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Old 03-12-2006, 03:30 PM   #1
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Help w/timeline of new tires/balancing and other repairs

Hi all, it's been a long time since I've posted as I have not been able to put much time into our A/S as I would like the past couple of years. I come to you now asking for your guidance. As briefly as possible, here is our current situation.

Took the '66 Overlander to California and back two years ago. Long trip, rough roads, lots of damage done to the trailer in terms of vibration issues.

Worried that we may have failed axle(s), trailer does sit a tad low but the angle of the arms appears to be in acceptable range. Did some research, now realize we likely have a rear frame separation issue as I can see the exposed flooring above the bumper. Also, given the extent of the vibration damage we have seen I believe the running gear must be in desparate need of balancing.

Anyway...to the point. We are planning on taking the rig to Jackson Center which is about three hours from us. (We are in Indianapolis). Have comunicated via email a few times with the service coordinator(s) but they are not terribly willing to divulge any info about anything. We plan on having them check the separation issue to see what exactly we are looking at, check the axles (I believe they don't do axles there but hope they will advise), and most importantly check and balance the running gear. I also want to have them look into some other issues but that is straying from my point...

I am sure we need new tires by now. Should I buy them and mount them before the drive to Jackson Center? Since I don't know for certain what all is wrong with the trailer yet, I was planning on sticking with the popular Goodyear Marathon 225/75/15 trailer tires, either C or D, I've read suggestions for both. (This is a dual axle unit). I am interested in some of the "alternative" tire configurations I have read about here, but would put off any major changes to the rig until the next time it needed new tires as I don't want to put the cart before the horse.

Obviously if we're getting new tires, and if we're having the factory do the balancing, they'll need to be on the rig before we go...but I'm already reluctant to even drive the 165 miles to the factory for fear of just causing more overall damage to the rig before it's balanced. I'm guessing slow travel and sticking to smoother roads would allow us to get there in one piece, but I'd love anyone's suggestions/reassurances/warnings before we run out and get tires and then hit the road to JC. Also, if you have a dual axle Overlander, are you running with load range "C" or "D" tires?

I've read nearly every post on tires here, and I have to admit I tend to overthink things and at this point I am just plain worried about everything :-)

THANKS!
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:04 PM   #2
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Balancing running gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara
... Also, if you have a dual axle Overlander, are you running with load range "C" or "D" tires? ...
Hi Tamara,

I run load range C tires on my '67 dual axle Overlander, and see no reason to change. My personal thought is to show up at Jackson Center with new, high quality, balanced tires.

Now that you bring it up, I do not recall reading a post that inclined that the factory can balance the running gear. Inland Andy can (in California), but did the factory advertise this service? Any shop can replace the axles, but is a drive to the factory the best option for what you need done?

I don't know - I'm hoping someone with more experience will comment.

Tom
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:07 PM   #3
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Tamara,
There are shops that can balance the tires and running gear, but they are few and far between. Another option that has been mentioned on here are the Centramatics they virtually eliminate the balance issue. I would work on getting the rear end separation done first, then the axles, then...if it has been towed out of balance for thousands of miles I seriously doubt another 165 miles is going to be the end all, especially if you take it easy.

Aaron
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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Tamara/Aaron,

Centramatics would not fit my vintage wheels due to the wheels' offset. There's a thread here somewhere where I posted pix...

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Old 03-12-2006, 06:34 PM   #5
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TomW wrote:
Quote:
but did the factory advertise this service? Any shop can replace the axles, but is a drive to the factory the best option for what you need done?
Yes, they did say that they could balance the entire assembly...hoping they can actually, truly do what Andy @ Inland is always recommending to us, as I can't drive to Inland :-) I can only hope that the factory ought to know what they are doing, but this will be my first time there. As for finding a shop locally who can do it, I suppose here in trailer-land (Indiana) there may be a shop who can but I really have not looked. I am taking the trailer to JC in order to see if I can have them do several other repairs at the same time. As for the future, I would like to find somewhere closer!

Thanks for the input on "C" tires, I was leaning that way,and I think that is what is on the trailer now but I have to double check that. Haven't looked lately.

Aaron wrote:
Quote:
Another option that has been mentioned on here are the Centramatics they virtually eliminate the balance issue. I would work on getting the rear end separation done first, then the axles, then...if it has been towed out of balance for thousands of miles I seriously doubt another 165 miles is going to be the end all, especially if you take it easy.
I am really interested in the Centramatics, but as TomW mentioned, they don't seem to fit all configurations. Once I figure out what all needs to be done to the trailer, I may look into other options after everything is back in good running condition. Thank you for reminding me also of what should have been obvious: that another hundred miles or so will probably not result in utter destruction of my rig ;-) Good point!! Let's hope not anyway...

Has anyone ever bought tires at the factory? I assume that probably isn't a great option. I suppose I can email them and ask if they recommend one way or another...but as I think I mentioned they are difficult to get answers out of in our experience.

Just thinking out loud, but I certainly appreciate the input, thank you! Additional opinions are always welcome.
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Old 03-12-2006, 06:43 PM   #6
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Tamara,
Forget the Centramatic balancers for now. I just sent a set back to them. If your 15" rims were made by Rockwell Fumagalli in Brazil, their 6 bolt pattern will not fit due to interference with the rim. They are waiting on a machine that will form the center plate and they think they will be able to fit Dexter wheels sometime in the near future. My plans are to do what Bob Thompson did in the Tires, Tires, Tires thread and go to 16" American Outlaw II wheels and 16" BF Goodrich Commercial TA tires next year.
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:23 PM   #7
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I have to agree that Bob's new tire set up is really very appealing and seems to be working really well for him. At this point in time I have to focus on finding out just exactly what kind of condition our Overlander is in, floor/axle/frame-wise before I look into any "improvements" above and beyond the standard configuration.
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Old 03-12-2006, 08:44 PM   #8
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Thumbs up tire balance

Try looking at www.ride-on.com. It is a great product that I use in ALL of my vehicle, motorcycle and trailer tires. IT DOES WORK!!!! I found 2 nails in my rear motorcycle tire when I went to change it and never even know they were there, and the tires ride smooth as silk all the time.
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:11 AM   #9
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Hi ,
I put centramatics on my '69 Overlander . Wouldn't work with the original wheels without spacers, which are available. That created a new problem to get past. Now the wheel studs where not long enough. There should be a minium of the thickness of the bolt past the nut, once tight. In this case 1/2". So I ended up replacing the wheel studs. It gave me a good reason to put on new aluminum wheels too. Why cool! Now the centramatics fit with no problem and no spacers.

Loren
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:26 AM   #10
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Tamara,
The axle debate comes up often on the forums and you will get many opinions on what is the right thing to do. We towed our 64 Overlander about 4000 miles on the original axles with all the vibration issues and popped interior rivets. The final straw was a trip to the Great Sand Dune national park. The approach roads to the park have cattle guards that come up with little warning. Upon arriving at the park, I found the toilet seat in the middle of the floor along with the pillows off the beds. We decided new axles were in order. I ordered form Andy and installed them as soon as they arrived. It was like pulling a new trailer. Ground height was improved by about 3", the tires and wheels could now be removed without having to pull the sides of the wheel wells out and everything is right where you left it when you arrive at your next stop. I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as a good 40 year old axle. Even if the trailing arm angle would suggest that you had some life left, the rubber is old and brittle and you effectively have no suspension. Axle replacement and new balanced tires is the best money you can spend, and since your in the Indiana area, you have the choice of using Axis as your axle source. He is quite a bit cheaper than Andy; a friend of mine installed Axis axles on his 68 Overlander, and is quite pleased with them.

Mark
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:17 PM   #11
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I'm getting my first Axis axle this week and will post photos of the effort to replace the old axle. Also will post comments if it doesn't fit. "Gen Dissaray" got his dual axles replaced by Axis at Axis, and it really pleased with the result. If this goes well, I will do my other two trailers immediately, but with disc brakes instead of electric.

Tamara, if I were you, I'd get new tires, balance them, then go to Elkhart to see what Axis can do for you.

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Old 03-13-2006, 07:47 PM   #12
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Led and Mark, thanks for your thoughts. I have to admit that in the back of my mind, I know that we should get new axles. The question still remains as to exactly when, though certainly sooner is better. Only reason to hold off right now is that we have a trip planned for early May, and if there is a chance I can smooth out the ride and get some reasurrance that we haven't yet suffered any major structural damage then I'd prefer to wait til I don't have a deadline to do all the major work.

At this point, before even getting an expert opinion from Jackson Center, I'm pretty sure we need the entire bathroom floor replaced, a rear frame separation fix, new tires, and possibly new axles. Oh, and probably a new black tank too. That's a pretty big chunk of time and money, especially since some of us aren't aware these expenses will crop up when we buy a vintage trailer in the first place Now I know better! Live and learn.

Jeeze, now that I see all this written down in black and white, I have no idea why I am even taking the trailer to JC at all right now. I guess I am still holding onto a shred of hope that I can afford to have them do enough work to make the thing road-ready at least, or that they will tell me it isn't as bad as I fear. But I have to say my hope wanes more each day...

I guess it won't hurt to let them look at it and make a recommendation. In the meantime I'll start re-reading all the repair forums and try to formulate a plan! Thanks again for everyone's input, I know that so many people have been/are in the same boat with a vintage trailer and it's certainly helpful to me to bounce ideas off of people who have been there, done that.

I've probably ventured a bit off topic at this point, so to bring it back 'round I'll just mention I got pricing on tires locally but will also be checking with the factory to see if waiting is a better option, and/or if they sell tires and for how much in case we decide to go ahead with the balancing while we are there.

Thanks again, all comments are always welcome.
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:12 PM   #13
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hi tamara......

welcome to the fix it world of airstreams.....

not knowing how much cash is already in the trailer,
how much you can afford to spend on repairs or
how much of the repair cost can be absorbed in sweat....

the factory does great work.....really

getting answers on the phone is hard.....really

my thoughts are assume the worse.....

she needs new axles, and balanced running gear and new tires. might even need new brakes...

so i'd call and email the factory service dept for a price on full running gear for your model.....installed.

don't speculate on what might not need fixed, just ask for a price for the works with labor.

if ya want a comparison number ask inland andy for a price too.

this would be sort of a worse case price......to mark the max.

my wild arse guess is this is 2500$......maybe 3k$.

the potential floor and black tank replacement are not expensive parts...but lots of time/labor and some level of skill.

haviing a shop do these items...and other things will eat you alive on labor charges......

so as harsh as it sounds....can you really afford this trailer?

not having great mechanical skills myself......

i'd opt for the factory to do the running gear.......

at least then you can pull the trailer around....and use it safely for camping.

i might then open the can o worms....of pulling up stuff to inspect the floor, or taking on the belly pan to get to the tanks....and maybe tank access is all from the inside.....

there are lots of great folks here who can 'suggests ya' through most skin, interior and plumbing repairs....
and with your sweat.....save lots of cash....

but i would not want to do the running gear as a first timer....

cheers
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:07 PM   #14
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2air'

Thank you. Excellent points. I wonder if there is any chance in he** I can actually get a price out the factory on a complete install, that is an excellent idea to try and price out the worst case scenario and figure it will only go down from there (hopefully anyway).

They have just been SO difficult to communicate with!!! I'll see what I can do. Sure makes planning hard to do.

Your other thoughts echo mine, we have an initial $4k in the trailer, always planned on doing the black tank ourselves but now that the floor situation has come up I really don't prefer to do all that ripping out and re-installing on our own. I know we could do it eventually, but it would be difficult. And time consuming.

The ball park is right now - if we can get _most_ things fixed at the factory for about $3k or less, we would go for it. More than that and we're going to be reaching that point where it will be do it yourself or don't do it. Thank goodness this forum is here, I'd never even consider tackling some of these jobs without this continually amazing resource. I can't believe how much it has expanded since I first registered. Great job guys!

I'll certainly offer a full report on my factory experience/repair costs/decisions once they are made, in hopes of helping the next A/S owner down the pike who ends up where I am now. I think the biggest obstacle is really just not knowing what to expect, once you go through the process then of course it's not such a stressful endeavor.

Thanks for the observations.
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