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Old 04-07-2011, 12:50 PM   #15
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torsion axle failures

There are a number of ways that a torsion axle can fail.

Most of us are aware that the biggest problem, is usually the rubber rods, which is caused by old age or lack of use.

Metal failures can also happen, however rare, but none the less, are possible.

Hitting a curb without wheel damage, again while rare, can happen.

Parking the trailer or a motor home that has a "tag" axle, in a severe twist of the tires, places a huge stress on the torsion arm and spindle, as well as the axle shaft. That can cause a fatigue crack, that in time, can cause a complete failure.

Then there is always the question about high frquency vibrations, that indeed can cause fatigue cracks in any metal.

Additionally, there is the question about not using shocks, as well as unbalanced running gear.

Safeguards are built into torsion axles, but to what degree, is something that cannot be measured in terms of numbers.

Steel doesn't crack all by itself. There is always a cause. Steel doesn't get stress cracks, unless caused by something.

The 2 basic causes of steel failure is (1) overloading, and (2) vibration.

The why's must be addressed in each individual case.

And yes, manufacturing defects can and do happen, but not stress cracks, on a product that has many of the same axles in service.

A metalurgist perhaps could better answer the question as to the true cause of the failure that "letsgo" has experienced.

Andy
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #16
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YIKES
From Dexter's FAQ Site


TORFLEX - Can I use 3 Torflex axles under my trailer?
No, Dexter does not recommend triple Torflex applications because Torflex axles are totally independent and not equalized like a typical leaf spring set of axles. There is no ability to transfer loads from one axle to another. When traversing uneven operating surfaces such as driveway entries, railroad crossings or speed bumps, the entire load can be put onto one axle causing severe overload. It isn't reasonable to expect one axle to carry the entire load of three axles when these conditions occur, even though these instances cause only momentary over-loading.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #17
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The axles were installed by the most reputable centre known to Airstreamers. The 3 axles are Henschen - had new shocks installed at the same time, six new tires that were balanced and the wheel alignment took 8 hours, as each axle was out of alignment when installed. I find it inconceivable that an 1-1/2" square hot or cold rolled steel could shear, bend yes, shear, no. If it is a non-defective bar, the fault in this bar could have been detected by magnafluxing. As I said before, 3/5 of the face of the facture were completely rusted and only two pencil widths were holding the bar together.
Airstream used to advertise that their axles were infallible and that they had never had a broken axle. Is this advertising still held true today?
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:00 PM   #18
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The axles were installed by the most reputable centre known to Airstreamers. The 3 axles are Henschen - had new shocks installed at the same time, six new tires that were balanced and the wheel alignment took 8 hours, as each axle was out of alignment when installed. I find it inconceivable that an 1-1/2" square hot or cold rolled steel could shear, bend yes, shear, no. If it is a non-defective bar, the fault in this bar could have been detected by magnafluxing. As I said before, 3/5 of the face of the facture were completely rusted and only two pencil widths were holding the bar together.
Airstream used to advertise that their axles were infallible and that they had never had a broken axle. Is this advertising still held true today?
I seem to remember the Henschens had a 5 year warranty. You may want to check your documentation, and see if you have any recourse with the new owner of Henschen over the 5 year warranty
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:46 PM   #19
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There is a post out in cyber space that said Andy of Inland RV acquired Henschen for its (proprietary axles) can this be confirmed????

again any input is welcomed
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:23 PM   #20
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did you say 1 1/2" tube? A #3400 axle has a 2 1/2" tube. A #4000 has a 3" tube. If your axles are that small no wonder they failed.,you have a monster trailer and it needs fairly stout axles even if there are three of them. $1000/ axle sounds rather steep. Maybe I need to raise my rates.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:26 PM   #21
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There is a post out in cyber space that said Andy of Inland RV acquired Henschen for its (proprietary axles) can this be confirmed????

again any input is welcomed
NO, that cannot be confirmed.

Myself or Inland RV Center, never owned any part of Henschen. We were, because of our background and history, appointed the distributor for Henschen axles, for Airstream products only.

Henschen is no longer in business as it was shut down by the owners of GKN who are in England.

However, a duplicate of the Henschen axles, within reason, are now being built by Axis.

Andy
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #22
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NO, I said the the torque bar is a solid 1 1/2 square hot rolled steel bar about 18 to 24 inches long it fits inside a OD. 2 5/8 inch square tube.

I have to assume from your comment that I have 3 / 3500 LB axles., I should say DEFFECTIVE AXLES.

THANKS
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:34 PM   #23
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Are there any manufacturer's tags or labels on your replacement axles? If present a picture might provide useful information that would help determine the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the Axles and maybe help find the cause of the failure.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:52 PM   #24
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reddogfox, I have looked for tags and checked my work order from the AIRSTREAM service center and nothing, my work order only shows INSTALL 3 NEW AXLES ON TRAILER. I have requested all pertinent information. I dont think I have been short changed BUT, this information, in retrospect should have been provided. And it will be posted as soon as I receive it. I have pictures that will get posted, but I am a novice at picture posting.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:00 PM   #25
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the wheel alignment took 8 hours, as each axle was out of alignment when installed.
you might want to examine the other axles. how were the axles aligned?
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:22 PM   #26
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the axles tubes actually look like a snake going through the bush after they were aligned with the hydraulic bender, Just looked at axle tubes between the frame rails to see the location of the hyraulic bends, all bends are in the middle of the tubes, so there is no tube distortion near the torsion bars. The torsion bar sheared 1/2" inside the torsion arm, the torsion arm is 1 9/16" wide, so there is approx. 1" of torsion bar still inside the torsion arm. So you see, there is nothing that can be checked until there is a broken torsion bar.

the installation and alignment done by same company.

thanks
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:42 PM   #27
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Maybe our Colorado lawyer member would take the case on a pro bono basis?
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:42 PM   #28
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Most likely you just had a defective torsion bar. Most likely if you put in a new axle you will be good to go.
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