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Old 02-18-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kyle401 View Post
Removing the shocks will result in an under-damped suspension system. Under-damped suspensions result in a softer ride at the expense of body control. Think 1980's Cadillac.
True for the example that you've given...shocks are needed. But, in the case of a torsion axle, not so. Torsion axles are a steel bar encased in rubber or similar material. The steel bar is the spring, the rubber is the damper. Rubber and similar materials (urethane) have a high amount of friction when deflected (bent or twisted). Friction is damping, therefore the torsion axle system is already damped which is why the rubber is there. Obviously, Airstream at some point felt that wasn't enough damping (or maybe not enough damping over time since the rubber will get hard over time) and added shocks. Are shocks necessary, no, especially if your axles are in good condition. Are they an added bonus? Yup. Do shocks compensate for degrading rubber for some time? Yup. Do shocks compensate for old, dry, hard rubber? Nope. Airstreams have a lot of added perks that aren't necessary to the average camper buyer. Shocks are just one of those.

If someone wants to buy shocks for their Airstream, we should let them. If they don't want them, we should not belittle them. We can offer our own experience / setup / opinion and then let the individual decide.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:39 AM   #16
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What I found interesting about the airstream shocks is that they damper in both directions. though you can move them easily by hand, I would expect that slow down the movement of the axle, so you don't get fast snap backs from big bumps. I can see how they would work to make a smother ride, but is it worth voiding my 5 year warranty? I spoke with many people who have been doing axles for years, and welding them on is normal practice. But with my luck I could have a factory defect and they could blame it on the welding....
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:59 AM   #17
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I just finished having new Dexterís installed under my í74 31í AS along with the new brackets that had to be welded on for the shocks. Since it had shocks when manufactured, my thought is that they were required for proper operation of the AS. Like Silverflames, I picked mine up at Redneck Trailer but in Springfield, Mo. I bought mine from Andy.
When I pulled my AS home a month or so ago, I didnít know how recently the wheel bearings had been packed so I drove about 50 mph for about 30 miles with very little if any sway. I knew it needed axles so it sat in the driveway until last week. I pulled it to a trailer guy to install the axles with no problem or noticeable sway. Here are pics of the wheels before and after axles installed. I gained about 6Ē in height. This apparently caused the tongue weight to be greater since it was apparent when I hooked up to tow home (about 10 miles on a county paved road). The ride home was an eye opener. The sway was very noticeable and one that requires action before I tow it again.
I mention this because the majority of you responding to this thread have similar size and age TTís so Iím in desperate need of help deciding on a weight distribution and sway control system. It would be very helpful to know what systems you guys are using. On a different thread, the majority of those responding (only 5 responded) recommended a Pro Pride system, $2500 system unless they have a less expensive one I donít know about. I need something to compare it to in order to make a decision. Also, 800# bars seemed to be best for my AS. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:24 AM   #18
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Sorry Andy...

You usually have me backing you when you talk about axles and the importance of proper running gear. While shocks (debatable but more on that later) are ONE part of that entire system as it goes it is a personal choice. But your shop facts are emergency room statistics. If a doctor had a heart attack victim come in with a pack of cigarettes hanging out of his pocket and automatically assumed that was the cause of his heart attack he wouldn't be a very good doctor would he. As you always state in the many other threads regarding axles and running gear and overly weighted distribution hitches you almost seem to single out shocks as one of the major causes of damage in this thread and I'm sorry but it just isn't so. Winestream has it right in that shocks do help but there is a point when they can't be asked to do something they werent design to do and that is to absorb. Thats where these shocks differ from what most people believe shocks are suppose to do. Just because they look like shock absorbers this they are not...they're dampers. Dampers reduce oscillations and mechanical road transmissions where actual shock absorbers do just that...Absorb Shock....thus enter the Duratorque Axle your new "shock absorber"

Now if someone came up with a adjustable damper for the varying road conditions that an AS will see...you will have my undivided attention. But this 60.00 x 6,4 or 2 do all damper loses me from the start.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:42 AM   #19
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Sorry Andy...

You usually have me backing you when you talk about axles and the importance of proper running gear. While shocks (debatable but more on that later) are ONE part of that entire system as it goes it is a personal choice. But your shop facts are emergency room statistics. If a doctor had a heart attack victim come in with a pack of cigarettes hanging out of his pocket and automatically assumed that was the cause of his heart attack he wouldn't be a very good doctor would he. As you always state in the many other threads regarding axles and running gear and overly weighted distribution hitches you almost seem to single out shocks as one of the major causes of damage in this thread and I'm sorry but it just isn't so. Winestream has it right in that shocks do help but there is a point when they can't be asked to do something they werent design to do and that is to absorb. Thats where these shocks differ from what most people believe shocks are suppose to do. Just because they look like shock absorbers this they are not...they're dampers. Dampers reduce oscillations and mechanical road transmissions where actual shock absorbers do just that...Absorb Shock....thus enter the Duratorque Axle your new "shock absorber"

Now if someone came up with a adjustable damper for the varying road conditions that an AS will see...you will have my undivided attention. But this 60.00 x 6,4 or 2 do all damper loses me from the start.
Shocks indeed, no matter what they are on, are dampeners.

Mosr agree that when an Airstream hits bumps, the shell flexes.

That flexing can increase by the amount of road shock delivered to the chassis/shell.

Bad rubber rods in the axle/axles contribute to that shock.

Bad or no shocks, in whatever amount they contibute to the overall running gear system, also help to reduce or dampen road shock.

Seeing many Airstream's over the years with cracks in the shell and/or frame, missing rivets, holes punched into the ceiling, broken thermocouple leads, and many other things, are caused by bouncing and/or vibration.

Certainly, unbalanced running gear has made it's contribution as well to damages.

There would likely be less unnecessary damages, if the entire running gear system was kept in top shape.

The basic problem, is that many owners are not aware of what heppens to the trailer, since they never have ridden in it.

Helping owners, to increase safety and decrease cost of repairs, over the long haul, has always been my goal.

Being informed, is the first step to saving money.

Andy
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:59 AM   #20
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I just finished having new Dexterís installed under my í74 31í AS along with the new brackets that had to be welded on for the shocks. Since it had shocks when manufactured, my thought is that they were required for proper operation of the AS. Like Silverflames, I picked mine up at Redneck Trailer but in Springfield, Mo. I bought mine from Andy.
When I pulled my AS home a month or so ago, I didnít know how recently the wheel bearings had been packed so I drove about 50 mph for about 30 miles with very little if any sway. I knew it needed axles so it sat in the driveway until last week. I pulled it to a trailer guy to install the axles with no problem or noticeable sway. Here are pics of the wheels before and after axles installed. I gained about 6Ē in height. This apparently caused the tongue weight to be greater since it was apparent when I hooked up to tow home (about 10 miles on a county paved road). The ride home was an eye opener. The sway was very noticeable and one that requires action before I tow it again.
I mention this because the majority of you responding to this thread have similar size and age TTís so Iím in desperate need of help deciding on a weight distribution and sway control system. It would be very helpful to know what systems you guys are using. On a different thread, the majority of those responding (only 5 responded) recommended a Pro Pride system, $2500 system unless they have a less expensive one I donít know about. I need something to compare it to in order to make a decision. Also, 800# bars seemed to be best for my AS. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
Dave.

The ball height on your hitch will have to be changed.

It also appears that perhaps your tires are over inflated.

A sway can develope on a tandem axle trailer, if more weight is on one axle than the other, by having the trailer nose down or nose up.

The tandem or tri-axle torsion bar axle equipped trailer should be reasonably level when being towed.

Andy
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:20 PM   #21
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I just finished having new Dexter’s installed under my ’74 31’ AS along with the new brackets that had to be welded on for the shocks. Since it had shocks when manufactured, my thought is that they were required for proper operation of the AS. Like Silverflames, I picked mine up at Redneck Trailer but in Springfield, Mo. I bought mine from Andy.
When I pulled my AS home a month or so ago, I didn’t know how recently the wheel bearings had been packed so I drove about 50 mph for about 30 miles with very little if any sway. I knew it needed axles so it sat in the driveway until last week. I pulled it to a trailer guy to install the axles with no problem or noticeable sway. Here are pics of the wheels before and after axles installed. I gained about 6” in height. This apparently caused the tongue weight to be greater since it was apparent when I hooked up to tow home (about 10 miles on a county paved road). The ride home was an eye opener. The sway was very noticeable and one that requires action before I tow it again.
I mention this because the majority of you responding to this thread have similar size and age TT’s so I’m in desperate need of help deciding on a weight distribution and sway control system. It would be very helpful to know what systems you guys are using. On a different thread, the majority of those responding (only 5 responded) recommended a Pro Pride system, $2500 system unless they have a less expensive one I don’t know about. I need something to compare it to in order to make a decision. Also, 800# bars seemed to be best for my AS. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
I think Andy might have hit the nail on the head. Make sure your AS is level as possible when it hooked up. Measure from the frame before your front axle to the ground, then behind your axle for the frame to the ground. The measurements should be as close as possible when your hooked up to your TV. Mine is still a bit down, and needs to be adjusted. I towed it to Disney, about two hours away and the only problem I had was when I hit some rail road tracks at 55 mph. Crap went flying everywhere.

What size axles did you go with? Heavier axles use a 3 inch tube. I had to notch my plates to get them to fit.

Like you I don't have 2k to drop on hitch. I bought a easy lift from Adventure RV they got them for $200, it comes with the sway control bar. Worked well so far, no problems towing. Its 1000 lbs bars, so i just make the chains sung not super tight.

But it think a property set up AS tows just find hooked to the ball and chains. I towed mine on bad axles, on ball and chains, and it still towed better than any other trailer I had.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:14 PM   #22
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The new axles were 3" so we had to notch out the plates for them to fit. I'll measure as you suggest and raise my hitch and see how it handles. Thanks for your response.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:27 PM   #23
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Any time. If that does not work you might have to measure the placements of the axles. Both sides need to be the same distance from the front jack so the axles will be in line. If your guy does axle work a lot I'm sure he took that under consideration.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:41 PM   #24
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True for the example that you've given...shocks are needed.
The point I was trying to make is that an underdamped and undersprung suspension is often described as floaty or plush. The tradeoff comes in the form of reduced handling or body control.

If we accept the basic premise that a soft ride is better for Airstream longevity, then a plush ride is desirable as long as it doesn't result in reduced control.

If a suspension system is underdamped and undersprung to the extent that it frequently reaches the travel limits, a loss of control event is imminent.

For those that desire further study, this site does a pretty good job of explaining the physics of spring mass damper systems.
ReStackor Spring-Mass-Damper Theory

To reiterate, for my Airstream, I have not found shocks to be a necessity for control or ride quality.

As usual YMMV.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:31 AM   #25
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The point I was trying to make is that an underdamped and undersprung suspension is often described as floaty or plush. The tradeoff comes in the form of reduced handling or body control.

If we accept the basic premise that a soft ride is better for Airstream longevity, then a plush ride is desirable as long as it doesn't result in reduced control.

If a suspension system is underdamped and undersprung to the extent that it frequently reaches the travel limits, a loss of control event is imminent.

For those that desire further study, this site does a pretty good job of explaining the physics of spring mass damper systems.
ReStackor Spring-Mass-Damper Theory

To reiterate, for my Airstream, I have not found shocks to be a necessity for control or ride quality.

As usual YMMV.
Thank is an interesting post.

However, it's for 2 wheeled motorcycles, which I don't really think behave on the road like an Airstream.

An Airstream can hit a bump on one side of the trailer, but for a motorcycle, a bump is a total bump, period.

Andy
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:53 PM   #26
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Just wondering Andy.....would you be willing to ride in the back of my trailer for a month and give me a report on the state of my running gear and deduce that my shocks are at fault by empirical evidence?

You talk about changing my mind in a heart beat if I were to ride in the back of my trailer without shocks but doing so in any trailer is assuming that everyone's axles are in the same condition and that the report can be 100% conclusive that shocks are to blame. I understand that this post is NOT about blaming the shocks.

What I'm interested is Silverflames and Winestreams accounts over REAL WORLD experience on not using shocks. I understand that they might not tow the same, at the same speeds and over the same terrain and one might tow 6000 miles a year one one might tow 6 miles a year but I am curious (and I hope they respond) that if they had a cracked shell or popped rivets they will say..."Crap ...should've put those shocks on"

Basically in a world of variables this is almost impossible. I referred back to my reference of an emergency room doctor now knowing that his heart attack patient had a bad diet, smoked two packs a day, didn't exercise and the doctor says..."well it was the cigarettes that caused his death."

In conclusion we already know where you stand Andy and no one will debate you on doing a service to the Airstream community. Those of us that spend time on here know that even if you stuck with "to each his own" we all would know where you are coming from. But I think we need to hear more from Silverflames and Winestreams and dozens of others that don't experience any problems from not having shocks or those that think they do. Please..step forward.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:17 PM   #27
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Just wondering Andy.....would you be willing to ride in the back of my trailer for a month and give me a report on the state of my running gear and deduce that my shocks are at fault by empirical evidence?

You talk about changing my mind in a heart beat if I were to ride in the back of my trailer without shocks but doing so in any trailer is assuming that everyone's axles are in the same condition and that the report can be 100% conclusive that shocks are to blame. I understand that this post is NOT about blaming the shocks.

What I'm interested is Silverflames and Winestreams accounts over REAL WORLD experience on not using shocks. I understand that they might not tow the same, at the same speeds and over the same terrain and one might tow 6000 miles a year one one might tow 6 miles a year but I am curious (and I hope they respond) that if they had a cracked shell or popped rivets they will say..."Crap ...should've put those shocks on"

Basically in a world of variables this is almost impossible. I referred back to my reference of an emergency room doctor now knowing that his heart attack patient had a bad diet, smoked two packs a day, didn't exercise and the doctor says..."well it was the cigarettes that caused his death."

In conclusion we already know where you stand Andy and no one will debate you on doing a service to the Airstream community. Those of us that spend time on here know that even if you stuck with "to each his own" we all would know where you are coming from. But I think we need to hear more from Silverflames and Winestreams and dozens of others that don't experience any problems from not having shocks or those that think they do. Please..step forward.
I have more than completed my tour of duty with Airstream "in the field" research.

Trying to help owners is my only goal.

Your being satisfied with your setup, is great for you, but possibly might not be for someone else.

I did my riding in the back of an Airstream, in the early 70's.

Thank you for the invitation, but please allow someone else to take my place in your trailer.

Having talked with thousands of Airstream owners, having investigated more than 1000 loss of control accidents involving towed Airstream products, having proved why they lost control over 85 percent of the time,
having written or approved over 40,000 estimates on Airstream damages, just by chance may give me a little edge over the typical owner.

I humbly admit that there isn't a day that goes by, that I don't make some kind of error.

Oh well, my defense is that I am a senior senior.

But.....I still like what I do.

Andy
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:06 PM   #28
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No shocks on our 65 Safari. New axle installed 3.5 years ago with over 10000 miles. No problems to date. Original owner pulled with original axle and had lots of problems. When installing the new axle I talked with Airstream service center and they told me they do not have shocks on smaller AS.
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