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Old 02-27-2008, 09:08 AM   #1
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1962 16' Bambi
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Original Bambi Axle welded?

Hi, I have 62 Bambi that, I believe, has a shot torsion axle. The only thing that appears to happen if I step on the rear bumper is wheel compression (no body movement with reference to the wheel). I looked for a bottom/limiter device but I think the shock absorber serves as this, so I can’t tape a stop point to look for “bottom-out”. Also, I have the 5 bolt pattern with 13” wheels. Anyway, I am looking at replacing the axle and have a few questions; First, I am budget limited so would it be OK to reuse the original hub and only purchase the raw axle (with spindles of course)… i.e. Do axle manufacturers use the same size spindles? Second, can I upgrade later to 14” wheels using the same axle (maybe even the same hub)? Third, My axle is welded in place!! Is this normal? How do you suggest removing it? I may not know allot about axel repair but I am capable of understanding and performing my own repairs once pointed in the right direction.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:17 AM   #2
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Welded? Strange -- but I'd better leave that open for more comment.

Also be aware of spindle problems with OEM Caravel & Bambi axles in that time period -- here and here.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:50 AM   #3
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Yea, I haven't found an article yet dealing with this issue. I posted a picture since 1000 words would be over the limit ...;-)
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #4
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I did my 66 Caravel 18 months ago - that evolution does not make me an expert but I can answer some of your questions. Re-using the brakes/backing plate/other hardware is probably not an option. The stuff is old and replacement parts are not readily available. New axles will have bigger spindles - therefore the bearing hole will be too small. I bought mine from Inland RV - bolt up with some drilling but all the hardware came with the unit - after installation the new rims went on and I was done. I had never done a trailer axle replacement before so I know you can do it. There are other less expensive ways to get axles (Dexter) but require some work on you part. Not a difficult thing but any error and the cost of correction is on you.

I think you will find that a complete axle, brake, rim replacement is the way to go but keep looking.

Long process with a die grinder and those welds can be removed to get the axle off. Don't use a torch - the heat transfer to the frame may be too much.
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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I have a '61 Overlander and the old axles were welded in place. We used a plasma cutter(220v) to cut them out. I work at an auto dealership & we have one in the shop. We used a MIG welder to install the new axles. I agree with Clancy Boy, I would (and did) also get new brakes. I also purchased my new axles from Inlandrv with the brakes.
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:12 PM   #6
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Just don't weld on the tube of a new torsion axle -- the heat will ruin the rubber rods inside the tube.
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:36 PM   #7
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yup!

Welding was the way they put the axle on for at the very least the 61 and 62 Bambi's. Not sure about 63. I had a new dexter axle with hub (brakes of course) installed on my '61 by my local RV dealer. They did a great job. No muss no fuss. I wish I had done it 5 years earlier but I had no idea about such things all those MANY years ago. You will not believe the change in the way the trailer rides after the new axle is installed. Nothing fly's out of the little shelf over the sink (if you have one).

I had 4 lug wheels before, interesting but now have 5 with 13" tires. Don't think you would want to go to 14" as they probably would not fit in and out of the wheel well.

Good luck! Oh and it cost me just around $1200 but that included new moon hubcaps and something else I did but don't remember...
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Ray
Hi, I have 62 Bambi that, I believe, has a shot torsion axle. The only thing that appears to happen if I step on the rear bumper is wheel compression (no body movement with reference to the wheel). I looked for a bottom/limiter device but I think the shock absorber serves as this, so I can’t tape a stop point to look for “bottom-out”. Also, I have the 5 bolt pattern with 13” wheels. Anyway, I am looking at replacing the axle and have a few questions; First, I am budget limited so would it be OK to reuse the original hub and only purchase the raw axle (with spindles of course)… i.e. Do axle manufacturers use the same size spindles? Second, can I upgrade later to 14” wheels using the same axle (maybe even the same hub)? Third, My axle is welded in place!! Is this normal? How do you suggest removing it? I may not know allot about axel repair but I am capable of understanding and performing my own repairs once pointed in the right direction.
61 and 62 Bambi's did have the axle welded in place, when new.

Depending on the wheel well clearances, which varied, 14 inch wheels are installed on replacement axles and sometimes 15 inch wheels will also work.

The old axle is carefully cut off with a torch.

Installation instructions are provided when Henschen axles are used as replacements, on those models.

Andy
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:59 PM   #9
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1962 16' Bambi
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Axle measuement

Couple questions, How accurate do the measurements have to be for Hub 2 Hub face and outside bracket to outside bracket? (see sketch) Also can I use a top mount axle instead of the side mount? As long as the axle tube to frame rail distance to close to original, seems like it would be OK. But the main question (for me) as I shop for axles is "are the torsion arms the same length as mine"?
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:25 PM   #10
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Caravel broken axel and 14" to 15" wheel change.

The original axel on our 1965 Caravel broke in October, 2002. The left wheel then hit two cars on the 101 just north of Santa Barbara. No one was hurt, and all turned out well.
I was unaware that these trailers were known for that failure.
I replaced the axel with a new one and installed the original 14"wheels.
At the VAC rally in Breckenridge, CO last summer I learned about the frequency of this failure, and also that the 14"wheels can be replaced with 15" wheels.

I have made that change, and am happy with it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:42 PM   #11
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C Ray,

It depends a little bit on the position of the arms. The no-load to full-load travel of standard 6" torsion arm is about 2.3 inches.

If you rotate the arms 2.3", in your drawing above, the hub-to-hub distance will change by 2/32". Your hub face could be as high as 74.0", or as small as 73 7/8". Depends on how the the arms were loaded when you measured.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:57 PM   #12
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1962 16' Bambi
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Yep, you're right, extra dimension I didn't think about. During these measurements the arm was horizontal, So I think I will go with that... well second thought I will clarify with the axle manufacturer at what torsion ange should the hub face to hub face measurement be taken ... thanks. Also, you mentioned "standard 6" torsion arm" I measured mine (roughly... but within .1") and it came out to 5.5" ... could I be that far off? I called one axle manufacturer who told me his torsion arms are 4.5" so it looks like that is something to watch for.
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:11 AM   #13
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1962 16' Bambi
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OK, Looks like I will probably order Dexters with brakes and hubs, side mount, reverse orientation, weld side mount bracket hangar to bottom of frame rail (then bolt axle/bracket to it) I'm using 2800, 22 deg down, will have to weld the shock bracket myself (needs to be done that way away for precise alignment) I will compare the new torsion arm with existing when it arrives and deal with any difference in length by moving axle forward (if the new one is longer) I also plan to call Dexter after the order is placed and confirm dimensions on production spec. I learned allot with this forum, thanks to all who contribute, you really are gook folks. Any other advice would be appreciated.
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