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Old 07-01-2015, 04:37 PM   #1
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Do I need new axles?

I searched and tried to read previous threads but I don't know how to find earlier discussions. The search feature was no help. A bunch of info on stuff I didn't need.

I need to know how I would know if my axles need replacing. When I crawl under there what am I looking for?
My trailer was thoroughly examined....a $2000 inspection from previous owner right before we bought it and I have the receipt but no evaluation. They just said is was in good working order. I could take it somewhere but I wouldn't learn anything.

Any help or ideas. AS is 43 years old but always kept under cover. We just got back from 5000 mile 5 week trip with no problems. Seems to ride well with good mileage.
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Old 07-01-2015, 04:56 PM   #2
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43 years old, yes.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:00 PM   #3
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Well, if the trailer is on its original axles, then they need replacing. The "bounce" is provided by rubber rods inside the axle tube, and after about 25 yrs, they lose a lot of their spring. One way to test is to jack up your trailer and watch how much travel your axle arm has as you take lift the side of the trailer. Old axles will only move an inch or so, "good" axles will have closer to 3" of travel. Another rule-of-thumb way to tell at a glance is to look at where the rim is relative to the fender. If the fender is sitting lower than the top of the rim, then chances are, you need new axles.

There are buzzillions of threads on axle replacement, but the serach function is marginal. Just open a new window and do a google search for "airstream airforums axle replace" and you will get a bunch of hits from the forums.

good luck!
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Old 07-02-2015, 05:53 PM   #4
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I will check it out...thanks. If they've been replaced, I guess they'll look ok.
I will try the search you suggest.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
I will check it out...thanks. If they've been replaced, I guess they'll look ok.
I will try the search you suggest.
Lexxy.

The following article, that's a part of this Forums, will help you check out your axles.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
I searched and tried to read previous threads but I don't know how to find earlier discussions. The search feature was no help. A bunch of info on stuff I didn't need.

I need to know how I would know if my axles need replacing. When I crawl under there what am I looking for?
My trailer was thoroughly examined....a $2000 inspection from previous owner right before we bought it and I have the receipt but no evaluation. They just said is was in good working order. I could take it somewhere but I wouldn't learn anything.

Any help or ideas. AS is 43 years old but always kept under cover. We just got back from 5000 mile 5 week trip with no problems. Seems to ride well with good mileage.
I have a 1969 Sovereign and had the axles replaced this year by P & S Trailer Service. And, they needed to be replaced. The trailer's history is that it sat unused for about 15 years before I bought it. Nevertheless, they were 46 years old. The A/S factory will also replace axles. The risk you run is that an axle failure almost always results in significant damage requiring a substantial expense to repair.

David Parker
1969 Sovereign (31')
1989 Dodge D-350
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:15 PM   #7
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David,
Thanks a bunch. I will test them when it quits raining...it's possible that one of the 2 previous owners I can't contact replaced them but I'm not expecting tat will be my luck.
We redid a 67 safari,fixing the frame and completely rebuilding team interior so I he's we can learn to fix axles!
About how much do folks charge to have it done?
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:06 PM   #8
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Not unlike many of the axle threads, there is much debate about this topic. I certainly do not claim to be an expert, and respect a lot of the opinions, but as usual have a few of my own as well. The 3" drop test is misleading. There are so many factors that go into "what to look for". The first and easy thing would be to determine the age. Each axle will have a plate welded or screwed to the front of the tube. It may need a wire brush and a magnifying glass, but it will tell you the weight rating and the year of manufacture. Yours could have been replaced so the TT year is irrelevant. I just did all of this and replaced my axles a month ago. Dexter Axle has a chart that tells you the expected drop of the axle on the jack up test, and it varies with the weight on the axle at the start, and the axle rating (from the plate) as to how far the natural drop will be.
Many things cause axle failure but I would say lack of use is the biggest culpret. Rubber needs to be exercised in order for the compound to stay flexible. Long periods of sitting would tend to opt for new ones. Sun and heat are bad for rubber, but that mostly pertains to tires exposed. The rubber in the axles is sealed and the top heat before harm is way above even desert temps. But....and welding, previous fire, etc. will damage the internal rubber.

I picked my axles up at the factory in Georgia less than 24 hours after manufacture. When I installed them, I decided to do the drop test. New, never used axles had 1/2 " drop on this test. They needed to be broken in, so after 1600 miles, I tested them again, and they were right on the chart that I mentioned from Dexter.com..
I scratch my head about the shocks. There are as many opinions about them. The Dexter Engineer at the home plant did not see the need for them, but AS puts them on everything. They can fail also, causing a bouncy ride.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:39 PM   #9
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Dexter says that if you jack up the axle and have less than 3 inches of drop, it is time to replace. I guess the acid test is how well they perform, and how rough do you treat them.
Checked mine in 15 degree weather, they dropped 2 1/2 inches, I will check the next time we're in the upper 90's. My coach is 37 y/o and they still ride nice, hard to say when or if they were replaced. Cant find a stamp or tag as is on my farm trailer axles.
When in doubt, replace them.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:26 AM   #10
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Side sag

Anyone come across one sided suspension failure? I have the door side suspension far lower than the other side. The whole thing is listing to the door side quite markedly. Its a 72 sovereign which i brought over from Baltimore to Australia. The very last leg of the Journey it was transported from the docks to the destination on the back of a truck and to my horror, was delivered by sitting the back of the trailer on the ground and dragging the truck from underneath, leaving the entire length of the airstream suspended from hitch (see photo) I think the weight totally off the suspension caused it to recoil and it seems failed on one side.....any thoughts? And whats then best replacement?
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Old 07-04-2015, 06:08 AM   #11
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Dexter does not say that the drop should be 3" on all axles from all AS
trailer class axles. Dexter says what the Dexter.com/axle specs page
referenced above says. Think about it... My 11000# GVW trailer had two
4500# 1971 axles under it. I am not sure what the bambi single Axle is
rated for, but surely the torque in the Dura-torque cannot be the same in
both trailers. I now have new 5200# axles. (For those of you calculating
right now, I have a fifth wheel.) Also on the tangent of common sense. If
any trailer is loaded to 75 % of its' gvw, the axle will be at rest in a
different position than if it were loaded to full capacity. Jacking it up
to allow the Axle to relax for measurement should yield different results.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:46 AM   #12
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I really have no idea hat you folks are talking about measuring. I know how to put a jack under the trailer and jack it. But I don't understand what I'm measuring when! Is it the middle of the wheel to the ground....is it the bottom of the axle? It's gonna be lopsided with just one jack. I wish there were instructions and pictures.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:14 AM   #13
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1989 35' Argosy 5th Wheel
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The reference to measureing is: measure any point of the tire or wheel (when trailer is resting on it's own weight) to a fixed point on the trailer wheel well. Anything fixed on the trailer vertical to anything on the wheel that can be repeated. Now jack up the axle on that wheel, let the wheel fall under gravity until off the ground and measure again at the same points. That is how to measure the wheel drop.

All torsion axles are independent from side to side, so one at a time will do.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:25 AM   #14
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1989 35' Argosy 5th Wheel
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Have not seen it before, but it is possible and in your case probable that one side of the axle is damaged. The axles are made with each half independent from the other with regards to torsion. The question is, which side is bad, the one that lists and sags or the high one. Not really relevant because there is no repair, just replacement, but the part of the axle from where the hub is attached to the part where the actual square axle goes into the tube, has a starting angle. Usually but not always, AS specs a 22.5 drop angle from horizontal. You either have to have the wheel off or be very flexible to look between the wheel and frame to see this part of the axle. If the listing side piece is level to the ground, the rubber has completely failed or the axle is broken inside the tube (very rare). This big debate about measuring the drop of a wheel, would be more evidence that the test is not always dependable on it's own. I suspect you would have a 3" drop on that bad side, and most would say that is good, but not me. Good luck, sounds like you may have a damaged in shipping issue, but would have to have evidence from before shipping that it was normal.
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