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Old 03-01-2019, 08:00 AM   #1
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Broken axle bolt washers...oh my gosh

I was doing normal brake service on my 2014 25 and noticed that the washers on the bolt which attaches the axle to the frame were broken and half was missing. I inspected the others to find one other broken and one where the washers were completely gone and the bolt dangling (OMG).
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:16 AM   #2
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Well thatís a drag but good catch. Iíd call airstream Jackson center Monday and see what your next move is but obviously replacement.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:17 AM   #3
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Any trailer repair place should be able to replace them. They should probably be Grade 8 bolts, washers and nuts. That's what we used when I replaced my axles. On my 2002 Classic there were no alignment issues. The axle and the mounting bracket on the frame had matching holes.

The good news is that the frame sits on the axles. The hardware merely holds it in place to keep it from moving fore and aft, at least that's how my trailer was configured.

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Old 03-01-2019, 10:52 AM   #4
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Al

As I remember it they used a double Belleville washer for these fasteners.

Going with new grade 8 would be a good bet until replacement with originals.

Wanna eb

Any history on repairs involving axles?

Gary
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Any trailer repair place should be able to replace them. They should probably be Grade 8 bolts, washers and nuts. That's what we used when I replaced my axles. On my 2002 Classic there were no alignment issues. The axle and the mounting bracket on the frame had matching holes.

The good news is that the frame sits on the axles. The hardware merely holds it in place to keep it from moving fore and aft, at least that's how my trailer was configured.

Al
I checked and mine is configured similarly. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:32 PM   #6
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Al

As I remember it they used a double Belleville washer for these fasteners.

Going with new grade 8 would be a good bet until replacement with originals.

Wanna eb

Any history on repairs involving axles?

Gary
Thanks. No, no history of axle work. I ordered the trailer new.

I have replaced all the washers with grade 8. I donít think I am going to go back with originals...they didnít work out so well.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Al

As I remember it they used a double Belleville washer for these fasteners.

Going with new grade 8 would be a good bet until replacement with originals.

Wanna eb

Any history on repairs involving axles?

Gary

Thanks again

Until you mentioned it, I didnít know what a Belleville washer was. Now I have to think through why they used Belleville and if I will need to install new Belleview washers or stay with grade 8 flat washers.

John
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:32 AM   #8
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John

A Belleville washer is a dished spring. It takes force to compress it making it flat and itís pushing back against the fasteners. Why did they use it? Not really sure.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:24 PM   #9
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I ended up going with the original type Belleville washers only because I chickened out on using flat grade 8 washers even though Dexter confirmed that would be fine. There must be a reason for the specialty washer. But, I was shocked to find that 5 of the 8 axle bolts had broken washers. This is no small issue. Jackson center reports that they havenít heard of it before. Something is strange here...it may be worth taking a look at your rig.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for the follow up and heads up.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:08 AM   #11
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The washers that came with my lift kit from Dexter were flat washers, not Belleville.

As to alignment, I forgot to mention that the new Dexter axles I put on last year did not match the holes in my frame brackets that were meant for Henschen axles. My installer slotted the rear holes in the axle bracket so that the front holes wold maintain the alignment.

Al
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:36 AM   #12
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Found the same issue

I was looking over the tires on my 2014 25FBQ and found half of one washer missing on an axle attachment bolt and another with radial cracks. Contacted Airstream Service and they're sending me new washers to replace the existing ones. While Airstream hasn't sent a recall notice out on this, there are now two documented cases of the same issue SO I'd suggest you all examine your rigs to make sure you don't suffer from this same problem.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:10 AM   #13
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Good catch.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:50 AM   #14
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I would guess that the special washers are to aid installation and alignment of the axle. The dishes washer would give some tension but one could still adjust the axle before tightening them. I would use flat washers as a replacement if I was doing it one bolt at a time without moving the alignment.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:32 AM   #15
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I was looking over the tires on my 2014 25FBQ and found half of one washer missing on an axle attachment bolt and another with radial cracks. Contacted Airstream Service and they're sending me new washers to replace the existing ones. While Airstream hasn't sent a recall notice out on this, there are now two documented cases of the same issue SO I'd suggest you all examine your rigs to make sure you don't suffer from this same problem.
It is interesting that both of our units are 2014 model year. I bet there are a lot of units in this era rolling with broken washers. You did better than I with customer service...all I got was ďnever heard of thatĒ. The local dealer got me for $80 for new washers.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:09 PM   #16
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The reason to use that type of washer is to reduce vibrations having any impact on the torque of the bolt(s). So the bolts don't loosen.

As to why the washers are cracked/broken. Only one, over torqued!!!!
The washers are designed for a certain amount of torque. Exceed that limit and they will break. Good news is they are the weak link. Things that did not happen from this over torque event were -

Bolts did not break
Threads did not strip off the bolt
Threads were not pulled out of the trailer
And ultimately it sounds like while there was a small amount of damage and the axle remained in place and did not move

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:09 AM   #17
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I received the new Belleville washers from Airstream - thanks to Chris Burch a Service Coordinator at the mother ship. There were actually two bolts with broken washers on two separate axles and I had enough to replaced both of them. These washers are stacked two per bolt on the bolt head side. A good visual inspection is all you really need to see which ones are damaged. As for my opinion on this - Belleville washers are essentially small springs used in places were you'd want a consistent clamping load to be applied. In the case of the axle mounts, I noticed that the bolts actually go through two slots positioned at 90 degrees instead of a round through hole. So, it makes good design sense to use the Belleville washers in this case as opposed to relying on just the tension of a bolted joint with flat washers. I don't think the issue is one of design, the method of failure is typical of brittle steel caused by poor heat treat on the washers, or even possibly stress corrosion cracking. Regardless of why, what is important is that you keep an eye on these items and replace them when they fail.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:49 AM   #18
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That is crazy. I would use a flat washer.



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Old 07-17-2019, 10:05 AM   #19
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Jstetson,

Good write up and pics.

I got a feeling Airstream and likely Dexter use these for a reason. A brief search found enough info that these have a serious contribution to keeping these bolts tight.

https://www.solonmfg.com/washers/bel...iAAEgKYZfD_BwE

Just a sample of info about these spring washers.

Gary
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:56 PM   #20
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The spring washer puts a consistent compression but over time they can lose their temper flatten out or crack. It makes getting the preload right less of an issue but if it decreases reliability then it is not worth it. It is one of those things that sounds like a good idea on paper but maybe not in the real world. The nut should be held on by a split pin.



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