Originally Posted by 60's Iron
Thanks overlander 63! Which leads me to 2 more questions. Where do I find parts? R/V center, Vintage trailer store or Auto parts store? And now for the one that is making my face turn red. Since it has a belly pan where do I jack it up from and support it? Can I use the rear bumper ? I'd like the weight off the axle to get the tires as far out of the wheel well as possible. It does have the solid axle.
Hi 60s Iron:
You want to jack up your trailer on the longitudinal frame rail just to the rear of and just inside the inner edge of the wheel well. Airstream ususally rivets a small squarish thin plate there to mark the spot. If there is no plate, feel for the presence of the frame rail above the belly pan skin and place the jack directly under the frame rail. Chock the opposite wheel, loosen the lug nuts while the tire is stilll on the ground, etc., etc., and be sure to follow all safety precautions when jacking up your trailer.
Trailer supply stores, horse trailer stores, and perhaps large auto supply chains sell a "loaded backing plate" that bolts onto your axle with 4 or 5 bolts, nuts and lock washers. This loaded backing plate is all new parts: brakes shows, magnetic pucks, wires, adjusters, etc., and just bolts on in place of the old assembly. Of course the mounting holes and overall size and diameter must match, so I suggest you remove the old backing plates, make sure they are the same each side, and take one with you when buying two new loaded backing plates. Also take along one of your identical brake drums to let the counter person confirm the new loaded backing plates are compatible with your brake drums.
Check the wheel bearings and races, and if there is any wear or pitting, replace them all. In fact, while everything is disassembled, I'd just replace them anyway and retire the old ones to the spare used parts bin.
Finally, if your trailer still has the old two piece wheels (often called split rims), you might consider buying three (one for the spare) new one piece trailer wheels at the same time, as many places that change tires no longer have the skill, knowledge, personel or technology [tire iron and hammer] to change tires mounted on old two piece wheels. Take an old wheel and tire with you so the counter peson can match the size and offset. Dexter brand backing plates and trailer wheels are a good bet. If your trailer uses 14.5" diameter wheels and tubeless tires, I suggest you move up to the more common 15" diameter ones, but first do a search here for 14.5 wheels or 1958
trailers or 1958
wheels to learn other people's experiences with that upgrade. I am aware of the issue but not the various outcomes, so I'll just raise that issue for you to research. Dexter brand loaded backing plates and trailer wheels are a good bet.
By new tires for the new wheels. There are many opinions on tires, just search for them here. I like bias ply 700-15 highway tires myself for 1950's trailers, but then again I'm an crusty old luddite. Good luck!