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Old 05-20-2019, 07:13 AM   #1
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Need new axles??

Going to look at 73 24í Argosy soon, 9 hr trip. This has been restored but not a frame off( just subfloor, plumbing , electric, appliances, cosmetics) , so I assume it has original axles. How can I tell how bad they are? I know the age is a big factor. I donít want my excitement to overrule good sense. We have to haul this home , safely. We do not do repairs ourselves. Thx
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:35 AM   #2
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Axles typically have a life span of 25 years; yes usage, or lack there of will play a role in how long they last; but you should be looking at replacement if they are original. The rubber cords inside the axle tube get old and hard.

I recently replaced an axle in my 1978 Argosy 6.7M Minuet, due to the fact that there was literally no suspension left in the old axle. The wheel was at its highest point into the wheel well, with the tire almost touching the inner plastic wheel tub.In fact, when I jacked up the trailer off the ground to remove the wheels, (tires were 3" off the ground), the axle didn't drop at all. I still had to raise the trailer another 2" in order to install the wheels once the new axle was in.

The new axle, including new shocks installation took around five hours. You have to cut the frame to allow for the larger axle tubes and I had to unfortunately drill and tap a shock mount that the PO had broken off.

Make sure to use heat to get old bolts off.

Cheers
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:40 AM   #3
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If the axle arms are level or even slightly up while the trailer is at rest is a good indication they are shot, you really need to jack the wheel/s off the ground though and measure how much travel they have in weighted compared to unweighted condition. Our 91 was trailered 500 miles home with it's original axles and it bounced down the highway but not a problem, with fresh axles it tows silky smooth now.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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Well, you don't have to do a shell-off in order to change the axles. Your best bet is just to ask the current owner whether the axles were replaced or not and how long ago. If they say the axles have not been replaced, than I would be very skeptical of the other rennovations that have been done. Replacing the subfloor is major surgery--it is hard to believe someone would go to all that effort and not do the axles. The question is, did they do a proper subfloor replacement, or take short cuts. Ask for pictures of the work they did, and educate youself as to what "good" looks like before you go. It is very hard to drive 9 hrs to look at a trailer and come home empty handed--but don't fall for the trap. In fact...avoid it at all costs.

If you go to the Portal tab at the top of the screen, and then scroll down keeping your eyes to the right hand side of the screen, you will see a link to the "Trailer Inspector's Checklist" and a utility that helps you find volunteer trailer inspectors. Don't look at a trailer without a copy of the inspection checklist in hand, and I would recommend definitely finding a local inspector and asking them to visit the trailer on your behalf. You might save yourself an 18 hr round trip.

Anyway, there are many rules of thumb about how to tell an axle needs replacing, but the best way, as mentioned, is to jack it up and measure how much travel the arm makes. It should be ~2-3". The other means of eyeballing can be misleading, as the down-angle of the arm is not entirely standard.

Changing the axles is not rocket science, you can do it on your own if you aren't afraid of some "heavy lifting." Similarly, the trailer can *probably* be towed home with the old axles, just be aware of all the other stuff that is old (dried out bearings, frozen/inoperable brakes, etc.). Your original post sounds like you aren't interested in working on the trailer yourself. In this case, do not take for granted that any of the rennovation has been done correctly (or you may end up with costly rework down the road). There is an expression to describe trailers that appear to have been refurbished, but are fundamentally still a wreck that has had some superficial spruce-ups done (a "polished turd").

Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:54 AM   #5
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Your axles should have labels that tells you their age and other important specs.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:01 PM   #6
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So what weight axle needed for this 24’ tandem 73 Argosy; 3500 or 6000 lb?
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:28 PM   #7
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So what weight axle needed for this 24í tandem 73 Argosy; 3500 or 6000 lb?
Are you able to find labels? Iíd say go with what they say. If they arenít there, probably the lower rating but the axle manufacturer will be able to tell you if you have trailer weights.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:20 PM   #8
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Two 6000# axles would suggest the total weight of the trailer with contents is expected to be 12,000#--way too high. You don't want too stiff of axles--that would result in a harsh right similar to what you get with a hardened/worn out axle.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:43 PM   #9
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I thought too much too, but a company I contacted suggested 6k #
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:44 PM   #10
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I would phone up Corina at Inland RV and have a chat with her as she will have all the specs on replacement axles. Inland had a sale on axles when I bought mine a couple of months ago; $795.00 each plus shipping.

PS I had to do a 2500 mile round trip twice to go get my Minuet, as I still needed to see the rest of the trailer first in order to see if it was worth getting a new axle for it.

Cheers
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:23 PM   #11
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Need new axles??

I have a pair of 2800# axles (new/never installed) that are a direct fit for an Argosy - no frame mods required. These were ordered for a 75 26í (I now have a 30í that needs slightly higher weight rated axles. The 2800# axles should work just for a 24í, but you can confirm once you see the prospects axle tags. PM me if you are interested.

Good luck on the trip to check it out. Iíve done that twice myself. As others have said, itís important to not get emotionally attached and to remain objective about the hidden problems that may lurk under someone elseís repairs/renovations.

I also have the 26í listed in the Airstream classifieds. (Virginia). Itís a 80% gutter project trailer.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:02 AM   #12
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Appreciate all this advise. Trying to learn as much as I can. When you get new axles I understand you have to replace electric brakes as well. Do you order them separately or are they usually included w axle order? Do these axles have, come with shock absorbers ( ? Needed)?
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:33 AM   #13
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I think you will have to buy the brakes separately but they are not very expensive. When I bought my 83, the axles were good, but I replaced the brakes just for peace of mind. Easy job.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:27 AM   #14
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Our replacement axles had brakes included.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gaited4me View Post
Appreciate all this advise. Trying to learn as much as I can. When you get new axles I understand you have to replace electric brakes as well. Do you order them separately or are they usually included w axle order? Do these axles have, come with shock absorbers ( ? Needed)?
Most people who order new axles order the complete assembly with brakes included. There are shocks on Airstream axles, but these are not considered part of the axle assembly and need to be ordered separately. The axles do need to have a bracket and stud welded to them to accommodate the shocks, this is typically included as a default, but worth confirming, depending on who you order from.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:57 PM   #16
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I have a Ď78 Argosy 30. It weighs approx. 4,050#. Yours probably weighs less. So the 3500# axles should be more than sufficient. Unless you plan on collecting boulders ala Lucy in ďThe Long, Long Trailer!!😂😂
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:05 PM   #17
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In process of a 90% renovation of a 1970 Tradewind (25’) tandem axle. Planning to replace axles/brakes/tires. Can anyone recommend a set up that includes an upgrade axle that would accomplish the 16” rim tires I’m reading about. Thanks, G-Ranch.
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