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Old 09-25-2005, 02:06 PM   #15
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All Airstream trailers since 1961 should be lifted off the ground at the axle mounting plate, "only".

The "jack" labels on the underbelly are for "stabilizing only". If you attempt the jack the trailer off the ground at the "jack" labels, the door will probable jam so that it will not open or close, amoung other things such as damage to some sheet metal components.

If you wish to remove weight from the axles for long term storage purposes, jack the trailer up at the axle mounting plates, and place a "stabilizing jack" at the underbelly points so indicated. Do not support the trailer from the jack label points only, if you want the tires off the ground. Several different damages will occur, depending on model, if you do.

Andy
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:56 PM   #16
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Enormous girder

Do anyone know if this "enormous girder" concept holds true for the older larger trailers? I just bought an 86 Airstream 34 foot Limited and noticed that part around the wheels looked pretty sturdy, but was afraid to jack up under anything except the "approved spot" way behind the wheels. I also noticed on the forum that lots of people don't even want to jack up in the "approved spot" In getting the tires replaced I just drove two of the three tires up on blocks I made, and the 3rd was off the ground. It worked OK, but I had to keep moving the blocks and getting back on them doing one side and then the other as the tire guy went from tire to tire. It sure would be easier to just jack up between the tires, but I have read enough notes from doubters to worry about doing that. In fact, the reason I made the block arrangement was to not have to jack it up at all, because lots of people seem to think jacking it up anywhere is a bad idea. However, even with 2 , 2x8s screwed together and tapered on the ends (3 inch actual lift), it was hard to get the tires off and new ones on without letting air out (We were off by about 1/4- 1/2 inch, so I guess I'll have to add another level on my block arrangement. So, to jack or not to jack, and where to jack if you do, is the question. There doesn't seem to be any clear consensus that I can see.

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Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst
2air, the distinction is, I believe, between the screw jack, which stays in place under the frame, and the hydraulic jack, which lifts the trailer so that the screw jack can be placed to eventually take the weight. Most of the weight is left on the screw jack, with just a little on the tires to stabilize the trailer. This is also what I do. The trailer is then left with a screw jack under each side frame. Also, this is the guru approved strong point for jacking the trailer, rather than the factory labelled parts. It is an enormous girder, clearly visible. I hope this helps.
Nick.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:59 PM   #17
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Oops

I goofed and didn't read the note right before mine posted by Andy of Inland RV, and I understand he is the guru of this stuff, so it sounds like the place to jack is between the wheels if you have to do it. Sorry...too much to read...too little time. Thanks for everyone's patience

Lee
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:20 PM   #18
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Lee Davis

Regardless of the length or year Airstream trailer, from 1961 to present, the preferred jacking (lifting off the ground) place is the "axle mounting plate".

No harm of any kind can occur, when you use the axle mounting plate. As an example if someone wanted to change the axles on any length Airstream trailer, simply jack it up using the axle mounting plates. Additionally, of course, it's always a good idea to add jack stands when the complete trailer is lifted off the ground.

However, if someone does not wish to jack up the trailer, you can pull a wheel up on blocks as you have done. Obviously that only works for a tandem or tri-axle Airstream trailer.

Once again, the "jack" label underneath the trailer, is for "stabilizing jacks only". Never raise the trailer from those points. To do so is almost a guarantee of some structural damage.

Andy
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:24 PM   #19
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Off to Bad Start?

Went to remove old tires / rims from '73 - 23 Safari I am buying from a friend, and removed each side's tires but once weight was on stands, maybe not on axle mount plates but very close to them - stands began to sink since we finally had some rain around here. SO, I quickly slid my floor jack to center of axle to prevent total disaster. Now, it looks to my eye as if axle may have upwards arc in it. Put weight back on stands and moved jack off center and distributed some weight on the jack.
Is this a disaster? Will it straighten itself out after weight is redistributed to wheels?
I assume this trailer has been sitting on its axle the entire time. How can you tell if your axle is worn out, sprung out or whatever the term is?
I find it hard to believe they would manufacture a critical part like an axle with steel square tubing wall so thin it would arc.I'm a welder, so if it is bent, and does need to be straightened, I am tempted to sleeve it with a new piece of square tubing to make it BULLET PROOF.
Somebody let me know ... tires ready tomorrow ... bring it to its new home on Sunday! Thanks in advance for helping a newbie,
shannon
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:37 PM   #20
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oh my goodness you really messed up!!!

not really


hi shannon and welcome to the forums. someone will likely beat me to it, but not to worry the axles are "arched" up at the factory...part of the wheel alignment process....i think it's how they create camber?

so you well lucky this time......not wait for your next real screw up to post again.

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:25 PM   #21
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Shannon,

Consider yourself double lucky. Not only did you probably not ruin the axle, but if you had tried to weld a sleeve over it you would have ended up burning out the rubber rods that provide the springy action.
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Old 10-01-2005, 01:21 PM   #22
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shannon

Never, "EVER" jack up any Airstream trailer from the axle.

To do so, is asking for trouble.

A "good" Henschen axle for an Airstream, must have a bend in it, for proper alignment.

However, from 1974 on back, because of the composition of the rubber rods, you may already have a bad axle.

It's easy enough to check it out yourself. Go to http//www.inlandrv.com/articles/

Read the article, check your axle, and go from there.

You should check it with the trailer empty as well as with a full load. You should see a change in the "torsion arm angle" between those two conditions.

If you do not see a change, then quite well the trailer has been parked for a long period of time, and the rubber rods have hardened, making them almost useless. If the rubber has hardened, there will be little to no movement in the torsion arm, which in turn, will give the trailer a very rough ride. That will cause many problems, that will also cost many dollars to repair.

Andy
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:52 PM   #23
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Shannon,


When your axle finally does die, do your homework before getting a Henschen. Many members on this board have had enormous success with Axis axles. The plus side is the price, compared to that of the Henschen. The quality of Axis axles, according to a lot of people, is superior to that of Henschen's, though I'm sure that's a topic for debate. I do know that, when it comes time for new axles on the Sovereign, I'm choosing Axis. I've done my homework, and it is my opinion that the construction methods Axis uses is better than Henschen's. Plus, did I mention that you really can't beat the price? Just my $.02.

Frederic
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:37 PM   #24
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hi folks

well the factory is no longer using the henschens either.

with the 06 model year they switched to dexter torflex.......now i have no ideal what the relationship is between these various makers of rubber torsen axles....but it's hard for me to believe some of the brands don't share in some way....

anyway don the tour man now makes a point of showing a dexter now as part of the tour.

by the way, i have a bicycle with torsen rubber front suspension like our trailers.....of course the axles are much smaller but the design and mechanism is the same....

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:30 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi folks

well the factory is no longer using the henschens either.

with the 06 model year they switched to dexter torflex.......now i have no ideal what the relationship is between these various makers of rubber torsen axles....but it's hard for me to believe some of the brands don't share in some way....

anyway don the tour man now makes a point of showing a dexter now as part of the tour.

by the way, i have a bicycle with torsen rubber front suspension like our trailers.....of course the axles are much smaller but the design and mechanism is the same....

cheers
2air'
I wonder what Don the tour man says about the axles now since I remember he always said on the 3-4 tours I took during the past that the Henschen axles were the best ones made!

Also, to Inland Andy: I don't have my 2004 owner's manual in front of me, but I'm 99.9% sure that it says to use the plates labeled "jack" to put the jack to lift the tires to change them, and not for stabilizing the trailer.
My owners manual is pretty clear that you should either use these jack plates for that purpose, or else use wooden blocks.

If I'm not mistaken, then perhaps these plates were for a different purpose on older models? Mine clearly have a label saying "jack" and an arrow pointing to the jack plate. The only thing is, the plate is in a position that is impossible to jack the trailer up from!

John
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:39 PM   #26
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John,

Funny, my 71 Owner's Manual says the same thing about the jacking points. If the jacking plates weren't for jacking, then where would you jack indeed?

Frederic
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Old 10-02-2005, 10:27 PM   #27
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Hi, folks,

Quoting from page 34 of the 1979 Excella 500 owners guide:

Note: Whenever the trailer must be lifted with a jack as when changing a tire or leveling on very rough terrain, always place the jack under a the main frame rail. A label is provided to indicate the proper position for the jack. Never use stabilizing jacks to lift the trailer.

The diagram shows two "H" points just aft of the axles on the main frame rails, and the callout says it's "H - Hydaulic Jack Positions." These are still present on the belly. (And that bolding above is from the book, not my emphasis.)

Lamar
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:47 AM   #28
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
All Airstream trailers since 1961 should be lifted off the ground at the axle mounting plate, "only".

The "jack" labels on the underbelly are for "stabilizing only". If you attempt the jack the trailer off the ground at the "jack" labels, the door will probable jam so that it will not open or close, amoung other things such as damage to some sheet metal components.


Andy
I admit I don't know anything for sure on this subject, just what I'm told by you "experts".

However, I keep asking those whom I think are the "experts" how to best jack up my Airstream, because I know I'll need to do it myself sooner or later, plus I take my trailer to my local garage once every year to have the wheel bearings repacked, brakes adjusted, for state inspection, etc., and I'd like to make sure nothing is done to damage my trailer by them jacking it up at the wrong place.

However, when I was at the factory a year ago for service, one of the contentious issues I had with my new trailer was that it didn't have sufficient grease in the wheel bearings when shipped new from the factory. Fortunately, another forum member here advised me to have my bearings checked before I took it on my first trip - I had my local garage do this - They found the bearings were insufficiently greased, and properly packed them. The factory didn't believe me, but said that my local garage may have put too much grease in instead, so the factory service guys jacked my entire trailer off the ground to check all my wheels at the same time, (I'm pretty sure of this) by putting 4 jacks/jack stands on the frame at positions well fore and well aft of the axle mounting plates. Don't they know how to jack up a trailer at the factory?

I thought I could jack up my trailer anywhere on the frame, as long as I was careful not to bend the "C" channel on the frame's edge, as you've already mentioned here, recognizing that the farther you get away from the axles the less practical it is to actually get the tires off the ground. Plus, that's basically what I was told by the service guy at the factory when I again asked this question when I was there this past June.

What to do???

Now, I'm becoming confused again by you, the same as I was originally by my owner's manual saying to use the plates labeled specifically for this purpose, when they are in fact too far to the rear of the axles to be used for jacking.
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