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Old 09-21-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander
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Can't back up

I have a 1970 International that I just removed from storage after 9 years of sitting. I'm sure there are a host of issues related to the brakes alone, and I've seen the recommendation to just replace the entire axel assemblies, but focusing on the immediate problem what would cause the brakes to resist rolling backward? There was no battery installed, and no electic brake controller attached. The pig tail connecting tow vehicle to trailer was attached for turn signals and brake lights.

On the larger issue of replacing the axels - how does one tell when that's the best course of action? Is it just cheaper, assuming drum brakes are used, or are there other issues related to the suspension?

Barry
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:10 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums Barry,

Sounds to me like you have broken retianning springs in the drums. Is the problem with just one wheel or all of them?

If you "google search" your problem I am sure that you will find the answer yo uare looking for. ( Upper rgith hand area of the screen...= search I like the google search)

There will be some one here that has had the problem or one that will know more than I.

I have however just this spring replaced the axles on our 72 31 fooh SOV. The job is not hard and the bennifits were huge. It cost us less than $1800.00 all new no problems. We used Henschen, but there are other less expensive options out there.

Any way ... Welcome to the forums and good luck.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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does it still lock up with the wires completely disconnected from the pigtail?
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:09 AM   #4
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1970 27' Overlander
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Ricky,

I don't know. I didn't try that, but it's worth consideration. Unplug vs. buy new axels - hmmmmm.

Barry
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:24 AM   #5
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jack it up and pull the wheels and brake drums.
Been sitting that long the bearings need new grease anyway.
This is the time to determine if you have BRAKE issues.
Running to the idea of "new axles" is a bit hasty.
New < Brake-Hub-Bearings-Seals > can be purchased
for about $200.00 per axle.....and installed in an hour or so.
Slow down and get a few tools to work.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:24 AM   #6
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the reason i mention it is because earlier Airstreams had a different wiring pattern than the current (now standard) configuration. based on personal experience, an axle sitting that long is going to grow a lot rust :-)
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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I agree...unplug it....try ALL the simple stuff first.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:29 AM   #8
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Now wait ... I never said that replacing your axle was the answer... I just said that I did and it cost... as a quick reference for you...

We need some more info to better diagnose the problem.

If it is only one wheel then there is a problem in side the drum...

If it is all or more than one it MAY be electrical... The old trailers have a different wiring diagram for the plug than newer standard for tow vehicle...

you say you don't have a brake controller ... but if the plug is miss wired your tow vehicle cloud be putting power to the brakes (like from back up lights, or running or brake lights)

un hooking the umbilical cord will tell us some things too.

give it a shot and report back and we will try to help.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:59 AM   #9
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I've Never stayed in a Holiday Inn Express

(Because I have an Airstream - silly!)
Nor am I a vintage restorer person - yet. (The more vintage units I look at the more tempted I become).

However: I agree do the simple stuff first. Get your Airstream out and do a DETAILED assessment of all systems and all of the issues before you start restoring. You'll save time and avoid tearing out cosmetic stuff to fix frame/plumbing/wiring issues after the fact. As far as torsion axles are concerned, be aware of three considerations:
  1. you have 40 year old axles
  2. torsion axles HATE to be left sitting. they take a set and the rubber loses flexibility - over 40 years with at least 9 sitting unattended. Hmm?
  3. bad axles will beat the hell out of the body of your Airstream. You'll pop rivets, damage appliances, and risk bottoming out every time you hit a bit of rough road.
In the end it's likely you'll need to replace your axles - and getting the brake assembly with the axles will give you peace of mind and save money over doing the work separately.

Welcome aboard!

Paula
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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When I bought up my 1976 Sovereign in 2000 I had a seven pin connector plug installed on my 1999 Suburban. It was wired it based on the standard wiring configuration that we use today. However the seven pin wiring configuration Airstream used in 1976 was different than today's standard. Basically the same colored wires but going to different place on the seven pin connector. So when I hooked up with the wiring connection that I had the brakes froze. I had to unplug the connector and pull the trailer a few miles to an auto/trailer parts dealer so that they could match the proper output wires form the Suburban to the proper connection in the old seven pin plug on the Airstream. Once this was done I was on my way with out a problem. I later replaced the old cord with a new one that has the universal seven pin connection that plugs in the now 2008 Suburban but I still have the old style connection to plug to the Airstream.

On another note. The 40 year old axles should be replaced. I procrastinated on doing this on my 1976 when I got in 2000. Over time this caused damage to the trailer such as popped rivets and counters pulling away from the sides. The new axles made a huge difference.

Don
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