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Old 11-16-2020, 01:40 PM   #1
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Broken Wheel / Axle

I am new at this "forum" stuff - so please bear with me - I have a 1984 31ft Avion travel travel trailer.
Yesterday, as I pulled out of the driveway, my driver's side, front wheel assembly literally broke off the end of the axle, on my Avion. It looks like it broke off right at the weld where the wheel assembly/knuckle is attached to the axle tube.
How should I go about fixing this?? I do have a replacement axle I purchased several years ago.
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:50 PM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
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Welcome to Air Forums!

Your Avion has a very different suspension and running gear than an Airstream.

Your Avion has leaf springs with an axle tube. Air Stream does not have this arrangement.

With that said, I believe your assessment is correct. The weld or the joint failed. You said you have a replacement axle. Does this include the brake assemblies attached? If yes you have solved the problem and swap out. Fortunate for you!

If not, you might be able to consult a local welder that can reattach what has come apart. Reattachment may mean welding some support to the stub that extends into the tube for a distance of 4 to 6inches past the clamping point. The trick or high skill set is getting the alignment correct of the axle end to the axle tube. A 90 degree in all directions of the axle end to the axle tube would be necessary.

Action
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:53 PM   #3
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And it looks rather catastrophic!

Do check the other axle ends for cracking.

Action
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:33 PM   #4
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These are pictures of an Airstream axle break!! Curbside front axle, snapped as we were backing into our parking spot at a Rally in Aberdeen SD. Very scary, as we had just come down I29.
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Old 11-17-2020, 06:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for replies to Broken Axle

Thanks Action and CB Wells for your replies.
It looks like I will be using the spare axle - I called around yesterday (Ft Worth, TX area) and discovered, nobody really wants to work on the broken axle - started with a Dexter factory/plant locations in Indiana and Oklahoma; got referred to some TX trailer locations and got more referrals, but no service help. I was pretty sure going into the phone calls, that only a few places would probably have the know how to weld the axle back together properly -- does anybody know of a location that does this kind of work??
What caused the failure?? I don't know - I am pretty sure I was not over weight. I travel by myself. I have only owned the Avion for six years, and my Dad had it for six years prior to that. So, that leaves alot of of time (since 1984) unaccounted for.
Two of the four axle halves, have Dexter metal tags with weight limitation of 5200lbs max. I am assuming one tag is for two axle halves; therefore a max weight for the trailer of 10,400lbs and 5200lbs "per axle pair."
The "new axle" has a fleetwood sticker on it and also a Dexter metal tag, but no weight limitation. It appears to be the same style. It does look like the spindle is useable; just needs some cleaning up.
Are there any tips to how the actual replacement of the axle should proceed?? Looks pretty straight forward with removing the four nuts off the spring hanger U-bolts and the nut/bolt from the center of the trailer mount.
One thing, it looks like I need a new bushing for the center trailer mounting bolt - anybody know where I can get one??

Again, thanks for your inputs!!

Paul B.
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:25 AM   #6
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Looks to me that a boat trailer axle will work. Change them both out ! My, you are very lucky...what if that happened in the middle of nowhere. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Brodale View Post

I was pretty sure going into the phone calls, that only a few places would probably have the know how to weld the axle back together properly -- does anybody know of a location that does this kind of work??

Are there any tips to how the actual replacement of the axle should proceed?? Looks pretty straight forward with removing the four nuts off the spring hanger U-bolts and the nut/bolt from the center of the trailer mount.

Paul B.
If you are going to pursue a welded repair (and I would even if it is a spare) seek welding shops not axle shops. I know it is an axle, however axle shops, spring shops and trailer shops may never see your situation. If they do likely they do not have a person that is skilled to make that kind of weld. Find a shop or a guy that only does welding. A person that has done welding for a long time and lots of jobs. Welding technology has changed since the 1980s just like everything else. A welding shop will know how to address the break and if it can be repaired will be stronger than the original work. Actually the more difficult part might be alignment.

As to axle replacement and that procedure, your guess is as good as most of the people reading this thread in the Air Stream axle forums. Because an Air Stream axle is mounted quite differently than the axle you have on your Avion. Air Stream axles bolt into a slot and there are no leaf springs. The springs are rubber torsion rods that are internal to the axle housing.

Good luck.

Action
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:11 PM   #8
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The most cost effective and best option would be to install the new axle and be done. With your trailers leaf spring setup it is not really a tough job - estimate an hour or two of shop labor. Other options would include taking it to a welding shop as already mentioned or you could call Axle Surgeons and could probably fix it along the side of the road. You would have to call to see if they have someone in your area.
https://axlesurgeons.com/
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:18 PM   #9
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Honestly. For me. I would bite the bullet and replace both axles. Why screw around. Axles and brakes are the foundation of your safe travel.
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:20 PM   #10
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Cool!!!!

And that has to be an expensive service. But if one has 80,000 pounds of pay load connected to a over the road tractor with a broken axle on the interstate, the service would be less dollars than towing the 18 wheeler into a shop.

For the OP in his driveway, it might be a bit pricey to use that service. However the phone call would be free to find out more.

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Old 11-17-2020, 12:32 PM   #11
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Cool!!!!

And that has to be an expensive service. But if one has 80,000 pounds of pay load connected to a over the road tractor with a broken axle on the interstate, the service would be less dollars than towing the 18 wheeler into a shop.

For the OP in his driveway, it might be a bit pricey to use that service. However the phone call would be free to find out more.

Action

My friend and his brother have a franchise here in KY with Axle Surgeon. They work on all kinds of trucks and equipment, anything from 3/4 ton trucks, trailers to earth moving machines. Semi-tractor trailers are their bread and butter. They can have a truck or equipment back in service within a day of the call. It often takes weeks to order a new axle for something vs short down time. Their price is much more cost effective than ordering a new axle for a large truck.
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:42 PM   #12
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As for cause, tight turns on pavement or concrete can put tons of force sideways on axles with a tandem or triple axle trailer, often when backing up.
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Old 11-17-2020, 01:16 PM   #13
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also. It's not really that expensive to replace the axles. If your handy it can be done in your driveway.
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:41 PM   #14
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Paul,
This guy may be near you (Ft. Worth). Paul (that should be easy to remember), 817-9193651. I don't remember his business name, just that he works on AS and Avions. Also, don't know if he works on axles.



Next I would try is Quality RV Solutions, Alvarado, TX. 817-764-1363


Good luck.
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:52 PM   #15
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Thanks for your inputs

Thanks to everyone - I am making progress - more to follow!!


Paul B.
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:04 AM   #16
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Cayo Repair Services in Michigan. Sons of the original owner of Avion.
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Brodale View Post
Thanks Action and CB Wells for your replies.
It looks like I will be using the spare axle - I called around yesterday (Ft Worth, TX area) and discovered, nobody really wants to work on the broken axle - started with a Dexter factory/plant locations in Indiana and Oklahoma; got referred to some TX trailer locations and got more referrals, but no service help. I was pretty sure going into the phone calls, that only a few places would probably have the know how to weld the axle back together properly -- does anybody know of a location that does this kind of work??
What caused the failure?? I don't know - I am pretty sure I was not over weight. I travel by myself. I have only owned the Avion for six years, and my Dad had it for six years prior to that. So, that leaves alot of of time (since 1984) unaccounted for.
Two of the four axle halves, have Dexter metal tags with weight limitation of 5200lbs max. I am assuming one tag is for two axle halves; therefore a max weight for the trailer of 10,400lbs and 5200lbs "per axle pair."
The "new axle" has a fleetwood sticker on it and also a Dexter metal tag, but no weight limitation. It appears to be the same style. It does look like the spindle is useable; just needs some cleaning up.
Are there any tips to how the actual replacement of the axle should proceed?? Looks pretty straight forward with removing the four nuts off the spring hanger U-bolts and the nut/bolt from the center of the trailer mount.
One thing, it looks like I need a new bushing for the center trailer mounting bolt - anybody know where I can get one??

Again, thanks for your inputs!!

Paul B.
If you could get it an off. Take it to a oilfield machine shop. That should be able to put it in a lathe and weld it and balance it. We use to balance drive shafts and cooling tower shafts this way.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:47 PM   #18
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Avion Axles

Like was said earlier, Avion axles are not like Airstream Axles. My parents had an '83 and if I remember correctly they are only HALF axles...they do not go all away across the trailer. Have you tried a Semi trailer repair center? I have had good luck with them when I needed to get the bushings replaced on my '60 Airstream that has leaf springs. They were happy and able to assist finding the parts that I assumed were no longer available. Your Avion axle will need to be aligned. The process to do it should be included in the owner's manual...it was for my parents.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:50 PM   #19
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If you have a local shop that builds custom or race cars many of them have jigs for shortening rear drive axles.They should be able to reweld the end in proper alignment. You could also try some of the local cargo trailer builders.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:58 PM   #20
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Our 1957 Airstream has a leaf-spring-mounted drop axle similar to yours. Regarding the bushing you want to replace, you can get replacement bushings (also U-bolts) from companies that sell them by their size, dimensions, etc. (You probably won’t be able to find anyone that sells such bushings by only referring to the make and model of your trailer.)

For example, a company named SD Truck Springs (New York) has a chart with pictures of various bushing types and a list of available sizes — click on https://www.sdtrucksprings.com/bushi...pring-bushings — I found exact replacement bushings for our old Airstream. (You must first remove an old bushing and exactly measure all dimensions with an accurate caliper.)

While searching for replacement bushings, I found a company in Texas named Southwest Wheel that sells trailer-type leaf-spring-mounted drop axles in widths (measured between hub faces) from 45 to 95 inches, complete with brakes and bearings, for under $500 each — click on https://www.southwestwheel.com/p-303...iler-axle.aspx — the spring seats are included loose, and should be welded in the same locations as the spring seats on your old axle.
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