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Old 12-19-2007, 01:03 PM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Is it possible and worth the effort to change out a 1959 Tradewind from leaf springs to a Henschen type axle? If so what kind of modifications would need to be done?


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Old 12-19-2007, 02:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by plowboy
Is it possible and worth the effort to change out a 1959 Tradewind from leaf springs to a Henschen type axle? If so what kind of modifications would need to be done?

All the leaf springs components should be removed, first.

Then an "axle mounting plate" is installed on each side.

The Henschen axle then directly bolts up to it.


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Old 12-19-2007, 04:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by plowboy
Is it possible and worth the effort to change out a 1959 Tradewind from leaf springs to a Henschen type axle? If so what kind of modifications would need to be done?

I replaced the original axle in my '59 Tradewind with a 5200# Dexter leaf spring axle, and aded a leaf to the spring pack. Works great!

If I were to convert to a torsion axle, I would go up to a tandem arrangement, with two axles. That would require larger wheel wells and some body work, but I think the results would be worth it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:18 PM   #4
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I had my leaf springs cut off. Added some angle iron along the frame the length of the wheel well. Then had a couple of dexter torsion axles put on.

Its documented on my blog.
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:34 AM   #5
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I'd leave it a leaf spring setup. Get a nice new heavy capacity axle with big brakes, get the leafs sprung for the proper weight, and weld on some shock absorber mounts if the coach doesn't already have them and put yourself a nice set of good quality shock absorbers on it. Call it a day. No permanent set to ever worry about then. Nothing wrong with leafs. Most of our tow vehicles still have them.

Check these pics out to see a trick suspension system. Six individual spring packs, six individual swing arms, and six shock absorbers. So you get fully independant suspension with real shocks on every wheel. This baby rides smooth.

You're wide open right now. If you want to keep it a single axle, you could upgrade to a 16" or 17" wheel, get a nice looking mag, and get a good tire like a Michelin or a BF Goodrich Commercial TA and never have to worry again.

Good luck whichever way you go,
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:28 PM   #6
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I am grappling with the same decision right now on my '56. The research that I have done suggests that it is the same to do either, actually the torsion axle was a bit less expensive and quicker to get made. Part of the issue in all of this is that you have to do some fab work either way. The original sprung axle leafs are 37" eye to eye, and unless you want to have them custom made, the replacement springs for TT's max out at 25" eye to eye. My thought is since I have to do some cutting and pasting anyway I might as well fab up mounting plates and hang a torsion axle (5200 lb. Dexter). I need to make this decsion in the next week or two and I will at some point be posting pictures of all that I have done. I am however going to put the 700-15 high bias tire back on since it is a single axle and high bias tow straighter than radials.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:45 PM   #7
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Our 60 tradwind has the original 5200# hadco axle and new brakes assemblies
(now 5 years old) had new leaf springs made from central city spring ,along with new bushings . will be great for another 47 years .The trailer rides smooth and does great .One thing I prefer is the 37" span of the spring pack,
the load is supported at each end of the spring ,so the axle moves up and down between this distance .you could just bolt in a new axle assembly if you
have the smaller axle used in many 59 trdwnds .Never ,convert to the generic
RV leaf springs sold by almost all RV shops that are very short ,commonly 25 , 26
to 28 " long ,the ride will be extremely stiff and the springs are not correct
for the trailer weight and loads .They break frequently in many SOB tandem
trailer ,mostley fifth wheels that Ive repaired .your springs can be made new
or rearched and adding an extra new leaf if desired ,These original long leaf
spring packs had double wrapped spring eye ,(the second leaf wraps around the eye of the top or main leaf for extra support) the RV types do not ,and quite frankly are inferior to what you can do with your original springs if
desired . when converting to a torsion ,alignment will be criticle to proper installation so the trailer tracks straight ,as well as welding in brackets ,shock mounts and so forth ,the torsion is smooth ,but it will take abit of work to convert it .Once youve cut off all the old parts ,thats it no turning back .

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Old 02-02-2008, 08:57 AM   #8
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I had both axles replaced on my 59. Total cost was less than one rubber axle and they were custom ordered, which doesn't change the cost in most cases anyway. While I change the interior dramatically I wanted the outisde appearance to br more original. I also did not go with radical tires. I like the appearance of the tires and all that rubber in the tread, stronger wide walls also??

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