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Old 06-13-2012, 07:49 PM   #1
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New Axle

I'm going to order a new axle as mine is only rated to 5200, and my tradewind weighs around 4400 with water. I would like to upgrade to a 6000lb Axis with disc brakes will this be too heavy duty or should it work fine? Also was wondering if I should go with 12" or 13" disc brakes? Any help is appreciated
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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I'm going to order a new axle as mine is only rated to 5200, and my tradewind weighs around 4400 with water. I would like to upgrade to a 6000lb Axis with disc brakes will this be too heavy duty or should it work fine? Also was wondering if I should go with 12" or 13" disc brakes? Any help is appreciated
Why do you want to go that much larger with the axle? Remember some of the weight is carried on the hitch of the vehicle too. From what I gather upgrading an axle too far above what the factory specs were could cause issues from too harsh a ride.

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
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I'm going to order a new axle as mine is only rated to 5200, and my tradewind weighs around 4400 with water. I would like to upgrade to a 6000lb Axis with disc brakes will this be too heavy duty or should it work fine? Also was wondering if I should go with 12" or 13" disc brakes? Any help is appreciated
Several years ago, we were appointed national distributor for the Henschen axles, for Airstream's only.

We confered with the engineers at Airstream and Henschen about upgrading the replacement axles.

They agreed that it would be ok, if we, increased the replacement axle ratings, within reason.

They were very clear in stating what not to do.

That what not, was to NEVER EVER increase the rating of the larger single axle Airstreams, beyond 5000 pounds.

They stated that the chassis would not take anything higher and if ignored, chassis failure was almost a guarantee, as well as liability.

Based on that, I would suggest that you stay with the original 5000 pound rating. If yours is higher than that, then someone has already replaced the axle.

Also, remember that the shell holds up the frame, which can create other problems if you "beefed up" the frame.

Andy
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:41 PM   #4
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Andy:

I was told you want to have a 10% margin for the axle which my 5200lb axle would be a max of 4680lb that does not leave me with much weight for gear. Is there anything that I can do, or am I forced to lighten the Tradewind? Thanks for the help it is much appreciated!
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:43 PM   #5
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Andy:

I was told you want to have a 10% margin for the axle which my 5200lb axle would be a max of 4680lb that does not leave me with much weight for gear. Is there anything that I can do, or am I forced to lighten the Tradewind? Thanks for the help it is much appreciated!
I do not have any information that even suggests a 10 percent margin.

If you have a 5000 pound axle, then that is the load it can carry, provided the tires can handle it as well.

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:59 AM   #6
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I would be careful about upsizing an axle if you don't know the structural capabilities of the frame that the axle is attached to. I will give an example of a small AS trailer that uses a 3" sturctural channel frame. It has a 4,500# axle and the frame is close to 20' long, including the tongue. I assume that AS believes that the shell of the trailer helps with the sturctural integrity of the frame. I would never build a 4,500# equipment trailer out of 3" channel. I would use a minumum of 4" channel. By putting a larger axle on a weak frame, you are given a false sense of security that you can haul a larger payload. The frustrating thing about these small AS trailers is that the wet weight of the trailer is over 4,000#, leaving very little payload for the trailer. They could have put a 4" or 5" channel frame and a 5,200# axle for approximately 150# of material and a very minimal cost. AS is almost asking people to think about putting heavier axles on these trailers when the useful load (wet) is very small.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:19 AM   #7
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If you upgrade your axle too much you risk not having enough weight from the trailer on it to make the suspension flex. The resultant ride for the trailer will be excessively harsh and could actually result in popped rivets and structural damage.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #8
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I recently did a 1973 Airstream for a customer who was converting it to a Pizza Kitchen complete with a brick oven, installed a 6K Dexter with 16" 8 Lug wheels, he was tickled pink. Realize that the 1973 has a 5" frame, but the customer did his homework with weights going into the trailer on hand he knew what he needed, also the Tradewind has a longer than usual axle to tongue distance so in our figures we used a 15% add for the tongue weight, 6k axle 15% on the tongeu at almost all times gave him roughly a 6900# GVWR (he says it weighs #6400 loaded)

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Old 06-18-2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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The nice part about rubber torsion axles is that they start riding real well when the gross weight is around 50% or higher.
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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What was the capacity on the original axle from the factory on a 63 Tradewind?? 4500?
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:25 PM   #11
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What was the capacity on the original axle from the factory on a 63 Tradewind?? 4500?
I not only would like to know what the original axle was rated at, or if the 5,200# axle the OP is trying to replace, is original.
Also, I'm curious as to what size and type of material that the frame is made out of and what the condition of that material is.
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:57 PM   #12
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What was the capacity on the original axle from the factory on a 63 Tradewind?? 4500?
I have all the Henschen torsion axle specs that Airstream used from 1961, until the 80's.

A 1963 Tradewind (24 foot) Airstream, had it's single axle rated at 5000 pounds.

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Old 06-22-2012, 09:40 PM   #13
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I not only would like to know what the original axle was rated at, or if the 5,200# axle the OP is trying to replace, is original.
Also, I'm curious as to what size and type of material that the frame is made out of and what the condition of that material is.
I have the original specs & the 61, 62 & 63 Trade Winds had 4000 lb axles & the 64 had a 5000 lb rating. In 65 the Trade Wind went to a tandem configuration. I restored a 63 several years ago for a client & it had a 4" "C" channel frame, just like the 64 I'm doing now for another client. This "C" channel is Structural Steel, like what is used in the fabrication of buildings etc, not formed "C" channel like you'd see in newer Airstream's. It's about 1/4" thick & tapers towards the ends of the "C". The 63 & 64 had virtually identical dry weights so I'm sure you'd be fine going to 5K. We installed a 4500 lb axle in the 63 & it's working fine. Keep in mind that the body of the trailer adds considerably to the structural integrity of the trailer. These chassis's will bend under their own weight when the body has been removed. The body actually holds the chassis up. This is why it is very important that all of the perimeter bolts securing the "C" channel in the base of the wall are attached to the ends of the outriggers along with the front & rear crossmembers.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #14
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Yeah, what Colin said about the frame sagging without the body. My 63 Overlander frame Saggs 5" under it's own weight.
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