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Old 04-27-2010, 05:19 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Bridgewater , Nova Scotia
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1977 29' International needs brakes

I have just bought a 29' 1977 International AS that has vacuum brakes (no controller). The tow vehicle is a 2005 Toyota Tundra truck. Should I try to get the vacuum brake system working, buy a controller etc or should I retrofit with electric brakes. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

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Old 04-27-2010, 07:02 PM   #2
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
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I'd sure go for a complete upgrade to electric brakes...

Get the complete backing plates with the shoes installed...then install some new hub/drum assemblies - these items are relativity cheap in the overall scope of things, and your AS will be able to 'stop' like it should!

This kind of change over will bring you up-to-date, so to speak...I went one step beyond, and installed entire new axles under our AS - it has a bit of a sag after it's 30 + year life...It now handles great and stops on a 'dime' - or may a dime & a half...


Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:28 AM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Thanks Ray: Where did you get the new axles and parts and what did your approach cost in total. Ross
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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A 1977 is probably going to need axles. 33 years of service out of the rubber rods inside the axle tube is most likely the end of thier life. To check if the bottom of the wheel openings is even with the edge of the rim the rods are shot.
My personal opinion is,for the ease of retro-fit ,in other words, no pain,no strain,the OEM Axle is by far the best option. Its costly about $1500 US for the pair,but that includes everything.
There are other options that are less costly,but involve accurate measuring and a dealer that can order correctly.Then there are mod's to be made. Where with the OEM axles they are ordered for your serial number and are bolt in,no mods necessary.
Contact Inland Rv in California,Andy can give ya the straight scoop.
I opted for OEM's and have not been sorry. I changed them myself with minimum amount of tools and labor,only 3 hrs of my time were required.
You are gonna get 9000 different opinions but Personally think OEM's are the way to go.
Good Luck
Roger & MaryLou
7.3 liter Power Stroke Diesel
1977 27ft OVERLANDER
AIR # 22336 TAC- OH-7
May your roads be straight and smooth and may you always have a tailwind!
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:21 AM   #5
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I would go to the Inland RV website Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations and read their reference on axles.

You will also be able to get a good handle on cost for brakes etc.

I ordered the complete assemblies -- backing plates with new shoes and magnets already installed. Came with new hardware to mount them.

A long sweaty afternoon but no surprises.

The changeover will require you to run wires but that beats trying to keep a vacuum line working...

just my 2 cents,

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Old 04-28-2010, 09:34 AM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
Bridgewater , Nova Scotia
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This sounds like some very good advice. Did the $1500 include the braking system? If not what do you have for a braking system? Electric? Vacuum? What do you recommend? Thanks for you help on this. Ross
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:24 AM   #7
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hi rb'

IF axles, hubs AND brakes are needed, it's a great time to consider a modern disc B system.

especially with a somewhat marginal tow vehicle (no offense)

it's NOT that much more $ in the grand scheme and IF the units gonna see much travel time.

others with that year trayla have done this and are happy.

here's a few threads relevant to your needs, with USER reports and going back many years....


and while 70s oem type axles can be had, MANY folks here have purchased the CURRENT OEM brand (dexters) axles...

for a lot LESS MONEY and with good results.

search the axle threads and you read a LOTa heat/bs/tension on this issue...

but i trust the buyers/users reports more than the vendors/sellers on this topic.

both brands come with a manufacturer's warranty,

but ONE of the companies may not be in the trailer axle biz much longer...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:41 AM   #8
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I understand there is a company in Indiana that can replace the worn out rubber in the original axles at a greatly reduced cost. Unfortunately I have no details of this company. Does anybody have info on them?

"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." -- Frank Zappa
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