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Old 08-21-2004, 05:18 PM   #1
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2004 28' Classic
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New trailer isn't level, L-R concerned about my axles

Ever since we picked up our 2004 28' Classic, I've noticed that when I look out the rear view mirror, the trailer doesn't appear to be level (left to right) relative to the pickup tailgate.

I went out today with tape in hand, and this is what I've found, with the trailer parked on a level concrete floor: the pickup tailgate is essentially level. The right front of the trailer (measured ground to trim) is about 3/4" lower on the right side of the trailer, than on the left. The left rear of the trailer is about 1/2" higher than the right rear (again, measuring from ground to lower edge of trim). The top edge of the wheel wells measures the same on both sides.

Do I have a problem? How big? Have others noticed the same kind of disparity? Any insight you can give me into this?

Would appreciate any further information anyhone can provide - thanks!
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Old 08-21-2004, 09:38 PM   #2
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My '72 sets a little lower on the right too. More "stuff" on that side of the trailer, I guess.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:04 PM   #3
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Same with my 84 Excella 31 ft...about 2 inches lower on the curbside.
The bath, the range, and cabinets are over on the curbside.
I guess if I loaded up the pantry, the closets and credenza, then I might be level.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:30 PM   #4
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Try laying a level on the surface you are parked on to make certain that it is level. Next lay a level on the trailer floor to see if it is level, and lastly lay the level across the A frame in front.

Now if the ground is level and the trailer is level to, then something is mis aligned but it might not be cause for alarm because your measurements should be the same or very close. The difference you speak of is in fact a close measure, but maybe 3/4" is a little extream.

Most often you have probably just noticed that there is a difference and this is due to weight rather than a structural defect.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:37 PM   #5
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I can see it by eyeballing my tires too...the streetside has more tire showing than the curbside. I am pretty sure the trailer itself is straight.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:52 PM   #6
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Yea, that sound like it.
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:34 AM   #7
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Unlevel trailer...

Is it only when you are hooked up to the truck?
Do you feel anything extreme when towing?
One thing that I have noticed, towing Airstreams for 20 years, is that your weight distributing hitch has to be set up properly.
Seeing as how it is a newer A/S I would suspect that the trailer is fine and the hook-up is skewed.
What are you using for a hitch?
All trailers, regardless who makes them, should sit nearly level when parked on a level surface. The only time I have seen this to be untrue is when the trailer has been unevenly loaded. The optimum location for "stuff" is in the center of the trailer over the axles. This cannot always be achieved. I have found out as long as you try to keep this in mind you will do wonders for your towing.
The biggest mistake I see when travelling is the people will have the trailer tongue and the tow vehicle's bumper "pinched" or pointing down, not enough weight on the torsion bars, or they will have them reversed with both the tongue and the bumper pointing upward, too much weight on the torsion bars. Then these people complain that the trailer tows poorly.
Just trying to help.

Lou
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Old 08-22-2004, 10:09 AM   #8
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One way to know for sure -

Weigh it.....

If you suspect a problem just take it to a public scale.

Usually there is enough room on the sides that you can drop one wheel off of the scale.

Most scales give you three readings at one time (front axel, rear tractor axels, and trailer axels for the big rigs - usually you can get a weight off at least two of the pads, if not all three), use that to your advantage and get each axel and at least one individual wheel weighed on each axel (if not each wheel separately if you suspect an imbalance problem....ie the trailer wheels).

Weighing the trailer and the Tow Vehicle, as set up for towing (normal fluids, foods, and camping gear) is the only way you can ascertain;

1. What your actual axel weights REALLY are (this might surprise you).

2. If you truely are imbalanced right to left. And,

3. If you have a load imbalance on a dual or triple axel (just a bit of a "tongue low" situation will transfer a huge amount of weight from the rear axel to the front axel).

Weighs (three individual weights) are only about 10 bucks, with reweighs at only only a buck each (again, 3 readouts, so each readout is only 33 cents). You can get a HUGE number if individual readings for just a few minutes and a 20 dollar bill. Hit the scales on the weekend when taking your time on the scale will not hamper the "normal" 18 wheeler traffic.

The "Scale Masters" (usually "Mistresses") don't mind RV's a bit as long as they are not busy.
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:08 PM   #9
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You may have made a mistake in assuming the tow vehicle tailgate is level. Sometimes I'm amused when following behind other pickups when I see how out of level and twisted their bed is. Its possible driveline torque and other forces impact how it looks when towing. Also, you might check tire pressures to make sure they are all even. Also, since holding tanks slope towards the driver side, there will be more fluid and thus more weight on that side. Just some possibilities.
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:56 PM   #10
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Level trailers.

It is not uncommon for the axle or axles to take a "set" if it was parked for an extended period of time, without removing some weight from the axles.

This time period is usually several years, but could be as little as 4 to 5 years.

1974 trailers and older, along with the rubber rods failing, could have them fail on one side faster than the other, accounting for a tilt to the trailer.

Dave Jenkins......
Check the tire air pressures, to make sure all tires are the same. Level the trailer from front to back, on a concrete surface. Check the position of the torsion arms on the axles. They should all be equal, in angle.

If not, you may want to check with Airstream, regarding axle warranty.

Andy
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thompson
You may have made a mistake in assuming the tow vehicle tailgate is level. Sometimes I'm amused when following behind other pickups when I see how out of level and twisted their bed is. Its possible driveline torque and other forces impact how it looks when towing. Also, you might check tire pressures to make sure they are all even. Also, since holding tanks slope towards the driver side, there will be more fluid and thus more weight on that side. Just some possibilities.
Nope - tailgate is level. Driveline torque is not a factor, since this occurs with tow vehicle unhitched. Tire pressures are ok. And finally, both the black and gray water tanks are empty. I believe that my fresh water tank slopes towards the curbside. This tank is generally full - do you think that could do it? It's essentially over the axles, so I've been discounting it as a factor. I guess I could empty it and test - I think I'll do that just to remove a variable...
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In

[snip]

Dave Jenkins......
Check the tire air pressures, to make sure all tires are the same. Level the trailer from front to back, on a concrete surface. Check the position of the torsion arms on the axles. They should all be equal, in angle.

If not, you may want to check with Airstream, regarding axle warranty.

Andy

Andy: TPs are ok and equal. Trailer is leveled front to back, and unhitched from tow vehicle. Holding tanks are empty, fresh water is full.

Can you point me to pictures of what I should expect to see underneath as far as torsion arms are concerned? I have no idea what I'm looking for or at... How sensitive are the arms to variations in angle? That is, what's a significant difference?

Thanks...
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattersontoo
Is it only when you are hooked up to the truck?
Do you feel anything extreme when towing?
One thing that I have noticed, towing Airstreams for 20 years, is that your weight distributing hitch has to be set up properly.
Seeing as how it is a newer A/S I would suspect that the trailer is fine and the hook-up is skewed.
What are you using for a hitch?
All trailers, regardless who makes them, should sit nearly level when parked on a level surface. The only time I have seen this to be untrue is when the trailer has been unevenly loaded. The optimum location for "stuff" is in the center of the trailer over the axles. This cannot always be achieved. I have found out as long as you try to keep this in mind you will do wonders for your towing.
The biggest mistake I see when travelling is the people will have the trailer tongue and the tow vehicle's bumper "pinched" or pointing down, not enough weight on the torsion bars, or they will have them reversed with both the tongue and the bumper pointing upward, too much weight on the torsion bars. Then these people complain that the trailer tows poorly.
Just trying to help.

Lou
Hi Lou:

Thanks for the suggestions. This problem is evident whether towing or unhitched on a concrete pad. (When towing, I feel nothing - I'm using a Hensley Arrow. ) It appears to me that there's essentially the same amount of cabinetry on right as on left, so I don't think that could account for it. It's been suggested elsewhere in this thread that I get on some scales someplace to find out where the weight really is. We live in the country about 80 mi. W. of Houston, so it will be a semi-big deal to find some convenient scales...
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:37 AM   #14
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Dave Jenkins.

The amount of water in the fresh water tank should have no bearing on the trailers levelness.

After doing all the tests that you have, I would point my fingers at having defective axles.

Contact the factory, ASAP.

Should replacements be in order, I would suggest that you increase the load rating on the replacements.

The torsion arms are between the axle tube and the backing plates.

Andy
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