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Old 05-21-2019, 02:17 PM   #1
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1956 26' Cruiser/Overlander
McMinnville , Tennessee
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Brakes and Axles for a 56 Overlander

We're replacing the brakes on our 56 Overlander. We took it to our local brake guy. He says he can't find brakes to fit it, but he can replace the axles and the brakes together. Is that a possibility? I admit I'm not up on all things axles, but I've read quite a bit about having to have axles custom built for these old Airstreams. Anyone replaced their axles or brakes on an Airstream this old? And, if I keep the axles, can anyone send me in the direction of a place to purchase the brakes?
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:57 PM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Phoenix , Arizona
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Welcome to Air Forums!

Pictures might be good. How much of the brakes are being replaced? Shoes or more????

Airstreams built before the early 1960s have straight axles with leaf springs. Like most of the rest of the non-Air Stream trailers made by other companies today. I think the vendor for the brakes is HADCO. (I could be wrong on that)

You would need to know the brake drum size and the backing plate mounting arrangement. There may be numbers on the old parts or logos.

Ordering by year make and model will be fruitless.

I think ordering an axle is over kill. Is your brake guy, a trailer guy? These trailers are not like cars and trucks.

1966 Mercury Park Lane 4 DR Breezeway 410 4V, C-6, 2.80 - Streamless.
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:41 PM   #3
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I believe you will find that Dexter loaded brake assemblies should fit the old Hadco axle. Just check the stud spacing on the brake mounting flange. It should match current brake assemblies.

These old Overlanders were really big for a single axle trailer. I would suggest replacing the leaf springs and axle with modern equivalents.

I replaced the Hadco axle on my '59 Tradewind and added a leaf to the springs. My trailer weighs close to 5000#. Original weight was 3200#. I added some stuff.

If I was doing it again I would replace the single axle with two axles.

The only other problem to consider is the wheel width and brake drum depth. It can be hard to remove wheels as you go to thicker drums and wider tires.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:30 PM   #4
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
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Look at Goransons thread on restoring Wally Byam's 55 cruiser. I seem to recall he rebuilt the brakes, but put on a new axle.
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