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Old 09-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #1
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Major repair results - axles, shocks, tires, skylights,...

Picked up 2004 30' Classic Saturday from North Dallas RV (NDRV). Steve and Randy did an excellent job. Work included:
- Install 2 new 5000 lb Dexter axle assemblies
- Replace all 4 shocks
- Replace front and rear skylight
- Fix leaking black water valve
- Repair leaking front window seal and seals on opening windows
- Repair screen door latch
$4981.32 total. $3971 parts, of which $3503 for axles.

Randy said the original axles were 4200 each. Trailer GVWR=8700. UVW=7312.

Installed 4 new XPS RIB LT225/75R16E1 115R B plus matching spare. See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f438...ml#post1191482 As shown, plenty of room for new tires. Randy bent back ears on spare tire holder to make new tire fit properly.

Installed new TireMinder TPMS before departing. Drove 250 miles home 6 hrs with stops, max speed 65-67 mph. Started with 80 psi. Ambient temp 100 degrees or more. Max tire temp 118, max tire pressure 86.1, avg tire temps 107-110, avg pressure 83-85 psi. Rode extremely well.

Issue was so severe that on trip to NDRV, brand new Carlise tire came apart.

Looking forward to having tire blowing issue resolved and getting our trailer back on the road. :-)
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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Looks good. I just switched to 16" rims and Michelin tires. Still need to hit the road with them. Also have the tire minder, love that thing. It's fun to play with and keep track of things. And never have to worry about destroying the trailer with rubber flying everywhere.
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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So you went w/ new axles AND different tires AND tpms all at once... were you just having an issue with blown tires? Were the original axles bent or misaligned and eating tires because of that? Or did you just want the increased axle capacity and did that while you were upgrading the tires?
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
So you went w/ new axles AND different tires AND tpms all at once... were you just having an issue with blown tires? Were the original axles bent or misaligned and eating tires because of that? Or did you just want the increased axle capacity and did that while you were upgrading the tires?
The OEM weight rating of the axles is not the greatest. Several people are going to 5K axles for this reason.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
The OEM weight rating of the axles is not the greatest. Several people are going to 5K axles for this reason.
Agree - what I discussed with other Airstream owners. They are quite pleased with them.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
So you went w/ new axles AND different tires AND tpms all at once... were you just having an issue with blown tires? Were the original axles bent or misaligned and eating tires because of that? Or did you just want the increased axle capacity and did that while you were upgrading the tires?
Old Doran TPMS sensors died. Wanted to add temp sensor.

have gone through > 4 complete tire sets since 2004. See several previous posts. Last ST "E" rated tire lasted 200 miles before belt separation.

Not sure of reason. Two "dealers" who had service shops other than NDRV looked at bearings, axles, brakes, etc, and said all was OK.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:13 PM   #7
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Did you ever have the alignment on your truck checked? Just wondering if there were no issues with the trailer, if the truck was a bit sideways...

I guess if the new setup fixes the problems though, then your original checks that said the running gear was "OK" were obviously wrong...

Looks a bit snug though... the tires aren't in risk of contacting the trailer on a big bump? Hard to tell in the picture...
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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Yes on truck alignment. Have Michelin XPS RIB tires on truck.

We check the Hensley hitch alignment too before starting each trip. NDRV confirmed Hdnsley was ok.

Plenty of space around news tires. I can confirm XPS about 1/2" larger diameter as everyone else mentioned. Will post closer image with ruler.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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For those that want to know, as the tire assembly moves ipward, it also moves backward, away from the edge ofthe fender well. So, if the tire doesn't hitthe fenderwell when installing it, it will not hit the fender well on regular use.
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
For those that want to know, as the tire assembly moves ipward, it also moves backward, away from the edge ofthe fender well. So, if the tire doesn't hitthe fenderwell when installing it, it will not hit the fender well on regular use.
Well, the front one moves away, but the back one moves towards... which is the cause of my first question about 'is there enough room when the suspension is at max travel...'
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
The OEM weight rating of the axles is not the greatest. Several people are going to 5K axles for this reason.
Just curious, gross weight on my 2004 Classic slide out is 9,100 lbs. Is that rating entirely based on the axles or are there other structural components of the trailer that you have to take into account?

Jack
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #12
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Just curious, gross weight on my 2004 Classic slide out is 9,100 lbs. Is that rating entirely based on the axles or are there other structural components of the trailer that you have to take into account?

Jack
The GW is limited by what the axles are rated for... and assume some balanced loading of the trailer. For example, if your net cargo capacity was 2000lbs, and you put that all on the rear bed, you might break the frame. So, upgrading the axles is part of the equation, but the rest of the frame is not necessarily over-rated to handle the weight.

If the Airstream frame/shell/floor was in perfect condition, you'd have a decent amount of over-capacity to work with... unfortunately, this forum is littered with people that have frames bending/breaking, floors separating, water leaking...

I'm often puzzled, because the cheap steel used for trailer frames wouldn't be that much more to build a really bullet-proof platform for Airstream. Outriggers bending/breaking... rear frames twisting or collapsing if they bottom out... just very weak engineering considering how long they've had to perfect the concept.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
Just curious, gross weight on my 2004 Classic slide out is 9,100 lbs. Is that rating entirely based on the axles or are there other structural components of the trailer that you have to take into account?

Jack
Jack, there's roughly 100 pounds per wheel assembly that doesn't get counted against the axle capacity. That's because it is unsprung weight, and is not supported by the suspension. There is also a portion of the tongue weight that isn't counted, but that is a more complex calculation based on how much weight gets redirected back onto the trailer's suspension when using WD systems. Just for the sake of throwing a number out, we can suppose an axle capacity of 8700 pounds.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post

That information was given at "service schools".

Andy
Such critical specification information should be available to every Airstream owner - in documents provided or easily available any time on line. Anything else is stupid, old school, and greatly diminishes the product's value.

If taught by the manufacturer, such a specific axle metric must come from detailed engineering design analysis. I find that for such a dynamic load and variable consumer application, allowing only a 7% axle capacity limitation is troubling. As a Ph.D. engineer, I would never design to such small specification allowances given the intended application and advertised life expectancy.

Will call Airstream today and ask for the document that contains this information.

Your service school quotation is excellent information for every potential Airstream owner. Every time we go into our trailer, more pieces of metal, rivet pieces, and other debris fall out, we find more fasteners not properly installed, or see another poor quality indicator. This just adds to the list. With Airstream's terrible 2004 quality, as documented by many posts including mine, Airstream is not the quality trailer as advertised. We all should continue to question Thor's price to value - which your information just seriously degraded.

Bringing all this information, good or bad, to the public is important. Thanks.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:12 AM   #15
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Gus, I could not agree more with the above as I had many of the same things happen to my 31 Sovereign. I have replaced the AS hinges with much heavier stainless steel ones (Home Depot) and the new hinges were installed with 8X32 screws after the framework was drilled and tapped and a 1/8" steel backing plate is also drilled and tapped on back of frame and a lock nut behind that.None have become loose in 5000 miles of road travel.

I replaced and relocated the power supply unit with a lighter more efficient one. When I got the trailer the factory PS had broken away from the wall and was laying on the pump ! ! ! ! ! The new one was re-located and now mounted on bulkhead between galley and bedroom area.

I also had to rebuild the sliding door coil under sink and if it ever gives trouble again will be replaced with something else like sliding doors that will lift out of tracks easily

I have also replaced the plastic drawer runners with angle iron appropiately milled to fit and the 1855 mile trip we just came in from confirmed they are working fine. I have also milled door catches from angle iron and they stay shut on the road now.


I have talked to three other MEs and they all say what you just said quite well about the axle capacity limitation.I have done lots of work beefing things up here and there and replacing the axles with much heavier ones on Friday assuming they come in then.

I replaced the AS wheels last year with 16" rims rated about 300 lbs heavier than original and installed 10 ply light truck tires that call for 80 lbs pressure. I now have 5000 miles on the tires and no visible wear. They are modular steel rims from Tredit Corp who only make wheels and they are suppliers to industry trailer manufacturers.
I think the tires are rated at 3800lbs each.

Hope you can post the data you get from AS that is assuming they give it to you which I would not be surprised if they keep it close hold.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:55 PM   #16
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Road results

On the road: 82 miles Thursday and 750 miles Friday. Trailer pulled well. No tire issues.

Drove I-10 W at 68-70 mph. Day temps ranged from 74 morning to 102.

Started each morning with 80 psi all tires. Watched TPMS and max 88 psi, with average 86 psi. Tire temps ranged 5-18 deg above ambient. Highest temp was after parked in parking lot for lunch in El Paso. Highest running tire temp 118. Turns out max temp or pressure was not always the same tire. Tires on sun side always 3-5 degrees warmer than shade side.

Tires still look brand new - no unusual wear.

Unlike previous trips, only had one time when drawer in trailer bedroom opened. That is quite different from previous trips where one or more drawers always opened.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:18 AM   #17
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Weighed trailer as being towed, empty black and gray, 3/8 fresh.
Pickup - both axles = 8320
Trailer front axle = 3980
Trailer rear axle = 3400
Total = 15700

Total 1547 miles on new tires and axles. Tires look great.

During drive yesterday, starting pressure 80 psi all tires; max 86.8 psi; most 85 psi. Max outside temp 106; max tire temp 111.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #18
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7343 mile report

7343 miles with new tires, wheels, and axles since 9/1/2012. All running well, and tires still look new. Running pressures about 4-7 lbs. above cold pressure, and temps remain 3-5 degrees above ambient. Interstate running speed typical 70-74 mph.

Old axles 4200 lb.
New axles 5000 lb.

Attached is an image of the sticker on the new axles.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #19
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7343 miles with new tires, wheels, and axles since 9/1/2012. All running well, and tires still look new. Running pressures about 4-7 lbs. above cold pressure, and temps remain 3-5 degrees above ambient. Interstate running speed typical 70-74 mph.

Old axles 4200 lb.
New axles 5000 lb.

Attached is an image of the sticker on the new axles.
The original axle specs called for 67 1/8 mounting brackets and a hub face of 87.125 inches.

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Old 01-22-2013, 05:37 AM   #20
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In what publicly available document can all Airstream owners see these specs?
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