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Old 10-05-2019, 06:38 AM   #1
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1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
Toronto , Ontario
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Help! Axle info needed for rebuild quote

Hi All,

I am sending my 30' 1958 Sovereign to get the trailer totally rebuilt. I have no experience whatsoever about these kinds of things. I am being asked what are probably basic questions in order for them to give me a cost but I don't feel confident giving these answers.
Can anyone help out?
They want to know:

What the hub face to hub face measurement is with the tires off or the spring centers

I need a recommendation about the best type of axles to ask them for, spring or torsion. I've heard pros and cons for each of them. This trailer will likely sit as a bunky for a few years while renovations happen and then after that get used just a few times a year being towed.

They have asked me for pictures of the shackles. Where might I find these?

Fingers crossed someone sees this and feels generous with their time!

Linda
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:26 AM   #2
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If you are going to replace axles, I would modernize and replace with torsion axles. If you go this route, I don't see why they need pictures of the shackles. Similarly, the price of a torsion axle isn't going to vary greatly, so I don't see why they need a hub face measurement just to give you an estimate.

These seem like oddly specific questions for them to be asking for the sake of an estimate. Is this a company that does Airstream rennovations routinely? If so I would think that they would have their own recommendation for type of axles to use in the rebuild...

good luck!
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:38 AM   #3
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IMO, someone who is qualified to do this remodel would not have to ask you these questions about dimension or ask for photos. If you provide dimensions then YOU accept responsibility to purchase another axel if the new axel does not fit.

The "best axle" means different things to different people. "Best" is an opinion based on the goal set by the individual. Some people try to keep the trailer original (leaf spring axle). Some people try to "smooth" the ride (torsion axle). It's a choice you have to make based on your goal.

If the original leaf spring is replaced with a torsion axle, the frame will have to be modified, at additional cost.

ps:
If you are going to park it for a few years after the renovation, this is not good for torsion axles. The rubber inside the axle needs to be exercised (towed) regularly to keep them flexible.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:49 AM   #4
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some photos of trailers similar to yours>
https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ereign-111.pdf
http://vintageairstream.com/photo-ar...f-the-road-30/
http://vintageairstream.com/photo-ar...-sovereign-30/
http://vintageairstream.com/photo-ar...gn-30-30-5824/
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:11 AM   #5
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1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
Toronto , Ontario
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Thanks! They build utility and custom trailers as main business. But they haven't done an Airstream before. My interest in having them do it is so that it can be rated and plated with a new VIN number to make it totally legal. Not sure if this will make it all legit yet though. I need to talk to DMV and see.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:25 AM   #6
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1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
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Thanks for the replies back!
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:22 AM   #7
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Hi,

If you want to see lots of axle prices, pop over here. https://highskyrvparts.com/

Withholding my comments on having someone restore an airstream that has never done it before.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:07 AM   #8
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I think the hub face and spring shackle measurements are important for an estimate. If the axles can be off the shelf stock axles they will be cheaper than if you need custom axles built.

So I understand why they want to know these dimensions before they give you an estimate.
I think you need to discuss more details with the trailer builder before you finalize the design. For example:

1. These trailers used bias truck tires. If you plan to replace with modern truck radial tires they will be wider and may rub on the shock absorbers or frame.

2. Likewise, if you plan to replace the wheels make sure you check that the wheel width and offset works with the new hub face, and again that you don't have an interference problem.

3. Both of these possible problems are dependent on the hub face measurement. If you mount new tires and wheels they may require that you add width to the existing axle hub face dimension.

These issues apply to both leaf spring and torsion axles.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:09 PM   #9
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If cost is a factor, stick with the original leaf springs. Only the springs need to be replaced and leaf springs are very easy to have made to order.

Installing a torsion axle means re-designing the suspension system and some fabrication. Both of which will drive up the cost dramatically. Then buying a torsion axle parts is more expensive versus a leaf spring.

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Old 10-06-2019, 06:04 AM   #10
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You may be making a BIG mistake...your trailer needs a Airstream restoration specialist.
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:20 AM   #11
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1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
Toronto , Ontario
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I’m hesitant about this too. Does anyone have any recommendations for a southern Ontario lead to get this work done?
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:03 AM   #12
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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Airstream Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindav View Post
Hi All,

I am sending my 30' 1958 Sovereign to get the trailer totally rebuilt. I have no experience whatsoever about these kinds of things. I am being asked what are probably basic questions in order for them to give me a cost but I don't feel confident giving these answers.
Can anyone help out?
They want to know:

What the hub face to hub face measurement is with the tires off or the spring centers

I need a recommendation about the best type of axles to ask them for, spring or torsion. I've heard pros and cons for each of them. This trailer will likely sit as a bunky for a few years while renovations happen and then after that get used just a few times a year being towed.

They have asked me for pictures of the shackles. Where might I find these?

Fingers crossed someone sees this and feels generous with their time!

Linda
Please take the time to call Can Am RV Airstream in London, Ontario. 807-937-5538. Possibly they can direct you to a proper Airstream Restoration business. Do not make a mistake by taking it to someone that has never done AS work and wants to learn on yours.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:34 PM   #13
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Lindav,


Another option is to contact Colin Hyde in Peru, NY.


Bill


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindav View Post
Iím hesitant about this too. Does anyone have any recommendations for a southern Ontario lead to get this work done?
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
Please take the time to call Can Am RV Airstream in London, Ontario. 807-937-5538. Possibly they can direct you to a proper Airstream Restoration business. Do not make a mistake by taking it to someone that has never done AS work and wants to learn on yours.
I completely agree. You want an experienced Airstream shop to renovate your vintage Airstream. I would talk to both Can Am and Colin Hyde.

Dan
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:11 PM   #15
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Call Colin Hyde.....he knows what to do about the axles. 5 stars.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:22 AM   #16
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1961 22' Spaceliner
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Be careful

In restoring my '61 Spaceliner, I asked my local "experts" at Airstream NW to order my axle from Dexter and use their "expertise" to order the right one.

They blew it.

This resulted in them having to jerry weld on some 2" spacers which they said they would cover for free since it was their mistake, but my total bill ended up being higher than expected anyway.

What hurts worse is the 2" offset resulted in doubled up rows of rivets to attach the wheel well covers.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:48 AM   #17
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Pioneer Vintage Trailer in Ohio specializes in vintage Airstreams. Bing or Google will find them.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:05 AM   #18
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Not complicated

While much of the work involved in restoring a vintage AS is complex, the axles are pretty straightforward. 50's trailers generally have leaf spring axles (like boat and utility trailers) and most any competent axle shop can repair or replace them. I had the axle on my 55 replaced by ordering one from Dexter axle and having a shop install it. Measuring hub face to hub face or between spring centers is not hard if you have access under the trailer. There is a helpful diagram on the Dexter website. If you still have the original drop axle you might consider raising the trailer by swapping it for a straight axle. This is a no cost upgrade that will give you much improved ground clearance.
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:18 PM   #19
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1963 30' Sovereign
Brockville , Ontario
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Similar project, DIY

Hi Linda,

I'm just a little east of you in Brockville, and am deep into a frame-up rebuild of a 1963 Sovereign (inner panels are off for frame repairs, floor replacement, new wiring, modernized plumbing, leak-proofing, etc.). As part of the work I will also be replacing the axles, however mine are the torsion suspension type. I believe 1963 was the first year for those. I intend to replace them with Dexter axles, which are handled by a couple of shops in your area. The dimensions being requested make sense to me, but there should be many other questions and dimensions needed - I agree with others on that score.

Sadly I don't know of a shop in Ontario specializing in Airstream work, but am looking forward to hearing more about your progress.

Best of luck with your Sovereign!

Rob
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:45 PM   #20
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1961 was the first year for torsion spring axles on a Airstream
https://vintageairstreamclub.com/wp-...orque-axle.pdf

That first year (or so) the torsion axle(s) was welded onto the trailer. It was soon realized that replacement would be an issue. The next model year Airstream welded mounting plates and the axles could be unbolted and bolted in.

Prior to 1961 all Airstream trailers had leaf springs. Typically only the leaf springs and brake drums need to be replaced because of wear or age. The rest of the axle can be reused if not damaged or not maintained.

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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