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Old 12-01-2011, 12:55 PM   #1
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Shocks on a '57 Overlander?

Early this Fall, a couple passing through my part of the Shenandoah Valley had an axle failure on their 1957 26' Overlander, and had to continue back home to PA, leaving it at a local RV shop. It's still here- the axle has been replaced, but the old axle had shock absorbers mounted on it, and they understandably feel like it should be the same as it was before "the incident", when they come down to pick it up. I am trying to coordinate things for them on this end, so they can zip in to get it, and not get bogged down in continued repairs. Of course, the old axle and shocks were disposed of before the brackets were removed or measurements made.
Can anyone tell me what model of shock absorber is used for this application? I have read other threads in the past, suggesting that leaf spring axle trailers like this one don't need shocks at all, but that seems like it would get rather bouncy back there. Something like an auto parts P/N that would include shocks, brackets, and how it should be mounted would be ideal, if anyone has been down this road before.

Any help would be appreciated greatly.


Thanks!

Brad
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65Safari65 View Post
Early this Fall, a couple passing through my part of the Shenandoah Valley had an axle failure on their 1957 26' Overlander, and had to continue back home to PA, leaving it at a local RV shop. It's still here- the axle has been replaced, but the old axle had shock absorbers mounted on it, and they understandably feel like it should be the same as it was before "the incident", when they come down to pick it up. I am trying to coordinate things for them on this end, so they can zip in to get it, and not get bogged down in continued repairs. Of course, the old axle and shocks were disposed of before the brackets were removed or measurements made.
Can anyone tell me what model of shock absorber is used for this application? I have read other threads in the past, suggesting that leaf spring axle trailers like this one don't need shocks at all, but that seems like it would get rather bouncy back there. Something like an auto parts P/N that would include shocks, brackets, and how it should be mounted would be ideal, if anyone has been down this road before.

Any help would be appreciated greatly.


Thanks!

Brad
Oooh yes, I was just starting to think about this myself.... Somebody get the man an answer!
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:47 AM   #3
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I think you might have it backwards. The leaf spring axle is very dependent on a shock. Was this axle repaired or was it replaced? Was a torsion axle used or a leaf spring axle? Why didn't the shop doing the axle work put one on? I know, more questions and no answers, but just trying to sort out what is going to be needed.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander
I think you might have it backwards. The leaf spring axle is very dependent on a shock. Was this axle repaired or was it replaced? Was a torsion axle used or a leaf spring axle? Why didn't the shop doing the axle work put one on? I know, more questions and no answers, but just trying to sort out what is going to be needed.
Just to add another data point, my '59 Pacer has a reverse drop straight axle with 4 ply leaf springs and absolutely nowhere that I can find that indicates it ever had shocks mounted. I'm fairly confident this is original given how few repairs there were by the PO, and given how old the axle looked.

It seems to me that your comment on the leaf spring axles needing it more makes sense-- a giant metal bar that bends has less vibration dampening than a bunch of rubber rods just based upon material properties alone.

So what do I put on? Haha....
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:21 AM   #5
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Peter,

An old car guy once told me the following:

"Springs are for height, shocks are for ride and never confuse the two"

This is why you hear about people who use air-shocks to raise up the back-end of the car having shock mounts fail and the shocks busting up through the floor of the trunk.

If the proper spring is use based on weight, adding a shock will provide a smoother ride.

So for a smooth ride (thus not busting rivets) shocks would be a good idea though may not have been done when the trailer was built for whatever reason.

It's not real hard to add shocks to a standard axle, weld shock mounts to the axle and frame, install shock and you're done. On the type of axle that has rubber rods however this can't be done due to the heat of welding melting the rubber rods.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:54 PM   #6
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I agree that a leaf spring axle would inherently have more need for a shock absorber. The question is, which one to use? The trailer is currently at an RV shop that doesn't do any welding, and isn't comfortable telling anyone else what to do on this job. I don't want to end up picking a shock at random, as it could end up being too short, or too long (thus being mounted at too steep of an angle to work correctly). I feel like a good custom horse trailer shop could do this job blindfolded, but I don't know any.

So... If anybody reading this has a leaf spring axle, kindly crawl underneath and get some numbers off the shocks for me. I believe the trailer got a new axle, so mounts will have to be welded.
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