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Old 09-29-2014, 10:05 AM   #1
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2006 23' Safari SE
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New axles and shock Brackets

I just got off the phone with Alyssa at Dexter Axle. She informs me that if I replace my old 23D axles with new 6-5.5 lug pattern, and with 32 degree down arms, that it is not possible for Dexter to supply the axles with a top shock bracket. When I asked "then how do the shocks get mounted?" She merely stated that she had no idea. Bye the way, the rating of the axle does not play in this equation. She quoted 3,500# rated axles, which is what I want. She said that a lower rating would not affect their inability to supply with shock brackets.

I want to go to the 32 degree down arm and LT235/75 R16 Michelin tires to gain "dirt road clearance." This forum gave me tons of info on how to do it, but all of a sudden I am dead in the water. I sure don't want to order axles, 16" Sendel wheels and Michelin tires and then find out that they won't work!

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Bill on Whidbey Island
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:44 AM   #2
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Axles

HEY Bill, I did the set up you are talking about, 32 degrees, 3400lbs, 16 "wheels michelins LTX 235/75r16 it rides so smooth, I gained about 3 1/2" which I needed. I got my axles from Colin Hyde, shocks from Inland RV, took about 3 to 4 hours it was 95 degrees when i did it, they bolted right on. I made a bolt for the shock, instead of welding a stud on, it was easier just as effective, I know Andy would disagree. You can call me if you have questions I did it last month. Dwayne 573 881 8922


Quote:
Originally Posted by theOrca View Post
I just got off the phone with Alyssa at Dexter Axle. She informs me that if I replace my old 23D axles with new 6-5.5 lug pattern, and with 32 degree down arms, that it is not possible for Dexter to supply the axles with a top shock bracket. When I asked "then how do the shocks get mounted?" She merely stated that she had no idea. Bye the way, the rating of the axle does not play in this equation. She quoted 3,500# rated axles, which is what I want. She said that a lower rating would not affect their inability to supply with shock brackets.

I want to go to the 32 degree down arm and LT235/75 R16 Michelin tires to gain "dirt road clearance." This forum gave me tons of info on how to do it, but all of a sudden I am dead in the water. I sure don't want to order axles, 16" Sendel wheels and Michelin tires and then find out that they won't work!

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Bill on Whidbey Island
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:37 PM   #3
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New axles, shocks and Centromatics are now on order from Andy. My local Les Schaub store has agreed to do the install.

Life is better when retailers simplify things for you!

Bill
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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I would reconsider Les Schwab for install.

You will have untrained children trying to learn how to install axles on your Baby....

Find a good airstream dealer or trailer shop.

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Old 10-07-2014, 07:00 PM   #5
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My nephew and I installed the axles I bought from Andy. It wasn't hard at all.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:21 PM   #6
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Just had 3 axles replaced on my 34'. I had a very good trailer repair shop do the job. They have replaced axles on Airstreams before. Find a shop that does this type of repair, on a regular basis, or you could be fixing a mess at your cost. Going cheap usually costs you $$$$$$$.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redder View Post
HEY Bill, I did the set up you are talking about, 32 degrees, 3400lbs, 16 "wheels michelins LTX 235/75r16 it rides so smooth, I gained about 3 1/2" which I needed. I got my axles from Colin Hyde, shocks from Inland RV, took about 3 to 4 hours it was 95 degrees when i did it, they bolted right on. I made a bolt for the shock, instead of welding a stud on, it was easier just as effective, I know Andy would disagree. You can call me if you have questions I did it last month. Dwayne 573 881 8922

I'd be curious in hearing more about your bolt on shocks. Pics? Sounds like it was relatively easy. Just trying to understand why other threads sound as though the shock brackets must be welded on....


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Old 10-07-2014, 10:40 PM   #8
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I'd be curious in hearing more about your bolt on shocks. Pics? Sounds like it was relatively easy. Just trying to understand why other threads sound as though the shock brackets must be welded on....


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Sometimes yes, sometimes no, with Dexter.

That's not hard to do.

But another brand comes without shock studs.

Maybe that's why we have such a demand for them.

Andy
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airline View Post
I would reconsider Les Schwab for install.

You will have untrained children trying to learn how to install axles on your Baby....

Find a good airstream dealer or trailer shop.


I don't find that to be true at all. My local Les Schwab has very skilled and highly experienced folks who work there. I trust them implicitly. The results may differ with other shops.....

Bye the way, Andy gave me 12 inch brakes.... Going to be a lot of "whoa" for a 23D!
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:57 PM   #10
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Andy- so the Dexter axles can be ordered with studs for the shocks already installed? Are they the only brand where this is an option?


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Old 10-09-2014, 10:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theOrca View Post
New axles, shocks and Centromatics are now on order from Andy. My local Les Schaub store has agreed to do the install.

Life is better when retailers simplify things for you!

Bill
What I like about Les Schaub is the enthusiasm of the people that work there. They run out of the garage to meet you, literally. Never had one problem with them but granted they've only done my tire and brakes. If they say they can do the install, let them try and take pictures of the before so you can compare if they mess it up. Somebody has to do it if you don't.
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Old 10-10-2014, 07:41 AM   #12
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Andy- so the Dexter axles can be ordered with studs for the shocks already installed? Are they the only brand where this is an option?


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Unfortunately, no.

We have the brackets and studs made. When we ship axles from Corona, the brackets with studs are already welded in place.

When the axles are drop shipped, we send the brackets with studs to the buyer, at no charge.

Why Dexter refuses, is a mystery, that I can only explain buy saying that their old timer thoughts are out dated.

They certainly install those brackets on "every" axle that Airstream buys from them.

But, their old timers have bent a little by permitting us to order lower ratings with 12 inch brakes, that they will not do on an individual basis.

By tests, welding the bracket in place, raises the axle shaft temperature 16 degrees, certainly not enough to cause "any" problem.

Andy
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:32 AM   #13
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Thanks Andy. In terms of access, is it difficult to have the shock studs welded on AFTER the axle has been installed? It seems there would be adequate room to work, but not being a welder I'm not sure...


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Old 10-10-2014, 10:01 AM   #14
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Thanks Andy. In terms of access, is it difficult to have the shock studs welded on AFTER the axle has been installed? It seems there would be adequate room to work, but not being a welder I'm not sure...


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Not really, but, you must remove the backing plate in order to reach the back side of the stud.

Andy
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redder View Post
HEY Bill, I did the set up you are talking about, 32 degrees, 3400lbs, 16 "wheels michelins LTX 235/75r16 it rides so smooth, I gained about 3 1/2" which I needed. I got my axles from Colin Hyde, shocks from Inland RV, took about 3 to 4 hours it was 95 degrees when i did it, they bolted right on. I made a bolt for the shock, instead of welding a stud on, it was easier just as effective, I know Andy would disagree. You can call me if you have questions I did it last month. Dwayne 573 881 8922

Well Les Schaub just finished my 23D install. I was anything BUT a "bolt right on" install. The axles were 3500lbs, with 12 inch brakes. Andy seems to feel that this is a "best of all worlds" set-up. The problem is that the vertical mounting plate of the frame of the trailer has to have 1/2" of the forward edge of each axle opening cut away. It also has to have a notch cut away of the first 1/2" of the low edge forward of the notch where the vertical plate bends 90 degrees inward. THEN the vertical plate has to have a new hole drilled to take the forward mounting bolt through the axle plate. If this is confusing, it is because the trailer is set up with mounting holes with an 8 inch spacing. The axle mounting plates of 3500# axles have a 9 inch spacing. To say that this is interesting to find out AFTER the old wheels and axles are already removed from the trailer is gross understatement. Oh, and bye the way a propane line goes under the axle plates to provide gas to the water heater. This was found only "just before" the axle was lowered to the ground. My stress level is still pretty high, and only less than "stroke level" because the folks at Les Schaub would not throw in the towel. Thank heavens they had a former Navy Metal Smith on their staff. He was comfortable with the cutting and fitting. Michelle at Inland RV was as calm as a Trauma Nurse. She must be used to dealing with panic/frantic/OMG customers.
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:14 PM   #16
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Well Les Schaub just finished my 23D install. I was anything BUT a "bolt right on" install. The axles were 3500lbs, with 12 inch brakes. Andy seems to feel that this is a "best of all worlds" set-up. The problem is that the vertical mounting plate of the frame of the trailer has to have 1/2" of the forward edge of each axle opening cut away. It also has to have a notch cut away of the first 1/2" of the low edge forward of the notch where the vertical plate bends 90 degrees inward. THEN the vertical plate has to have a new hole drilled to take the forward mounting bolt through the axle plate. If this is confusing, it is because the trailer is set up with mounting holes with an 8 inch spacing. The axle mounting plates of 3500# axles have a 9 inch spacing. To say that this is interesting to find out AFTER the old wheels and axles are already removed from the trailer is gross understatement. Oh, and bye the way a propane line goes under the axle plates to provide gas to the water heater. This was found only "just before" the axle was lowered to the ground. My stress level is still pretty high, and only less than "stroke level" because the folks at Les Schaub would not throw in the towel. Thank heavens they had a former Navy Metal Smith on their staff. He was comfortable with the cutting and fitting. Michelle at Inland RV was as calm as a Trauma Nurse. She must be used to dealing with panic/frantic/OMG customers.
Out fitting Airstreams with updated parts, is sometimes a challenge.

Dealers that are not familiar with Airstream's, sometime go bananna's when trying to do somethings.

Upgrading is not always a piece of cake.

Providing a better axle than new, to most, is a great improvement, that sometimes, yes, requires a little extra effort.

End result, superior.

Andy
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Out fitting Airstreams with updated parts, is sometimes a challenge.

Dealers that are not familiar with Airstream's, sometime go bananna's when trying to do somethings.

Upgrading is not always a piece of cake.

Providing a better axle than new, to most, is a great improvement, that sometimes, yes, requires a little extra effort.

End result, superior.

Andy
Andy I have no argument with anything you said (above). My issue was the lack of warning (with pictures, or at least drawings) that this is not a simple "swap." You are providing great gear and great advice. Since you are seemingly NOT inclined to provide the warning that the 3500# axle install is more than a little complicated to do, I am providing the warning, and will continue to do so on this forum. Things could have gone South to the tune of a thousand dollars yesterday if Les Schwab had decided not to continue the install. Only by the grace of an understanding manager did things go well. The negative parts of yesterdays experience were NOT necessary, and understanding the full implications of the install would have prevented the blood pressure spikes and other unpleasantness....
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:24 AM   #18
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Andy I have no argument with anything you said (above). My issue was the lack of warning (with pictures, or at least drawings) that this is not a simple "swap." You are providing great gear and great advice. Since you are seemingly NOT inclined to provide the warning that the 3500# axle install is more than a little complicated to do, I am providing the warning, and will continue to do so on this forum. Things could have gone South to the tune of a thousand dollars yesterday if Les Schwab had decided not to continue the install. Only by the grace of an understanding manager did things go well. The negative parts of yesterdays experience were NOT necessary, and understanding the full implications of the install would have prevented the blood pressure spikes and other unpleasantness....
Sorry you had uncomfortable thoughts.

That rarely happens when replacing after market axles.

Andy
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:05 AM   #19
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I purchased new axles from Andy at Inland RV last spring. I had originally called for replacement brake part....Kelsey Hayes... the woman I talked to on the phone asked me how my axles were..... my response, I don't need axles, I just need brakes.

Send me a photo of your Airstream via email... (it's a 1978 Sovereign 31') I did. Here is the trailer before the new axles.


I quickly got a call back from her and then Andy. I sorta knew about the rubber torsion bar suspension but Andy had me crawl under the trailer and look at the axle and lo and behold the back axle had negative and the front axle had none.

I ordered two new axles. Andy told me I'd have to have the shock mounts welded by a local shop and that I would have to 'ream out' the bolt holes on the axle mounts.

I was a little nervous about attempting this I didn't want to 'screw it up'. Andy told me it was a simple procedure, install the front bolt then ream out the rear hole.

I got my nephew to help me. the harded part of the whole job....other than sliding in and out the axles, was getting the old bolts loose.. that's where Nephew George and the can of WD-40 came into play

It took us two days but we weren't on the clock and we took frequent breaks for iced tea and to play with the grandkids.. It was very hot.

I have a local welding shop I use, they welded on the shock brackets for $40..... the owner's son did it and he originally wanted $20 for the job but I gave him $40 because he got me right in and ...well it was an all around good experience.

In review... installing the axles was a big job but I did it. We did make a template for notching out the frame with a cutting wheel on the grinder. I was worried about keeping the axle alignment but the way the cut had to be made, and the hole lined the axle up perfectly. Once the axle was in place, the reaming out the other hole was easy.

When I was preparing for the axle removal, I disconnected the brake lines and removed the propane line going to the hot water heater. It was routed down the frame, an easy removal and re-install.

I seem to remember we had to do some adjusting on one axle due to the water tank but it was no big deal.

I am pretty sure I posted about this before. I am pleased that my nephew and I got the job done.

The trailer was raised up about 3 inches, I was worried because I had previously replaced the bias ply tires with radial which caused the trailer to sit lower....especially on the old axles.

I gave the old axles to my nephew who sold them for scrap.

As Andy said, 'end result, superior.'

I am 65 years old and wish I knew how to post photos on this page. I think maybe the reason it took us two days was I had just gotten a new camera and I took a whole bunch of photos of the process.

In July my wife and I headed to the northwest and were on the road until October. We had a grand time. Here is a photo of the trailer with the new axles. It rides higher. I also got the wheel balancers for each wheel. I like those.
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:19 PM   #20
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"But another brand comes without shock studs."
Andy[/QUOTE]
The other brand, that you are probably referring to, is well worth the discount in price and upgrade in customer service and the old shock mounts can be transferred to the new axles. They are also closer to the original Airstream design. I am much happier with the other brand !
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