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Old 01-25-2016, 08:07 PM   #21
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FWIW, I raised my trailer 3", as far as handling and towing degradation goes, negative affect was nonexistent.

Whether or not the "purists" or anyone else frowns on this modification, I say let em frown...


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Old 01-26-2016, 12:07 AM   #22
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Got any pics of your trailer J. Morgan? I'd love to see what it looks like with a little more clearance.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:31 AM   #23
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I will get you one here in an hour or two, it really is not that noticeable to the eye, but it is very noticeable in the reduction of dragging the back of the trailer, and it makes my second step useful...

I HATE dragging bottom.


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Old 01-26-2016, 10:05 AM   #24
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The conversion from stock 14" tires and wheels on our 23D to 15" Michelin tires on 15" SenDel T03-56545T wheels lifted the 23D 1.1" to the same elevation our 25FB was at after the same tire conversion.

Since we reused our existing Hensley Arrow from the 25FB, all the settings on the same tow vehicle remained constant.

If one has a trailer under warranty, the structural modifications with the steel tubing could have a negative impact on that warranty if there are any issues.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:59 AM   #25
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Here is another thread on this subject. I have still not gotten around to installing the lift kit on my 23FB, but hope to this spring. Has anyone installed this on a 23?

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...-130275-7.html

Thanks,
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:40 AM   #26
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I've been following these lift threads for the last few weeks with great interest - there is lots of great advice that I'm still processing, and I'd like to get your help as well.

We recently downsized from a 30' bunkhouse to a 19' Bambi (still packing 5+dog in there!). The dealer helped us move our WD (Blue Ox SwayPro with the 1000# WD bars - they recommended we keep these) to the new rig, and it always has sat nose high by about 3". We cannot drop the hitch anymore than we already have, as the WD bars already scrape going over bumps if we aren't super careful.

We did a 3500 mile holiday trip in our our 19' Bambi over the holidays that was very rough on the rig (the quality of the Los Angeles freeways is murder on suspension!). We probably popped half a dozen rivets over the course of the trip (almost all around LA). We had several hundred lbs of gear in the trailer, and we were running with the oversized WD (the old 1000lb bars from our 30' which the dealer said were 'just fine'). I don't have scale weights yet, but looking back I don't see how we could not have been overloaded on the axle. The trailer is has a 4500# gross limit, and the axle is rated for 4300#. The dry trailer is 3823# on paper, and the WD alone would have put a few hundred additional lbs on the axle.

Long story short, when I got back I ordered the 3" lift kit from Dexter, and the 750# WD bars for the blue ox (we are looking at a tongue weight of around 650#). I have yet to install the lift kit as I'm still thinking this through:

In addition to sitting 'nose high" when hitched, when I have it leveled in storage and lightly loaded (almost empty) the torsion axle angle is at zero degrees - meaning it is parallel to the frame. It looks like the factory axle is a 22.5 degree down angle. I'm no axle expert, and I'm not sure what the angle should be with the nearly empty trailer. To my eyes, there isn't a lot of room left for it to cushion - just slightly less than 2" between the wheel and wheel well skirting when viewing from wheel height (which I gather is one of the litmus tests for checking torsion axles).

So my question to this group is the following: Is it worth installing the lift kit and running pretty much at max gross all the time, or would I be better off biting the bullet and getting a beefier axle (which would be a bit of a bummer on a brand new trailer, but likely worth the investment in the long run). And would a beefier axle solve my ground clearance issues, or would I still need the lift kit?

Thanks in advance!

Patrick
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Old 01-26-2016, 12:31 PM   #27
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Since the 19' Serenity has a GVW of 4,500 pounds and the axle is rated 4,300 pounds per the Airstream parts book, a stronger axle will not increase the GVW limit. Obviously Airstream has access to the 5,000 pound rated axles of the Classic. Even if one were installed, the GVW would not be higher probably due to the limitations of the frame.

The trailer has a published net payload of 667 pounds before deducting the weight of the fresh water and propane. You can only have a very limited amount of items inside. This was not the trailer design for 5 people and dogs.

Going from the stock 15" tire to a 16" Michelin tire would reduce the net payload even more as the larger tire is substantially heavy than the stock ST tire. The lift kit's weight would also have to be deducted from the net payload figure as well.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:08 PM   #28
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The tire and wheel are unsprung weight. They do not stress the frame or axles. While one could argue that the curb weight has been increased and the GVWR has not changed so the CCC has been decreased, in my opinion the only trailer system that has actually been impacted is the brakes.

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Old 01-26-2016, 10:01 PM   #29
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Great points - I suppose that since the wheels are unsprung weight (i.e. not carried by the frame), that might explain the difference between the GVWR of 4500# and the axle rating of 4300#. I guess I'd like to be able to load up the axle to the GVWR (since I assume that the GVWR is a function of the frame, since the axle has it's own rating?).

By my calculations, we are running with about 580# of weight that we add to the trailer when we travel (this includes water and propane - we do put some of the weight in the TV), which puts us close to the gross rating for the trailer, and probably technically over the axle rating (which might explain my issues). I suspect that we are not over 4500# for the trailer, but we are overloading the axle's 4300# rating (or does the axle+wheel assembly really weigh 200# all together?).

So, thinking out loud - if I had an axle that was a bit higher rated (let's say 4500# to match the trailer's GVWR for arguments sake), could I load up the axle to 4500# safely without the risk of compromising the frame? I realize that we are pushing the edge here, which is why we carry much of our gear in the TV. The weight of the people are only ever added to the trailer when we are unhitched and the stabilizer jacks are down. It just seems that we shouldn't be having rivets pop if we haven't hit GVWR, and the axle just looks like it is so unhappy with the load (I know - I need to get over to the CAT scales and really figure out what difference the overkill WD was making). But until I do that, I'm very open to thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. Even if the weights are all good, the trailer is still sitting WAY to low for comfort in the rear, so I'm still leaning toward the lift kit.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:39 AM   #30
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Sorry, the Airstream app was down all day yesterday so I couldn't post the pictures.

The trailer is parked slightly nose high right now but this will give you an idea.

Click image for larger version

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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
I will get you one here in an hour or two, it really is not that noticeable to the eye, but it is very noticeable in the reduction of dragging the back of the trailer, and it makes my second step useful...

I HATE dragging bottom.


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Old 01-27-2016, 06:20 PM   #31
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Looks great! Thank you for taking the time to post those pics.
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:20 PM   #32
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Looks great. I'm curious--is that a mod to the rear bumper area or something else in the image that appears that way?
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:33 AM   #33
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If you are talking about the thing right to the right of the propane tank, it is the enclosure I built for my inverter.

I should have gotten a little further back for perspective as this is the front of the trailer.

There isn't anything extra at the back of the trailer except for the non stock bumper that came with the trailer when I bought it.

In the photos, left is front and right is back.


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Old 01-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KYAirstream View Post
Looks great. I'm curious--is that a mod to the rear bumper area or something else in the image that appears that way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
If you are talking about the thing right to the right of the propane tank, it is the enclosure I built for my inverter.

I should have gotten a little further back for perspective as this is the front of the trailer.

There isn't anything extra at the back of the trailer except for the non stock bumper that came with the trailer when I bought it.

In the photos, left is front and right is back.


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I think KYAirstream is referring to the rear. I appears you have a black coating on the lower rear segment and there is a large wheeled trash bin in the background. A quick look at the picture makes it appear you've installed a trunk of some sort at the rear of the trailer but I think it's the black coating on the segment and the trash bin.

I initially thought the same thing until I looked at a larger version of the picture.
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:22 AM   #35
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[
So my question to this group is the following: Is it worth installing the lift kit and running pretty much at max gross all the time, or would I be better off biting the bullet and getting a beefier axle (which would be a bit of a bummer on a brand new trailer, but likely worth the investment in the long run). And would a beefier axle solve my ground clearance issues, or would I still need the lift kit?

Thanks in advance!

Patrick[/QUOTE]

I installed the lift kit on our 19' Bambi, which we still have, and it has been one of the best upgrades I have done. Ranks up there with going to 16" wheels, LifeLine 6-volt batteries, and Progressive Dynamics charger/converter. Which is why I would like to have a lift kit on our 23'. I did have to install a double step to make it easier for our dog, and us, to enter and exit. The replacement Lippert aluminum double step was so much better than the stock single step made of stamped metal; heavier constructed and looks great, though I did have to fabricate mounting brackets to tie it into the frame at various points.
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:33 PM   #36
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If the axles are worn out replace them, if not, I recommend simply lifting the trailer.

It takes a lot of worry out of towing.


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Old 01-28-2016, 12:34 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
I think KYAirstream is referring to the rear. I appears you have a black coating on the lower rear segment and there is a large wheeled trash bin in the background. A quick look at the picture makes it appear you've installed a trunk of some sort at the rear of the trailer but I think it's the black coating on the segment and the trash bin.

I initially thought the same thing until I looked at a larger version of the picture.

I see what you mean now.

You identified the illusion perfectly.

Yep, bed liner on the trailer with a rolling trash can behind.


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Old 02-01-2016, 12:26 PM   #38
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I've got a 2010 Flying Cloud 30. Anyone know which axles I have? I'm tired of dragging at gas stations.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:42 PM   #39
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Lift Kits.

Lift kits are a help, but the same or better can be achieved by simply welding what ever rise you want, by using steel tubing, to the original frame, and axle mounting plate.

The only critical thing is make sure that you place the new axle location in the same EXACT VERTICAL spot.

I have been told by some insiders that it would be very unwise to raise more than 5 inches.

When the time comes to replace the axles, you can gain another inch from brand new, by increasing the starting angle from 22 1/2 degrees to 32 degrees.

Lastly, make super sure that the distance between the 2 shock studs does not exceed 14.4 inches.

Andy
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:51 PM   #40
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Ok, an update on my progress.... In short, it's going slowly. I realize now I'm not really equipped to handle this job efficiently by myself with the tools I have at hand, but I am making progress!

So far I have lifted the trailer onto jack stands (though I suspect I am NOT supporting the trailer in the proper way on the jack stands - using the jack plate to actually raise the trailer with the jack I wasn't sure where to put the jackstands! Where should they go?), gotten the wheels off, loosened all the axle bolts, and installed one side of the lift kit.

This is turning out to be much more difficult than I had imagined, largely because a) I don't have an impact wrench to help loosen/tighten the bolts, and b) in order to get the 150lbs of torque required to tighten the new bolts I have to do a series of contortionist routines underneath the trailer using various structures as bracing to pull against. I'm much more sore than I had imagined at this point - there isn't a lot of room to work under there! It's also interesting to note that the original bolts had a LOT more than 150lbs of torque on them!

It really took a LONG time for me to get the original bolts loosened with nothing but elbow grease, some WD40, a long handled torque wrench, and a cordless impact driver (note this is not an impact wrench!). For those looking to tackle this themselves - be sure that you have a) help and b) the proper tools!

Weather permitting, I hope to finish the other side tomorrow and return the trailer to the earth. I'm looking forward to increased ground clearance, and will post pictures of the finished project for future reference.

It's also worth mentioning that the #11 Dexter Lift kit is only available in a tandem axle config - which means that I will have enough parts left to drop another single axle trailer. If anyone is interested in these components please let me know, I'm sure we can work something out.
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