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Old 01-12-2008, 06:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by eubank
Ah, good! We've already got plans to replace the axles, but it's going to have to wait until we can make it to California. The axles are marginal now, but not entirely shot, by my measurement.


Lynn
There is another "axle" test that you should consider.

Jack one side of the trailer up. The tire should drop 3 or more inches.

If not, then the rubber rods have solidified.

If that's the case, then the trailer will get a rough ride, even though the torsion arm position might show some life left.

Andy
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Old 01-12-2008, 07:38 PM   #16
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Those early caravels do indeed have that spindle breakage trouble, seems like 65 was the key year prone to that ,any caravel owner needs to get that axle replaced .The robber rods as andy has pointed out is the other failure that all
old torsion axles have .As many here have said ,the axles should be replaced for that very reason as well .On the leaf spring trailers such as my 60 trdwnd 24ft it has a heavily rated factory axle in it ,no spindles issues on these or
torsion type problems ,brand new springs and bushings ,YES along with
regular greasings ,seals ,that type of thing .The thing to remember is that other airstreams do not seem to have the caravel problem ,its clearly the fatigue of under sized spindles and design of the attachment to the square
axle tube ,mainly the complete spindle assembly breaks off the square axle ,
at the weld ,poorly built and engineered really is the problem ,and if the axles are bottoming out do to worn rubber rods ,that just hammers on the spindles
adding to the problem .A shame the trailer was destroyed ,hate to hear that .

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
There is another "axle" test that you should consider.
Jack one side of the trailer up. The tire should drop 3 or more inches.
If not, then the rubber rods have solidified.
If that's the case, then the trailer will get a rough ride, even though the torsion arm position might show some life left.
Andy
Interesting test! I'll have to do that when I get to work on the rig later in the year. (RIght now, the AS is buried in snow, so no work on anything until this all melts!)

Lynn
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:15 PM   #18
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Thank you so much for this thread! I am leaving in 3 weeks for an art show "tour" in Florida from Virginia. I'll be traveling for 4 weeks. I'm going in my newest '66 Caravel; taking it on it's maiden voyage. My other 2 ( 65 Safari & '68 Caravel) had the axles repaced immediately before any other work was done. The '66 has all systems working now... I've re-done the upholstory, curtains, new tires, awning fabric is on order...etc...etc! But.... no new axle (Which I ALWAYS thought was IMPORTANT!) After reading this thread.. and MAKING my husband read it... The Jayster(the '66) is at this very minute up on blocks with it's original axle removed and a new one on order... all done within an hour! This very issue had been bothering me and I wasn't real confident it taking the Jayster on the road. Now I'm excited and bonding with the new baby!
THANK YOU!
Thank you again!!!
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:04 PM   #19
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Caravel axel failure

Hey let's not leave out 1969-71 Caravels!

Does anyone know if they are they in the equal opportunity axle falure/weak spindle club as well?

Inquiring aluminum minds want to know...
Thanks
Stephen
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:39 AM   #20
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I thought perhaps some pictures might help. These don't show the other side which is in the same condition, nor the inside where cupboards are broken away from the wall and cracked. The door frame is also broken. It was a real beauty before this happened.
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:44 AM   #21
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That is one messed up trailer. You can see in the one photo how the spindle broke off. The inside bearing is still attached.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:29 AM   #22
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You're right Richard. It's pretty messed up.

It's such a scary thing one would almost wonder if WBCCI could/should be trying to do something by sending letters to all members with the questionable year Bambi's and Caravels suggesting they change their axles, and perhaps even writing to the various State DMV's suggesting they send a letter to all the owners of all registered Bambi/Caravels in their State recommending they have them checked ASAP.

Who would one contact at WBCCI to suggest this? Or have they done so already?

I realize that only a small percentage of Airstream owners belong to WBCCI which is why including the DMV for each State would expand it out to non members.

Just a thought. I missed the original thread Andy had started last year as I'm sure a lot of folks did.

Barry
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:26 AM   #23
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Talking looks like.....

a parts trailer to me....other then the damage....shell looks good...
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:32 AM   #24
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You could contact:
Quote:
Cindy Reed, Corporate Manager
creed@wbcci.org
My guess is that they could put an article in the Blue Beret to alert owners.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:20 AM   #25
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Thank you Richard,

I feel that I just can't leave this hanging for people to find out either by word of mouth or due to a catastrophic circumstance.

I will ask her to put something in the BB.

Barry
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:35 AM   #26
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Barry,

If it were a newer trailer there might be a recall. On a 40 year old trailer NTSB isn't going to get involved in a recall. The same applies for any state entity. I believe the limit is 10 years. The concern is well known here. It has been discussed several times over the years. And will be again. Inland RV has made it a priority to point out the issues with that axle in those years for thoses smaller trailers.

The true concern is a marginal spindle diameter (too small) on a single axle trailer. Loaded to the limit with less than a well maintain axle or an axle that has reached the end of it's service life. The spindle gets hot and will and can break. There isn't much room for error. If it had 2 axles this would not be an issue because the load would be shared and if one spindle failed the operator would stop usage. Even other (larger) single axle trailer of the period are not much of an issue since those trailers have larger spindle diameters. This larger diameter can absorb and dissapate the heat with out failing. ~~ Adding to this are axle springs that are less than flexible. What happpens when these trailer when they sit for long periods of time with out usage. The rubber rods internal to the axle do not flex as well and this puts additional strain on the spindle. Lastly is tire/wheel assembly not balanced causing greater movement when traveling. And to a lesser degree shocks that are older and do not dampen movement. Mainly the 3 issues of bearing service, tire/wheel assy balance and axle rod flexibility will harm this marginal spindle. And 2 out of 3 are maintence related owner/user items. So do not neglect the regular maintence because it is important.

It is my opinion and mine only, that 35-40 yo units with a torsion axle should be looked at with very very skeptical eyes. Axle replacement should be considered almost mandatory for any size A/S trailer of that age. Nothing lasts for ever. And certainly the torsion axle has a limited life span. IN my opinion that axle design has reached it's life limit at that point. Not replacing is pushing the design envelope. Doing this may result in an out come shone above. In the lower price of a 40 year old unit there is certainly room for money to be spent on axle replacement when the comparison to a 5 year old unit.

The WBCCI may not be that concerned because they are not focused on vintage. The focus is all years Airstream. Most active members in the WBCCI have newer units and travel since that is the focus of the club. The VAC may have the most concern since they are focused on the Vintage units.

And the best solution is buyer education. The owners manual on new cars isn't an inch thick to occupy space. There is very valuble info there. There is the same info available for older anything. However one has to look more dilligently. That's why these fourms were created.


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Old 01-16-2008, 08:14 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivrCtyStrmr
Hey let's not leave out 1969-71 Caravels!

Does anyone know if they are they in the equal opportunity axle falure/weak spindle club as well?

Inquiring aluminum minds want to know...
Thanks
Stephen
I asked the same question in a post a few days back, right before I got my 1970 Caravel. Just got a PM from a moderator that he had moved it to a thread in the Axle forum.

However... while I have had several good/great responses (thanks all for your time and advice) on the forum and one PM, I haven't got a specific answer stating the axle on mine is one with the problem.

Now this is coming from a new RV owner, not just a new AS owner (I'm new at owning a RV/AS, not just the AS) so please take that into account as you read what, I think, I've absorbed from this and every other thread, on axles, I could find here. Even if my 70 Caravel isn't one with the weaker axle (and I am still unsure) it's still a 38 year old axle and it is, in house terms, the foundation, of my mobile house. I'm thinking I wouldn't buy a used house (watch mega movers on TV) to move to my property and then set it on a old foundation, no I'd probably build a new foundation for it. So while it may be about a year before I get around to replaceing the axle with a new one, before it goes on any trips it will have a new axle. Maby my logic is a bit flawed, but if it is I'm trying to "err" on the side of caution.

A note to all who have shared their experiences/knowledge on this, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...

--Dwight
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:20 AM   #28
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Dwight,

I believe that you got your answer in the thread that was split off. That answer came fron Uwe. And it is inline with the conclusion in your post above.

Especially since your started your experience in your words with a Caravel that has been neglected. From that statement I would conculde the worse about the condition of anything on the trailer.

What prolongs the life of the torsion axle rubber rods is frequent use. At least once every year or so. Unloading the axle when at prolonged rest helps also. IE lifting and supporting trailer.

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