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Old 07-21-2004, 11:20 AM   #1
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rear tub sag prevention and axle replacement

1972 Sovereign 31ft - fact opt L couches front; mid-twins; rear bath

Can anyone provide me with their knowledge(feedback) on the actual method applied by Airstream to prevent(correct) rear tub sag?

I would like to make an educated decision on including the replacement of my not-quite-required, but oh-so-near worn out axles (0 degree torsion arms - thanks to all who have come before me in this forum!!!). I realize I am talking about quite a bill with this - assuming around $3500, but if they are already going to have the axles off, why not just replace at the same time?
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
1972 Sovereign 31ft - fact opt L couches front; mid-twins; rear bath

Can anyone provide me with their knowledge(feedback) on the actual method applied by Airstream to prevent(correct) rear tub sag?

I would like to make an educated decision on including the replacement of my not-quite-required, but oh-so-near worn out axles (0 degree torsion arms - thanks to all who have come before me in this forum!!!). I realize I am talking about quite a bill with this - assuming around $3500, but if they are already going to have the axles off, why not just replace at the same time?
Rear end sag does not usually require axle replacement.
However, worn out and bouncy axles, especially with a loaded trailer, can contribute to rear end separation.
The separation happens when the frame separates from the rear floor section,causing droop. If you stand on the bumper and gently bounce up and down, you will see the gap between the bumper cover and shell widening.
The repair of this entails re-attachment of the frame, floor and shell.
Some trailers had axle mounting plate problems, or even cracked frames near the axles, but i think that's much rarer an occurance than rear end separation.
You might have a combo deal on your hands here, weak or rotten flooring under the bath fixtures, separation and weak axles. Not meaning to scae you off, but make sure and take a close look before committing to one single repair.
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
Can anyone provide me with their knowledge(feedback) on the actual method applied by Airstream to prevent(correct) rear tub sag?
I am curious about this "rear tub sag."

If you mean the frame droop problem, there is a technote that describes how to cut holes in the rear in order to add frame strengthening members. These holes are then patched and referred to as elephant ears. You can see them on some longer 70's Airstreams.

There is another tech note of interest for trailers of about this era and that is to strengthen the axle mounting plate with a bolt on reinforcement.

I tend to agree with InlandRV Andy in that the frame droop problem has more to do with a marginal frame (done to reduce weight) coupled with vibration from poorly balanced running gear. It is aggravated to some extent by running with full holding tanks in rear bath models, but that only gives the vibration something more to work with.
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Old 07-21-2004, 12:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
...Can anyone provide me with their knowledge(feedback) on the actual method applied by Airstream to prevent(correct) rear tub sag?
Check out this post for the approved method. I have no idea of the cost if you have the work done.

Quote:
...I would like to make an educated decision on including the replacement of my not-quite-required, but oh-so-near worn out axles (0 degree torsion arms - thanks to all who have come before me in this forum!!!). I realize I am talking about quite a bill with this - assuming around $3500, but if they are already going to have the axles off, why not just replace at the same time?
Check out InlandRV.com for the cost of new axles. I wouldn't think more than hour or two of labor for a shop who had done it before.

What scares me right now about the axles is shipping damage, whether it is shipped to you or an RV shop. GunnyUSMC has a particularly unsettling tale.

Tom
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Old 07-21-2004, 06:18 PM   #5
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Thank you for your willingness to share your thoughts. It is a great help!

I don't have any evidence that I already have rear separation (sorry I called it rear sag).

I had the impression from other areas of the forum that prevention was a good idea. I think I remember seeing a post somewhere that referenced $1700 invested in the proceedure on their A/S.
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:06 PM   #6
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The best prevention, in my opinion, is making sure you have no water leaks from plumbing, or from windows, vents etc. Keep the floor dry.
Make sure your axles are ok, as to prevent undue shock on the long rear overhang.
Keep your running gear balanced. This may be a challenge, because not many places will balance your hubs and wheels. Just balancing the wheels won't do you much good.
Keep a watchful eye on things inside the trailer. You wil soon notice unusual turmoil, if it is present, as is caused by a rough ride.
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
The best prevention, in my opinion, is making sure you have no water leaks from plumbing, or from windows, vents etc. Keep the floor dry.
Make sure your axles are ok, as to prevent undue shock on the long rear overhang.
Keep your running gear balanced. This may be a challenge, because not many places will balance your hubs and wheels. Just balancing the wheels won't do you much good.
Keep a watchful eye on things inside the trailer. You wil soon notice unusual turmoil, if it is present, as is caused by a rough ride.
So it sounds like my best prevention may well be just mounting new "balanced" axles from inland, keeping the black water empty as much as possible (potable runs above the axles and '72 doesn't have grey) and keep an eye out for separation near the trunk. I think I read a post by Andy that the axles come balanced.
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
So it sounds like my best prevention may well be just mounting new "balanced" axles from inland ... I think I read a post by Andy that the axles come balanced.
I do not think that is correct; Hopefully, Andy will catch this thread & set the record straight.

It is not the axle itself that needs balancing, but rather the spinning masses bolted to it. Andy sells bare axles & fully loaded axles. I do not recall him claiming the brake drums on his loaded axles were dynamically balanced.

That is why it is important to have the wheel balanced while it is mounted to the brake drum.

You may need new axles to keep from jarring your Airstream when encountering poor roads, but don't buy them just to correct a balance issue.

Tom
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:54 AM   #9
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
I do not think that is correct; Hopefully, Andy will catch this thread & set the record straight.

It is not the axle itself that needs balancing, but rather the spinning masses bolted to it. Andy sells bare axles & fully loaded axles. I do not recall him claiming the brake drums on his loaded axles were dynamically balanced.

That is why it is important to have the wheel balanced while it is mounted to the brake drum.

You may need new axles to keep from jarring your Airstream when encountering poor roads, but don't buy them just to correct a balance issue.

Tom
Hopefully Andy will chime in. I was under the impression that when purchasing the loaded axles, you were getting balenced running gear from him. I can certainly call and ask.

I need to choose my words more carefully. I wrote axles, thinking loaded axles. Thank you for the clarification!
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:46 AM   #10
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The only other item to add to the list is to get properly rated tires. This is usually a load range C tire. Getting a tire designed for heavier loads than you need means a stiffer ride that your really don't need. Tire load ratings is one area where "mo' betta'" isn't a very good idea from what I hear.
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Old 07-23-2004, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
So it sounds like my best prevention may well be just mounting new "balanced" axles from inland, keeping the black water empty as much as possible (potable runs above the axles and '72 doesn't have grey) and keep an eye out for separation near the trunk. I think I read a post by Andy that the axles come balanced.
Axles don't come balanced. Drums don't come balanced. They're insultingly out of balance, as a matter of fact.
Andy can balance your "running gear" by balancing the drums/hubs and wheels by a special process. But you will have to take your trailer there.
Some forum members have had good results with the centramatic product.
Search for " running gear balance" and "centramatic" for further enlightenment.
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