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Old 02-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #29
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My 1960 has leaf spring axels. When I pulled it home everything went really well. I am going to take it to a Mom and Pop trailer shop (they build them, repair them and sell them. I will have them check out the brake system. I wonder what kind of feedback I am going to get? They have been honest and reasonable in price in the past. I hope I don't go ouch when it comes to what they will need.

Brian
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:14 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
If the torsion spring fails then it would rest against the stop and you would have no suspension and it would ride real low. I have not heard of any mechanical failures of them like spindles coming off etc.

Perry
Perry.

Hundreds of torsion axle spindles have failed on old Bambi's and Caravels.

Those axles were under rated to start with and when the rubber rods have exhausted their life, then those spindles will fail because of metal fatigue.

It happens every month. The spindles simply shear off.

Warnings after warnings were posted years ago, about that issue.

Andy
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:34 PM   #31
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Adjust-a-Ryde

I suppose the Avion Adjust-a-Ryde setup could get knocked out of alignment. I have towed mine thousands and thousands of miles and have noticed no abnormal wear patterns on the tires indicating any alignment issues. However, if you did manage to knock it out, there are offset shims in the spring shackles that you could use to change it, similar to the camber adjustment on cars. But, I think you'd have to hit something really hard to knock it out that far. If you did, I'm sure there would be more visible problems than a misalignment

It is a fairly complex system for a trailer, but it works great. They used it for about 10-12 years and only abandoned it in '88 to switch to the rubber torsion axles for their last two years of production. It was a cost savings measure. There was a lot of labor that went into fabricating those axles and then hooking all that stuff up.

AKTundra, if I were you, I would stick with the rubber axles for your particular application. I would either call Andy that just posted on here and have him whip me up one. Or, I would get a Dexter that's rated for 6000lbs on the axle, bearings, etc. Get the big brakes and shock absorber mounts on it. And have them derate the rubber rods so that it's sprung for the weight of your trailer. With all that, you'd be happy trails for probably 15 years.

Best of luck,
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #32
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Everything has a finite life. 40-50 yrs is pretty good. I have seen truck axels break as well.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Perry.

Hundreds of torsion axle spindles have failed on old Bambi's and Caravels.

Those axles were under rated to start with and when the rubber rods have exhausted their life, then those spindles will fail because of metal fatigue.

It happens every month. The spindles simply shear off.

Warnings after warnings were posted years ago, about that issue.

Andy
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:59 PM   #33
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What is catastrophic failure of torsion, look like?
This would be a broken spindle. It isn't pretty and a known issue for the largest single axle trailers in the mid-sixty time frame. Many of those axles have already failed and are either replaced or the trailer was totalled. (Yes that bad)

Otherwise the more common failure in the above mentioned posts at 20 years is the rubber takes a set or hardens up. The best prevention for this is trailer usage. Use the trailer and flew the axle rubber rods and longitivty can be yours. Let it sit in later years and the axle does not allow the wheel assembly to move with the road bumps and the shock of the road bumps is transfered directly to the coach. A result of that is broken rivits and contents that get shook up.

My comment to your original question is don't re-engineer something unless you have big $ and either have an engineering degree or are good with trial and error. If you want a trailer with leaf springs buy one that is designed that way. The engineering for an Airstream with a torsion axle is just that. It was designed for that stress. In the 60's there isn't the design integration that there is now and why change the original design. Just go with the original design. My two cents that are worth less than a penny.

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Old 02-03-2012, 06:16 AM   #34
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Thumbs up Prolong axle life....

In reference to the above post...

If you store for an extended period it will help to unload the axles...

Helps with the tires also.

Bob
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:54 PM   #35
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Ordered the Torsion axel. I guess each one of these is pretty much a custom order, now I wait.

One last question:The local vendor said that nobody had shocks anymore with torsion axels. According to him "they concluded that shocks did not add much to a modern torsion axel"

Should I raise a fuss ?
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:58 PM   #36
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Ordered the Torsion axel. I guess each one of these is pretty much a custom order, now I wait.

One last question:The local vendor said that nobody had shocks anymore with torsion axels. According to him "they concluded that shocks did not add much to a modern torsion axel"

Should I raise a fuss ?
Take a look at Bob's photo in the previous post. What do you see there?
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:15 PM   #37
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There is a whole different forum about shocks. With differing opinions on your question.

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Old 02-05-2012, 07:27 AM   #38
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I believe they are pretty much self damping when they're newish and the rubber is still resilient. But as they age and the rubber starts to harden up, the damping properties change.

Most trailers I've looked at with the rubber axles do not have shocks.

That being said, I, personally, would want to have them. It's worth a phone call.

You could get mounts welded on locally, you just have to be careful with the heat. You can't get it so hot that you'd melt the rubber chords. It'd be better if the axle maker could put them on for you before they assemble the axle, but if not, it wouldn't be a big deal to do it yourself.

Somebody on here can probably answer this...(it's probably buried in some other thread somewhere...) or just pick up the phone tomorrow and call Airstream and ask them if they're putting shocks on the new ones. If they're not, I probably wouldn't worry about it then.

OK, one last plug: Get your wheels and tires spin balanced! That will probably do as more to save wear and tear as adding shocks to these axles.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #39
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Jim.

Welding shock brackets on the torsion arms, using any type welder other than a torch, will not damage the rubber rods.

Henschen added the shock brackets after the axles were assembled.

The large mass of metal on the torsion arm would not allow the heat to travel very far, using a decent welding machine and operator that knows how to weld.

Andy
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:05 PM   #40
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Cost of new leaf springs..

I decided to replace the axle, brake componants and springs in my 58

I just got back from the spring shop to have new springs made. Total cost was around 950.00 for two new springs, ubolts, and all the hardware to go along with the springs. He is also going to drill holes and put some sort of spacers in-between each spring for a quieter smoother ride. He claims this is going to be the best way to go. I absolutly was not planning on spending this much, but it is what it is. The bulk of the 950.00 is labor. Also, he made it very clear that the springs you buy in the trailer supply are cheap asian made metal and he is using much thicker metal.

The new axle is only 100.00 and the new brake componants are around 250.00 out the door. I am switching from hydraulic to electric brakes, which is what started this whole replacement.


So yes, I realize its as much and then some as a torsion axle, but for me personally, I prefer to just buy it and bolt it right back into place, rather then have to arrange someone to weld and drill into the frame for the torsion replacement. Also, there is something to be said for keeping some things original on these classics?? I hope..
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:29 AM   #41
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Honestly, I think that a good deal. I bet your suspension works perfect after this...
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:50 AM   #42
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Leaf

So glad you stuck with the leaf springs!! 58s are great! Report back on the new ride you experience!!
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