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Old 02-05-2015, 10:36 PM   #15
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additional thoughts

First of all...I have done all this several times recently. I am not guessing. The 4 inch drop axel you have is good.
If the springs are broken...thats a big if....just get a shop to replace them. They are no big deal. If the ride is to low....remount the axel below the springs. The only real trouble could be the spindles. The size makes it difficult to find bearings and seals. The same size problem may occur if you try to swap out the entire backing plate and brake assemblies. AND....if all else fails and you want to make it easy and quick, as well as a nice swap, just go to a local supply and buy a complete axel and brake unit...they come ready to mount on the spring you already have and connect the electric brakes.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:15 PM   #16
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Now I'm confused. I've read in several places that axles of this age should be replaced. I'm in the beginning stages of restoring a '53 Cruiser and was just assuming that I would need to do this. This thread is making me question that need.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:46 PM   #17
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A 1953 Airstream trailer will have leaf springs, NOT torsion (rubber rod) springs. And a leaf spring arrangement will have springs that can be seperated from the axle. A torsion axle has intregral springs or rubber rods and these spings are not serviceable and the entire axle has to be replaced if the springs are sagging.

It is highly unlikely the axle would need replacement unless there is some physical damage. Typical damage would be either the axle has been hit and bent OR the spindles on the end have excessive wear at the wheel bearing mounting area from improper installation or delayed maintenance.

It is concievable the leaf springs are beyond their service life. The springs have lost their spring! Those leaf springs should be replaced and can be removed from the axle. DO not replace this axle because of worn out leaf springs.

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Old 02-12-2015, 08:29 PM   #18
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However you might want to replace an old spring axle since obtaining brakes may be difficult and the modern ones probably won't fit.

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Old 02-12-2015, 11:34 PM   #19
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I agree with Sodbust. Check for broken leafs and worn bushings on each end of the spring. Grease appropriately. Spray penetrating oil on and in between the leafs. And go camping.


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Old 02-13-2015, 06:29 AM   #20
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Just so everybody knows, this is an axle:
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Old 02-13-2015, 06:29 AM   #21
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...and this is an Axel:
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Old 02-13-2015, 06:30 AM   #22
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Now y'all know the difference.

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:42 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Just so everybody knows, this is an axle:

For clarification it is a torsion axle. There are a lot of other axles in addition to this type.

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:56 PM   #24
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My concerns for that axle:
- can you still get grease seals and bearings - most probably.
- Some Airstream trailers in the 60's had spindles which were too small and would fail. I would contact Andy at Inland RV, Colin Hyde, Franks Trailer Works or one of the other trailer restoration specialist and they may be the trailers that had this problem.
- Finding any parts for the brake assemblies will be very hard. You will have to study the brake assemblies and see if a newer style can be retrofitted in it's place.
- A drop axle can still be purchased with new drum brakes. Some have converted over to the newer style torsion axle used on later model Airstreams for a better ride.
- If you keep the existing axle I would carefully inspect the leafs for broken springs. I would highly consider replacing the leaf springs which will also come with new shackle bushings and bolts. New springs will ride better than worn out fatigued leaf springs.
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Old 02-13-2015, 02:52 PM   #25
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I agree the axle and springs look good. But moving forward, you may want to consider replacing it with a current manufacture axle with a larger load capacity, especially if you plan to add any weight to the trailer during your fitting out.
Things that may add weight are air conditioning, a gray water tank, flooring, more batteries, and a myriad of other things that add weight.
I started out with a 1959 Tradewind that was listed as 3200 lbs. When I scaled it after rebuilding and fitting out it was close to 4800 lbs. That far exceeded the capacity of the original axle.
Here is a picture of the old axle, similar to yours, and the new 5200 lb axle.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:28 PM   #26
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What you have looks serviceable. But how do you intend to use it? I have relatives in Australia that spend some time out back. Seems its very different than here. Distances between repair shops can be long, terrain can be rough, supplies can get heavy, especially water. If this applies to your expected use that original axle may not be up to the task. A site search will turn up weak spindles on this era axle. Some research will show leaf springs develop unseen hairline fractures with enough age. Brake parts bearings & seals can be hard to find here. What is the situation there, especially out on a trip? You will have $$$$ getting that one up to its best and still have doubts. A complete new a axle will have better strength and common ava parts. Converting to a torsion axle will give you independent suspention and much more ground clearance. If you stay with a leaf spring X be sure to replace the spring shackles and bushings. If you convert to torsion be sure to reinforce the frame where it mounts.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:27 PM   #27
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One should be prepared when traveling. Whether it be in the outback or in the back country here in the states.
One should carry a full set of bearings and seals for at least one spindle.
Even if you don't know how to replace them yourself. There are other travelers, local mechanics or a farmer or rancher that may be willing to help. If you don't have the parts. They can't help.


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