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Old 09-04-2003, 08:03 AM   #43
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1600 miles may not be enough to set a new set of brakes. Was that city or country driving? In the old days when asbestos was in the brake shoes we would grind the shoes to fit the drums before installing. When new the center area of the shoe is all that contacts the drum. If the installer did not get any oil on the shoes when installing I would drive a bit more and try not to have a panic stop as this will cause a glaze to form on the surface that is contacting the drum.

I notice the dressing of the brake wires in your picture. I dress the wire through the forward hole, were the trailer wire is tyraped now on yours, and then tyrap the wire to the spindle. This supports the connection at the backer plate to insure there is no flexing at the connections and insures a long arm of wire with a minium of angular rotation of the wire between the trailer and the backer plate. I would also use srink wrap over the connectors or pot the end in RTV to reduce the effects of weather.

If you can not do this at least but a buffer between the trailer wire and the hole it is now going through to protect against rubbing through.
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Old 09-04-2003, 08:49 AM   #44
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The 12-2 wire should be anchored as it goes through the bracket, so that it cannot move and eventially short out due to chaffing.

Additionally, crimp on connectors are "NOT RECOMMENDED."
In time, with moisture and just plain dirt, they will corrode, resulting in possible brake loss on each wheel.

The correct method, is to use "wire nuts", AND, tape them very well to keep out any and all foreign materials.

Andy
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Old 09-04-2003, 10:42 AM   #45
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The 12-2 wire should be anchored as it goes through the bracket, so that it cannot move and eventially short out due to chaffing.

Additionally, crimp on connectors are "NOT RECOMMENDED."
In time, with moisture and just plain dirt, they will corrode, resulting in possible brake loss on each wheel.

The correct method, is to use "wire nuts", AND, tape them very well to keep out any and all foreign materials.

Andy


Andy, I am looking forward (?) to changing my axles in a couple of weeks. The shop where I work has a little more equipment than the average backyard. I would like to know if soldering connectors, and putting heat shrink tube over the connection, would be acceptable or preferable to the wire nut method.
Thanks.
Terry
(in Florida)
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Old 09-04-2003, 10:45 AM   #46
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Source for Axles

Where can I find Axles for my 72 27' International.
How about prices you guys have been paying.

I just replaced brakes and bearings so I don't need those.

I live near Ann Arbor Michigan.

How about sizing, I have read several posts about increasing weight.

Steve
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Old 09-04-2003, 10:54 AM   #47
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Loechli,

I went with 3500lb axles, which was a 500lb increase over the old axles.
The axles complete, with brakes and bearings etc. cost about $2000.00, shipped. Give or take a few $ for location.
The bare axles, without brakes or bearings, are less expensive. Andy can get yo an estimate for the ones he sells.
It takes a few weeks before they can ship the axles, in most cases. All the Henschen axles are built to specs per order.
I like the new axles, and especially the way they fit. It was a 'perfect fit" type installation with no snags, other than the ones I caused myself.
The trailer now tows very smoothly.
As i posted earlier, installation is very easy, just that the axles are heavy, and it's awkward to work under the trailer. Get 3 good friends to help you, and it's a piece of cake.
I did solder my connections, and used shrink tubing. Originally it had wire nuts with one of them still having tape on it.
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:25 PM   #48
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Brand "X" axles.

The Robles Company in Oregon was contacted this morning.

We spoke with Darrel.

Darrel provided the following information

QUOTE: We are a sales only office. We do not have a service facility of any kind. Yes, we sell the Dexter axles. However, we will not order any Dexter axle, for any Airstream trailer, since they will not fit correctly, without a number of changes, that Dexter will not do unless the order is for a production quantity, and not for one or two, here and there. UNQUOTE.

Cheaper, inferior axles are available, if someone wants to reengineer them.

Will they perform to Airstreams specifications? "NO."

Standard leaf spring axles, that are cheap, can also be used. However, the end results will be severe damage to the frame and shell.

No one ever said, that the cost to keep an Airstream, an Airstream completely, would necessarily be cheap. Some parts are cheap, some are not. Do it yourself labor can and does reduce costs, and those people should be encouraged.

The difficulty begins when someone wants to be the "engineer or mechanic" and does not the proper tools or background for the task. That responsibility, in fairness, belongs with the installer, not the vender. Explicit instructions, rarely, come with any part. We can thank attorneys for that. Published instructions, beyond, "open the box," create tremendous liability.
But as Peter Hausmann has said, "after you figure out how to do it, the instructions actually make sense." Amen to that one.

If a person chooses to modify, or update their Airstream, that certainly is their choice. However, be aware that Airstream spends millions of dollars for research and development. To out guess them, almost universally, is not wise.

Staying with "knowns" that work, is the smarter move. It may quite well cost more, but piece of mind, does have an expense.

Life is all too short. Having to worry, if a given modification will last, is not worth it, to many owners.

Lastly, if for any reason, the modification results in someone being hurt, that individual, legally, has assumed "ALL" the liability.

No other brand axle, will work "equal to" the Henschen axle.
Claims are made, but not proven, by that good old test "of time."

Andy
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Old 09-04-2003, 02:28 PM   #49
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Thanks EVERYONE for your helpful suggestions! That's what's so great about this forum.

I'll work on the wires for sure. I had my axles installed at a local axle shop--lacking the time equipment and three stout buddies to help me out! You know how it is, when you don't do it yourself, it usually doesn't get done right the first time! I saw those crimp connectors and let out a sigh, too. At least WE know how it should be done now... My plan is to solder these as Uwe suggested.

I just got my trailer back from the factory. It now has "elephant ears", but that's another story....
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Old 09-04-2003, 06:14 PM   #50
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DPEAKMD,

Just curious, could you attach a picture of what your "elephant ears" look like?

John
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Old 09-08-2003, 07:24 PM   #51
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Replacement axles

I have read this thread with interest as I will have to replace my axles also. I have done quite a bit of research on the Dexter axles for my application.
The Dexter axles can be made to work but there are quite a few changes that have to be made in order for them to be usable.
First the 3500# axles come withe 10 x 2.25 brakes so if you want the bigger more powerful 12 x 2 brakes you have to spec a bigger stub axle. The mounting brackets for the 3500# axle are not as long as the Henschen bracket and the mounting holes are center to center narrower than the stock mounts. You cannot just redrill the mounting holes to match the Dexter holes because they will overlap the Henschen mount holes causing holes that will be overlaping and will not give you the solid mounting surface to be structually sound and safe . You also cannot redo the mounting plates on the axle because any heat from the welding on the plate will melt the rubber rods in the axle. You could weld a plate outside the existing mounting plate on the trailer and then weld up the old holes then locate the new axle and align it, drill the new holes to match the Dexter mount. Then you have to cut off the existing shock mounts on your old axles and weld them onto your new trailing arms a little bit at a time in order to keep the heat from the axle rubber.
Yes a Dexter can be made to work, but you need to have very good fabrication skills , be a very good welder and have all the tools to do this correctly. You also have to know exactly how and what to spec on the axles for your application. If you had to pay a good fabrication shop, the labor cost would probably negate the savings on the axles. I would love to be able to save some money on this but I do not know what the life expectency on a Dexter axle is. I do not know if the extra cost on the Henschens is justified, but I do know that my current axles lasted 25+ years. If i wanted to give the Dexters a try I meet all the above requirements but when I have the money available I will probably order Henschens from Andy.

Mike B
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Old 09-08-2003, 08:02 PM   #52
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I have to agree it is better to go with axles from Andy.They will be a bolt in where the Dexter axles will be difficult fit and you are rolling the dice on the performance of the final product to save a few bucks.
I may still use Dexters on my unit or the local version called Posiflex.The frame on my unit requires much work from what I can see through floor and the main member is probably cracked as the side flexes as I jump and bumper.I believe I will be fabricating a complete new frame and should be able to make any axle fit.
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Old 09-09-2003, 09:36 AM   #53
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There is also the question of "how well will the shell react" to a different suspension ride?

Feedback that we have, says, not well.

A different length torsion arm, as well as different composition rubber rods, "will" change the ride.

Another roll of the dice?????

Big time!!!!!!

The wheel has been invented. Some facts cannot change.

As Mike B has very well pointed out, there are many factors involved.

Violate just one of them, and it's over.

Too late we learn, too soon we forget.

Then, when the party is over, and going back to the original design has been deemed wise, then all the modifications, will have to be "unmodified."

Sounds to me like a lot of unnecessary work and effort, not to mention, expense.

Andy
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:58 AM   #54
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Even when you do everything right sometimes things still don't work out right. Several years ago now I replaced both axles on our Argosy 28. Life was good until the right-front door-side tire began wearing on the outside. Whatever the cause, the only fix is bend the axle until the tire no longer wears inappropriately. So, we took it to the factory in Ohio. Those guys know their stuff and the axle was adjusted to perfect tolerance - not just within tolerance but perfect tolerance. Since all the potential reasons for abnormal tire wear were diriver error related, I have been extremely careful and mindful of where we go and how we get there but to no avail. The replacement tire still wears on the outside. Guess we will just replace front axle the next time we make a trip to Ohio.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:28 AM   #55
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Even when you do everything right sometimes things still don't work out right. Several years ago now I replaced both axles on our Argosy 28. Life was good until the right-front door-side tire began wearing on the outside. Whatever the cause, the only fix is bend the axle until the tire no longer wears inappropriately. So, we took it to the factory in Ohio. Those guys know their stuff and the axle was adjusted to perfect tolerance - not just within tolerance but perfect tolerance. Since all the potential reasons for abnormal tire wear were diriver error related, I have been extremely careful and mindful of where we go and how we get there but to no avail. The replacement tire still wears on the outside. Guess we will just replace front axle the next time we make a trip to Ohio.
You can check the alignment yourself with a ruler.

The tow in is 1/16 inch, plus or minus 1/16 inch. However, both tires must be the same.

The camber is 3/4 degrees, plus or minus 3/4 degress. Again, both tires should be the same.

Lack of proper running gear balance, can also appear to be an alignment problem. Bad shocks can also cause goofy tire wear.

Andy

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Old 11-05-2011, 11:21 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Greg 176.

To determine if your axle or axles are bad, go to our web site, inlandrv.com

Click on "articles."

Click on "Dura-torque axles."

That article describes the Henschen axle, how it is made, what is does, and, how to check yours out.

Looking at an Airstream or a side photo of one, a bad axle or axles can easily be determined by just looking at the wheel area.

All of the wheel should be clearly seen along with at least an inch or two, and with some models, 3 or 4 inches of the tire.

We will post another article, very shortly, along with photos, of a trailer that had two bad axles, and, no wheel balance.

The "FRAME AND AXLE MOUNTING PLATE" are totally separated with a huge crack.

This can happen to any trailer, that has one or both of these problems.

Andy

Hi Everyone!

Did these photos ever make it online?

I'm a newbie who has just inherited my 90 year old Mom's 31' Airstream. It is in Eastern New Mexico and I live in Southern California. I am preparing to haul it from NM to CA in the next few weeks.

She is the third owner and the trailer looks virtually like new inside and out. It has been stored inside for almost thirty years. I doubt that it has 20,000 miles on it, total. None of the three owners did much traveling.

However, it has not moved in almost 20 years. I was just back there last week getting it ready to be trucked back to SoCal, but the trucker had a family emergency and postponed.

In the meantime, I have decided to tow it out, instead. In looking over items to check, I ran across this thread and Andy's PDF on the axles. Unfortunately, I don't have current access to the trailer, but took some photos when I was back.

Is there anything in the attached photos that indicate that the trailer would not be good for 1,000 miles of freeway towing? The trailer is loaded as it will be towed. I will be towing it back dry with nothing in the tanks.

I live about 60 miles from Inland RV, so would vastly prefer to replace axles, whenever needed, in SoCal.

I will be replacing tires back in NM, of course.

Super happy to be on this forum.

Thanks for any help or suggestions,

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