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Old 03-12-2009, 05:26 AM   #21
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Wow, I'm excited now. I had dismissed the idea of Dexters for my AS because someone else posted elsewhere that they had a rough time getting the Dexters to fit and to just buy the Henschens because they were a minimal-heartache option. Dexter is a great name in axles and I know in the flatbed world that they are highly regarded...but there's so many things about airstreams that are "just that way" that I don't argue about, I just buy the original replacement and go on with life. Now, I'll be looking into Dexters for my axle replacments. Too bad the PO just had the brakes redone on my AS before I bought it...doubt I will be able to swap over. To be honest, I'm still not sure I need to change the axles. According to Andy's help document, I need to. But, I have a '74 which was the break point for the bad/good axles. I know my trailer has never sat for extended time (maybe that means the axles got worked more and thus need replaced???) but everyone who has looked at pictures as well as the PO claim that the axles don't need replaced. When connected to my Excursion, the tongue is a bit high (non-adjustable ball height on the hitch). I thought about dropping $150 on a new ball-head that is adjustable, but if the axles are bad and the trailer is riding low, then I don't want to waste the $150. Second, I have a flatbed that I pull as well, and it is just fine at the hitch height of the head I use w/ the airstream. The PO was pulling the AS with a van and his receiver height was 2" lower than my Excursion, so I can see why all seemed good and right with the world...then again, maybe someone swapped out the axles already for the ones that are pre-angled upward???
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:25 AM   #22
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Lumatic- that is good to know, as I want to keep my shocks. Your tradewind is double axle? what is the GVR? what capacity axles did you get? I think Overlanders weigh in between 4500 and 5000# too, so it's interesting to hear of your experience with the # 10's. Did you get your Dexters in Albuquerque? If so, where? And it looks like 63Silver has opted to use the #10's on his 28' Ambassador- this is getting interesting! Thanks- tim
Yes, my Tradewind is a tandem My specs say it weighs 4200, but I took it to the scales and found it weighed a few hundred pounds more. I got my axles shipped direct from the factory, it was a lot quicker.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:52 AM   #23
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Thanks all. I'm very confident when I order the axles tomorrow that what I'm getting will work well. As a thank you to all here, I will document everything with pictures, measurements, copy of the order ticket, etc. Please feel free to keep this post going as I'm sure this is one of the higher cost upgrades that a person can do and when safety is involved, the more information the better.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:16 AM   #24
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Thanks 63Silver
What you are doing is VERY similar to what I am planning to do. Just by removing the sag from the dead axles, I will get several inches of lift. And with how people travel today and the fact that I am going to add gray water tanks, the extra few hundred pounds of axle capacity should be a good match. Thanks again.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:40 AM   #25
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Again, some fantastic and quite civil discussion on this thread. Thanks to all who are contributing, and thanks to Barry for being brave enough to "out" himself as a Dexter orderer.
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:12 AM   #26
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Talked to a Dexter dealer this morning, and he cleared up for me that Dexter axles are not built with a specific weight capacity, but rather a range of compatibility. The #10's are good for between 2,300 and 3,500 lbs. per axle, so 7,000 lbs. max capacity for a tandem set-up, plenty for an Overlander. And, according to figures from InlandRV in a thread posted here by GreatPumpkin, the braking power of four 10" brakes is 7,000 lbs., compared with 12,000 lbs. for 12". The Gross Vehicle Weight (trailer plus stuff in it) for my Overlander is 6,200 lbs., with the trailer itself only weighing around 5,000 lbs. It would seem that #10 axles with 10" brakes would do the job here- as others have attested to. I know InlandRV suggests otherwise, but isn't 12,000 lbs. of stopping power overkill, for twice the money(compared to Henschens)? I think I've made up my mind, unless someone can point out the obvious deficiencies in the arithmetic. I do NOT want smoking, burned out brakes coming down a mountain pass! -tim
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Old 03-12-2009, 11:29 AM   #27
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Airstream buils trailers to last more than 5 years.

That includes the usefull effectiveness of the brake systems.

Andy
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:04 AM   #28
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Talked to a Dexter dealer this morning, and he cleared up for me that Dexter axles are not built with a specific weight capacity, but rather a range of compatibility. The #10's are good for between 2,300 and 3,500 lbs. per axle, so 7,000 lbs. max capacity for a tandem set-up, plenty for an Overlander. And, according to figures from InlandRV in a thread posted here by GreatPumpkin, the braking power of four 10" brakes is 7,000 lbs., compared with 12,000 lbs. for 12". The Gross Vehicle Weight (trailer plus stuff in it) for my Overlander is 6,200 lbs., with the trailer itself only weighing around 5,000 lbs. It would seem that #10 axles with 10" brakes would do the job here- as others have attested to. I know InlandRV suggests otherwise, but isn't 12,000 lbs. of stopping power overkill, for twice the money(compared to Henschens)? I think I've made up my mind, unless someone can point out the obvious deficiencies in the arithmetic. I do NOT want smoking, burned out brakes coming down a mountain pass! -tim
IMHO, one cannot have too much braking power.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #29
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IMHO, one cannot have too much braking power.
Yes you can
You need to have your trailer brakes adjusted to the right setting. Too much trailer brake puts undue stress on the trailer and can cause adverse handling in skids and slippery roads.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:44 AM   #30
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Yes you can
You need to have your trailer brakes adjusted to the right setting. Too much trailer brake puts undue stress on the trailer and can cause adverse handling in skids and slippery roads.
That's part of the problem.

Typically, a very small percentage of Airstream owners, have the brakes adjusted and/or serviced as they should be.

Since wear reduces the stopping power of electric brakes, further reducing the stopping power by changing from 12 to 10 inch brakes, is not a very good idea.

We see all to many brakes systems, that make you wonder how someone slowed the rig down, let alone stopping it when they needed to.

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Old 03-13-2009, 09:49 AM   #31
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Totally agree with having enough stopping power, would be foolish not to. Question for Andy: What specific axles and brakes is Airstream putting on current tandem-axle trailers with a GVWR similar to '60's and '70's Overlanders (6200#)? What brand? #10 or #11 axles? Weight capacity? Size of brakes? Pounds of total braking power? I think this would be useful information to those here wanting to intelligently replace their old axles. Thankyou! -tim
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:05 AM   #32
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I believe the 23 foot models come with #10 axles (5 bolt wheels). Their GVWR is about 5200-6000 pounds.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:36 AM   #33
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I've had multiple PM's from folks asking me to clarify the statement about not getting the "side-mount bracket". Hopefully this PDF file from Dexter will help explain: http://i.b5z.net/i/u/1080235/f/Torfl...ation_4-04.pdf.

Look at page 21 (for #10) and page 24 (for #11). The side mount bracket is reduntant and not needed unless you are switching from a leaf spring set-up to torsion. IMPORTANT! - You still must specify reverse mount for installing on an Airstream.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:40 AM   #34
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I have found that 10-inch brakes work extremely well with my 6000-pound rig. Like weight-transfer bars and horsepower, more is not necessarily better or best.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:08 PM   #35
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Yes you can
You need to have your trailer brakes adjusted to the right setting. Too much trailer brake puts undue stress on the trailer and can cause adverse handling in skids and slippery roads.
Of course, and I agree with you (adjustment wise), but I will take 12 inch electric brakes over 10 inch electric brakes every single time. The proper set-up is of course the tow and trailer brakes work in tandem, not either one stopping the other. My comment is not meant to be a "manufacturer axle war comment". Brakes are not the place to save pennies and thus dollars, again, IMHO. If you're ok with 10 inch brakes, that is great, although I would kindy ask that you not follow too close behind me coming down a mountain road.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:35 PM   #36
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Still hoping for a reply from InlandRV, or Airstream, on the specific axles and brakes used on current similar-weight tandem-axle trailers. Hello??
Andy's scenario is indeed scary, I am imagining a screaming family in a Suburban @ 70mph with a trailer in flames behind them, headed right for a day-care center. I think it would be in flames because trying to NOT lock up the trailer brakes in that kind of a panic situation would be difficult for most people, causing the tires to skid, and catch on fire. In the event you could feather those brakes, and never skid, I totally agree with the man: bigger brakes will last longer and give you a bigger chance of avoiding all those innocent kids at the bottom of the hill. As with many other things, I think the driver's reaction and skill play a big part in any situation, as well as the obvious choices of maintaining some vigilance over the condition of your TV brakes and other mechanicals, gearing down to a prudent speed at the crest of passes, knowing where the parking brake handle or pedal is, etc. I certainly hope that no-one encounters the aforementioned scenario, but if you do- please try to swerve around me. Thankyou- tim
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:07 PM   #37
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That's part of the problem.

Typically, a very small percentage of Airstream owners, have the brakes adjusted and/or serviced as they should be.

Since wear reduces the stopping power of electric brakes, further reducing the stopping power by changing from 12 to 10 inch brakes, is not a very good idea.

We see all to many brakes systems, that make you wonder how someone slowed the rig down, let alone stopping it when they needed to.

Andy
Ten inch tandem brakes have a maximum stopping power of 7,000 pounds, when everything is adjusted and working properly.

Twelve inch brakes, under the same conditions, have a maximum stopping power of 12,000 pounds.

Makes a huge difference in stopping distance, should the tow vehicle brakes quit.

Adequate brakes on the trailer, can easily stop the tow vehicle as well.

Andy
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:28 PM   #38
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Ten inch tandem brakes have a maximum stopping power of 7,000 pounds, when everything is adjusted and working properly.

Twelve inch brakes, under the same conditions, have a maximum stopping power of 12,000 pounds.

Makes a huge difference in stopping distance, should the tow vehicle brakes quit.

Adequate brakes on the trailer, can easily stop the tow vehicle as well.

Andy
Although in principle I agree, physics comes into play and puts a limit to the 'More is Better' discussion. A 5,000 lb trailer has an almost impossible time generating more than 5,000 lbs stopping force, even with 12,000 lbs of brakes at it's disposal. The coefficient of friction of the tires, specially trailer tires, wont typically even approach 1.0, limiting the stopping force to a value = the weight of the trailer axles.

12,000 lb brakes on a 500 lb small yard trailer behind a 8,000 lb suv with failed brakes is a good example of this fact of physics. It's ain't gonna stop too sporty. They will lock up at about 500 lbs stopping force on a perfect day (the day must not be perfect, your suv brakes have already failed...).

Now if someone was to ditch the Marathons for a set of super sticky dragster slicks on a hot rubber encrusted road we might be onto something.

Here's a pretty good article showing how a 5,000 lb trailer will be lucky to get 3,500 lbs of usable traction (5k * .7) this making a good argument that 12k brakes are overkill...

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu.../frictire.html
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:09 PM   #39
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well now my post #36 makes no sense, because it referred to a post from InlandRV right before it (suddenly no longer there) wherein the scary scenario of losing all the TV brakes was presented, the argumant being that bigger brakes would save the day. HiHoAgRV more eloquently makes the point I was trying to make- if you're skidding, brake size is out of the equation. I guess when posts start to get pulled, it's time for the thread to retire- thank you all for some good info, I think I'm set to put in my order. -tim
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:35 PM   #40
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Totally agree with having enough stopping power, would be foolish not to. Question for Andy: What specific axles and brakes is Airstream putting on current tandem-axle trailers with a GVWR similar to '60's and '70's Overlanders (6200#)? What brand? #10 or #11 axles? Weight capacity? Size of brakes? Pounds of total braking power? I think this would be useful information to those here wanting to intelligently replace their old axles. Thankyou! -tim
I have no idea what Airstream is using on the trailers today.

I will be back on the 23rd.

But we must also keep in mind the weights of each unit.

I will see what I can find out and post accordingly.

Andy
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