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Old 03-06-2016, 01:23 PM   #1
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 78
Newbie's education

Hi everyone
I have been using this great resource to educate myself to the joys and annoyances of Airstream ownership. I am just about ready to step off the pier and put my money in an late 70's AS

I know it is going to need axels. In my research I found a document on the Dexter Axle Mfg website. This document really makes it easy to understand the details of axles. Very nice diagrams of types of mounting options and critical measurements. Helped me to understand start angle, reverse mounting bracket, etc.

http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/Axle_Measurement.pdf

In my way too much time searching this site I cannot remember a thread with a close up picture of the mounting brackets on a replacement axle. Please post a pic or help me find the thread that contains a good pic.

I intend to boondock a bit more than stay at campgrounds. My question is do AS's use low or high brackets as shown on the attached doc? Not seeing much discussion on this board about how selecting the high option could increase body ride height by 1 inch, leaves me wondering.

Thanks
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:18 PM   #2
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1963 28' Ambassador
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Northern VT , Vermont
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Dexter has been a 1st rate company for me. I haven't done an axle in 3 yrs now, but 'till then you could call cust. service give them a description of what you need to do and they would send you a "Pro spec sheet". Fill in the info & measurements they require [sheet has diagram] then take your Spec sheet to a dealer. The link in your post shows the mounting brackets. They're welded to the top of the square axle tube before the rubber rods are installed. Positioned between the X [axle] and the frame, shown in color in your link. In an Airstream they ARE NOT bolted vertically through the main frame rails. They bolt horizontally through the "side plates". Steel plates welded vertically to the frame rails. High or low mounting brackets & down angle? I prefer boondocking and many St parks in our region were developed way back in the tent era. Site entry can be a problem, particularly inclines, angle of approach. Back in and ram the rear of your stream into the road! I set up our safari, single X spicifically for those circumstances. High brackets give an extra inch, I added another inch using .400 square stock spacers, 45 degree down angle on the arms. About 3 inchs lift over original, lets me into places we could'nt go otherwise. I see no handling / control issues at interstate speeds. However there is an inherent down side to a single X Airstream. On the road they aren't as stable as a double X and in the boonies they don't do as well on uneven turf, washouts, ruts, potholes, ect. They sink quicker in sand or mud. Those outback issues can be minimized with a good 4 x 4 T.V. & a couple 2 X 8 planks! Do yourself a favor when you decide on axle rating. You will have a choice. I recall # 10 or # 11, check my memory. The larger will more robust with bigger brakes. It MAY show a weight rating larger then what you require, but you can order the larger one custom down sized regarding weight. Well worth the few extra bucks in rough hilly country. Another reason to call and talk to a Dexter service rep. Now when you finish this project and park it off season jack & block it enough to take some weight off the rubber torsion rods in the X so they don't "take a set", or do it all again in 8 or 10 years! Hardest part of the job is measuring / ordering the 1st one. After that its easy.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:07 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the forums!

If you want to de-risk your axle order, contact Colin Hyde (commercial member on the forums), who is an axle distributor. He has the dimensions, the axle specifics, and can aid you in getting exactly what you need with minimal chance for mistakes.

good luck!
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:34 PM   #4
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1986 31' Sovereign
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You can also call Andy at Inland RV with your VIN and he will get you "plug and go" axles.

Mike
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:38 PM   #5
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1975 31' Romany
Kansas City , Missouri
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I have been trying to contact Colin for a few weeks now. Maybe he has been on vacation
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:01 PM   #6
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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New Owner

I ended up buying a 1991 Excella 25 and it too needs axles. PO had disc brakes installed. Used my 20 year old brake controller. which will get an upgrade. that's a whole other thread. They worked great on the trip home, 2100 miles. Yeah 2100 miles each way.
Looked hard and learned that you have to move fast, when you see the AS that works for you. Sellers with stories of phones ringing off the hook. Tons of CL scam ads to weed thru. Junk described as "everything works", It was not easy finding mine. I did learn a lot though, much of it from the AS forums.
Thanks
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:03 PM   #7
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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I forgot to attach a photo
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:20 PM   #8
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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Kosullivan e mail seems to work best for Colin.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:25 PM   #9
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
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Topo here is a picture of a new set from Colin. If you Zoom can you get a view of what you are looking for.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:08 PM   #10
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Thanks for the photo
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Old 04-23-2016, 01:06 AM   #11
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Topo here is a picture of a new set from Colin. If you Zoom can you get a view of what you are looking for.
Thanks! I just ordered a set from him.

Question: Is the shock absorber mounting bolt included in your kit?

Thx!
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:34 PM   #12
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Okay i wasted 2.5 hours at the Milwaukee Dexter axle distributor. They could not seem to come up with the proper measurements. I even removed the Kodiak disc brake package to get hub face measurements..
Very disappointed.

Just sent an email for an up dated quote from Collin Hyde.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:55 AM   #13
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Axle hub face to hub face dimension???

So after the debacle at the Dexter axle distributor in Milwaukee, I sent an email to Collin Hyde, no response. Yesterday I called Inland RV to place order, gave the very nice lady all requested info. I was told I would receive a phone call from Andy to finalize order. That has not happened yet.

In the mean time I called Dexter Axle direct. I was referred to the Engineering Dept. Gave the man a bunch of info and measurements. The one measurement I am not sure of is the hub face to hub face dimension. You see my trailer has been upgraded with a Kodiak disc brake kit by PO. So the hub face dimension may be different than stock. Does anyone have an AS similar to mine that can get the hub face to hub face dimension on the factory drum brake setup? I measured 80-3/16 inches on the Kodiak Disc hub face to hub face.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:00 PM   #14
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
You can also call Andy at Inland RV with your VIN and he will get you "plug and go" axles.

Mike

No such animal. No plug and play/go. They do not make the same size axle so more than likely you will have to modify the frame a bit to make the new one fit.

If you cant get a hold of Colin, you may want to try redneck trailer and see if they can order them for you. I believe mine were specked at 3500 per axle. When I ordered them from Inland, they essentially passed the order on to redneck. I had much better results in communication with Redneck then Inland.

Also, when I got mine, the bracket for the shocks was not attached to the axle. I had to pay out of pocket to have a welder come and do the job. Just one more surprise for me at the time when I was led to believe that it was a simple unbolt old and bolt in new job.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:32 PM   #15
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
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Originally Posted by aquinob View Post
If you cant get a hold of Colin, you may want to try redneck trailer and see if they can order them for you. I believe mine were specked at 3500 per axle. When I ordered them from Inland, they essentially passed the order on to redneck. I had much better results in communication with Redneck then Inland.

Also, when I got mine, the bracket for the shocks was not attached to the axle. I had to pay out of pocket to have a welder come and do the job. Just one more surprise for me at the time when I was led to believe that it was a simple unbolt old and bolt in new job.
+1 My Inland axles drop shipped from Redneck Trailer. Shock brackets were not welded on, hardware wrong size (apparently Andy purposely orders undersized bolts for some reason?), holes didn't line up and axle tube was wider than my old one so I had to grind the frame. Not complaining, I'm very happy with my new axles. But it took some work to get them installed.
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:54 AM   #16
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1975 31' Romany
Kansas City , Missouri
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I went through the same thing as you, trying to get axles for my 1975 Sovereign. Just wait to get in touch with Colin. I had a hard time getting in touch with him but once I did he was great. Other than taking a grinder to make the notches bigger where the axle meets the mounting brackets because the axle is wider, it was a simple bolt right on. Took about 5 hours to remove the old axles and put the new ones on. The shock mount is already welded with the axles from Colin. The price was better also.
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:13 PM   #17
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1976 31' Excella 500
St. Paul , Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOPORANGER View Post
So after the debacle at the Dexter axle distributor in Milwaukee, I sent an email to Collin Hyde, no response. Yesterday I called Inland RV to place order, gave the very nice lady all requested info. I was told I would receive a phone call from Andy to finalize order. That has not happened yet.

In the mean time I called Dexter Axle direct. I was referred to the Engineering Dept. Gave the man a bunch of info and measurements. The one measurement I am not sure of is the hub face to hub face dimension. You see my trailer has been upgraded with a Kodiak disc brake kit by PO. So the hub face dimension may be different than stock. Does anyone have an AS similar to mine that can get the hub face to hub face dimension on the factory drum brake setup? I measured 80-3/16 inches on the Kodiak Disc hub face to hub face.

Thanks in advance for your help.
I ran into that same surprise with the shock bracket. I also ordered from Inland Rv but picked them up at Redneck Trailer supply to save on shipping. Should have just gone to them to start with.
Not only did Inland not tell me about the shock brackets, the dust caps weren't the right ones and I had to buy new rims because the original rims hit the caliper on new brakes. 4 new rims, extra welding charges and having to deal with Andy after he has money. Not a good thing.
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:57 AM   #18
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1971 31' Sovereign
1973 29' Ambassador
Palm Desert , California
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That's interesting. I bought from Andy and picked them up from him. The shock brackets were welded on but the frame did need to be enlarged but I knew that before they were installed.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:25 AM   #19
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Feb 2016
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Update to my axle project
After several email and phone message to Colin I place the order with Andy Well about an hour after placing order Colin returned call
I ending up picking up the axles at Redneck in Normal IL
There was a problem with the shock brackets as they were to be shipped separately form CA I called Inland to get them shipped They shipped the package USPS overnight which took 3 days There were only two brackets in package when 4 are required for two axles Another call another 2 days to get brackets
I'll continue later as I am on iPhone
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:03 PM   #20
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1991 25' Excella
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 78
Here is what I ordered

Two bare Dexter #11 spindle 4000 pound axles, hub face = 80.75, Outside bracket = 61.38, 32 degree down trailing start angle at $455 each $910 for 2
Dexter #11 axle lift kit at $175

Bare axles because I wanted to use the Jackson Center installed Kodiak disc brakes Everything transferred over without a hitch

Also had to buy 4 axle grease seals at $9 each

I bought the model Monroe shock that Colin uses on eBay for $78 for 4

Installation was easy, I did have a brand new level concrete floor to work on which allowed me to keep axles parallel to each other and square to trailer frame by using plumb bobs to drop center of axles to floor for ease in measuring

As for welding of shock brackets I traded a bottle of oxygen welding gas that I had laying around for 20 years for the welding by a friend who is welder by trade

I also installed Michelin Defender LTX M/S 235/75/R15 tires with new metal valve stems on freshly painted factory steel rims $140 each plus tax

Also added new solid chrome lug nuts

Right after installation I took off on a trip from Wi to Idaho 1738 miles
Towed like a dream

Then I added another 1689 miles Idaho to Catalina AZ

I did monitor and inspect axles regularly on trips Everything is looking good

I did do some camping on National Forest roads NO tail dragging
I love the way it sits Some people might not like that it sits higher than stock

My old axles were totally used up
The trailing arms were at 0 degrees and the wheels would not drop at all when weight was taken off them

I figure that it now sits 7 inches higher than the worn Click image for larger version

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I did the exposed frame with Por15 with a topcoat of Rustoelum
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