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Old 02-17-2008, 06:50 PM   #1
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Are my axles bad?

(Very good and informative thread with very knowledgeable participants. I can't wait to see how everything turns out. - from the end of a different thread)



I to have been thinking about replacing the axles on 1976 31" center bath A/S. I found this trailer back in late 1999 and it looked like it had been setting in a dirt field for about 9 to 10 years. I paid the ransom and rescued it and started the refurbishing which is still ongoing today. After replacing the brakes, bearing and tires the old trailer pulled very well and we have traveled quite a bit over the lower United States on a number of trips. No problems. Now I need to have the brakes, bearing and shocks checked before spring and think this would be a good time to address the axle issue before this is done. In looking at the underside I see that both axles are bowed upward as I understand they should be, but the back axle has more of a bow and almost touched the outer skin. The angel on the spindle arm is still slightly pointed down on both.


Thanks for any comments.

Don

1976 31" center bath
Missouri City, TX
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
In looking at the underside I see that both axles are bowed upward as I understand they should be, but the back axle has more of a bow and almost touched the outer skin. The angle on the spindle arm is still slightly pointed down on both.
The arm coming from the axle ends needs to be at least in a horizontal manner. The better arrangement would be for them to be pointing down.

Given that you have a 32 year old unit it is likely that the axles are at least at the end of their life if not completely used up. The saving grace is the triple axle. Triple axles have less weight per axle and tend to last longer because of this.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:26 PM   #3
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Don,
Go to Airstream Innovations at Inland RV Center, Inc. (951) 734-8130 and check the axle icon on the left. After you look at some of the info there, go back to the Articles icon, click on it and then scroll down to Andy's article on the Dura-torque axle. It discusses how your axles should look. Also take the Henshen plant tour on Inland's site to get a few ideas of how the axle is built.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
The saving grace is the triple axle. Triple axles have less weight per axle and tend to last longer because of this.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
Our 31' coach only has two axles.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
(Very good and informative thread with very knowledgeable participants. I can't wait to see how everything turns out. - from the end of a different thread)



I to have been thinking about replacing the axles on 1976 31" center bath A/S. I found this trailer back in late 1999 and it looked like it had been setting in a dirt field for about 9 to 10 years. I paid the ransom and rescued it and started the refurbishing which is still ongoing today. After replacing the brakes, bearing and tires the old trailer pulled very well and we have traveled quite a bit over the lower United States on a number of trips. No problems. Now I need to have the brakes, bearing and shocks checked before spring and think this would be a good time to address the axle issue before this is done. In looking at the underside I see that both axles are bowed upward as I understand they should be, but the back axle has more of a bow and almost touched the outer skin. The angel on the spindle arm is still slightly pointed down on both.


Thanks for any comments.

Don

1976 31" center bath
Missouri City, TX
Don,

The axle beams may very well be "bent" upward, this is how they are aligned in the manufacturing process. Since they are weldments in mass production they are put into an alignment jig and then bent to bring the spindles into the correct "straight tracking" position before installation. The beams being bent like this have nothing to do with useful life, unless there has been an "event" that has bent them after installation, but this you would see in tire wear most likely. As mentioned go check out Inland Andy's site for axle condition, it sounds to me as though they may be just fine. If the "swing" arms are slightly down or in a zero position your good! If they begin to move upward toward the frame, then you have decisions to make.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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If it has only two axles then you have a lot of weight on those. I thought triples started at 30 feet or so.

>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:19 PM   #8
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I know that the 34's had triple axles but wonder if any of the 32's produced ever used that many.
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Old 02-18-2008, 07:16 AM   #9
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PizzaChop's Rule of Thumb

This may err too much on the side of safety, but as a general rule (IMHO)...any axle or furnace over 30 years old has probably served out its useful life and replacement should be considered a good investment, providing a smoother ride and peace of mind.

(New axles come with new bearings, drums, and brakes)
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
If it has only two axles then you have a lot of weight on those. I thought triples started at 30 feet or so.

>>>>>>>>>>Action
I only have 2 axles on my 1976 31'
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:17 AM   #11
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Only 34ft'er..

Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
I only have 2 axles on my 1976 31'
34 FT HAVE TRIPLE..THE REST..TWO OR ONE, Depends on length.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
I only have 2 axles on my 1976 31'
I would be looking at replacing the axles.

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
If it has only two axles then you have a lot of weight on those. I thought triples started at 30 feet or so.

>>>>>>>>>>Action
On the trailers, the 34' was the only production trailer with three axles. In the classic mohos though, the 325 had a tag axle for a three-axle count.

Roger
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:38 AM   #14
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As a follow-up here are some pictures of the side view of my trailer which shows the view of the wheel in relation to the wheel, All of the wheel well is visible on both sides. Also I have included a picture of the rear axle showing how it is almost touching the underside and a picture of the arm which is pointing down slightly.

Don
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:41 AM   #15
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The rear axle tube bend was designed into the axle tube. The front axle tube should have a similar bend.

The rest of the axle riding charistics look good. And 30+ years for a torsion axle is a good amount of time. Take your trailer out frequently this will flex the rubber rods inside the axle and be good for extending the life of the rods that are the springs in the axles.

Nice looking trailer on the outside.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:48 PM   #16
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I have the A/S over at Bob Jones RV here in Houston for some other minor issues and they are going to give me their opinion on the axles.

Don
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:26 PM   #17
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Divine Axelvention

Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
The angel on the spindle arm is still slightly pointed down on both.
I would like an axle angel please. Where can I get one?
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Old 02-29-2008, 02:54 PM   #18
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Theres still life in these old axles

Just spoke to Chris Jones at Bob Jones RV and they feel the axles are still good on my 1976 31' Sovereign. So for now I am going to have the bearings and brakes checked and check the balance on my tires and check this again next year. When I do replace them Chris recommends the Henschen axle. So Andy I am starting to save my now so that I will be ready.

Don Hardman
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh
Just spoke to Chris Jones at Bob Jones RV and they feel the axles are still good on my 1976 31' Sovereign. So for now I am going to have the bearings and brakes checked and check the balance on my tires and check this again next year. When I do replace them Chris recommends the Henschen axle. So Andy I am starting to save my now so that I will be ready.

Don Hardman
Don.

Please have Chris check the tire drop.

Have him jack up one side of the trailer, and see how much "more" the tire drops, until it's off the ground.

It should drop about 2 to 3 inches.

If not, then the rubber rods have solidified, which will give the trailer a rough ride.

Generally speaking, if a load has been placed on a torsion axle, for several years, but has not been exercized, then the rubber rods can solidify.

There are two tests. In your case, there is plenty of tire above the wheel. So your axles are OK there. But the tires must also drop when the trailer is lifted off the ground on one side. If they do drop that 2 to 3 inches then your axles are in very good shape.

If they only drop an inch or less, then the rubber rods have solidified, making the axle give the trailer a rough ride. Not good.

Andy
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Don.

Please have Chris check the tire drop.

Have him jack up one side of the trailer, and see how much "more" the tire drops, until it's off the ground.

It should drop about 2 to 3 inches.

If not, then the rubber rods have solidified, which will give the trailer a rough ride.

Generally speaking, if a load has been placed on a torsion axle, for several years, but has not been exorcised, then the rubber rods can solidify.

There are two tests. In your case, there is plenty of tire above the wheel. So your axles are OK there. But the tires must also drop when the trailer is lifted off the ground on one side. If they do drop that 2 to 3 inches then your axles are in very good shape.

If they only drop an inch or less, then the rubber rods have solidified, making the axle give the trailer a rough ride. Not good.

Andy
Andy, can you please clarify something. In the "drop test" would it work the same if the trailer was ran up on two ramps so one axle is free to fully hang down. Or, is it critical to do the test running one wheel on one side up to check the drop of the other axle? Thanks....
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