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Old 09-20-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
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Axle replacement needed? Originality?

The pictures show the axle of my 1959 Traveler. I suspect it's not original, because the spring leaf rear hanger looks more then a bit awkward. As if someone added the brackets to have the clearance needed.
Anyway, because I want brakes, I was thinking of replacing the axle anyway.
When going through junkyards and Craigslist, how can I tell itís the right axle for my trailer? And doing so from behind my desk, here, in The Netherlands?

The hydraulic lines you see are coming from the parking brake which is mounted on the tongue. Looks aftermarket to me, but I see it on many other (bigger) trailers too. There are no running brakes at all. And yes, the rubber brake line going through the belly pan looks shaved and will definitely break someday. I want to remove the whole hydraulic system and have a replacement axle with either electric or mechanic brakes.

BTW, it tows just fine. I just did a 6.000 mile road trip through the US.

Regards, Jim.
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
The pictures show the axle of my 1959 Traveler. I suspect it's not original, because the spring leaf rear hanger looks more then a bit awkward. As if someone added the brackets to have the clearance needed.
Anyway, because I want brakes, I was thinking of replacing the axle anyway.
When going through junkyards and Craigslist, how can I tell itís the right axle for my trailer? And doing so from behind my desk, here, in The Netherlands?

The hydraulic lines you see are coming from the parking brake which is mounted on the tongue. Looks aftermarket to me, but I see it on many other (bigger) trailers too. There are no running brakes at all. And yes, the rubber brake line going through the belly pan looks shaved and will definitely break someday. I want to remove the whole hydraulic system and have a replacement axle with either electric or mechanic brakes.

BTW, it tows just fine. I just did a 6.000 mile road trip through the US.

Regards, Jim.
The setup you describe was the original as used by Airstream. All hyhdraulic brakes went out of style more than 50 years ago.

You can replace your axle setup, with a torsion axle if you wish.

However, in order to do so, you would have to install (weld) an axle mounting plate on each side of the frame.

Andy
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
You can replace your axle setup, with a torsion axle if you wish.
However, in order to do so, you would have to install (weld) an axle mounting plate on each side of the frame.
Andy
Reading all the post here, I was kinda getting ready for that...
I do have a good friend who besides being a good friend is a good welder too. He will help me with any welding needed.

Having a 1959/1960 Californian 18 footer, what axle would be suggested (from either manufacturer).

Regards, Jim.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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Since you are not locked into an exsiting Airstream/Hinschen frame system you can look at Dexter or MoreRide at considerably less cost. Or spec out an axle yourself and go directly to Hinschen.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
Since you are not locked into an exsiting Airstream/Hinschen frame system you can look at Dexter or MoreRide at considerably less cost. Or spec out an axle yourself and go directly to Hinschen.
Howie,

He has a leaf spring axle. I would think that using any torsion axle would take the same effort of determining dimensions.

Bill
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
Reading all the post here, I was kinda getting ready for that...
I do have a good friend who besides being a good friend is a good welder too. He will help me with any welding needed.

Having a 1959/1960 Californian 18 footer, what axle would be suggested (from either manufacturer).

Regards, Jim.

Jim.

A 3500 pound torsion axle with 12 inch brakes would work very well for your trailer.

Andy
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
... Or spec out an axle yourself and go directly to Hinschen.
I don't think Henschen deals directly with the public anymore.

They do list a distributor at their website, though...

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Old 09-20-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
A 3500 pound torsion axle with 12 inch brakes would work very well for your trailer.Andy
Thanks! I've asked Henschen via their web site, but didn't receive a reply yet.
What I would like to know is how to find out which part# to order. Either from Henschen, Dexter or whomever...
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:42 PM   #9
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Why!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
Thanks! I've asked Henschen via their web site, but didn't receive a reply yet.
What I would like to know is how to find out which part# to order. Either from Henschen, Dexter or whomever...
Hi Jim, I have to ask. Why get ride of the leaf spring axle? I have about the same setup on the 18-footer and it tows fine and the brakes are in good shape. Seems like alot of money. "If it aint broke don't fit it". I've heared this statment a few times in my life.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverleeper
Hi Jim, I have to ask. Why get ride of the leaf spring axle?
It's because of Dutch laws. To have it titled, it has to have running brakes and is not allowed to have a hydraulic parking brake. So, I have to remove the hydraulic parking brake and install a running brake.
I’d rather have a good used axle, but know out of experience finding one could take a long time. And yes, I’d rather keep the spring leafs and only have a new axle. Maybe I’m best of with just the electric brakes as seen here from Dexter. I don’t know yet…
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:59 PM   #11
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Hydraulic

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
It's because of Dutch laws. To have it titled, it has to have running brakes and is not allowed to have a hydraulic parking brake. So, I have to remove the hydraulic parking brake and install a running brake.
Iíd rather have a good used axle, but know out of experience finding one could take a long time. And yes, Iíd rather keep the spring leafs and only have a new axle. Maybe Iím best of with just the electric brakes as seen here from Dexter. I donít know yetÖ
Jim, I misseed the hydraulic part. I guess I'm lucky. The 18-footer has electric brakes. Can't you retro fit electric brake assemblies on that axle? I think you can. But, I'm not an axle expert.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverleeper
Can't you retro fit electric brake assemblies on that axle? I think you can. But, I'm not an axle expert.
Oh yes, that's possible. There's a good thread about that right here:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f439...ake-31051.html
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
Thanks! I've asked Henschen via their web site, but didn't receive a reply yet.
What I would like to know is how to find out which part# to order. Either from Henschen, Dexter or whomever...
We are the distributor for the Henschen axles for trailers that are older than 20 years.

We don't need any specs or dimensions in order to provide a correct axle for your 59, since we have that information on file.

All we need is the trailer serial number.

However, you will need to add an "axle mounting plate" on each side of the frame in order to properly mount the axle, and a shock stud on each side.

Andy
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:35 PM   #14
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Good find!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHoek
Oh yes, that's possible. There's a good thread about that right here:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f439...ake-31051.html
Jim, Looks like you found the answer. I think the other route is alot of money for little gain. Good luck..
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:59 PM   #15
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Hi Jim, What a small world! I just picked up my 58 Traveler from the shop yesterday. I had a new axle and new leaf springs installed. The main reason I did it was to gain more inner fender clearance for the tires. It only had 1/4", I didn't feel this was good enough. You could see where the tires would rub. The second reason was I didn't trust 50 year old running gear! I went with a 3500# axle and springs with 10x2.25 electric brakes. I feel this combination is matched better to the trailer than what was on it. The springs are 26" long as the org. were 31" and I didn't want to have some custom made. So I had new hangers too. The axle was custom made as the width and drop I wanted, I couldn't find off the shelf. Cost? Parts $570.00 and 7 hours of labor (input your local labor rate). I only towed it home but so far so good.
Good Luck
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60's Iron
What a small world!
A small world indeed! At least, since it's digital...

Greg, you've done just what I am looking for, and for the same reason!
I would very much like to know the details about your upgrade. More specific about which brands/models you have assembled.
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:56 AM   #17
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Jim

If brakes are the main issue why not just replace the backer plates with an electric brake assembly, far lees expensive. If your spindles on the axles are good your now dealing with parts that should be available on your side of the pond.

Even if you have to buy new drums to mate to the brakes. There will be no welding.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
Jim

If brakes are the main issue why not just replace the backer plates with an electric brake assembly, far lees expensive. If your spindles on the axles are good your now dealing with parts that should be available on your side of the pond.

Even if you have to buy new drums to mate to the brakes. There will be no welding.
Electric brake drums, that use the small bearings that were used in the late 50's and early 60's have not been made in about 35 years or so.

You could add a "armature plate" to the old hydraulic drums, but, those drums will not accept electric backing plates, in that they are to deep, which results in the drums pressing against the entire backing plate.

The drums could be shaved down about 1/2 of an inch, but that becomes very risky, and certainly creates a huge liability for the person that cut them down.

Andy
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:09 PM   #19
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Jim, I hope I can be of some help. I'd love to payback for the help I've gotten from this forum. I can get you brand names if you need them. I think the best advice I can give you is to find a parts source who knows what their talking about. As close to you as possible. They should help you with the measurements. With custom stuff if it's wrong and you gave them the numbers you own it. I measured everything three times to be sure! I orderd the axle loaded (drum to drum brakes bearings everything to bolt it in). I wasn't comfortable welding the spring hangers for the new springs. So I decided to just have them install it. It's a straight forward deal if you can weld.
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Old 09-22-2007, 03:15 AM   #20
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Greg,

I know now what I want most: keep the leaf springs and replace the axle with a ready to bolt on including electric brakes and drums. And preferably be able to bolt the original wheels on it too! I know, I might be asking much.

Close to me as possible is kinda hard, since I'm in The Netherlands and will be buying in the US. I'll be traveling with my pickup from LA CA to Seattle WA. So, that's where I'll (have to) do my shopping. Or I could have it send to my address in Seattle.

Because I want to keep the leaf spring appearance, I was thinking about the Dexter Leaf Spring 2,300-3,500 lbs D35 w/10" Electric Brakes. Or maybe even the heavier 4,000-6,000 lbs D52 w/12" Electric Brakes, because of the bigger brakes. Or..., maybe 12" brakes are possible on the D32 too? Who can tell?
But then again, now I have a 2,100 lbs. trailer with no brakes at all, so, 10" brakes is an improvement over that anyway, right?

I definitely want a bolt-on, or so to speak turn-key, system. Especially because I can't tell how well it fits until I have the parts here, with my trailer in The Netherlands. I can take all the needed exact measurements and replace it with an exact replica axle after which it shouldn't take more then take the old off and bolt the new axle on the spring leafs. Which then should be a piece of cake.


Of course after that I'll have to connect the brakes, but that's something else..., for later..., one step at a time...


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