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Old 07-12-2004, 04:49 PM   #15
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I'm thinking of replacing my shocks.

What is the proper way to jack up and support the trailer during the work?
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Old 07-12-2004, 05:07 PM   #16
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Shock Replacement

Tim.

Place a bottle jack on the "axle mounting plate," between the two wheels.

Remove the tire and wheel. That will give you access to the shocks.

If your running gear is balanced, be sure to reinstall the tire and wheel in the same exact position that it was in to start with.

Do one side at a time.

Andy
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Old 07-12-2004, 06:57 PM   #17
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David.

$278.00 for two axles divided by 2.5 hours (the flat rate time) is a $111.20 labor rate. I think that is very excessive.

Did they replace the grease seals? If not, I would raise holy devil with them.

Reference gas shocks.

Gas shocks are "NOT" recommended by Airstream. If they were better than the horizontal shocks, they would have used them in production.

The point of it is, each shock can carry and absorb just so much of a "shock" or "G" force. The greater the weight of the vehicle, the greater the duty must be of the shock.

Therefore, since gas can go through an "oriface" easier than a liquid, they will not do an "equal" job as the horizontal Airstream shocks, rendering gas shocks not acceptable for use on an Airstream trailer, that has Henschen axles.

It's still amazing, where a choice is made to down grade something Airstream has used for years, sometimes for price, not even talking about the same performance, let alone better. Gas shocks have zero performance history on an Airstream trailer.

And then there is the issue of problems down the road, that are ignored, but usually, Airstream will get blamed for it.

A shock is not just a shock. There are different kinds for different reasons and useages.

It is wise not confuse or ignore the issue.

Gas shocks do not belong on any Airstream or Argosy trailers, period, that are equipped with Henschen axles.

For the leaf spring trailer owners, your on your own.

Andy
Andy

I feel I must defend my position on the use of gas shocks. The shock's I used were originally intended for a vehicle that weighed in at 4900-lbs. Dry weight on my 1963 International Sovereign was 4500 lbs. But as shocks are not designed as load bearing components of the suspension system I seem to be missing your point. A gas shock uses orifices much the same as hydraulic shocks only in my opinion gas shocks respond much quicker than their hydraulic counterparts and are just as capable of handling the shock or G loads. As my Airstream does not have horizontal mounted shocks I donít see the reasoning in your stating that Iím downgrading my shocks. I feel that I have upgraded them. Do you feel because I paid less for gas shocks than the hydraulicís you sell that I have downgraded? Do you have a shock in stock that has 5/8" mounts top and bottom? This does not seem to be a normal configuration but it does seem to be a stock Airstream installation. As far as performance history goes gas shocks have a very credible performance history in the vehicle market, and I would assume that a vehicle gets a lot more wear and tear and mileage than your run of the mill Airstream. And as far as Henschen axles go, I will be replacing mine with sprung axles, but that is a topic for another thread.

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Old 07-13-2004, 11:08 AM   #18
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Leonard.

Airstream shocks have a 5/8 id grommet at both ends.

Each Airstream owner is free to re-engineer their trailer any way they want to.

Unfortunately, the second owner is usually the person that suffers, because of that engineering.

We stay loaded with re-engineered work that owners bring to us from all over the country, as well as Canada, to un-engineer and put back the way Airstream built it or reasonably close to it.

We at this time, out of 24 trailers here, 9 of them fit that category, to one degree or another.

That is not to say that all of the modifications didn't hold up, but more often than not, they don't.

Airstream spends millions in their designs. It's difficult to understand why someone may chose to modify the suspension system, when Airstream has a track record of time and performance.

We are not being critical of anyones choice of what or how.

We strive very hard, to maintain Airstream standards or better, as well as helping the new comer avoid problems, that could occur by following someones scheme of repairs that could result in damage or injury to the trailer or themselves.

It is to that end that we disagree with with your choice of gas shocks, and replacing the Henschen axles with leaf spring supported axles. And it's your choice.

But, lets not confuse the new comers.

Andy
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
We are not being critical of anyones choice of what or how.
So what is wrong with gas shocks? Has AS tested gas shocks? What were the results? I see a big explanation but no answer.

John
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:22 PM   #20
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My experience with gas shocks on vehicles has proven a few points that i woul dnot want on my Airstream.
First, all the gas shocks that I have ever installed had substantial pre-load. All of them proveided a substantially stiffer ride than applicable oil-only shocks. And, in every instance it changed the ride of the vehicle. Usually for the better in a truck or car, but if I parallel MY findings with what I believe my trailer should ride like, then I would have to say no to gas shocks. Simply too much pre-load, and too stiff of a ride. I doubt the shock bracketry was designed to handle that much stress. We're replacing axles to get a comfy, plush and soft ride, protecting the Airstream stucture from too much shock and vibration, so I think the shock absorber's job should be that of damping control only, definitley not ride altering.
This is just my opinion, based on experiences with gas shocks on trucks and cars.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:03 PM   #21
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I guess my opinion is that the preload on gas shocks is only a few pounds, and will not affect the ride height or reponse noticeably. The reason I use gas shock is they reduce the amount of foaming in the oil.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:51 PM   #22
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Hi Gang,

To clarify several points:

Gas shocks are not air shocks.

Gas shocks operate the same as non-gas shocks by using the enclosed fluid as the dampening medium. The purpose of the gas pressurization is to reduce the foaming of the fluid under rapid cycling of the shock, such as traveling over a washboard surface. If the fluid foams then a fluid/air mixture is passing through the metering orifice and the reduced viscosity of the mix causes the shock to act poorly.

Dual tube gas shocks should not be inverted as they operate the same as non-pressurized shocks; simply reducing the foaming because of the increased internal pressure.

Air shocks are designed to raise/lower/hold-static the ride height of a vehicle and are not for trailer use.

Mono-tube gas shocks can be mounted in ANY position and, because of the single tube design cool better than traditional dual tube shocks (gas or not). They are more costly to manufacture, but being they are manufactured in much greater numbers than inverted non-pressurized shocks, the overall cost probably equals the old style shock traditionally used by Airstream.

Airstream moves forward slower than most of us would like but they provide good equipment that will function as originally designed. However, sometimes newer is better. Remember the adage mentioned many times about engineering of the Airstream. They have spent many hours on the entire trailer. Shock absorber companies have spent as many hours on the shocks alone. The product has moved forward, eventually Airstream will catch up and recognize the better quality products available in the marketplace. Once recognized they'll catch up and add them to the latest offerings.

Personally, the old style shock is fine for my old style trailer!

Take care,
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Old 07-13-2004, 02:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I guess my opinion is that the preload on gas shocks is only a few pounds, and will not affect the ride height or reponse noticeably. The reason I use gas shock is they reduce the amount of foaming in the oil.
Don,
Last year, when I put gas shocks on my Suburban, they came with a containment strap, which I mistook for packaging/shipping device and snipped off on the first one, a rear gas shock for a 97 Suburban 1/2 ton. Big mistake.
I am guessing the preload being between 50 and 100lbs, hard to judge when laying on the floor and pushing up on the stinker to get it to slip over the mounting stud. I ended up using a floor jack to make it comply.
after the shock installation, the Suburban's hitch needed to be adjusted to make up for the change in ride height.....that much pre-load. I believe you are correct that the primary purpose for the gas is to control the oil damping action, and to prevent foaming of the oil, but a secondary effect on my vehicles was the change in ride height, as well as a dramatic difference in Suspension character.
In teh case of my passenger cars, this was a great improvment in all cases.
Honestly, in the Suburban, it seemed great at first, but now I regret the choice. It became very stiff and truckish, where before it just had comfortable oil shocks that were at the end of their service life.
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Old 07-13-2004, 03:01 PM   #24
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Uwe,
You're probably right. The gas shocks I put on my trailer were specifically for RV/Trailer and I'm sure they weren't as heavy duty as Suburban shocks. I could collapse them with hand pressure for installation.

I didn't notice a difference in ride height, even with just the bare frame and no body.
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Old 07-13-2004, 03:16 PM   #25
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Don, then you should be a-ok, in my book. My concern would come into play if someone used a set of shocks rated for a 6000lb vehicle on an Airstream trailer as a non-referenced substitute.
On a side note: I took of a shock from the 63 Overlander yesterday, and I believe it's still good.
It feels even through all of it's travel, and does not leak, which i find amazing. Looks like it's original, or at least very old, too.
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:14 PM   #26
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On a side note: I took of a shock from the 63 Overlander yesterday, and I believe it's still good.
It feels even through all of it's travel, and does not leak, which i find amazing. Looks like it's original, or at least very old, too.
I took the original shocks off my '59 and they are still good! The only reason I replaced them was my new axle and springs needed a little more stroke length.
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:32 PM   #27
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Andy, I worked in the Submarine engineering world for 35 years. It was impossible to make the ships sailor proof, however we knew not to deviate from the design and had to, on many occassions, go back and undo some "good ole seat of the pants fixes". I do not have an Airstream dealer anywhere near me. Stafford Dodge is the closest and he is about 4 hours away. I have contacted them twice, the first time was concerning some locks for my external compartments. They were very helpful and even had Airstream direct mail me the parts which was a lifesaver as I was leaving on a trip. The second time involved the entryway door lock. They did not return my calls and just left me hanging. I ended up having a friend machine me a new door bolt. I don't mind in the least paying for a quality product that was designed for my unit, but sometimes its just too hard. I wish that Airstream was like Fantastic fans or Pac Brake. I have called both of these companies, talked with knowledgeable techs, and got immediate results. I would have gladly bought shocks from Airstream or an Airstream dealer if I could have found a timely way to do it and someone that cared enough to talk to me. Maybe I will have to start having my parts shipped in from the west coast. It sounds like your organization has its act together.

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Old 09-30-2008, 07:15 PM   #28
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I replaced my shocks on my 1979 31' AS myself with regular Airstream dealer provided shocks. I found an open end 3/4 wrench in my tool box that I had heated and bent on an angle several years ago to change the motor mounts on a 72 340 Dodge engine. It worked perfect. Instead of bending the plate the shock is attached to I used a jack bolt and placed between the frame and the plate and pushed it out just enough to get the shocks on. The worst part about this task was the rusted nuts. Before you attempt this job spray the nuts that hold the shocks on several days in a row with liquid wrench. Soak them real well and they should come off rather easily.
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