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Old 12-21-2006, 04:39 PM   #1
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Balance the running gear?

Hi, I fully agree that all spinning parts should be balanced. Cars and trucks have balanced rotors and drums; Balanced by attaching weights or grinding or drilling in the heavy area. And of course balanced tire/wheel assemblies with lead weights. My question is: Why doesn't Airstream of Jackson, Ohio feel it necessary to balance the drums. If you do have the tires/wheels balanced, that's only half the job if the brake rotors/drums are not.
I did personally E-mail Airstream tech support asking if the drums did come unbalanced from the factory; Their answer was yes, they are Not Balanced from Airstream or the axle manufacture.

Bob
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:57 PM   #2
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8 million households owned at least one RV in 2005.

99.9% of them I'll guess aren't balancing their running gear other than a standand tire balance.

I think to balance the running gear other than tires is going off the deep end and considering AS don't do it leads me to believe it just isn't needed.

I'll go as far as spending $20 bucks for the Dyna Beads which should balance out not only the tire but the running gear.

But that's my limit on this issue.

PS: it has been said that cars have their rotors and drums balanced but we don't know to what tolerance?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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40 years plus, of my experience with Airstream trailers, says, you must balance the running gear.

Rebuilding damaged Airstreams because of lack of proper running gear balance for over 40 years, is a very strong statistic, not guesses.

And yes, shocks are needed as well. Airstream would not have wasted all that money, if they were not needed.

Dexter is welcome to make any claims they wish. They don't pay the owners repairs bills either.

Andy
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:13 PM   #4
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Airstream 71 years experience said no to that question?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:25 PM   #5
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More assumptions.

No one from Airstream would "DARE" put in writing that shocks were not needed.

That would be a sure way for their early retirement.

Andy
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS
I did personally E-mail Airstream tech support asking if the drums did come unbalanced from the factory; Their answer was yes, they are Not Balanced from Airstream or the axle manufacture.

Bob
Andy, did you read the post? What shocks?

The factory doesn't balance the running gear, that e-mail is a fact not an assumption.

Why are you advocating doing things the factory don't?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:38 PM   #7
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There are shops that will dynamicly balance wheels on the car. This way the whole rotating assembly is balanced. The problem is if you rotate the tires or install it in a different position after fixing a flat, etc. you could make things worse instead of better. Anyway, I'm not sure it such shops would be able to handle a trailer as they're usually a lot longer than a car, the wheel base is shorter (i.e. axles are only a couple of feet apart) and the lift points are entirely different. But, might be worth calling around to see.

Car drums are balanced. You'll see the added weights. I haven't noticed balance marks on disk rotors but can't say I've really looked that closely. Back in my hot rodding youth I remember getting a flywheel balanced. I was amazed at how far out of balance the stock flywheel was. Drivelines (propeller shaft) are balanced; you'll see the added weights on these.

I think money spent on balancing is money well spent. I think most shops charge by the hour for balancing so if your gear is close there won't be much charge. If it's way out of balance then it was something that really needed to be addressed. Besides the drums what rotating parts are there on the AS? Any performance automotive shop should be able to balance the drums.
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipets
Andy, did you read the post? What shocks?

The factory doesn't balance the running gear, that e-mail is a fact not an assumption.

Why are you advocating doing things the factory don't?

We try very hard, to help Airstream owners to minimize the cost of repairs, or what not to do, or what to do to avoid them.

I have made a very good income for over 40 years, doing many things above and beyond Airstream's production procedures.

Again, to each his own.

Why do you advocate no shocks, cheap parts, elimination of certain parts or reducing the quality of some?

Easy answer. That's "your" choice, and your certainly welcome to them.

I "have" been in the Airstream repair business for over 40 years and wrote the crash book.

I certainly know what works, what doesn't work, as well as what to do and not to do.

Those "facts" are provided to those that care about their Airstream and wish to keep it top notch.

Andy
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipets
The factory doesn't balance the running gear, that e-mail is a fact not an assumption. Why are you advocating doing things the factory don't?
the a/s factory isn't perfect...i know, sad but true.

wheels arrive with tires already mounted. palets of 'em. balanced before delivery...sometimes.

frames arrive already sprayed with paint again a/s does nothing to the frames...anyone got rust?

axle hub assembly also pre built and delivered to them...

recall they had a RECALL 3 years ago for hubs with inadequate grease...

so airstream uses vendors for the running gear.

yes they may 'spec' it but they are still at the mercy of their vendors...

so IF you want to email someone email dexter and ask them about the specs and potential need for balancing...

it seems to me the vendor and the manufacturer KNOW this is an issue but it's ignored by each and assumed by each to be the others problem...

when in practical terms it becomes OUR problem...

inland andy is advocating what should be done and what can be done.

i like service folks who will go above and beyond what the factory does...

when it's helpful or improves safety or the towing experience...

these things may not matter for the majority who tow only a few times each year or trade units annually...

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:50 PM   #10
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So, what you may get is an axle and wheel assembly that's perfectly balanced or you may get one or more wheels with a problem. It sounds like from the numerous reports of quality issues on the new rigs that you're quite likely to end up with a problem. Balancing isn't a huge expense but the results of an unbalanced assembly can be really expensive, not to mention dangerous. So, why not have it checked out next time the wheels are off the trailer?

The auto manufacturers are probably a lot better today than they were in the 70's but no hot rodder would ever consider rebuilding a performance engine without having the parts balanced. It's pretty amazing what passes for "good" from the factory when you have this done by a competent machine shop.

Just curious, anyone that's picked up a new airstream looked to see if there are lead weights on both the inside and outside of the rims to indicate they were dynamically balanced?

-Bernie
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhayden
Just curious, anyone that's picked up a new airstream looked to see if there are lead weights on both the inside and outside of the rims to indicate they were dynamically balanced?-Bernie
weight are only applied to the inside that i've noticed, looking at many new units including my own.

i have lots of pictures of wheels for doubting folks...

the alcoa wheels don't have much/any offset and are relatively narrow by todays auto standards...

my new tires have balance inside and outside. also centramatics...

still i doubt they will go more than the 180,000 miles of my first set...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ns-27999.html?

road force balance using the hunter gsp 9700 would be even better;
i just had my car snow tires redone from last winter...

GSP9700 Series

i'd consider doing this on the alcoa wheels too...some year....

another issue is our trailer wheels are 'lug centric' not hub centric so as i understand it an adapter is needed.

that is why the full assembly balance inland andy suggests is ideal...

a/s has switched from alcoa to another vendor for alloy wheels...

seems the traditional alcoas did not fit over the dexter disc brake, but they do fit over the kodiak disc brakes...

so many variables...

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:26 AM   #12
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Facts?

I too like facts, lets look at a few.

Shocks -Dexter is not the only one that feels that shocks are not required on a torsion axle Henschen says the same thing – see “Simple Design” http://www.henschenaxle.com/2003-axle-handout.jpg
I would think that the axle manufacturers know what their products are capable of. Airstream is the only company that I am aware of that uses a shock on a torsion axle. Is this bad NO, is it required NO!

Balanced running gear – if Airstream has spent millions of dollars in R&D and has 71 years experience and does not balance hubs and wheels and tires, as a unit is it a requirement? Is this bad no, is it required no!

Like 2air, I too like folks that do additional things to better a currently great product. I am 100% into overkill and safety. .

When it comes to safety take no short cuts. Listen to others that have had experience and compare ideas prior to making a decision. Learn from others mistakes in life because you don’t have time to make them all yourself.

Just two cents from a retired axle dude!

Regards,
Henry
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Old 12-22-2006, 07:13 AM   #13
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FWIW, back a few years ago, I was at Jackson Center for work. A couple of my rims were having issues. Airstream took the rims/tires of my Safari, brought the to the production center, and came back with new rims with my old tires on them....balanced.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:18 AM   #14
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Shock issues

Dexter "does not" make Airstream products.

Henschen "does not" make Airstream products.

Axis "does not" make Airstream products.

Hayes "does not" make Airstream products.

Southewst Wheel "does not" make Airstream products.

Airstream makes Airstream products.

Therefore Airstream sets the criteria, no one else.

Airstream says "shocks" are needed.
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