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Old 09-25-2006, 09:10 AM   #29
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Centramatics

I have had Centramatics on my last 2 Airstreams and, based on things staying nicely in place while underway, I am convinced that they do a good job of balancing the running gear.

Cost is about $200 for a set of 4 and installation is a snap. Just remove the wheel, slip the balancer on the studs, and reinstall the wheel. They look nice, as well.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:21 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axleman
Don,

I would be curious of the cost to do the balance job vs. the necessity. . .
Regards,
Henry
Henry,

I think the cost would be under $10/wheel if done by the manufacturer, using an automated horizontal balancing machine like this: http://www.schenck-usa.com/prod_hori...mach_auto.html

The bigger issue is how do you market the idea. As the manufacturer, do you want to tell the whole world that what you've been making and selling unbalanced hubs and drums for the last 75 years? Do you change over your whole product line, or do you sell two product lines, balanced and unbalanced? Does that give rise to some product liability issues if an unbalanced hub causes an accident? How will the competition respond? What if everyone starts buying disc brakes and your new balancing machine sits idle most of the time? What if the Chinese start making drums that are better and are cheaper?

I'm afraid the trailer wheel and axle business is going to disappear in the US if no one is willing to invest in new technology.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:47 AM   #31
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Wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Henry,

I think the cost would be under $10/wheel if done by the manufacturer, using an automated horizontal balancing machine like this: http://www.schenck-usa.com/prod_hori...mach_auto.html

The bigger issue is how do you market the idea. As the manufacturer, do you want to tell the whole world that what you've been making and selling unbalanced hubs and drums for the last 75 years? Do you change over your whole product line, or do you sell two product lines, balanced and unbalanced? Does that give rise to some product liability issues if an unbalanced hub causes an accident? How will the competition respond? What if everyone starts buying disc brakes and your new balancing machine sits idle most of the time? What if the Chinese start making drums that are better and are cheaper?

I'm afraid the trailer wheel and axle business is going to disappear in the US if no one is willing to invest in new technology.
Don,

Wow.

Well let's see -
First - you market it to Airstream. If Airstream demanded it and would pay - an axle manufacturer would do it. Like you said previously, if it were a requirement - they would demand it.

Second - You offer it as an upgrade. Axles are a nickel and dime business - most axle manufacturers fight for small amounts of money. Most customers, that buy axles, buy on price first.

Third - the Chineese do make about 50% of trailer drums sold in the USA - maybe more.

Forth - some axle companies do invest in technology. However the technology has to benefit the masses - I think (like shocks on a torsion axle) Airstream would be the only company that may (heavy on the may) buy a balanced drum.

It is of my opinion (based on years in the axle business) that 99% of folks would not spend $20.00 per axle to solve a problem they don't really have.

Just two cents from a retired axle dude,
Henry
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:57 AM   #32
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From the manufacturing end, $40 would be a big number for 4 wheeels. I don't know how many Airstream trailers with drum brakes are made each year. If it were 7000 and most had 4 drums, that is a million dollars in 4 years. This would drive up the MSRP if that were the case. And those trailers are expensive enough.

When I worked at Ford a $1.00 item was a big deal. And that was spread over many thousands or sometimes millions of units in a year. Airstream doesn't have the competition that an auto manufacturer has, and it still has to play in the market place with the white boxes.

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