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Old 08-13-2014, 06:29 PM   #1
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1989 29' Excella
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How to determine if axles need replacing?

I am a new owner of a 1985 Airstream Excella 29, and this is my first post. This looks like a wonderfully friendly and informative forum. Glad to be aboard--I need all the tips I can get.

The axles and shocks are thought to be original (per seller). The seller has taken the unit from Texas to New York, Texas to Colorado, and to California withing the past three years. He says all is good.

How do I make an independent check of the axle condition, the shocks and the brake drums and shoes? Not interested in buying new equipment if unnecessary but VERY interested in pulling a safe and properly functioning rig. Insights appreciated.

Does anyone have recommendations for trailer service and repair shops in the Houston, Texas area (or Austin)?

I am considering a Hensley Swift Arrow hitch, and I see there is the ProPride hitch in heated competiton. Suggestions and comments on each also will be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance for responses,
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:09 PM   #2
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Two Simple Tests

This article Dura Torque Axle has some data about checking your axle courtesy of Andy at Inland RV.


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Old 08-13-2014, 08:25 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forums! Congratulations on your new Airstream. You have found the place for all things Airstream. The article above will give you a good start on your axles. If you decide you need to replace your axles, get complete axles with brakes already assembled. If you decide you don't need to replace the axles right now, I'd make sure your brakes are operating properly and repack the wheel bearings. There are many threads here on brake inspection and wheel bearing cleaning, inspecting and lubricating. Then make sure all other basic safety items are operating properly like the break away switch lights, etc. When you have a Texas Safety Inspection done at an official inspection station, these are the basic things they check.
Good luck!
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:16 PM   #4
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The word around the campfire is that the rubber in the axles is good for about 25 years, after that the axles must be replaced.

I replaced mine earlier this year, they were totally shot, no spring left whatsoever.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:59 PM   #5
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The word around the campfire is that the rubber in the axles is good for about 25 years, after that the axles must be replaced.

I replaced mine earlier this year, they were totally shot, no spring left whatsoever.
Also, the rubber must be exercised frequently.

If the trailer has not moved within 2 to 3 years, the rubber rods can solidify, making it useless.

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Old 08-17-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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I"m in need of axles as well. Anyone know the cost to replace axles on a '72 Overlander (27")? Shipping to TX also. Thanks for any help you can give me!
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
The word around the campfire is that the rubber in the axles is good for about 25 years, after that the axles must be replaced.

I replaced mine earlier this year, they were totally shot, no spring left whatsoever.
Yesterday I visited the local Airstream dealer to look at a 1986 Sovereign for sale. I had to educate the salesman how to determine if axles are shot.
Using a print-out of Andy's positive, neutral and negative axle spindle position, we both stuck our heads under the trailer and I showed him that those 2 axles were completely gone.
He said: "I just learned something, now lets look at the axles of this 2004 trailer for comparison." Lo and behold the 2 axles of the 2004 were also on their way out, just barely 10 years old.
He, of course, now doubted my "education", until I suggested to look at another trailer just a few years old. Those axles had the positive (downward) position, saving my face and leaving the salesman in awe.
Now I wonder how those 2 axles of the 2004 were ruined in such a short time...??
I did inspect this trailer ( http://austin.craigslist.org/rvd/4615424579.html )
If anyone might be interested in it, I can give you a report, privately.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PeterH-Airstreamer View Post
Yesterday I visited the local Airstream dealer to look at a 1986 Sovereign for sale. I had to educate the salesman how to determine if axles are shot.
Using a print-out of Andy's positive, neutral and negative axle spindle position, we both stuck our heads under the trailer and I showed him that those 2 axles were completely gone.
He said: "I just learned something, now lets look at the axles of this 2004 trailer for comparison." Lo and behold the 2 axles of the 2004 were also on their way out, just barely 10 years old.
He, of course, now doubted my "education", until I suggested to look at another trailer just a few years old. Those axles had the positive (downward) position, saving my face and leaving the salesman in awe.
Now I wonder how those 2 axles of the 2004 were ruined in such a short time...??
I did inspect this trailer ( !!!!! Classic Sovereign Airstream (1986 Model) !!!!! )
If anyone might be interested in it, I can give you a report, privately.
A torsion axle can be ruined, simply by parking the trailer and not using it for 2 to 3 years.

The rubber rods MUST be exercised, or they will go bad.

That being the case, those rods can at this point be on a trailer that is 2011 or 2012 model.

Granted, many people do not know or understand the behavior of torsion axles, even some sales people.

Andy
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:35 PM   #9
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A torsion axle can be ruined, simply by parking the trailer and not using it for 2 to 3 years.

The rubber rods MUST be exercised, or they will go bad.

That being the case, those rods can at this point be on a trailer that is 2011 or 2012 model.

Granted, many people do not know or understand the behavior of torsion axles, even some sales people.

Andy
Andy,
Does that hold true if you would take all the weight off the axles for extended storage?
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:42 PM   #10
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Andy,
Does that hold true if you would take all the weight off the axles for extended storage?
If a torsion axle equipped trailer has all the weight removed from the ground, then yes, that damage will take about twice as long to happen.

Again, remember that the rubber rods must be exercised.

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Old 08-23-2014, 11:22 AM   #11
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Earlier this summer I was chasing parts for brakes for our 1978 31' Sovereign.
I struck out locally and, because I had bought a front window wind screen from Andy in 2007, I called him 50 inquire about brake parts.

The woman who answered the phone asked me how my axles were, I said ok. She suggested I send a photo of the trailer to them and Andy would call me back.

I did and he did.

There is a Redneck distribution center here in Springfield, MO, I ordered 2 complete axles with 12" self adjusting brakes and wheel balancers from Andy. They were shipped to Redneck here saving me a bundle on freight. I got a good deal.

My nephew and I replaced hte axles and now my wife and I are in Packwood Washington heading west. The trailer rides a lot smoother and sits up higher.

No photos as I am catching the free wifi form the packwood library.!

On the road and happy trails!

Jim Lee
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