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Old 12-16-2003, 07:52 AM   #1
nds
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Question Attn: Andy of Inland RV

In a previous conversation here, you stated that an obvious indicator of a bad axle was if the tire was partially covered by the tire cut out.

We're getting ready to tow a 1970 22 Ft. Safari to Jackson Center tomorrow morning to put it in for the winter program. I was over at my friend's home (who owns the trailer) yesterday (he's a member of this forum- Boltos) and we noticed that the top portion of his tires are covered by the cut out. Does this definitely indicate a bad axle or could it also be bad shocks?

This is a single axle Safari (I think the 22 Ft. Safari may have gone to a dual axle in 1971). He has already towed it previously to Georgia for a weekend and didn't notice any problem with it.

This is something we can have them check out at Jackson Center while it's there, but I was just wondering if this always indicates a bad axle.

I hope you see this before we leave in the morning. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-16-2003, 08:08 AM   #2
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Since Andy is on California time he may not be in for a couple more hours...

I think the top portion of the tire will always be covered by the wheelwell. I think Andy looks at how much of the tire is covered by the cut outs in determining, ballpark, whether the axles are shot.

The best way is to crawl underneath the trailer and visually inspect the torsion arms with the trailer loaded within it's limits. Are they at a positive angle (rearward portion pointing upward)? Then, they need replacing or the trailer is overloaded. Are they horizontal? Should be replaced soon. Are they at a negative angle? They are ok.

http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

Scott
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Old 12-16-2003, 08:14 AM   #3
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Why don't you call Andy on his 1-800 line?

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Old 12-16-2003, 08:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chas
Why don't you call Andy on his 1-800 line?

Chas
I don't think it's necessary to call him on this, since we're taking it up tomorrow morning around 8:00 am. If he happens to see this, great, if not, no big deal... we'll bring it to their attention when we get there and see what they say. Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2003, 09:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by 63wind
The best way is to crawl underneath the trailer and visually inspect the torsion arms with the trailer loaded within it's limits. Are they at a positive angle (rearward portion pointing upward)? Then, they need replacing or the trailer is overloaded. Are they horizontal? Should be replaced soon. Are they at a negative angle? They are ok.

http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

Scott

I have been going around and around about this axle question. When inspeced from underneith my torsion arms are pointing downward, which is good, but the edge of the wheel is covered by the cutout, which is what Andy always says is bad when he sees a trailer on eBay ilke that! When I asked other old-timers at a rally about it, they all said the axle was fine. I'll be interested to hear what the conclusion is about your friends Safari. Be sure to let us know how the torsion arms are pointing and what Jackson Center tells you. Enquiring minds want to know...
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:07 AM   #6
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Some of the misconception may be the angles the pictures were taken. Andy point blank says from the side. If you take the picture from above the centerline of the wheel it will apear to be sitting deeper in the fender on a photograph. I always thought he ment that the rim is close to being hidden by the wheel opening and that's what he judged it against not the tire. A 225 75 15 Good year is going to be a different hight then a 245 75 15. The tire is not a constant. The rim is for the most part a constant. Even that is going to have exceptions. THe wheel openinge have changed shape many times. Where that lip would be on a 59 is not the same place it would be on a 57 of the same model.

Andy also has been around these coaches for a LONG time. He has an eye for it and knows what it should look like. It's kind of hard for me only having delt with my coach to look at somebody elses and make that sort of call.

I think the bottom line is if the arm angles down at traveling weight your ok. If it's near flat or angle up from the axle tube it's lost its spring. That's the way I have interpeted Andy's statements on how to tell if it's bad.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:42 AM   #7
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Different time zones!!! It is always difficult to answer early morning e-mail.

Shocks have "ZERO" effect of ther height of anything, not a trailer, not a car. Shocks are motion dampeners, not leveling devices.

The "Dura-torque" article in our web site is all you need to properly check your axles. That way, you don't need a second opinion.

Different year trailers have different wheel well cutouts. In any case, when the top part of the wheel cannot be seen, with your eyes about two feet above the ground, that axle or axles are history.

It all depends on the year. With the new style wheel well cutouts that Airstream has used since 1974, a considerable part of the top of the tire
should be seen. Again, the key is the position of the "torsion arm."

Trailers that will be stored for an extended period of time, should have much of the trailer weight removed from the axles. That's easily done with some jack stands.

Leaving a trailer sit for years, without having some of the weight removed from the axles, can lead to the rubber rods taking a "set." When that happens, the axles will no longer behave as intended. This applies to "ANY" year trailer.

Generally speaking, when the torsion arms are parallel to the frame, when the trailer is empty, they will move upward as the trailer is loaded. If the torsion arms are at an upward angle, at any time, the trailer will very easily bottom out. In either case, the axles should be replaced.

Look at any kids "low rider car" as is hits the slightest of bumps. It bounces all over the place. The same thing happens to an Airstream trailer, if the axles are bad. That then generates many different types of damage to the frame, shell, furniture, appliances as well as rapidly promoting rear end separation.

Life is really simple, once we know the answers. Life becomes difficult, when we know the answers, but chose to ignore them.

Andy
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:39 AM   #8
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Thanks, Andy

It's really only the upper portion of the tires that are covered, so I think we're OK. The way the trailer sits in his driveway, there's not much room to get under it to visually inspect the torsion arms.

We'll have the guys at Jackson Center check this out along with the other things that are to be fixed.
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Old 12-16-2003, 07:45 PM   #9
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wheel not tire

Andy is referring to wheel while some posters are speaking of tires. The top of the tire is often hidden, look at the wheel, not tire.
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Old 12-17-2003, 03:11 AM   #10
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Thumbs up Another view..

nds
Here's a view of the tires/wheels on my unit and, you can see the height between the top of the wheelwell/wheels.

Btw, enjoy your 'tour' of the factory`!

ciao
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Old 12-17-2003, 10:23 AM   #11
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Your photo shows very clearly, how much of the tire and wheel should show on trailers built since 1974.

Andy
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Old 12-17-2003, 08:36 PM   #12
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I was worried that mine looked like it was bottoming out but I think it looks OK. I haven't looked at the torsion arms yet, I will in the summer. Andy, what do you think?

Thanks
Brian
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Old 12-18-2003, 10:05 AM   #13
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Could be "iffy" depending on how much weight you have in the trailer.

The real proof, always, is to check the torsion arms.

Andy
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Old 12-18-2003, 10:23 AM   #14
nds
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The axle appears to be in good shape

While Brian (Boltos) was going over what he wanted done to the trailer, I went outside with one of the technicians and he got down and looked and said the axle was OK.

I highly recommend anyone that is able to make the trip to Jackson Center and take the tour, to do so. Very interesting and as SilverTwinkie pointed out, you can see the effort that goes into the Airstream in assuring quality assurance.
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