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Old 09-07-2012, 03:37 PM   #15
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Shock absorbers dampen or restrict movement of the axle in relation to the body of the vehicle. (They do not change ride height of the vehicle) Shocks do this with fluid that is pushed internally through orfices and they rely on gravity to do this job.

With this you will know that a bad shock is one that displays ....
1) Zero movement - it is frozen (rusted) in position
2) Unrestricted movement- internally the fluid is no longer being pushed through a restricted opening
3) There is a shock fluid leak externally - seal leak will eventually cause much of the fluid to leave the shock
4) Other mechanical damage such as broken ends or stripped off nuts or fasteners

The shock can also become weak and yet not completely unrestrictive in the dampening action. Internal seals starting to fail or other causes. Good news is the design of the torsion axle provides some measure of dampening axle action, so shock absorbers are not used as hard as they are in non-torsion axle applications. Other things that will contribute to longer service life are -

Tires and wheels that are in good condition
Tires and wheels that are in balance for up and down movement
Torsion axles that are in good condition and the internal rubber rods are not hardened up.

In 1967 Airstream switched from a mostly vertical mounted shock absorber to a mostly horizontal mounted shock absorber to create more space internally in the coach. This also required a design change internally to the shock because gravity was not pulling the dampening fluid in the same direction as a vertical mounted shock. Very few to no other applications are like this so the after market parts industry has not created a replacement because sales volume would be so low. (Supply & demand) Hense when replacements are needed an Airstream dealer is the source.

The mounts for Airstream shock absorbers are not as beefy as other vehicle applications. They won't accept the added pressure from coil over springs or gas shocks or any other design that increases the pressure on the mountings. Any added pressure will cause the shock mounts to deform or break off.

I hope this helps

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Old 09-08-2012, 09:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
RangerJay--just reread your detailed explanation above and had a follow-up question.

I can imagine that if your shock stuck hard so that essentially the suspension on that side of your trailer could no longer travel up and down, everytime the street side suspension compressed, the trailer would lean, and you would wear the inside of the curb side wheel. But knowing also that the shock mounts aren't really designed to take that kind of abuse, I wonder if any deformation was observed in the shock mounts, or any other damage that could be attributed to driving on non-moving suspension has been noticed.
Why switch to a "maybe", instead of using a "for sure"?

Airstream horizontal shocks, are very reasonable.

Andy
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:31 AM   #17
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Action - Not to split hairs, but I would say that it is FORCE, not gravity, that pushes the fluid in a hydraulic shock absorber through orfices to dampen movement. Gravity is of course a particular force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth. A hydraulic shock absorber does not have to be vertical to dampen movement. You likely have a horizontal shock absorber on your car or truck - it's called a steering stabilizer. Monroe makes them and describes them as horizontal shock absorbers.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:40 AM   #18
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Gravity keeps the fluid in the correct position of the static shock orfice. (At rest) If the shock is mounted in a different than design position (A verticle designed shock mounted horizontally) then the fluid settles in a different area because of gravity into a position that renders the shock ineffective.

A verticle designed shock will not be effective on a horizontally designed system such as post '66 Airstreams.

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:11 AM   #19
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Action, I stand corrected. A bit more research revealed the variations in shock design, though not much detail on horizontal shocks. According to Monroe, "A conventional two-tube shock absorber must be mounted somewhat vertically". "Somewhat" is pretty vague.

Thanks for the explanations.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:30 PM   #20
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"A conventional two-tube shock absorber must be mounted somewhat vertically". "Somewhat" is pretty vague.

Thanks for the explanations.
Yeah I am not sure there is an exact spec on how far past vertical one can go before there is an issue. In my experience I would think most vertical shocks are good to about 10 to 15 degrees. Could be more than that and I am just not clear before it is an issue.

Way back before the internet, I mounted some regular shocks up side down on a older Ford Galaxie 500. The correct ones were not available because there was not a high demand and limited model application. (I installed a front shock on the back because it "fit") I discovered from a life experience that shocks have to be mounted in a more or less correct designed position in order for them to do the job. Other wose I am just mounting more useless baggage.

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:05 PM   #21
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Just a short follow-up to a couple of questions asked earlier.

The trailer was picked up last week.

The "sticking" shock was shown to me - it's bottom half was greasy/dirty (unlike its sister shock) - it could be compressed smoothly with some effort (exactly the same as it's sister shock) but it could not be extended without great effort (unlike its sister shock) - when enough force was used to extend the shock the motion was not smooth (also unlike the sister shock). The shock mounts were not deformed.

I have been assured that the alignment is within normal specs.

The tire itself was fine - no evidence of tread separation. The spare (a 10 year old Marathon) was examined by an independent tire service, found to be fine, and has been mounted and balanced on that wheel. The worn Marathon is now my spare.

I have been assured that the alignment is within normal specs.

To be truthful I've been very comfortable with the service and the tech who worked on the trailer - he's a long time employee - a 30 year veteran in the business - and showed a lot of personal interest in the trailer and chasing down the problem.

The only other action I have taken was to invest in a $3 tread gauge to document what is happening after each trip - at least for next year.

Thanks for the replies from all of you - this has been really helpful.



Jay
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #22
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Just my opinion, I would not be comfortable with a 10 year old tire no matter what it looked like. If I were using a 10 year old tire to do one trip to get it to a tire shop or using it to store the trailer I would be good. To use it for a trip I was taking ...... that's where I would draw the line and replace it. Again just my opinon.

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:27 AM   #23
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Just my opinion, I would not be comfortable with a 10 year old tire no matter what it looked like. If I were using a 10 year old tire to do one trip to get it to a tire shop or using it to store the trailer I would be good. To use it for a trip I was taking ...... that's where I would draw the line and replace it. Again just my opinon.

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Thanks again for the advice.


I'm aware - and have followed - the tire replacement 5-year rule-of-thumb in the past (much to the surprise of our local dealer - lots of tread left on the tires at the time). In talking to other dealers in the region since, I've been told that this rule is not as big a factor as it is in the south where high summertime heat is a bigger deal when travelling. Regardless - we are again at the 5-year interval - and even before this issue - tire replacement had been on our "to do" list before the next camping season - the only trips left for this season (likely just our Thanksgiving weekend) will be short.


Thanks again,




Jay
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #24
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If I lived in Canada and didn't travel very far south, I might risk running 10 year old XPS Ribs. However, I wouldn't even consider putting that Marathon tire on the ground (although, I might use it as a spare). That $100-150 you save using the old Marathon won't cover the potential damage you may experience if it blows out and the tread separates.

Just another opinion -- tainted by bad experiences in the desert southwest.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:22 PM   #25
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Just another opinion -- tainted by bad experiences in the desert southwest.
Heat from any source kills tires.

Where we live we never have to concern ourselves with frozen pipes or mice making home in our trailer. The furnace doesn't have to work that good and the windows don't have to shut out the freezing cold.

However the asphalt will find the weak tire in July. Just when you are pulling out of the heat on that first day of travel fully loaded to the gills!

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Old 12-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #26
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Since the shocks are mounted horizontal to the ground on Airstreams, I'm not sure the coil-over shocks would do any good. Just a guess...

Also, the shock mounting points are not super-strong. They appear to only be for shock dampening and probably wouldn't hold up very well to any heavy stresses.
They sure don't take much stress. One of mine is bent from the PO running into a hard curb or rock.. Not sure how or if I will fix it though. It's still tough enough to make the repair a pain in the butt...
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:28 PM   #27
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They sure don't take much stress. One of mine is bent from the PO running into a hard curb or rock.. Not sure how or if I will fix it though. It's still tough enough to make the repair a pain in the butt...
Shock studs are cheap and easily replaced.

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Old 01-02-2013, 12:43 PM   #28
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Where do you find them? My axles came without the studs, just holes on the shock mount. I thought I could jury-rig somehting using a threaded rod and nuts, but there isn't enough clearance between the tire and the shock mount.
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