RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-22-2006, 03:01 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
I am buying new axles for my 1973 Sovereign

1. I have been lurking in the forums for almost a year now. I've been watching, listening, pricing, measuring, learning, researching and thinking about my pending axle replacement.

2. My trailer needs new axles. That is not debatable. I have about 5 to 7 deg up angle on the arms and uneven stance unloaded from side to side. The trailer sets low and drags unless I am very, very careful.

3. I decided on Dexter axles taking into consideration my installation options, price, and dealer network and the character and demeanor of Andy's posts.

4. I called Dexter. They were extremely helpful. They referred me to two local dealers.

5. I dropped my trailer off this morning at American Trailer Parts in Knoxville, TN this morning (www.americantrailerparts.com). Jim was very knowledgable and helpful about the Dexter products and options.

6. I decided on 3500# axles with Easy Lube fittings, new 10" electric drum assemblies, powder coat, shocks, and 45 degree down angle arms.

7. I am now waiting on Jim to fax me his final quote.

8. I will keep you posted on my progress and experience.
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 03:36 PM   #2
Patriotic
 
Chuck's Avatar

 
1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,547
Images: 260
cool. I look forward to the rest of the story...post lots of pics!

curious about the 10" brakes vs. the original 12". Did they tell you this was ok? will it mean that you'll need to wheels, or can the 10" drums support the original wheels?
also, did they configure these axles based on the serial number from your original Henshen axles?
__________________
Air:291
Wbcci: 3752
'73 Safari 23'
'00 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 QC
Chuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 04:46 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
My decisions and reply are based on review of the Dexter Application Guide (they sent me the complete dealer technical literature free of charge-two big volumes with parts manuals-lots of good information) and consultation with Jim at American Trailer in Knoxville.

Brake-10x2.25 inch is standard and specified for axles up to 5000#

They paid no regard to the original Henschen Serial numbers (that I know of)-I took them the trailer to let them do all of the measuring.
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
CanoeStream's Avatar

 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,280
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
My Safari has 3800# Dexter axles. I don't have the exact dates but Airstream used Dexters for about 8 months of the 2006 production run. Too bad I don't have the disc brakes. 3500# axles should serve you just fine. These older Airstreams were a lot lighter. Frame dimensions were smaller back then so I don't think you could increase capacity just by going with heftier axles.

Brake controllers need just a bit different thinking with disc brakes. Here's a thread on the topic: Brake controllers. Your axle dealer should be able to discuss the pro's & con's.
__________________
Bob

5 meter Langford Nahanni

CanoeStream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 05:26 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
My Safari has 3800# Dexter axles. I don't have the exact dates but Airstream used Dexters for about 8 months of the 2006 production run. Too bad I don't have the disc brakes. 3500# axles should serve you just fine. These older Airstreams were a lot lighter. Frame dimensions were smaller back then so I don't think you could increase capacity just by going with heftier axles.

Brake controllers need just a bit different thinking with disc brakes. Here's a thread on the topic: Brake controllers. Your axle dealer should be able to discuss the pro's & con's.
Bob,

I don't think that there is a question about the weight rating of the axle but rather the size of the brakes. What size brakes do you have on your Safari? My 1979 Safari has 12" brakes and a gross weight of 5800 lbs.

Bill
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

https://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 05:38 PM   #6
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,784
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevisgardne
6. I decided on 3500# axles with Easy Lube fittings, new 10" electric drum assemblies, powder coat, shocks, and 45 degree down angle arms.
You should get 12" drums with 6-bolt hub flange.
To get those axles, you will have to get them to order the higher rated #11 axle, downrated to your specifications.
I also believe that 45degree down is too steep. Your trailer will sit very high, and it will be hard to use the Bal Levelers, if you ahve them, in any terain but flat.
The entry step will be very high also.
I used 32.5 degree down, and it's quite a bit. Stock is 22.5 degree.
Ask your dealer to specify "Airstream" axles. Have them talk to engineering, not sales.... that is the secret to getting Airstream compatible axles from Dexter.
__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 07:14 PM   #7
Frank S
 
1973 27' Overlander
peoria , Illinois
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 316
Hi--I also have just been measured for Dexter axles by Mutual Wheel, Milan IL (based on a recommendation from 63air who had A/S axle work done by them). I am going with the #10 3500# axle 22.5 degrees down, with 10" brakes, which are 2.25" wide. I believe the brakes on the #11 axle are 2.0" wide. Will not have them installed till October, because of other commitments on my time. I will post progress and results.--Frank S
Frank S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 07:29 PM   #8
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,784
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
The 10in brakes usually come with a 5-bolt wheel pattern. It is difficult to find properly load rated wheels with a 5-bolt pattern.
Dexter can make the correct setup for Airstream, it's just a matter of asking for it. Their catalog does NOT offer the proper setup, though. You must ask for it. They did it for me - without hesitation.
__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 07:48 PM   #9
Frank S
 
1973 27' Overlander
peoria , Illinois
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 316
Hi--Proper bolt circle, and pilot to fit existing A/S wheel did not seem to be a problem for Dexter, with a #10 3500# axle, when Milan Wheel measured my A/S. Dexter can supply axles with a variety of hubs. There were several phone discussions with the Dexter Factory during the measuring, to insure the proper dimensions were being measured. They also noted the info on the tag on the originial Henschen axle--Frank S
Frank S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 12:06 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
1990 32' Excella
jonesboro , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 251
dexters

A 73 31 soverign wieghs in at 6500 unloaded.you will be over your axle limit with your fresh water tank full without adding any personal items. I also agree the 45 down angle is way to much.I also agree with the need for 12" brakes.As in any repairs the safety of you and yours comes first.Raising your trailor up raises the center of gravity and will greatly change it's towing characterists to the bad side..I had a 73 31 for 3 years.
joel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 12:24 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,352
Hello everyone ,

the 12" brakes should be used for sure ,the 10" are too small ,they use those on cargo trailers ,like those (wells cargo) you see around ,I service these
cargo trailers and RV trailers of sob also ,its more than the width of the shoes
that makes the difference .The larger diameter of the drums and more surface area overall to stop .better having more braking than less is best. you will want a 6 lug drum and wheel ,I have not seen a 5 lug 12 "drum ,don't think
they make them ,too small .

Scott
scottanlily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 12:27 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,352
Hello
Sorry there,

forgot to mention the benefit of the larger bearings that come with the
12" brakes ,and the larger spindles also ,go bigger not smaller ,definately
don't go down on size from what was on the airstream .

Scott
scottanlily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 04:14 AM   #13
3 Rivet Member
 
1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 193
Images: 9
I am also replacing the axles on my Excella. I am going with the original Airstream axles, 35 degree, 3500#, 12 inch hub electric brake. This will get plenty of clearance without changing the towing characteristics. Assures plenty of stop for the go for safety and allows me to use my original aluminum wheels rated for the weight of the coach. Your trailer weighs between 4900 and 5100 # dry.

I take it someone else is installing yor axles. Make sure to ask if the shock brackets were in the right place to begin with or needed to be removed and rewelded. this could create problems - see other threads. Are the attaching brackets in the right direction when compared to the original or were new holes drilled to accomodate.

I just picked up my axles last night and will post pictures in a future thread.

Good luck with your beautiful trailer.

Joe
Alumin8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 05:36 AM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 193
Images: 9
Forgot to add that I'm keep ing my old axles to make a trailer for hauling stuff. I have a friend who can make a tube frame. This will come in very handy.

Joe
Alumin8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2006, 09:46 AM   #15
4 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
 
Currently Looking...
Somewhere , Indiana
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
You should get 12" drums with 6-bolt hub flange.
To get those axles, you will have to get them to order the higher rated #11 axle, downrated to your specifications.
I also believe that 45degree down is too steep. Your trailer will sit very high, and it will be hard to use the Bal Levelers, if you ahve them, in any terain but flat.
The entry step will be very high also.
I used 32.5 degree down, and it's quite a bit. Stock is 22.5 degree.
Ask your dealer to specify "Airstream" axles. Have them talk to engineering, not sales.... that is the secret to getting Airstream compatible axles from Dexter.
Uwe nailed it. I agree 100% with his post. Additionally, have you thought about disc brakes - they are leaps and bounds above the drum brakes.

Best regards,
Henry
axleman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 06:24 PM   #16
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
Jim called this afternoon. Dexter had no problem with any issue except for mounting details on the shocks. I had asked Jim to also have Dexter provide shock mounts and to install new shocks.

Shocks on the torsion axles are a bit of an oddity in the trailer world. I told Jim I wanted to consider the matter a bit and would call back with a decision of go or no go on the shocks. After a few minutes of surfing the forums, I decided to press on with shocks.

I asked Jim to:

1. Have Dexter install shock mounts or----

2. Cut the shock mounts off my old axles and reweld at his shop.

3. Re-use my old shocks until I track some down.

Jim's quote for my axles less shock mounts was $434 per plus installation. This may not be as bad as I thought.
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 06:55 PM   #17
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
About the 10 inch brakes

I talked at length with Jim about the standard 10 in brakes on the 3500# axles. He said the same 10 in brake is used up to 5200#.

Here is my speculation about the 10 in. versus 12 in. brake issue. It really doesn't matter what the physical size of the brake drum is independent of other factors in the engineered design. Some of the other factors are the linear force produced by the magnetic actuator (new oval opposed to old style round), width of the shoe, mass of the metal components and their ability to absorb, transfer and dissapate heat. If Dexter's team of engineering specify and recommend the 10 in brake as a part of their design, why should I dabble in second guessing their turn key product.

If I was pushing the edge and trying to tow my trailer with a 1/2 ton tow vehicle, I might go with the 12 in. But I am not. I tow with an F-250 Powerstroke that is good up to about 12,000#.

I am trusting the manufacturer and dealer. I am going with the standard 10 inch electric drum brake and saving my money to spend on my kids.
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 07:24 PM   #18
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
About selecting 45 degree axle arm angles

I do understand the stock angle was 22.5 degrees down. I understand that many owners choose to replace their axles with 32.5 degree axles to get a little more clearance.

I want a very comfortable margin of safety concerning dragging the rear of my trailer. No one on the forums has had anything positive to say about selecting 45 degrees axles for my replacements.

I got out the Dexter application guide. Here is what the numbers say:


difference in inches between loaded 45 deg and 22.5 deg=1.94

difference in inches between unloaded 45 deg and 22.5 deg=2.30

So I am going to assume a very worst case in altering the center of gravity of an unloaded trailer of less than 2.3 inches. By some rough estimate, I could shift the vertical center of gravity of my trailer up by 2% with this arrangement over the stock axles. So if I am creating a roll-over condition for a given curve at 50 mph a could also reduce my speed by 2 % to mitigate the danger. So I cost myself 1 mph of curve handling capability. I can live with that.

The 1.94 to 2.3 inches is also in the neighborhood of the nominal dimension of 2x lumber. So I could carry a block of 2x6 the put under my leveling jacks to overcome the increased height. I can live with that.

I can live with both of the above issue. I will take those consequences over dragging the rear frame of my trailer and causing structural damage or upsetting my waste tanks on a high spot.
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 07:25 PM   #19
Think Freedom
 
Jim & Susan's Avatar

 
1973 27' Overlander
Third Rock from , Sol
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,546
Images: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevisgardne
......Jim's quote for my axles less shock mounts was $434 per plus installation. This may not be as bad as I thought.
Great price. Sounds like you found a prince of a dealer, as well. Keep us posted.

BTW, you're not in the United States Air Force by any chance, are you?

JIm
__________________
www.nesa.org

Air No. 6427
Jim & Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 07:29 PM   #20
2 Rivet Member
 
trevisgardne's Avatar
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Images: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Great price. Sounds like you found a prince of a dealer, as well. Keep us posted.

BTW, you're not in the United States Air Force by any chance, are you?

JIm
Yes I am in the Air Force. Are you?
trevisgardne is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'85 Sovereign 25' j54mark 1984 - 1989 Sovereign 13 11-07-2013 12:24 PM
'78 Sovereign Awning Joan D'Andrea Awnings 6 01-03-2006 08:34 AM
1973 Sovereign Redwood Interior Custom Build Oceancontainer 1970 - 1973 Sovereign 1 04-18-2004 05:06 PM
Motor Home Tag Axles - winner General Motorhome Topics 0 05-25-2002 05:56 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.