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Old 10-12-2015, 01:35 PM   #81
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After a month of waiting for Colin Hyde to respond, I contacted Andy Rogozinski at Inland RV for a quote on a complete axle with brakes. Andy responded immediately and now I have a Dexter axle along with Centramatic wheel balancers. Andy advocated the Gilbane horizontal shocks so these were also sent but this axle comes with no shock brackets and Inland RV said they would send these as well. I'm guessing these require skilled welding and if so, I'll ship shocks and brackets back to Inland.

Last year I attended the Vintage Trailer Academy, a 4 day intensive series of seminars by folks with vast experience in restorations. One of the speakers, Uwe Salwender with Area 63 Productions, said shocks on this type of axle provide no additional bump cushioning. I contacted him by e-mail and he repeated, "Many argue this point but having towed many miles with both scenarios, I say shocks are decorative, mostly. Dexter engineering agrees 100%.
Jim
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:52 PM   #82
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axle removal

My plan earlier was to have a local auto shop help with the axle removal and installation but when they refused delivery of the axle because they had no forklift, I found myself with this task. Mainly, I had to buy a floor jack with a beam option to handle it. My tractor lifted it out of my truck.

Today I'm trying to remove the old axle. All bolts were previously squirted with PB and loosened. Only one required a breaking bar aided by a bottle jack to loosen. See my initial set up with 4 jack stands plus the hitch jack and two tires beneath the bumper.

I also temporarily put 2 jack stands beneath the axle along with a floor jack with a beam to catch and lower the axle. All went well for a while. I got the old shock loose and 2 of 4 bolts on the axle to frame plate removed. The rear bolts have the nuts off but are blocked by the arms that allow the wheels to move, see photo. I can get the axle to move a bit in front but so far not enough to get these two bolts in the clear. Obviously a cutting wheel is an option and I'll try that if nothing else works.
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:53 PM   #83
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Success! Using my 18 V reciprocal saw, the bolt was easily cut. It took another hour to maneuver the axle from under the trailer with the floor jack but "gotterdone".
Jim
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Old 10-12-2015, 08:26 PM   #84
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I had the exact same "trapped bolt" situation on my axle replacement. But I didn't have a powered saw, only an ordinary hack saw. But I finally got it out. It happened because the old axles had sagged.

I had to drill new mounting holes and deepen the notch for my Axis axles. My friend made a template for me. I understand the 69 and newer trailers have a mounting pattern that is more standard than the older trailers.

Interesting comments on the shock absorbers. Airstream has always used them, but they are one of the few who do.

So my trailer rides on new axles. They have 10 inch brakes instead of the 12" on the old axles but no problems noted. I did the alignment myself and believe I'm close. I should get it checked some day. I've got about 1200 miles on them so far.

David
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Old 10-13-2015, 10:02 AM   #85
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David,
I had not thought of making a template of the new axle mounting but that's an excellent idea. Better than waiting until the new one is hoisted in place to find where the modifications must happen.
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 10-13-2015, 07:22 PM   #86
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The template was handy as I had for locations to do. Your Safari has just two, so measuring carefully will work fine.

The important thing is knowing the bottom of the frame channel is what the axle supports. The axle bracket must rest full weight on the bottom of the frame channel. Then the bolt holes can be drilled if needed.

David
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:13 AM   #87
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Shock brackets arrived without any instructions about where or how to attach them so these and the shocks are in the mail back to the supplier with the message that this axle does not require such decoration.

Saturday I noticed two items of concern with the axle. First, it is not EZ Lube as I had requested After exploring these Air Forums and the Dexter website, maybe EZ LUbe isn't that important since annual bearing and brake inspection, cleaning, grease removal and replacement are needed anyway. It would have been best if the supplier had explained that before he placed the order.

Second, mounting bolts, according to the chart from Dexter, should probably be 5/8" for this 5000 pound axle rather than the 1/2" bolts received. The description of the axle from Redneck Trailer includes key dimensions as well as "11A", possibly indicating it is a #11 axle which should have 5/8" bolts.

No response from the supplier so far.
Jim
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:46 AM   #88
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bolts & nuts

Dexter Axle says to use 5/8" bolts:

Mr. Foster,
Axle 153670566 is a #11 Torflex and would require a 5/8 mounting bolt. The correct bolts and nuts are parts of our attaching kit # A/P-148-00.
Thanks
Jim Miller / Dexter Axle
I searched the Dexter Parts Store but have not found this item. High strength bolts and nuts may be available locally. Attached pic shows what supplier mailed directly from his company. Have you had experience with this issue?
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:31 PM   #89
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Gotta love that old vernier caliper! You read what I read about EZ Lube axles. I have them, but I will continue the annual bearing inspection and grease packing. Maybe someday we will have sealed bearings similar to automobiles.

I'm sure you can purchase grade 8 5/8 bolts at your local hardware store. The bolts themselves only hold the axle tight against the mounting plate. The bracket transfers the weight of the trailer to the axle itself.

David
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:58 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRF0st3r View Post
Success! Using my 18 V reciprocal saw, the bolt was easily cut. It took another hour to maneuver the axle from under the trailer with the floor jack but "gotterdone".
Jim
You also could have probably used a scissor or bottle jack to push the arm down enough to get the needed clearance. The new axle comes with nuts and bolts so you don't need the old ones. But you got it done and that's all that really counts.

I used heavier duty axle(s) and I had to make my "slots" wider to accept it.
I kept the same depth and gained an extra inch of ground clearance.
I also made the wider portion towards each other and this brought the tires a couple inches closer to each other. Before the pinching wheel chocks would not work because the wheels were too far apart... and now they work correctly.

Putting the new ones in place can be a bit difficult... make sure the distance between the flanges on the axle are exactly the same width as the ones you took off... if not you may have a serious problem with making them work.

I bought a diamond hole saw bit at Lowe's and used it to put the new bolt holes in. It's a bit slow, but very exact and will not tear up or elongate the holes so you get a precise alignment. You do the holes after you get the axle back up and simply use the holes in the mounting plate as your guide. The bit was about $20 and I used Marvels Mystery oil as my cutting lubricant.

Chuck
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:49 AM   #91
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David & Chuck,
My axle supplier, Andy, knows he is always right and others just have opinions. He says he sends 1/2" bolts because not everyone has a 5/8" bit and that Dexter is not qualified to comment on how to mount their axle on an Airstream. He also says Uwe's view about shocks being "decorative" is only an opinion and not valid.

The new axle is the right width and Andy sent it with a high profile bracket to gain an inch of clearance (and room to run propane above the axle) and also increased the turn down angle to 32˚ for another 1" to 2". I didn't ask for the increased angle but it must be right since Andy said so.

Chuck, thanks for the tips on how to cut the holes. It appears that the slot for the axle and the rear holes on each side are in the right place so just the front holes will have to be adjusted. Let's hope that keeps the new axle in alignment.

Jim
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:48 PM   #92
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Well, Inland Andy has been around Airstreams since the first ones came out of the factory in California back in the late forties. His advice is pretty sound.

You certainly want your bolt diameter to match the hole diameter. The bolts hold the axle in position in case you decide to get airborne with your Safari. I used 5/8 bolts on mine. Your trailer, your rules.

Seems to me you could always try your Airstream without shocks and see how it rides. It it seems really bouncy back there, then you could have the shock mounts welded on and retro fit the shocks later.

The starting angle is going to give you several more inches of ground clearance. I kept with the standard 22 degree but now wish I had more ground clearance. I have already scraped my new waste tank cover just a bit on a rutty campground entrance road.

So don't be shocked if you need a step ladder to get into your Airstream because it is riding higher.

David
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:35 AM   #93
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Weld "ears" on.

The mounting "ears" for the shock come separate and need to be welded on to the torsion arms. I put the old axle next to the new axle and eyeballed the placement, marked and ground the "seat" on both ends so that I had a clean welding surface(s).
The I welded mine on... I don't weld much so it wasn't a "pretty" weld, but I wailed on the ear's with a 5 lb hammer enough to make sure it was well welded on. Then up and in they went. My clearances were a bit tight so I had to install the shocks on the axle side first and the frame side after it was up.
Everything is in and works as it should. Yes, I also bought my axles through Andy and he did make sure I got the correct ones for my trailer. Absolutely no problems there...but it is still a tight fit and takes a little bit of work to get it in place correctly. I only adjusted one side of my alignment slots and made sure I was anchored against the original side so that I would have no alignment issues. It tracks straight and true down the road when I'm towing it.
Welding the ears was difficult since there is very little clearance to get in there and I did mine before putting them up... I think it would be next to impossible to do them after they are on the trailer. They do help, they are more vibration snubbers than shocks... and will save your tires from getting out of round... and also keep the axle rubber temp down ( vibration = heat).
Hope your's goes as well as mine did.

Chuck
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Old 10-25-2015, 12:54 PM   #94
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Here is what ours looks like with the 32 degree down axle. I wanted more ground clearance. Also, you can see my solution for getting Diane in and out.


Sent from my iPhone
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:38 AM   #95
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So don't be shocked if you need a step ladder to get into your Airstream because it is riding higher.

David[/QUOTE]
Andy said I should find the trailer rides about 3" higher. That sounds fine to me.
Jim
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:05 PM   #96
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I was just kidding. I think it will be noticeably higher judging from some of the pictures I've seen on the forums. It might take a day or two to get used to it. But it will be fine.

Here is what my Trade Wind looks like with the 22 degree starting angle. It's a low rider for sure. Inland Andy may think it needs new axles.

DFlores, did you mean the step or the mad looking bird helps Diane in and out of the Safari?

David
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:27 PM   #97
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Axle + brakes went in easier than expected with some help from a floor jack + a bottle jack for the final push. It's attached with 5/8" Grade 8 bolts.
Note that I elected to reuse the skids. Some Forums members advise otherwise but Andy said they could provide some benefit until they wear out. I attached with new U bolts and lock nuts.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #98
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After installing the axle with its high profile mounting bracket and 32˚ down slope, the increased was 3.5". That should be 3" after I change out the 2007 Liberty 7.00-15 LT tires for Maxxis 225/75R 15 8 ply max load 2540 @ 65 psi.
First step up is 16" to the built in (renovated) step and then 9" to the trailer floor. Jane had no problem getting in but coming down was not comfortable.
When parked in our guest cottage we use the ugly yellow plastic step but probably don't want to haul this clunker on the road.
How about those baby moons!
Jim
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:37 PM   #99
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Looking good. A classic vintage look with the black wheels and baby "moons". We used to call them hub caps.

I like to say function over form. If the clunky steps makes ingress / egress safer, then they are well worth hauling with you.

David
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:48 PM   #100
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refrigerator housing

Lately I've focused on the chimney and housing for a drawer AC/DC refrigerator. Some PO had removed the original refrigerator and chimney, closed floor and roof vents. With lots of distractions, this is taking longer than it should. The lower opening is for the refrigerator and there will be a drawer above. Above a countertop will be a control panel with AC & DC outlets, water pump switch, water heater control, battery monitor and future coax connector. (What did I forget?) Of course all the regular plywood will be concealed with birch plywood casework.
Jim
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