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Old 03-16-2015, 09:14 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 16
Shocks and brakes

I just became the owner of an 87 27' sovereign and put tires on to get it home but now need to do brakes and shocks. Wondered if anyone could tell me what shocks to ask for at the auto parts store. I'm assuming they are cheaper there than the AS dealer. Also in reading the posts it sounds as if I have to do the bend thing or drop the axle. Is that the case for my unit? As I pulled in the driveway it sounded like a brake was dragging so am going to do brakes and check the bearings also. Are the brake parts AS dealer only? the unit sat for 10 years so no telling what things look like. I love this trailer. The more I look at stuff on this thing the more I'm impressed with how it's built! Any input would be appreciated! Thanks.

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Old 03-16-2015, 10:47 AM   #2
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1999 34' Excella
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Hillsboro , Texas
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Congrats on making it home!

Parts should be available from a good trailer supply outfit. There are other "online" sources if you need, we can suggest. Bearings can be purchased at most industrial bearing houses or trailer supply. I personally run Timken bearings and National seals. Removed 1 year old chinesium bearings which were failing.

Depending on your location Inland RV are good folks to work with

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Old 03-16-2015, 01:44 PM   #3
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1986 31' Sovereign
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The shocks, I have always been told, are special to the airstream as they are valved to work when mounted horizontally. Might be worth looking into before you do all that work.

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Old 03-16-2015, 02:48 PM   #4
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2000 30' Excella
Toledo , Ohio
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Buy the shocks for an Airstream not auto parts they are only about $35. ea. and when you do the brakes buy the entire package from backing plate to drum it's an easy job . Inland RV or Out of Doors Mart both have good web sites for the parts you need or any large trailer dealer can get you the brakes .
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:07 PM   #5
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1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 393
Before you order any parts, read the information written by Andy regarding the axles, on the Inland RV website. A trailer of that age will probably need new axles. Check to make sure they are ok before you do much road travel. If you need new axles, they can be ordered complete from Inland. Good luck, Chris
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:27 PM   #6
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Welcome to Air Forums. Always nice to meet another Airstreamer. You're going to enjoy your special vintage trailer.

The rubber rods in the Dura Torque type axles get hard with age. It is worse when trailers sit for a long time. It is likely time to replace the axles. The cost will be in the $800 each range. They will come with brakes and bearings, so you would be all set for another 30 years of travel! There are some inspections and tests you can do on your trailer to help ascertain the need for new axles. Worn out axles tend to "droop" with age causing the trailer to ride lower. And worn out axles tend to be "stiff" thus the wheel does not drop very much when you jack up the trailer as the rubber is hard. A key visual is the "swing arm" is not at 22 degrees below horizontal when the trailer is sitting on level ground. It might be more toward horizontal.

Keep your receipts. New axles will likely enhance the value of your trailer by about the cost of the new axles.

Research these Air Forums for information on axles, brakes and bearings. The Airstream horizontal shocks can be ordered from an Airstream dealer, Jackson Center, or several of the large Airstream on line parts suppliers. The key is knowing they are not automotive shocks. The cost is about $30 each.

Axle replacement is a major $$$ upgrade. Brakes and bearing renew would cost close to $500 with drums, shoe and backing plate assemblies, bearings and seals. But no use spending this if you need new axles too. Plus, new axles will come with a lubrication system and self adjusting brakes so you don't have to pack wheel bearings like I did all weekend. Okay, I'm old and slow!

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