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Old 09-11-2006, 07:07 AM   #1
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1956 22' Caravanner
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Replacement axle for '56 22' Caravanner (same platform as Flying Cloud)

I brought my Caravanner home yesterday and spent some time on my side looking at the belly skin and axles. The Propane lines were split, but overall it looked pretty good. In terms of towing, the rig did fine on the way home even with the old bias tires, which will get replaced.

But before I sink a couple hundred bucks in rims and tires, I wanted to figure out if I could replace the axle, actuallly the full assembly. I see four connection points for the leaf springs.

I am assuming that I shold be able to purchase new springs and a new axle.

The process as I imagine it being is:

0. Raise and secure trailer
1. remove the tire
2. remove the shock absorber
3. Raise and support axle assemble
4. Remove bolts from four spring connection points.
5. slide out assebly and slide in replacement. Same style not Torsion axle.
6. Repleat 4-0 in reverse order.

thoughts?
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:52 AM   #2
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Not sure about the 1956 but I'm going to guess it's similar to the 1951 I have. My leaf springs are an odd length (35") - I haven't found anything as far as a new "off the shelf" replacement. My choices are: reuse the leaf springs and replace the axle only; purchase a complete assembly and have new "connection points" welded onto the frame; or find a shop that will custom make the leaf springs.

Since our trailer has spent its life in California the springs "look" pretty good - so if I end keeping them I'll have them "checked out".
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Old 09-11-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Mark is right. The length of the springs have a lot to do with ride softness. I would keep the original springs, or have new ones made in the same length, width and thickness. Off-the-shelf springs are good for utility trailers only.

The key items to watch are the axle diameter, drop, and brake size. My '59 had a 2 3/8" axle, 4" drop, and 12" brakes.

If you order a 2 3/8" axle from Dexter, you are limited to 3500# capacity and they come with 10" brakes. You might be able to order it with 12" brakes; I went to a 3" axle because I was over 3500#. I think you want to stay with the original brake size.

If you increase to a 3" axle, you will need to rebuild the spring-to-axle mounting plate and lower shock absorber mount.
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Old 09-11-2006, 11:14 AM   #4
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Muddy_Hollow,

I purchased two axles, four springs and all mounting hardware from Axis in Indiana for my 1954 Double Door Liner. The total cost was about $500. I have 3500# axles with 12" brakes, 1750# springs and also have 6 bolt drums instead of the original 5 bolt. You can read about my experience here: http://www.airforums.com/forum...tml#post163666

Although Axis no longer builds torsion axles for Airstreams, they might build a spring axle.

Bill
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Old 09-11-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
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Ah - you got it!

I see you got your new project. Pictures Doug? Looking forward to seeing it. Colin and Steve both have Caravanners. Way cool Trailers.

Rob
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:06 PM   #6
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I replaced the springs on my 60 trdwnd .I had brand new ones made
at central coast spring in santa maria Ca ,an hour away from me.they did a great job .they are exactly like the originals .I now have new springs and a spare set.i do not recommend changing the spring eye location for shorter
springs .the long length is important for ride and support of the trailer.
Im sure a good spring shop can build a new set ,won't be cheap ,will be right.
worth doing right ,rearching with an extra leaf installed works well also.I was able to get new bushings installed with the new springs ,and bushings for the spring eye frame mounts. you definately want the 12" brakes,the 10" have
small bearings and spindles an important thing to remember.

Scott
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:23 AM   #7
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Springs and blog

I called over the EatonSprings in Detroit this morning and they said they would custom make a set of springs for me. I don't know the cost but I assume it's not going to be cheap.

The springs won't be for some time, but until then I have started a blog. It's at http://my56caravanner.blogspot.com

Doug
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddy_hollow
I called over the EatonSprings in Detroit this morning and they said they would custom make a set of springs for me. I don't know the cost but I assume it's not going to be cheap.

The springs won't be for some time, but until then I have started a blog. It's at http://my56caravanner.blogspot.com

Doug
Doug,

The spings for my 1954 Liner were only $11 each. I don't know if they were a special length or not.

Bill
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Old 09-12-2006, 09:18 PM   #9
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wow Bill thats cheap ,I think yours must use a more common short spring .
your rig does not use the longer single axle springs .the short ones are about
26" long ,and of course you needed 4 to work.

muddy hollow ,I have used Eaton Detroit spring for years .always a good experience.they have ALL the technical data for almost any spring you need
automotive /truck /trailers etc.The price should be in range with my costs.
Hopefully it will be less ,but you will get good springs.One thing you will want
them to do is to double wrap the spring eye for extra support.you may find
your originals have that wrap ,so make sure the new ones will also.

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 09-12-2006, 09:35 PM   #10
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Scott,

You are correct, about 27" from center of eye to center of eye. What is the length for a single axle? I was shocked at how inexpensive the springs were. Axis talked me into new springs and hardware, which was not difficult with the low price.

Bill
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Old 09-13-2006, 12:41 AM   #11
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the spring length on a single axle is 35 to 36" eye to eye and there are no
springs available off the shelf ,but then there would have to be some demand
for that .still we have options ,so thats good .im always amazed that spring shops can make springs ( a pair) that are exactly the same ,the trailer sits
level and all .thats craftsmanship for sure.

Scott
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Old 09-13-2006, 01:05 AM   #12
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My leaf springs for single axle were 36" eye to eye, I had them copied exactly at an old, old spring shop in San Antonio, took a couple of days, just under $300. Things sure do look better underneath, with all new running gear! Rides a few inches higher, too!

Now if I can just get that belly pan and side panels back on, reassembly of interior can begin. Some amazing friends have been sanding down interior panels and woodwork for me, so that will speed things up considerably.
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:55 AM   #13
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Springs

I called over to Eaton yesterday and they pointed me to theirr website to fill out the questionnaire about the spring. The eye to eye measurement was not enough and to measure it correctly, the spring needed to be off the trailer. They assured me that they could build the springs, but did not specify price.

In terms of an axle, I suspect I can buy a stock piece? Is this a fair assumption or is this custom as well?

I started taking out the interior last night. Are folks still using the 50s style compressed water system? I don't belive so, but are these systems worth anything?

Thanks,


Doug
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:44 AM   #14
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Doug,

I went back with a Dexter axle to match original. It was a "special order," but I don't think it cost any extra. Complete axle/hubs/brakes was ~$265.

I am planning to go back with air pressure system, as the original aluminum fresh tank on mine is fine, and I like the idea of controlling when noise gets made, and being able to have water pressure with or without electricity. I know a few other vintage owners who've done the same.
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