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Old 11-11-2016, 10:57 PM   #1
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Straight Axle: anyone use lowering blocks?

So, we decided to install way more fresh, gray and black water storage by using modern Airstream under-mount tanks beneath our 1957 Custom.

And to accommodate the slimmer ground clearance since the new tanks hang below the belly pan, our restoration shop suggested we replace our original drop axle with a straight axle... raising the trailer by a whopping FOUR inches.

Unfortunately, I couldn't quite imagine how odd the results would look: a sleek 50s trailer sitting up high, like an SUV.

I'd like to lower the ride height back down by 2 or 3 inches - it's really high up, and we have no plans to go off-roading in this thing. Plus we'll be towing with a vintage car, so the hitch will already be fairly low.

It's a leaf spring setup, so is there any reason why I can't (or shouldn't) use the old hot rodding trick of lowering blocks?

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Old 11-12-2016, 06:05 AM   #2
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If the axle is already on top side of the spring then yes I would look at blocks. They are used all the time. Just have to get some new u bolts made up or find a kit.
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:06 AM   #3
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You likely don't have enough room for blocks and still have suspension travel. I think you can get a 3" drop axle. A bare axle is not very expensive.


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Old 11-12-2016, 07:22 AM   #4
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Pm

Brad,
I just sent you a PM regarding our direction with our 54 Safari.
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Old 11-12-2016, 08:09 AM   #5
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Thanks you three ~ Andy, suspension travel was my fear.. I'll do some additional homework, and also explore the possibility of going back to a drop axle.
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Old 11-12-2016, 11:55 AM   #6
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Brad,
I just sent you a PM regarding our direction with our 54 Safari.
Regards,
StevieB
I don't mean this as a personal criticism at all, so please don't take it that way.....
... The reason forums are such wonderful venues is they allow the sharing of "tribal knowledge". I have read several threads in these forums that do what this post does..... indicate a solution someone has discovered and shared privately with another... which leaves the rest of us still looking for a solution.

Is there any reason you cannot share your info with the rest of us?
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Old 11-12-2016, 12:50 PM   #7
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If you're looking for ground clearance, how it "looks" isn't important.

Instead, you sacrificed center of gravity - a critical component in road handling.

If you take it for a road trip, you will get a lesson in "tail wagging the dog."

Tom
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:58 AM   #8
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Reply to Boxite and Brad

Boxite,
I understand where you are coming from, but I was giving Brad a personal opinion and sharing with him the direction we are heading with a minor restoration. If Brad chooses to copy and paste my private message to him, I encourage it as of this writing. Or, if he would like me to share my opinion directly, I will gladly do it with his permission.

To state a current buzz phrase, I am open and transparent.

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Old 11-13-2016, 06:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If you're looking for ground clearance, how it "looks" isn't important.

Instead, you sacrificed center of gravity - a critical component in road handling.

If you take it for a road trip, you will get a lesson in "tail wagging the dog."

Tom
Great point, Tom -- in referencing looks I also meant function, as the single fold-out stair is also grossly out of placement with the ground. But you're absolutely correct that the center of gravity is also 4" higher now. We plan on using new-to-us Hensley Cub, but there's still no advantage to having the trailer sitting so much higher.

Thanks for weighing in.
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Boxite,
...I was sharing with him the direction we are heading...

StevieB
Hey Boxite, yeah Stevie landed on an interesting alternative solution based on their circumstances: their '54 was jacked way up and had external tanks also, but the PO had added them, so because they typically camp with full hookups rather than boondocking, they decided to downsize their capacity and bring the tanks inboard (the way Wally intended).


We'll explore the blocks if possible (cheapest solution) or going back to a 3/4" drop axle if not, and I plan on painting the aluminum shroud with black truck bed liner tomorrow to help them further recess into the shadows.

Will update accordingly.
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:52 PM   #11
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It was another exceptionally warm November day here in Chicagoland, so I broke out the disposable foam brush and truck bed liner, and painted the aluminum shroud on our tanks. Helps make them disappear quite a bit... though we'll still attempt to lower the whole trailer eventually.



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Old 11-14-2016, 06:57 PM   #12
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What tires are you using?


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Old 11-15-2016, 01:36 PM   #13
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What tires are you using?


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Andy, those are Liberty brand bias ply tires -- 7.00-15 LT. I didn't request them, they were supplied by the restoration shop where the axle replacement was done.
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:16 PM   #14
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Black Paint

Brad,
Nice job on the black paint. It sure does a good job of hiding them. Then with lowering the profile, you should be in business.
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:40 PM   #15
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It might be to late, but it looks like you could have positioned the tanks so the axle would have gone up between the gap between two of them.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:55 AM   #16
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It might be to late, but it looks like you could have positioned the tanks so the axle would have gone up between the gap between two of them.
Thanks Silver ~ if I understand you correctly, the tanks won't pose a problem. The axle is already nested in between both tanks as they sit front to back, and they're narrower (side to side) than where the springs and shocks are attached. So I should have room to either add blocks, or swap out this axle (with a total of only a couple hundred miles on it) with a 3 or 4-inch drop so we sit down low once more.
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