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Old 06-29-2005, 03:13 PM   #1
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Rivet Axle Suggestions?

Hi all,

i am planning on pulling my frame this weekend, welding it, blasting it, and repainting it next week, then install all new suspension and axle. does anyone have any suggestions on what to look for with an axle? i've taken a look at dexter axle's stuff, and tried to figure out how to measure things so i get what i need, but it seems to leave a lot of room for error.

i have found a local shop north of atlanta that said if i bring them the axle, they can put together something for me (seems safer than me measuring), BUT i want to make sure i'm getting a decent axle that i can put oodles of miles on. is there anything specific i shoudl look for, or ask them? i've heard skepticism on mobile home axles (not sure why).

thanks for any advice you can offer!

jp
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:20 PM   #2
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Talking Axles

JP,

Any reputable axle shop should be able to help you. Forum rules prohibit me from giving specifics. Are you looking for a spring or torsion axle?



Regards,

Henry
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:22 PM   #3
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i'm going to "dance with the one that brung me", as they say, and stick with leafs. i don't want to stress my already rust-weakened frame anymore than necessary!
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
Hi all,

i am planning on pulling my frame this weekend, welding it, blasting it, and repainting it next week, then install all new suspension and axle. does anyone have any suggestions on what to look for with an axle? i've taken a look at dexter axle's stuff, and tried to figure out how to measure things so i get what i need, but it seems to leave a lot of room for error.

i have found a local shop north of atlanta that said if i bring them the axle, they can put together something for me (seems safer than me measuring), BUT i want to make sure i'm getting a decent axle that i can put oodles of miles on. is there anything specific i shoudl look for, or ask them? i've heard skepticism on mobile home axles (not sure why).

thanks for any advice you can offer!

jp
Mobile home axles are considered single-use axle. That is, they are designed to be installed under a mobile home for the sole purpose of allowing it to be transported from the factory to the homesite, and then never to be used again. There is little consideration for them being assembled and welded straight, or to their being able to be used more than say, a thousand miles, and be thrown away. I have seen brand-new mobile homes being transported that have broken an axle, so longevity or quality is not anything to write home about.
A mobile home axle is also designed to support several tons, and would be massive overkill on a travel trailer.
As far as a local shop building an axle for you, make sure they use strong enough materials to ensure nothing happens to your trailer after installation, and that the hubs are rated at sufficient capacity to safely support your trailer. By the same token, they want to use components that will not beat you and your trailer to death by simply driving it down the road.
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:30 PM   #5
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A-Merry-Can,

I replaced the axle on my '59 with a Dexter. The only problem was finding the necessary bushings and hardware. I don't know what the '18 footer' used, but my Tradewind had all 5/8" bushings, and 2" wide leaf springs. Those are just a bit over the current mass market fittings, which are 9/16" bushings and 1 3/4" springs.

I'm not saying you can't find the stuff, just that you may need to go to a frame and axle shop to get them, instead of your local TSC or Northern Tool.

Good luck. You'll find it an easy job if the shell is off. Use all Grade 8 nuts and bolts.

edit: Terry is 100% right about the mobile home axle.
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:37 PM   #6
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Red face Springs - Easy!

JP,



The spring axle is much easier to find than a torsion axle. More folks manufacture spring axles by far. Thus, your search just got easier.



Regards,

Henry
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:37 PM   #7
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Rivet axle shop

the place north of atlanta was listed on dexter's site, so maybe i will just have them fab something up for me. i've got a trailer of theirs already for my motorcycles, and it's been to daytona a dozen times with no incident (not to mention hauling a ridiculous amount of stone from time to time!)

thanks for the info on the mobile home axles. i knew there was something TOO inexpensive about them!

also, thanks for the info on bushings. if i get a completely new set-up, won't it already come with bushings and shackles? also, i take it the new axle will have a shock setup as well?

also, i forgot to ask, what would a fair price range be for a complete axle and spring setup?

thanks!

jp
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:45 PM   #8
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JP,

If you replace everything, I guess you would get new bushings. I reused the leaf springs, actually I had a spring shop rebuild them. Also, I increased the capacity of my axle slightly, to stay with the 12" hubs; this meant larger spring plates and U-bolts.


The new axle will not have a shock set-up unless you tell the shop to include it. My Tradewind came with shocks, so I cut the brackets off the old mounting plates and welded them on the new ones.

You may also want to include 'skids' on the spring plates, so that if you have a flat tire the u-bolts don't get sheared off.

I think I spent about $400, including new axle, backing plates, hardware, bushings, spring R&R, new shocks, and welding.
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:57 PM   #9
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Hi - A Merry Can

I know somewhere that can take you to the moon and back for about a quarter......

Seriously you will find all the parts you need at Axis. Our 1961 Overlander is in their big huge warehouse right now as I type getting a brand new set up - like you we are sticking with the leafs but upgrading the weight capacity slightly, adding all new nickle coated hardware and galvinized coating to protect from our harsh winter travels.

And as I am not a supplier but one who has been supplied - the book on ours is appoximately $250 give or take each but we are a dual axle and we are having one made for our Globe Trotter - torsion with some serious weather protecting upgrades too.

We will post pictures and all the details once we pick her up.

Pretty simple - just click on the Axlemans web site there and you will see a whole new world of customer service, great products and of course really competitive pricing that with our vintage babies makes the choice just so much easier to take care of the running gear first.
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Old 06-29-2005, 05:24 PM   #10
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Rivet great feedback!

thanks for all the great feedback, guys! i appreciate the idea on the skid plates as well. i hadn't thought of that one. my only fear in ordering an axle is measuring something wrong. other than that, i'm ready to rock.

actually one more quick Q, did you keep your axle slightly dropped, or did you opt for a straight through? i guess a straight-through wouldn't raise the travel height on mine more than 2 inches, maybe. it might look silly, though.

i take it you upgraded the brakes to electric? that's my plan as well.

jp
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Old 06-29-2005, 05:41 PM   #11
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JP,

I stuck with the original 4" drop, and the original brakes were Hadco electric. The new Dexter brakes are a little bit deeper than the Hadco. It makes the shock absorber clearance (between the backing plate and the frame) a little tight. I decided to move the shock absorbers inside the frame. That required a little more welding on the frame, but I think it worked out great.

If you order from Dexter, be sure you measure from the centers of the spring shackles. On my axle, the spring centers were 55.50".

I used the same hub face dimension as the old axle, but I don't have it written down. You may want to move the hub face out 1/4" or 1/2" to leave a little more clearance in the back for larger shocks. If you do that, make sure you have enough clearance outside for the wheel wells.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:23 PM   #12
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My 58 Overlander has two inch drops - Dexter only have 4" drops - so I went with a straight axle - it is 3 in round vs the original 1.75 - so that will lower the hub slightly and I'm going to be using radial tires which are about 2 inches smaller (so will drop 1 inch) - I have not installed all this yet - but hopefully the straight axle will be ok

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Old 06-30-2005, 10:19 AM   #13
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Exclamation Lets Rock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
my only fear in ordering an axle is measuring something wrong. other than that, i'm ready to rock.

jp
JP,



Any shop that specializes in axles will be able to put your mind at ease. They will know the right questions to ask to provide you with a replacement axle(s). Axle’s can seem like a foreign language to most folks – but this is not rocket science. Check the internet and make some calls.



Happy shopping!



Regards,

Henry
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Old 07-03-2005, 11:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
also, i forgot to ask, what would a fair price range be for a complete axle and spring setup?

thanks!

jp
Trust me I have just done the same thing you are considering ...you cannot go wrong with AXIS AXLES ... the man incharge of airstream product development is HENRY his is QUALITY, PRICE and Service all together a complete package I guarantee he will not do you wrong in fact I can not say enough for the sincerity and integrity he has shown with my axle purchase he made it shipped it out and followed up on the installation.... untill it was on my trailer and I was completly satisfied .. this is going to be the only place people will purchase axles from I'm sure of it ... I will be updating my axle replacement as soon as i can...
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