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Old 09-04-2005, 08:06 PM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
Roseland , Florida
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Bad roads damaging interior!! Axles? shocks?

We just completed a trip from Florida to Colorado in our '78 Tradewind. There were some really bad roads that had us vibrating so bad that the interior walls that separate the bedroom from the kitchen pulled away from the inner shell walls! Has anyone had this happen? Would new shocks make much of a difference, or are the roads in Illinois death to trailers no matter what?
Otherwise it was a great trip. We stayed in some beautiful spots along the way, (Wilson Lake in Kansas rules!), and aside from some minor glitches, (tongue jack ground went bad, flat tire, a grinding noise in one of the wheels, brake controller stopped working), it towed like a champ. Our tow vehicle is a '99 Mercury Mountaineer and does fine.
We'll be making the return trip in about a month and would welcome all suggestions.

Eric, Tina and Kierstin Hedin
'78 Tradewind - Homeschooling RV Tech
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Old 09-04-2005, 09:01 PM   #2
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are your shocks original? they could be a candidate for replacement...but a grinding sound makes me wory about the condition of your bearings...try to find a airstream dealer and have things checked.

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Old 09-04-2005, 09:11 PM   #3
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I would take a very close look at the axles. My Tradewind was doing similar nonsense before I replaced the axles. Then it went smooth as silk. Shocks would be a secondary reason.
Do a search on axle replacement, or axle check in this forum, much has been reported on this subject.
But basically, your torsion arms should not be beyond parallell to the frame with a loaded trailer. If the torsion arms point up, then the rubber suspension is more or less gone, making the trailer ride quite harshly.
I have followed a single axle safari with a bad axle, and was horrified to watch it get airborne over just about every other major bump. I can only imagine the ruckus inside that particular trailer.
Airstreams typically are nicely suspended, and should not self destruct, even on bad roads.
Do a search on drivetrain balance, while you're at it. That, too can cause major damage inside the trailer.
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Old 09-04-2005, 11:33 PM   #4
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so bad that the interior walls that separate the bedroom from the kitchen pulled away from the inner shell walls!

WOW.!!... unless your not planning on keeping this trailer you realy should look at replaceing the axle and shocks... I was getting worried when a couple doors would come open or when a couple interior rivits came out... I just replaced my axle a couple months ago went with an axis axle they are very reasonable axleman is here on the forum...on my last trip i left the log book on the table when i left montery for the trip back home ... it was still on the table when we got home ... it had moved alittle not bad for 350 miles... good luck on your journey...

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Old 09-05-2005, 07:05 AM   #5
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I agree... In order for that kind of damage to occur, your axles have to be shot. Get them replaced!

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 09-05-2005, 07:31 AM   #6
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I have a 78 Argosy and was surprised to find a cup of coke that I left on the counter top was still there after 200 miles of not great roads. I am not an axel expert and couldn't tell you much about the condition of mine; however, I did take the trailer to a great RV man the minute I got it and he put new brakes and shocks on it. He said the axels looked good, so I breathed a sigh of relief and took my trailer home. I do try to keep the bearings greased and go over the trailer every time I bring him home, but I am no expert. I just know these trailers pull and ride wonderfully if they are in good shape. NO MATTER THE AGE.
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Old 09-05-2005, 07:45 AM   #7
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1993 21' Sovereign
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A grinding sound could be a bad bearing or brake parts flailing around inside the brake drum. Either way, get it checked out ASAP!

Your 78 is not a year that is known for bad axles, but if it has sat for years in one spot, the rubber in the axles could be petrified, causing them to look okay, but since the rubber doesn't move, the axles won't absorb any of the road bumps. They will, instead, transmit the shocks directly to the trailer, where it will beat the coach and everything in it to death.
If you have your trailer at home, go out in it, and hop up and down a bit in the middle of the trailer. If the trailer feels "bouncey" the axles most likely still have some life left in them. If the trailer doesn't move when you jump, the axles are frozen, or siezed, in place, and should be replaced before doing much more traveling.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 09-05-2005, 09:29 AM   #8
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Here is a neat trick for checking axle condition if you have a tandem axle trailer.

Place a jack under the hub end of one of the axles. Jack it up. If you lift both wheels up your rubber is now rock and the axles need to be replaced.

Doing this on a single axle is a litte harder. You have to watch the arm for movement.

Tedd Ill
AIR#3788 TAC IL-10
1967/8 Overlander International Twin w/ bunk/s.
Yes, four kids and two adults in the thing.
Happy wife, happy life.
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