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Old 02-07-2008, 03:17 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binkers
I've read posts from people who've purchased and installed both brands of torsion axles (Henschen & Dexter). I understand that Henschen are a simple install, and Dexters require a bit of work. Everyone seems to be happy with the end result. There seems to be a significant price difference between the two...why should I use one over the other? I am looking at replacing all three axles on a 1993 34' excella, and I'd like to do the most economical thing. Thanks in advance.
I have used and installed both axle brands. They are both excellent products.
Henschen axles are a closer fit, Dexter axles require a couple of holes to be drilled into the axle mounting plate, 4 for each axle. The drilling is not very difficult, bit it requires a large drill bit, and a 1/2in drill motor.
The price difference between the two isn't that big any more, since Dexter raised their prices to make up for increased steel prices.
My take is that if you are handy and want to save some money, the Dexter are the way to go. Talk to Dexter, though, the dealers will very often order teh wrong product to be used for Airstream.
Henschen axles area a very good fit, and require litlel or no work other than installation. They do cost more, and shipping them can drive the price through the roof. Dexter's shipping seems very reasonable when compared to Henschen - a big factor.
My Henschen axles were installed in a 71 TradeWind. It rode very nicely after the new axles were sorted out.
My current trailer rides on Dexter HD disc brake axles, and i am more than pleased with that product. The ride of the trailer is truly excellent, the braking performance is incredible. The price was definitely right!
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:03 PM   #22
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I put some Dexters on a couple months ago and they are stouter than the Hensch. If you need any help jsut pm or e-mail me I'll be glad to help. I have a thread a couple down about the install VERY easy!
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:41 PM   #23
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I installed 3 Henschen axles 2 years ago on my 34fter. I picked the axles up at the factory so there were no shipping charges and no chance of damage in transit.

Now after about 20,000 miles I lost ALL THE BRAKES. First idea when all brakes are involved would be something electrical. The electric checked out fine so I opened things up and found excessive brake dust. My first thought was the dust was getting between the shoes and the drums and causing a reduction in braking effectiveness. I cleaned the shoes but that had little effect. Additional investigation showed that the dust was so thick that it had cemented the magnet to the magnet arm limiting the ability of the magnet to contact the drum armature. I have just finished replacing the complete brake assemblies.

I have attached a picture of the dust in the magnet after I forced it free. The dust is so thick that even after braking the magnet free the spring could not return it forward.

I would suggest that anyone who has installed Henschen axles in the past 2 or 3 years increase their brake inspection cycle to insure you do not experience what I did.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
I installed 3 Henschen axles 2 years ago on my 34fter. I picked the axles up at the factory so there were no shipping charges and no chance of damage in transit.

Now after about 20,000 miles I lost ALL THE BRAKES. First idea when all brakes are involved would be something electrical. The electric checked out fine so I opened things up and found excessive brake dust. My first thought was the dust was getting between the shoes and the drums and causing a reduction in braking effectiveness. I cleaned the shoes but that had little effect. Additional investigation showed that the dust was so thick that it had cemented the magnet to the magnet arm limiting the ability of the magnet to contact the drum armature. I have just finished replacing the complete brake assemblies.

I have attached a picture of the dust in the magnet after I forced it free. The dust is so thick that even after braking the magnet free the spring could not return it forward.

I would suggest that anyone who has installed Henschen axles in the past 2 or 3 years increase their brake inspection cycle to insure you do not experience what I did.
Many things can cause excessive brake dust, regardless of the brand of electric brakes.

Lack of proper inspections of the brakes, in a timely manner, is no fault of anyone, except the trailer owner.

Penaities will happen, if the inspection periods are ignored.

Slightly riding the brakes is a major cause. Using a brake controller that leaks a small voltage to the brake system is another.

The largest by far cause, is to ignore the fact that brakes must be examined and checked every year or 10,000 miles, whichever is first

That examination will limit the amount of brake dust that will collect.

Obviously, the greater the miles, the more dust will accumulate.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Nevrlube bearing equipped axles.

Will that in itself, cause owners to neglet the inspection of the brakes, every 10,000 miles??

Time will tell.

Andy
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:04 PM   #25
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right on Andy about the "Neverlube". I wonder what guarantees that your axles were filled properly at the factory and this name alone would almost imply that the axles are "maintainence free". I wonder how many buyers actually checked to see if their bearings actually had grease in there?? When people are involved mistakes will always occur.
Things like "Neverlube" or products that are also advertised as " self lubricating" always make me think twice before buying. This is not saying that the Dexters are in any way bad axles I just do not trust marketing gimics
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:11 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shantz
right on Andy about the "Neverlube". I wonder what guarantees that your axles were filled properly at the factory and this name alone would almost imply that the axles are "maintainence free". I wonder how many buyers actually checked to see if their bearings actually had grease in there?? When people are involved mistakes will always occur.
Things like "Neverlube" or products that are also advertised as " self lubricating" always make me think twice before buying. This is not saying that the Dexters are in any way bad axles I just do not trust marketing gimics
Neverlube are sealed bearings, like you would find in the front hubs of front wheel drive cars. Since they are sealed, there is no way to examine the amount of lubricant contained in the hub assembly.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:25 PM   #27
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I stand corrected. Thanks Overlander. I was not aware that they were sealed bearings in the Dexters.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:25 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shantz
I stand corrected. Thanks Overlander. I was not aware that they were sealed bearings in the Dexters.
The sealed bearings are ok.

But I still have a strong feeling that the Nevrlube bearing setup, will give owners a very false sense of security as to the condition of the trailer brakes.

PM on the brakes, is an absolute MUST.

Every year or every 10,000 which ever comes first, thats the proper and recommended PM for electric brakes.

Personally, I don't think electric brakes "walk on water" very well.

Some things in life "are a must."

Proper care of the trailer brakes, is one of those musts, Nevrlube bearings or not!!!

Magnets wear, like it or not. Typical mileage for a single axle is 15,000 miles and a tandem typically is 18,000 to 20,000 miles, more or less, depending on one's driving habits and what kind or terrain they visit.

Worn magnets, also cut deep grooves in the armature plate of the drums. If that happens with the Nevrlube, you will have to order the special drums, since it seems that no one stocks them, except the factory.

Andy

We can only use one of the two famous S's.

Safe or Sorry.

Each person can make their own choice.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:37 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
but i'm pretty sure the dexter disc brake will not fit behind your oem rims...
2air'
They do. I have them.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Likewise, shock absorbers help dampen the road shock, which maximizes the "soft ride," and goes hand in hand with good axles.

If it has been determined the the trailer is getting a rough ride from bad axles, then according to Airstream engineers, shocks won't eliminate that problem, but not using shocks, will increase the road shock that the trailer will receive, even with new axles, or for that matter, bad axles as well.

Andy
IMy experience has been that shocks are not necessary with any kind of torsion axles. I ran my new install with and without shocks for many miles to determine this.
I am not sure what AS was after when they decided to put shocks on a rubber torsion axle, but it definitely wasn't ride quality.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:07 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area63
They do. I have them.
uwe...

the OEM classic 5 spoke alcoa rims?

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:20 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
... since it seems that no one stocks them, except the factory...
Some of our local trailer companies stock them since they are becoming very popular on horse trailers and many new highline 5er's are coming standard with them. Of course everyone of my trailer breakdowns have occured after business hours on a Saturday so it doesn't matter if they are piled high behind the "Closed" sign

I agree on regular maintance of the brakes but a deciding against a no maintance hub for that purpose akin to designing a trailer that will suffer from rear end seperation just so the toilet seal will be replaced on a regular basis
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:58 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binkers
and I'd like to do the most economical thing. Thanks in advance.

Dexters are half the cost, thats economical right off the bat. Most people have more time than money. Correct measurements is all it takes.

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Old 04-08-2008, 02:13 PM   #34
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I installed a set of Dexter's last year on my 78'. I have the #11 axle with the disc brakes and I know for a fact that the original Alcoa rims will not fit with the #11 axle and disc brakes. It is close, but not close enough. I can not say for a fact, but I would guess that if you purchased a #10 axle with disc brakes, they may fit. The new rotors that I have were larger than the original rotors that Airstream installed. My decision came down to cost. For $200 more (delivered) than the cost of the standard electric brakes made by Henschen, I got 2 alxes with disc brakes and a E/H acutator. I will admit that I did have to drill (4) extra holes in the mounting bracket., and enlarge the opening a little. One set of the bolt holes lines up perfectly. If you are going to tackle a job like putting new alxes on your rig, you probably can drill some holes. You could also save a bunch of money if you don't mind electric brakes. I also made the mistake with the rims. I had to purchase 4 new rims becasue the originals did not fit over the larger Dexters discs. I was able to sell my (4) old rims for the same price as I had to pay for (4) new rims that fit. If you want to keep your old Alcoa rims, you may do some research on the #10 axle, or fork over the big $ for the Henschens.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:27 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erock53
I installed a set of Dexter's last year on my 78'. I have the #11 axle with the disc brakes and I know for a fact that the original Alcoa rims will not fit with the #11 axle and disc brakes. It is close, but not close enough...
yeah erock, that was the info i had too.

given the o.p. has a 34 ft trailer going with the smaller diameter isn't a great idea.

there is clearly a used market for the 5 spoke alcoas, i've got 9 of them!

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:47 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
I didn't think you could use Dexter's on tripple axles.

See the first page of this doc.
I talked to Dexter about this. They say they downsize the general hardware throughout the axle when then produce a lighter rated axle. Since the TorqueFlex axles do not have any type of equalization between the axles they are afraid that if the trailer load was placed on one axle, going over a bump, that the axle would bend.

Having just resently installed Henschen axles and having had serious brake problems with their Chinese components if I were to do it again I would order Henschen axles without brakes and hubs and install Dexters brakes.

I assume if you could ever get beyound the Customer Service people at dexter they would make a system up using heavier axles and just insert the correct rated rubber rods in the tubes.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:26 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
uwe...

the OEM classic 5 spoke alcoa rims?

cheers
2air'
Sorry, I wasn't thinking of the new style rims. My Overlander's weel did fit, and so did the wheels of all the 70's trailers, both steel and alloy.
Good to know that the spoke wheels don't fit.
Are there other known wheel styles that do not fit over Dexter's big brakes?
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:34 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erock53
I installed a set of Dexter's last year on my 78'. I have the #11 axle with the disc brakes and I know for a fact that the original Alcoa rims will not fit with the #11 axle and disc brakes. It is close, but not close enough. I can not say for a fact, but I would guess that if you purchased a #10 axle with disc brakes, they may fit. The new rotors that I have were larger than the original rotors that Airstream installed. My decision came down to cost. For $200 more (delivered) than the cost of the standard electric brakes made by Henschen, I got 2 alxes with disc brakes and a E/H acutator. I will admit that I did have to drill (4) extra holes in the mounting bracket., and enlarge the opening a little. One set of the bolt holes lines up perfectly. If you are going to tackle a job like putting new alxes on your rig, you probably can drill some holes. You could also save a bunch of money if you don't mind electric brakes. I also made the mistake with the rims. I had to purchase 4 new rims becasue the originals did not fit over the larger Dexters discs. I was able to sell my (4) old rims for the same price as I had to pay for (4) new rims that fit. If you want to keep your old Alcoa rims, you may do some research on the #10 axle, or fork over the big $ for the Henschens.
Unfortunately, the #10 axle doesn't come with the 6-bolt HD hubs any longer. Dexter is telling us that a #11 axle is required to get the 6-bolt hub with the 5-bolt brake flange.
This could be a problem for smaller vintage units in the future, like a 70's double axle Safari for instance. The smaller units like Safaris, TradeWinds, and Overlanders require 2600lb to 3200lb axles, while the #11 axle has a minimum capacity of 3400lbs. It might be best to order the Henschen axle set for these, as that manufacturer makes the light duty axle with the heavy duty hubs. It simply is a better fit for these types of trailers.
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:04 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area63
Unfortunately, the #10 axle doesn't come with the 6-bolt HD hubs any longer. Dexter is telling us that a #11 axle is required to get the 6-bolt hub with the 5-bolt brake flange.
This could be a problem for smaller vintage units in the future, like a 70's double axle Safari for instance. The smaller units like Safaris, TradeWinds, and Overlanders require 2600lb to 3200lb axles, while the #11 axle has a minimum capacity of 3400lbs. It might be best to order the Henschen axle set for these, as that manufacturer makes the light duty axle with the heavy duty hubs. It simply is a better fit for these types of trailers.
well that's an interesting turn of events. I thought that the axle's rating was simply a function of the length of the rubber rods, and that they could be de-rated simply by cutting the rods down to a shorter length. Seems odd that they would have these sorts of restrictions, when each one is made to order. (?)
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:28 PM   #40
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Dexter Tor-Flex

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
well that's an interesting turn of events. I thought that the axle's rating was simply a function of the length of the rubber rods, and that they could be de-rated simply by cutting the rods down to a shorter length. Seems odd that they would have these sorts of restrictions, when each one is made to order. (?)
I know. Weird. For a while, we could order the Dexter #10 axles in just about any weight rating with never lube hubs only. Now, they no longer offer that.
I have a message in to Dexter engineering, hoping to get first hand info on the subject.
btw. we installed a set of Dexter disc brake axles just this afternoon, and it went really well, as usual.
The #11 axle requires the axle plate cutout to be enlarged slightly, and one of the holes( the front one in our case) has to be re-drilled. Installation took about 30min per axle, preparations beforehand about 1.5 hours, with coffee breaks.
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