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Old 10-21-2021, 04:03 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Cambridge , Ohio
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How to Find Original Start Angle?

Hello!

I am researching axle replacements and have a couple questions. The first is, how do I determine the Start Angle that is currently on the Airstream? It's a '72, tandem axle, 31'. I have removed one of the axles. I took it to a Dexter distributor nearby and was not impressed with them so I am not going to work with them any further. Everybody else is further away so I am hoping to figure this out on my own then order them.

The less-than-helpful distributor mentioned that it was 10* down. When asked how he knew, he said "from experience". I understand that he's probably right, but I want to be sure. How do you know the axle didn't start out at a 22* down and sag to the 10* down ballpark over time? It's in rough shape and I can't make out a serial number.

He also said he wouldn't worry about getting a shock arm installed because they don't do that. And that the torsion axle would be all that is needed. It sounds nice to not have to worry about it. But I have to figure it's there for a purpose, right?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMcConnell View Post
Hello!

I am researching axle replacements and have a couple questions. The first is, how do I determine the Start Angle that is currently on the Airstream? It's a '72, tandem axle, 31'. I have removed one of the axles. I took it to a Dexter distributor nearby and was not impressed with them so I am not going to work with them any further. Everybody else is further away so I am hoping to figure this out on my own then order them.

The less-than-helpful distributor mentioned that it was 10* down. When asked how he knew, he said "from experience". I understand that he's probably right, but I want to be sure. How do you know the axle didn't start out at a 22* down and sag to the 10* down ballpark over time? It's in rough shape and I can't make out a serial number.

He also said he wouldn't worry about getting a shock arm installed because they don't do that. And that the torsion axle would be all that is needed. It sounds nice to not have to worry about it. But I have to figure it's there for a purpose, right?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
The start angle would be 22.5 degrees down. I have replaced many for people, they are all the same. Shocks - well there is a big debate if needed.
I don't put them on and never had a problem.
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:44 PM   #3
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1988 34' Limited
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If you plan on replacing the shocks along with the axle (we did because that's what was originally on it ) you can order the shock arm preinstalled from Dexter. We ordered our three from Collin Hyde (sp?).
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:48 PM   #4
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...You don't need shocks, you're not riding in the AS after all, what does it matter to the AS.

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Old 10-21-2021, 04:49 PM   #5
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I would use shocks…they seem to help everywhere else…
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:51 PM   #6
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I talked with a Dexter representative. He said that Airstream uses shocks because they like to say no one else does. He said that they are not doing any good on a rubber torsion axle. Airstream has not used them on all years, when they wanted to save money, like a 2002 CCD has no shocks from the factory. I have rode in an Airstream both ways, with and without shocks and see no difference, Try it for yourself.
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Old 10-21-2021, 06:08 PM   #7
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2019 22' Sport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
I talked with a Dexter representative. He said that Airstream uses shocks because they like to say no one else does. He said that they are not doing any good on a rubber torsion axle. Airstream has not used them on all years, when they wanted to save money, like a 2002 CCD has no shocks from the factory. I have rode in an Airstream both ways, with and without shocks and see no difference, Try it for yourself.


If the axles are loaded, I’d agree. I find that our 2019 22FB, without shock absorbers, bounces excessively if it’s lightly loaded. It’s great with a week’s worth of food, beverages and stuff, but not so great if we’re only heading out for a night or two. Everything on hangers ends up on the closet floor.

The solution - if my wife wants to bring something, it goes in the trailer, no questions asked.
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Old 10-21-2021, 06:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
...You don't need shocks, you're not riding in the AS after all, what does it matter to the AS.

Bob
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Old 10-21-2021, 06:19 PM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMcConnell View Post
Hello!

I am researching axle replacements and have a couple questions. The first is, how do I determine the Start Angle that is currently on the Airstream? It's a '72, tandem axle, 31'. I have removed one of the axles. I took it to a Dexter distributor nearby and was not impressed with them so I am not going to work with them any further. Everybody else is further away so I am hoping to figure this out on my own then order them.

The less-than-helpful distributor mentioned that it was 10* down. When asked how he knew, he said "from experience". I understand that he's probably right, but I want to be sure. How do you know the axle didn't start out at a 22* down and sag to the 10* down ballpark over time? It's in rough shape and I can't make out a serial number.

He also said he wouldn't worry about getting a shock arm installed because they don't do that. And that the torsion axle would be all that is needed. It sounds nice to not have to worry about it. But I have to figure it's there for a purpose, right?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
I'm doing the same thing with the same trailer. '73 31' Soverign RB, twin axle. Standard angle is 22.5.
Contacted Colin Hyde, and am getting ready to measure. I need more detail on what to measure, but that will hopefully happen this week. The only trepidation I have with the axles from Colin is drilling a new hole on the frame, or making a wider opening. Need more detail from Colin on that before I order them.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:59 AM   #10
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Did the tires on my 2007 22 foot International CCD last year. Was shocked (no pun intended) to discover it NEVER had any shock absorbers installed from the factory.

It rides fine without them…
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:17 AM   #11
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1987 34' Limited
Hantsport , NS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shapmaui View Post
I'm doing the same thing with the same trailer. '73 31' Soverign RB, twin axle. Standard angle is 22.5.
Contacted Colin Hyde, and am getting ready to measure. I need more detail on what to measure, but that will hopefully happen this week. The only trepidation I have with the axles from Colin is drilling a new hole on the frame, or making a wider opening. Need more detail from Colin on that before I order them.
You'll likely find that the new/enlarged holes are necessary if you are replacing the axles; regardless of who you buy through. I triple measured everything when completing the Dexter datasheet, and when I did find a local Dexter rep who would look at it their quote reflected a changed measure. I ultimately went through Colin H for the peace of mind that I'd not end up with 3 boat anchors as he knows these trailers and deals regularly with Dexter. He was also cheaper that buying local, and the shock mounts are welded on, hardware is included. They are a custom order so unless Dexter boogers the fabrication process you own them.

Regarding shocks, the debate rages on. Get a bowl of popcorn and set a few hours aside to read up on the yeah/nay. For what they cost I'm installing the AS horizontals. I know less about dampening than the least knowledgeable AS engineer, so faith prevails for me on that topic.
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shapmaui View Post
I'm doing the same thing with the same trailer. '73 31' Soverign RB, twin axle. Standard angle is 22.5.
Contacted Colin Hyde, and am getting ready to measure. I need more detail on what to measure, but that will hopefully happen this week. The only trepidation I have with the axles from Colin is drilling a new hole on the frame, or making a wider opening. Need more detail from Colin on that before I order them.
Enlarging the holes is not really a big deal and is easily done. When I installed my new axles this summer I used one of the existing hole to hold the axles in position, and then used a carbide rotary bit to carve out the hole in the frame to move the hole over about 3/8". The whole thing (pun intended) only took about 10 minutes per mount.
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Old 10-25-2021, 07:09 AM   #13
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1972 31' Sovereign
Cambridge , Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
The start angle would be 22.5 degrees down. I have replaced many for people, they are all the same. Shocks - well there is a big debate if needed.
I don't put them on and never had a problem.
That's good to know about the start angle. The local Dexter rep said 10* but I wasn't satisfied he had thoroughly considered that they were 50 years old and may have sagged down to that point. I appreciate the info very much!

I think I'm going to give it a go without the shocks. I'm going to have a tough enough time finding somebody to order these things from without the added complexity. Plus, when I removed the axle to get measurements one of the mounting points broke off. Not saying I'm making the decision because it's easier... but I'd rather not call the welder back!
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Old 10-25-2021, 07:12 AM   #14
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88Limited View Post
If you plan on replacing the shocks along with the axle (we did because that's what was originally on it ) you can order the shock arm preinstalled from Dexter. We ordered our three from Collin Hyde (sp?).
I wanted to order from him. But after 3x attempts to contact I don't want to try again. And since then I've seen some concerning wait times + continued non-response from searches on this forum. So now I'm begrudgingly trying to educate myself on the topic. Glad you were able to get ahold of him, it sounds like the much nicer way to go!
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Old 10-25-2021, 07:16 AM   #15
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
If the axles are loaded, I’d agree. I find that our 2019 22FB, without shock absorbers, bounces excessively if it’s lightly loaded. It’s great with a week’s worth of food, beverages and stuff, but not so great if we’re only heading out for a night or two. Everything on hangers ends up on the closet floor.

The solution - if my wife wants to bring something, it goes in the trailer, no questions asked.
We are hoping to spend a couple months in the trailer (if we ever get it done). Hopefully we can play with the loading and get it in the spot where it travels the best. Thanks for the info on your experience!
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Old 10-25-2021, 11:17 AM   #16
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1987 34' Limited
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMcConnell View Post
I wanted to order from him. But after 3x attempts to contact I don't want to try again. And since then I've seen some concerning wait times + continued non-response from searches on this forum. So now I'm begrudgingly trying to educate myself on the topic. Glad you were able to get ahold of him, it sounds like the much nicer way to go!
It may be worth your while to try him at info@colinhydetrailerrestorations.com. I've found enquiries to have taken a bit but have always heard back. Your comment regarding the Dexter rep's suggestion on down angle underscores the value of dealing with somebody who will deliver the proper axle for your trailer. Everything is backed up, including manufacturing, and I'm sure you'd rather wait a bit longer for the right item than risk a boogered order. Having your axles arrive with shock mounts installed and hardware adds a bit of value too...providing you value those things. Good luck.
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:03 AM   #17
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by Daytonacoupe View Post
It may be worth your while to try him at info@colinhydetrailerrestorations.com. I've found enquiries to have taken a bit but have always heard back. Your comment regarding the Dexter rep's suggestion on down angle underscores the value of dealing with somebody who will deliver the proper axle for your trailer. Everything is backed up, including manufacturing, and I'm sure you'd rather wait a bit longer for the right item than risk a boogered order. Having your axles arrive with shock mounts installed and hardware adds a bit of value too...providing you value those things. Good luck.
That's the email I used. Once in June, once in July. I also called with no response. Have you heard from him lately?
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:10 AM   #18
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When I placed the order for my axles from Collin Hyde last spring it took a few tries to get a return call initially.

When they came in and I had a few questions, I got a quick response.

Later on, it took a few calls to get an answer for another question.

He knows his stuff, but like many small businesses it appears that there are difficulties at times keeping up with communication.

In my opinion it's worth the effort to get things done right and to get the proper axles for your trailer and your situation. We went with axles one step above the factory axles with regard to weight capacity, and other than having to modify one mounting hole on each end things were a bolt-in operation (including shocks).
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:54 AM   #19
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That's the email I used. Once in June, once in July. I also called with no response. Have you heard from him lately?
I had great communication with Colin on the axle purchase. Some of my other questions took awhile but he eventually responded. He's got a big operation and not a lot of employees.

He recently hired an employee who coordinates the business side of axle transactions. Her name is Barb and I think she's in 2-3 days per week. She kept me updated on evolution of the axle order, advised me when they were shipped, and was responsive to an enquiry regarding minor damage during shipping. That was last Friday and all comms have gone through the main email address.

Unless your tow vehicle is idling and ready to embark on an immediate adventure you may like to keep trying. Andy from Inland had been a great resource as well but he's gone. I'm sure there are others who know what they are doing. When you push the 'spend' button the peace of mind of knowing that you'll get what you needed is priceless.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:17 PM   #20
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Torsion type axles are used on many, many different types of trailers. Horse trailers, equipment trailers, flat bed trailers and other brands of RV's. As a result, many trailer sales and repair shops are well versed on the order procedure for strange axle setups. Our local shop ordered axles for my trailer and installed them for a less expensive price than I could access on-line. That price included installation, and his expertise to order the axles to achieve ride height and ride control that I expected, without the hassle and expense of shock absorbers and shock mounts, etc. I am well pleased!
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