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Old 06-06-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
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How do you know if your axles are going bad?

I want to avoid any issues on the road, so I'm wondering what are the signs that your axles are going bad.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:33 PM   #2
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I want to avoid any issues on the road, so I'm wondering what are the signs that your axles are going bad.
The following article is a part of the Airstream Central section of this Forums.
It will tell you how to quickly check out your axles.

The Dura-Torque Axle

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Old 06-06-2011, 05:54 PM   #3
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The first sign for me with our 63 Safari was when I couldn't get the tire out of the wheel well. Very little suspension travel, when jacked up the torsion arm would not come down far enough, rubber had hardened. Another sign, tire too high in the wheel well, lowrider trailer.
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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The first sign of your axles going bad is when, after posting a photo of your trailer, an axle vendor tells you your axles are shot...
Seriously, the way to tell is to raise the trailer off its wheels, and watch how far the tires drop before leaving the ground. The more travel the better.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:15 PM   #5
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When the rims on the tires are even with the wheelwell opening ,you can pretty well figure "ITS TIME" When you see things begin to move around in the coach,like the TP unrolling or the paper roll towel unrolling. What you DONT WANNA SEE is the RIVETS HEADS POPPING OFF first around the wheel well opening,then watch to the small rivets in the interior will get a little grey like dust around the heads. AND THEN YA KNOW ITS TIME.
I thought I could get by my first season but the signs were to great. NO VENDOR ever told me "YOUR AXLES ARE SHOT". This signs were there all I had to be was smart enought to heed them.
THERE are lots of mfgers in the game now so you can kinda pick and choose. READ ANDYS article and see what it says,and decide for yourself. My axle arms were exactlly horizontal to the frame and when I jacked it up thats where they stayed. NO MOVEMENT MEANS BIG DAMAGE ON THE HORIZION.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
The first sign of your axles going bad is when, after posting a photo of your trailer, an axle vendor tells you your axles are shot...
Seriously, the way to tell is to raise the trailer off its wheels, and watch how far the tires drop before leaving the ground. The more travel the better.
Maybe an ignorant question....Can you just use the levelers to raise the trailer off the ground?
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:32 AM   #7
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Maybe an ignorant question....Can you just use the levelers to raise the trailer off the ground?
No, they are not levelers, they are stabilizers.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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Maybe an ignorant question....Can you just use the levelers to raise the trailer off the ground?
As dznf0g said already, the stabilizers built-in to some trailers (all the new ones, I think, but optional on older models) are NOT intended to support any of the trailer's weight, just to keep it from bouncing around when you're set up on a campsite and moving about inside.

Actual levelers that you drive the trailer onto, such as the Lynx blocks, can be used. Just pull only 1 of the 2 wheels up onto the blocks and observe the motion of the tire/axle that's not supported by the blocks.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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As dznf0g said already, the stabilizers built-in to some trailers (all the new ones, I think, but optional on older models) are NOT intended to support any of the trailer's weight, just to keep it from bouncing around when you're set up on a campsite and moving about inside.

Actual levelers that you drive the trailer onto, such as the Lynx blocks, can be used. Just pull only 1 of the 2 wheels up onto the blocks and observe the motion of the tire/axle that's not supported by the blocks.
Or, you can use a couple of 2 x 6s, or even 2 x 4s.

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Old 07-15-2011, 02:16 PM   #10
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With axles 33 years old, one 2x6 or 2x4 may tell the story. If only one under one wheel lifts the other off the ground, it is certainly new axle time.

Give it a try.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:32 PM   #11
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Question Axle "test"

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With axles 33 years old, one 2x6 or 2x4 may tell the story. If only one under one wheel lifts the other off the ground, it is certainly new axle time.

Give it a try.
JIm: I wanted to try the "quick and dirty test" today. Drove front wheel on to one 2 x 10; rear wheel stayed firmly on the ground. Backed off and drove front axle up on two 2 x 10s; rear axle seemed to come up a small amount but tire was still on the ground. Did not have my jack with me so I could not jack up one side as suggested. Did the "board" test seem to confirm that my axles are probably okay?
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:12 AM   #12
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I just got new axles for my 65. I didn't have the typical crap flying everywhere in my trailer. But my axles were frozen in place, I have a few stringers in the walls popped and some outer skin damage where a couple outriggers rubbed thru.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:33 AM   #13
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I did the axle on my 74, 20' Argosy. I didn't think there was anything really wrong with the original, but the brakes and shocks were shot and I decided that the least expensive thing to do was to replace everything at once. It was an excellent investment. The trailer tows even better now, far less interior movement of items, great brakes, easy to service bearings with external Zerk fittings. This year I went to new AL 16 inch wheels with LT 225/75 16 E range tires running 60 psi pressure (correct for the trailer weight) and once again feel that the towing and ride improvement was worth the cost.

Lets face it, almost everything on a 35 year old rig needs to be replaced, just like a 35 year old home. If you do your axels, I don't think you will be disappointed in your investment.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTurnConn View Post
JIm: I wanted to try the "quick and dirty test" today. Drove front wheel on to one 2 x 10; rear wheel stayed firmly on the ground. Backed off and drove front axle up on two 2 x 10s; rear axle seemed to come up a small amount but tire was still on the ground. Did not have my jack with me so I could not jack up one side as suggested. Did the "board" test seem to confirm that my axles are probably okay?
Check to see if there is down angle on the trailing arms with the trailer fully loaded and ready for the road. If not, replace for sure.

If it was my trailer, with 33 year old axles, I would replace them. I can't imagine that they are working properly. I had an axle failure on the road with the Caravel. I just wouldn't take the chance. New axles are cheap compared to the damage done when an axle suffers complete failure going down the highway. When the axle broke on the Caravel, and the wheel took an "adios" across two lanes of traffic, damaged the side of the trailer and two cars traveling along side, I was lucky that no one was hurt.

This was not a fun time.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:37 AM   #15
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Check to see if there is down angle on the trailing arms with the trailer fully loaded and ready for the road. If not, replace for sure.

If it was my trailer, with 33 year old axles, I would replace them. I can't imagine that they are working properly. I had an axle failure on the road with the Caravel. I just wouldn't take the chance. New axles are cheap compared to the damage done when an axle suffers complete failure going down the highway. When the axle broke on the Caravel, and the wheel took an "adios" across two lanes of traffic, damaged the side of the trailer and two cars traveling along side, I was lucky that no one was hurt.

This was not a fun time.
I guess what I am looking for is a means to determine if I do need to change the axles based on something other than age. I do not know, for example, if one of the previous owners had the axles changed. The last owner, who had the trailer for about 5 years, replaced brakes and shocks. This is not a $50 throw away item, that I could say, oh well lets just do it. I will look at the trailing arm "test" but I thought the "board test" had some validity. Yes?
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:50 AM   #16
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Check to see if there is down angle on the trailing arms with the trailer fully loaded and ready for the road. If not, replace for sure.

If it was my trailer, with 33 year old axles, I would replace them. I can't imagine that they are working properly. I had an axle failure on the road with the Caravel. I just wouldn't take the chance. New axles are cheap compared to the damage done when an axle suffers complete failure going down the highway. When the axle broke on the Caravel, and the wheel took an "adios" across two lanes of traffic, damaged the side of the trailer and two cars traveling along side, I was lucky that no one was hurt.

This was not a fun time.
Hope this is not a duplicate......I must not have pushed the submit button. I will check the trailing arm to see what it tells me. I don't mind replacing the axles if they need to be replaced, but doing so solely on age may not be appropriate. I don't know, for example if one of the previous owners replaced the axles. The immediate PO replaced shocks and brakes but not axles. I had read on this thread that the "wood test" was some sort of an indicator and that is why I tried it. If this were a $50, "just do it" issue then it would be done, but $2K is a little higher. I understand the safety issue but don't want to spend money on this if I don't need to. Reasonable?
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:24 AM   #17
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Hope this is not a duplicate......I must not have pushed the submit button. I will check the trailing arm to see what it tells me. I don't mind replacing the axles if they need to be replaced, but doing so solely on age may not be appropriate. I don't know, for example if one of the previous owners replaced the axles. The immediate PO replaced shocks and brakes but not axles. I had read on this thread that the "wood test" was some sort of an indicator and that is why I tried it. If this were a $50, "just do it" issue then it would be done, but $2K is a little higher. I understand the safety issue but don't want to spend money on this if I don't need to. Reasonable?
This article will help you to do better tests.

The Dura-Torque Axle

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:16 AM   #18
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I found the signs of Popped rivets and telltale grey rings around some of the interior rivets.Then the TP and Hand towel unrolled. Then came the last straw.The full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door(rear bath) was torn off the door.ALL the screws were pulled out. TO MUCH SHAKIN GOIN ON. Although the mirror didnt break I was able to save it. Another way to tell is Looking at the wheelwells from a short distance.IF the edge of the wheelwell is at the rim THEY ARE SHOT.
I gained 4 inches in rear height and my wheel wells are almost to the top of the tire. I dont think 4 inches of boards is enough they are not really 2 inches each unless ya have rough cut boards. ALSO look carefully at ANDYS article. ITS helpful. I know there are pictures of bad axles where they are tucked up under the body on this site somewhere.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:35 AM   #19
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I know there are pictures of bad axles where they are tucked up under the body on this site somewhere.

Like this on our 63....
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:37 AM   #20
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Like this on our 63....
Ouch.

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