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Old 09-09-2008, 11:17 PM   #1
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Axle alignment in Oregon

Andy, do you know someone in the Portland, Oregon area that will do the job of aligning the wheels on an Airstream properly at a reasonable price. I have a right rear tire that is wearing on the outside and am having a hard time finding anyone to do the work. Jim Casey
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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Andy, do you know someone in the Portland, Oregon area that will do the job of aligning the wheels on an Airstream properly at a reasonable price. I have a right rear tire that is wearing on the outside and am having a hard time finding anyone to do the work. Jim Casey
I am not aware of anyone near you.

You can try truck tire centers.

Andy
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #3
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Hi Jim,

Check this thread for the only place I know:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...gon-37809.html

It was split off another thread by the moderator as I recall. By the way, the trailer is riding high and well and the tires are showing no problems so far.

Walt
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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Wheel alignment

Thanks, Walt. Andy seemed to thinks the job was overpriced but it is hard to be picky about price if you can't find anyone else to do the job. I'll have to pay the piper, I guess. Jim
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:09 PM   #5
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Thanks, Walt. Andy seemed to thinks the job was overpriced but it is hard to be picky about price if you can't find anyone else to do the job. I'll have to pay the piper, I guess. Jim
Please read the comments I made as high lighted above.

Above everything else, it is not necessary to remove axles to align them, if you have the proper equipment, etc, etc.

I would suggest that you stand by your trailer while they are working on it.

I do not know who that shop is, but I do know Airstreams, and that fellow got ripped off, as I out lined.

To check the alignment, all you need is a ruler.

Make sure the tires are not twisted, as in a turn.

Measure the distance between the widest part of the tire, and the axle mounting plate. Do that for the front of the tire and the rear, of the same tire

Subtract the front dimension from the rear dimension. That tells you the tow-in. The front dimension should be about 1/8 inch less than the rear dimension.

Do that for each tire. If that checks out then more than liklely you have a balance problem, and not an alignment problem.

You can also check the camber by making sure that the lower part of the tire, is a little more inboard, than the top part of the tire.

Alignment shops love to take advantage of people, since they figure that very few people know how to check alignment and how to correct it, if it's off.

The above simple measurements will clue you in as to what problem you may, or may not have, with alignment.

When Airstream factory checks the aligment, they use a big gauge that doesn't do any more than what listed above.

The Henschen alignment specs are as follows.

Tow in equals 1/16 inch, plus or minus 1/16 inch.

Camber is 3/4 of a degree, plus or minus 3/4 of a degree.

Hope this helps those that feel that the trailer has an alignment problem.

Bets are still on, almost all owners will find that the vast majority of funny tire wear, is lack of proper running gear balance and/or bad shocks, and "not" alignment.

Andy
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:02 PM   #6
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I would suggest that you stand by your trailer while they are working on it.


Good luck with that happening. 99% of shops are not going to allow customers in the service bays while work is going on because of insurance liabilities.
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:07 PM   #7
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Hi Jim,

There was a $255 piece (I think that's the relevant part of the bill) of the work on mine that may not apply regarding yours. The shop has and used their capability to take out an abnormal (From a pot hole or something like that) bend in one of my axels. The axels are supposed to have a certain bend but mine was abnornal. I should have made that clearer in the thread, but the negative, piling-on response turned me off, so I dropped it.

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:18 PM   #8
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Look for a Truck Axle Shop. The axles have to be bent to realign them and any truck axle shop will have the equipment to do this. Ask if they have ever done an Airstream. I had my trailer done when I bought it and again 11 years later when I installed new axles. If I remember right the last time was about $290.00 for 3 axles, but once done right you are home free.

A quick check is to set an 8 ft. florescent light bulb across the center line of the tires and you can quickly see any misalignment between the tires and the bulb.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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Alignment problems

I tried to find truck shops around the area that would take on the job. I called three of them, but all of them said they would not do the job. Also tried several alignment shops in the Portland area. Several just turned me down. Others wanted me to bring the AS by and let them look at it. I figure if they haven't ever seen the suspension system on an airstream before, I don't want them to start on mine. As it now stands, I have an appointment with the same shop that did the work on Walt's. I don't know if they will let me stand by and watch them work or not. Most won't. I just want the job done and done properly. Would really be a bonus if I got a fair price. jim
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:39 PM   #10
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I tried to find truck shops around the area that would take on the job. I called three of them, but all of them said they would not do the job. Also tried several alignment shops in the Portland area. Several just turned me down. Others wanted me to bring the AS by and let them look at it. I figure if they haven't ever seen the suspension system on an airstream before, I don't want them to start on mine. As it now stands, I have an appointment with the same shop that did the work on Walt's. I don't know if they will let me stand by and watch them work or not. Most won't. I just want the job done and done properly. Would really be a bonus if I got a fair price. jim
Before you decide to go to any shop, how about posting the measurements as outlined above.

Andy
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:45 AM   #11
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Andy, do you know someone in the Portland, Oregon area that will do the job of aligning the wheels on an Airstream properly at a reasonable price. I have a right rear tire that is wearing on the outside and am having a hard time finding anyone to do the work. Jim Casey
Hi, did you ask George Sutton, the only Oregon Airstream dealer, if they do alignments or if they have a shop that they use to do it for them? Or the Seattle, Wa. dealer if they are closer to you?
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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Has anyone watched them align an axle? Just what do they do, or what do they adjust, or what do they bend would be more accurate, since there really is no adjustment?

I need an axle aligned but can't find anyone closer than Dallas (300 miles) to do it.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:32 PM   #13
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Cost?

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....I have an appointment with the same shop that did the work on Walt's. ..... jim
Hi Jim,

If you would load a scan of your invoice like I did in the thread last November, I'd be interested to see how they're billing now and I think others would be interested to see what this kind of work costs.

Walt
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:30 PM   #14
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Has anyone watched them align an axle? Just what do they do, or what do they adjust, or what do they bend would be more accurate, since there really is no adjustment?

I need an axle aligned but can't find anyone closer than Dallas (300 miles) to do it.
WE took our 25' CCD to Jackson Center this past June and had them align the axles. The curb side rear looked almost like new but the curbside front tire was almost worn out at 10,000 miles. The guy that did the work, Bill I think, took 2 1/2 hours to do the work and it costs $222.50. He previously worked for 20 years at Henschen building them; now works at Airstream. He used a camber guage and string lines to measure the actual alignment for camber and toe-in (0 to 1-1/2 degrees camber, 0 to 1/8 " toe-in). The actual alignment was done with heavy timbers, chains wood blocks and a hydraulic jack that he manipulated under, in front of and behind the axles under the trailer to bend then to the proper settings, much like aligning the old solid truck axles. Gave me a table to the before and after alignment settings; well worth the costs. He was a craftsman at his trade that is not typical in today's mechanical industry.

In terms of Airstream approved locations, there was a list in one of the latest Blue Beret on the Airstream dealers and repairs shops with the skills and equipment to do it. I'll look later tonight and post then.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:36 PM   #15
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Axle alignment

Andy, I would love to follow your directions to a Tee but am so much a novice at this that I don't know what the axle mounting plate is, so I would have a hard time measuring to it. I do appreciate your instructions as I do all the folks on the forum. This is a total learning process for me and I don't know all the technical terms used with trailers in general, and Airstreams in particular. I hope you will bear with me. I did locate a company in the Portland area that says it can do the job. The name is Potter Webster Company and their subsidiary Hitch Mart Services located on Walker street in Portland. I did call the only Airstream dealer in Oregon and they gave me the name of the shop in Eugene that Walt used.
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Old 09-17-2008, 12:58 PM   #16
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Has anyone watched them align an axle? Just what do they do, or what do they adjust, or what do they bend would be more accurate, since there really is no adjustment?
It is necessary to Bend the axle tube and force that bend against the trailer frame in order to change any angle at the spindle. The spindle is welded to the arm and the arm in turn is welded to the shank that fits into the axle tube.

Depending on where they position the jack will change the effect of the bend. The closer to one side the more effect the bend will have on that side. If the bend in on the horizontal it will effect toe in. If the bend is on the vertical it will effect the camber.

Another thought on a possible shop would be to call Dexter and ask them who adjust there axles. Do not take your trailer to an RV dealer find a shop that has experience bending truck axles.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:57 PM   #17
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The May 2008 Blue Beret lists two businesses in Oregon that align both Henschen and Dura-Torque axles:

Cairsen Brake & Alignment
265 Taylor St
Eugene, OR 97402
541.344.5887

Henderson's Line-Up
417 S.W. Henderson Lane
Grants Pass, OR 97527
541.479.2882
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:01 PM   #18
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The May 2008 Blue Beret lists two businesses in Oregon that align both Henschen and Dura-Torque axles:
Now that is what I call some real information.

If your Google each of these companies you will see they are shop that can handle your needs.

This is the list from the BB. for across the country.
http://www.airstream.com/files/libra...eab9813bf0.pdf
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Old 09-17-2008, 06:36 PM   #19
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As I recall from the AS service manual camber is not nearly as critical as the right toe in
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:35 AM   #20
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On trailer axles camber is just a pre load on the bearings while tracking in a straight line.

Toe In is what takes the outer edge off a tire.
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