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Old 05-24-2017, 07:43 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Richmond Hill , Georgia
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1976 Sovereign axle replacement

Need to replace the axles on my AS. I am doing a full renovation and it is currently down to the frame and shell. Was thinking about just changing the brake drum, backing plate, and shocks; and then coming back later to change the axle. Is it best to change the axles now or wait until there is more weight in the trailer? Also trying to get the best deal for axles. Should I custom order through a distributor or go through Inland RV? Thanks!
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:37 AM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
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At the stage AS is in why change brake drum and shocks? I would wait until all finished and change axles as items on new axles, besides axles this old are shot.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:15 AM   #3
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When you get a new axle it comes with new brakes and drums etc.

If you order from Inland the new axle should be plug and play. If you order elsewhere you need to provide your own measurements and specs, but it is cheaper.

I don't see what having weight in the trailer has to do with changing the axles.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:31 AM   #4
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1976 31' Sovereign
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The axles on it seem like they are in good condition, which is why I am hesitate to replace them. I haven't done the test on them yet, but plan to this weekend. The hub caps are still a few inches below the wheel well molding, which I assume is a good sign. Is there a huge price difference in the distributor vs Inland RV purchase? I know I can get all the correct specs for the distributor but having the easy install from Inland is always a guarantee.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:32 AM   #5
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Another note is that if I change the axle early on in the renovation, if I transport the AS and the axles fail and total the AS then I lose everything I put into it.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:42 AM   #6
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1971 25' Tradewind
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First The axles "seem good" doesn't tell you anything. Second, You've got it backwards. The hubcaps are supposed to be level with or above the wheel well. Yes, there is a significant difference in price between Inland and ordering from the manufacturer, but you have to provide several exact measurements and specifications, and if you get it wrong your'e stuck. Inland does that for you. The axles won't catastrophically fail. The problem with bad torsion bar axles is they loose their shock absorbing ability transmitting road shock to the trailer which will cause damage to the shell and interior such as popping rivets.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:57 AM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
Richmond Hill , Georgia
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What I mean is the wheels or hubcaps are not inside the wheel well like I have seen on some axles that are shot. Going to raise the axles off the ground this weekend and see if/how much they move with no weight on it.

I have found the form online for Dexter Torflex axles. The specs I have found out are:
3500 lb capacity per axle
start angle can be 22.5 or 32 degrees down
electric brakes with 6 on 5.5"
EZ lube
High profile bracket
reverse orientation
side mount hanger kit
painted.

I am not sure what the Hub face and outside of frame dimension is yet, I will measure them this weekend. And I'm assuming you don't want it galvanized, but I am not positive. Please comment if you have any advise or knowledge about this! Thank you
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Old 05-24-2017, 12:01 PM   #8
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1973 31' Sovereign
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I usually have good luck with - Redneck Trailer Supply - but you have to know dimensions and bolt pattern.
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Old 05-24-2017, 12:11 PM   #9
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1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
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This article explains how to determine if they need to be replaced: THE DURA-TORQUE AXLE, but I would replace them based on the fact that they are 40 years old, unless you're mostly just going to leave your trailer parked in one place.

Axles can also be ordered through Colin Hyde. That's where I got mine. One thing to check on the axles from Inland RV is whether or not they come with the shock brackets welded on. The axles I got from Colin came with the shock brackets, but I've heard that those from Inland do not.
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Old 05-24-2017, 12:41 PM   #10
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The 3 axles I got from Inland were complete with shock mounts (ordered new shocks as well) and were "plug and play", with very easy install according to the shop that installed them. I have always had great service from Andy at Inland, and yes, you might pay a little more, but expertise does not come cheap!!! If you have original axles, then the odds are very good that it is time to replace. Good luck, Chris
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Old 05-24-2017, 02:55 PM   #11
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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the axles being shot does not mean much other than the flexibility of the rubber inside is gone. That means a somewhat harder ride. Mine are 50 years old and ride pretty darn well... Judging by items left on the counter and such that are still in place after a long tow.And very few if any popped rivets in 6 years of towing.
The ride will improve with new axles but the more important hing is the wheel bearings. These need to be lubed well.
If you are seeing a good bit of tire and the upper wheel well is not half way down the tire and wheel, I would not be overly concerned with axle replacement.
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:26 PM   #12
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1967 26' Overlander
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The research I did before buying axles for my '67 Overlander revealed that a straight replacement axle with the same load rating would not have the same size brake assemblies as original. Not wanting to down size the brakes from 12 to 10 inches I bought the next size up from Inland. I could not get in touch with Colin Hyde at the time but his price had earlier been quoted the same as Inland plus freight. Inland was able to have the axles shipped to a Dexter distributor near me which saved me the freight cost. I could have saved a hundred bucks per axle had I bought directly from the distributor but any mistake would have been on me.

Having bought a size up from original we had to do a slight modification to the frame by widening the slot in the side plates to accommodate the larger axle tubes. The coach frame sat solidly on the axle brackets and was raised only slightly. We also had to drill new bolt holes thru the side plates and weld on the shock brackets. Total shop time was about 8 hours.

The trailer rides much more smoothly now.
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:05 PM   #13
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I had to drill new holes(2) with the axel I bought from Inland RV, it was not a perfect fit, it had shock brackets,but the welds were sloppy, I could do much better myself. Next time I will go with a local supplier
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:59 PM   #14
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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I just ordered axles from Colin Hyde just over one week ago. He knows what he is doing. He has ordered hundreds of axles. I ordered from him because I am sure they will fit properly and will come with the shock bracket welded on. His axles have 10" brakes; Inland's axles have 12" brakes. These (12") are the same size brakes that come on new 30' Airstreams that weigh twice as much as mine. I wanted the 10" brakes. This means that the hub/wheel is 5 lug, not 6 lug. Colin's price is $495 plus shipping. Shipping cost to Virginia is $145. The standard axle is 3500 lbs. I down graded mine to 2500 lbs as my axle loading is only 2100 lbs. Taking the measurements is pretty simple. I removed the axles and then took the measurements. He spent over 30 minutes with me on the phone answering my questions. I hope to have them in the next 2-3 weeks.

Dan
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:50 PM   #15
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1977 31' Sovereign
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I agree with all. Just pulled a 77 Sovereign 31 from the woods in NH over to Colin's for new axles. I out new rubber on before we left and made sure the bearings were good to go. Towed like a dream to Plattsburgh but that is no reason to not have the 40 year old axles replaced in. If you want something to last another 40 years you need to think like that. I am also not using the original fridge. It all makes sense.
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:20 AM   #16
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Not everyone has a good experience with Andy at Inland. Use google map to view what people say about their experiences. Mine was very bad. Then I read about others.
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:23 AM   #17
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my original 50 year old fridge works perfectly. Colin himself uses the fridge in the 1950s? trailer he has . No reason not to..
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:31 AM   #18
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Replace axles when you have done your renovations. It is the last thing you need to deal with especially if you don't know where the project is going.

Perry
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:50 AM   #19
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Axles can be easily replaced at any time, weight is not an issue. I would tow it a short distance with your existing axles to see if they even need replacing.

I tow trailers all the time, an old trucker taught me once to get out after every trip and put your hand near the center of each wheel, if you can't feel them because of the the heat then your brakes or bearings need attention. If you can easily place your hand on the hub then you are good to go.

Another thing he taught me was to run your hand across the tires, if they are uneven or jagged then that axle is out of alignment. If they are cupped then that tire is smaller than the other one or the shocks/springs/rubbers are bad on that axle allowing it to bounce.

Just my $0.02 YMMV
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:52 AM   #20
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1976 31' Sovereign
Richmond Hill , Georgia
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Thank you for all the info! I am collecting quotes from distributors, Inland, and will contact Colin today. My AS is a weekend project so I can't get the measurements until then. I will probably end up replacing the axles prior to starting the renovation on the interior.
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