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Old 10-13-2010, 01:11 PM   #1
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Balance this hub?

There are lots of threads recommending balancing the wheels, tires and hubs to prolong AS trailer life. And there seem to be those who don't think hubs need to be balanced. Here is some pretty strong evidence that balancing the hubs is very necessary.

While putting on new tires and repacking the wheel bearings on our AS, I noticed one of the hubs was obviously out of balance. Spin it a little either way and it would settle right back to the same position.

When I had it off of the spindle it was immediately clear that the machining surfaces were way off center in the casting. The photos show clearly that one side measures 8mm and the other side 11mm, about a 40% difference in thickness. Either the tolerances weren't too exacting or the quality control wasn't too tight, can't say. But the hub is clearly out of balance.

Makes me glad that new axles, hubs, brakes etc., are going to be on before next spring.
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by driftless View Post
There are lots of threads recommending balancing the wheels, tires and hubs to prolong AS trailer life. And there seem to be those who don't think hubs need to be balanced. Here is some pretty strong evidence that balancing the hubs is very necessary.

While putting on new tires and repacking the wheel bearings on our AS, I noticed one of the hubs was obviously out of balance. Spin it a little either way and it would settle right back to the same position.

When I had it off of the spindle it was immediately clear that the machining surfaces were way off center in the casting. The photos show clearly that one side measures 8mm and the other side 11mm, about a 40% difference in thickness. Either the tolerances weren't too exacting or the quality control wasn't too tight, can't say. But the hub is clearly out of balance.

Makes me glad that new axles, hubs, brakes etc., are going to be on before next spring.
Lew.

Thanks for the photo's.

The hub that you have was not a stranger back then. All to many were put on Airstreams.

Even a Centramatic balancer wouldn't help that drum, as it's way out of round, as you pointed out.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:32 PM   #3
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IMHO, even the new ones need to be balanced! When I stalled new axles on my '74 I had the hubs/drums, balanced separtely/individually. The best one was out 3.5 oz/in the worst was out over 7oz/in. I took them to a industrial dynamic balancing company and they balanced them to 1/4oz./in. That spec is way overkill, but it is smoooooth.
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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IMHO, even the new ones need to be balanced! When I stalled new axles on my '74 I had the hubs/drums, balanced separtely/individually. The best one was out 3.5 oz/in the worst was out over 7oz/in. I took them to a industrial dynamic balancing company and they balanced them to 1/4oz./in. That spec is way overkill, but it is smoooooth.
Most anything man made, can have exceptions.

Usually, Centramatic balancers solve the Airstream balancing issues.

New hib and drums are not balanced, but they are one piece machined to far better tolerances than years ago.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:34 PM   #5
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Lew.

Thanks for the photo's.

The hub that you have was not a stranger back then. All to many were put on Airstreams.

Even a Centramatic balancer wouldn't help that drum, as it's way out of round, as you pointed out.

Andy
Since the AS had been sitting idle pretty much for the past twenty years, I thought it would be an ideal time to check the bearings and seals before I pulled it anywhere. Now at least I know I shouldn't have a spindle snap if I decide to tow it to a service center for the new axles. DW just isn't sure I should be trying to install the new axles myself, but I figure with two sons-in-law and a son to help (bribed by a case of Wisconsin Brew) the job shouldn't be that tough. Then I can get everything balanced and alligned ready for the road.

Are centrimatics the answer? When you rotate the tires, it seems to me you would have to rebalance the drums and wheels each time...each one being a different combination.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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Since the AS had been sitting idle pretty much for the past twenty years, I thought it would be an ideal time to check the bearings and seals before I pulled it anywhere. Now at least I know I shouldn't have a spindle snap if I decide to tow it to a service center for the new axles. DW just isn't sure I should be trying to install the new axles myself, but I figure with two sons-in-law and a son to help (bribed by a case of Wisconsin Brew) the job shouldn't be that tough. Then I can get everything balanced and alligned ready for the road.

Are centrimatics the answer? When you rotate the tires, it seems to me you would have to rebalance the drums and wheels each time...each one being a different combination.
1974 and older (1961) Airstreams, were equipped with torsion axles that used rubber rods with an incorrect composition in the rubber.

That lead to rubber rod failure. Also parking any torsion type axle equipped trailer, for an extended period of time, actually ruins to rubber rods. They can become very soft, or actually solidify.

In eith case, it would be wise to check yours out to make sure you do not have an axle issue.

Replacing them on a 1973 Airstream, is a direct bolt in, nothing to add, subtract or modify for the installation. Actually for a tandem trailer, no jack is needed either, just a few 2 X 6's.

With a couple of helpers, tandem torsion axles can be changed out, along with new shocks, in about 4 hours total time or less.

Of course, you also must make sure that the "cool ones" stay "COLD".

Andy
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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Since the AS had been sitting idle pretty much for the past twenty years, I thought it would be an ideal time to check the bearings and seals before I pulled it anywhere. Are centrimatics the answer? When you rotate the tires, it seems to me you would have to rebalance the drums and wheels each time...each one being a different combination.
Lew.

Rotating tires is almost a thing of the past, if you use Centramatic balancers.

They continuously balance the running gear as you tow over 25 MPH.

However, if the old hub and drums are way out of abalance, then it's wise to balance the hub and drum, or have it shaved down so that it's reasonable balanced. From there on, the Centramatics will do the job for you.

Slowly, but surely, hub and drums used on at least the better travel trailers, are far better made and machined.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:56 PM   #8
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When I took my 2004 neo-Classic (not) to a local frame and alignment speciality shop right after I bought it, they had one heck of a time getting one of my wheel/tire assemblies into balance. After a couple hours of work, and almost a pound of weight, they were finally able to get it to balance.

When I visited Airstream a few weeks later, they proudly stated they didn't have any quality control function. Obviously, their neighbors just down the road, who made axles for Airstreams, didn't have one either.

John
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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When I took my 2004 neo-Classic (not) to a local frame and alignment speciality shop right after I bought it, they had one heck of a time getting one of my wheel/tire assemblies into balance. After a couple hours of work, and almost a pound of weight, they were finally able to get it to balance.

When I visited Airstream a few weeks later, they proudly stated they didn't have any quality control function. Obviously, their neighbors just down the road, who made axles for Airstreams, didn't have one either.

John
Henschen, who is now history, didn't make the hub and drums either. They did however, provide what Airstream requisitioned.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:13 PM   #10
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John
I think neither Airstream or Henshen paid any attention to QC or did any review of what they were buying from some foundry or machine shop. Out of round castings lye with the people who did the machining. Definitely NO QC there,its apparent.
Its possible those castings were machined in Dayton at Dayton/ Walther Corp,who is also now out of business. Casings may have come from Wheaton Foundry/Chattanooga . Im just guessin here as I have been both places,OLD TRUCKER YA KNOW!
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:45 PM   #11
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since my 73 ,31 foot trailer needs new running gear, can anyone tell me where to get new axles , and shocks. Thanks, Herb
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:05 PM   #12
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driftless,

Any chance to get pics of both sides of the drum showing the full diameter rather than sections?
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:12 PM   #13
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driftless,

Any chance to get pics of both sides of the drum showing the full diameter rather than sections?
The three pictures I posted are all I have. The first picture does show the entire hub and the scale is layed pretty close to center. Inside diameter measures 30.2 cm and the outside 32.7 cm. These are 15" hubs.

If you want to PM me your email I'll gladly send the full image file for the first picture. If that is what you are looking for....
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:29 PM   #14
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since my 73 ,31 foot trailer needs new running gear, can anyone tell me where to get new axles , and shocks. Thanks, Herb
Herb,

You may want to post that question by starting a new thread to get a wider response.

From what I've read on these forums, Inland RV will set you up with a set of axles, hubs, etc., that are a direct bolt on installation and either are OEM or close to it. They also sell the shocks and a mounting kit. So, you are getting a complete package but you'll have to pay freight from California.

There's at least one other manufacturer mentioned in these threads. There seems to be a need to have the shock mounts welded on their axles which may or may not damage the torsion cushions.

You may also want to ask for information regarding installation by a shop in your area if you don't want to undertake the project yourself.

So, you can either sort through all the threads under Axles, or you can post a new thread. Either way you'll get lots of information (probably more than you want) and can make your decision accordingly. Good luck.
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