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Old 04-15-2006, 02:06 PM   #1
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1966 26' Overlander
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Got Axles???

Have you replaced your axles in the past 5 years?

If so, what brand and type did you get? And who did the actual work? And when was it done?

What did you like about the axle? What did you dislike about the axle?

If you were to do it again, would you do anything differently?

If you have not replaced your axle, you may comment, however I am looking for feedback from actual people that have actually replaced their axles.

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Old 04-15-2006, 02:09 PM   #2
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Is this for torsion axles only?
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Old 04-15-2006, 02:24 PM   #3
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I replaced the 3000# axel on my Caravel with a 3500# Dexter axel. It was ordered and installed by a local family-owned RV shop which was recommended to me by several other Airstreamers, though they do not specialize. They had some trouble mounting it because of the short mounting brackets on the Caravel, but they didn't charge me for nearly as much time as it took. Total was about $1000.

If I had to do it again - I'd probably do it the same way. The shop that installed it was friendly and did their best. I couldn't find anyone more qualified to do it within 300 miles, and I didn't want to do it myself. We haven't even had to think about the axel since, except for doing the bearings annually, so I'm happy with the upgrade. And the trailer rides much better now, and that's what really matters.
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Is this for torsion axles only?
There is no restriction in my question as to axle type. Torsion, leaf type, live axle, floating axle, stolen from a Mustang axle, all is fair for this thread.

So if you put it on an Airstream, I want to know about your experience.

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Old 04-15-2006, 04:01 PM   #5
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Steph,

When was it done?

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Old 04-15-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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Got Axles???????????

Greetings Action!

Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls, Iowa (long-time Airstream dealer) replaced the axle on my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre. The capacity of the axle was upgraded to 3,500 pounds and a slight change was made in the departure angle such that the ride height was increased by about 1.5". The installed prices was between $800 and $900.

This will be my third season with the new axle. My main reason for the new axle was to increase clearance and raise the hitch height by a little more than 1" so that I could more easily tow the coach with my K2500 Suburban as even with the deepest drop drawbar offered by Reese the ball height was still over a 1.5" too high for the Minuet with its original axle -- the original axle had also lost much of its resilience despite still having some wear left based on the angle of the axle arms.

The side benefit to the new axle has been a much imporved ride as evidenced by far less shifting of things carried in the coach. There are still ocassions when there is significant shifting if bumps or rough railroad crossings are taken too close to highway speed (my towing max is 55 MPH) -- I attribute most of this to the Suburbans relatively stiff suspension (it has the 10,000 pound trailer tow rating and the Minuet typically has a loaded weight of 3,100 pounds or less). When towed with a more period-typical tow vehicle (1975 Cadillac Eldorado Converrible), I notice almost no shifting with the new axle.

I am very satisfied with the overall outcome of the replacement. The axle is evidently a Henschen, but I didn't question its origin -- my invoice lists new axle with specifications and part number but no mention is made of manufacturer. By outward appearance, I would identify it as Henschen. In fact, there is no question in my mind that I will be taking the Overlander to Ace Fogdall for its new axles (with disc brake upgrade) when its turn for a major travel season arrives (likely Summer of 2007).

Kevin
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Old 04-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #7
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Hadco to Dexter

I switched a 3500# Hadco axle to a 5200# Dexter axle.

Added 150#/inch (extra leaf) to the spring rate for a little more capacity. Adding A/C, greywater tank, larger freshwater tank and batteries for about 600# added weight.

Installed longer gas shock absorbers and moved them inside the frame. Raised the wheelwells 1.5" for bigger Marathon tires.

The work was done 18 months ago. I am very happy with the results and would do it again. I had a spring shop inspect and do the leaf addition. Ultradog helped with welding new skid pads on the spring brackets; all the other work I did myself.
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Old 04-15-2006, 06:23 PM   #8
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Cost?

Markdoane,

What was the total expense for your replacement project - if I may be so bold as to ask?

Just curious,
Henry
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Old 04-15-2006, 06:58 PM   #9
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I got a new Henschen axle through their vintage axle dealer in California. After a bout of sticker shock, and finding out my "bare" 10" axle was really a loaded 12" axle, it went right in, with no problems. This was a 3500 pound OEM rated axle, with no increase in capacity. I had no problems with the axle for the rest of the time I owned the trailer.
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axleman
Markdoane,

What was the total expense for your replacement project - if I may be so bold as to ask?

Just curious,
Henry
I was wrong about the time frame. I did this 30 months ago. Where does the time go?

Pioneer Rim & Wheel - 5200# axle $121.93
- pr 12" hub-drums & bearings $101.12
- pr 12" L & R backing plates $ 91.94
- misc U-bolts & plates $ 14.84
axle total $329.83

Standard Spring - add pr leaves $ 50.40
- new bushings & hdwe $ 48.32
- labor, R & R, assembly $ 60.00
springs total $158.72

Total parts and labor $488.55

Monroe gas RV shocks - about $30, can't find the receipt.
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:32 PM   #11
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1971 TradeWind ( tandem) got a set of loaded Henschen axles. Upgrade from 2600lb to 3000lb ea. Bought from InlandRV. Noticed a terrible ride immediately. Inspection revealed that the axles were actually 3500lb axles. Henschen claimed that their 3000lb and 3500lb axles are the same....!!!!!
However, somehow they sent a "real" 3000lb set of axles ( bare, though, I had to switch over the brake assemblies myself) soon after through InlandRV.
Andy let me have the replacements, and allowed me to bring back the wrong axles later, which was great. After replacement, the ride was very smooth, noticeably so. Fit and alignment was very good. The price was very high, and I had to do the job 2.5 times. 2.5 because of the brake hardware transfer. I recommend this product for ease of installation only.

1963 Tradewind ( tandem) got a set of Dexter custom ordered axles, 3000lbs each, with 12in disc brakes. Installation required welding of shock stud, and drilling of 8 holes into the existing axle mounting plate. Add 2-3 hours to the install time over the Henschen product. Also, talk to engineering before ordering through a distributor. Most Dexter axle shops don't go beyond their catalog. Nothing in the catalog fits an Airstream. Dexter axles need to be custom ordered. The quality of the axle is equal to, if not better than the Henschen axle, in my estimation. The disc brake system is massive, and works extremely well. (4-piston fixed calipers instead of single piston floating calipers, for example) I increased the ride height about 1.5in, by specifying 32 degree down angle on the torsion arms. This gives me a little more clearance when going on bad roads, or when going up ramps etc. The Overlander rides extremely nice, as my TradeWind did after the second axle replacement. The price of the Dexter axles was very fair, about 1/2 of the comparable Henschen setup with disc brakes. I can whole-heartedly recommend these axles to people that do not mind a little extra work and are handy with a big drill.

Area 63 has seen a few more axle replacement jobs, but they were not on my trailers, and I have little knowledge of how the axles performed long term after installation. These axles were Axis products, and none of the 5 axles were exactly as specified. We found the brake assemblies clattery and noisy, and questioned the carrying capacity on a few models. Some of the axle's torsion arms went parallel immediately with just the trailer's unloaded weight on them. ( trailers rode very low) Shock mounts were welded on wrong, and the ones that were correct, had no stud, or too small a hole to properly mount a stud for the shocks. On 2 axles the entire brake had to be removed to correct the shock mounts. Every one of the 5 jobs needed substantial work to make them fit under an Airstream. I would not go as far as calling the Axis product unsafe, but from my point of view, they're exactly what they're known for - cheap. I do not recommend this brand.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:58 PM   #12
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hello uwe,
I have read many posts about all these great axis axle deals and some dexters,one thread is going on now about an axis .In most cases as you have clearly noted ,lots of fitup trouble,shock brackets, no clearance between backing plate and swing arm , mount brackets in wrong place etc. etc.Inland andy has mentioned the steel quality of the axles.It does not make sense to go thru all this nonsense .Looks like you can buy the henchen and bolt it in without grinding and welding and fabricating .Thats what 350 dollars buys .I also dont see all the need to put in a duratorq axle unless it came with it originally as just a matter of course .I am pleased with my 5200 lb hadco on my single axle trdwnd .I have new brakes and new (not rebuilt) leaf springs .It will last along time.

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Old 04-15-2006, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottanlily
hello uwe,
I have read many posts about all these great axis axle deals and some dexters,one thread is going on now about an axis .In most cases as you have clearly noted ,lots of fitup trouble,shock brackets, no clearance between backing plate and swing arm , mount brackets in wrong place etc. etc.Inland andy has mentioned the steel quality of the axles.It does not make sense to go thru all this nonsense .
My feelings in a nutshell. I am not sure about the steel quality, as I am not an expert on this. Andy mentioned some crucial parts of the axle being made from mild steel instead of hardened steel, I think it was the spindle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottanlily
Looks like you can buy the henchen and bolt it in without grinding and welding and fabricating .Thats what 350 dollars buys .
Exactly. But as I noted, it wasn't a no-brainer either. I could have installed 2 Dexter axles in less time than it took to redo the Henschens. This makes me wonder how many Airstreams are riding around on wrongly rated axles. What if you're not as perceptive as I am and don't notice the trailer riding too rough? Guess what, then you might as well have kept your old axles.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottanlily
I also dont see all the need to put in a duratorq axle unless it came with it originally as just a matter of course .I am pleased with my 5200 lb hadco on my single axle trdwnd .I have new brakes and new (not rebuilt) leaf springs .It will last along time.

Scott
No real need to change, unless you want the smoother ride, better handling and independent suspension of the torsion axles.
If my trailer had a solid axle originally, then I would have probably replaced it with a solid axle and new springs.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:26 PM   #14
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Hello again uwe,

yes independent suspension ,and smoother ,forgot about that for some reason .Those over rated axles in the beginning of your install hopefully will be read about here on the forums ,alot of people are upgrading to the heavier axles in anticipation of possibly? carrying more weight ,they will run into the rough ride you had . sound like the dexter is good though.I bet more than a few axles were installed too heavily rated for the airstream to handle .


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