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Old 11-05-2005, 05:10 PM   #1
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How to replace shocks on 73 Overlander

Hey,

I have a 73 Overlander and I just received my new shocks. I noticed that the mounting bracket on the wheel assembly i.e. the rear bracket is very close to the frame. Here's the instructions in the AS manual.

axle removal and replacement
1. Jack trailer at marked jack pads behind axle on main frame, raise trailer until wheels clear by at least 1"
2. remove wheel and tire assembly
3. disconnect brake wires
4. Remove upper attachments of shocks
5. support axle at center with floor jack
6 remove 2 attachments bolts at each end of axle
7. lower axle with floor jack
8 check shocks for leakage or other visual damage, - replace if necessary
9 to replace, reverse procedure.

shock replacement
1. remove upper attachment of shock
2 remove lower attachment of shock and slide off of stud. because of minimum clearance between the stud and axle mounting platte, the shock may have to be slightly twisted to remove.

Questions.

Do I have to drop the axle in order to change the shocks? I was able to remove the shock by twisting it off without bending the mounting bracket, but it doesn't look like it will go back on unless I really bend the bracket, which I have seen mentioned on another website.

If I do have to drop the axle, can I just remove the two bolts on one side and do one side at a time, or do I have to drop the whole axle?

How heavy is the axle?

Thanks in advance!

Mike
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mshea
shock replacement
1. remove upper attachment of shock
2 remove lower attachment of shock and slide off of stud. because of minimum clearance between the stud and axle mounting platte, the shock may have to be slightly twisted to remove.

Questions.

Do I have to drop the axle in order to change the shocks? I was able to remove the shock by twisting it off without bending the mounting bracket, but it doesn't look like it will go back on unless I really bend the bracket, which I have seen mentioned on another website.

How heavy is the axle?

Thanks in advance!

Mike
Mike, you don't have to remove the axle to change shocks. You WILL have to bend the mounting bracket so the new shock with a 1 piece grommet will fit back on the stud.
The axle weighs about 250 pounds, with all accessories (brakes, drums, shocks, etc.) installed.
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:26 PM   #3
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Mike:

Terry is correct, I just use a crowbar, just a little pressure and it will bend out enough to remove the shock, lossen the nut first and leave it on the shock stud just covering the threads when you bend the bracket...experience is a great teacher! A little tap from a 3# sledge will put it right back in place

Greg
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Old 11-06-2005, 09:47 AM   #4
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MIKE. You will have no problem if you follow Greg and Terry's advice. Been there, done that. Dont forget to back up the jack with something solid under the trailer, just in case the jack slips.
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:44 PM   #5
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My buddies and I just changed the shocks on my '77 Sovereign this weekend....a job I've been putting off for years.
I had read the various horror stories about doing the job, so I went into it with trepidation.
We also managed to get the old shocks off without much trouble, but getting the new ones on looked to be a problem.
We ended up putting a floor jack in the center of the axle to support it, and removed the two bolts at one end of the axle. It dropped down just enough to get access to the upper shock mount. Incredibly easy, once you accept the fact that you can't do it without bending stuff, which I didn't want to do, unless you lower the axle.
We changed all four shocks and regreased the wheel bearings, and even had a couple of beers in about two hours.
I'm no longer intimidated by the axles.....they're really quite easy to deal with!
Guy
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:02 PM   #6
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The entire shock issue is overrated.
The shock has so little travel on the later models with horizontal mount, and has so little resistance, I doubt they do much more than decorate an otherwise empty bracket. This becomes even less of an issue with tired axles, where the travel of the shock is even more restricted.
Torsion axles are naturally self dampening by nature.
I have replaced several axles, and towed with and without shocks, over great distances and rough roads. I am yet to notice ANY difference, whatsoever.
The factory Airstream shocks have extremely low resistance to push and pull, even brand new.
I think they are a waste of time and money. I did put them on my 1963, but am convinced that their decorative value is much higher than their functional value.
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Old 11-16-2005, 03:38 PM   #7
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Uwe.

Airstream engineering disagrees with you.

Andy
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:59 PM   #8
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Uwe,

Airstream Engineering might disagree with you, but there are a few Airstream service people who don't.

Frederic
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:03 PM   #9
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Airstream engineers, designed and built the product.

Service departs are not involved with any other process except repair.


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Old 11-16-2005, 06:12 PM   #10
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I am certainly not an engineer, nor am I an expert at this. I am only sharing my real life experiences, which are little more than one man's opinion based on what I noticed. I did end up putting the new shocks on my trailers, both the 71 and the 1963, for the sake of having a complete and original undercarriage.
I just can't tell the difference with or without, that's all. I am, however, quite sensitive to what this 5000lb "thing" on my trailer hitch does while shlepping it through the countryside.
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:32 PM   #11
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necessary for perceived value?

I may be kicking a hornet's nest with this, but in the course of a conversation with a retired Airstream employee, the employee stated that the shocks were there more because the purchaser of such a high-end product expected to have things like these (shocks) on them, and they were not really needed, but since they were expected, they were designed and put on.
My personal opinion is, if it came with shocks, then it needs shocks. There are many travel trailers with torsion axles, that do not have shocks at all. However, I cannot say how much better or worse they ride, or how much, if any, damage is done to the trailer by not having them. I do think if there is a difference, it will be in the long-term, and most other brands of trailers don't last long enough to make a comparison...then again, maybe they do!
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:52 PM   #12
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Shocks are nothing more than motion restrictors.

We all know that an Airstream loves a soft ride.

That being the case, the softer the ride, the less punishment the trailer will take.

But, as an example, we removed the shocks from our cars, we would all go through the ceiling.

So what happens the, if we leave the shocks off of an Airstream?

"IF" we happened to ride in it, might we experience some of that excess vertical movement?

I believe so, as I have done that.

Things flying out of clothes clostes also say that, as well as clothes hangers falling on the floor.

Fruit for thought?

And besides, if there was "any" doubt, why take the risk? Shocks are cheap compared to possible resulting body, frame and/or cabinet damage repair costs and/or someones time.

Andy
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:12 PM   #13
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Are they worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
I think they are a waste of time and money. I did put them on my 1963, but am convinced that their decorative value is much higher than their functional value.
I've got new torsion axles ready to put on our '64 Overlander. Should I bother installing new shocks? When I removed the old shocks one of the bolts broke off, so if I put on new shocks I'll have to have a new mounting bolt welded on. I'm wondering it this is worth it or if I should just go without the shocks. The Overlander has vertical shocks.

Thanks,
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:13 PM   #14
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Car shocks are vertically mounted, whereas my Airstream shocks are horizontally mounted, so I don't understand how the shocks could be of any value. As everyone knows, riding in a travel trailer while in motion is 100% illegal in all states.

Frederic
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