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Old 09-15-2005, 06:37 PM   #15
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peace of mind

From everything that I read on this and other site I couldn't tell for sure if I needed a new axle by my 65 Caravel or not, the angle wasn't that far off. So while the trailer was at the dealer for a plumbing repair, I asked them for their opinion...which was..that my axle was out of factory spec. Whatever that meant...I went ahead and had it replaced for my own peace of mind. And yes it rides much smoother. My only remaining question has been that they said that my 15 inch wheels wouldn't fit on the new axles not because of the size but because of the lug pattern? They had some 14 inch wheels that they put on free of charge. I have only taken short trips so far and not noticed any problem, but I wonder if it is smart to have changed from 15 inch to 14 inch wheels?
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:03 PM   #16
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Stan Z

With the correct axle, 15 inch wheels would have fit on your trailer, just fine.

Andy
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:10 PM   #17
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Thanks Andy,

Since I am not mechanical, and wanted this done properly, I had the shop at Manteca trailer take care of everything. I did crawl under the trailer and see the new axle, it is indeed a Henschen. I am assuming the used the new axle model that would be appropriate to the trailer. I don't know where they got the axle from. In hindsight I should have asked more questions.
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:12 PM   #18
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Stan, I've not had to replace the axles on an Airstream, but I've done it on a Burro 17', about the same size as your Caravel. Some of the original Burros had Henschen axles, mine had a 2000 lb Dexter. My '02 Scamp 16' has an Al-Ko torsion axle under it. I replaced the Burro OEM #9 Dexter axle with a #10 Dexter 3500 lb axle. In conversations with Jim Fogdall of Ace Fogdall RV, and from personal experience, I'd counsel that the brand of axle isn't as important as getting the proper size axle (GVWR), proper fitment of the axle, and the workmanship of the install. Al-Ko, Dexter, and Henschen are all quality axles, and any of them would do the job under an Airstream if they're properly fitted and installed.

Roger
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Old 09-15-2005, 08:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Stan Z
. . . . My only remaining question has been that they said that my 15 inch wheels wouldn't fit on the new axles not because of the size but because of the lug pattern? They had some 14 inch wheels that they put on free of charge. I have only taken short trips so far and not noticed any problem, but I wonder if it is smart to have changed from 15 inch to 14 inch wheels?
Stan,

Welcome to the airstreamforums. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I'm at a loss to understand why the shop replaced your wheels. I think that both 14" wheels and 15" wheels have the same lug pattern. Both wheels should have 5 lugs on 4.5" bolt circle.

There is a larger 15" wheel, with 6 lugs on 5.5"BC, but I don't believe that those wheels would have been on the trailer originally; those wheels are for much heavier (4000# and up) axles.

What did the shop do for tires? Did they sell you tires to go with the smaller wheels?

I'm sorry, but something doesn't sound right.
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:06 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the help guys. The shop neglected to replace the spare, so this weekend I will gather info as to the size, pattern etc. of the old wheel/tire combo and the new, as well as any axle info I can find. I let you know, and maybe between us we can solve a mystery...


thanks,

Stan
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:37 AM   #21
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Stan,

There is a larger 15" wheel, with 6 lugs on 5.5"BC, but I don't believe that those wheels would have been on the trailer originally; those wheels are for much heavier (4000# and up) axles.
I wondered too, if the Caravel didn't have the six lug wheels, and the new axle had five lug drums. It's entirely possible... If that's the case, with your new five-lug drums, you ought to be able to use five lug 15" wheels too, if you wanted to change over. This is another discussion that goes on regularly on the fiberglass trailer forums regarding 13" and 14" wheels and tires, and which is better. If the smaller tire won't carry the weight rating you need for the trailer is the only time I can see it as an issue.

Frankly, for the purposes of this discussion, 14" tires are less expensive than 15" tires and generally the sidewalls will rot out long before you wear the tires out. If your new tires and wheels are rated for the GVWR of the trailer, for the few trips a year and the few miles we drive on those trips, the wear issues are non-existant. Unless there are clearance (either in the wheel-well or chassis-to-ground), or GVWR or tire weight rating problems, I just don't see much value in changing from one size to the other in either direction.

Roger
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:44 AM   #22
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Not to has this over - but we found that putting the 15" wheels from both the 61 Overlander with spring suspension and the Globe Trotter that had the OEM Henschen - the wheels did not fit the "Hub" of the Excella - The Excella had the 3500# Dexter Axles.

Thus our conclusion was the hencshen and Axis where a better fit to our needs - and then it was a matter of $'s - and in our case having the two trailers getting worked on it was much more economical for us to go with Axis.

They showed us the whole process and explained the differences in both products - we were more than convinced that we had made the right decision. (in our opinion!)

Regardless folks we will all do what we feel is right to us and what we like, can afford and fit into our schedules. But the most important issue is that we can all get our dream Airstreams closer to that day of travel and excitement is more important than anything.

Good luck and happy travels on your new feet

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Old 09-19-2005, 12:51 AM   #23
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Andy at Inland RV was kind enough to contact me and confirm that dealer had obtained the axle from him, and that it was in fact what I ordered. I can't imagine that the dealer would put new tire/wheels on for free if there was anyway to make the old wheels work. It is possible that the old tires somehow interfered with the new axle, but that is just a guess. The lug pattern and number (5) on new and old. Regardless, the new axle is appropriate for the trailer. As for the tires: the old tires were ST 205/75 D15, Load Range C, with a max weight capacity of 1820 lbs each. The new tires are ST 205/75 D14 Load Range C with a max capacity of 1760 lbs each. Since the Axle is rated for 3000 lbs, and the Caravel is supposedly 2250 lbs dry, then to my novice mind it seems like the new 14 inch wheels are OK, maybe not the best, but OK. I think that if I decide to do any cross-country trips then I would go back to 15 inch wheels. Bottom line is that I am happy with the new axle. And I do appreciate you all offering your opinions and advise. Thanks.
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:17 PM   #24
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Stan,

Sure is puzzling. I looked up the specs on the tires your cited, and was suprised to find that the 15" tires are slightly skinnier than the 14" tires. So if the wheels were the same width, there should not be a problem.

Your old wheels didn't happen to have Baby Moon hubcaps, did they?
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:29 PM   #25
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No...it had rather flat hubcaps from a ford falcon, I don't know what year.
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:38 PM   #26
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No...it had rather flat hubcaps from a ford falcon, I don't know what year.
???? My '62 Falcon had 13" wheels. How they get to 15" is a mystery.

I think someone is playing games with you, but if you're happy, that's all that counts.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:44 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Z
Andy at Inland RV was kind enough to contact me and confirm that dealer had obtained the axle from him, and that it was in fact what I ordered. I can't imagine that the dealer would put new tire/wheels on for free if there was anyway to make the old wheels work. It is possible that the old tires somehow interfered with the new axle, but that is just a guess. The lug pattern and number (5) on new and old. Regardless, the new axle is appropriate for the trailer. As for the tires: the old tires were ST 205/75 D15, Load Range C, with a max weight capacity of 1820 lbs each. The new tires are ST 205/75 D14 Load Range C with a max capacity of 1760 lbs each. Since the Axle is rated for 3000 lbs, and the Caravel is supposedly 2250 lbs dry, then to my novice mind it seems like the new 14 inch wheels are OK, maybe not the best, but OK. I think that if I decide to do any cross-country trips then I would go back to 15 inch wheels. Bottom line is that I am happy with the new axle. And I do appreciate you all offering your opinions and advise. Thanks.
Hi Stan, I had the same exact problem with my 15 inch wheels. Yes, they fit the axles fine but, when fitted with radial tires, the tire was only an inch or so from the front outrigger. Too close for comfort for me. I went with 14 inch rims and it has worked fine for 7k miles. I still have the original 15 inch rims should I ever want to change back.

BTW, I went across the country on my 14 inch rims with no problems. The Henschen worked great. I still believe that I made the right choice in going with OEM from Andy. Super easy swap out. Took three hours total that includes a frosty beverage break in the middle.
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:41 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by C Johnson
Hi Stan, I had the same exact problem with my 15 inch wheels. Yes, they fit the axles fine but, when fitted with radial tires, the tire was only an inch or so from the front outrigger. Too close for comfort for me. I went with 14 inch rims and it has worked fine for 7k miles. I still have the original 15 inch rims should I ever want to change back.

BTW, I went across the country on my 14 inch rims with no problems. The Henschen worked great. I still believe that I made the right choice in going with OEM from Andy. Super easy swap out. Took three hours total that includes a frosty beverage break in the middle.
Original equipment replacemenets, usually receive much Karma.

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