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Old 02-29-2008, 09:26 PM   #101
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Having read every post in this thread y'all have provided confirmation that i did the right thing by letting my local RV repair shop handle my single axel swap for me. in that it's a relativly quick project, labor should come in at 2 hours tops or $160.

however, the info gleaned here is invaluable when the time comes that i have to swap out my 3 axles on the 34. with that job the labor costs will add up.

not to stir the pot too much - my repair guy swears i won't need the shocks.

thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:45 AM   #102
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My Overlander needed axles back in 2006 and I put the whole job on a local Dexter dealer. He had previous experience installing Dexters on Airstreams. And to him it was all pretty routine. He spec'd the #11 Axles derated to 3600# with 22.5 degree down angle, 12'' brakes and Nevrlube sealed bearings. I went along with the dealers recommendations because I knew if there was a problem, it would be on him. He did explain that I would need 4 new Dexter wheels to accomodate the Nevrlube bearings, this was OK with me because I needed new tires (Marathons I bought from Tire Rack) When my dealer called Dexter placing the order he spoke with a Dexter engineer in Indy, who he knew on a personal basis. Three weeks later my axles were delivered. What surprised me the shock mounts were factory installed, but my dealer said I would NOT need shocks I would think the shocks would only contribute to a more smooth ride, although I've been running without shocks and have no complaints at all and don't have the chore of repacking wheel bearings. And the total bill for axles, new brake assemblys, wheels, Nevrlube bearings and labor was $1300. Job well done.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:59 AM   #103
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Nevr-Lube Bearings
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:25 AM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM CRUMP
My Overlander needed axles back in 2006 and I put the whole job on a local Dexter dealer. He had previous experience installing Dexters on Airstreams. And to him it was all pretty routine. He spec'd the #11 Axles derated to 3600# with 22.5 degree down angle, 12'' brakes and Nevrlube sealed bearings. I went along with the dealers recommendations because I knew if there was a problem, it would be on him. He did explain that I would need 4 new Dexter wheels to accomodate the Nevrlube bearings, this was OK with me because I needed new tires (Marathons I bought from Tire Rack) When my dealer called Dexter placing the order he spoke with a Dexter engineer in Indy, who he knew on a personal basis. Three weeks later my axles were delivered. What surprised me the shock mounts were factory installed, but my dealer said I would NOT need shocks I would think the shocks would only contribute to a more smooth ride, although I've been running without shocks and have no complaints at all and don't have the chore of repacking wheel bearings. And the total bill for axles, new brake assemblys, wheels, Nevrlube bearings and labor was $1300. Job well done.
It's interesting to read the opinions of some owners and non Airstream dealers, that shocks are not needed.

That would be against the design criteria of Airstream engineers, in spite of using torsion axles.

Most of those dealers don't have a clue as to the principal of construction of an Airstream trailer. If they did, they would tell you that shocks are necessary.

Shocks DO help the trailer have a softer ride, which an Airstream trailer loves.

When it comes to the purpose of shock absorbers, the name says it all.

Cars, trucks or trailers with torsion axles, all need working shocks.

Andy
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:23 PM   #105
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to shock or not to...

Andy, our '74 did not appear to have been originally equipped with shocks. When I put new axles on, should I try to retrofit some shock mounts and install them? Thanks once again.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:40 PM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM CRUMP
What surprised me the shock mounts were factory installed, but my dealer said I would NOT need shocks I would think the shocks would only contribute to a more smooth ride, although I've been running without shocks and have no complaints at all and don't have the chore of repacking wheel bearings.
It is interesting because my dealer has made a similar statement. Supposedly he says is that the shocks are there because as a premium priced product, the consumer expects to see shocks there. He noted that based on their placement and angle, they provide minimum motion dampening. In a normal vehicle a shock reduces the vertical bounce of a wheel where the axle is cushioned by by coil or leaf springs. In a dura-torque axle the rubber rods within the axle are purported to provide the necessary resistance to offset the bounce.

I may be wrong but didn't Airstream produce a trailer in the last 10 years that didn't have shocks? For some reason I thought it may have been the early CCD's. There are obviously differing opinions out there.

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Old 03-17-2008, 06:35 PM   #107
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That would be the 22ft CCD. I'm not sure if the current 23s have them or not.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:41 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
It is interesting because my dealer has made a similar statement. Supposedly he says is that the shocks are there because as a premium priced product, the consumer expects to see shocks there. He noted that based on their placement and angle, they provide minimum motion dampening. In a normal vehicle a shock reduces the vertical bounce of a wheel where the axle is cushioned by by coil or leaf springs. In a dura-torque axle the rubber rods within the axle are purported to provide the necessary resistance to offset the bounce.

I may be wrong but didn't Airstream produce a trailer in the last 10 years that didn't have shocks? For some reason I thought it may have been the early CCD's. There are obviously differing opinions out there.

Jack
I find it funny that Airstream would put shocks on a trailer when they are not needed but for many years sold trailers without a spare. I don't believe Airstream is known for adding extras to a trailer because the consumer expects to see them there. I can name a few things I would expect to see on a quality product which are not there. I have to agree with Andy.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:34 PM   #109
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Never lube

We use a company that has 18 warehouses in the USA.

Amoung many other things, they handle Dexter axles as a distributor.

We asked them about Dexter Never lube hub and drum assembly availability.

Since a regular hub and drum will not fit a Never lube spindle, what does a person do when traveling, if they needed a Never lube hub and drum.

Their answer was that they would have to order it, as none of their 18 warehouses, stock the 12 inch Never lube hub and drum.

Our suggestion then is for those that may choose the Dexter axles with the Never lube bearings, to buy a spare Never lube hub and drum assembly.

In that way should you have a failure, you will have a replacement with you.

Andy
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Old 03-20-2008, 10:45 AM   #110
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no real progress

Well,
No physical progress so far. I'm looking forward to getting some new axles under Epiphany and running the final round of tests. I may pull the existing shocks off and see if I can measure any ride difference with the existing axles ...nah, it's spring and I'm goin' camping...
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:38 AM   #111
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HiHoAgRV

Sometime back, you said you would also report how much time you have spent on the replacement Dexter axles.

Please include the time you have spent with your credit card company to get the original charges reversed.

I would assume that you will have to start all over again, with Dexter.

If we can help you with axles, please let us know.

We guarantee the right axle, the first time, and all we need is just the trailer serial number.

No hassles, no drawings needed, no specs to provide, guaranteed fit, no need to reverse credit card charges, and no need to fight over meeting the axle specs for the trailer, and no problem increasing the start angle or weight capacity.

Sorry that your having so many problems with your replacement axles.

We can only offer you encouragement to hang in there.

Andy
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:02 AM   #112
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Back in post #60 I displayed a graph that showed a 3 hz bounce in the recorded data. That has been buggin me and this morning on the way to work I saw an example of what was going on. I got behind an enclosed trailer with rubber suspension and noticed the hub never moved up and down relative to the body as the trailer hit rough sections. The tires were taking all of the beating and seemed to be bouncing up and down about 3 times per second !

I now suspect my suspension is so stiff that it is unable to absorb any shock, similar to a flatbed trailer with no load.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:13 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
I now suspect my suspension is so stiff that it is unable to absorb any shock, similar to a flatbed trailer with no load.
HiHo,

I lost track of this thread - do you have the new axles installed at this point?

I should also add that my dexter install on my '64 trade wind has been completed by south jersey rv. i was a bit surprised by the 8 hour labor fee. i'm guessing it was a two man job taking four hours.

when the time comes i will definetly tackle the three axles on my excella 1000 myself.

--dave
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:22 AM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munimula
HiHo,

I lost track of this thread - do you have the new axles installed at this point?...
--dave
Uh, nope...I'll probably re-order this week.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:35 AM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munimula
HiHo,

I lost track of this thread - do you have the new axles installed at this point?

I should also add that my dexter install on my '64 trade wind has been completed . I was a bit surprised by the 8 hour labor fee. i'm guessing it was a two man job taking four hours.

when the time comes i will definetly tackle the three axles on my excella 1000 myself.

--dave
Your 64 trailer has a single axle.

Replacing axles is a one man job, as long as a floor jack is handy. If a floor jack is not handy, then a second person is needed for abour 10 minutes per axle.

If 2 men took 4 hours each, I would guess that they took turns watching each others work.

If the bolts were rusted, and had to be cut off, the labor time would be no more than 3 hours, including shock replacement, to replace the axle.

If the axle was rusted to the frame, the total time would be 4 hours, including shock replacement.

When the necessary changes must be made to a Dexter axle, a total of 8 hours is a little high, unless a shop is unfamiliar with the procedure.

Balancing the running gear along with the axle or axles replacement should be free, except for the lead weights.

Providing the trailer serial number, to obtain a direct fit axle, except for drilling 6 holes, in your case, would have been a lot cheaper.

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Old 03-26-2008, 10:56 AM   #116
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This thread has taken so many turns I might as well post an off topic...

Has anyone welded shock brackets to a new Dexter axle AFTER installation?

I know it's easier with them laying on the ground, but are both sides of the arm accessable after the axle is installed?
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:03 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
This thread has taken so many turns I might as well post an off topic...

Has anyone welded shock brackets to a new Dexter axle AFTER installation?

I know it's easier with them laying on the ground, but are both sides of the arm accessable after the axle is installed?
Welding shock brackets on, after the axle is mounted is easy, "IF" you remove the hub and drum, and usually the backing plate too.

Then you can position the shock bracket where ever you need it to be, and weld it on both sides as well.

Welding the bracket to the trailing arm, will not hurt the rubber rods, as long as the welding is not done with a torch.

Andy
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:21 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
.....I know it's easier with them laying on the ground, but are both sides of the arm accessable after the axle is installed?
I'm going to disagree with Andy here - remember this is coming from a strictly occassional welder. I welded the shock brackets on the '78 Sovereign axles about a year ago, but I remember the process well. Since I welded the brackets on the trailing arm before I installed the axles I was able to run a bead on both sides of the bracket to trailing arm junction.

I don't think they (the welds) would be easy to make after the axle is installed - at least the the inside weld (towards the trailer) woud be REALLY hard to do.....

Take a look at your existing brackets before you take off the existing axle and see if you could get a gun or stick up there (and see enough to weld).

When installing the brackets on the new axle, if you mount the bracket just a bit more toward the front of the trailer than the original you should have enough room for the shocks to swing - even with an increase in the starting angle.

I went with a 45 degree starting angle, and did not move the bracket that much when compared to the original Henschen, and I have "just" enough room that the shock does not hit the trailing arm when the tire is lifted off of the ground.

If you took off the brake backing assembly there would be plenty of access to the front (outside face) of the trailing arm, and a single bead on the bracket would probably be sufficient, but then you have the problem of reinstalling the top three nuts holding the backing plate on -

I had to take the backing plates off of the old axle to get enough room to grind the old mounts off.

I think it will be MUCH easier doing it while the axle is on the ground.

Even better, it would really save a lot of time if you would have the mounting brackets installed by the manufacturer.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:52 PM   #119
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Quote:
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I'm going to disagree with Andy here - remember this is coming from a strictly occassional welder. I welded the shock brackets on the '78 Sovereign axles about a year ago, but I remember the process well. Since I welded the brackets on the trailing arm before I installed the axles I was able to run a bead on both sides of the bracket to trailing arm junction.

I don't think they (the welds) would be easy to make after the axle is installed - at least the the inside weld (towards the trailer) woud be REALLY hard to do.....

Take a look at your existing brackets before you take off the existing axle and see if you could get a gun or stick up there (and see enough to weld).

When installing the brackets on the new axle, if you mount the bracket just a bit more toward the front of the trailer than the original you should have enough room for the shocks to swing - even with an increase in the starting angle.

I went with a 45 degree starting angle, and did not move the bracket that much when compared to the original Henschen, and I have "just" enough room that the shock does not hit the trailing arm when the tire is lifted off of the ground.

If you took off the brake backing assembly there would be plenty of access to the front (outside face) of the trailing arm, and a single bead on the bracket would probably be sufficient, but then you have the problem of reinstalling the top three nuts holding the backing plate on -

I had to take the backing plates off of the old axle to get enough room to grind the old mounts off.

I think it will be MUCH easier doing it while the axle is on the ground.

Even better, it would really save a lot of time if you would have the mounting brackets installed by the manufacturer.
1968 and older trailers must have the shock brackets installed in the field.

Why?

There is a huge difference between some of those years and the 2 plants. Odds are less than one out of ten, that they will be in the correct location, for that particular trailer.

Sure the manufacturer can put them on, and then they most probably need to be removed, and relocated.

[B]This applies only to the 1968 and older trailers.[B]

We weld the shock brackets on those trailers, after the axle is mounted.

Next, we install the shocks.

We then install the backing plates and the balanced hub and drums, and tires.

From 1969 on up, no changes are necessary for the proper location of the shock brackets.

Andy
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:31 PM   #120
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Are the hubs and drums balanced on the new axles Andy?
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