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Old 08-22-2006, 03:01 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
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I am buying new axles for my 1973 Sovereign

1. I have been lurking in the forums for almost a year now. I've been watching, listening, pricing, measuring, learning, researching and thinking about my pending axle replacement.

2. My trailer needs new axles. That is not debatable. I have about 5 to 7 deg up angle on the arms and uneven stance unloaded from side to side. The trailer sets low and drags unless I am very, very careful.

3. I decided on Dexter axles taking into consideration my installation options, price, and dealer network and the character and demeanor of Andy's posts.

4. I called Dexter. They were extremely helpful. They referred me to two local dealers.

5. I dropped my trailer off this morning at American Trailer Parts in Knoxville, TN this morning (www.americantrailerparts.com). Jim was very knowledgable and helpful about the Dexter products and options.

6. I decided on 3500# axles with Easy Lube fittings, new 10" electric drum assemblies, powder coat, shocks, and 45 degree down angle arms.

7. I am now waiting on Jim to fax me his final quote.

8. I will keep you posted on my progress and experience.
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:36 PM   #2
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cool. I look forward to the rest of the story...post lots of pics!

curious about the 10" brakes vs. the original 12". Did they tell you this was ok? will it mean that you'll need to wheels, or can the 10" drums support the original wheels?
also, did they configure these axles based on the serial number from your original Henshen axles?
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:46 PM   #3
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1973 31' Sovereign
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My decisions and reply are based on review of the Dexter Application Guide (they sent me the complete dealer technical literature free of charge-two big volumes with parts manuals-lots of good information) and consultation with Jim at American Trailer in Knoxville.

Brake-10x2.25 inch is standard and specified for axles up to 5000#

They paid no regard to the original Henschen Serial numbers (that I know of)-I took them the trailer to let them do all of the measuring.
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #4
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My Safari has 3800# Dexter axles. I don't have the exact dates but Airstream used Dexters for about 8 months of the 2006 production run. Too bad I don't have the disc brakes. 3500# axles should serve you just fine. These older Airstreams were a lot lighter. Frame dimensions were smaller back then so I don't think you could increase capacity just by going with heftier axles.

Brake controllers need just a bit different thinking with disc brakes. Here's a thread on the topic: Brake controllers. Your axle dealer should be able to discuss the pro's & con's.
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
My Safari has 3800# Dexter axles. I don't have the exact dates but Airstream used Dexters for about 8 months of the 2006 production run. Too bad I don't have the disc brakes. 3500# axles should serve you just fine. These older Airstreams were a lot lighter. Frame dimensions were smaller back then so I don't think you could increase capacity just by going with heftier axles.

Brake controllers need just a bit different thinking with disc brakes. Here's a thread on the topic: Brake controllers. Your axle dealer should be able to discuss the pro's & con's.
Bob,

I don't think that there is a question about the weight rating of the axle but rather the size of the brakes. What size brakes do you have on your Safari? My 1979 Safari has 12" brakes and a gross weight of 5800 lbs.

Bill
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevisgardne
6. I decided on 3500# axles with Easy Lube fittings, new 10" electric drum assemblies, powder coat, shocks, and 45 degree down angle arms.
You should get 12" drums with 6-bolt hub flange.
To get those axles, you will have to get them to order the higher rated #11 axle, downrated to your specifications.
I also believe that 45degree down is too steep. Your trailer will sit very high, and it will be hard to use the Bal Levelers, if you ahve them, in any terain but flat.
The entry step will be very high also.
I used 32.5 degree down, and it's quite a bit. Stock is 22.5 degree.
Ask your dealer to specify "Airstream" axles. Have them talk to engineering, not sales.... that is the secret to getting Airstream compatible axles from Dexter.
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:14 PM   #7
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1973 27' Overlander
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Hi--I also have just been measured for Dexter axles by Mutual Wheel, Milan IL (based on a recommendation from 63air who had A/S axle work done by them). I am going with the #10 3500# axle 22.5 degrees down, with 10" brakes, which are 2.25" wide. I believe the brakes on the #11 axle are 2.0" wide. Will not have them installed till October, because of other commitments on my time. I will post progress and results.--Frank S
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:29 PM   #8
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The 10in brakes usually come with a 5-bolt wheel pattern. It is difficult to find properly load rated wheels with a 5-bolt pattern.
Dexter can make the correct setup for Airstream, it's just a matter of asking for it. Their catalog does NOT offer the proper setup, though. You must ask for it. They did it for me - without hesitation.
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:48 PM   #9
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Hi--Proper bolt circle, and pilot to fit existing A/S wheel did not seem to be a problem for Dexter, with a #10 3500# axle, when Milan Wheel measured my A/S. Dexter can supply axles with a variety of hubs. There were several phone discussions with the Dexter Factory during the measuring, to insure the proper dimensions were being measured. They also noted the info on the tag on the originial Henschen axle--Frank S
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:06 AM   #10
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dexters

A 73 31 soverign wieghs in at 6500 unloaded.you will be over your axle limit with your fresh water tank full without adding any personal items. I also agree the 45 down angle is way to much.I also agree with the need for 12" brakes.As in any repairs the safety of you and yours comes first.Raising your trailor up raises the center of gravity and will greatly change it's towing characterists to the bad side..I had a 73 31 for 3 years.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:24 AM   #11
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Hello everyone ,

the 12" brakes should be used for sure ,the 10" are too small ,they use those on cargo trailers ,like those (wells cargo) you see around ,I service these
cargo trailers and RV trailers of sob also ,its more than the width of the shoes
that makes the difference .The larger diameter of the drums and more surface area overall to stop .better having more braking than less is best. you will want a 6 lug drum and wheel ,I have not seen a 5 lug 12 "drum ,don't think
they make them ,too small .

Scott
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:27 AM   #12
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Hello
Sorry there,

forgot to mention the benefit of the larger bearings that come with the
12" brakes ,and the larger spindles also ,go bigger not smaller ,definately
don't go down on size from what was on the airstream .

Scott
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:14 AM   #13
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1973 31' Excella 500
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I am also replacing the axles on my Excella. I am going with the original Airstream axles, 35 degree, 3500#, 12 inch hub electric brake. This will get plenty of clearance without changing the towing characteristics. Assures plenty of stop for the go for safety and allows me to use my original aluminum wheels rated for the weight of the coach. Your trailer weighs between 4900 and 5100 # dry.

I take it someone else is installing yor axles. Make sure to ask if the shock brackets were in the right place to begin with or needed to be removed and rewelded. this could create problems - see other threads. Are the attaching brackets in the right direction when compared to the original or were new holes drilled to accomodate.

I just picked up my axles last night and will post pictures in a future thread.

Good luck with your beautiful trailer.

Joe
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:36 AM   #14
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Forgot to add that I'm keep ing my old axles to make a trailer for hauling stuff. I have a friend who can make a tube frame. This will come in very handy.

Joe
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