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Old 05-07-2020, 08:00 AM   #1
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1976 31' Excella 500
Crewe , Virginia
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DIY Torsion Axle Reconditioning

I have read many posts about torsion axles no longer being able to be reconditioned and just replaced. I have reconditioned rubber parts for VW's and Porsche's in the past......C.V.boots, intake manifold sleeves, spring buffers/stops, and obsolete window gaskets, just by using a wintergreen oil/alcohol mix, or Simple Green, and even plain WD-40.

Has anyone ever considered drilling a hole in the upper section in the middle of an axle tube and filling it with a conditioner and letting it sit while the wheels are off the ground and see if the torsion arm angles change from negative to either a zero or even a positive angle?

Of course you would need to siphon all of the conditioner out of the axle tube after the rubber has absorbed the plasticizer back into the rods. After that, weld /fill the hole back in.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:37 AM   #2
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Not saying it can't been done, but never heard of anyone doing it. Looks like you have a 1976 Airstream and unless the axles have been replaced, sounds like a great chance for you to try it out.

Since it will be almost impossible to get all of the conditioner out, the question also becomes, how does having the remaining conditioner affect the rubber rods ability to hold the swing-arm in place from sliding out being it's held in place by pressure?

For me, it would be better to remove/replace four bolts, splice two wires and have a new axle. But everyone looks at things differently,

Good Luck,
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rideair View Post
Not saying it can't been done, but never heard of anyone doing it. Looks like you have a 1976 Airstream and unless the axles have been replaced, sounds like a great chance for you to try it out.

Since it will be almost impossible to get all of the conditioner out, the question also becomes, how does having the remaining conditioner affect the rubber rods ability to hold the swing-arm in place from sliding out being it's held in place by pressure?

For me, it would be better to remove/replace four bolts, splice two wires and have a new axle. But everyone looks at things differently,

Good Luck,
Well, from what I have read, the axle tubes are not exactly sealed where the torsion arm goes into the tube and that moisture does enter, and that assists with the rubber rods getting non pliable. If this does work the conditioner remnants should eventually drain out on its own. Also if this does work, the rubber rods should go back to their original or close to original installed shape and wouldn't slide out to begin with.

At this time, I have a little life left in my axles, since we do not do any extremely long distance camping, but I have the problem of thinking too much and this was one of those things......
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:04 AM   #4
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20 or 30+ years of being smashed, I don't think any conditioner is going to give the rubber it's spring back. Back years ago, the factory would take your old axle and replace the rubber rods, but like many things isn't an option anymore. New axles are the cheap part of a vintage overhaul these days.



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Old 05-07-2020, 10:36 AM   #5
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Replacement is within the scope of nearly all owners. Beyond that the user/owner is extremely limited. The better way to "condition" the rubber in the axle tube is to tow the trailer frequently.

The process to install rods is to chill the rubber to well below zero f temps and install them and the axle into the tube. As the rubber heats back up it expands. Then the axle is working against the rubber rods. I believe all of the rubber rods are the same length for all axles of the same axle tube diameter. The different load capacity is based on how long the axle shaft is inside the tube.

Installing any fluid will only contact very small parts of the rubber. Or the space between the left and right side of the rubber rods. (Since each side is independent of each other.) Having little to no impact on the vast majority of the rubber. Which would still be hard and inflexible.

>>>Action
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dspchef View Post

At this time, I have a little life left in my axles, since we do not do any extremely long distance camping, but I have the problem of thinking too much and this was one of those things......
Once the rubber has hardened so the axle shaft has little movement, there isn't a solution to make the rubber soft. The chemicals that make rubber soft have leached out. Getting that chemical back in is just not something that can be achieved short of removing the rubber rods. Removing and installing the rubber rods requires significant equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions.

>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:57 AM   #7
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Preserving tires and axles during Winter storage....
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:41 AM   #8
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I would love to know if you manged to get your rubbers reconditioned by using some sort of conditioning fluid. At worst it's not going to work, whats to lose?

Best of luck and let us know.

Alistair.
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Old 06-06-2020, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKAS View Post
I would love to know if you manged to get your rubbers reconditioned by using some sort of conditioning fluid. At worst it's not going to work, whats to lose?

Best of luck and let us know.

Alistair.
I second....I have restored a few motorcycles in my day and would come across old hardened carb boots and soak them in "simple green" ...would come out after a few days soft and pliable ....so if you could get enough simple green in the tube I would bet it would work !
When we start our restore on our Argosy I'm definitely going to give it a try...
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Old 09-14-2020, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Bob
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Preserving tires and axles during Winter storage....
I have a question for you Robert Cross........do you know what the degree angle your axles are at when they are sitting like you have them during the off season time with the wheels off? 10', 20', 30' degrees and what they are set for when they have just the weight of the trailer on them? 10', 20' degrees?
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Old 09-14-2020, 10:37 AM   #11
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No...never measured the angles.

Just upgraded the OEM 3500lb axles with 4000's
Thought I had a bent axle, (wore out the inside edge of the curbside front tire).
Turns out the rubber had collapsed on that axle.

Bob
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Some pics to compare......
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Old 09-14-2020, 10:43 AM   #12
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Yikes! Well, I am sure you will notice a difference between the two. On mine, both axles on the road side sit right at 1/2" lower than the curb side.....just enough to see the level off a little.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:01 PM   #13
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The difference in the weight of stuff inside the coach will cause this.
Where are the appliances ie water heater, refer, stove along with many small heavy items. Batteries for example.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:06 PM   #14
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There is more stationary weight with our floorplan on the curb side.....not too much on the road side.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:07 PM   #15
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There is more stationary weight with our floorplan on the curb side.....not too much on the road side.
.....and with that last comment, I am now a 3 rivet member!
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