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Old 02-01-2004, 05:50 PM   #29
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Smile Thanks, Andy!

Thank you Andy for that nice, simple, concise reply! Now I know.

Now, does anybody out there know if Ace Fogdale, my local dealer, have the equipment to do the job correctly? They do have a frame straightening machine. Yea, I know that has nothing to do with the subject, just thought if they had that machine, they might, might, be able to do the balancing.... elsewise, it's off to a Freightliner or International dealer, or a Stoughten or Great Dane dealer....

Thanks for the clarification, all!

Elizabeth in Iowa

The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:30 PM   #30
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john irwin,

can you post some pictures of your balancers?


you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:58 PM   #31
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Great thread, who knew? So when I rotate my AS tires does that mean I need to rebalance the hubs also or are the wheels in balance enought to not make a differance. Seems like a really important maintenance item. How would that work.
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Old 02-01-2004, 09:53 PM   #32
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Originally posted by Tinsel Loaf
Great thread, who knew? So when I rotate my AS tires does that mean I need to rebalance the hubs also or are the wheels in balance enought to not make a differance. Seems like a really important maintenance item. How would that work.
Rotating tires is one reason why I decided to go with the Centramatic balancers rather than looking for a shop that could balance the whole smash.

john hd, I'll try to take some photos tomorrow.
John W. Irwin
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Old 02-02-2004, 12:06 AM   #33
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Exclamation Earthquake Express

Here is one of a number of threads on these forums dealing with balancing hubs etc.

This is one of the smartest prventive measures that any of us can do. If we just shop and ask around to find a shop that will do it.
I own a 31'er but I'd do this if I had a 17' as well. And I don't think this should just be done to the Vintage crowd, but all of em then to now!

I am 125% convinced that Inland Andy is right on this subject.

When I brought my Airstream halfway across country awhile back, I was able to follow it in another truck for about 100 miles. I was surprised and disappointed to see all the dancing that the tires seemed to be doing. However I knew that my eyes might well decieve me, so I got into the trailer and rode for approx 15 miles. (On interstate good+ pavement).

The experience was a horror story. The whole thing was flexing and breathing like a mortally wounded elephant. The ceiling panels were moving the cross walls were moving, the appliances were shaking, my head was spinning and my heart was broken.
I expected the air conditioner to come crashing down any minute.The only thing that seemed at all stable were the side walls and the floor. Had there been a quart of milk onboard it would have surely been butter maybey cheese. I'd say on the richter scale it amounted to at least a 7.5.

Everyone if at all possible should ride in their trailer for at least a 5-10 mile pull.

BTW my axles are at positive 5-10 degree. (Not good) I did not feel any bottom-out during my ride, but the road was good.

Had I been able to take that ride prior to purchase I would have probably passed. Now I will attempt to make the most of my circumstance.
Story developing I hope to keep the forum posted as things evolve.

My trailer is now in drydock and I will not be able to ride in it again for awhile. I am anxious to compare a before and after balancing ride. But now I am still seeking a balancer like Andy uses.
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:42 AM   #34
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Drum modifications

Welcome to the world of "law suits."

Modifying a hub and drum, by any method, creates a huge liability for that shop.

Turning a drum is one thing. Thats an industry standard.

But machining it to be in balance is quite another, or spot welding counter weights on them.

Ask "ANY" lawyer.

This subject comes up periodically, it seems. Airstream would use balanced hub and drums, "if they were made." Unfortunately, no one makes them.

Does Airstream balance the running gear? No. Why? They tried that 31 years ago. It didn't work then and probably would not work now.

Balancing has always been an owner responsibilty, and probably always will.

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Old 02-02-2004, 10:51 AM   #35
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"We extended the frame in the rear by two feet, and added a 25 gal fuel tank and a generac 55. ...We added weight in the form of lead bars in the front, in the toolbox on the A frame..."

Elizabeth - this is a poor lashup. Gas weighs 6 lb/gal, so 25 gal is 150 lbs, plus the generator at 215 lbs - 365 lbs total. You have loaded both ends of the trailer like the two ends of a see-saw, beyond it's intended capacity. Something will break, like the frame right over the axles. Not to mention the mass concentrated at the two ends, which changes teh the trailer's towing dynamics. I would remove the generator, frame extension, and lead weights immediately!

I have a 50 lb Honda EU2000 generator that we place in a large Rubbermaid bin and carry in the back of the tow vehicle or inside the door of the trailer.
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Old 02-02-2004, 11:53 AM   #36
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With your proposed setup, you will have an Airstream shaped like the Arch in St. Louis.

Your trailer frame, "with the beef up kit" will never hold up.

Also your axels will not take that extra weight, if you load your trailer as most owners do.

Not what you want to hear, but facts are facts.

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Old 02-02-2004, 05:20 PM   #37
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There needs to be a balancing between truth and fiction. In the seventies some of the drums were off (Kelsey Hayes drums sometimes by as much as a pound) the need for balancing was real.
In this day and age of sophisticated CNC machines, tolerances are much tighter than they were in the earlier seventies.
Does Dexter axle or Andy's supplier of Henschen axles indicate the need for spin balancing? Have they shared with Andy that the hubs are not properly balanced? How many RV companies recommend spin balancing tires ,wheels,and drums as a unit?How many facilities offer this service if it is such a large concern?
Minimizing vibration is always a good thing, but having a list of items such as water leaks ,rear end seperation,frame fatigue all attributed to running gear balancing ,especially on current RV's seems some what odd.
I just feel the need for balance when addressing this topic;is it still a large issue on present day running gears. I don't think so!
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Old 02-02-2004, 06:54 PM   #38
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Oh boy, I went around to find out if tire and wheel shops could balance hubs along with my AS wheels. Hub's? Whaaaaaaat? "Why"? they asked, so I explained it to three different shops. "Hey I know I look stupid, but I'm not as stupid as I look" "No" one shop owner told me, "Your stupid"! Yikes, that was close to home. Anyway, I did find one Old geezer (me geezer too) that has been in business since rubber was invented, and he not only had the equipment to do it, he agreed with me, or giving credit where credit is due, you Andy. Now, I asked, (since it's such a pain in several parts of my anatomy to do this every time I rotate the tires, not to mention the cost) couldn't I remove the balanced hub with wheel attached and rotate them together. "If all the axle shafts are the same, I don't' see why not" he replied. This is great news, fellow Airstreamers! Yes? It sounds to good to be true! I have a sinking feeling that there is some Airstream quark in the axle spindles. like the metal thickness is 0.0000001 to the 25th power difference on each wheel and it won't work. Okay Andy of Inland RV, here is the question. CAN BALANCED HUBS AND WHEELS BE ROTATED TOGETHER ON AIRSTREAMS?
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:27 PM   #39
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I found it hard to believe, too. How dare they put out drum/ hub assemblies that are unbalanced, or even excentric wheels!
Well, they do. And they ( they being the manufacturers) simply don't care what happens next. So they say that balancing is not needed.
If you also don't care, then motor on. But if you do care about your Airstream, get your rotating parts balanced. Because it really is true what Andy says. I know first hand. No fiction, only proven facts.
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:02 PM   #40
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Lynn, Uwe
Everyone knows that truth is stranger than friction. I know,it's a rub.
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:19 AM   #41
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HI Folks
I'm a bit new to this board posting stuff but not to giving my $.02 worth…
I used a set of the centramatics on a pickup truck project I was working on a couple of years ago. I had a wheel shimmy problem and an issue with some
American Racing steel wheels I had recently purchased.
After several measuring sessions with a lath I determined the problem was in wheel eccentricity. so idecided to try the Centramatic.
Well the short of it is the balancers worked fantastic from about 18-20 mph on up.
They did make a shoosh shoosh sound bellow that. I contacted American Racing Directly (Houston Distributor) and explained the problem with the wheels. He suggested I go with a set of aluminum wheels as they are stronger and have tighter
Run-out specs (look good too). He gave me a full refund on my steel wheels toward the up grade. (PLUG: American Racing wheels are the only way to GO….
I ran the truck with and with out the Centramatics and the new wheels. The truck would pass
through several minor shimmy points at speeds up through about 110 without the Centramatics.
With the Centramatics I tried hard for several weeks and a shimmy I could NOT find…
However, the differences in the "true/well balanced rotating mass" with out the Centramatics
and the same WITH was not great enough to warrant the $200.00 price for this particular application, especially at normal tow speeds, so I returned them.

However, after careful consideration, where I did consider machine shop work/hub balance I have decided to go with the Centramatics for my trailer. They are an all aluminum spin-formed
unit now. I can rotate the tires, replace them
or a hub and run a spare at any position. Also the balancers may go with me to the next trailer
and will prolong tread life. Also they can be had with more than one bolt pattern on each unit.
AND in talking with Centramatic I suggested they contact Airstream, they were
also receptive to the suggestion that an incentive be considered for a group/quantity purchase from people on this forum. (Someone with TIME might work this part up.)

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Old 02-03-2004, 10:18 AM   #42
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Tinsel Loaf.

A running gear balance is usually done in combination with a "major brake" job. That should be done every 10,000 miles.

Airstream uses Henschen axles that are equipped with a #42 spindle. That spindle can safely carry a maximum of 8000 pounds per axle, depending on the size bearing used with it.

The bearings used by Henschen are LM67048 and 25580. With that bearing set up, a maximum safe weight that can be used is 5500 pounds per axle.

Considering that the spindle and bearing setup that Henschen uses is really overkill (much more than needed), hubs can safely be switched from one location on the trailer to another.

That being the case, assuming the running gear is in balance, any hub and drum along with the tire and wheel can be installed on any spindle on that trailer. It does not matter.

There seems to be some misconception as to which trailers are more sensitive to vibration than others.

Hub and drum assemblies, for the last 10 years or so, have been made with much closer tolerances than ever before. So have tires for that matter. Newer coaches therefore are not nearly as likely to be damaged from vibration as the older units.

Balancing is always an "owner obligation." Hummers, Porsches, as well as any other expensive car, all have the same needs. The cost of the vehicle has nothing to do with balancing. The same is true for travel trailers.

However, once again, the newer the trailer, the less balancing becomes critical.

Older trailers, it's a must.



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