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Old 11-10-2008, 07:09 PM   #15
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I am going up front for some junior mints and popcorn...anyone else want anything?
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:25 PM   #16
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Get me some JuJuFruits, I'm gonna repack my axle.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:25 PM   #17
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Being the owner of a '74 Argosy with original (highly dubious) axles, I guess it comes down to "How much do you want to actually get on the road and put some miles behind your Airstream." Running gear (axles & wheel bearings), weight distribution/antisway, electrical -- I honestly don't know that there are any issues that can be laid aside. I'd probably say the same if I was dealing with an '84. And if it had parked and rarely moved to flex the rubber in the axles, I'd probably closely examine a '94. That being said, enough has been posted about the early (pre '75) axle formulations to say that there is little serviceable from the period before that.

Except for the too-small, prone-to-failure spindles on the early '60 Bambis, I'd probably stick with and restore the leaf springs on 1950 period Airstreams. Confused? There are no hard and fast rules either way here. Individual situations whether leaf spring or torsion axles must be evaluated on the particular merits of the situation. No black and white answer -- only shades of gray.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:53 PM   #18
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The axel discussion comes around and it gets rehashed over and over. I guess when you look at how much they cost you want to make sure you have all the correct information.

What I have learned.

Henschen Engineering department told me if I put tape on the upper inside of my wheel well and go on vacation and never developed scuff marks the axels were fine. The person I spoke with was named Jim. Jim told me the axels should be fine. Do I believe him????? I have a 73 Overlander which I told Jim I owned.

I was told on this forum that I was risking damage to my trailer and I was given very good reasons. Do I believe the forum??????

I read an article where somebody wrote that axel problems come from vacationers who want to pull their airstreams over 55 miles an hour. I read that they were not designed for long distant hauling over 55 miles an hour. If you go at the correct speeds you should not have problems. Do I believe them??????

I have been told that Dexter axels are great and much cheaper to buy and they will work fine.

I have been told that Dexter axels will need frame modification for the axels to fit correctly. I would have to weld on the plates to attach the shock absorbers.

I have read that henshen axels are great axels and you do not have to make modifications.

The difference in price is dexter are $375.00 and Henshen are in the $800 dollar range.

I personally do not know what to believe anymore.



I have been saving for new axels for sometime and will continue to save because they are very expensive. I know I do not have the capabilities to replace them myself.

Brian
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:58 PM   #19
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Why the big price difference are the expensive ones that superior to the others? When and why did Airstream change what axles they used in recent models? I'm not sure what the 2007's have.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:02 PM   #20
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I had a 73 overlander. I loved that thing.

During a storm , a Tornado came threw and took down a 70' pinoak. It lay ed it right down the center. Like a Hot Dog in a bun.

It made the front page of the news paper. My axles never bottomed out.
A crane picked the tree up and off the Airstream. Axles roll fine
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #21
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Dang,

I need another x-tra butter popcorn and a mega coke. This main feature ain't over yet.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:15 PM   #22
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I know it has a loyal following hahaha

What an audience.

Next round on me
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested View Post
Why the big price difference are the expensive ones that superior to the others? When and why did Airstream change what axles they used in recent models? I'm not sure what the 2007's have.
IIRC Henschen is just down the street from Airstream at Jackson Center. In late 2004 or so there were Henschen quality control issues (wheel bearings not lubed!) that resulted in many units experiencing bearing failure. That resulted in Airstream going to Dexters in the first month or so of 2005. The installed Dexters were in use for Canada export models already. My August '05 production 2006 Safari had those Dexters. I seem to recall that Henschen solved the bearing problem and they were back in use sometime by the end of 2005. There was nothing wimpy about the Henschens - they'd still allow pulling with a reasonably loaded trailer and a full water tank.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #24
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Brian,

Many people have different experiences with the same product. So the different experiences are posted. Then there are situations which seem the same and are really not. Like same year and model however the usage is quite different.

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Old 11-10-2008, 08:26 PM   #25
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My '63 sat for 12 years behind a barn. It has also had some rough usage. The axles are almost horizontal with all gear aboard. The tires never scuff the wheelwells and seem pretty bouncy when a 210 lb. guy jumps up and down on the rear bumper. I would say the axles are allright. I did replace the shocks on my '77 but the axles are still ok (still negative and bouncy) after 100,000 miles. Most rubber compounds usually become more stiff with long term exposure to heat by crosslinking and by losing plasticizing oils. They can also take a set and therefore limit the amount of distance they have available to abosorb the shocks from rough roads. My axles have benefited from not being in a hot climate.

I would measure and test the resilence and performance of the axles before I would decide whether they need to be replaced. Good marketing says, if you have a monopoly position, then you should price accordingly. Good customer service says, you should always satify your customer, to guarenttee repeat business. Good long term business success is based on the customer being satified that he has received good service at a fair price.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:38 PM   #26
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I saw on the History Channel a documentary on the Abrams Tank. It has torsion arm suspension axles (a bunch of them - six, maybe?). I saw that and thought "hey, its just like my Airstream!". If its good enough for the U.S. Army, its good enough for me.

Oh, yeah. All the arms pointed down. And when it hit a bump, they rotated upward - keeping the tank stable.

To say that having a torsion arm (at rest) point up on this type of axle is OK just defies logic. Its sort of like saying that having leaf springs bowing upward while at rest (if that's possible) is also OK.

There's no capacity left to absorb shock.

Pass the popcorn, please.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post

I have been told that Dexter axels are great and much cheaper to buy and they will work fine.

I have been told that Dexter axels will need frame modification for the axels to fit correctly.

The difference in price is dexter are $375.00 and Henshen are in the $800 dollar range.

Brian
I had the same dilemma, Brian. I had a very brief conversation w/ Inland RV and decided within minutes to buy a Dexter Torflex axle. I have a very tired '57 Flying Cloud.

Yes, it is a fact, l needed to weld brackets for the Dexter rubber axle! It is about a 5 minute job for a good welder--it took me a little longer. A "frame modification" sounds scary but there is nothing cosmic about it.

Go here: Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - Torflex Axles The boogie man piece is the "mounting bracket". We're not building a rocket ship here, you know.

The price difference you quoted is accurate. Dexter has been around since 1960 so, I guess, they do OK.

My take: Dexter axles are great and much cheaper to buy and they will work fine. Sound familiar? You might want to give the Dexter people a call. They seemed to be happy that I called and spent a long time explaining why their product was the best for my application. No negativity at all.

I had my local trailer outfit order the axle and it arrived in about two weeks w/ electric brakes, etc. The local outfit used a check list for several measurements, i.e., frame width, space between top of tire to fender well, etc. It is easier to install w/ a helper.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #28
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I tested my axles by jacking up each wheel under the brake drum, when I was doing the brakes. I found each wheel would flex 2-3-inches before raising the trailer off the ground. When the trailer is on blocks the angle if the llxe is level. I think the 2-3" movement tells me the axles are not "toast" yet. Anyone??
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