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Old 12-22-2007, 10:34 PM   #1
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We had to replace the torsion axel on our '65 Caravel. The old axel had shock mounts. The new axel did not have shock mounts. I was told by the axel company, Hayes Axels in Ontario, CA, that their torsion axels are used on all types of trailers, horse trailers, car haulers and others. They said that Airstream is the only one who adds shock mounts to torsion axels. Others don't bother. They said that torsion axels don't seem to have the "fight back" and bounce that conventional leaf springs have. I did not add them to my unit.
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:48 PM   #2
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That's news to me, I though the axels came with shock mounts. You could always wled some mounts on latter if the ride seems to give you problems. My Airstream is the only trailer I have that has shocks, all the others use just the leaf springs, all though that list includes utility and boat trailers.

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Old 12-23-2007, 05:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Foster
We had to replace the torsion axel on our '65 Caravel. The old axel had shock mounts. The new axel did not have shock mounts. I was told by the axel company, Hayes Axels in Ontario, CA, that their torsion axels are used on all types of trailers, horse trailers, car haulers and others. They said that Airstream is the only one who adds shock mounts to torsion axels. Others don't bother. They said that torsion axels don't seem to have the "fight back" and bounce that conventional leaf springs have. I did not add them to my unit.
If shocks were not needed, then why does Airstream install them?

Shocks are used to dampen vertical movements.

A torsion axle, to some degree does that, but not as much when it's combined with shocks.

Airstream engineers disagree with Hayes.

Andy
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Old 12-23-2007, 07:29 AM   #4
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question to Andy

Will be replacing axle on a 1955 Airstream Safari, and thinking about re-using the leaf spring. Will have the leaf spring inspected. What are you thoughts.

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Old 12-23-2007, 08:26 AM   #5
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Very nice springs. I would add skid plates.
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:41 AM   #6
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Just a thought

I'd consider reinstalling those with the axel mounted below the spring. It will give you longer legs, but not out of any comfort zone. Even on my short Caravel those service station sloped entrys come mighty close to testing out the drain fitting skid plate and removing the trap cover. A higher ground clearance is also handy on some boondock trips.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by toastie
question to Andy

Will be replacing axle on a 1955 Airstream Safari, and thinking about re-using the leaf spring. Will have the leaf spring inspected. What are you thoughts.

I attached a few pictures.
If your springs check out, I would think that they could use a good coat of paint, and probably some bushings too.

Adding skid plates is OK, but it won't help much more than letting the trailer drag on the U-bolts.

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Old 12-24-2007, 01:44 AM   #8
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I think mounting the springs on top of the axels is a good idea, too. I did that on a large utility trailer that I hauled heavy loads with and it helped, especially when I need clearance at the landfill. It didn't really have a noticable affect on the center of gravity either.
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Old 12-24-2007, 06:38 AM   #9
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Skid plates and welding

First, I would not weld anything to the Torsion Axle as welding may damage it's rubber components inside. For a trailer the size of a Caravel, I think you'll be fine (what spec axle did you install) as the shock travels very minimal anyway (assume you'll not be off roading it anyway). As to the skid plates - rather than that, I'd put a set of those curved "Tire Saver" steel springs that mount under the axle that the axle drops onto in case of blowout, instead of the rim dropping onto the tire and shredding it. Good luck.

Rob
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toastie
question to Andy

Will be replacing axle on a 1955 Airstream Safari, and thinking about re-using the leaf spring. Will have the leaf spring inspected. What are you thoughts.

I attached a few pictures.
If you get a straight(no drop) axle, you can still mount the axle over the springs as designed, and raise your ground clearance. The springs looks good, though rusty. New springs are pretty inexpensive, and metal fatigue could cause a leaf to crack. They are a half century old, you know.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:46 AM   #11
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toastie,

the consensus on here seems to be you can definately re-use the leaf springs (after your inspection). they'll need some lubing up and new bushings. i went through the same conversation with myself. it seems some people prefer the leaf springs to the torsion axle. i decided to go with the latest and greatest and upgrade to torsions axle with kodiak disc braking system. much more expensive than rebuilding the leaf springs though.

rob,

do you have a picture of that thing? is there something that works like that for a torsion axle? since i'm still working on the frame i could incorporate something.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Foster View Post
We had to replace the torsion axel on our '65 Caravel. The old axel had shock mounts. The new axel did not have shock mounts. I was told by the axel company, Hayes Axels in Ontario, CA, that their torsion axels are used on all types of trailers, horse trailers, car haulers and others. They said that Airstream is the only one who adds shock mounts to torsion axels. Others don't bother. They said that torsion axels don't seem to have the "fight back" and bounce that conventional leaf springs have. I did not add them to my unit.
Now that some time has passed how do you like your Hayes axle, would you reccomend Hayes axles? What about no shocks? Good or bad? Thanks, John
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:29 AM   #13
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Now that some time has passed how do you like your Hayes axle, would you reccomend Hayes axles? What about no shocks? Good or bad? Thanks, John
Hayes does not and will not build an axle to duplicate the original axles used on Airstream trailers. Their starting angles, load ratings and brakes used, do not match, or for that matter, even exceed the original Airstream specs.

Therefore what you get, is what you must live with.

The shock subject has been covered many many times, on these Forums.

Hayes, does not know how an Airstream behaves, which leaves them as an outsider when to comes to shock advice.

Someone, on this Forums, sometime back, did some tests, with and without shocks.

Their results clearly showed an improvement in the stability of the trailer, when shocks were used.

We just turned out an axle job yesterday, that were it not for the shocks, alll 4 wheels, hub and drums, and axle shafts would have separated from the trailer.

Individual re-engineering of a variety of Airstream specs, especially axles, usually winds up as a real headache, for the second owner, when the person that made those changes finds out that it didn't work out as they thought.

E-BAY is full of modified stuff, that is cleverly hidden from the photo's and description.

We see these problems every week in our shop.

Mickey Mousing has a place, but not with an Airstream, unless the owner is willing to accept problems associated with the poor choices.

Andy
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:05 AM   #14
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Now that some time has passed how do you like your Hayes axle, would you reccomend Hayes axles? What about no shocks? Good or bad? Thanks, John
Hayes axle Ontario facility update.

As of a few minutes ago, the following information was obtained from Hayes branch, in Ontario, California.

1. They have not sold retail in many years.

2. They have not built any torsion axles at their Ontario plant in over 10 years.

3. Corporate has deleted many of their dealers a frew years ago, "that did not spend enough money with them," like at least $50,000.00 per year, net.

4. The local Dexter plant in San Bernardino, California, has officially closed as of October 27th, 2008.

Andy
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