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Old 06-24-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Loomis , California
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Axle replacement on 1972 Overlander

We're going to have to change the axles on our '72 Overlander, but we're trying to spread out the work to limit the cash flow "geysers". Can we change the axles after we're done with the inside? Would it be significantly easier to do if we had that one over-the-wheel floor panel out? How hard will it be to remove the old mounting bracket (assuming we need to?) from the frame?

Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:11 PM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Mounting brackes are welded onto new axles. I don't see why over wheel panel needs out. Axles are bolted into frame rails replaced from under trailer. You can do this at a later date pull trailer 1 axle at a time onto stack of 2/8 high enough to slide axles in & out block other axle so trailer can not roll this safer than jacking & jack stands that if they slip you could get crushed also put shocks on axle before raising axles. Be prepared to for bolts to be hard to take off. either grind off or break off [impact wrench or cheater bar on socket.] Do not worry about this as new bolts come with axle. ps. I am 80 yrs. old did this when 78 with no help so if you are handy do it. also will need floor jack to raise axles . If on gravel sheet of ply wood helps harbor freight has cheap dollys easier to roll under trailer. Any Q. you can pm me & I can help you verbally
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:21 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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If the trailer is just sitting in your driveway while you work on it, then changing the axles might as well be the last thing you do. If you are pulling it down the road every weekend and doing your renovation at the same time, then you might want to hurry up and get the new axles on there so that you aren't risking damage to your trailer from towing it with a sagged out axle. Unless you remove the body from the frame and can turn the frame over, you will be pulling the axles from underneath--four bolts, and possible a little drilling, and you are done.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:51 AM   #4
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1972 27' Overlander
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Wow, thanks for the great tips! (Turns out that my wife was right on this one, so she gets to pick the wine...)

Shiny isn't going to move from the concrete pad on the side of the house until she's done, so there's no reason to rush into it, it seems. Guess it'll wait until we get the rest of it done.

Featherbedder, the reason the floor panel is coming out is that we figured it made sense to replace them all while we had it gutted. They're in fairly good condition, but we're not in a (huge) rush to get it all done, so I'd rather do it once, right, than have to tear into it again in five years. The back panel is a complete loss, so I'll have plenty of practice repairing them. (My wife isn't interested in doing a full off-frame job.)

Thanks again!
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:41 AM   #5
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Trailer work is a slippery slope, especially when you start using the phrase "do it right." My efforts to do it right led me to do a shell off, but I had a little bit of rot on practically every section of floor, and after dropping the bellypan, I realized the frame needed some serious repair as well. I wouldn't replace floor panels unless I had a reason to (ie., rot and damage), but if I was doing several, then I would do a shell off. The thing is, in order to try to replace a floor section with the shell on, you have to do pretty much everything you would with a shell off except drill out the bucked rivets and lift the shell. The advantage you have with a shell off, is that you can lift the shell with gantry frames, then use the frames to flip your frame, so that you can do all the rust remediation, repair work, and finally painting it top and bottom without ever ending up on your back. You can then install your floor, flip it and put in insulation, install tanks and belly pan, and then flip it back over to put the shell back on. The beauty of it all is the time you DON'T spend on your back under the trailer. I even did the final installation of my axle with the frame upside down.

good luck!
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:50 PM   #6
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1972 27' Overlander
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Gantry Frames. Perhaps the most interesting part of this so far are all the new terms I'm getting to learn...

Looks like those suckers are *expensive* new. Perhaps craig's list.

Anyone know what the approximate weight of the frame + floor would be?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:18 PM   #7
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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You can build gantry frames out of lumber from your local big box store. Have a look at the following thread--shows some fun uses of the gantries and even has a diagram for building your own.

I have seen estimates that a shell the size of yours weighs in the range of 5-600 lbs. The frame probably close to 1000 lbs. I used two 1 ton chain hoists for the most part on mine, and I am sure that was overkill.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-115765.html

I'm not trying to sell gantry frames or anything, I just see various posters describing all the efforts they go through to replace floors without pulling the shell, and I just think they are doing it the hard way.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:01 PM   #8
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I just installed new axles on my 66 Trade Wind. It was a job, sure. The old bolts were rusty. The old bolts were trapped by the droopy axle and had to be cut off to remove them. The old shocks were stuck and hard to remove. I took the brakes and bearings off the old axles to make them lighter to handle.

I had to modify the slot the axles fit into, and drill new mounting holes in the frame plates. But trailers 1969 and newer do not need these modifications, so it should be a direct replacement making it easier. The axle and brake assemblies weigh about 200 lbs assembled. They are very awkward to lift. The heavy brake drums are hanging 10" behind the axle square tube. I made a wood pedestal to nest the axle ends over my floor jacks to keep them level while I jacked them into position.

Some guys can change them in a few hours, but I probably had over ten 10 hours in the project. The next one will go faster.

The new axles went on after the new belly pan was installed. The axles are kinda the first part off, and the last part on when doing a floor replacement.

David
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:19 AM   #9
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1972 27' Overlander
Loomis , California
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Thanks for the suggestions! About two hours ago, I took "10 minutes" to follow all the trails from the links you've all provided. (Not a bad way to spend an evening!)

It sure seems like doing a body-off is the way to do it, and all the pictures make it look down-right simple. (But I'm old enough and wise enough to know better... Now, if only I'd listen to myself.) I've started removing the belly pan, and found that the little patch on the bottom covered a puncture and a crushed crossmember in the frame. Lots of surface rust, but none of it (so far) looks to be more than skin deep. I suppose we'll find out in the days to come.

Seeing the wood plans for the gantries makes it seem a lot more tractable, though.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:35 AM   #10
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May I ask who did you buy the axles from, and what pricing did you get? Shipping etc.
Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:54 PM   #11
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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I got mine from Colin Hyde. He is very knowledgeable on all things Airstream and axles. He will need your year, model, and serial number to spec the replacement axles. Freight is common carrier, so you need a commercial address with a truck dock. I paid about $1300 for two axles with brake assemblies. I will use Colin when I replace the axles on my 86.

I'm sure Jackson Center or Inland can source axles for you too.

David
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:32 PM   #12
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1976 31' Sovereign
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I second about Colin being on top of things. I phoned him told what yr. AS length strait bolt up no mods. Were shipped to my farm unloaded w/skid steer w/ forks so break on ship chgs. I am very happy w/him....
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:58 PM   #13
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Dickinson , North Dakota
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Yes definitely go with Colin. The whole process couldn't have gone any smoother. Send him a check and about a month later your direct bolt in replacement axles arrive. Install time was about 1-2 hours per axle with new shocks and wiring up the brakes.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:22 PM   #14
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These North Dakota boys are always beating us Minnesota wimps. It took me about 10 hours start to finish. Oh well, maybe next time. I guess I need to work smarter, not harder! My old boss used to say that.

David
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:59 PM   #15
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LOL. No disrespect to the MN contingency. It definitely helped that I had the trailer already leveled and up on blocks to replace the rear subfloor as well as having a righteous set of tools!! In all seriousness an impact wrench is an invaluable asset for the task!


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Old 07-07-2014, 09:13 PM   #16
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1968 26' Overlander
Duluth , Minnesota
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Axle Replacement

A friend and I both replaced our axles on our '68 Overlanders with axles from Colin Hyde. Buying from Colin was 110% worth it. We sent him specs. and photos of our old axles and the new ones bolted right up. Many forum posts of folks struggling unnecessarily with misfit axles. you do not want that. The axles even came with new fasteners! (Although, some were missing from the shipment. Still need to let Colin know about that.)

My friend changed his in 4 hours by himself. The following Saturday, having already assembled the proper tools, supplies, etc. he helped me change mine and we did it in 1.5 hours. It is not difficult and can wait until you are ready to roll.

Pearls from axle replacement:

1) I started spraying the axle and shock bolts with anti-seize the first day I rolled into my driveway with the AS. I continued to do so every so often when I thought of it. All bolts came loose easily with a basic air impact wrench.

2) Figure out how you will safely lift the new axles into position. We used a floor jack and some lumber. Clearance is limited depending on how high you get it off the ground.

3) Get complete axles with brakes already installed.

3.5) Note wheel bolt hole pattern, number etc. of the wheels you intend to use and make certain that you get the proper ones.

4) Decide if you want to refinish the frame in your wheel wells while axles are off. If so, add lots of time for that.

5) We took Colin's recommendation on shocks and bought Monroe. I ordered them from Amazon. Technically, Monroe said that the shock is not intended to be mounted horizontally. Colin said he does it all the time. We didn't see a problem with that. AS sells shocks, too. Supposedly, there is something magic about them!

6) Try to avoid "residential delivery" charge on the freight ($75 in our case). If you have a forklift, skidsteer, etc. at home and can unload them, AND you don't live 5 miles down a winding single lane road, most freight companies will waive the charge for "residential delivery". Tell them to pull up to the end of your driveway and that you will unload the truck. Otherwise, pick them up at the terminal with a truck to avoid the charge. Beware, some terminals only have "dock height" loading stations so loading a pickup or trailer can be very difficult. (This is intentional so they can charge you $75!) If you can, pick up at the distributor and pay no shipping.

7) It is great to have a capable friend!

8) Be careful and safe.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:38 PM   #17
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1972 27' Overlander
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It's gonna be frame-off...

Dropped the belly pan, and it's clearly going to have to be a frame-off restoration. The back is all rotted out, which is no surprise, but much of the frame is rotted as well. It also turns out that a PO POS repair put the banana wrap *over* the side wall, and channeled water onto the A-frame. Argh...
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:14 AM   #18
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The Forums term is "full monte". It sounds like that will be the scope of your project. You will be an Airstream expert when you are done many months or years from now. The Overlander is a very popular model and should be worth more than you invest when it is completed, excluding your labor hours. Another vintage Airstream will get rejuvenated.

You won't need new axles for a long time. Take lots of pictures as you take things apart. Take notes too. And ask questions in these Forums. So many Airstreamers have helped me so much with my Trade Wind. Have a great time with this big project.

David
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:26 AM   #19
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Ah yes, looks very familiar. It may surprise you to find out that the banana wrap overlapping the exterior skins and funneling water into the bellypan is not the fault of a PO--it was done this way at the factory!

I would recommend building gantry frames and lifting the shell. You can then use the frames to lift and flip your frame. It looks like you have a lot of repair work to do on the frame, which will be followed by cleaning up the rust and painting with POR-15. It all goes a lot easier if you don't spend half your time on your back.

good luck!
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:42 PM   #20
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1972 27' Overlander
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Gantry and a lift...

Printed out the gantry plans, and even my wife is resigned...

OK, first question on the shell-off: In order to drop the belly pans, I've had to drill out the rivets that hold the exterior shell to the C-Channel. I would think that I need to put some of them back in temporarily, perhaps using just Olympic rivets, to hold the shape while I pull it off and put it back on. Given the state of the frame, it'll be off for a while.

Comments?
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