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Old 02-10-2009, 12:19 PM   #15
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In my experience, many parts made by aftermarket manufacturers are superior to OEM parts. The aftermarket auto parts industry is driven in no small part by owners who want to improve the performance of a vehicle above the standard established by the manufacturer.

I'm probably not a "typical" Airstream owner--if there is such a thing--but I don't want to keep my '67 Overlander "original." In my opinion, LED lights are superior to incandescents; new convertors are superior to the old Univolt technology; the list goes on.

We decided from Day One to replace the axles on our coach. Since we're in frame-and-floor mode now, we haven't made a decision on what axles to install. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think new Dexter axles would represent an improvement over the existing 42-year-old Henschen axles. Are Henschen axles better than Dexter? I don't know. The lower initial cost may be partly offset by having to tweak the installation a bit... but as noted, there's going to be some work under the coach one way or another if you have an older Airstream.

What I don't understand is why Henschen axles cost more than twice as much. If there were a relatively modest price difference between Henschen and Dexter, I think Henschen would dominate the Airstream renovation market. At double the cost... I think a fair number of people are scratching their heads.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
In my experience, many parts made by aftermarket manufacturers are superior to OEM parts. The aftermarket auto parts industry is driven in no small part by owners who want to improve the performance of a vehicle above the standard established by the manufacturer.

I'm probably not a "typical" Airstream owner--if there is such a thing--but I don't want to keep my '67 Overlander "original." In my opinion, LED lights are superior to incandescents; new convertors are superior to the old Univolt technology; the list goes on.

We decided from Day One to replace the axles on our coach. Since we're in frame-and-floor mode now, we haven't made a decision on what axles to install. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think new Dexter axles would represent an improvement over the existing 42-year-old Henschen axles. Are Henschen axles better than Dexter? I don't know. The lower initial cost may be partly offset by having to tweak the installation a bit... but as noted, there's going to be some work under the coach one way or another if you have an older Airstream.

What I don't understand is why Henschen axles cost more than twice as much. If there were a relatively modest price difference between Henschen and Dexter, I think Henschen would dominate the Airstream renovation market. At double the cost... I think a fair number of people are scratching their heads.
The biggest reason is that Dexter sells a production run axle, where your choice of specs is limited, especially when they send you 10 inch brakes instead of 12 inch, axles with smaller spindles, as well as other specs that are standard to them, but not to your Airstream.

Henschen replacement axles are made to the exact specs that your trailer requires, including upgrades such as starting angles and weight ratings. Those are made, one at a time. Then are not involved with a production runs.

But they are custom made, one at a time, which allows many choices of specs.

Anything made, one at a time, to special specs instead of a production run, will cost more.

How about the cost of manufacturing an Airstream trailer, as opposed to a Fleetwood Prowler? One at a time, or production??

Andy
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:28 PM   #17
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:45 PM   #18
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Hey,
I did not mean to start an arguement. I have read many of the axle thread and see the same issues arising. I tend to look at the axles like this, while I would like to have a Mercedes I can only afford a Ford. BUT, the Ford does a great job and gets me where I am going. If the Dexter's will work for half the price that is what I want. Take a look at my pictures, I still have a lot of work and money to put in this trailer and at the moment I could use this money for a new toilet (not EVEN going to ask for opinions there). At 375.00 per axle (complete with brakes) I have not found them any cheaper. A little adjustment will not be a problem, I have the help (thanks, 94tri) and the tools and a dry place to work. On another note, there were only four bolts holding each axle on, does this sound right?

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Old 02-10-2009, 05:54 PM   #19
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Hey 63Silver, ask about the angle while you are at it..........22 degrees or 35degrees. Any thoughts out there?????????
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:32 PM   #20
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axle questions.

10 inch brakes or 12 inch brakes?

Spindle size?

Weight rating?

Starting angle?

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Old 02-10-2009, 07:00 PM   #21
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axles

I got my old axles off today with the help of a cutting torch. I didn't know how bad they were until I got a close look at them. The rubber had lost all of it's spring and they were setting on the stops. I choose to use axles from Inland RV. They are rated a little higher in load value and have a little more angle added to them. This will raise my airstream an additional inch or more. By the way it is a 1982 Excella. A little over 25 years old it needed axles badly. My 1970 Safari also needs a axle and when I replace it I will call Inland Andy and see what he can do for me in the way of a custom fit also. It makes all the difference!
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #22
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I have removed one of the old axles and will be taking it to the dealer on Saturday. They will be using the old axles for measurements. The new axles will have 12inch brakes, 35 degree angle and 3500lb rating unless I request something else. I have no idea about the spindles. I assume they will take care of that.

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Old 02-10-2009, 11:12 PM   #23
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Some Dexter tips . . .

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I have removed one of the old axles and will be taking it to the dealer on Saturday. They will be using the old axles for measurements. The new axles will have 12inch brakes, 35 degree angle and 3500lb rating unless I request something else. I have no idea about the spindles. I assume they will take care of that. 63silver
Hi 63Silver:

Visit the Dexter web site at Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - HOME and read all about the various options so you will be informed when you meet with the Dexter axle dealer this Saturday. When I ordered my custom manufactured Dexter Torflex #11 single axle last year, I got the one inch higher pro standard mounting plates (swapped side-to-side with reverse orientation) that raised the trailer 1 inch higher than it would have been with the standard low mounting plates. This allowed me to keep the 22-1/2 degree arm down angle but gain 1" height for the trailer and frame to make changing tires slightly easier (by raising the wheel well from the axle thus providing more room) and better matched the trailer ride height to my 4X4 truck ride height. I also ordered 30" jacketed leads for the electric brake cables. Hubs were 5200 pound rated 6 lugs on 5-1/2" bolt circle diameter with DXQ 12" diameter electric brakes and E-Z lube bearings. Landed cost including sales tax was just under $500.00. It's one mighty fine axle!
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:14 PM   #24
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47weewind,
Thanks for the information! That is the stuff I need to know before I end up with something that won't work. I absolutely want the trailer to set several inches higher that it is right now. I had read on an earlier post that Dexter did not offer a 12'' brake but that is not what the dealer told me. I would much rather have the 12's since that was the original design.

Thanks,
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:29 PM   #25
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More helpful hints . . .

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47weewind, Thanks for the information! That is the stuff I need to know before I end up with something that won't work. I absolutely want the trailer to set several inches higher that it is right now. I had read on an earlier post that Dexter did not offer a 12'' brake but that is not what the dealer told me. I would much rather have the 12's since that was the original design. Thanks, 63silver
Hi 63Silver:

Don't believe everything you read on the Forums; no one contributor has perfect knowledge or recall. Do a search for "Dexter" or "Dexter axle" in the Forums and read the applicable threads to get informed. There is some good data on ordering Dexters in past posts. But then do your own research and spend some time discussing with your Dexter dealer (and if the dealer is not too sharp, then with Dexter engineering) what features you want in your Dexter axles before ordering them.

Once the axles are built to your specs, you own them, so be careful in deciding what to order and then double-check the order sheet to verify it contains the specs you want. You cannot be too careful when ordering custom-built goods of any kind. You are going to live with those new axles for a few decades, so spending a week or two beforehand discussing and learning more about axles is time well invested. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:48 AM   #26
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What we have found is that the Dexter axles loose about 1/2 of their suspension travel after a few thousand miles of towing. I think this is because the center bar inside the axle is not heat treated like the Hension axles are. This allows the centre bar to spiral which is what limits the travel.

Dexters are cheaper but if I was spending hundreds of hours redoing an older Airstream I would certainly invest the extra for the Hensions to preserve the life of the trailer. If you ride in a trailer with hensions you can tell the difference t is hard to tell from the tow vehicle.

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:03 AM   #27
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Good to know that after a three week sabbatical nothing has changed in the great axle debate.

Almost anyone can drill a 5/8 inch hole. Some can even do it with a 3/8 inch drill. It does not necessarily take a 1/2 inch drill, it does however requires a 5/8 inch bit.

Good luck with them axles.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:50 AM   #28
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What we have found is that the Dexter axles loose about 1/2 of their suspension travel after a few thousand miles of towing. I think this is because the center bar inside the axle is not heat treated like the Hension axles are. This allows the centre bar to spiral which is what limits the travel.
Andrew,

Where did you get your info?

I asked this question of Dexter... and Rick Kapsa (Product Manager Dexter Axle Company) replied that the center bar is heat treated.
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