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Old 12-11-2013, 04:17 PM   #1
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Axle Break Story

When your axle breaks, who do you call - The Ghost Busters. Well how silly, you call Airstream of course. “BUZZER” - yeah that’s a big buzzer sound. Here’s the timeline.

10/20 Sunday - Axle breaks - going slow when it careened across road and caused no damage. Worth mentioning a gentleman ran out of gas right behind me and then helped me locate and retrieve the wheel - magical. We limped to Columbia, CA and stayed at a Passport America Campground which was quite pleasant.

10/21 Monday - Called Airstream - they gave me a part number (3186161)- put me in touch with Dexter who gave me the contact info for the closest distributer. Ordered new axle using the Airstream supplied part number.

10/29 Tuesday - Drove to recommended installer (49 miles) only to find completely incorrect axle had been delivered. Called nearest Airstream dealer just in case they had one in stock and I was warned it was important who I spoke to at Airstream to insure being properly advised. So I spoke with a recommended adviser in Ohio and was given an entirely different part number. (3081172 ) “BUZZER” - yeah I was perplexed.

10/30 Wednesday - Talked to Andy from Inland RV Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations who was not surprised with my predicament. He also advised me to replace all three axles to avoid damaging the new axle. “BUZZER” holly bananas - REPLACE ALL THREE. So I ran this by Airstream and although they were confused at first they did later confirm by email that Andy was correct - all three.

10/31 Thursday - I put my trust in Andy and ordered the new axles through Inland RV. Andy also changes the specs slightly improving ground clearance. We stayed at Woodward Reservoir, just North of Oakdale, quite pleasant and not expensive.

11/15 Friday - Axles installed. Installation went perfectly, the axles were as Andy promised and the Installer was a pro. Trailer does ride nicer also as Andy promised.

“BUZZER” - Axle breaks, who do you call? Andy at Inland RV...period. ~ RK
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
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RK you don't mention what trailer you have.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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by the fact there are "3" axles it must be a 34'...
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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I bet there is one old man in CA who is happy to see this post.

But really, Andy and his staff are very knowledgeable and friendly.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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Happy news, albeit expensive... Glad all sorted out!
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:18 PM   #6
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Axle break - 2003 34 ft Limited - Did not have Dexter axles now it does.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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I bet there is one old man in CA who is happy to see this post.

But really, Andy and his staff are very knowledgeable and friendly.
We strive to help owners, as best we can.

Thank you for the kind words.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:30 PM   #8
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Well from what I have heard they should last 15-25 years. You should be good to go for a while.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:39 PM   #9
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Just curious, which axle broke?
Any details/pictures of the brake?
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:19 AM   #10
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Front axle

Front road side axle broke.

Click image for larger version

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Old 12-15-2013, 08:37 AM   #11
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I'm glad you are back on the road! Any indication of what caused the Axle to break on a 10 year old unit? Is there something I should look for on my 14 year old unit?
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by silvershadow View Post
Front road side axle broke.

Attachment 201778
Yikes! I'm willing to bet that if you have the bodywork fixed it was NOT cheap.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Front road side axle broke.

Attachment 201778
That type of torsion axle failure is extremely rare.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:23 AM   #14
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I'm curious! Since I've never heard of one, how common is a broken axle on any Airstream?
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:51 AM   #15
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"I'm curious! Since I've never heard of one, how common is a broken axle on any Airstream?"
Pretty common on 60s Caravels.
Not very common on modern trailers. The two modern era trailers that I have read about here on the forums in the last 2-3 years were triple axle trailers. Even though Airstream has been making triple axle trailers with rubber torsion axles for a long time, Dexter does not recommend their torsion axles for triple axle configurations.
See page 7 of this document from Dexter.
Applications_Manual_Complete_Catalog.pdf
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top View Post
"I'm curious! Since I've never heard of one, how common is a broken axle on any Airstream?"
Pretty common on 60s Caravels.
Not very common on modern trailers. The two modern era trailers that I have read about here on the forums in the last 2-3 years were triple axle trailers. Even though Airstream has been making triple axle trailers with rubber torsion axles for a long time, Dexter does not recommend their torsion axles for triple axle configurations.
See page 7 of this document from Dexter.
Attachment 201779

Their concern seems to be overloading a front or rear axle when a trailer is going over uneven towing surface. I missed that when I read it before! I downloaded this document a few years back when I built myself a 6 x 10 utility trailer. I used a 3000# single axle w/leaf springs, so I guess that 3 axle part did not concern me at that point. Then again, my memory is not one of my strong points any more.
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top View Post
"I'm curious! Since I've never heard of one, how common is a broken axle on any Airstream?"
Pretty common on 60s Caravels.
Not very common on modern trailers. The two modern era trailers that I have read about here on the forums in the last 2-3 years were triple axle trailers. Even though Airstream has been making triple axle trailers with rubber torsion axles for a long time, Dexter does not recommend their torsion axles for triple axle configurations.
See page 7 of this document from Dexter.
Attachment 201779
Your correct about the old torsion axles on the small Airstreams.

We have for many years now, warned owners of the original Bambi's and Caravels, that the spindles in time, will fail and that will cause an instant wheel loss, due to the fact that the spindles are under rated.

We suggested that a replacement should be in order, if the owner will take the trailer on the road, along with the fact that the torsion axles from the early 60's, since they are over 50 years old, have served their purpose and that the rubber rods are useless.

We receive calls every month, from an owner stranded because of the axle failure.

And, what is even worse, is when that failure happens, body damage also joins in.

Bummer.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:37 PM   #18
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Wow... Top, thx for info
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #19
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Glad you got it fixed. With where that broke it would have been really hard to see it before it was too late.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:54 PM   #20
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I would think that the 3 axel trailers would really stress the front and rear axels while making sharp turns and also sharp parking maneuvers. My two axel trailer really puts a lot of stress on the axels while parking. I expect that this is much worse on a 3 axel trailer. The more the front and rear axels are separated the more it tries to pull the tires off the rims while parking or making sharp turns. The working loads going down the road should be less than a similar size two axel trailer.

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