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Old 02-10-2019, 02:08 PM   #61
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Well Tony that was actually 22 years ago. We bought our place several years before and rented it out until we retired. We would come up every Christmas to New Years to check on the place and visit with friends. We were here for the storm in 96 staying with friends in Port Ludlow on the peninsula. Being from Los Angeles it was quite an experience for us.

The biggest problem was getting home. The airport was closed and wait times for a flight was 7 to 10 days. During a break in the storms our friends got us to the ferry which got us to Seattle. No cabs so we walked several blocks to a bus terminal and finally squeezed on a bus to the airport. I talked the airline into refunding my non refundable tickets and walked across the street to a car rental and made a mad dash south.

Back to today it really isn't too bad because we don't have to go anywhere so we just enjoy the pretty sights. The problem is as of last night the forecast was snow for 5 of the next 6 days. That could make things interesting. Fortunately todays forecast 1 snow day and 1 rain and snow for the next week. It's hard to believe weather forecasts so time will tell.

The recent wind didn't bother us too much. It shredded the cover on one of the car canopies but it was old and had holes in it so no big deal. However we did loose power for several hours. The entire north peninsula including the cities of Sequim and Port Angeles were dark. It was my birthday and we planned dinner in Bremerton so that sounded better than sitting home in the dark so off we went. When we got home still no power so I headed to the shop to dig out the old generator. I got about half way to the shop and the power came on. Turned around back to the house, turned on the tube and grabbed a brew. Life is good.
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Old 02-25-2019, 03:26 PM   #62
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I got the tag axle out, part of my weight reduction plan.

Does anybody actually have any specs on this axle? I assume this must be a 5000 lb. rating because the Alcoa wheels are rated at 2740 lbs. each and one shouldn't overload the wheels. The 12" x 2" brake seems to be used from 5000 lb. to 7000 lb. axles. The 1-3/4" x 1-1/4" bearings seem to also be used over a similar weight range.
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Old 02-25-2019, 04:32 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
I got the tag axle out, part of my weight reduction plan.

Does anybody actually have any specs on this axle? I assume this must be a 5000 lb. rating because the Alcoa wheels are rated at 2740 lbs. each and one shouldn't overload the wheels. The 12" x 2" brake seems to be used from 5000 lb. to 7000 lb. axles. The 1-3/4" x 1-1/4" bearings seem to also be used over a similar weight range.
I can't help you with the specs, but I've often wondered what the advantage of the tag axle was? I know people will say that it gives a higher GVWR of 16,500 lbs, versus my 310's GVWR of 14,500 lbs; but I wonder how much does the axle with the shocks, wheels, tires and bracketry weigh? Once you add the extra length of the coach, (in your case 3 1/2' of frame, bodywork and interior cabinetry), does it give you anymore payload over my 310, or even your 280?

I guess it does give you extra brakes, (when they work); but what is the upside of a tag axle. Stability? It will be interesting to get your impression on both, yay or nay, as you have both coaches now.

Don't they have 10" drums?

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Old 02-25-2019, 07:03 PM   #64
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:48 PM   #65
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The axle weighs around 250 lbs. so its not that heavy. It has 12" brakes so it does help stopping however the wires to both magnets were broken.

When I ran over the scale on the way home the rear, both axles, weighed 11,280 and the drive axle weighed 10340 so the tag was doing very little. These numbers may be a little off because the scale is about 7' across and is most accurate in the center of the pad. To weigh the drive or tag you are on the edge of the pad but none the less the tag isn't doing much. The coach is empty so adding gear and filling the tanks will need more help from the tag.

I've been looking at a Flexride axle. https://www.easternmarine.com/downlo...comparison.pdf
I talked to one vendor but they say the overhang from the mount to hub face is too long. Dexter says the same but they will allow more than Flexride. The Flexride uses a rubber block/axle pushed into the tube at room temp and is supposedly repairable. Watch their video, it's interesting. If I can get them to weld some fish plates on the tube before pushing the rubber block in it should work. Also they have spline mounted, indexable, and replaceable spindles which I like. Another option would be to fabricate some "L" brackets to hang on the frame to reach the wider mounts.

Another way to go is called a Ridewell. http://www.trailerparts4u.com/product/2440002
This I really like but I would have to fabricate new brackets to move the rear leveling jacks back several inches and move the air tank.

Here are a few pics.

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Old 05-07-2019, 09:32 PM   #66
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Well boys and girls the 345's a** is riding on air.

You probably thought that I have been goofing off but in reality I have been working my butt off. I didn't want to put out any info until I was comfortable that it works. Didn't want to create false hope. Today we put about 50 miles on it and it works.

For a little history, Inland RV lists the Airstream tag at 3500 lbs. This is where the fun starts. Axle people will not allow their axles to be mounted on the narrow frame rail with of a moho. The spring perch or mount brackets of a torsion axle must be wider to support the load. Too much overhang flexes the tube too much.

Next trailer wheels have no offset, the load of the tire is centered on the center of the hub between the bearings. Our mohos use the outer dual wheel which moves that load out about 7", this really loads the bearing and spindle. Then there are brakes, a 19.5 wheel is way over design limits of trailer brakes. Give all this info to Dexter or other manufactures and they hang up the phone.

The Airstream tag is very custom with a steel U welded to the bottom of the tube to help support the overhang, 5000 to 7000 lb. spindle and brake to support the wheel load and 3500 lb. rubber for the torsion load. I had one of the Flexride vendors agree to weld the U support to the tube and narrow mount the mount flanges but he could only go down to 5000 lb. rubber to get the 5000 to 7000 lb. spindle and brake. Naturally no warrantee. The problem is the wheel size and offset would destroy the bearings.

More to come.
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:57 PM   #67
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Enter Red Rider by Ridewell. This is a neat little trailing arm, air spring set up rated at 8000 lbs. https://www.ridewellcorp.com/store.h...uct=20&back=49

Now don't get me wrong, Ridewell doesn't condone this but I kind of threw out the instruction book and did my own thing. I spent many hours mocking the thing up to make sure everything would fit. Because it is an 8000 lb. set up and I'm going for 3000 lbs. or less , to preserve my bearings and unobtainable hubs, I figured that I could take some liberties.

This is it.

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More to come
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:07 PM   #68
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The big issue was getting everything to fit. First item was to move the rear jacks. As you can see the jacks are right where the air springs want to live.

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This is the Ridewell.

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The problem starts with the Ridewell. It wants to be mounted with the leading brackets mounted under the frame rail and the trailing arms bending in so the air springs are centered under the frame rails. The problem is the grey tank lives between the frame rails. I decided to switch sides. This is the original mock up.

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There seems to be a concern about the frame rails twisting out at the bottom so the hole in the mounts is for a 1 1/2" black iron pipe welded in to hold things together. They also spec a 2" angle welded across the top of the mount and across the top of the air springs.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:11 AM   #69
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I spent a great deal of time playing with ride height. Ridewell shows spacers between the top air spring mount and the frame rail. You want the ride height to be in the normal operating range of the air spring. You also want the collapsed height to be less than the collapsed height of the drive axle air springs. If the coach sat for an extended period I didn't want the tag hitting the stops before the drive axle and over loading the axle and tires. The axle also had to clear the grey tank when it was on the stops. This happy spot also had to match the proper ride height of the drive axle.

After trying many combinations the front mount had a 1/4" spacer and the rear wanted 2-1/2". The 2-1/2" rear spacer didn't allow room for a cross tie to support the frame rail because the grey tank was in the way. This also meant that I had to move everything out far enough for the air spring to clear the grey tank and the support framing. This all had to be figured out before the axle mount angle could be established. The axle drop arms want to be vertical when at the proper ride height to make sure the brakes function properly.

As you can imagine I agonized over this for days before committing to the final set up.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:29 AM   #70
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The next problem was the axle. The Ridewell calls for a 8000 lb. axle with a 3-1/2" OD tube with a 1/2" wall thickness. The only 7000 lb. axle I could find had a 3" OD tube, it was also short by 3/4". To have an axle made to spec they were talking a minimum of two months so I had to improvise. I first found a length of 3-1/2" OD tube with a 1/4" wall and split it length wise to make filler shims between the axle tube and mounting shoe. You can see the shims here if you look closely.

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I had to lengthen the axle and I could see rub marks on the inner fender wells so I decided to a little extra length. After cutting the tube in half I turned an alignment spud to reinforce and keep it straight.

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It was fun getting a size because the tube isn't perfectly round and it also has a weld seam. I got lucky because it took many blows with a 4 lb. dead blow hammer to seat it.

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If you look real close you can see a flat spot I milled to clear the weld seem. I also left about 1" of fit diameter on each end and relieved the center about .005" to prevent a gall going in.

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I tried a test fit and it fit so well I just drove it home. The problem is I got so excited I forgot to do a weld prep on the tube so I chucked it up in the lathe to cut a V groove.

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After driving on the second axle half I aligned the spindle drop arms. After checking and more checking I started welding.

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Next I hung the hubs and wheels to see how close I got it.

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I was really pleased it came out right on the button as close as I could measure it. The axle did come with quite a bit of camber which I decided against so a trip out to the wood splitter fixed that.

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The axle came out 1-3/8" longer than the original torsion axle so I think it will be a good fit.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:20 AM   #71
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A write up on how to replace the tag with something modern?!

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Old 05-08-2019, 11:02 AM   #72
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Dang! I'm really impressed

I like it when someone comes up with a solution to a problem with something that was better than the original.

Great job!

Brad
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #73
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I see a new alignment shop sign coming real soon.

Wood Splitter Alignment

You bent it, we bend it right.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:15 PM   #74
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Great work. Looks like that is what they should of had all along!
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:55 PM   #75
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Thanks guys. A hydraulic press can take many forms. I just used what was handy. By the way I was surprised how easy it bent.

After much aligning and checking I started welding. This is the basic unit.

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Getting things in place.

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Once you weld the bushing locating washers everything gets real stiff. It takes jacks to move the bushings.

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This is pretty much where it will live.

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Starting to fab the mounts.

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Once welded the location is locked in place.

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After this my poor body needed help.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:42 AM   #76
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The continuing saga.

Now that the location is committed I added some gussets.

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It came back out for finish welding. It's so much easier to weld in the shop than in the wheel well. My poor old body has been complaining.

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Add a bit of paint and it's looking better. You can see I split a length of 3-1/2" OD x 1/4" wall tube lengthwise and added it under the axle tube between the trailing arms for a little more support.

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When Airstream added a support to the torsion axle they did a one inch weld about every 6". I did the same but then added a bead of caulking. It didn't seem like the best idea to leave a place to capture water.

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Here you can see just the inside edge of the hanger is under the frame rail, most of it is cantilevered out. That's why I added the gussets.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:09 AM   #77
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This is what I came up with for the rear mount. You can see the pads for the air springs are cantilevered out quite a bit to clear everything. Also the cross tie bar is dropped to clear the grey tank. It took a lot of tinkering to get everything to fit. We got a little rain so I painted in the wood shed to get out of the weather.

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This is the rear mount in place. You can see a lot of shoe horn work.

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The moment of truth.

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The bolt holes even lined up.

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It's finally home.

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Old 05-09-2019, 02:52 AM   #78
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The air spring in place.

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I had to rework the air tank brackets and move the mounts to get it to fit in it's new little hole.

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Leveling valve and shock absorber.

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I even got new brakes. The old brakes weren't bad but the magnet wires were broken so they never worked.

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Bearing repacked and hub mounted.

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Then the fun began. The first side fit nicely. The second side not so much. With the spindle nut tightened I still had .009" of end play. After much frustration I discovered the machinist failed to cut the outside bearing fit deep enough. The inner bearing race hit the radius on the spindle before it took up the end play. So out comes a small round for a little hand fitting.

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A couple of hours and some colorful language and not so nice thoughts and I accomplished .001" end play. Time for some much needed rest.

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Old 05-09-2019, 06:33 AM   #79
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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I have been following your progress with interest, great job.

I had a look at your pictures and have a question. From what
I see the axle tube is solidly welded to both the left and right
swing arms. If that is so then does this allow the tag axle to
sway? Can the motorhome lean over when going around a
corner and have both tag axle wheels on the ground? Won't
the inside wheel lift off when the outside wheel pressed upward?

Perhaps I have missed something.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:56 PM   #80
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Good observation. As far as for side to side sway the solid set up will resist that. Just like tandem axles on trailers or trucks, wheels and tires are going to flex and slide in a turn. As for lean in a turn yes there is a possibility of lifting an inner tire in extreme lean. There are bushings at the front of the swing arms that might allow some flex and I'm sure the entire set up will twist a bit. Most commercial trucks and trailers have a very similar set up. In fact most of the stuff Ridewell sells is for heavy commercial applications so I guess it works. For me, I don't plan on driving it hard enough to create enough lean to lift the inside wheels. I try to remember this is a "Recreational" vehicle therefore I am by definition not in a hurry.
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