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Old 04-26-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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How do you know when a coach needs its axles replaced

HI,

I'm cautisously considering buying a used Airstream. I've heard that if the top of the wheel well is covering the wheels/tires it's an indicator that the axels need replacing.
In many, MANY of the pictures all over the internet it seems that the wheel well is very near the top of the tire or edige of the wheel.

I don't even want to waste the time, (or travel expense), viewin a coach that is at risk of needing it's axels replacing.

Is it a hard rule that if the wheel well is over the wheel/tire the axels need replacing?

Help!!!!
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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HI,

I'm cautisously considering buying a used Airstream. I've heard that if the top of the wheel well is covering the wheels/tires it's an indicator that the axels need replacing.
In many, MANY of the pictures all over the internet it seems that the wheel well is very near the top of the tire or edige of the wheel.

I don't even want to waste the time, (or travel expense), viewin a coach that is at risk of needing it's axels replacing.

Is it a hard rule that if the wheel well is over the wheel/tire the axels need replacing?

Help!!!!
That's about a 99 percent guarantee.

Or, the rubber rods have solidified, so that there is zero life in that situation.

Andy
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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But replacing the axles is not death sentence.

If one is capable of turning a few bolts and crimping a wiring connection, an older trailer in good shape otherwise is still a viable option.

As long as one allows for the fix in negotiating the purchase price I would not let an axle upgrade put me off a purchase.

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:33 PM   #4
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But replacing the axles is not death sentence.

If one is capable of turning a few bolts and crimping a wiring connection, an older trailer in good shape otherwise is still a viable option.

As long as one allows for the fix in negotiating the purchase price I would not let an axle upgrade put me off a purchase.

Regards,

JD
Changing out axles on 1969 and newer Airstream's, is a piece of cake.

Takes a little more effort on 1968 and older Airstream's though.

Hundred's of owners have changed out their own axles.

Andy
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback.
So the concern I'd have is let's say I find a viable prospect. Buy it...how do I know it's even road worthy,... From an axel perspective?
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:36 PM   #6
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If its not dragging the bottom,, it can be towed... My axles did not look real bad when we got our Overlander the last part of Feb of this year.. but once loaded up with gear,, and full of water it sank more than what I am happy with so got a set of new axles just a week ago from Inland Rv.. Great price and will be a bolt in job as it has the right brackets already welded on the axles..

Not had the time to slip them in yet but I have soaked the bolts with what we call cat piss and other than the gas line is under the axles I will have to take them down.. Looks like at best a 2 hour job once my mental gears are focused for that project. .

I will say that the limited miles we have gone while loaded I have been very careful how fast and hard I would charge down the road.. No need to do any long term damage to our old gal,, who we named " Time Machine"
Like they said,, find a trailer you might like and reason with the owner that your looking at $XXXX$$$ to get new axles and $XXXXX$$$ for the labor to install. I wish now I would have pulled that card when I was dealing on ours at the time.. I felt they were weak but he had come down $4000 from where we started and did not want to push him to hard and come home empty handed..

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #7
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The gas line runs under the axle! Wow! Haven't seen that setup. Is it black iron pipe?
What is the difference between the '68 and older and the '69 and newer models?
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #8
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Changing out axles on 1969 and newer Airstream's, is a piece of cake.

Takes a little more effort on 1968 and older Airstream's though.

Hundred's of owners have changed out their own axles.

Andy
Odd that you 'say' that, Andy. I replaced my tandem axles on my '66 a few years ago with axles purchased from you and excellent guidence from Greg, on your 'staff'. The process was easy if not slow for me because of recent hip (2) replacement....hope my Dr. doesn't read this...If you are potential owners of a vintage AS it's a 'fact of life' that axle replacement is inevitable but not a deal breaker.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:18 AM   #9
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The gas line runs under the axle! Wow! Haven't seen that setup. Is it black iron pipe?
What is the difference between the '68 and older and the '69 and newer models?
The axle mounting plate dimensions was different in the 68 and older Airstreams.

That plate was changed for the 1969 models and is still used today.

Basically, the bolt holes will not line up on the 68 and older trailers, when installing new axles, which requires drilling some new holes.

Also, the distance between the mounting brackets is different. Likewise for the wide body coaches.

Andy
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:19 AM   #10
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The gas line runs under the axle! Wow! Haven't seen that setup. Is it black iron pipe?
What is the difference between the '68 and older and the '69 and newer models?
Its copper.....and easily removed and replaced.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:34 AM   #11
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Is the axle too close to the belly pan, thus preventing the attachment of the gas line flat against the belly pan?Seems to me it would be prone to road damage hanging below the axle.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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Copper gas lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
The gas line runs under the axle! Wow! Haven't seen that setup. Is it black iron pipe?
What is the difference between the '68 and older and the '69 and newer models?

Yep,, copper lines,, and loop under each axle.. Dont think they are factory,,, but well mounted other than the axle loops.. Cant see why they did it that way as the gap between the top of the axles and belly pan has to be 2" ..

So will end up cutting and going back with compression fittings to seal right.

Raining cats and dogs today,, good day to swap axles but my trailer is parked off the main drive and cant get it out till the mud settles.

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Old 04-27-2012, 12:06 PM   #13
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Better get to it, the rally is a week from today. LOL
Rained here a little last night.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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Better get to it, the rally is a week from today. LOL
Rained here a little last night.
I've heard that you should use flare fittings on gas lines. Not compression. Don't know how true that is.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #15
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I've heard that you should use flare fittings on gas lines. Not compression. Don't know how true that is.
Compression fittings for LPG lines is an absolute NO NO NO.

They are ok for water and air but not anything flameable.

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:14 PM   #16
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Some clarification. Typically we think of compression fittings as a ferrel ring type, but there are two common compression fitting types. For gas applications you want to use flare fittings (Type-B/Manipulative). The other kind uses a ferrule to swedge the connection when tightened. This is a standard compression fitting (Type-A/Non-Manipulative).
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:44 PM   #17
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I've heard that you should use flare fittings on gas lines. Not compression. Don't know how true that is.
I bet the PO would have used some PEX,,, !!! for the gas line.. Its all outside,, so will not be real bad other than the wallet if it leaks a little. Will soap it all up when done to make sure its tight..

I happen to have a flare tool so will go that direction..

Have not forgotten about the rally,, main reason I'm looking at when I can pull my AS from the back yard..

From the forecast its looking like it will be too wet to farm?

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:57 PM   #18
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As for the gas line (for the water heater) clearance looping (hugs the axle) under the axle I see no problem as the new axles raised my coach 3 to 4 inches. Enough to have to adjust my hitch up a little.

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Old 04-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #19
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If I can gain 3" of ride height when the new axles are installed I will run around my yard naked.. I know an Airstream is not a true off road er but we do live on a dirt road and over 8 miles to a black top.. That and I have a few camp spots in the high country of Colo I would like to go set up camp for a week or so later this summer. As she sits now I would not even think if it,, a true low rider..

Will use my flare tool if I end up having to cut the propane line and do it right.. At $4 a gallon for propane on the road or even more I sure don't want to be attracting all the bee's in a 20 mile area.. Don't understand why a propane leak draws honey bee's but when our house propane tank had a little valve leak we had to keep the grand kids away from that part of the yard,,, a few days later I smelled the leak and fixed it and the bee's went away,..

Thanks for the help,, and the hope if seeing 3" more ground clearance.

Now what did I do with them new axles?

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Old 04-27-2012, 08:59 PM   #20
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What was the old axle rating? What is the new?
Mine were 2800# old and are 3000# new.
Looks like I gained at least 3".
If you want more height you could go with larger tires and rims. Say 16"
I think that LT tires are taller than ST tires.
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