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Old 06-13-2002, 06:13 PM   #1
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New Shocks

Wanted to see if you can actually use normal truck shocks for replacements on Airstreams, or if getting Airstream specific shocks is the necessary way to go. If anyone has replaced theirs, please let me know what you used. I have a 1972 Ambassador 29' if that has a bearing on what kind to get.
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Old 06-13-2002, 07:41 PM   #2
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Shocks

I've been told that AS shocks are special
because of the angle at which they are mounted..... And the prices are very close to the same dollar. I guess the mounts could be re-engineered. There are several areas that can use re-engineering.....
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Old 06-13-2002, 10:35 PM   #3
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Best bet is to use the Gabriel shocks...

I used the Airstream OEM shocks that are now made by Gabriel on my 65 Globetrotter. Got them from BobJones RV in Houston, TX for $25.00 each. Fit like they were made for it.... Oh, they were made for it.

Others have found a NAPA match, but why go to all that trouble.

Inland RV, Inc. also has them listed on their web parts list.

-BobbyWright
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Old 06-14-2002, 01:19 PM   #4
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Melissa,
www.inlandrv.com had them on sale. Not sure if they are still on sale at this time. Airstream has them made for them but I can't remember if they were made by Gabriel or not.
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Old 06-16-2002, 05:45 AM   #5
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ref:shocks

Last summer, while visiting the A/S factory, I finally had the shocks replaced on my 84 A/S. Would believe that the old ones were still good..True, who knows for how much longer but..
point is A/S shock seem to LAST~! I'm sure this is the same for most.
ciao
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Old 06-16-2002, 10:26 AM   #6
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The shocks that arrived with my new axles are Gabriels. The old ones seem to be about the same in damping in compression and extension????
If you have a 72 I would look at the axle section of the Inland RV site. My 9-72 build date 29' Ambassador had collapsed suspension and as a result this (and improper jacking) needs frame work. I just installed new axles and still have the frame work to do so will probably need to drop the axels again.
If you take one of the old shocks to NAPA etc and match the compressed and extended lengths you should be OK unless the Airstream shock has different valving than a "normal" automotive shock.

Dan
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Old 06-16-2002, 12:11 PM   #7
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The "Airstream" shock absorber is now made by Gabriel.
It is a horizontal shock. A vertical shock will not work properly as a replacement.
To our knowledge, regular auto parts stores cannot obtain them, nor do they have a "proper" replacement.

Andy
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Old 06-17-2002, 12:13 AM   #8
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Dan's axle replacement

Dan

Do you have any photos of your axle replacement? How long did it take? I will be doing the same soon.
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Old 06-17-2002, 12:52 AM   #9
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Not much of a job really. I ran one axle on blocks, dropped the free axle bolted in the new one and then did the same on the other. I recommend using new bolts. I used 5/8 fine thread grade 8.
Good time to check for loose rivets and belly skin. Just be sure the trailer cannot move. I had the wheels blocked and the jacks down and blocks to catch it as a back up should it move.
With 2 people and an impact wrench it can be easily done in a day, maybe an afternoon. It took me longer when I had to run 40 miles for the new bolts (pleasures of small town Montana).
This added about 2 hours to the task.
I will check the alignment before pulling it and then have it professionally checked if I can get it done within a 200 miles??
A good floor jack or 2 is very handy since the axles don't like to go into position since the spindle and hub are far behind the centerline and they don't balance on the jack.

Dan
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Old 07-03-2002, 04:42 PM   #10
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Shocks

I am in the process of testing the running gear on our 73 Safari that we bought three weeks ago. How do I know if the shocks are good or not? They seems to be old and original.
Dan
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Old 07-03-2002, 07:02 PM   #11
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Dan,
I have recently changed shocks, backing plates, inner and outer bearings and michined the hubs and armuture plates on my 72 23' tandom axel Safari.

I had inspected my shocks last yr. and saw no dampning fluid leakage so I let them go tell now, they were shot! I extended them full length and turned them upside down, they ran faster then a hobo to a happy meal. My pa says, "If they look old they are old! " I would change them out just for the peace of mind.

Pictures of the brake over haul will be posted soon. All Parts were from Inland RV. Shocks were Gabrials.
good luck - Ratt
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Old 07-03-2002, 09:53 PM   #12
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axle check

Check Inland RV by clicking here for en explanation of axle evaluation
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Old 07-04-2002, 11:32 AM   #13
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Shocks

Hey Fatt Ratt,
Thanks for the acvice. I will follow your instructions.
Dan
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Old 07-04-2002, 08:30 PM   #14
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Dan,

Hey ya'll, Terry(66 Trade wind) makes a very good point, check your axle after reading the Inland RV article. If they need to be replaced you can read the other posts that talk about ordering the axle,backing plate and shocks as a package that is ready to bolt up.

After I read the info from Inland RV, I determined mine were good. Then went with the parts stated. I live in a mild climate in CA. and knew the history of the trailer that I bought. The parts visually looked good but they are 30 yrs. old. The new backing plates have the oval magnets that increase stopping power! looking forward to towing with several classic cars this summer.

Andy at Inland was very helpful. I could have bought the parts at the Sacramento or Los Banos Airstream dealership and saved a few bucks on shipping but they don't post or participate on this forum so I gave my business to Andy.

My only instructions would be, error on the side of SAFETY!! your family and mine are depending on it .

Good luck - Ray
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