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Old 07-15-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
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Do I need new Axles?

I have a 1975 Soverign, 31 Land Yacht. I have the trailer jack up and the axles on block I was going to replace the Electronic Brake Backer Plate. While the trailer was jacked up and under no load I jacked the axle brake arm of the toro-flex axle. The arm only travels a distance of 1 inch up before the trailer starts to lift off the jack stand. Does this mean that the rubber rods in the axle are solidified and the axle needs replaced?

I have heard the rule theat if there is no maovement after 5% up then the axle is shot. I do not know how to measure the 5% criterion. But I am thinking that an 1 inch of movement is not sufficient to have an adequate suspension.

Can anyone please advise me?

If so can you suggest where I can purchase replacement axles?
How do I get the proper axle for the trailer? Where do I find the axle number?
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
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Call Andy at Inland Rv, he can help you figure all that out. www.inlandrv.com
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:56 PM   #3
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Drop the trailer back to the ground and look at the angle to trailing arm makes with the ground. If the arm is parallel to the ground or pointing upwards towards the rear of the trailer you are in the market for new axles. Just the age alone says you most likely need them.

Shop around there is now more than one source and the price reflects that.

Henschen is now using Chinese bearing so you may want to just buy bare axles and build the hubs and backer plates.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
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the top of your wheel well should also split your tires if the top of your rim is at the bottom of the wheel well then you have shot axels..
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
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Everybody is using Chinese bearings, Timken and Koyo are available but at 5 to 6 times the price of the Chinese stuff, the other side of the coin is that the Chinese bearings are made to the same tolerances. Has anyone had any failures from the cheaper brands? Realize that the Airstream trailers are using 12" components while all the othersame size/weight box trailersare using 10" stuff.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
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Assuming you have the original axles, they are 34 years old.

Yes, you need new axles.

Do not waste your time replacing the backing plates. (I did that with my first one and it took as much time as replacing the axles, but all I had to show for it was new backing plates.)

You can replace your axles with either OEM Henschens (from InlandRV) or Dexters, provided you give them the correct measurements.

I put new Dexters on my '73 Sovereign back in 2007 and it's not that difficult.

Just returned from a 2000 mile road trip to Niagara Falls (furthest point north) and the axles performed wonderfully. They make a HUGE difference in the ride (and corresponding inner chaos).

PM me if you need more info.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
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exter Axles and Positioning

I undertand that the dexter axle requires drilling other mounting holes. How do you mount them so that you do not change the alignment?

Can you use one of the existing holes and just drill the second hole to fit?

Thanks for all your help?
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:14 AM   #8
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As long as you have ONE ORIGINAL bolt on both sides of an axle they will be aligned as well as any production axle could be. Now that said production axles are not aligned with themselves to the extent you would want. If you install new axles check them yourself or have them checked at a truck trailer shop. The easy way to check them is to lay an 8 ft florescent light bulb along the center line of the tires and see if all tire surfaces touch the bulb. You can accept about 0 to 3/32 toe in. Just make sure you are touching the same surface on each tire.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrvly1976 View Post
I have a 1975 Soverign, 31 Land Yacht. I have the trailer jack up and the axles on block I was going to replace the Electronic Brake Backer Plate. While the trailer was jacked up and under no load I jacked the axle brake arm of the toro-flex axle. The arm only travels a distance of 1 inch up before the trailer starts to lift off the jack stand. Does this mean that the rubber rods in the axle are solidified and the axle needs replaced?

I have heard the rule theat if there is no maovement after 5% up then the axle is shot. I do not know how to measure the 5% criterion. But I am thinking that an 1 inch of movement is not sufficient to have an adequate suspension.

Can anyone please advise me?

If so can you suggest where I can purchase replacement axles?
How do I get the proper axle for the trailer? Where do I find the axle number?
You can check the axles out yourself, by reading the article in Airstream Central.

Andy
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by purman View Post
the top of your wheel well should also split your tires if the top of your rim is at the bottom of the wheel well then you have shot axels..

It was brought to my attention recently that there was a difference in the axle mounting height and the wheelwell cut-out height in some years. This may be from earlier models than we are talking about here, I'm not sure. The comparison of the wheel to the wheelwell is not enough to go on for a decision on axle replacement IMHO. I would only rely on the axle movement method(jacking up the axle to check travel). It should move more than 1" in any case, more like 2-1/2" to 3" for safe travel.

Rich
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:56 PM   #11
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I second the above comment!

After doing my replacement, according to the "wheel well test" my axle would be marginal.

I suspect it most cases the test is probably ok, but I wouldn't spend money without taking a look at the travel.
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrvly1976 View Post
I undertand that the dexter axle requires drilling other mounting holes. How do you mount them so that you do not change the alignment?

Can you use one of the existing holes and just drill the second hole to fit?

Thanks for all your help?
At least on my '72, there is no possible way to mis-align the new axles becaise the axle tube itself fits up into a cut-out of the "fish-plate", the flat steel stock welded onto the chassis frame. I had to re-drill ALL the mounting bolt holes on my Dexters, but with a "blair-cutter" (like a hole saw, for steel) it was not that hard..
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:29 PM   #13
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At least on my '72, there is no possible way to mis-align the new axles becaise the axle tube itself fits up into a cut-out of the "fish-plate", the flat steel stock welded onto the chassis frame. I had to re-drill ALL the mounting bolt holes on my Dexters, but with a "blair-cutter" (like a hole saw, for steel) it was not that hard..
Yes you could have a misalignment.

Airstream engineers had the axle mounting plates on the curbside, moved a little more forward from the road side, by 1/16, 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch.

If you mounted the axles in the square notches, they still could be out of alignment because the position of the axle mounting plate would force that issue.

There is another post that better descibes that situation, in detail.

Andy
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:37 AM   #14
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Yes you could have a misalignment.

Airstream engineers had the axle mounting plates on the curbside, moved a little more forward from the road side, by 1/16, 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch.

If you mounted the axles in the square notches, they still could be out of alignment because the position of the axle mounting plate would force that issue.

There is another post that better descibes that situation, in detail.

Andy
Curious info. Now, please describe for all of us the proper way to mount new axles, which apparently would involve either modifying or completely disregarding the "square notches" in the mounting plate, in order to correct the apparently intentional mis-alignment of the original equipment by Airstream Engineers. Thankyou- tim
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