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Old 03-30-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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1959 22' Caravanner
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Brakes or new axle

I've got a 59 caravanner single axle with electric brakes which need to be replaced (one of the brakes pops a fuse when a charge is applied). Looking at my axle it appears to bow down about a quarter to half inch in the middle with a straight edge across the top. If you were in my shoes would you look to replace the axle(currently welded on) or just get new 12" brake assemblies?

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Old 03-30-2014, 10:51 AM   #2
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I've got a 59 caravanner single axle with electric brakes which need to be replaced (one of the brakes pops a fuse when a charge is applied). Looking at my axle it appears to bow down about a quarter to half inch in the middle with a straight edge across the top. If you were in my shoes would you look to replace the axle(currently welded on) or just get new 12" brake assemblies?

Thanks
You can upgrade the axle with a 'torsion axle" that gives the trailer a softer ride.

Airstream has been using them 100 percent since 1961.

You can also add 12 inch self adjusting brakes to further upgrade.

Replacing brakes on your Airstream since the drums are way way out of style and are also grossly out of balance is not practical. New style axles will not accomodate your old hub and drums, since the bearing sizes are now much larger and safer.

You can further upgrade by adding Centramatic balancers to a new axle.

Then you would be 100 percent first class with the running gear.

Replacing the welded on axle, is not a big deal.

Simply carefully cut it off and weld the new axle in it's place.

Andy
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
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You can do all of the above or install a set of new leaves for your leaf springs and loaded brake assemblies for 1/2 the cost and hazzle of chnaging to a torsion axle system.

Sure it may ride harder than a torsion axle, however it was designed for leaf springs and how often do you ride in the trailer when it is moving?

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Old 03-31-2014, 01:21 PM   #4
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1959 22' Caravanner
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I guess my question should be more "does it sound like I need a new axle?" ...given than I've got a downward facing bow of a quarter to a half inch. I'd be happy to only replace the brakes with the loaded assembly if that's all it would take. But I want to err on the side of safety and maintain ability as we'll and am thinking a new round axle with the brake assembly included tied into the original leafs might be better. I'm a newbie though re running gear

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Old 03-31-2014, 01:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Shawngrona View Post
I guess my question should be more "does it sound like I need a new axle?" ...given than I've got a downward facing bow of a quarter to a half inch. I'd be happy to only replace the brakes with the loaded assembly if that's all it would take. But I want to err on the side of safety and maintain ability as we'll and am thinking a new round axle with the brake assembly included tied into the original leafs might be better. I'm a newbie though re running gear

Thanks
There are several approaches to this dilemma, & I have tackled both. First of all, you can replace the original backing plate with modern versions, using your original drums. I did this on my 59 Ambassador International about 10 years ago.

I also checked into replacing the leaf springs as they were old & the shackle pins were worn. As the available leaf springs did not have the same center to center distance, I would have had to weld new hangers on to accomodate the new assemblies. I ended up replacing the bearings & seals in my original drums, installed new loaded backing plates, disassembling the leaf spring packs & painted them, replaced the U bolts & shackle pins.

This was a lot of work, & if I'd paid someone to do all of this work, it would have cost far more than just installing new torsion axles. Since I did that work, one of the 50+ year old leaf springs broke, & fortunately it happened near home & I had access to another used spring, otherwise I would have had to go though the whole process again, replacing the springs with a modern equivalent or had them custom made. I will never take this approach again.

The most cost effective approach is to install a modern torsion axle, built to suit your trailer & its intended use. You will end up with an axle assembly with superior suspension ability, much greater ground clearance than your old leaf spring assembly & parts availability at any Mom & Pop Auto Parts or RV shop.

Colin
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:05 PM   #6
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If it were mine, I would do what Colin suggests. He knows a lot more than I do, but that's what my independent (knowing not so much) suggestion would be also.

So now you have it from both ends of the spectrum.

Ken
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:11 PM   #7
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I guess my question should be more "does it sound like I need a new axle?" ...given than I've got a downward facing bow of a quarter to a half inch.

Thanks
This condition of the axle may be normal. The discussion above has all centered aroound the springs and not the solid axle. Some axles are designed not to be straight.

I do not know about your leaf axle set up. My guess is it is designeed that way especially if the tires do not show uneven wear.

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