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Old 08-18-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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Goin' down, down, down...

OK, I just crawled out from under my 2001 Bambi 19 with photos. It seems that I need a new axle (the suspension arm has barely any downward angle). Brakes worked fine on the tow home (350+mi.) but if they are worn or have the old style round pucks I will probably want to upgrade them. What is the best way to go? I can install it myself but may want to look at cost savings. I may decide to have it done for me if the savings are not much. The axle is marked 4300#. Do I go back w/ the same or upgrade that too? I want to do the best job and only do it once. And yes, I see that the shock nut has gone missing.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:02 AM   #2
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axle

I recently read on one of the axle threads that, under load, the suspension arm on even a brand new trailer will be at 0 degrees. Apparently you need to jack the trailer off the tires and then check the orientation of the arm. The best folks to advise you are Colin H. and Andy. You would think that there should be a few more years left in a 13 year old axle, just a teenager, really.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:01 AM   #3
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Yes, I am putting off contacting Andy or Colin until I do the jack test. I want to inspect the brakes too before I decide how much it really needs. But this trailer sat for almost three years and they say that can kill an axle. And the photo of the suspension arm is with an empty trailer.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aironius View Post
But this trailer sat for almost three years and they say that can kill an axle. And the photo of the suspension arm is with an empty trailer.
Believe, but confirm.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:49 PM   #5
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How about new SHOCK ABSORBERS? They Don't last 40 years do they? Oh, and don't try to use regular ones, they need to be "horizontal" ones.... AKA you pay a bunch to your Airstream dealer or Out of Doors Mart, or Vintage trailer supplies, or Inland or....

You won't find them at NAPA.

Also (somewhat blushingly) have you done a spring cleaning on your Airstream lately? Unless you're super organized it seems the "natural process" is to put three pounds of stuff into an Airstream for every one pound that comes out.

It's easy to go to the scales in January and be fine, but in August you're overloaded by 200 lbs. Lucille Ball's rock collection in your trailer?

Happy cleaning day. Serious suggestion - pretend you're buying a new Airstream. Put everything you want for your "new" Airstream in boxes and donate or throw out the rest. Then spray for bugs, clean and polish your Airstream and put your stuff back in.

Paula
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #6
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I seem to recall that not all models have the same down angle designed in them. Mine is a 22* down angle, but I thought some ASes have 10 or 5 * down angle axles. See if the ID tag is still on the axle and call Dexter to see what it was born with.
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:12 PM   #7
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These are starting down angles. Something that starts at 22 degrees may have 0-10 degree down angle under load.

Perry
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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I recall a thread debating what the "proper" downward arm angle was, and a poster had walked out on a lot and inspected the angles on several brand new trailers and came to the conclusion that it could vary dramatically, and was an unreliable indicator of wear/age.

Best method I know if is to jack the trailer up until the wheel leaves the ground. You should get 3-4 inches of travel. If you get only an inch before the wheel leaves the ground, then the rubber rods have taken a set.
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:53 PM   #9
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These are starting down angles. Something that starts at 22 degrees may have 0-10 degree down angle under load.

Perry
I understand that. New, my 22* angles were at approx 10* or so. Loaded with my gear mine are now about 5* down. My point is, OP may not have started out in life with 22* down angle axles. It may have been 10* or 5* axle, in which case it could be entirely normal to see no down angle unloaded and even some up angle when loaded. Thus, my position that he should try and find out what it was built with before spending $$$$$.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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Great advice from all. Indeed, I will research it more before I call for professional advice. This is a new toy and I am collecting info as I work on a few interior details. The appliances need to be done before I have the detailer come in and clean it. PO took everything out and I took out the rest. This trailer is empty of even the mattress. So after I am done inside and after I fill, sanitize and flush the plumbing, then I plan to jack it up and take the measurements mentioned in the thread. Then I'll talk to the experts. If the old axle checks out OK, that's great. But it needs to have the brakes checked and bearings packed. I'm expecting to replace it at this point. Here's a good level photo of how it sits.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:52 AM   #11
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It does not hurt to put the trailer on jack stands while sitting to take the load off the axles.

Perry
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:20 AM   #12
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I was wondering about that. Parking it on jacks seems extreme but if it will preserve the axle it would be worth the effort. Or would the rubber just harden in the downward position?
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:09 AM   #13
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Paula really does have a lot of great advise
Joe G
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