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Old 04-22-2005, 07:51 PM   #1
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Henschen - questions on production time / shocks

We took the plunge and are presently awaiting delivery of a pair of axles for our ’64 Ambassador – 3500 Lbs and 45 degrees. Is there anyone out there who has ordered within the past several weeks? What was your production/delivery time? I ordered three and a half weeks ago and I am starting to think that there may be something to the steel shortage. I certainly won’t be calling Henschen and I’d rather not bother Andy. Second question, there are a variety of posts on the forum about the correct auto parts store replacements for vertically mounted shocks – the numbers and specs vary somewhat but I get the general drift – 5/8 inch mounts. My concern is that the 45 degree configuration (Andy’s specs) leads me to believe that I’ll need shocks that have longer travel than the original equipment. The shock mounts will come installed. My installation will be occurring about two hours from the nearest parts store. Bottom line, I’ll be bringing everything I need along for the installation. Does anyone have any info on whether longer shocks were required and what part numbers?
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:32 PM   #2
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I just ordered and it was closer to 6 weeks for me. I don't know the exact production date. I ordered 2/25/05 and they arrived in Indiana 4/18. That was closer to 7-8 weeks. I was told a tentative date of end of March when I placed the order. I called for updates and spoke to Andy once. He said they were running a couple of weeks behind. Mine were 4000# with 22.5 degree starting angles, per Andy's recommendation.

Good luck!
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:59 PM   #3
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Henschen axle

I just picked up mine today at Yellow Freights' dock. $91.03 from Jackson Center to Portland, OR. I ordered about 6 weeks ago. They are running behind so I am told. I actually expected it to take this long so no surprise here.
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Old 05-02-2005, 12:01 PM   #4
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UPDATE - my Henschen Axles arrived on 4/28, one month from their order date (Yellow Freight to North Dakota was $93.00 for the pair with three dust caps bent and one missing but all else was in order). I should first correct an error my initial post - they were built at 35 degrees and not 45 degrees.

Installation was hard work (7.5 hours for two people) but surely worth it. The difference in lift is over four inches and the ride and handling (pulled it 310 miles yesterday) are noticeably improved especially over road hazards such as rail crossings or pot holes.

The shock that worked best was Napa part number 94005 but they do require the removal of the lower ½” metal/rubber fitting and replacement with a grommet that will accommodate the 5/8” stud on the Henschens – I used the original rubber (two-piece split rubber grommets that were originally on the upper mounts of the original shocks which were in great shape). The shock mounting brackets surely require some serious bending to permit installation. I also found that it was necessary to “clip” the ends of the triangular shaped suspension limit/bottom out brackets to provide clearance for the shock mounting brackets.

Best lesson – don’t mess with conventional bolt removal – cut the nuts with a reciprocating saw – you’ll be using new fasteners anyway. Second best lesson – weld a basic three-sided box (U-shaped) for your floor jacks to tightly accommodate the square tube axle shaft to keep the assembly from tilting when it is being lifted into place. The “lift in” then takes all of three minutes. Final lesson, the upper shock studs will twist off when removing the old nuts which then requires some inconvenient cutting and welding.

Axle replacement is not a backyard project in my opinion – a concrete surface is essental as is access to adequate jacks, blocking and lighting. I also installed aluminum modular rims (high spec trailer rated from R-Jays) and tires.
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Old 05-02-2005, 03:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND-AMBASSADOR
The shock that worked best was Napa part number 94005 but they do require the removal of the lower ½” metal/rubber fitting and replacement with a grommet that will accommodate the 5/8” stud on the Henschens – I used the original rubber (two-piece split rubber grommets that were originally on the upper mounts of the original shocks which were in great shape). The shock mounting brackets surely require some serious bending to permit installation. I also found that it was necessary to “clip” the ends of the triangular shaped suspension limit/bottom out brackets to provide clearance for the shock mounting brackets.
That is the shock I used for the replacement on my Minuet.
You are right when you say that the only modification would be the metal/rubber fitting.
Since I was having my axle built with the new shocks installed at the same time. The shock mount was modified to accept the NAPA replacement. If I ever have to replace the shocks again it will be a simple process.
Also, I went with all stainless steel mounting hardware. That will aid in any removal that ever needs to be done in the future.
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Old 05-02-2005, 08:14 PM   #6
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The practice of modifying suspension parts is not a good idea.
These parts have been engineered for function and safety by the manufacturer.
I'm sure it will void any warranty for that product, and I believe that the person who modified the equipment, could become responsible for any damages caused by a modification.
If it is not made for the vehicle in question then you should not use it.
Spend the time and money to procure the proper parts for the required work.
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Old 05-02-2005, 10:09 PM   #7
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Gary

Having worked as a product liability defense attorney for the last ten years, I certainly do agree with your assessment of product modification. Nevertheless, I am confident that this shock modification (done for myself) will be more than sufficient and safe given that the final configuration is identical to the NAPA 94008 which has longer overall length, slightly longer travel and the same rubber mounts that the modified 94005 ultimately did.

This may be a perfect opportunity for others to clarify exactly what, if any, replacement shocks have 5/8 mounts at both ends and also have the correct length and travel. My sense is that the location of the final shock mounting bracket (and angle) should dictate shock choice and perhaps force the modifications. As you can see from the start of this thread by me, my research revealed that there is no clear choice as to the perfect/universal shock replacement. I never did get a definitive answer to my post. If I was really looking to have saved money, I'd have opted for SOB of axle.

In my opinion, there really are no out-of-the-box, bolt-in replacement components that exist for an axle replacement project on a product built 40 years ago - axles included.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:05 PM   #8
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I have noticed that a lot of people are running about 6 weeks to get their axle from Henschen.
Axis is quoting less than a week.
I am sure that a local Dexter dealer could do it in about two weeks, depending upon the amount of time to get a special order from Dexter.
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