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Old 01-22-2013, 09:57 PM   #161
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1973 23' Safari
1977 23' Safari
2014 25' Flying Cloud
Palmer Lake , Colorado
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Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
Hey Zep, has anyone tried to use heat and cold to help shape a panel? ...
I've heard of people using ice (or even dry ice) to pull out dents, but you need to do it fairly soon after the dent is created. Otherwise, the metal slowly stretches to relieve the stress of the dent and it can't be treated with ice.

Heat is more problematic in thin aluminum sheet. I'm no expert, but it would be easy to overheat the aluminum. I think you can overheat using a heat gun, if you're not careful. But if you do it successfully, it makes rolling out a panel much easier.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:31 PM   #162
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1976 27' Overlander
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Well, it got up to 40 today, and sunny, so I ran out of excuses. The good news is, this first axle practically moved itself. Once I got it balanced on the floor jack (it only fell of a couple times), it was surprisingly easy to move by rolling the jack on the plywood (I can hardly pick these suckers up, so under the trailer there is no hope unless it can move on the jack....

...So far, it's not too bad as a solo exercise. I am surprised. The slots in the flanges don't line up with the existing holes in the fish plate, so I'll deal with that tomorrow.

Zep
Zep, your two posts (#154 & 155) have got to be a new record for a concise report on replacing axles, especially given the time between start to finish...
But, since I am doing the research on this (including your Overlander and disc-brake threads, and others, so I can do mine this spring) did you end up with the Dexters (?) as they came from the factory? And, was the axle rated-weight in the range you were considering earlier? Up here in Griz Nation options are few, but we do have a local Dexter dealer and I can get their "free" shipping. Lastly, it seems you did this set on your own, maybe even by yourself. Any lessons learned? Thanks - you do great work.

Dave
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:53 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by OilnH2o View Post
...did you end up with the Dexters (?) as they came from the factory? And, was the axle rated-weight in the range you were considering earlier? ... you did this set on your own, maybe even by yourself. Any lessons learned? Thanks - you do great work.
Dave, I only know two sources for these axles, Dexter and Axis. I have Dexters on the Sovereign and Overlander, and I had an Axis on my Caravel. All I can say is, I can't tell the difference between them. They use the same brackets and you have to drill out the fish plate for either of them. I gather that if you order Axis axles from Colin Hyde he gets them with different brackets so there is no drilling required.

I finally ordered 2800 lbs axles. For an Airstream that will never exceed 4600 lbs, that provides 22% margin at the max. You need some margin, something between 20-30%. The more margin, the less chance of bottoming the axle(s), but the harsher ride. Just remember that sometimes you won't have full water or full baggage, so be careful about the light weight days. I figure I'll most often travel around 4300 lbs, so two 2800 axles provide 30% margin, which is as high as I would like to go.

I did put them on single-handed. You can do it if you have a floor jack and two hydraulic jacks. Make sure you have a 5/8" rotobroach drill (my opinion is that a 5/8" twist drill will either break your wrist or wrap you up when it catches, plus the rotobroach is faster and can use a smaller drill motor).

Lesson learned (from memory, so take these for what they're worth):
  1. I didn't pay enough attention when I drilled out the new holes (there's about two inches available). It's not a problem until the next set of axles, twenty years from now. But you need to think out how you're going to put the holes in a repeatable position, relative to each axle bracket.
  2. Be careful about getting the axles perfectly aligned in rotation. I think I pushed up on the swing arms a bit too much and they might be rotated CCW (looking from the street side) about 3 degrees from horizontal.
  3. If you have your Airstream up on blocks, try to avoid putting the blocks in positions that will prevent you from measuring the distance from the axle slots to the hitch. Luke (up in Ft Colins) pretty regularly finds that fish plates are not lined up opposite each other by significant amounts--my Overlander was off by 1/8" (fixed that by pulling with cables opposite directions) and the Sovereign was off by, what was it, maybe 3/8", so we flame cut the slots on one side. If your fish plates are off, your Airstream will track down the road a little bit sideways and you tires will wear out early.
Good luch. The first one is scary but after that it's just work.

Zep
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:10 AM   #164
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Zep so what worked on pre-bending the side wraps? Did the PVC mandrel work without kinking the metal? I used a piece of PVC pipe to pre-bend my rear side wraps and it helped. I think the metal was .032 6061-T6. I created a seam between the rear wheel and the corner sorta like you did but for different reasons. I have a center bath and the side wraps behind the wheels go up under the holding tank flanges and are hard to remove. Rather than get into a whole broken tank support bolt/redrill holes fiasco, I just left the first 4 foot or so side wraps under the tanks and made a two piece side wrap sorta like what you did. The rear side wraps were pretty much toast from the water leaks from the bumper compartment and bumper plate leaks. Without some sort of pre-bend the side wraps with the thicker metal would not have worked. My corner wraps are plastic which has pros and cons. The stuff cracks pretty easy.

At some point, I will have to bite the bullet and remove some of those tank support bolts and I am sure that many will break. My gray and black water tank pans were crushed by a careless PO or garage ape missing the axel plate with the jack and hitting the tank. I am going to attempt to splice in a new section of tank and also gain access to the leaking dump valves which I am not sure you can remove without dropping the tanks. The valves are sandwitched between the two tanks with very little clearance.

Perry
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:39 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Zep so what worked on pre-bending the side wraps? Did the PVC mandrel work without kinking the metal? I used a piece of PVC pipe to pre-bend my rear side wraps and it helped. I think the metal was .032 6061-T6.
Yes, it worked great. A 3" pipe has a slightly small radius, so you have to be careful to bend the skin "loosely" around the pipe. I found that bending about 200 degrees resulted in a permanent set of 90 degrees. You need to clamp the skin to the pipe and you need a long piece of wood clamped to the free end of the skin to push on. Otherwise you oilcan the skin where you are pushing and leave a crease.

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I am going to attempt to splice in a new section of tank...
I don't know what your tanks are made of, but if it's polyethylene it's very difficult to weld. Good luck. I've managed to weld a few small cracks that were leaking and I found a 3M glue (something like 8003) that will glue the stuff, which I used to fix a crack next to the toilet flange.

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...and also gain access to the leaking dump valves which I am not sure you can remove without dropping the tanks. The valves are sandwitched between the two tanks with very little clearance.
My 75 Sovereign has a mid-bath and the valve arrangement in it sounds a lot like yours. I managed to get the valves out without removing the tanks. The thread just gives you an idea of how to start, I didn't document the actual removal.

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #166
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Sorry I ment tank pan not tank. The pan needs a new section spliced in but the tanks under the pan are good. I had to repair the fresh water tank pan already. I learned that you can't install 3/16 Stainless pop rivets with a hand tool without being the hulk.

I looked at your center bath repair link and my valves are not separated like that. mine face each other and I can get them out by destroying the common y-pipe between them but I don't think I can get the y-pipe back in. I am seriously thinking of putting elbows on the tanks and make a manifold outside the tank so I don't have to go through the hell of pulling the tanks to replace a valve seal. Right now having a third valve is a fair trade for not having to mess with removing the tanks. I maybe able to figure something out but right now it does not look great.

Perry
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