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Old 03-18-2006, 10:24 AM   #1
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New Axis axle

This thread will take a few weeks to mature, so stay tuned.

The axle arrived yesterday (in discussion with freight company, I found you can reduce your freight cost significantly if you pick it up at the terminal--residential delivery added $55 in my case).

At first look, the axle was manufactured very close to my specs. I'll only know how precise the mounting bolt holes are after I trial fit the axle. My first impression is very good. One concern is that the weld bead on the axle bracket may interfere with a good, close fit to the flange to the frame. So I got under the trailer and took a look--Yes! AS put a weld bead relief in my frame member! Too cool. I do have a remaining concern that the Axis bead is just a little too big in spots and may require a little grinding, see red arrow.

Yesterday, I took a look at Fred Coldwell's axle on his '64 Globetrotter and it does not have the weld bead relief. I'll get some photos today to make sure and will post them later this weekend. In any event, it is something to watch for, since Fred's axle fits perfectly in the frame cutout and the bracket on the axle is tight to the frame--no room for a weld bead as far as I could see.

One [sort of] comical item is that the shock bracket is on backwards. No one seems to think the shocks are really needed, so no biggee, but I will get a welder to reverse them eventually. I took a look at the drawings which I sent to Axis and I can see how they could have easily been read the other way. urk, dope slap to me.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:15 AM   #2
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This will be an interesting project to follow along on. I may have missed the discussion in another thread, but which trailer is it for?
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:47 AM   #3
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This is for his 18' Caravel.

Sorry can't remember where the previous post was.
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:00 PM   #4
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Sorry, all. This is for a 1971 18' Caravel. I think this is going to work for all early 70s trailers--I'll let you know as I do my 1972 Overlander and 1975 Excella.

OK, I didn't need to go over to Fred's after all. Stopped by Cherokee RV Salvage on the way to the Denver Unit Luncheon and got these photos of a 60s axle. You can see that the axle brackets are just flat pieces of steel, compared to the curled-over shape on the 70s. You can also see that the trailer frame member is flat--no curled edges on the axle cutout, so no room for a weld bead on that side of the axle bracket. Just one difference to look for.

I think that the 60s trailers can accept an axle with the curled-over (inverted "U" shaped) bracket, but you'd have to specify that the weld bead that goes around the top half of the axle tube be on the inner side (away from the wheel) of the bracket.
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Old 03-19-2006, 06:49 AM   #5
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Heck Led, I could have posted the 60's pix for you if only I read this a little sooner! I pulled one of the axles from under my '65 yesterday. It was a fairly easy job other than I had to cut the rear bolts off as the arm was high enough up to block clearance to remove them. The angle of the arm was still downward somewhat, but it seems the axles have taken a set. When I jacked up the trailer, the wheels stayed in the same position (they didn't drop at all when I lifted the trailer ). I haven't decided where to get the new axles yet, but am anxiously waiting your update. Hope all goes well! Thanks, dave
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Old 03-19-2006, 07:07 AM   #6
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One thing I forgot to mention.. I emailed Chad at Axis last November to get a ballpark estimate for installation of two new axles. He gave a good price on the axles at $300-$350 each, but also stated " We have replaced some of these axles in the past but have made the decision to no longer do service work at our facility. They are fairly simple to replace if you do decide to do it yourself." --dave
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Old 03-19-2006, 11:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamin 65
I haven't decided where to get the new axles yet, but am anxiously waiting your update. Hope all goes well! Thanks, dave
Dexter axles are about the same price and come without having to pay the shipping. They have outlets all over the country and will do the installation, for a price.

I'm going to stick with Axis. I did some accurate measurements yesterday (as it started snowing)--axle looks perfect to my specs. I may have to grind the weld bead a little, but I can accept that. Unfortunately, I'm outta here for two weeks and the weather is bad today, so I won't have the installation photos until I get back.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:46 PM   #8
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slow progress

Hello, all. Finally found the time to drop the axle. Here's a few steps and photos:

1. Make sure you get the jack under the axle before you try to remove the bolts. Don't be cocksure (I have lots of experience, here)--have your penetrating oil handy or you'll probably not get the nuts off. Mine weren't so bad after 30 years, but I still needed my biggest 1/2" breaker bar and about 30" of 2x4 (not a lever, a hammer) to get the first nut movement.

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2. Dropped the axle and took some comparative photos--yes, the shock bracket is backwards on the new axle, but I could have done a better job on the drawing. As it turns out, I'm going to cut off the old brackets and re-use them.

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3. Why? Because even though Monrow inculdes a new shock mounting stud, it's [IMHO] too short. One photo shows the included hardware, but you can see it's just not what the doctor ordered. Not to mention that in addition to the stud portion being too short, the threaded portion is too long--it would definitely hit the jacking flange. One other thing to note--the hole in the Axis bracket is 1/2", but the non-threaded portion of the stud is 5/8". Not a big deal, but something to make sure you put in your order if you have your own shock mounting studs. (btw, the white stripe behind the bracket on the new axle is a piece of shim from another project, not a Photoshop artifact.)

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to be continued...
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:16 AM   #9
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the 555003 shock

1. Shock max extension is 14-3/4". Max active extension is 14-1/8". Min length is 9-5/8". It fits nicely in the space provided. My totally coarse measurements tell me that they actually have a lot of margin on both ends. The positions shown here are approximately where the shock bracket would put the shock during active axle motion. BTW, both ends of the 555003 shock take a 5/8" stud, which is exactly what my 1971 trailer provides.

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2. I include these photos to show the position of the old axle, like pretty much dead level or down a little. (Nice shock, yes?) For those contemplating replacing an axle, note the flange relief at the axle pass-through. If you have a 60s trailer, you'll want to make sure your axle bracket is welded on the side away from the jacking plate so that you don't create a weld bead that interferes with a close fit of the jacking plate to the bracket.

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3. Due to an upcoming trip, I don't have time to fiddle with the shock location. However, note that there is plenty of room to mount the shock bracket under the axle swing arm and a bit aft (and still run flat without hitting the ground with the shock), so that clearance can be provided for an almost vertical installation (this experiment to be performed later this year on the Overlander, along with disc brakes). There is a Monroe shock in the same series as the 555003 that is shorter, if required. But the real reason is not for installation of the more available vertical shocks, but to allow shock removal without having to drop the axle (yes, Andy can show you how to bend the bracket so you can get the shock off, but ick inelegant!)

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It may be a couple of days before I trial fit the new axle. I happened to stumble on sneakinup's photos today and am now compelled to open up the belly pan and take a look. Sheesh.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:39 AM   #10
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Thanks Led:

Your thread on the axle replacement is great, job well done. I'll be replacing the axle on my Bambi II next month and this sure helps a lot.

Thank you for all your effort,

Mark
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:11 PM   #11
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belly panel off

whoever said that the more you take apart the more you have to take apart was absolutely right. On close inspection, my belly panel was held on by about three rivets and two screws; everything else had pulled through. The axle was keeping the leading edge up and a couple of overlapping side skins were holding the mid section. Good thing the skin was tucked into the lower flange of the bumper (making up the bumper stowage). I was thinking of repairing the holes, but I think I'd rather remodel so that the belly skin only covers the belly. I'll make up the stowage area with a small strip of heavier guage skin.

What was found? Well, 80% of the insulation was still up against the floor. The section that fell down and was in contact with the skin, about 2x3', was wet and had to have been wet for a couple of months (or frozen, actually). The condition of the ribs was good to fair, with only slight rust on the forward frame members, increasing to moderate rust as you go aft. I see one broken frame, but it's not where a rivet hole was--just an otherwise undamaged section. No indication that there was a blow from below. Hmmm, maybe I better correlate a penetration in the skin, could be...

I'll start with the wire wheel tomorrow and hopefully be ready to use Metal Ready by Monday. Got to get this hummer back together by Friday.

Here you can see the belly skin. Doesn't look too bad, but there have been some previous repairs where a PO cut the skin back for other repair work, and all the existing rivet holes are pulled through to 3/8" diameter. You can also see the remaining insulation (it was installed prior to the frame! and so is compressed under the frame members). The frame break is not very apparent, but it's totally through the bottom of the lightening hole. The view is approximately parallel with the axle, from just about a foot aft.

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One thing to note in the photo above!! Where the drain pipe passes across the frame member, it is rubbed almost completely through, like a wide knife cut. Another trip or two and it would have been penetrated.

The rust in the rear is significantly worse. You can't see it in the photo, but the floor right at the most aft frame member is water damaged, but even though a layer has delaminated, it's still stiff--no need to replace it yet.

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Old 04-02-2006, 07:41 AM   #12
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Belly Pan Removal

Ah, such fond memories!
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:31 AM   #13
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Ok, tell me again why I need to replace the axels on my trailer because it's a 58. I've had so many different opinions. Some say you "have " to, some say to just look at them to see where the trailer rides on them. I just brought this trailer home and from looking, and pulling, it seems fine. It has the leaf springs, which also look to be in great shape. I'm confused.
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:57 AM   #14
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Leaf springs? I've only seen a few examples. I'm replacing swing arm axles, which is the type of suspension on Airstreams from before (?) about 1964 to present. With your suspension, your biggest issue is good shocks (as it would be on any vehicle with leaf springs). Also, we all check and repack the wheel bearings a lot more often than you would on a car or truck.

High on the list would be checking your brakes. I've had three of the originals fall apart internally. The easiest fix for old brakes is to buy new brake plates, about $50 each. There are other threads showing how to take the old ones off and bolt the new ones on. It's a pretty simple, dirty, knuckle-busting, half-a-day job. Besides the reward of getting reliability up, you can't find the old magnets, so you eventually have to replace the whole brake plate anyway.

The reason we all "debate" replacing our swing arm axles is that even bad axles seem to tow well. The problem is that they beat the snot out of the trailer because they become either so hard they are "frozen" or they eventually creep up to the top stop. Either way, it's a hard ride. Did I say hard? How about damaging?

Even though mine still had a slight down angle (arm angle is the criteria most cited--a new axle starts at 22.5 degrees down), I was breaking door shelves in the fridge from the sharp forces transmitted by my old axle. If the trailer sits for a few years, the rubber in the torsion tube hardens, which is the end of that axle as a ride softening device.

Now, back to the project....
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