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Old 08-22-2010, 05:28 PM   #1
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DIY Axle Replacement or Take it in?

Okay, so we've taken our A/S out for a couple trips now, and I'm starting to see the dreaded "waves" around the wheels within the body, so I can only assume that we're getting a little rear sag from bad axles. Having said this, without welding, brake system and bearing experience, how likely is it that I could actually replace these myself? I've replaced/patched the rotten floor, redone my plumbing (sweated joints, replaced lines), patched the skin and am good at carpentry and the like, but drilling out mounting holes, welding and fiddling around with brakes and the general running gear has me somewhat scared. Having said this, I love to do things myself to save money, but I'm wondering if this is something that should be left to the pros. Also, is there anyone close to the Oklahoma area that could put a set on relatively quick (like less than a day)?

Just trying to figure out what my options are.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:32 PM   #2
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If you order the complete axle which includes brakes and drums you need to disconnect 4 bolts and 4 wires per axle. They are heavy so a few friends would make it go a lot easier.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:39 PM   #3
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This is most definitely a do-it your self project. Do a search and read a couple of how too's and jump right in... It takes about 3.5 - 4 hours (while goofing off) And having an extra pair of hands will help, but it can be done with a rolling floor jack by your self if you have to.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:49 PM   #4
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A strong buddy is a must, but it is not complicated. You can take you trailer to a welding shop for the shock mounts if you get your axles from Inland. Only 2 wires/wheel to connect. Having 2 good floor jacks will make the process much easier and a lot less strain.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:09 PM   #5
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Good to know -- I've done a lot of searching around about the sag issue -- is there anything else that would cause the following waves in my skin?

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Old 08-22-2010, 06:21 PM   #6
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Floor is rotten around the edge.

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Good to know -- I've done a lot of searching around about the sag issue -- is there anything else that would cause the following waves in my skin?

Attachment 109167Attachment 109168Attachment 109169
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:26 PM   #7
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Good to know -- I've done a lot of searching around about the sag issue -- is there anything else that would cause the following waves in my skin?

Attachment 109167Attachment 109168Attachment 109169
Most owners, with a helping friend, change out the axles themselves, and, without the need for a jack.

Pulling the tires of one axle up on a couple of 2 x 6's, eliminates the need for a jack. Change out the other axle, and then reverse the process.

The lower side sheet "ripple" was basically cause by the shell being pounded because of the bad axles.

Another cause is running with unbalanced running gear.

You should check the frame in the area of the axles, and look for some cracks.

Most of the ripple can be made to "go away", if you modify the wheel wells and use the inner and outer wheel well moldings that have been used from 1974 to the currect models.

Those moldings, stiffen the side as well as beef it up.

Takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per side, to modify.

Makes it a lot easier to change tires if necessary, after the modification.

Andy
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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Possibly, but not sure -- it's like this behind the back tire on one side, and in the front on the other side -- I think I might have just figured it out -- perhaps I should move this over to a different thread, but we just got 4 new tires a few weeks ago. I remember the guy (this was a tire place specifically for RV's and trucks) was having "issues" getting the new tire in (I know that the jack was placed in the between the axles on the frame -- so at least he got that right) and was forcing it in before the more knowledgeable person can over and told him how to do it. It almost looks like he pulled the wheel well skin out to fit it in -- if I look down the the A/S, it almost looks like someone "pulled" the trim and skin outward, and that if I push it back in it almost pops back into place.

I say this because it's worth noting that we didn't really notice this issue until after we brought it back from the tire store, but we also had just purchased it and haven't really taken it out except to the A/S mechanic to who worked on it (replaced the brake mags, did our bearings, etc) and to the tire place.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:41 PM   #9
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You should check the frame in the area of the axles, and look for some cracks.
I was just under the it -- would this be visible without taking the banana wrap and belly off? I just examined this upright metal plate that the axle's are attached to and they actually seem straight and have no cracks on either side.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:44 PM   #10
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Possibly, but not sure -- it's like this behind the back tire on one side, and in the front on the other side -- I think I might have just figured it out -- perhaps I should move this over to a different thread, but we just got 4 new tires a few weeks ago. I remember the guy (this was a tire place specifically for RV's and trucks) was having "issues" getting the new tire in (I know that the jack was placed in the between the axles on the frame -- so at least he got that right) and was forcing it in before the more knowledgeable person can over and told him how to do it. It almost looks like he pulled the wheel well skin out to fit it in -- if I look down the the A/S, it almost looks like someone "pulled" the trim and skin outward, and that if I push it back in it almost pops back into place.
Shawn.

Nice thought, but I don't think the tire shop has the ability to stretch that metal.

Look around at other 69 to 73 tandem axle trailers and you will see the same buckles.

That's the very reason Airstream opened up the wheel wells and use 2 heavy moldings, not just one.

Now look at the 74 on up tandem axle or even triple axle trailers, and you will not see that same buckle.

Andy.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #11
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I was just under the it -- would this be visible without taking the banana wrap and belly off? I just examined this upright metal plate that the axle's are attached to and they actually seem straight and have no cracks on either side.
Frame cracks are almost always visible without having to remove any sheet metal.

Andy
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:59 PM   #12
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Oh well, it's odd that my service guy (who had the A/S off the ground checking out my bearings as well as replacing my brake magnets) didn't mention that the axles were bad -- from what you've said in the past Andy, it's pretty simple once the tires are off to see if they are in good shape.
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:13 PM   #13
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Oh well, it's odd that my service guy (who had the A/S off the ground checking out my bearings as well as replacing my brake magnets) didn't mention that the axles were bad -- from what you've said in the past Andy, it's pretty simple once the tires are off to see if they are in good shape.
Shawn.

That is "not" the test.

Please read the axle article in the Airstream Central section of this Forums.

The tests are very easy, as you will read.

But, under no circumstances, are any of them with the tires "off".

The only test that you could do with the tires and hub and drums off, is to make sure that the spindles are ok, as well as the bearings, neither of which tells you anything about the rubber rods.

Your shop may be an expert, but not on torsion axles.

Andy
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:13 PM   #14
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Check with Griffith RV in OK City he is a specialist working on Airstream and does outstanding work.

There is a factory frame kit for reinforcing the frame at the axles.

Griffith RV Recreational Vehicle Service - Oklahoma City - (405)-495-2590
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