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Old 11-11-2018, 06:26 PM   #1
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1948 22' Liner
Aberdeen , South Dakota
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Axle for my '48

Good evening. Just put my recently inherited 1948 22' Liner away for the winter. Now, I need to start looking into what to do to make it a bit more road worthy. As far as I can tell, the running gear is original to it. My father-in-law did finally replace the bias tires with radials, but they still have tubes in them. I am considering rebuilding the suspension (bushings, bearings, etc) but am wondering if I'd be farther ahead just putting an entire new suspension & axle under it? I haven't looked into it, but were there brakes on this year of a trailer? Is there a tubeless rim that'd work? Any assistance would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:47 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi from snowy Colorado: It might be a bit early to consider axles. I can tell you that Airstream went with these new "Dura Torque" axles back in '62 or so. They eliminated the problematic leaf springs and shackles. They are also "independent" suspension greatly improving the handling of the trailer.

I read some Liner owners have upgraded to the newer style axle.

I would recommend upgrading to the dura torque style axle. It would come with 12v electric brakes on 10" by 2 1/2 wide drums, and new bearings. This item will be one of the last things you assemble to your trailer.

I should think you will want to first do a thorough assessment of your 70 year old Liner. You need to consider the desired use of this old Airstream. If you desire an "aluminum tent" used for sleeping out of the elements, that is one thing. If you desire a fully contained travel trailer with water, bath, galley, 12v system, 120v system, heat and the like, that is something else.

I'd jack it up about 20" off the ground and then drop the axle, and drop the belly pan to expose the infamous "pipe frame". You need to check it for rust damage. And you need to study the possibility of replacing the frame as many Liner owners have done. If this is desired, then you can design in the correct specifications for a new axle.

I encourage you to keep reading in Air Forums about Liner build projects and decide your end goal.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 11-14-2018, 08:22 AM   #3
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1966 26' Overlander
Phoenix , Arizona
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If you change axle design you will have to engineer a mounting system since your vintage trailer was not designed for a torsion spring axle. By doing that you may also negatively impact resale value however that is a buyer's judgement based on originality.

If there is nothing wrong with the axle, just replace the springs! The springs wear and sag. The axle is steel and doesn't wear out unless some one neglected the wheel bearings.

Most larger cities will have a spring shop. (Crossroads Truck and Trailer?) They will make you springs that already have bushings installed. That is a matter of removing (cutting usually) the old bolts and installing a new spring pack for each side. Rather simple and easy to do. (Less money as well) If you can not find a spring shop you can shop online. In that case you will need dimensions and know the max weight of the towing trailer. I bought a set of leaf springs for an old Ford van based on dimensions. One of the best choices I made. Hardest part was removing the old set as the bolt were rusted. Used a grinder to cut the bolts.

Same for rims. Yes you can get rims that will fit however you have to know what you have, in order to place an order for tubeless rims. Unlike the automotive world the trailer world does not have a parts book that one can look up parts by application. The parts were obtained by the manufacture based on spec or job that was to be done. As a repair person you will have to do the same. Get steel wheels that have the same diameter, width, offset and will handle 2600 pounds or so.

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Old 11-14-2018, 08:57 AM   #4
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1948 22' Liner
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Ah!

Ok, that answers a few questions. I was REALLY hoping there'd be a manual with all the specs, diagrams, etc. I guess dreaming isn't just for night time.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:56 AM   #5
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1966 26' Overlander
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If it was a 1948 GM, Ford or Chrysler product the answer would be yes. Those car manufacturers made hundreds of thousands of vehicles each!

For a post war RV company, they would have been successful if they made a thousand or two units.

And much of the running gear parts of a RV are made by same vendor that made trailer parts in general for all uses.

The good news is a lot of that stuff is still easy to find or obtain if you are not restoring a trailer for show and needs date correct parts.

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Old 11-14-2018, 09:57 AM   #6
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Or you can get pretty radical and make a custom trailer that is rather unique.

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Old 11-14-2018, 10:11 AM   #7
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As a post script, travel trailers of the era (or nearly anything else) were rather simple as compared to today's standards. Especially when compared to the automobile industry.

Fixing that trailer to a standard for that era should be rather easy and simple. There isn't any high tech to a leaf spring axle. There may not be brakes. Adapting brakes to that type of axle may be easy as well. Or may not be needed as the trailers of that vintage do not have the weight of the trailers that followed in the 1960s to present date. If under 2000 pounds brakes may be an issue that gets in the way to a pleasant tow.

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Old 11-14-2018, 04:38 PM   #8
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1948 22' Liner
Aberdeen , South Dakota
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thanks!

I hope to make the unit safe & dependable for occasional use. My wife and I have our lake place, but our two kids families will be wanting to use it. They have a lot less experience pulling, so I want it to be as A-OK as I can. It's not going to be a show unit while I have it, maybe one of the kids will go that route.
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:58 PM   #9
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1948 22' Liner
Aberdeen , South Dakota
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5 x 5.5 rims

OK, it has 15" tires on 5 x 5.5 rims. These may be hard to find in anything other than white spoke...
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Old 12-26-2018, 02:29 PM   #10
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Idyllwild , California
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I had a similar decision to make on my '58. I replaced the axle with a new Dexter Axle with Electric Brakes & went with the 6 on 5 1/2" pattern. Wheels came from etrailer;
https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Tir...c-15_Inch.aspx
I pulled the axle to get the dimensions & ordered from a local Dexter dealer.
Then had Goodyear Endurance tires installed so that all of that was "up to speed". After a few thousand miles I still have smiles!
PS Hub caps came from Vintage Trailer Supply;
https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...caps-s/406.htm
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