what the source.) If so, does that change over time so as to distort the viewing perspective? And does exposure to UV rays create further distortion?

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Old 10-17-2004, 11:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
I know that the regular photographic process contains some silver.

So in a regular photo does the silver content of the photo process have a condusive aspect ratio that is simlar to aluminum? (Or is shine just shine no matter what the source.) If so, does that change over time so as to distort the viewing perspective? And does exposure to UV rays create further distortion?

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Unfortunately, when silver halide (the form in a photographic emulsion) is exposed , it (the latent image)turns black when immersed in a alkaline (soap) soultion. Therefore, notwithstanding, as in the aforementioned billet , it will not shine. If the processed and acid fixed image is stored vertically in a warm environment then the phenomenon known as 'emulsion emulation' will have a distinct southern migration.
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Old 10-18-2004, 12:48 PM   #7
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I do like the humor involved here and it good to see that the tread is being read, but my intent was of a serious nature. Please do not let this kill the tread, but just to make sure it is understood that I'm concerned that good axles are being replaced.
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:09 PM   #8
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Your point is well made Tedd. I apologize for getting off track. Don't you think we should restate the problem?

I think that the amount of tire showing in the wheel well should just be a tell-tale that the axles should be checked for positive/negative spindle arm angle. I wouldn't replace axles based on how much tire is showing.

But I would take it in for inspection.

What's your take on this? I know a photo is sometimes the only evidence available if you're buying on eBay. Is there a better way?
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:39 PM   #9
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I had noticed that some of the original sales literature /photos of vintage airstreams did not seem to show much tire between the wheel and wheel well. In looking at my own rig, the amount of exposure seemed to be within reason, and when I checked the arm angle, it still showed some positive angle. I felt pretty good about my axles as I took my trips, picking pillows up off the floor at each stop, fixing my broken hinges on the toilet seat after rolling over a cattle guard and replacing two or three pop rivets per trip. The question I think we should ask ourselves is "how can we expect a forty year old axle that relies on, at that time, a natural rubber suspension system, to have any suspension movement left in it after that many years"? Replacing those axles was the single most rewarding improvement in both handling and safety that I did to our 64 Overlander. For me it was money well spent.
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:46 PM   #10
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Don, thanks for understanding, but man you had a great answer!! I still chuckel thinking about it.

Mark, I see your point about 40 year old rubber being not able to move as well. I assume that you went through replacing shocks and ballance of the running gear before replacing the axles???
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Old 10-18-2004, 02:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by till
Don, thanks for understanding, but man you had a great answer!! I still chuckel thinking about it.

Mark, I see your point about 40 year old rubber being not able to move as well. I assume that you went through replacing shocks and ballance of the running gear before replacing the axles???

Tedd, yes I did replace shocks first, and the dampening effect was an improvement, but the clue for me was putting one axle on a 2 x 12 and finding that to be enough to allow me to change a tire on the other axle. There was simply little suspension movement left in the old axles and I was, in a sense, bottoming out my suspension with every bump in the road.
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Old 10-18-2004, 04:17 PM   #12
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Mark,

Cool. Thanks for the input. I think that is an easy enough test to try.
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Old 10-19-2004, 10:24 AM   #13
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How much of the tire that can be seen over the top of the wheel, is a "ball park" answer to the condition of the axles, when looking at photo's.

Certainly, a visiual inspection is the "real way".

Unforunately, the real way is not always possible, especially from many of the photo's posted on E-bay.

The best approach, especially on any trailer from 1974 and older, is to assume the worst, until you have a chance to inspect it visually.

All to many times, E-bay sales of Airstream trailers, have bad axles.

It's almost like saying, "everything worked the last time I used it".

Now, the question becomes a definition of "working".

One of them is "capable of being used".

How well it can be used, is a horse of a very different color.

The game is always "buyer beware," especially when the seller is not in business.

We see absolute horror stories, everyday, at our shop.

The dreaded "aluminiumitis" disease, can easily be cured by taking two doses of "patience" every 12 hours, for two days. Adjusting the thinking cap, helps too.........

All too typical, someone buys a coach for $3 to 4 thousand dollars, only to find that it will cost in excess of $10,000 dollars, to make things work, correctly.

The DIY, of course can save many dollars, provided they have the time, effort, tools and abilities to do the work themselves.

Buying a vintage Airstream is a dream shared by many people. Unfortunately, that dream, more often than not, is shattered, when the real truth is known.

I am sure, many readers of this forum, however reluctantly, would agree, they were "had" by an unscrupulous seller.

Buyer, please, for your sake, "BEWARE", when purchasing a used Airstream, from anyone, especially when you don't have the opportunity to personally inspect it.

A smart buyer, is an informed buyer, before the fact.

That's part of the reason, this site has so much popularity.

Andy
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Old 10-19-2004, 11:13 AM   #14
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If the axel is bad then it's been on too long. While expensive it is the interface between your trailer (shell and insides) and the road at what ever speed you travel. We drive faster and the interstates are often worst not better than when built. I changed the axel on the 68 Caravel (with some help and some troubles) and it is just unblieveble the difference. I will put new axels, shocks, hubs on the 59 Overlander also. It's just part of the deal if you buy an old trailer. I've never heard of someone complaining afterwards that they didn't need it. If your get a trailer to do a couple weekends not far away each summer and that's it then maybe even a bad axel will be good enough. If you are planning on the grande tour, get new ones. It will make for a more relaxed trip.
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