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Old 04-01-2015, 07:07 AM   #15
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1999 34' Excella
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Hillsboro , Texas
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Right on about cleanliness!!!!
I think that is the key to "pre-lubed" sealed "units". I respect the professionals here who have seen such an improvement in this issue.

With our AS, we have to face the reality of the high side loads and this is where the "preload" is so important to keep the bearing loads stable as possible. Again this is where the "preloaded" Units can establish strong unit integrity.

In my experience , A specific thing few have ever done is to actually "shim" for proper preload. I do not have the experience of thousands of repacks, probably less than 200 on boat trailers, cars, motorcycles and such. But, every single one I inspected was "loose". I learned to check after the first few short life repacks... I learned to "preload" from a professional... And how to shim.

This fellow wore starched work shirts and really stuck out among the other mechanics. He would get just as dirty as the other guys when necessary, but his work area and tools were really well kept. It stuck to me as well.

One other thing he did was to assemble the hub with gear oil to set the "shim preload" then remove and "hand pack". He only used fresh grease and immaculate clean hands. Can't argue with success....

Peace and Blessings..
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:24 AM   #16
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Dexter Axle service manual, Free PDF
While doing some cleaning in my Argosy, I re found the Dexter service manual for the axle I had installed a few years ago.

I looked at again and found it to be a very very good source of information on everything axle related, from brake magnets, to wiring diagrams, to grease types and qualities, bearing numbers for all Dexter axles , how to lube the bearings and on and on.

I have a paper copy, which is great, but I looked on line and found that they have a PDF version that you can download for free. I didn't search to see if they will send you a paper copy, they may.

This is good, complete information on axles from 600 to 8000 pound capacity.

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Old 04-01-2015, 07:30 AM   #17
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2009 27' FB International
Silsbee , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 67
Brake Magnets

Here are some pics of mine after four years and 20 thousand miles. Leading edges were shattered. I replaced all running gear after finding this. Drums, brakes, bearings, etc...
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:29 AM   #18
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1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 235
Looks like they are getting down there towards the end.

You also need to check for axle set which leaves the arms in the "up" position.


The above pic shows the old axle (left obviously) in the UP position. New axle on right.

Note on the left the axle center is even with bottom of frame with no load on it. They come with 22° down angle and they "rotate" for lack of a better term up to "0°" at the max load the axle is designed for.

I checked the arm angle at full load and best I could tell they were in the same position loaded as seen in pic as no load.

When a torsion axle rotates another 11° you are getting into a very rough ride condition as the axle moves very little on bumps etc and hits the third position where it will only rotate 5° and at that point it is like you have no cushion at all. Once you get into the 11° range things start breaking. I was having this happen and I really did not realize what was happening till I talked to a torsion bar axle designer.

He told me the ideal load range for axles is 50 - 66% of the axle capacity which is within the first 22°. Thusly if you have a pair of 3500lb axles you have 7000 capacity and the load should not exceed 4620 lbs. According to my data plate my rig gross weight was rated at 3200 lbs per axle or 91% of axle design capacity.

He recommended a pair of 5200 lb (10,400 Cap) and thusly a 6400 lb weight max was 62% and he said the roughest road loads should never get me out of the 22° range and have soft dampening throughout the first range.

He also told me shocks were not required.

I concurred with that because I have a utility trailer with a 8000 single axle and 10 ply tires.

Empty I have seen it wanting to bounce a bit but anything over about 500 lbs on it completely stops that tendancy. On hitting a dip etc it will go down on a a bit first then recover and make a very min 2nd down movement and then nothing. I have had 7000 lbs on it but most I normally carry is my 2200 lb tractor and it is nice and smooth.

I just went to Ft. Bragg and picked up a 800 lb generator and it was nice and smooth all the way home total 600 mile trip. Below is a pic of the gen.

Thusly if a 8000 lb axle does not need a shock absorber with a 800 lb load and rides nice and smooth, seems to concur with what the torsion bar design engineer says.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:18 AM   #19
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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In the picture that you show of the face of the magnet, you will see three small holes in the face.

I believe that you should see four.

My understanding is that these are witness marks to show the condemning limit of wear - when the holes are no longer visible, then it is time for new magnets.

I'm not sure if this means when all holes vanish or any one of them! Obviously the magnet face is not wearing evenly - I don't know if that is typical.

I think if it were my call, seeing this condition, since you have everything apart, I would be replacing the magnets - I don't think they are that expensive.

I would also look to see if I could see any reason for the uneven wear and if I could correct it.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 04-04-2015, 01:24 PM   #20
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1966 26' Overlander
Phoenix , Arizona
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Shocks or no shocks have always been a conundrum. AS installed shocks on the trailers to add another compoenant to dampen the jarring to the cabin. Basically an AS travel trailer is big box of air. The outside shell is the weakest piece and has to sustain any loads that are not absorbed by the tires, axle, frame and the floor. While those pieces do a very good at doing this job, adding shocks puts another devise in the system to absorb road shock. Are the needed? Most of the time in my opinon is no. However the interstate at interstate speeds can be an unkind enviroment. Having redundant systems to be a barrier between that hard place is a nice insurance policy that has really a low cost.

For the low cost and effort, why wouldn't one install shocks on a replacement axle assembly?

1966 Mercury Park Lane 4 DR Breezeway 410 4V, C-6, 2.80 - Streamless.
1966 Lincoln 4 door Convertible 462 4V 1971 Ford LTD Convertible 429 4V Phoenix ~ Yeah it's hot however it's a dry heat!
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:16 AM   #21
3 Rivet Member
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 235
When I was talking to the axle design engineer we talked about shocks and he said they were not needed.

I kind of look at it like this, I asked him if it were his trailer and he could put on anything he wanted what would he do and he said the 5200 lb was what he would do as the AS would never likely see a dynamic load applied that put it into the next range where things really start to ride hard.

On the axles I took off they were in the next hard range and I had things going bad. Coming back from Vermont we stopped and I opened door and the overhead storage over my berth had torn away and was down on the bed. I fortunately had tools and was able to get it back up and screw it in place.

I knew then something was bad wrong and I had read all the warnings folks put in about tearing it up and I could not find any engineer that took a torsion bar design course but several had some automotive courses and they said 50% to 66% loading was the ideal.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:57 AM   #22
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2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
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Interesting that the highest rated axle Airstream uses is 5,000 pounds found on the 31' Classics and one of the single axle Bambi trailers. I see in excess of 8,200 pounds on the axles when loaded excluding the tongue weight. That means the axles are supporting roughly 82% capacity all the time. Makes me wonder if they will have to be replaced just after the warranty expires?

So, empty at the factory, the total trailer weight was around 7,175 pounds. Deducting the theoretical 730 pound tongue weight would mean the axles were supporting around 6,445 pounds or 65% of their capacity.

Following the logic expressed above, one could need 8,000 pound rated axles to run at 55% load. The four 16" Michelin LT225/75R16/E LTX M/S2 tires are rated for a total capacity of 10,720 pounds. So the tires would become the weak link in the suspension with the higher capacity axle rating. I have not seen Load range F or G for 16" tires.....

Makes one wonder about all the lowest bidder/lowest possible cost parts we acquired at the highest possible price assembly.
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TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:10 AM   #23
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1999 34' Excella
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Hillsboro , Texas
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IMHO.. hahah.. that's funny.. ahem.. excuse me... but, couldn't the 'shocks' be there for dampening of 'pitch'? For you folks who never get into the 'whoop-de-do's' of some highways, not an issue.

However, there are roads in Louisiana and Oklahoma specifically with lots of 'tilted' road surfaces where the TV will rise as the AS descends... on one road, I thought I had broken the AS as the induced bounce was very severe... would fresh "shock absorbers" damped this effect? I don't know but, I will be doing under my usual 62-65MPH when in that area... IF I go again...

Peace and Blessings..
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