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Old 06-05-2020, 10:38 AM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
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6000# axles

Called my local Dexter dealer and gave him the axle specs I was needing to order. He called me back and said he had a set of Dexter #11 6000# axle with all the other configuration specs that I had give him. I can get both 6000# axles for about the price of a single axle I had spec'd.

Airstream is a 77 31' Sovereign so I know they are over-rated but I'm not sure how bad that is. Searching shows some have been happy with 5200# axles and Dexter dealer said they have ordered 6000# axles for other Airstream owners and they have been very satisfied but he is a salesman.

Would I be making a very large mistake going with 6000# axles?

Thanks in advice,
Kevin
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:32 AM   #2
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Those axles will give a "harsh" ride, and could possibly cause rivets to pop and other damage to the shell. Will possibly cause inside problems as well with things shaking apart. I only have 3-#3500 axles on my 34'. I would suggest maximum of #4000 axles!!
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:11 PM   #3
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How many pound axles do you have now?
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:19 PM   #4
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Dexter is recommending what sells most.
Airstream has gone to these 6k because there is virtually no difference in price and price isn't the object here. Folks overloading rigs is the problem. So at the end of the day you can get what you want but you will probably have to special order it = long delivery.
I've got 6k replacements on 27ft = no delta in ride or rivet expulsion, or drawers falling out etc.
Travel safely.
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:24 PM   #5
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Current axles look to be original which I believe were 3200#. Data plates are rusted too bad to be able to tell for sure.
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:54 PM   #6
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You can figure that new 6000# axles, for a given bump are going to compress half as much as new 3000# axles. That will definitely have the effect of transmitting more shock to the trailer. However, your axles are not new, and probably have lost much of their flexibility, so the effect may not be that great and new shock absorbers may dampen the impacts as well. Andy R. (not CanAm Andy) recommended not increasing axles more than 500#. I went from old 4400# axles to 5000# axles and have not noticed any significant difference in the ride, however I have had a couple of popped rivets (which may have popped regardless of the axle change as I have put many more miles on the trailer after as compared to before the axle change).

Al
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Old 06-05-2020, 01:41 PM   #7
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Ol Bob - Thanks for the reply. My 31' foot should be a little heavier than you 27' so maybe it's a viable option.

Al - I'm sure the 6000# axle will still be a better ride than what is on there now.

In my mind it seems better to be over rated than under rated on the axles when it comes to the safety aspect of towing.

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Old 06-05-2020, 02:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kscarter View Post

In my mind it seems better to be over rated than under rated on the axles when it comes to the safety aspect of towing.

Kevin
True and it depends on how far over.
There is a window. Outside of the window can be an issue.

If the trailer originally came with a pair of 3200 pound axles and you want to install a pair of 6000 pound axles. (unless I am mistaken) I think that is going to put you outside of the window. If there is not enough weight to compress the spring (rotate the axle half shaft in the rubber rods) the resulting ride is not what is desired.

However a different way to look at it is how much does the trailer weigh now when towing?

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Old 06-05-2020, 02:20 PM   #9
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I like some margin (factor of safety) in decisions I make but why would two 6000# axles be appropriate for a trailer that likely weighs no more than 7000# loaded? 2X 6000 = 12,000. That seems like big-time overkill to me. Seems like axles in the 3500 to 4000 range would make a lot more sense. What am I missing?
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:25 PM   #10
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That kind of over capacity is going to be a problem I think. At full gross weight, you will be at about 60% of axle capacity so the rubber rods in the axle are not going to have the appropriate (equivalent of) spring rate for the load.

When I replaced the axles on my old Sovereign, Andy R would only sell me axles rated about 400# over the originals and that man knew his business.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:45 PM   #11
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I called dexter corporate many moons ago to get my axle labels decoded. The AS spec was twin 5000 pound axles. Dexter said that they didn't make a 5k axle.and they were, in reality, 6000# axles labeled as 5k to match AS gvwr requirements.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:55 PM   #12
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I called dexter corporate many moons ago to get my axle labels decoded. The AS spec was twin 5000 pound axles. Dexter said that they didn't make a 5k axle.and they were, in reality, 6000# axles labeled as 5k to match AS gvwr requirements.
That is a frequent thing for Airstream trailers.

The higher axle rating is to get bigger in diameter brake drums. (12"versus 10") Then the axle is built with de-rated rubber rods. In essence a custom made torsion axle. And the axle load rating can be tailored to a lot of different ratings. At extra cost. The change in rating is accomplished with longer or shorter rubber torsion rods. The longer the rod the greater the capacity.

The OP is considering a pre-built ready to go axle. If the source says they are a 6000 pound rating, likely they are that rating.

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Old 06-05-2020, 08:30 PM   #13
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That is a frequent thing for Airstream trailers.

The higher axle rating is to get bigger in diameter brake drums. (12"versus 10") Then the axle is built with de-rated rubber rods. In essence a custom made torsion axle. And the axle load rating can be tailored to a lot of different ratings. At extra cost. The change in rating is accomplished with longer or shorter rubber torsion rods. The longer the rod the greater the capacity.

The OP is considering a pre-built ready to go axle. If the source says they are a 6000 pound rating, likely they are that rating.

>>>>>>Action
I understand what you say, but they told me it was only a label change. No physical difference, at least in this case. They are disc brake nev r lube axles. Maybe that's a difference.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:16 PM   #14
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No physical difference, at least in this case.
The metal tube diameter comes in about 4 difference physical sizes. From there the rubber rods internally come in a host of lengths. The different lengths of rubber rods can be made for different load ratings. But the larger metal tube is needed for larger diameter spindle which allows a larger drum brake. If the manufacturer wants a larger brake, the larger tube sized HAS to be selected. But if a lower load capacity is desired for a certain ride then the larger axle is used with a custom shorter rod length.

In bulk it doesn't really matter to Dexter. Dexter can run a batch of any size that they do not make for anyone else. The price will be low when an order is in bulk. And likely they have thousands of different configurations possible by changing to different rod length. And likely a few combinations that are in high demand.

Airstream is looking for a particular ride or load characteristic. So they likely have a quantity of axles built and keep in inventory for the different trailers. They are also looking at a specific braking need. Manufacturers do that kind of thing from time to time and it is their engineering and design that dictates the function of the part. Which may not line up with any other need in any other industry.

I don't believe Airstream is where most of the Dexter axles that are made end up. I believe most of the Dexter axles end up on farm equipment. And that industry is looking for a different use for torsion axles. It is also why (IMO) most torsion axles are made with out an attachment for a shock absorber. A shock is not really needed on a piece of farm equipment that mostly sees speeds under 45.

Who knows what the 6000 pound axle might have been built for? Especially if it is in dealer inventory and not in Dexter inventory. Almost doesn't matter. And the dealer states it is a 6000 pound capacity. Without seeing the tag this is all the data one has. Then the question becomes, is a 12,000 pound axle load capacity a good fit for this application. In my opinion I do not think it is if the axle capacity far exceeds the actual load. However it is not my decision to make.

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Old 06-06-2020, 06:05 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the information and input. Dexter dealer has to 2 6000# ready to go out the door for $500 each. Thought it might be good chance to save some money on axles and spend to on other things needed.

At this point not sure the saving is worth the possible issues it may cause.

Kevin
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