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Old 04-25-2005, 10:03 AM   #1
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The Minuet is at the Axle Doctor!

I have taken the Minuet to the "Axle Doctor". It is in the manufacturing facilities of Axis Products, Inc. in Elkhart, Indiana roght now.
Henry Spilko, Director of Business Development and long-time axle nut, graciously accepted my offer to use the trailer as a "prototype" to develop a high-quality replacement torsion axle for Airstreams and Argosys.
I dropped the Minuet off yesterday. Yes, on a Sunday. Henry met me at Axis Product's shop and parked my baby inside. He took time out of his Sunday to spend two or three hours with me. Showing me around the shipping and warehousing facilities at Axis Products. No production was running so he could not show me how they make the axles. He did describe the process and it is nearly identical to the Henschen process. There are some differences but they are all value-added.
Henry crawled right under the Minuet and went to work identifying how to remove the axle and what would be needed to refabricate a direct bolt-on replacement. No welding of brackets. No hole drilling. No modifications needed. Just bolt on and go.
While I was there Henry showed me several different axle products that they supply to commercial, industrial and heavy indistry. They actually make the axles that go under the Lone Star semi trailers! Axis Products manufactures axles for several markets.
I approached Henry last week about making an axle for my Minuet. I asked him what the ballpark figure would be and he shot back a ballpark figure that is about two thirds the price of the Henschen replacement!
I then asked him what he needed. He said he needed an axle to start with. Then he can make anything I needed after that initial old axle.
I told him he could have the whole darned trailer for a week if he wanted it.
Henry gladly accepted and told me to bring her on down. He put her up in his warehouse and will be putting his engineers all over it starting today.
Here is what I am getting from Axis Products:
Dexter brakes and drums
Through-the-spindle lube fitting
E-coating the ENTIRE axle inside and out
22.5 degree drop

Henry says that once he is done he will be able to provide any of you with an axle just by knowing a few things. Henry is starting to amass axle information on every axle that Airstream used. He would like to be able to supply a bolt-on replacement with you telling him what options you want.
Heck, he will give you a few choices on coatings for the axle too boot!
If you want disc brakes I saw a whole stack of Kodiak disc brakes there. I also saw a mountain of Dexter loaded backing plates!

Take a look at the pictures in my Members Photos section that I took while I on my way there and while I was there. I did not get too many of Axis Product's facility as they were not open when I was there.
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:40 AM   #2
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Lou, this is astounding! Can you get me some contact info? Also, would you be willing to PM me and let me know how much approximately this should set back us single axle owners?

Also, how did your trailer handle in the snow?
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:51 AM   #3
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Caveat -

It's my understanding that on different models and different years the mounting brackets had different locations. I think it's dangerous to assume that a "one size fits all" replacement will work.

We replaced the axle on our Minuet and had to have the Mounting brackets cut off and relocated - i understand that now Henschen ships axles with the brackets packed loose - they have to be individulally located on each install.
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Old 04-25-2005, 12:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
Caveat -

It's my understanding that on different models and different years the mounting brackets had different locations. I think it's dangerous to assume that a "one size fits all" replacement will work.

We replaced the axle on our Minuet and had to have the Mounting brackets cut off and relocated - i understand that now Henschen ships axles with the brackets packed loose - they have to be individulally located on each install.
Not saying that one size fits all.
All that the manufacturer of the axle needs to know is where your brackets are located. Once they know what the bracket looks like then they can fit them for you.
If you have a 1977 Minuet, guaranteed your brackets look exactly like mine.
I am sure that the brackets are not custom made for each individual frame. That would not be cost effective when manufacturing anything.
I am sure that the mounting brackets and locations cross models and years. It does not make sense to constantly re-engineer something as simple as the locations of a mounting bracket for an axle.
This isn't anything new. People have been replacing their Henschen with other axles for years.
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Old 04-25-2005, 12:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYRSTRM2
Lou, this is astounding! Can you get me some contact info? Also, would you be willing to PM me and let me know how much approximately this should set back us single axle owners?

Also, how did your trailer handle in the snow?
The trailer handled great in the snow. A lot of that has to do with the tow vehicle too. I have an AWD Safari and that thing is "grippy". Not only is it "grippy", it has a lot of "Oomph" with the 4.3L V-6. I cannot kill that power train!
It was also the first run since the renovation. I had no A/C on it when I hauled it home.
With the new axle it should sit a little higher too. I have looked at the sales brochures for the 1977 Minuets. The Minuets seemed to sit lower than the other Airstream and Argosy products. I am not sure what the angle was but I am pretty sure it is less than the standard 22.5 degrees. I just want a little more height out of it. I am mounting BAL remplacement stabilizers under it and I want a little more clearance.
Henry at Axis Products told me that I can get just about any degree of angle I want. There are standards and Airstream is not the only one to use 22.5 degrees.
To let everyone know, I am paying whatever anyone else would pay for their axle. I am not one to take freebies and then blow a horn because of that. I am just not paying any S&H for my axle.
If you look at all of the Minuets, they will have the same "bracketry" that mine does.
Even if you have to tell him where the brackets go or the brackets come "loose" paying one to two thirds less makes it worth it.
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:02 PM   #6
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No more saggy bottom!

Take a look at the pictures of what came out from underneath my 28 year old Minuet!
It took a bit of work on the part of Axis Products but they got it out!
I was told there was 28 years of rust to break free in order to drop the axle!
Henry says that it should be cake work for the brackets! After that no more bad axle.
Also, the shock mount was originally welded in. He told me that he can weld a new one in or bolt it. I told him that I would like to be able to hack the old one off in the future so I won't have to play with it. He is going to bolt mine. He did say that they can weld it back on if you want. Not my preference as I want to be able to work on it five to ten years down the road.
Take a look at what they pulled out!
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:31 PM   #7
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Lou,

Make sure you take the old Henschen with you.

Unless they want to buy it from you for competitive analysis.

I'd say it's worth about $175.

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Old 04-25-2005, 04:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by markdoane
Lou,

Make sure you take the old Henschen with you.

Unless they want to buy it from you for competitive analysis.

I'd say it's worth about $175.



I will keep that in mind! Why is it worth so much? Does somebody use them?
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:54 PM   #9
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Does anyone know if the Minuets came with something other than the 22.5 degree down angle?
It looks like mine has sagged but not that much.
I am thinking maybe a 10 degree down angle?
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:56 PM   #10
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Nah, I was just giving you a starting point for negotiation. If they give you $20, it will pay for your gas to get home.

But they probably will just laff.
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
...I'd say it's worth about $175.
Really? Why? Where?


Lou, Sounds like a great solution. How did you find Axis Products?

Steve
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by markdoane
Nah, I was just giving you a starting point for negotiation. If they give you $20, it will pay for your gas to get home.

But they probably will just laff.
Not my pig! It took $40 just to get it down there!
I think the 50 mph headwind for half of the drive had something to do with that though.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:00 PM   #13
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I'm thinking about pulling the axle out of the 1973 Argosy 20 and taking it down to him when I go pick up the Minuet! It will all depend upon whether or not I want to do that one right away. It still looks pretty good and it had some work done to it by the PO.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfixx
Really? Why? Where?


Lou, Sounds like a great solution. How did you find Axis Products?

Steve
Steve,
I had intially emailed them from an auction on eBay.
They had a couple of sprung axles that were over runs or something like that.
I asked them if they made torsion axles. They said yes.
Then another member on here had conversed with Henry but he was in Cali and Henry is in Indiana. It would not be feasible for him to take Henry his trailer. It was for me.
It looks as though dealing DIRECTLY with the manufacturer of the axle is a better solution. I take great comfort in knowing that Axis Products is personally handling my axle situation. It beats going through a rep or a distributor. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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