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Old 11-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #21
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Dang,

I need another x-tra butter popcorn and a mega coke. This main feature ain't over yet.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:15 PM   #22
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I know it has a loyal following hahaha

What an audience.

Next round on me
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by wheel interested View Post
Why the big price difference are the expensive ones that superior to the others? When and why did Airstream change what axles they used in recent models? I'm not sure what the 2007's have.
IIRC Henschen is just down the street from Airstream at Jackson Center. In late 2004 or so there were Henschen quality control issues (wheel bearings not lubed!) that resulted in many units experiencing bearing failure. That resulted in Airstream going to Dexters in the first month or so of 2005. The installed Dexters were in use for Canada export models already. My August '05 production 2006 Safari had those Dexters. I seem to recall that Henschen solved the bearing problem and they were back in use sometime by the end of 2005. There was nothing wimpy about the Henschens - they'd still allow pulling with a reasonably loaded trailer and a full water tank.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #24
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Brian,

Many people have different experiences with the same product. So the different experiences are posted. Then there are situations which seem the same and are really not. Like same year and model however the usage is quite different.

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Old 11-10-2008, 08:26 PM   #25
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My '63 sat for 12 years behind a barn. It has also had some rough usage. The axles are almost horizontal with all gear aboard. The tires never scuff the wheelwells and seem pretty bouncy when a 210 lb. guy jumps up and down on the rear bumper. I would say the axles are allright. I did replace the shocks on my '77 but the axles are still ok (still negative and bouncy) after 100,000 miles. Most rubber compounds usually become more stiff with long term exposure to heat by crosslinking and by losing plasticizing oils. They can also take a set and therefore limit the amount of distance they have available to abosorb the shocks from rough roads. My axles have benefited from not being in a hot climate.

I would measure and test the resilence and performance of the axles before I would decide whether they need to be replaced. Good marketing says, if you have a monopoly position, then you should price accordingly. Good customer service says, you should always satify your customer, to guarenttee repeat business. Good long term business success is based on the customer being satified that he has received good service at a fair price.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:38 PM   #26
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I saw on the History Channel a documentary on the Abrams Tank. It has torsion arm suspension axles (a bunch of them - six, maybe?). I saw that and thought "hey, its just like my Airstream!". If its good enough for the U.S. Army, its good enough for me.

Oh, yeah. All the arms pointed down. And when it hit a bump, they rotated upward - keeping the tank stable.

To say that having a torsion arm (at rest) point up on this type of axle is OK just defies logic. Its sort of like saying that having leaf springs bowing upward while at rest (if that's possible) is also OK.

There's no capacity left to absorb shock.

Pass the popcorn, please.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post

I have been told that Dexter axels are great and much cheaper to buy and they will work fine.

I have been told that Dexter axels will need frame modification for the axels to fit correctly.

The difference in price is dexter are $375.00 and Henshen are in the $800 dollar range.

Brian
I had the same dilemma, Brian. I had a very brief conversation w/ Inland RV and decided within minutes to buy a Dexter Torflex axle. I have a very tired '57 Flying Cloud.

Yes, it is a fact, l needed to weld brackets for the Dexter rubber axle! It is about a 5 minute job for a good welder--it took me a little longer. A "frame modification" sounds scary but there is nothing cosmic about it.

Go here: Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - Torflex Axles The boogie man piece is the "mounting bracket". We're not building a rocket ship here, you know.

The price difference you quoted is accurate. Dexter has been around since 1960 so, I guess, they do OK.

My take: Dexter axles are great and much cheaper to buy and they will work fine. Sound familiar? You might want to give the Dexter people a call. They seemed to be happy that I called and spent a long time explaining why their product was the best for my application. No negativity at all.

I had my local trailer outfit order the axle and it arrived in about two weeks w/ electric brakes, etc. The local outfit used a check list for several measurements, i.e., frame width, space between top of tire to fender well, etc. It is easier to install w/ a helper.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #28
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I tested my axles by jacking up each wheel under the brake drum, when I was doing the brakes. I found each wheel would flex 2-3-inches before raising the trailer off the ground. When the trailer is on blocks the angle if the llxe is level. I think the 2-3" movement tells me the axles are not "toast" yet. Anyone??
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:53 PM   #29
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FWIW... Brand new (4 yrs old) Henschens being replaced on Rich's Airstream Life 28ft AS.

His were level, or slightly up from level.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:56 PM   #30
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I was told by the engineer at Henschen that there is a degree in which the axle will rotate (arm) By jacking the unit up and seeing or measureing
the acctual movement of the arm.

Not all Units are reccomended to have a large degree of down ward angle on the arm. Many Years had different degree's is what I am told.

I think Tin mentioned leaf springs bowing the oposite way, Yes they do make them that do. 1 such vehicle is the 80's and 90's F250 steering axle (4wheel drive)
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:56 PM   #31
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I have checked out Dexter and I have spoke with them. I do not weld and I want the job done correctly when I have this completed. I do want professionals to do the work because I do not have the facility and I do not weld.

I just have a hard time excepting they are bad when the engineering department at Henshen tells me if they are not hitting the wheel well then they are still good. Pretty bold statement from Henshen. They definitely stand behind their product. Even with the older trailers. Axels do go bad. Old axels and new axels go bad.

I still on getting new axels but I will have to find somebody who will do the welding.

Brian
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:09 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post
I have checked out Dexter and I have spoke with them. I do not weld and I want the job done correctly when I have this completed. I do want professionals to do the work because I do not have the facility and I do not weld.

I just have a hard time excepting they are bad when the engineering department at Henshen tells me if they are not hitting the wheel well then they are still good. Pretty bold statement from Henshen. They definitely stand behind their product. Even with the older trailers. Axels do go bad. Old axels and new axels go bad.

I still on getting new axels but I will have to find somebody who will do the welding.

Brian
Brian,

I believe that Dexter welds the brackets to the axle and the bracket bolts directly to your frame (except for a couple bolt holes which must be enlarged). The welding to the frame issue is on early (ie 1950 to early 1960s) trailers which the axle was welded to the frame. In your decade, there are brackets welded to the frame and the axle bolts to those brackets. There are pictures in other threads regarding this.

On another Airstream list, a 80+ year old gentleman put Dexters on his 1960s trailer in an afternoon.

Bill
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:29 PM   #33
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On my 67 tradewind when I raise one wheel off the ground it drops about 2 inches. A old post from Inland RV states that 2-3 inches of drop indicates a good axle. Looking at my 67 from the side the wheelwell lip is about a 1/2 above the rim, this means my axle is bad. I have a 2-4 degree down on the spindle arm with a loaded axle,ie:the axle shaft is higher off the ground than the spindle is, this shows my axle is good. I have a 1967 axle, this means I have a bad axle.
I have been sober 5 years, I'm starting to get thirsty!!!
When I bought the trailer I stupidly purchased 8 ply,10 ply rated tires. I think this could cause a harsh ride.
Oh the last camping trip( about 150 miles round trip) I disconected the shocks. They most deffinatly are bad. Where the axles have settled to, the shocks had about an inch of travel before they bottom. The trailer SEEMED to ride better. It is hard to tell,I am not an Airstream guru. The only cabinets that have ever came open are the ones with the broke latches. I have not found any poped rivits,other than the ones that were poped when I bought the trailer and have been slowly replacing. However I do find signs of slight cabinet shiffting. But as I have been slowly repairing and tightining the cabinets I find less movement. In the 14 months I have owned this Airstream I have put 1500-1800 miles on it.
If I need axles I most assuradly want to replace them, If not I would druther buy windows,latches,vent covers,water heater,mattresses, or whatnot.
There glad we got that out in the open! Adios, John
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:38 PM   #34
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I am so loving this thread butran out of popcorn so here is my rant.

I have owned two trailers. Both old, a 1971 land yacht 25' and now a 1973 31' Excella. I did not know anythig about axles when I owned the first trailer (25'). Only put on new tires without alxes or shocks and went cross country twice with a long wheelbase TV and weight distributing hitch. It would bounce, sway and generally rattle rivets loose. I never checked the travel distance on the arm or angle. I thought it was just the nature of the beast. Since the first and second, the 1973, I have read this forum and learned a lot. I checked the axles in the PO driveway before purchase and immediately decide that it needed new axles. Upward angle on the arm and about 2 inches movement when fully jacked up on stands to put on the new tires. I towed it from Chattanooga, TN to Clearwater, FL and noted all of the problems of the first box - bounce sway and multiple broken rivets.

I have changed the axles with Henchen from Andy which were all inclusive - axle, brake, shock and lug nuts. They fit the old wheels, so no issue there. I actually changed these in my driveway jacking the trailer to get on jack stands, remove tires, loosen axle, support with a rolling floor jack and removing the bolts, rolling each out from under the trailer and attaching the new axles, brake wires and shocks. The tools used were an adjustable wrench and ratchet with socket, floor jack, 2x6x2ft board. It took me about two hours with the help of my then 9 year old son. No extra plates or welding - just unbolt and bolt the new in place.

My trip moving the trailer to Tennessee where I now live was like a dream. No bounce, sway or sheared rivets. There was absolutely no shifting of any of the contents. I am sold on the new axles but I plan to keep the trailer a long time and have more money now than I had 15 years ago. I guess there is some voodoo on the subject and judgement on when they should be replaced. Replacing rivets back then was cheap and I never felt it was dangerous towing on the old axles but I just like things to work the way they were designed. Definately pulls better and gets better gas mileage (13 vs 11 mpg) at speed up to 75 mph on new Goodyear Marathon tires.

Well, that's all I have. Be happy to help anyone change their axles but will be getting more popcorn for the rest of the show.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:19 PM   #35
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Boy this is really somethin. Well I am going to watch seinfeld folks so have a good eve. (just my little story)
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:20 PM   #36
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I know I kept the moderators busy anyways.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:28 PM   #37
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I know I kept the moderators busy anyways.
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Old 11-10-2008, 11:01 PM   #38
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From what I've seen axles fail in two different ways. The rubber collapses to the point where something bottoms (shocks [that the axle mfg says are not needed], internal binding, or the tire hits the top of the wheel well [plastic, wouldn't hurt the ride...]) or they turn solid. So if nutthin is bottoming check the stiffness. My '77 (with the 'good' axles...) would lift the second axle if the first was more than 2" up a ramp...ONLY 2" OF SUSPENSION TRAVEL? Yup, it pounded the trailer.
I upgraded from 3200lb stiff 1977 axles with shocks to 3600lb dexters w/o shocks and the ride was 10% smoother (ya'll can find the thread...).
Got a negative angle with plenty of travel? Groovy low rider dude, won't hurt anything IMHO...
Positive angle with no travel? Bouncing down the Highway poppin' rivits...
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Old 11-10-2008, 11:33 PM   #39
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We were 100% pleased with our Henschens on our 69 tradewind and will be ordering one for the 63 once she's home and we've recovered. Perfectly comfortable with a welder, grinders etc and as frugal as they come, but for peace of mind and ease of installation (as well as a guaranteed fit) it was an easy decision for us (and 2 axles not just one).

As for quality control issues, thank god not everyone still judges me (no jokes please) on mistakes I made a few years ago that I've learned from and are better from as a result of.

Would we do it different, not at all. Does that mean that someone couldn't have gotten something simliar for a lot less, of course not. We love how it handles, have been happy with the customer service we've received and really have no reason to be anything less than happy.

Just to change things up (since politics are a no-no) we could have a pepsi vs coke discussion or Ford vs Chevy instead of the Dexter vs Henschen or Marithon vs Other Brands conversations that go round and round, perhaps not .
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:29 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Ms75Argosy View Post
FWIW... Brand new (4 yrs old) Henschens being replaced on Rich's Airstream Life 28ft AS.

His were level, or slightly up from level.
Marc
Hi, I think this was more of a want than need situation. My opinion.

Quote:
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I think Tin mentioned leaf springs bowing the oposite way, Yes they do make them that do. 1 such vehicle is the 80's and 90's F250 steering axle (4wheel drive)
Hi, this is so true; The Ford trucks do have front leafs bent upward and they work just fine.
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