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Old 11-30-2008, 03:40 PM   #1
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1975 25' Tradewind
Holland , Michigan
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Axle replacement, rebuild

The first of many projects

I noticed my axles were in the horizontal position so I thought I'd take a look and see how bad the are.
When I jacked the trailer up the the tires didn't stay on the ground they moved right up with the trailer, after removing the wheels I found the spindle arms to be locked up solid with zero movement. I also found the shocks were shot they are regular automotive shocks and not the kind the can be mounted horizontally.
Off they came and in the next few weeks I will be traveling to Indiana to pick up new ones at the same time I will go to Palomino Parts in Colon Michigan, for a new water heater and furnace and to Goshen Stamping in Goshen Indiana and pick up some lift parts for my popup.

Here's a few pics of the axle:
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:50 AM   #2
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Pictures

Here's the pictures that did not show up last time
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:41 PM   #3
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Bruce

Are you saying if you put a floor jack under one of the backer plate flanges and jack up against it that the spindle will not move before the trailer starts to lift. How about a 2x4 over the trailing arm and pushing down against the frame. Any movement there?

If no movement in either direction I would think the axle may have rusted tight. I can't believe the rubber rods would harden to that extent.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:08 PM   #4
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Are you sure you have enough jack stands under your trailer!!!! Would hate to see you bend things... Also take all unwanted stuff out of trailer.... Good Luck! Vin
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:44 PM   #5
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As soon as the trailer started lifting so did the tires, I did not think to try to pry them with a 2X4, I did try to stand on the spindle and got nothing.

I have 9 jack stands under there but only 3 are holding up the trailer the others are just touching and the stabilizer are down with a smidgen of pressure.
Its been 5 days now and so far no settling of the trailer
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:11 PM   #6
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IMHO if you have no movement on the arms either direction, the rubber rods have set and therefore you have no suspension. Our old axles were just as you have described there was zero movement in the arms in either direction. When you are towing you probably notice a lot of bouncing from side to side indicating that your tires are providing the suspension.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:46 AM   #7
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Wow...sure looks like the road salt has done it's damage to the undercarriage of your AS...The 78 AS we bought this summer was based in Central Calif, where we don't have to deal with road salt, and has almost no visible rust...

We did change out the axles, however...they weren't stuck as your's are, but were at the end of their useful life...what a difference in ride after the change!

The way your frame looks in the photos, I'd look into taking the time to applying some good rust conversion material before installing the new axles...POR-15 makes some good rust converter stuff, as do others...it's fairly easy to apply, and it will stop most all future rusting...
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmklawt View Post
The first of many projects

I noticed my axles were in the horizontal position so I thought I'd take a look and see how bad the are.
When I jacked the trailer up the the tires didn't stay on the ground they moved right up with the trailer, after removing the wheels I found the spindle arms to be locked up solid with zero movement. I also found the shocks were shot they are regular automotive shocks and not the kind the can be mounted horizontally.
Off they came and in the next few weeks I will be traveling to Indiana to pick up new ones at the same time I will go to Palomino Parts in Colon Michigan, for a new water heater and furnace and to Goshen Stamping in Goshen Indiana and pick up some lift parts for my popup.

Here's a few pics of the axle:
Your new axle rating should be 3000 pounds to 3200 pounds maximum.

Anything greater than that will give the trailer a rough ride.

The ideal starting angle is 35 degrees. A 45 degree starting angle is not meant for highway use, as it would punish the trailer.

Airstreams use horizontal shocks, available from Airstream dealers only.

Andy
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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Have my new axles

I drove to Indiana today to Axis Products and picked up my new axles, OK there not new I had mine rebuild, cost less than $100.00 total but they gave me a deal for reasons unknown to me.
Said for 33 year old axles they were in very good shape except for the cords being shot so they put new ones in for me.

Also received a guesstimate of $600.00 for two new axles with 10" electric disc brakes and brake away, and somewhere under $1000.00 for two new axles with 10" hydraulic disc brakes, brake line kit, brake actuator and break away. Add about $20.00 per wheel for 12" disc and add $500.00 total for electric Hydraulic brakes. I also believe they told me $300.00 for a pair of axles without brakes.
They say they can build a direct replacement with correct mounting and shock support all you need to do is give them the information and with a little lead time you can bring your Airstream there and they will replace them for you.

My axles say 2600 pounds but they said the cords they pulled out, it was more likely 3200 to 3500 pounds they replaced them with the same length cords they took out.
The inner bar was an odd shape and not square which may account for the lower rating, just my thought.

Here's before and after pictures
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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Bruce,

That sounds like a pretty inexpensive way to get new axles. I wonder if anyone else does that?

Could also be a great way to get rid of old axles - send them to a rebuilder. I'm starting to smell an opportunity. Cha-ching$$.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:34 PM   #11
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Never thought these axles were re-buildable. Were you able to witness the process, and do you have any information about how they did it? A hundred bucks seem mighty cheap.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmklawt View Post
I drove to Indiana today to Axis Products and picked up my new axles, OK there not new I had mine rebuild, cost less than $100.00 total but they gave me a deal for reasons unknown to me.
Said for 33 year old axles they were in very good shape except for the cords being shot so they put new ones in for me.
Here's before and after pictures
I have left you karma as the best single post I have seen in a long time.

Having been forced to replace my axles without the aid of competition I envy you. I question Henschen as to why they did not rebuild axles maybe now they will see the light.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:15 PM   #13
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I called all the axle manufactures and none but Axis said they would rebuild, Henchen wouldn't even talk to me, referred me to Airstream and Inand RV

I didn't get to see there operations as I had some running around to do picking up other parts for my Tradewind, I picked up a Suburban NT22SP furnace and an Atwood G6A-8E-6 water heater from Palomino parts 269-432-3271 for $508.80 a really good deal in my opinion.

Anyway from my talk with Axis it is my understanding they clamp the tube in some rig and rap a chain around the arm, heat the tube to soften the rubber and use a 20,000 pound press to pull it apart. The ball park figures they gave me over the phone were phenomenally cheap, but that was only if they could fix it which thankfully they could. The price could have went up from there had they had to replace anything and said they could replace tube or arms if needed. Axis, Dexter and Henchen all use the same size tube and inners, they could have and would have if needed replace the tube and use my arms or replace the arms and use my tube. (I think)

I got the feeling that they would not have as readily done this had they known the axle were 33 years old, and I would have gotten new axles had I known I could get them for $600.00 the pair but I didn't even ask because all my searching on this forum told me they would cost $600.00 to $1,200.00 per axle to buy new.

I may still yet get new axles as Axis thinks these my be a little stiff, I told them to replace the cords and that's what they did, only after the job was done did we talk about what the trailer weighs. That is my fault as I was not forthcoming with any information for fear they wouldn't do the job because of all the stuff I have read on this forum.
I over heard two of the guys talking that a 2600 pound axle uses 15"? cords and mine where longer in fact mine were longer than the square rod in the tube and they replaced them with cords 1/2" shorter than the piece inside. They told me the cord should not be longer than the inside rod or they my work themselves out towards the center empty space of the axle.

I spent about an hour with a gentleman named Kevin while waiting for the paint on the axles to dry, he explained a little of how they took them apart and explained how they work even drawing up some pictures on a white board so I'd understand. I mentioned the shock mounting and he shown me they have that all engineered for the Airstream's and that they can make a replacement for any Airstream 1970 and up, I imagine they could make an axle for any year given the right dimensions. He also ball parked me the figures on new axles and I took a mental note to report them here. He stated they are not set up to change axles on an Airstream in shop but if someone wants to bring there Airstream to them they will do it or build them on spec and ship them out saying we the customer pay the bills and one axle here an there will hopefully lead to 5, 50 or more axles there.

I give Axis Products two thumbs up
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:33 PM   #14
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Rebuilding any torsion axle, carries a huge liability and invitations to law suits.

The internal part of the axle tube, in time, rusts. How much, is anyone guess.

Dexter, Henschen and others have been there and done that, and want no part of it.

Last word was that Axis would no longer build any axle for any Airstream
trailer, for a number of reasons.

Installing axles with 10" inch brakes on a trailer that had 12" brakes, is a huge step backward. That will be seen when the wear sets in.

Andy
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmklawt View Post
I drove to Indiana today to Axis Products and picked up my new axles, OK there not new I had mine rebuild, cost less than $100.00 total but they gave me a deal for reasons unknown to me.
Said for 33 year old axles they were in very good shape except for the cords being shot so they put new ones in for me.

Also received a guesstimate of $600.00 for two new axles with 10" electric disc brakes and brake away, and somewhere under $1000.00 for two new axles with 10" hydraulic disc brakes, brake line kit, brake actuator and break away. Add about $20.00 per wheel for 12" disc and add $500.00 total for electric Hydraulic brakes. I also believe they told me $300.00 for a pair of axles without brakes.
They say they can build a direct replacement with correct mounting and shock support all you need to do is give them the information and with a little lead time you can bring your Airstream there and they will replace them for you.

My axles say 2600 pounds but they said the cords they pulled out, it was more likely 3200 to 3500 pounds they replaced them with the same length cords they took out.
The inner bar was an odd shape and not square which may account for the lower rating, just my thought.

Here's before and after pictures
Airstream never used "blue" colored "horizontal shocks."

Andy
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:20 PM   #16
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Andy

I agree the rust can be a problem and I take my chances having them rebuilt, but I am cheap and stubborn and I have never heard of a properly maintained one going bad, I say the axles are good for another 100 years, the cords maybe 15 years
My tires are also showing dry rot but being the stubborn bastard I am I will drive them until I see the ply's, why because I always have and have not learned my lesson yet.

The blue shocks are Monroe's put on by the PO, I have ordered the correct replacements from you.

On another note your people where going to see what you had left for bunk brackets but I have not heard back, could you check into that for me please.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmklawt View Post
Andy

I agree the rust can be a problem and I take my chances having them rebuilt, but I am cheap and stubborn and I have never heard of a properly maintained one going bad, I say the axles are good for another 100 years, the cords maybe 15 years
My tires are also showing dry rot but being the stubborn bastard I am I will drive them until I see the ply's, why because I always have and have not learned my lesson yet.

The blue shocks are Monroe's put on by the PO, I have ordered the correct replacements from you.

On another note your people where going to see what you had left for bunk brackets but I have not heard back, could you check into that for me please.
I will see what I can do about the brackets, as I will not be back in my office, due to knee replacement a few days ago.

I know I do have some, but they have been stashed away years ago.

I should make you aware that watching the position of your torsion arms, in time, as well as any possible damage to the trailer, would be a wise thing to do, because of the rubber rods that were used in your axles.

I don't have the engineering info in front of me, as I must stay home for a while.

Rubber rods are not measured just by length. There are other factors that determine their weight ratings, such density and a couple of other factors.

Thanks for your order.

Andy
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:13 AM   #18
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I'm confused. The last word might have been that Axis no longer makes axles for Airstreams, but the original poster bmklawt has just clearly indicated that not only did Axis rebuild his axles for him, but they also quoted him prices on new axles.

Additionally, Colin from GSM has stated many times on the VAP (as recently as 2 weeks ago), that he regularly orders new axles from Axis for axle replacement for his Airstream customers.

I'm not trying to stir up trouble, but I do intend to bring clarity to this discussion.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:16 AM   #19
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I think it may be that they'll take orders through a distributer like GSM?

I agree Marcus, last I heard they didn't want to talk to us buyers directly. Maybe the economy change is affecting a change? Where's Henry when you need him!
Marc
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:20 PM   #20
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It may or may not be true that they would not talk to buyers directly before.

They said they use to be part of, a division of, an offshoot of Dexter Axle (something like that) and are not anymore, maybe that is why they well work with us now.

He said they would definitely welcome a order from anyone for anything even Airstreams, its my understanding if you want axles for an Airstream or anything for that matter to be a direct bolt on replacement you will have to call and talk to them to make sure you get the correct mounting holes and shock support, you would also need to specify what drums you wanted if you want to use your original wheels, they said if I got new axles with disc brakes I would need new wheels.

He also stated they would powder coat or Ecoat them if I wanted, said powder coat would be about $20.00 extra.

I should have brought a tape recorder with me so I could remember everything.
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