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Old 10-12-2007, 11:21 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Newbie Axle ??

OK, Ive searched the forums and know about the options here.

1. Pay $$$ and buy from an "OEM" stealership
or
2. Pay less $$ and have to mod and make an axel work.

Dexter is the new "OEM" AND henschen is the one that F'ed up and didn't own up to it (not good).

I have read that that Dexter will make your axle based off the axle S/N?

Has anyone done this and does it fit work without much mods?

I have a 1970 31 Sovrng.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:35 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forums. Try searching for axle with the search tool on the upper blue tool bar. You will find a lot of threads about this topic. we also have a section dedicated to running gear.

You will find that folks have chosen both options and you will find them discussed at great length.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
OK, Ive searched the forums and know about the options here.

1. Pay $$$ and buy from an "OEM" stealership
or
2. Pay less $$ and have to mod and make an axel work.

Dexter is the new "OEM" AND henschen is the one that F'ed up and didn't own up to it (not good).

I have read that that Dexter will make your axle based off the axle S/N?

Has anyone done this and does it fit work without much mods?

I have a 1970 31 Sovrng.
Dexter "does not" have access to Henschen axle serial numbers and what that number means.

When someone may want a Henschen axle, all that is needed is the trailer serial number, nothing else.

Not so with Dexter or any other torsion axle manufacturer.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
OK, Ive searched the forums and know about the options here.

1. Pay $$$ and buy from an "OEM" stealership
or
2. Pay less $$ and have to mod and make an axel work.

Dexter is the new "OEM" AND henschen is the one that F'ed up and didn't own up to it (not good).

I have read that that Dexter will make your axle based off the axle S/N?

Has anyone done this and does it fit work without much mods?

I have a 1970 31 Sovrng.
I'm not aware of Dexter doing that - All Inland RV (Andy) needs is your VIN/Serial Number and the Henschen will be made for your trailer. His version does cost considerably more, but I believe '69 is the starting year where they actually do just "bolt in" without modification.
I went with Dexter because of the cost savings, and my year of trailer, both axle brands required hole drilling.
Use the "search" function as Janet mentioned, and you will find a plethora of information (and opinions)
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:08 AM   #5
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It depends on your own capabilities and self confidence.

Are you willing to read a few pages of Dexter's "Application Manual", and then crawl under your Airstream to take the measurements?

Do you have or can you rent the tools (jacks, and wrenches, etc) to do the job?

Or do you feel more comfortable spending the extra bucks to turn that over to someone else.

I go for the 'personal growth' option.
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
OK, Ive searched the forums and know about the options here.

Dexter is the new "OEM" AND henschen is the one that F'ed up and didn't own up to it (not good).

I have a 1970 31 Sovrng.
Henschen owners (Lakin) at that difficult time, and Airstream Corporate, had the difference of opinion.

Some brass from Airstream and Henschen, in Jackson Center, still go to lunch together. I know, I have been there with them.

Reports indicate that Airstream is having "huge" (far more than acceptable) problems with Dexter axles, all too many times, and are forced to send the problem axles to Airstream's service department to fix.

That has had a negative effect on Airstream's production timing.

Words (from extremely reliable sources) has it that Airstream will soon drop, for most part, their relationship with Dexter, and return to Henschen, part of which is because Henschen is now owned by GKN, who has a very different Corporate philosophy than Lakin ever did.

Plus, as in the past, if there is a problem, Henschen is 2 minutes away, and corrects that problem themselves.

Henschen has recently installed several millions of dollars of some of the most advanced automated machining equipment available in the world.

I plan on making a short movie of that, the next time I visit Henschen, which should be within the next few months.

More updates on that activity as it happens, which could be sooner than any of us may think.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
It depends on your own capabilities and self confidence.

Are you willing to read a few pages of Dexter's "Application Manual", and then crawl under your Airstream to take the measurements?

Do you have or can you rent the tools (jacks, and wrenches, etc) to do the job?

Or do you feel more comfortable spending the extra bucks to turn that over to someone else.

I go for the 'personal growth' option.
Jacks are not needed to change axles on a tandem trailer.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Jacks are not needed to change axles on a tandem trailer.

Andy
So, do you lay on your back and hold the axle up while someone else puts in the hardware?
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
So, do you lay on your back and hold the axle up while someone else puts in the hardware?
Close...

Drive first set of wheels up on ramp or pile of scrap lumber, high enough to get second set off the groud. Swap axles and repeat procedure.


WHen we did this job, I got to hold the axle in place.....
But I used a floor jack, pumped it up and hubby did the bolts.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for the posts. I have been reading up on these a lot. I do like the "bolt in" option but the cost is high.

Andy do you ever have a "SALE" or forum member price break?? That would be nice!
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
WHen we did this job, I got to hold the axle in place.....
Don't mess with Janet!!!
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
Thanks for the posts. I have been reading up on these a lot. I do like the "bolt in" option but the cost is high.

Andy do you ever have a "SALE" or forum member price break?? That would be nice!
Our axle prices are already 20 to 35 percent less than the Airstream factory prices.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2007, 02:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
Thanks for the posts. I have been reading up on these a lot. I do like the "bolt in" option but the cost is high.

Andy do you ever have a "SALE" or forum member price break?? That would be nice!
Some parts for Airstream and Argosy trailers and motorhomes, in fact do cost more money.

Why? Well, why does Airstream and Argosy cost waaaaaaaaaay more money than other brands of travel trailers?

Surely if RVing costs are to be held to an absolute minimum, then the last thing to get involved with is an Airstream product.

It's very nice to own a Rolls, but keeping it a Rolls, does cost money.

But as they say in California, you get what you pay for, usually.

Just think of how cheap airlines fares would be, if the airlines could by parts at K-Mart or Home Depot.

The "best", does cost more than the "good," even with a Hamburger. Speaking
of that, why do they call it a "hamburger?" There's no "ham" in it.

Andy
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:11 AM   #14
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GKN Axles

Quote:
Originally Posted by TN-TUNDRA
Thanks for the posts. I have been reading up on these a lot. I do like the "bolt in" option but the cost is high.

Andy do you ever have a "SALE" or forum member price break?? That would be nice!
I too mulled this decision and it came down to the fact that the axles on my AS were originally Henshen axles and they were over 40 years old. In my opinion that spoke volumes in regards to quality and durability. I am sure Dexter makes a good product, but I wanted to keep my trailer as original as possible. I am not sorry I went with the new Henshens. They are extremely well made and went right up into the slots like they belonged there. The hole drilling was not as bad as I had anticipated. In your case they should just bolt right in. If you go to my post called "New Axles" I have posted some pictures of the ramps I made to change the axles.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:52 AM   #15
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For me when I did my axles this spring/summer, it was about my time. The Henschens went in and were done inside of 3 hours. The qustions you have to answer are what is your time worth? Do you want to perform the needed adaptions to utilize another brand? I know there are lots of good people here that have many other considerations to this but that is what it came down to for me. As well the difference in price was only about $300.00 if you go complete with brakes. It is obviously up to you as it is your time and money, and there are lots of success stories for both cases.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:04 PM   #16
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I would like to know why Henshen axles cost almost twice what a Dexter axle goes for? My new Dexter looks very similar to the original axle on my '64, which I can only guess was a Henshen. For me it came down to cost, I have more time than money. The Dexter would have pretty much bolted into place had I taken a few more minutes to look over the worksheet I was faxed from Dexter. I was in a rush to get the axle swapped, only had 10 days to get a new axle ordered, picked-up and installed before my first trip.

Derek
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:52 PM   #17
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This summer was the first season I used my 71 Tradewind. Previously it sat in a New Mexico field for many years. As far as running gear, I put new tires on it, the brakes work good but stuck on me once or twice. A 2nd tap on the brakes unstuck them. The arms on the axles were pretty much horizontal and parallel to the trailer frame. I have about 2 1/2 inches of tire sidewall showing above the top of the rim and the bottom of the fender. I towed her on a 4000 mile trip this summer without incident. Seemed to tow fine.

I jacked the roadside wheels up a few days ago to do some work on the tires and noticed I only had to jack up the side about 1 1/2" until the tires started to clear the ground. In other words the axle arm only allowed a 1 1/2" drop. I remember Andy saying recently besides a negative angle of the arm being a bad thing, the arm should allow the wheel to drop about 3" before the wheels clear the floor. I also noticed at least one of the old shocks had blown, but this was no surprise.

Does it sound like my axles are dead and should be replaced asap?

I think it may be a good idea to replace the brakes while I'm at it.

Can somone give me recommendations on axle and brake combinations?

Some ballpark figures on costs on basic and complete axle set ups for both Henshen and Dexter?

How much extra to upgrade to disc brakes? Do I need to add hyraulic lines or are there electric discs?

I know my axles are at best living on borrowed time and would like to get a few more miles on them, but not if a safety factor of if it will cause damage.

Many thanks
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall
Does it sound like my axles are dead and should be replaced asap?
YES!

Quote:
I think it may be a good idea to replace the brakes while I'm at it.

Can somone give me recommendations on axle and brake combinations?
YES! You'll probably get more opinions than you thought possible. Try using the search function for "axle" and you'll find facts, opinions and a mixture of both.

Quote:
Some ballpark figures on costs on basic and complete axle set ups for both Henshen and Dexter?


Henschen are $800 apiece (last time I looked). Dexter's price will vary depending on exactly what you get, where you order them from, etc. Mine were just under $400 each!

Quote:
How much extra to upgrade to disc brakes? Do I need to add hyraulic lines or are there electric discs?


I don't have an answer for cost, but if you upgrade to hydraulic, you will have additional work to perform. See member UWE's thread- he went with hydraulic.

Quote:
I know my axles are at best living on borrowed time and would like to get a few more miles on them, but not if a safety factor or if it will cause damage.


Brakes locking up, is a safety issue. You can probably get more miles out of the axles, but at what cost? Towing the trailer with bad axles WILL cause damage to your trailer - you might not notice it at first, but it is happening.

Good luck on your replacement.
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:16 PM   #19
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I'm going with the Dexters. I did order the shocks from Inlandrv. I still have to measure and order the Dexters. The others are just too much. Twice the price just aint nice...
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:55 PM   #20
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Good Choice!

You will be happy with your selection - if a problem is encountered there are about 300 Dexter dealers across the United States!

Half the green sure is keen - sorry I couldn't resist!!!!!

Regards,
Henry
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