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Old 05-12-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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1948 22' Liner
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Axle : upgrade or not ? need Advice

Hi Folks,

after i bought our 59 Overlander , i learned the exact meaning of being framed.

Needles to say.. i am currently building a (almost) new frame.

The main Frame will be out of 2x4"x 3/16" Tubing. I know this is a much heavier gauge, than the original, but i purchase the wrong stuff and now got to live with it...

Here my Question :
Our Overlander has only one factory axle.. even though everything is in a good shape on the axle, i wonder, if i need to upgrade to a heavier one (axle only- springs are perfect) , since i am concerned about the added weight.., or should i add the "optional" second axle? Funds are tight, so i need some realistic advice...

Some additional info:
we plan on re-designing the interior, making it a aft bedroom, with center bath.. but keep the style all original..

let me know what you guys think

thanks
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:54 PM   #2
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I think you should just take the original axle and springs to be rebuilt by a reputable axle/spring re builder. That will cause you the least headaches in my opinion. Have fun and post some pics!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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The only concern I would have would be if the new frame weighs significantly more than the old one. If so, you probably would want a somewhat heavier duty axle and slightly higher capacity springs. If the new material is going to weigh within a hundred or so pounds of the old frame, go with the original axle and springs, unless they are rusty and look like they'll give you trouble.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:17 PM   #4
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i would estimate, the new frame to be about 250lbs heavier.. but thats just a guess...what i am replacing is the both main tubing rails from tongue to bumper and three of the cross braces.. also with 3/16" c-channel. those 3 will be in the center above axle..
the axle only has surface rust.. even brakes look good... but they will be replaced..
spring hangers had good rubber and not worn out.. but those will be replaced
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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I had good luck upgrading the axle on my '59 Tradewind to a 5200# Dexter drop axle, and adding a leaf to original spring sets. Definitely take the springs to a shop for inspection and a rebuild.

You can't go much over 5200 lbs with regular wheels and tires. If you go with two axles I would switch to torsion style axles. Make sure you have room for the longer wheel wells if you plan to switch to a mid bath.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:33 PM   #6
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Cool. Another old Overlander in Mississippi...
The frame on these old ones is really not much of a frame...
Even if your new frame is heaver...(it's not that much of a deal to figure out how much MORE a 3/16 frame weighs)...upgrading the axle won't cost much more...the frame is not a huge % of the final weight

um, don't start adding up all the projected costs...

Just do a bit as you can afford it...

Keep it light and stick with the original single axle design...
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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Rebuild the original stuff and post photos!
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:16 PM   #8
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ok.. i got it.. i will post pictures
i will probably start a Restoration thread shortly.

I guess this weekend, i have to do some exact calculations on how much weight i am adding.
does anybody know the correct thickness of the steel, that was original used ? .. it is a little hard to measure rust

i like the route of just rebuilding the existing axle, even though i am not happy with the ground clearance on the spring hangers
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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It is possible to increase the ride height of the trailer through the use of spacers or moving the axle tube from above to below the springs. I guess you gave up on a torsion axle conversion.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:42 AM   #10
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I reason early Airstreams are so cool is because they are low riders. Jacking them up does nothing but ruin the aesthetic in my opinion. Leaf spring axles work well if you keep the rubber fresh and the shocks changed regularlly. Just like on a car or truck.

My bigger concern is this beefing of the frame. I see this done all the time, and I always cringe when I do. The reason an Airstream frame is so light is because it is designed to, desired to, and expected to flex as the trailer goes down the road. The manly instinct is to "beef it up" and when one does, the engineering of the structure is changed. The frame does not need to be extra strong, neither does the floor, skin, or belly. Together all those things are strong.

I will now step off the soap box...
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