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Old 05-23-2006, 07:44 AM   #121
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axle standards

The "standard" for Airstream axles from 1969 up to the introduction of the wide body was a mounting bracket to bracket dimension of 61 3/8" and a spindle arm down angle of 22 1/2. The problems seem to lie in installers wanting their brackets "exactly" 61 3/16" or 61 13/32" or 61 7/16" when you put an axle up to the frame and torque a Grade 8 , 5/8" bolt down, a 1/16 or even an 1/8 of an inch doesn't make alot of difference. The real difference is in what folks add or subtract on their trailer, making a difference in the required capacity of their new axles.

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:16 AM   #122
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ZoomZoom, excellent info.

Rivka, can you measure your axle plate dimension, inside to inside?

Here's what I had on my Caravel--61-5/16"
My Overlander--61-3/8"
My Sovereign--61-9/16" (at the aft end of the plates, I'll measure again in the middle and front, later!)

I think ZoomZoom is absolutely right. Since most of us do this only once, we don't have any judgement about tolerances, so we cut it as thin as possible. Now that I've been a "student" of this axle thing, I think I worried waaaay too much about the dimensions.

While out measuring this morning I noticed something that threw me for a moment. My Sovereign wheel position looked like the swing arms were down and my axle was in good shape (which I knew was wrong). Both my Overlander and Sovereign axles are up identically, about 5 degrees (by eyeball). But here's how they look, Sovereign on left, Overlander on right.

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The suspension design (axle plate, shocks, axle, mounting plates and bolts, etc.) look identical, except the Sovereign has a strengthened frame aft of the axle plate.

The wheel well design is obviously different, with the skirt much higher on the Sovereign. Does anyone know if/when the design changed? Is this a "feature" of longer Airstreams, or did the skirts go up after 1973? (no, they went up in 1968, lol, that's a joke, son)
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:03 AM   #123
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My two cents!!!!

All,

I can't speak for Axis, but I used to could.

I think the odd requests that cause difficulty are pretty straight forward.

1. Shock brackets
2. 6 on 5.5 hubs on a 3500# axle
3. Taking a lot of a sales persons time to custom spec one axle

Other than that, the Airstream axle is by the books and could easily fit the Axis order form. If one can complete an order form with no special requests I am sure Axis will build it.

Some customers would take 2-3 hours of my time (when I sold Axis axles) to order one axle that Axis likely profited $30.00 - $50.00 from - you do the math!

Custom dimensions are not the problem here.

Simply two cents from a fellow that "used to could".

Best Regards,
Henry
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Old 05-23-2006, 02:46 PM   #124
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I have been reading, with much interest, this great axle debate. And it seems to me that, in the case of axles, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and cause all sorts of problems when people over analyze things. Some times ignorace is bliss. Let the pro's do their job, and stay out of it.

A little less than a year ago, when Henry was a young pup, I ordered new axles from Axis. When I say "I ordered", I mean I found Henry, put him in touch with the RV repair shop in AZ, and they worked it out. I stayed out of the process as much as I could. I did have them increase the arm angle.

As far as I know, and I don't know noth'n bout axles, they came out just fine. I picked up the trailer in Jan. '06, hauled it 4100 miles around the west coast and back home to OH. Nothing droped off, the brakes worked, I'm a happy guy.

I can say, as a contractor, that the more someone hangs around me, asking questions, and making recomendations/changes, the aggravation level increases. When that happens, I don't want to be there, and I charge more. Or I don't take the job to start. Like I said, let the pro's do their job.

Just my 2 cents.

By the way Henry, I didn't know you were such an old coot, you sounded like such a young ambitious dude when I talked to you on the phone. Happy Retirement!

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Old 05-23-2006, 07:25 PM   #125
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Retirement is for old geezers......get back in the game, Henry!!!!! LOL!!!!!

Zepp, thank you so much for taking the pics of your Overlander and Sovereign. My Sovereign fender skirts are exactly like your Overlander, and I always wondered if the axle had got er done.....seemed like it was sittin' low to me, but the measurements we took at South Jersey RV has the axle still well within specs, so I think I'll hold off on a new one for now, given the fact that the Sovereign was on jack stands for 28+ years, and it does ride smooth.

Frederic
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Old 05-26-2006, 08:44 AM   #126
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Dudes!!!

Tamis,

Thanks for the kind words. A lot of wisdom in your statement. Yeah - I got some energy - I'm not a "standard" old fart!!!



Frederic,

It's not the "traditional" retirement - I don't sit still very well! I'm still in the game (sort of) - attempting to educate folks about axles on the forums.



Zep,

How's Axis progressing with your axle???? Please inform!



Best regards,
Henry
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Old 06-02-2006, 11:26 PM   #127
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I called AXIS today to order a set of axles & was told they are NOT going to be selling anymore axles for the Airstream. I was shocked by this after seeing all the good stuff everybody has to say about them. Anybody no what is going on with this?
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Old 06-03-2006, 12:44 AM   #128
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Yep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Gadget
I called AXIS today to order a set of axles & was told they are NOT going to be selling anymore axles for the Airstream. I was shocked by this after seeing all the good stuff everybody has to say about them. Anybody no what is going on with this?
Mr. Gadget,

Check this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...les-22874.html

Regards,
Henry
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:50 PM   #129
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Jeez, Henry, you really are serious about being out of the axle business, huh, with the screen name change? This whole Axis deal with them not selling anymore for Airstreams has me moving to Dexters now.

Frederic
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:09 AM   #130
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Great choice.

Frederic,

I am retired partner.

Dexter is a GREAT choice. Much has been posted lately about positive results using the Dexter product. The customer support (over 300 dealers) is second to none. Price and quality are also first rate! Dexter is the largest producer of trailer axles in the U.S.A.

Good luck with your purchase - if I can be of any assistance - drop me a line.

Best Regards,
Henry
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:12 PM   #131
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End of story!

hello, All.

You may recall I sent the axle back to Axis. They paid the freight both ways and stiffened it up. When I picked it up at the freight office, it was completely bare, with just a thick coat of grease on the spindles. I was amazed that the freight company would accept it that way. But it seemed to be fine (it did have castellated nuts installed to protect the threads on the spindles). The new sticker said "5,200 lbs" and I about died--I thought for sure it would be way over-stiff. We're still talking about why that number, but read on.

I put the axle on myself this time with one floor jack and one small hydraulic to rotate it properly. The axle is actually pretty easy to handle when it's bare--no drum or brakes. Axis used the old swing arm but a new tube, so everything fit but I had to drill out the 5/8" holes again, since the tube had new brackets on it. When you drill through two smaller holes that aren't aligned, you get ovals. This concerned me, so I've watched it very carefully. I don't see any movement of the bracket due to the lack of tightly concentric holes in the bracket and axle mounting flange. If I did, I would put thick washers on each and weld them on with the bolt in place. That would provide a tight fit, but I don't think it's necessary.

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I reinstalled the brake plates and drums and adjusted them like I would a car, which turned out to be wrong--too tight. But I was sure the brakes were sufficiently loose--wrong again. Even the slightest drag turned out to generate a lot of heat. So slight, in fact, I would have swore that they were overly loose. I put the Centramatics on in the direction pictured--either way fits fine on this axle and wheels.

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The longer Monroe 55003 shocks were reinstalled, but first I drew lines to show the amount of compression (anyone need a pair of 55002's--9" compressed and 12-1/2" elongated?). The bottom line on the shock barrel is 6", so when you can't see the numbers you can just count backwards. The 55003 shocks have an active length of 5-3/4".

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When the jacks were removed, the shocks compressed to only 2" on the street side and 2-1/4" on the curb side. Ack! Too stiff!! I expected something more like 3" or a little more. However, after driving about 20 miles around the local area, they had compressed to about 3-1/4". Great, this is perfect (I'm thinking). Loaded up and took off for Vegas. The trip is shown here--5,275 miles. You might have caught my whine on another thread when I couldn't get the axle to run cool--it was a combination of castellated nuts too tight (by about three castellations on both sides) and one side had a very slightly dragging brake that I just couldn't feel. Once that was adjusted, the spindles run as cool as the TV.

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Mid-way in the trip and fully loaded with water and other provisions, the shocks were typically compressed to 4". That's a little more than I would like, but the Caravel performed fine, even took some potholes that made my teeth rattle in the TV, but nothing moved inside the trailer. The condition that does make items shift is a road that puts the TV and trailer into a porpoising motion, which really makes the shell deflect more than a big bump. Nothing the axle can do about that--more throttle discipline, I think.

The swing arms are very nearly horizontal when fully loaded. This is about 3-5 degrees more "up" than I would like, but as I said, it runs fine and I'm moving on to the next project. Thanks for all your comments.

One note about Axis--I have some confidence that if we can make a standard order form (like, all the early 70s ought to be so similar that that is a real possibility) they will hear us again. They have said they would do another set for me for my Overlander (2 axles), since I have the disc brake parts already. If that goes well and I don't bug them too much, it'll be a start.

The bottom line is that I spent more time in aggravation than it would have cost me to get the axle directly from Inland RV. On the other hand, I now understand the axle and trailer much better and I'm happy about the job I did. On balance, I would do it this way again (and I have the shocks on the way I like them!!).
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Old 07-13-2006, 10:55 AM   #132
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Thumbs up Lou too you!

Zep,

Lou Patterson got the very first Axis axle for an Airstream and you may well get the last! Kind of wild!

Good luck - excellent thread - I have enjoyed it very much.

Best Regards,
Henry
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Old 07-13-2006, 04:55 PM   #133
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Axles

Seems as if the money saved on some other brand of axle rapidly gets eaten up by time and aggravation, don't forget that the Henschen is an OEM direct bolt-up and but for a brief time in what 2003/2004 was the ONLY axle used by Airstream since 1961. 45 year track record speaks clearly. But why do people who rebuild old Fords use Chevy engines....that'll start a thread!

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Old 07-13-2006, 09:00 PM   #134
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Quite simply, Zoom Zoom, because there is only one supplier of the "OEM" axle and it is, in many peoples' opinion, grossly over-priced, compared to the other axles.

Frederic
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Old 07-14-2006, 11:09 AM   #135
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Well said.

Frederic,

Very well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards,
Henry
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Old 07-14-2006, 11:45 AM   #136
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Pricing

Some would and do say, "Airstream is over priced", yet Many people still buy them.

Buying a used Argosy or Airstream, with the intent of repairing it or rebuilding it, usually has two basic lines of reasoning.

The first has an incentive to repair/rebuild, for their comfort and enjoyment for years to come.

The second usually has a financial incentive. Buy it cheap, repair it cheap, and sell it for maximum.

Seldom would they offer to disclose to the buyer, the short cuts and/or the less than equal to the original quality of parts they may have used.

Airstream has always stood for "top" quality. That is the very reason newcomers join Airstreaming, everyday.

Unfortunately, many of the newcomers often get burned, because they did not know how to check the coach out. E-bay is another good example on how to get usually burned, by trusting others to follow the Airstream tradition
of quality.

But the American way, for many years, shouts loud and clear, BUYER BEWARE.

Our courts are full of cases where an unsuspecting buyer got hosed.

Rebuilding something by putting it back to it's original condition or better, never requires any excuses.

Rebuilding something by putting it back to less than original quality, to some, is justified by saving a buck or too, and hopefully, not being challenged by the buyer, since that would require them to offer excuses for the less than original construction results.

An Airstream is an Airstream. It cannot be compared to any other RV, let alone to cars, trucks or boats.

New Airstream owners sometimes gripe about the quality of the new products. Wonder what some of them would think about the quality of some DIY repairs, that take place?

Good thing FAA still has control over Aircraft repair. We certainly would not want to fly in a commercial aircraft, that was repaired by someone chosing to use less than "equal to" the quality of the original parts, especially because "THEY THOUGHT" it was "good enough".

Or would we???

Andy
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Old 07-16-2006, 11:03 PM   #137
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Airstreamforums members, who have installed Axis and Dexters in their rigs, have proven over and over again these axles are just as good, if not better, than Henschens. If Dexter isn't as good as Henschen, then why is Airstream using them now? I can get a set of Dexters installed in our Sovereign for $1000 and get just as many, if not more, years out of them as I have out of the OE Henschens.

I have already written the moderators, with no response, but it would be greatly appreciated if the posts on this thread stuck to the topic at hand.


Frederic
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:29 AM   #138
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AXLEMAN, if you're still out there, I need to get in touch with you. Thanks.

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