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Old 11-01-2010, 01:54 PM   #1
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Question Upgrade replacement axle rating for 1997

I need to replace the axles on our '97. The original axles are rated at 3200#. Is there any downside to buying higher rated axles? 4000# maybe. Would the higher weight rating result in a harsher ride for the trailer?

Also along the same lines, I understand one of the factors in early axle failure is lack of use (the rubber rods need to be exercised). Since the factory has been shut down for some time now, are the current inventory of axles deteriorating on the shelf like tires?
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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Andy R. would be the one to answer these questions. Hopefully he will be on later - or you could PM him.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
I need to replace the axles on our '97. The original axles are rated at 3200#. Is there any downside to buying higher rated axles? 4000# maybe. Would the higher weight rating result in a harsher ride for the trailer?

Also along the same lines, I understand one of the factors in early axle failure is lack of use (the rubber rods need to be exercised). Since the factory has been shut down for some time now, are the current inventory of axles deteriorating on the shelf like tires?
You can go to 3500 pounds without any problems.

However, if you want to go to 4000 pounds, then without except, the trailer must be heavily loaded for every trip.

Yes, if any torsion axles just sits for s few years with weight on it, the rubber rods will give out.

Rubber anything, must be exercised periodically, or else. Even rubber bands.

Andy
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:02 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Aviator;912623]
......................
Since the factory has been shut down for some time now
.................................
QUOTE]

What does this refer to?

Regards,

Ken
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:15 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=w7ts;912668]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
......................
Since the factory has been shut down for some time now
.................................
QUOTE]

What does this refer to?

Regards,

Ken
The factory closed some time back and I believe Andy has all there stock. There was talk about them reopening but I have not heard anything about that lately.

I am sure he will chime in with updates/details.

Chris
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:25 PM   #6
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The factory closed some time back and I believe Andy has all there stock. There was talk about them reopening but I have not heard anything about that lately.

I am sure he will chime in with updates/details.

Chris
OK, the Henschen Axle factory. I though he meant Airstream factory.

Can new Dexter Axles be used?

Ken
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I need to replace the axles on our '97. The original axles are rated at 3200#. Is there any downside to buying higher rated axles? 4000# maybe. Would the higher weight rating result in a harsher ride for the trailer?
if the current axles are shot, ride should improve with ANY new set, even higher rated axles.

the relevant questions are these ...

1.is there any UPSIDE to buying higher rated axles?

2. is there any downside to buying axles from a discontinued/closed manufacturer ?

working backwards...

it is wacky to think about buying new axles and PAYING new prices for a product that's been discontinued.

there is a list of reasons for this.
_______

dexter is still in biz and still making axles.

they can be purchased from 100s of vendors close to home,

including the service center in j/c.

IF new hubs are part of this, the option exists for sealed bearings and/or disc brakes...

all can be had at a very competitive price and for LESS $ than old stock henschens with the same bits.
________

dex' (and other makers) will have 3500 or 3800 or 4000 lb axles.

35/3800 might be a good choice.

one can also select another starting angle IF more clearance is needed or wanted...

for example IF considering 16 inch wheels/tires.
________

another UPSIDE to having higher rated axles installed in j/c is

that they MIGHT be willing to RE certify yer stream for more cargo carrying capacity.

another good thing.
__________

unless you intentionally plan on loading up the stream with lots of stuff, 4000 lb axles x3 seems 2b a bit much.

but 35 or 3800 lb axles would be good choices.

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #8
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I spoke with Andy and got my questions answered. The biggest one was the upgrade in capacity. He suggested that unless I was always fully loaded the 4000# would be too much. Since I am a weekend camper at this point; I am always well under the rated 9600# for the trailer.

My original thought on the 4000# was that if I had a flat and was only supporting the trailer fully on two of the three axles while I limped to an area for a replacement tire, the remaining two axles would not be overloaded.

My normal trailer weight at this point is around 7800#
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:13 PM   #9
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You know, it just seems a bit premature for you to need new axles on a 97 rig. We replaced ours last year on our rig, and it is right at 30 years older than yours. Are you sure they're bad?

Lynn
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:25 PM   #10
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Even if you have a large load on, stiff axles are stiff axles and will give the trailer a harsher ride and potentially more damage on a rough road. The more flexible axles will take up more of the shock and transmit less of it to the trailer. Airstream engineers take this into account when they design the trailer. The shocks on the Airstream trailers (which are not commonly used on other SOB trailers) also absorb some of the shock.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:33 PM   #11
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I upgraded from original 4000lb axles to 4500lb henschens at Inland and the ride is good after 1500 miles. My trailer weighs 7500lbs and Inland suggested I go a bit higher on the axle rating. Trailer sits higher now than when it was new. My rear end has not scraped the pavement since the replacement.
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:35 PM   #12
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Anyone else ever pondered this FAQ from the Dexteraxle site?

TORFLEX - Can I use 3 Torflex axles under my trailer?
No, Dexter does not recommend triple Torflex applications because Torflex axles are totally independent and not equalized like a typical leaf spring set of axles. There is no ability to transfer loads from one axle to another. When traversing uneven operating surfaces such as driveway entries, railroad crossings or speed bumps, the entire load can be put onto one axle causing severe overload. It isn't reasonable to expect one axle to carry the entire load of three axles when these conditions occur, even though these instances cause only momentary over-loading.
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Old 11-03-2010, 05:17 AM   #13
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It seem like a good question for the engineers at Airstream, who first designed the 34 foot trailer with triple axles back in 1984. I would have thought they considered it and made some calculations to justify their conclusions. Of course, they were not using Dexter axles at that time and Henchen may have taken a different viewpoint. There is a limited amount of compliance in all axle systems. If the dip is deep enough, that wheel will not help carry the load and the load will be carried by the remaining five wheels. That is why, you can take a wheel off (when absolutely necessary) an Airstream and still continue down the road.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:48 AM   #14
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Lynn,


Unfortunately, yes I am sure I need new axles. I have followed all the "checks" in the threads on axles that I could find on the forum. The best that can possibly be said for them is that they are marginal. As a consequence of my profession, I can't abide marginal when it relates to a piece of equipment. While I have other uses for the $$, I don't want to wait on replacing and incur damage to the trailer through lack of suspension and the resulting rough ride.

As an added benefit of replacing the axles, I expect the trailer to ride somewhat higher. For me that means not grinding of the drag plates at the rear of the trailer each time I back it up my driveway to work on it. This will also make my wife happy since it leaves marks in the concrete. I don't like the bending stress it puts on the trailer frame.
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