RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-25-2017, 07:23 PM   #21
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 19
Go with Colin Hyde

I too have a 76 Sovereign and I got my replacement axles through Colin. He is a pro at this and saved me a ton. He dropped shipped the axles to a local trailer place which replaced the axles for me. Good thing too because they had to take a torch to the original nuts in order to get them off. The new axles come with new brakes and feed though lubrication. The new ones from Colin are a direct replacement for the old ones. They are lighter, smaller and have better stopping power. Good luck
plbalza54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 07:36 PM   #22
Rivet Master
 
Lumatic's Avatar
 
1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,578
Images: 16
Blog Entries: 1
Don't be dumb and cheap like me. My first AS was a 73 Sovereign. Got her when she was about 30 years old. Mainly due to my ignorance and stubbornness I did not replace the axles. Not all at once I had floor panels pop loose, broken rivets, a broken frame above the axles. and the bulkhead vertical support through the ceiling. Take a ride in the coach down a bumpy road and see what happens. Replace the axles.
__________________
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
Lumatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 07:50 PM   #23
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,130
The axles seem to be good in my 81. I am running 15 XL car tires which helps a whole lot with the ride. Running trailer tires at 80 psi is going to shake anything to death but people do it. Tires and axles work together. Rock the trailer and have someone look to see if the body moves relative to the rims. If they don't, you have a problem. Usually if the axle is lower than the arm pivot, you have a problem. These rubber springs don't move all that much unless they see a really big load. Look at the trailer in the mirror while towing over something like a rail road track. If the axles are bad, the trailer will dance all over the place.

Perry
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2017, 06:35 AM   #24
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 237
Here is the data sheet off the axles I got and replaced on my 76 Sovereign and the ride and handling are exceptional! ! ! Wish I had done it soon as I got her.

Hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2017, 12:51 AM   #25
rvb
4 Rivet Member
 
rvb's Avatar
 
1977 Argosy 28
Euless , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 335
Every vintage trailer is different. My '77 has the original axles with new brakes and I decided to wait because:
The tires are not up in the wheel well opening.
When jacked up I get at least 8" of movement.
When I park at home I have to drive over the curb and can see one wheel up on the curb and the other down on the pavement which is a 6" difference.
I can jump up and down inside and feel movement.
It sits level with the hitch at spec height.
I've had no popped rivets, doors opening, clothes bouncing off of hangers in 3 1/2 years of regular use and on one trip I left the tea pot on the stove and it was still there when I got home.
Occasionally I find something out of place, but, that is after I've hit a big bump or upheaval in the road or drive on a long stretch on a really bad road.

I asked North Dallas RV which is the local recommended vintage Airstreams repair facility about axles when they did some other work for me and they didn't recommend replacing mine.

I'll probably replace them in a few years just to get more lift since The PO replaced the axle on our Minuet with 32 degree downtilt and the hitch height on it is about one bolt hole higher.
__________________
Past President, Vintage Airstream Club, WBCCI # 7291
1977 Argosy 28 Center Bath
(CA made) and 2015 Ford F250 6.7 diesel. Used to own 1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 and 2013 Toyota Tundra
rvb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2017, 08:22 AM   #26
4 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 333
More Information

To add to my previous post.

When I had her up on jacks in the woods before we brought her out, there was ZERO play in the torsion system during the jack. Also the original disk brake system is a nightmare to repair and maintain and it was not even close to functioning. Sooner rather than later I was going to have to do some major work. Since I am investing in this as my last RV, the first big investment was to ensure towability for the foreseeable future. Hence the journey to Colin's.

Also he and I discussed the other possible benefits. We are increasing the load on each axle to 3800 versus 3200 pounds rating. This gives me some more leeway in construction and weight and balance. Someone else has mentioned ground clearance and I am adding about 1.5" to the height of the trailer. We live in Canada and getting into a few sites have been rather arduous as well as the roads can sometimes be up and down. I have lost a few weight distribution stands on my trailers due to the smaller hills and bumps getting into some campsites.

I will post some pictures at the end of June when we pick it up.
Kristof is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 06:51 AM   #27
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 237
FWIW before I got my new axles I called every engineer I used to work with and not one took a torsion bar axle design course in college. The only thing left to do was call a torsion bar axle manufacturer and asked to speak to a torsion bar axle design engineer.

He gave me a crash course in torsion bar axle design parameters.

1. The capacity of the axles should have 50 to 66% rated load capacity placed on them.

2. When a torsion bar axle is loaded it arrives at the capacity of the axle when it rotates 22 1/2 degrees.

3. When it gets there the axle movement ability really stiffens up and if it moves another 11 1/4 degrees you have reached a point that is double the capacity and things get into a hard stop mode quickly.

4. Anything past that and it is like there were no springs at all.
I told him I estimated my road weight to be 7000 lbs and then I asked him, "If this were your trailer and cost was not a factor what would you put on?

He said he would install a pair of 5200 lb axles because if you hit a really bad spot on the road you have another 3000 lb axle capacity left to absorb load before you get into the 11 1/4 degree range. And two the 5200 lb axles come with 12" brakes.

My axles had taken a set at parallel to the road as can be see below:

When new axle arrived I made a template so I would know exactly where to cut the side plate coming off the trailer frame.


Placed the template on the side plate of the frame and scribed out where the new axle would be located and this told me what material needed to be removed.



To distribute the load I put in a piece of I believe it was 2"X3/8" bar stock between the frame and new axles to further distribute the load over the entire side mounting plate. It was tack welded in place.
Put it on the road for a 800 mile trip and was following a 18 wheeler with a car between us and all of a sudden on I 40 there was this big deteriorated section in the roadway and I was on it before I could react and the 2500HD went over and rattled us. I was looking at the trailer in west coast mirror when the wheels got to the bad spot it just felt as if it floated right over it. The 2500HD definitely show far more reaction to it than the AS.
I knew then the advice I got from the designer was good and the advice I got from this forum to run 10 ply rated Light Truck Tires was sound and the purchase of the Tredit Steel wheels with a heavier rating than Airstream used was the right choice.



I mounted the axles myself. First one took about 9 hours as I was working out how to do it and the first couple of ideas did not pan out and finally I figured out how to do it. The second one took about three more hours from removal to installation.

I placed the new axle on a floor jack at the balance point and gently raised it up and rotated the axle around till I got the bolts into the rear hole on each side. I then raised the jack more and the axle rotated and brought the front holes up even with their corresponding holes in the side plate.





And as Jackie Gleason was known to say: "And away we go!"

Hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 08:06 AM   #28
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,130
5200 lbs seems a little bit on the stiff side since they are probably going to see at best 2/3 of that. The trailer probably weighs 7000lb -700lb tongue weight or 6300lbs and your axles would have a combined capacity of 10,400lbs. Why do you have to get a 5200lb axle to get the 12" brakes? I would think you could get them custom made which they are anyway to get whatever brakes you want. I think my axles on my 81, 31' Excella II are 3200lbs each. Mine came with 12" brakes.

Perry
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 07:02 AM   #29
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 237
If you have 3500 lb axles and 6300 lbs you are at 90% of the capacity of the axles which is achieved when they rotate 22 1/2 degrees. When the axle design capacity is reached the next threshold comes into play and if a load exceeding 7000 lbs is exceeded from carry weight or from a big dynamic bounce being sustained from a bad road etc. The axle will be into the next range and can only rotate 11 1/4 degrees and at that point you have 14,000 lb axles with severely limited rotational movement capacity.


"1. The capacity of the axles should have 50 to 66% rated load capacity placed on them." That was the statement of the torsion bar axle design engineer who I have no reason to not believe.

10,400 lb capacity x .66% (6864 lbs which is well within the working load range per the statement of the torsion bar axle guy who designs these for a living and you have not arrived at the design capacity of the axles. I asked him what he would put on this trailer if it were his and he stated "a pair of 5200 lb axles" to me and I have no reason not to believe that.

The reason he stated for 5200 lb axles is that they come standard with 12" brakes. 5000 lb axles and less come with 10" brakes. They will install 12" brakes on lighter axles at a higher cost.


So it is kind of like this, you can run 3500 lb axles and have the arms rotated and right at the limit of their design capacity which logically means if a load on the running gear is sustained that delivers a load of 7000 lbs or more you are now into a 14,000 lb limited movement range and the feared rough ride will be achieved quickly breaking things. Or you can spend a little more and get the axles designed for the weight range you are already at.


The designer estimated that you would have to hit a really bad condition to exceed the 10,400 range and before arriving at that level the loading velocity has been severely dampened over a longer period.


As I recounted in my post above I hit such a spot on I 40 going west and my 2500HD was really shaken and the Airstream seemed to just float over it and did not sustain the violent dipping the tow vehicle got.


When I was changing out my axles I read the data plate on the AS axles and it said 3500 lbs and I could not believe it and that is when I started making calls.


I have a cargo trailer with 5X11 ft bed that weighs about 1100 lbs and I got a real deal on a 8000 lb torsion bar axle (8 lug) from the same place I got the AS replacement axles from and if the trailer is empty I have seen it bounce once and stop immediately.
I have never seen it bounce with a load of 500 lbs or more.

Then again I don't think there is a 10 ply tire made rated for 4000 lbs. I am running Transports 110s on it that are like 25+ years old with 2 piece rims and they just keep going.

They were on my F250 and I took them off and replaced them with one piece rims and radial tires about 30 years ago. If they go I have two more that have been stored in the dark for 25 years waiting to go that came off the same truck.
Hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 07:18 AM   #30
1 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Richmond Hill , Georgia
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12
I am in contact with Collin right now and am going to replace them while the underbelly is off. We actually took off the rear axle in order to take out the steel pan where the grey water tank sits. The 15/16" nut and bolt came out no problem. New axles replacement should be a walk in the park.
junebug76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2018, 01:05 AM   #31
2 Rivet Member
 
1975 31' Sovereign
San Jose , California
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 20
Hey Hummer, why did you need to cut your frame? I have a 75 Sovereign and I'm looking to replace the axles and add a lift. I like the specs that I'm hearing from you... but what did your Airstream come with originally? I have a 3500lb, 10" drum axle available to me for free, so I'm very much on the fence about why I would turn that down. My axle tag is so shot that I can't read it, but I know mine came with 12" brakes and the round chunk of metal behind the spindle seems much bigger than the 3500# axle's does.
Dobergirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 07:23 AM   #32
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 237


THE FRAME IS NOT CUT, the scratch line is how much I had to relieve the locator plate that is welded to the frame on the outside. Note the D shaped holes above.... that is where the frame is and I added I believe it was 3/8 strap stock to the bottom of the frame to make it even stronger

I had to open it as the square axle tube is that much bigger (scratch line) than the original wimpy axles.

My data plates said 3500 lbs. Two will equal 7000 lbs if they have not taken a set as mine had.

You might consider they might be free but why were they removed? All torsion bar axles will take a set soon or later and it stands to reason if they are overstressed from the get go it will be sooner.

I am now 71 and I wanted to make sure they lasted me till I am 100 haha.



Note location of new axle as mounted and the old one (left) that has taken a set. My 3500s were free too. My buddy wanted to use them on a trailer to haul fire wood and he got them for free.



This is the template I made to determine exactly where the side plate had to be relieved.



I pulled it 20 miles to town, gassed up and placed the above on the table to see how much moved on the way home.



I got home and photographed the same table again.
Hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 10:36 PM   #33
2 Rivet Member
 
1975 31' Sovereign
San Jose , California
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 20
The axle is free because one axle had a bearing overheat and lost a hub/wheel combo. The factory replaced the pair, and the "good" axle came back. They were only 4 years old, so practically new. Just need to grease it & check the bearings. It just seems like the 3500# unit is smaller than what I have and that concerns me, but I'm not sure what was there originally.
Dobergirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2018, 05:48 AM   #34
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 237
No telling what variations might be encountered. Also on mine was the breaks were wrecked. I had just come in from a 1500 mile trip and the electric brakes failed about two miles from the house and I limped in very slow because my 3/4 tow vehicle bigger brakes. The shoes were OK but the electrical actuator went south and blew the brake fuse.

I also replaced the rims with 16" rims that were heavier rated and they came with 10 ply rated light truck tires.







This is the data sticker from my new axles that will give you the measurements.

I forgot to add the new axle mounting holes went right into the existing mounting holes as I sure did not want to relocate any holes and cause rapid tire wear.
Hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sovereign


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Axle replacement / Floor Replacement - Newbies! toesonoz Vintage Kin 12 07-02-2016 06:05 PM
1976 Airstream International Sovereign :: 1976 Airstream International Sovereign AirVintage Airstream Registry Discussions 0 04-16-2012 11:26 AM
An axle is an axle is an axle? Globie64 Axles 45 01-01-2012 02:25 PM
1972 31' Sovereign axle replacement SL4BLLT Axles 35 09-18-2011 09:56 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.