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Old 05-01-2006, 08:21 PM   #85
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Ouch. This thread took a weird turn really quick.

So can I ask a couple of questions? There seems to be a lot of instant dislike for certain brands. I would say that this is like your favorite baseball team or beer, but this seems to be much more deeply rooted for some reason. Why is that? Tires seem to follow a similar emotional pattern amongst owners.

Is it too simplistic to group axels in this method?
1) Henchen were the OEM part for many years, but Airstream has changed to a new supplier in recent years. Andy now has exclusive rights to Henchen?
2) Dexter is the middle of the road choice (are they now the OEM supplier for Airstream Corp?) Solid product, priced in the middle?
3) Axis is the new guy on the block. They seem to have a good Product (i.e., time will tell), but sometimes require extensive modifications? Cheaper, but a good product.

This is all a matter of choice, right? Or I am I missing something here? Is there any overriding safety reason to choose one over the other? Is the quality really that much better from one to another? Price is usually the deciding factor for me (of course, all other things being more or less equal).

Action, edit me any way you wish. Just trying to understand.

Jim
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:30 PM   #86
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Jim, IMHO, and having had Henschen, Dexter, and Al-Ko axles over the years, I think you hit it on the head. Those three are the 500 lb gorillas in the rubber torsion axle industry. They've been around a long time, and have proven products. The other companies may have products that are of similar quality, but they don't have the track record to back them up... yet.

I think that they pretty much all use Dexter brake parts.

Roger
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:48 PM   #87
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There seems to be a problem with the forum tonight, again. I had a lengthy reply typed up, but it wouldn't upload.

Suffice to say, I have my choice for a future axle replcement. It wasn't all that difficult to pick it from the list of available suppliers.

Let me see if I can upload this without getting kicked off again.

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Old 05-01-2006, 09:00 PM   #88
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Sorry, All.

I'm on business travel and can't do anything until I get the Caravel home and dismount the axle--this will be on or about 20 May. I'll definitely update everyone as soon as I have more info. Don't forget, if everything is finally resolved, the next thread will be "two new Axis axles w/ disc brakes" on the Overlander! Stay tuned.

I just want to take a moment here and point out something to everyone (as if I know it all, ha!). We all know that Andy puts lots of great info in his posts. Sometimes he points out why he thinks his products are the right choice. I don't mind at all, as long as it's clear what facts he's basing his preference on. For example, the softer ride that ought to result from the softer rubber in the Henschen axle. This sounds right at first--I can't wait for the Dexter data for additional comparisons.

However, the more I think about it the more I realize that for a softer ride you need at least one other factor, either a longer spring travel (which for a torsion axle means a bigger angular arc--this is independent of the starting angle) or a reduced dynamic range (meaning you'll bottom out with a smaller bump than you would with a stiff axle). Torsion axles have a maximum theoretical arc of 45 degrees. If you look at the Dexter technical data, you can estimate that their axles "settle" approximately 12 degrees when under their specified static load. That's around 2" of up travel. They further state that you need to have at least 3" of clearance above the wheel in this static loaded state. That's another 18 degrees of up travel (so I'm linearizing rotational motion here, but it's close), except there must be at least a tiny bit of margin so let's say that's only 15 degrees. OK, we've got something around 27-30 degrees of total travel from the unloaded swing arm angle. I don't think Henschen can do appreciably better than that, so, IMHO, Henschen must accept a smaller maximum load overshoot (from the dreaded bump in the road) than an Axis axle. If the Henschen "spring rate" is about 30% lower than Axis' harder rubber, that would be a significant decrease in rough road capability, but it would provide a softer ride for most roads. Andy, if my assumptions are wrong, let us all know. (It's entirely conceivable that a stiff axle provides more dynamic range than is needed, and therefore the Henschen axle is really the best choice. Who's going to put the string pot on the axle and go out and record the swing arm motion on a bad road? Need data! Ooh, the temptation to engage in a new experiment! )

Now, let's talk about cost. We all know the difference in price between a Henschen axle from Inland RV and what I paid for Axis. If you count all the hours I spent in assuring myself that I knew what I was doing, then moving the shock mounts, paying the welder, etc., etc., an axle from Inland RV would have been cheap at twice the price. Not to mention the extra month that my trailer will be inoperative due to the problem I've discovered, even if it's resolved quickly. On the other hand, I like to do as much as I can myself, I like to understand what's in my machine, I enjoy the work, and sure as heck I'm going to be most pleased with my vertical shock when everything is said and done. So I'd do it all over again because I am hardheaded!!

In the end, Andy is probably correct about re-engineering the mechanicals of the chasis, suspension, or shell--Airstream knew the answer a long time ago.

But I will say in any group or situation, that the interior design, the tambor doors, the lack of drawers in the early 70s models, the penchant for fold-up beds all SUCK. All I can say is that the poor interior design and cabinetry provides eye appeal in exchange for crappy practical utility (IMHO)! Maybe that's why I have never seen two AS trailers with the same interior--the factory was constantly looking for the right answer and NEVER found it.

But I digress. Next post will be totally back on topic, I promise.
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:20 PM   #89
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Well said, Led. And I totally agree about the ugly-as**ed '70's interiors. I'm replacing a whole bunch of mine.

Jim
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:38 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
...But I will say in any group or situation, that the interior design, the tambor doors, the lack of drawers in the early 70s models, the penchant for fold-up beds all SUCK. All I can say is that the poor interior design and cabinetry provides eye appeal in exchange for crappy practical utility (IMHO)! Maybe that's why I have never seen two AS trailers with the same interior--the factory was constantly looking for the right answer and NEVER found it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Well said, Led. And I totally agree about the ugly-as**ed '70's interiors. I'm replacing a whole bunch of mine.

HEY HEY HEY!!!! Not to get off subject here, but some of us do like those ugly as**ed interiors, Zep and Jim!

I've made up my mind as to which axles I'm getting for our Sovereign, after many nights of reading every post possible, and I can tell you that it won't be Henschen. For me it's a matter of cost, given my profession, and all my studying on the subject tells me that both Dexter and Axis make an equally sound product.

Frederic
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Old 05-02-2006, 03:07 AM   #91
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Where is your happiness?

Stingray -

Where is your happiness? Is it in getting a deal, but then have possible issues large and small - like Zep.

He made a more than eloquent missive about his issues, thoughts and possible 'If I had known then what I know now" ramifications.

He explained about his penchant for seeing his project through, with his addmitted head-headedness as an added bonus - when he reached nirvana on the 'other side'....

I only know that for me and my confirmed penchant for being lazy and likeing the easy 'bolt-right-in' way, I would likely go the Inland route.

Now, that being said, I do have to say that I have on MANY occations felt that ANDY and his "Way", his "Attitude" and his cock sure way of presenting himself and his opinions - they are opinions AFTER ALL! - have just RUBBED the WRONG way to happily spend a great deal of $ with him, or any in fact.

There is just something about that situation/attitude that galls. I have a really good nose for BullCr** (Can smell it) and for BullSh** ( and I sometimes sense it) but truely the attitude is what gets me.

Unfortuately, it is being exhibited in many places in not related to TT's and RV's, like in Government, state and local. Just another side of the same situation.

If you want the bolt in axle, then make your Check out to Andy, if you want an equal if not better axle, then make a check out elsewhere....., at least one more manufacturor wants your check too!

"A Fool and his money are soon parted" - Applies to AS owners just as much as any other owner group.

Peace

Axel
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:17 AM   #92
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Truth!

I have never bad mouthed Henschen - they make a quality product. The issue is availability - you can get it from one source only.

Knowing the axle manuacturing business, my issue lays with mark-up.

Just two cents from a retired axle dude!

Regards,
Henry
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:55 AM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StingrayL82
HEY HEY HEY!!!! Not to get off subject here, but some of us do like those ugly as**ed interiors, Zep and Jim!


Frederic
I resemble that remark!

HEAR, HEAR, HERE! I always thought the 70's interiors (with the exception of the orange and yellow shag carpet ) were pretty neat. And light weight to boot. The challenge is finding all of the necessary parts to rebuild things that have exceeded their life design. I have one big tambour that is toast, it will be replaced with a single swing down door...maybe.

Aaron
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:29 AM   #94
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I think you can find tambour at this site. I read every response on this thread and find it to be an interesting study on human nature. It is like a sports fan. We all have our favorite teams, and even though the athletes get paid the millions we will still argue and even fight. Go Red Sox
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:02 PM   #95
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Axel and Henry,

I will refrain from saying anymore on this subject, other than I have made up my mind as to which product I am going with. The last time I opened my mouth (and ironically it had nothing to do with anyone), I got tagged with a warning. I personally think that Henschen is a great product, but given several choices out there (as you pointed out, Axel), I am going with the "cheaper" product, and in this case it's not a "you get what you pay for". I am quite accomplished, when it comes to drafting (I came thiiiiiiiiis close to going to Syracuse for architecture), so making a detailed diagram of what I want is no problem. When it comes to pricing, keep in mind that this is after all America, and we are the land of opportunity and capitalism, a sucker is born every minute and yadda yadda yadda.

Frederic
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:31 PM   #96
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Straight shooting!

Frederic,

I think that you are shoot’ in straight. We have to be careful on the forums not to shoot to straight. I too have to be reminded of "playing nice". I am retired now and have nothing to gain from the forums as far as "income". However, I have gained a lot of friends and try to share my axle knowledge with friends and others - hopefully it is informative and helpful. Additionally, I too dislike bull**** and have a hard time holding my tongue when I see it. The forums are cool and I think we both need to "temper" it a bit from time to time! Good luck with your axle project!!!!!!

Best Regards,
Henry
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Old 05-02-2006, 07:02 PM   #97
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Stingray,
I would like to piggyback on your purchase.
Your analysis is sound and has led to a proper conclusion, I believe. However, I do not have the technical genius to endure what Zeppelinium has endured. WHereas he seems to thrive on anything that Murphey throws his way, I prefer slick, well engineered, bolt-in projects.

So, keep us posted as you develop your specs and make your order. I need axles for my '76 Sovereign 31'

Ken
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:00 PM   #98
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Ken,

Will do. I have a CAD program that kicks serious butt.....again, ironically, it's for architecture.....LOL!!!!

Henry,

As always, thank you for the compliment. A former Command Sergeant Major once complimented me on the fact that I, "....take no sh!t, but realize how to fix the problem with tact". I don't know about the tact part, but my axle problem needs fixing; that's a fact I do know, and it will get fixed.

Frederic
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