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Old 02-10-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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1966 26' Overlander
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Can this axle be saved?

Out working on the camper. Yesterday I caulked around the vent pipes and the stove vent fan plate. I don't think the windows are leaking-no water/staining around them. However, I did find some more places where the floor is rotten- by the vent pipe by the corner of the shower/tub, by the water heater-think this could be the vent pipe on that side, and of course the place in front of the door where the stove vent was leaking. There was a patch on the subfloor, so I looked at it and it looks like I have 1/2" subflooring. The plumbing lines are all the plastic stuff. Today I crawled under the camper. The belly pan is sagging in the center where some of the rivets have pulled out. I tried to look up a cutout to see the metal beams, but could only see the one directly in front of me-which, though rusty, did not appear to be in bad shape. I'm rather bummed, cause I want to do this myself, but feel like it's way more than I can manage. I've looked at lots of posts that are titled floor repair, but never find the one jewel that spells it out! I NEED basic steps. Well, will try to attach the pic of the axle, maybe someone can look at that and tell me what I need to do.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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A bit of superficial rust on frame members isn't going to do much, so don't sweat it too much until you see what's there.

The axle, if original, has probably seen all it's going to see. With time, the rubber inside hardens, and then the axle is unrepairably dead. Get a new axle from your favorite Airstream supplier. (And take the old one to the recycling center, where they can make it into a new fender for a car.) Axle replacement is not that difficult and can be accomplished by a single person, though it does really help to have four hands instead.


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Old 02-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
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Lift up the trailer and if the axle drops a few inches you probably have some life in them..if they don't move at all..then time to make the change.

Judging by the rust matching the frame rust somewhat it looks like they have never been changed so it might be time to change anyway.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
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Out working on the camper. Yesterday I caulked around the vent pipes and the stove vent fan plate. I don't think the windows are leaking-no water/staining around them. However, I did find some more places where the floor is rotten- by the vent pipe by the corner of the shower/tub, by the water heater-think this could be the vent pipe on that side, and of course the place in front of the door where the stove vent was leaking. There was a patch on the subfloor, so I looked at it and it looks like I have 1/2" subflooring. The plumbing lines are all the plastic stuff. Today I crawled under the camper. The belly pan is sagging in the center where some of the rivets have pulled out. I tried to look up a cutout to see the metal beams, but could only see the one directly in front of me-which, though rusty, did not appear to be in bad shape. I'm rather bummed, cause I want to do this myself, but feel like it's way more than I can manage. I've looked at lots of posts that are titled floor repair, but never find the one jewel that spells it out! I NEED basic steps. Well, will try to attach the pic of the axle, maybe someone can look at that and tell me what I need to do.
This article teaches you how to check them out.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:12 PM   #5
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I did read that article, so today I jacked it up on one side and got a movement of about 1"! I will get them replaced at some point in the near future. Another question (imagine that!)-were the original bathroom walls fiberglass or formed plastic? My walls are smooth, shiny, no rivets. will attach pic.

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I also took a pic of the license plate attached beside the door- maybe someone on the forum was my PO!!!

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Sorry, I think it attached upside down!
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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Bath area walls

From your post it appears that those walls are original. What color are they? If yellow or aqua that would confirm it! They might have been painted by a PO though so don't go by color alone. Is that License plate screwed to the trailer? If so remove it and get some aluminum rivets to plug the holes with. You will have to drill the threaded holes out with a 1/8th inch drill bit and use Olympic rivets and Trempro caulk to seal the rivets to prevent water intrusion. Ed
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:45 PM   #7
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Yes you can save those axles. You can use them for curbs on your parking area. They also can be saved for garden sculpture. There are lots of uses that you can save them for but they are no longer doing your trailer any good.

I am fairly sure you are looking at fiberglass in that bathroom.

Behind that license plate the metal is being eaten due to dissimilar metals. It might look cool but it is doing your skin no good.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:54 PM   #8
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Ya'll are NOT saying anything to raise my spirit! Do I have to have AS axles? Oh, the bathroom walls are pale aqua. I really don't want to mess them up! Can you take out the tub and sink to fix the floor without hurting the walls? Thanks for responding, Linda
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:48 PM   #9
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Ya'll are NOT saying anything to raise my spirit! Do I have to have AS axles? Oh, the bathroom walls are pale aqua. I really don't want to mess them up! Can you take out the tub and sink to fix the floor without hurting the walls? Thanks for responding, Linda
Yes, I would replace those axles. You can take those walls & bathroom fixtures out without destroying the finish. Just drill out all of the 1/8" aluminum pop rivets that are holding those items in place. I have done it many times.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:53 PM   #10
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Ya'll are NOT saying anything to raise my spirit! Do I have to have AS axles? Linda
There is no such animal as an Airstream axle. All the axles were made for Airstream by other companies. Henshen is, or was, the most common (and the most expensive). Dexter makes an axle a lot of people use which is cheaper. There are a few other companies as well. Here's the thing the axle should be a Dura torque type axle.

Yeah only a 1"1/2 drop is marginal. I would also check it by towing it over a couple different surfaces with someone inside to check out the ride. It should be fairly smooth over a rough surface. Wish I did that. Don't ask me why.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:56 PM   #11
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Ya'll are NOT saying anything to raise my spirit! Do I have to have AS axles? Oh, the bathroom walls are pale aqua. I really don't want to mess them up! Can you take out the tub and sink to fix the floor without hurting the walls? Thanks for responding, Linda
Linda, Aqua most likely means you have a International Trim Package on your trailer. That is a step up on the standard trim package. Yes you can remove the bathroom to replace the rotted floor segments. The problem is it is very hard to do without removing many segments of your interior as the bathroom was installed 1st in the interior. There are loads of remodels on bathrooms here that can help you. Use the search tab on the tool bar above. Key words like bath remodel/ removal. If the floor has only minor rot you may be able to replace just a small piece of floor. If it is more damaged around the perimeter then you may want to replace the entire last segment of floor. To check this out remove all the floor covering in the bath area down to the subfloor. Caution should be used if the original 9" x 9" tiles are still installed as they are Asbestos/Vinyl tile. For your safety use a spray bottle of water and dishwashing soap mix to keep the tiles wet while you pop them off the floor. Then use a adhesive remover to get up as much of the mastic/adhesive as possible. Once removed you may be able to better determine how much floor you need to replace before tearing out the walls. Hope this helps, Ed
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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I'm in the process right now of doing some long overdue maintenance work on a 73 overlander including two new axles, preservation of the frame, new insulation and replacing the floor in the bathroom due to rot. I'm also going to update the bath interior to something more livable for my wife and I. It sounds like your trailer is in similar shape, so I would suggest that you drop the belly pan at the very least and see what things look like after all these years. It may not be all that bad, I have been pleasantly surprised that the rot I encountered was in the last 4 feet of flooring and the rust for the most part is only on the surface and can be cleaned up and painted.

The axles if they are original are probably overdue. If the axles dont have some travel left, the ride will be very harsh and you will see rivets popping due to everything flexing too much.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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If the trailer will be towed over the road, I'd replace everything top to bottom and polish it. If it's a driveway queen, I wouldn't. If it's a lake cabin or a park model, I'd just get it dry, replace the air-conditioner, water heater, furnace, cooking stove, refrigerator, and maybe polish it. If I went broke before it was done, or got sick of it, I'd turn it into a chicken coop.

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Old 02-15-2013, 07:27 PM   #14
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Splitrock, a wonderful, concise statement of my options! Actually, it did help me get my head out of the clouds and back to reality. Thanks, Linda
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:58 PM   #15
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Another good test for poor axles is if the center walls and dividers directly above the axles have started to pop their rivets...one rivet or two rivets is ok because it could be mild road stress...but if more than that the axles are sending too much shock into the frame and flexing the shell that those will pop and eventually that wall will go through the inner skin. but you already did the important test and though 1.5" will suffice..better to be safe than sorry...
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