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Old 04-06-2011, 09:28 PM   #1
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1989 34' Limited
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New axle sheared in two. Advice needed.

I had 3 new axles installed in 2008 I have approximately 10,000 mile on them, on april 1 2011 the rear axle snapped in two at the point that fits inside the rubberized torque tube (the 1 1/4 square solid steal bar sheared there was only 2 pencil widths of steal holding the manufactured bar together 3/5 of the sheared face was coverd in rust).

I have been told by the original installer that its my problem and a new axle will be a $1000,

the original axles lasted 19 years, is there any claim by AIRSTREAM that their axles are unbrakable, or is there anyone at airstream that I can contact,

what recourse do I have???

any Input will be appreciated
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:37 PM   #2
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I'd raise hell! Notify Airstream,and see what they say. I don't have much faith in that...but its a place to start. I guess its a Henchen axle??? With all the Company changes I have heard about I suspect you will get lots of telephone runaround. I'd also check in with Andy at Inland. He is such a big promoter of that axle replacement and has extensive history with both Airstream and Henchen. Go from there. Good luck!
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by letsgo View Post
I had 3 new axles installed in 2008 I have approximately 10,000 mile on them, on april 1 2011 the rear axle snapped in two at the point that fits inside the rubberized torque tube (the 1 1/4 square solid steal bar sheared there was only 2 pencil widths of steal holding the manufactured bar together 3/5 of the sheared face was coverd in rust).

I have been told by the original installer that its my problem and a new axle will be a $1000,

the original axles lasted 19 years, is there any claim by AIRSTREAM that their axles are unbrakable, or is there anyone at airstream that I can contact,

what recourse do I have???

any Input will be appreciated
What brand axle do you have, and what is it's rating?

Andy
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:24 PM   #4
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Do they use salt on the roads in Ontario? Who did the replacements.. and why were they replaced? Those 34's are heavy.. but it sounds like metal failure secondary to rust?
Got pics?
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:35 AM   #5
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Do they use salt on the roads in Ontario? Who did the replacements.. and why were they replaced? Those 34's are heavy.. but it sounds like metal failure secondary to rust?
Got pics?
Marc

I think what th OP is saying is that the shear surface had some surface rust on it, indicating the partial shear had taken place over some time or some time ago. I didn't get the feeling that the OP felt tht corrosion was a contributing factor.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Sounds like the axle was defective from the start. I think your only recourse is to take pictures to show that the axle came with a partial failure and to politley ask the supplier and/or manufacturer of the axle to provide a replacement or money to cover th replacement. If you can get to the right person and show them that it was a manafacturing defect I think they might do it. I have not often been successful with a brute force negotiation. You can always write that RV magazine that does the action line column.
Or just do the $1000 replacement, ask the company to discount it a bit, and be happy if there was not collateral damage when it happened.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:52 AM   #7
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I'd raise hell! Notify Airstream,and see what they say. I don't have much faith in that...but its a place to start. I guess its a Henchen axle??? With all the Company changes I have heard about I suspect you will get lots of telephone runaround. I'd also check in with Andy at Inland. He is such a big promoter of that axle replacement and has extensive history with both Airstream and Henchen. Go from there. Good luck!
I'm thinking Airstream had nothing to do with this. The reference to 'original installer' not standing behind this suggests this replacement axle wasn't installed by the JC Service Center. So letsgo's avenue to pursue this is with the axle manufacturer only? It will be good to hear which brand axle was used.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:04 AM   #8
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I think your right
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:10 AM   #9
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Like Andy said, what is the weight rating of the axle and who made it? If it had too little of a weight rating and broke it's not the axles fault, it's the person who bought the wrong weight axle for a heavy trailer. If the weight rating was correct and it broke it's the axle manufacture's fault, if it was installed correctly.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:29 AM   #10
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The 34ft airstream Classic or excella is about 1000lbs heavier than most of the dual axle 30ft airstreams.
However because they have 3 axles and the load is evenly distributed .It shouldn't have as much load on them. I could be wrong, but I would be suspicious about the axle weight ratio like Andy seems to imply!!!

Sorry about your problem!!!!
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #11
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The 34ft airstream Classic or excella is about 1000lbs heavier than most of the dual axle 30ft airstreams.
However because they have 3 axles and the load is evenly distributed .It shouldn't have as much load on them. I could be wrong, but I would be suspicious about the axle weight ratio like Andy seems to imply!!!

Sorry about your problem!!!!
Well, maybe. If someone put three 3500 pound axles on, while technically within GVWR of the trailer, there is ALOT of lateral scrubbing during maneuvering which may be excessive for a 3500# axle. Also, you are assuming that all 3 axles are loaded equally. May or may not be the case. I don't even know what the trailer came with, but I think I would want 5000# or even 6000# axles.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:02 PM   #12
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Hi, my first thought was that the axle was defective, but then I was thinking that maybe a sideways push from hitting a curb could break it too. Then it would also have a bent wheel or something to go along with this curb theory. Pictures and a more detailed explaination of how, when, and where this axle actually broke, might better explain why it broke and who should pay the bill.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:15 PM   #13
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Hi, if you go to the Dexter axle site, there is a statement that seems strange to me. Check it out and let us know what you think about this statement.


"CAUTION: Triple axle assemblies are not recommended for Torlfex axles."
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Hi, if you go to the Dexter axle site, there is a statement that seems strange to me. Check it out and let us know what you think about this statement.


"CAUTION: Triple axle assemblies are not recommended for Torlfex axles."
YIKES!!!
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:50 PM   #15
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torsion axle failures

There are a number of ways that a torsion axle can fail.

Most of us are aware that the biggest problem, is usually the rubber rods, which is caused by old age or lack of use.

Metal failures can also happen, however rare, but none the less, are possible.

Hitting a curb without wheel damage, again while rare, can happen.

Parking the trailer or a motor home that has a "tag" axle, in a severe twist of the tires, places a huge stress on the torsion arm and spindle, as well as the axle shaft. That can cause a fatigue crack, that in time, can cause a complete failure.

Then there is always the question about high frquency vibrations, that indeed can cause fatigue cracks in any metal.

Additionally, there is the question about not using shocks, as well as unbalanced running gear.

Safeguards are built into torsion axles, but to what degree, is something that cannot be measured in terms of numbers.

Steel doesn't crack all by itself. There is always a cause. Steel doesn't get stress cracks, unless caused by something.

The 2 basic causes of steel failure is (1) overloading, and (2) vibration.

The why's must be addressed in each individual case.

And yes, manufacturing defects can and do happen, but not stress cracks, on a product that has many of the same axles in service.

A metalurgist perhaps could better answer the question as to the true cause of the failure that "letsgo" has experienced.

Andy
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #16
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YIKES
From Dexter's FAQ Site


TORFLEX - Can I use 3 Torflex axles under my trailer?
No, Dexter does not recommend triple Torflex applications because Torflex axles are totally independent and not equalized like a typical leaf spring set of axles. There is no ability to transfer loads from one axle to another. When traversing uneven operating surfaces such as driveway entries, railroad crossings or speed bumps, the entire load can be put onto one axle causing severe overload. It isn't reasonable to expect one axle to carry the entire load of three axles when these conditions occur, even though these instances cause only momentary over-loading.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #17
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The axles were installed by the most reputable centre known to Airstreamers. The 3 axles are Henschen - had new shocks installed at the same time, six new tires that were balanced and the wheel alignment took 8 hours, as each axle was out of alignment when installed. I find it inconceivable that an 1-1/2" square hot or cold rolled steel could shear, bend yes, shear, no. If it is a non-defective bar, the fault in this bar could have been detected by magnafluxing. As I said before, 3/5 of the face of the facture were completely rusted and only two pencil widths were holding the bar together.
Airstream used to advertise that their axles were infallible and that they had never had a broken axle. Is this advertising still held true today?
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:00 PM   #18
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The axles were installed by the most reputable centre known to Airstreamers. The 3 axles are Henschen - had new shocks installed at the same time, six new tires that were balanced and the wheel alignment took 8 hours, as each axle was out of alignment when installed. I find it inconceivable that an 1-1/2" square hot or cold rolled steel could shear, bend yes, shear, no. If it is a non-defective bar, the fault in this bar could have been detected by magnafluxing. As I said before, 3/5 of the face of the facture were completely rusted and only two pencil widths were holding the bar together.
Airstream used to advertise that their axles were infallible and that they had never had a broken axle. Is this advertising still held true today?
I seem to remember the Henschens had a 5 year warranty. You may want to check your documentation, and see if you have any recourse with the new owner of Henschen over the 5 year warranty
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:46 PM   #19
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There is a post out in cyber space that said Andy of Inland RV acquired Henschen for its (proprietary axles) can this be confirmed????

again any input is welcomed
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:23 PM   #20
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did you say 1 1/2" tube? A #3400 axle has a 2 1/2" tube. A #4000 has a 3" tube. If your axles are that small no wonder they failed.,you have a monster trailer and it needs fairly stout axles even if there are three of them. $1000/ axle sounds rather steep. Maybe I need to raise my rates.
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