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Old 10-29-2008, 03:22 PM   #321
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Hey All,

The axles on our trailer (Henschens, rated at 4200#) have clocked about 30000 miles since we received it in Oct. 2004. I see at least 5-10 degrees negative; much more than exhibited by the axles on Rich's trailer. The height from ground to aluminum is 25.5". We run 16" tires and rims, which should raise our trailer by 0.75" in comparison to Rich's. I guess we have about 400# extra in the trailer with a quarter tank of water and the mods I have performed. I would take pictures, but the wife hid the digital camera in her purse and took it to work. I will try to post pictures later tonight.

Bye,

Paul
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:10 PM   #322
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Photos will have to wait for weekend at least. I can see quite a bit of tire between rim and wheel well when I look at the trailer, but only have less than 20K miles on it. I will have to do the math to come up with more accurate total since I haven't added it up lately.

I know you have done a lot of boondocking and off pavement camping, could that have added to premature ware?
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #323
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The camera made it home tonight, so here is a picture of both sides of an axle. I would say that the angle is at least 5 degrees from horizontal.

Bye,

Paul


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Old 10-29-2008, 05:30 PM   #324
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So are these axles overloaded? Are they worn out? My experience tells me there is an issue. Was the starting angle too low when they were built/ordered/installed?
I know if I crawled under an Airstream and saw that angle, I'd start the "you need new axles" chant...
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:32 PM   #325
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Where is InlandAndy when you need him?

You know I was thinking...a dangerous proposition for me...and I thought that your axles probably have less than 60K on them since they were replaced at the time the disc brakes were installed a year or so ago weren't they? I didn't think they could install disc brakes without installing new axles...I thought they were all part and parcel of the same unit.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:16 PM   #326
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Disks..

When they install disk brakes they just replace the backing plate out, the spindle and axle stays the same. I am curious to measure mine, I have only 9,500k towing miles. I will also measure the hieght of the tires as I do not have Goodyears anymore.

I may even put a protractor on the arm to see what angle it is at as well.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:49 PM   #327
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True -- my axles are factory original. When the disc brakes were installed only the drums were replaced.

We did very little off-road travel, perhaps a total of 50 miles in the three years of travel, so I doubt that was a significant factor in the wear. The fact that Paul is seeing a greater negative angle on his axles (despite half the miles) would seem to confirm that it's not our use of the trailer that was the problem. But what is?

Inland Andy has already stepped in. We spoke today. I very much appreciate his interest in helping, even though this is in no way his problem. He's just as curious as I to find out what may have caused this situation. He will be replacing our axles in January at his shop in Corona CA, and sending samples from the axles to Henschen for analysis.

I don't mean to imply any conclusions at this point, I'm simply reporting the facts as I know them. The possibilities remain that:

a) the axles were wrong from the start
b) there's a defect
c) there's something about this that we don't currently understand

I can rule out overloading as the cause in our case. We have CAT scale measurements from the first two years of full-timing, and in no case was the trailer ever over 7700# even with full water. The GVWR is 8400#, so we were always well within the rated capacity of the trailer. At this point the trailer is mostly unloaded and I would guess it's about 7000# due to having some water in the fresh tank.

Let's continue to gather facts from other owners and see if we can get to the bottom of this.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:07 PM   #328
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Maybe no problem?

Hi, just curious about your axles, so I went outside to look at mine. Although my Safari is a 25'er, it is a 2005 model. Mine is lightly loaded with empty storage tanks and one empty propane tank. From the ground to the bottom of the wheel well lip moulding it is 25.5" and that is right in the ball park with what you two have measured. My axle looks to be slightly down. My frame is 5"s high and I will take a chance and assume that your frame is 6"s. So for Airstream to maintain a consistant tongue height which on most of their trailers including the body and wheel well heights would be the same, when under load, your axle would be slightly up from mine. Therefore I'm betting on everything being normal. At the Ford dealer we would find a similar unit and measure in the same place, ground to wheel well. Let's find a brand new unit and measure it and allow for some settling.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:35 AM   #329
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My 05 measurements..

Just checked my 05 for its measurements and it comes in at 25 3/4 to the lip of the aluminum trim. I did look at the trailing arm angle, and while I did not have a protractor on me it appears to be very slightly negative. These measurements are with 3rd of a tank of fresh water and none in the holding tanks other than sanitizer in the black. I basically do not have 100 lbs of personal stuff, bedding three can goods etc.

I did take pics that I will upload later. My rig has just under 10k towing as per my detailed towing log.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:12 PM   #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Let's find a brand new unit and measure it and allow for some settling.
Unfortunately, that's a no-can-do. Airstream made 73 of these units from late model year '04 through '06.

Of the 73 made, I know of one that has been extensively modified. Rich's unit has two queen beds plus the salon chairs have been replaced with custom features. My unit on the other hand has a sofa where most have the salon chairs, some have regular stove/oven combos while ours has the convection/microwave combo, so comparisons are difficult even among the units that were made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariSS View Post
When they install disk brakes they just replace the backing plate out, the spindle and axle stays the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr View Post
True -- my axles are factory original. When the disc brakes were installed only the drums were replaced.

We did very little off-road travel, perhaps a total of 50 miles in the three years of travel, so I doubt that was a significant factor in the wear. The fact that Paul is seeing a greater negative angle on his axles (despite half the miles) would seem to confirm that it's not our use of the trailer that was the problem. But what is?
Thanks for the clarification on the axle vs. drum replacement issue.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:37 PM   #331
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate View Post



Thanks for the clarification on the axle vs. drum replacement issue.
The only addition is the pump module, which weighs about 20 or so pounds.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:06 PM   #332
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Do You Know Where Your Axles Are?

Even though we probably can't find a new or unused Safari 30 to compare to, the suggestion makes me think that the lower axle angle might be endemic to this floorplan. Why, I can't say. But with more input from other owners we might at least get an idea if that theory holds water.

I'm also wondering if this is really a problem. If my axles have been around this angle all along, and we've managed to go 60k+ miles without a real problem, is it worth "fixing"?

I suppose having a positive angle on the suspension might raise the trailer a little, and that might help with one issue I've often encountered: scraping the rear on the ramp entries to gas stations and driveways. If we go ahead with the replacement axle plan, I would like to gain some ground clearance as a result. We'll also go to 5000# axles instead of the 4400# units that came with the trailer.

More input, please! Other Safari 30 bunkhouse owners, can you help by telling us where your axles are sitting today?
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:44 PM   #333
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Axles..

Say Rich, where on the axle did you see a nameplate? Mine has a little wire with a cardboard ring where a tag used to hang. Did not looker over real well, but did not see any labeling. Mine is a 06/04 build date, If I recall is'nt yours a very late build date along with Minnies Mate?

I have done some offroad with mine unfortunately, we ended up on 78 miles of washboard this past summer in Colorado trying to get to the boondock rally, thats when I deleted the plumbing when I dropped the rh side into a rut!
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:58 PM   #334
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I didn't find a name "plate" on the axle, but there was a white sticker adhered to the bottom of each axle tube. This showed the model #, weight capacity, and maker (Henschen). Honestly, I was amazed it was still there after all the travel.

Our serial # plate indicates a build date of 2/05. By the way, if the axle sticker is missing you can still get your axle's weight rating from the serial number plate, where it says "GAWR".
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:08 AM   #335
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Bad Axles?

Hi, I still don't think you have an axle problem and I don't think you have to find an exact same model to compare with. I would think that any Airstream wide body from 25' to 34' would have the same ride height. If the top of your wheel was even with the bottom of your wheel well lip moulding, and the top of you tire was hidden in the wheel wells, I would be more concerned.

Do you have an axle problem? I say No! But if you want to raise it up some, that's a differrent story. If your tow vehicle is the same and your hitch hasn't been changed; [adjusted for height] If your axles are sagging your trailer would be higher in front and lower in the rear. [no longer level as it should have been when first set up]
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:43 AM   #336
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I was thinking along the same lines: what about the ball height? On the old pdf on a/s's site, that lists all the weights of models dating back to the 50's or 60's...many of them listed a ball height. Is there such a published spec for 05's?
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:29 AM   #337
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I have the brochure from 2005. All the Safaris from 2005 have 17-3/4" ball heights, except the 16-footer and 22-footer, which have 18" ball height.

But I'm not sure if I am buying the theory yet. Seems like there may be a lot more variables in the equation. For example, what if Airstream ordered different starting angles for the axles in the 30-footers? (I don't know why this might be done, but it strikes me as an variable.)

Another small fact that may or may not help: The Safari 30s were built on the Classic frame. In terms of dimensions, this makes them more akin to a Classic 30 than other Safaris. (But as Robertsunrus points out, we can account for the larger frame dimensions if we know them.)

The top of my tires (tread portion only) is behind the wheel well trim, for what that's worth.

This is interesting. We've had three owners come forward so far and say their axles' positions are about the same. Maybe Robertsunrus is right ... maybe this is just a tempest in a teapot. But if it is, it blows a hole in the common wisdom that a negative angle on the axle torsion arm is conclusive evidence that an axle is worn out. I'm still awaiting further data.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:34 AM   #338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr View Post
But I'm not sure if I am buying the theory yet. Seems like there may be a lot more variables in the equation. For example, what if Airstream ordered different starting angles for the axles in the 30-footers? (I don't know why this might be done, but it strikes me as an variable.)

Another small fact that may or may not help: The Safari 30s were built on the Classic frame. In terms of dimensions, this makes them more akin to a Classic 30 than other Safaris. (But as Robertsunrus points out, we can account for the larger frame dimensions if we know them.)
Further data:
The axles under your trailer were 4400 pound, 22.5 degree starting angle, wide-body axles. When we researched it, that was what the info on the tag shows.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:06 PM   #339
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Now you have my curiosity up. I'm going to have to check mine for sure. However, mine is not parked on concrete. It is parked on the ground and one side is on Linx Leveler blocks. I will have to move it to the driveway to measure the distance to the wheel opening.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:35 PM   #340
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If it's sitting level, you shouldn't have to move it from the blocks. Just measure from the top of the leveling block as if it were the ground.

But I'm equally curious about the perceived angle of the torsion arm on the axle. Take a good look at that too, and let us know what you see.
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