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Old 10-15-2017, 08:44 PM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
Satellite Beach , Florida
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Looking for axel replacement tips

69' Sovereign 31' Anyone have any pointers/lessons learned about replacing axles. I have a few weeks to get ready but I am specifically curios as to whether or not it can be done by one person, additionally, how much of a pain is it welding the shock mounting brackets in their location.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:01 PM   #2
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I am just before ordering new axles for my trailer. I considered Inland RV and spoke with Andy several times, but ultimately decided not to order from Inland. I e-mailed Colin, but got no response. While digging around on the Dexter web site, I saw that one of their distributors was one my local Mom and Pop parts place dealt with. I'm going to order from them.

I am concerned about damage to the rubber rods while welding the shock mounts to the pivot arms. If I can get the axles from Dexter with the shock mounts installed I will. Otherwise I will try the axles without shocks. Dexter says they are not necessary due to the hysteresis of the rubber rods, and I have had several owners tell me they have changed axles, not fitted shocks, and the trailer towed well.

Several outlets on line have Dexter order forms. You can inspect and measure your trailer, fill out the form, and order axles. That is what I'm going to do. In my case there is no delivery charge. The distributor will deliver the axles to my parts house with their regular deliveries which occur about once a week. I was thinking about installing them myself, but I'm leaning to letting the parts place do it. They specialize in trailer parts and repairs. If I do it I have to pick up the axles, transport them to my house, unload them, and install them. I think the labor quote I have gotten is a good deal.

Al
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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Is there a reliable source for axles now that Inland is in new ownership hands and Colin has dropped off the face of the earth? I have a friend that needs an axle for his 66 single axle.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:27 PM   #4
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The welding for the shock mounts is not in the area the rubber rods are so no worries there. The torsion rods are in the axle beam and the shock mounts are on the pivot arms. The work can be done solo no problem, good use of a floor jack essential. The hardest part of doing mine was loading the old axles into my truck to haul to the dump. Possible preparation might be to spray lube the existing mounting hardware for disassembly, might be of help and might not as mine needed the sawsall. Yes get new mounting hardware.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:29 PM   #5
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All things considered, I am going through Airstream Supply, call them up, give them year make and model and they can set you up with the right axle replacement for your AS. For two complete dexter axles, including brakes, hubs, and a few other odds and ends, wasn't much more than what others are charging. Just need a commercial address to deliver to.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:32 PM   #6
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By much I mean like $100 difference. May be best to go to a trailer dealer and work out the delivery with them. Downfall, doesn't come with shock mounting brackets installed.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info AlinCal, figured as much about the floor jack, have a couple on standby
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:12 PM   #8
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Tractor supply is a Dexter dealer, as is etrailer, and redneck trailer supply.
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:09 AM   #9
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I notice from some of the other posts by the OP that you might be doing a shell-off. If you are, and you are planning on replacing your axles while the shell is off, my recommendation would be to flip the frame upside down, and replace the axles that way. When I did mine, it was a one man job, and having the frame upside down made the job quite easy--no jacking/supporting, etc.

good luck!
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:04 PM   #10
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1967 22' Safari
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Axle

Yes u can do alone, but quite a chore w/o all the right equipment.
I did order an axle from Inland and they sent me the wrong size. Refused to take it back until I convinced him it may not be his error. After much anguish, they checked and found Redneck made the error and Redneck replaced it in a week and gave me a credit for picking up the new one and dropping off the old. Redneck really came thru for me. The fellow I bought it from was totally not customer friendly.
Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:29 PM   #11
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I am one of those who regrets ordering from Andy with Inland RV. Colin was too busy to return calls but I did confer with him after ordering. He confirmed what other experts and Dexter advised, no shocks needed. I installed new axle myself after the auto shop refused to unload it from the delivery truck. I used a floor jack from Harbor Freight with a crossbar to provide support at two places, see attached. The added board in the middle was to get the bolt holes horizontal. With the increased angle and mounting bracket, the trailer is 3" higher than original, a desirable feature in my opinion.
Jim
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Old 10-16-2017, 01:55 PM   #12
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Get two floor jacks and strong a helper. It will really make positioning the axles easier. You can both go up at the same time and everything stays level and you can push the axle into the slot without it binding.

Second tip: If you have to drill out any holes be very, very careful. It takes a big drill to chuck the bit necessary for the bolts (5/8 if I remember). You will be drilling in an awkward position under the trailer and when the drill bit penetrates the frame rail it tends to bind (bit stops but the drill will slam you hand with tremendous force). Honestly, it could break your wrist. Be aware and have a strong grip on the drill and the handle.
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRF0st3r View Post
I am one of those who regrets ordering from Andy with Inland RV. Colin was too busy to return calls but I did confer with him after ordering. He confirmed what other experts and Dexter advised, no shocks needed. I installed new axle myself after the auto shop refused to unload it from the delivery truck. I used a floor jack from Harbor Freight with a crossbar to provide support at two places, see attached. The added board in the middle was to get the bolt holes horizontal. With the increased angle and mounting bracket, the trailer is 3" higher than original, a desirable feature in my opinion.
Jim
Thanks Jim,

Great to hear that Colin supports leaving the shocks off. Combine that with Dexter's recommendation and that is a slam dunk for me. I'll be ordering axles from a local shop in early November. By any chance do you have a copy of your Redneck order form? There are a couple of questions on there that I'm not sure I know the answer to.

What angle did you get? I was leaning to 32 degrees instead of the OEM 22.5 but 32 is not an option on the Redneck form I've got.

My axles are rated at 4400#. Andy's recommendation (before he sold the shop) was to go to 5000#. Airstream supply also recommended 5000. I have seen general recommendations that one could go up 5% to 10%.

So I am ordering beam only with brake flange (planning to fit new disc brakes in place of my current drums) 5000# axles with 32 degree drop. I'll make all the measurements, but I'm not sure about the things like spindle length, camber, etc.

Al
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:21 PM   #14
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It's not a hard job, 2 jacks a plus, I used some blocks of wood to help hold it in place. I was working alone, my trailer only has one axle, it took about 3 hrs , I drilled my holes with a cordless drill and a small hole saw.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:57 PM   #15
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1976 27' Overlander
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Axles on 76 Overlander

I did them by myself on a 76 Overlander so the axle width and capacity are a little lighter than yours. At least one good hydraulic jack and four jack stands are a must. I put large rounds of firewood under each side just in case something catastrophic happened while I was under there. I had to enlarge two holes on the frame per axle, I think it was the front ones but I reamed them out rather than drilled. I also welded on the shock mounts. My six robblees - dexter order # is there for anyone looking to do a 76 Overlander. I was very happy with the guys at the local shop.

You do have to re-shape the 'u' slot in the original frame as well if using the Dexter. I used a mini grinder and a recip saw.

In the end I would have gone for a little more unloaded angle. I think I went with stock or maybe 32 deg.

Took about 6 hrs with one person to do both for the install. Removal was pretty quick once the trailer was in the air.

Good luck.

Kristien
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:32 PM   #16
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Take a look at posts 119, 120 and 121 of my thread Dan’s 66 Tradewind Improvements for photos and recommendations concerning axle installation

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:25 PM   #17
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1969 31' Sovereign
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Want to say thank you! Tons of very helpful feedback and photos. Now I feel armed with the extended knowledge to go ahead with install. Thanks again.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Thanks Jim,

Great to hear that Colin supports leaving the shocks off. Combine that with Dexter's recommendation and that is a slam dunk for me. I'll be ordering axles from a local shop in early November. By any chance do you have a copy of your Redneck order form? There are a couple of questions on there that I'm not sure I know the answer to.

What angle did you get? I was leaning to 32 degrees instead of the OEM 22.5 but 32 is not an option on the Redneck form I've got.

My axles are rated at 4400#. Andy's recommendation (before he sold the shop) was to go to 5000#. Airstream supply also recommended 5000. I have seen general recommendations that one could go up 5% to 10%.

So I am ordering beam only with brake flange (planning to fit new disc brakes in place of my current drums) 5000# axles with 32 degree drop. I'll make all the measurements, but I'm not sure about the things like spindle length, camber, etc.

Al


Al

I am a firm believer in not changing anything OEM unless I have a real good reason to do so. Therefore, I would not install axles without shocks, change the angle drop or the design weight without an engineering basis.

I believe Airstream still installs shocks on new Airstreams. I suspect that Airstream did some testing that indicated that installing shocks was a good idea. Look at the money they could save by not installing shocks. Look at some of the other questionable cost saving decisions that Airstream has made yet they have not deleted shocks yet.

I asked Colin which shocks to order. He told me. If he were a strong proponent of no shocks, I would have thought he would have told me “don’t worry, you don’t need them”. I wonder if he installed shocks on his Airstream. The answer probably would not matter to me, since Airstream still installs them. Even if they are not needed, having them doesn’t hurt, except they were a PIA to install on my Tradewind.

Some of the questions you don’t know the answer to on the order form is why I ordered my axles from Colin.

Dan
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:28 AM   #19
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1967 22' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Thanks Jim,

Great to hear that Colin supports leaving the shocks off. Combine that with Dexter's recommendation and that is a slam dunk for me. I'll be ordering axles from a local shop in early November. By any chance do you have a copy of your Redneck order form? There are a couple of questions on there that I'm not sure I know the answer to.

What angle did you get? I was leaning to 32 degrees instead of the OEM 22.5 but 32 is not an option on the Redneck form I've got.

My axles are rated at 4400#. Andy's recommendation (before he sold the shop) was to go to 5000#. Airstream supply also recommended 5000. I have seen general recommendations that one could go up 5% to 10%.

So I am ordering beam only with brake flange (planning to fit new disc brakes in place of my current drums) 5000# axles with 32 degree drop. I'll make all the measurements, but I'm not sure about the things like spindle length, camber, etc.

Al
Al,
My axle order from Inland was shipped by Redneck with the designation Dexter HF = 75.25 OB = 57.88, Capacity 5,000 lbs. Angle was 32˚.
You won't find agreement in these Forums on shocks or not. The guy who owns Area 63 Productions, Uwe Salwender, confirmed his judgment in this exchange:
Oct 9, 2015
Uwe,
I enjoyed learning from you at the 2014 Vintage Trailer Academy and I wanted to confirm I heard one of your comments correctly. We are at the point of axle + brakes replacement for our 1967 AS Safari. The Dexter TorFlex axle with brakes has arrived but it has no bracket for shocks. Is it your judgment that shocks do not provide real benefit to cushion bumps with this type of axle?

Thanks!
Jim

Yes, Jim, that has been my experience. Many argue this point, but having towed many mikes with both scenarios, I say shocks are decorative, mostly. Dexter engineering agrees 100%..

…. if asked, just tell them Uwe said so….blame it on me. On a steel sprung axle, on the other hand, shocks are a brilliant idea. The steel spring ( leaf spring) needs control, partially because of the huge amount of unsprung weight.
Uwe Salwender
www.area63productions.com


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Old 10-17-2017, 09:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRF0st3r View Post
I used a floor jack from Harbor Freight with a crossbar to provide support at two places, see attached.

Jim

That jack setup gets 4 creative innovation points.

Nice approach.
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