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Old 07-30-2007, 10:55 AM   #1
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Old axle vs New axle feedback . . .

With no desire to get caught up in a war-of-axles (i.e. "who manufactures the best" or "who's the best buy" thing), I would like to comment on my axle replacement, and didn't find a thread like what I hope this becomes . . .

I bought my new axle from Andy (InlandRV) and made the following observations:

1) The shipping slip indicated that the new axle weighed in at 260 lbs and was much heavier than the original axle. I haven't placed the old axle on the scale, but I can almost pick it up (and I haven't worked out in over two years- about the time I began work on the Spiffy Gem- go figure).

2) The torsion arm on the new axle was much more beefy than the old axle.

3) The mounting bracket on the new axle was much better engineered than the old, and clearly stronger.

Clearly, changes have been made. That is good - and expected.

I would like to see them change the mounting bracket so that you don't have to reverse-load the old frozen torsion arm to remove the rear mounting bolt - that was a pain in the you-know-what, and took way too much time. To do this, they would have to extend the mounting bracket past the torsion arm. That shouldn't be a big deal, since new holes have to be drilled anyway.

One thing that became clear to me, when trying to do the reverse-load, was that the rubber in the axle was clearly 'frozen'.

I knew the axle needed replaced (after all, it was 41.5 years old), but really didn't realize it was that bad. The visual "is the tire visible between the wheel and the wheel well" test passed. I guess Spiffy sat too many years unloaded, allowing the axle to freeze in a less loaded position.

Hope this kind of thing helps others in their decision process of axle replacement.

Calvin
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:34 PM   #2
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Calvin-----Thanks for the info. It definitely adds to the body of knowledge resident here at the forums.
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:52 PM   #3
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What is reverse load? I am about to attempt the same as I have my axles ready to order at inlandrv, they are just waiting for the check. Andy said it would be very easy, just remove old and bolt on new. Also what should I use to paint the inside wheel well and frame, POR 15?
thanks
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:54 PM   #4
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Great job!

Great information - thanks.

Henry
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:41 PM   #5
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When you let the weight of the trailer down on the axle, you are loading the axle. As the torsion arm takes the weight, it is pushed upward, and if enough weight is added, assuming that it is still flexible, it will line up/be parallel to - the frame of the trailer.

That's the problem: when the torsion arm is no longer flexible (i.e. in need of replacement), it doesn't move back to an unloaded position when the trailer is blocked up. But it must be moved out of the way so the bolt that holds the axle to the frame can be removed. Somehow, enough weight/pressure/load has to be applied to the torsion arm from the opposite direction (top down) to get it out of the way - thus the term 'reverse load'.

As for the paint - you will get many answers to that question. My frame has already been painted and my new wheel wells were galvanized steel. I just used the tar/rubber type undercoating spray stuff from NAPA to coat the wheel wells.

Lastly, according to Andy-InlandRV, because of the year my Airstream was built, I had to drill new holes for the bolts and weld the shock plates to the torsion arms. It looks like your Airstream is made in 1970, and won’t have the same issues during installation. Reference post number 9 in http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...nts-34646.html for Andy's expanation on the axle holes/shock plates issue.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem
When you let the weight of the trailer down on the axle, you are loading the axle. As the torsion arm takes the weight, it is pushed upward, and if enough weight is added, assuming that it is still flexible, it will line up/be parallel to - the frame of the trailer.

That's the problem: when the torsion arm is no longer flexible (i.e. in need of replacement), it doesn't move back to an unloaded position when the trailer is blocked up. But it must be moved out of the way so the bolt that holds the axle to the frame can be removed. Somehow, enough weight/pressure/load has to be applied to the torsion arm from the opposite direction (top down) to get it out of the way - thus the term 'reverse load'.

As for the paint - you will get many answers to that question. My frame has already been painted and my new wheel wells were galvanized steel. I just used the tar/rubber type undercoating spray stuff from NAPA to coat the wheel wells.

Lastly, according to Andy-InlandRV, because of the year my Airstream was built, I had to drill new holes for the bolts and weld the shock plates to the torsion arms. It looks like your Airstream is made in 1970, and wont have the same issues during installation. Reference post number 9 in http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...nts-34646.html for Andy's expanation on the axle holes/shock plates issue.

Removing the old original rusted bolts from an axle is easy.

All you need is a cutting torch, and the job is done before your beer can warm up.

Andy
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Removing the old original rusted bolts from an axle is easy.

All you need is a cutting torch, and the job is done before your beer can warm up.

Andy
And that's one thing I don't own. . . Someday!!
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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Most people do not have access to a cutting torch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Removing the old original rusted bolts from an axle is easy.

All you need is a cutting torch, ...
A Sawzall, or "inline reciprocating saw", will also work. And less harm will be done while you learn how to use it.

Take your time; keep the beer in the fridge until after you crawl out from under your Airstream.

Tom
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:46 PM   #9
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A Sawzall, or "inline reciprocating saw", will also work. And less harm will be done while you learn how to use it.

Take your time; keep the beer in the fridge until after you crawl out from under your Airstream.

Tom
I just have a small sawzall-like head that attaches to my Dremal (not a real sawzall), but the location of the bolt in relation to the torsion arm and the belly pan would make it difficult to get a sawzall in there to do the job.

I also have a cut blade for the Dremal, but it's too limited as well.

What I did was wedge a 13-14 inch piece of angle iron between the bar arm and the mounting bracket on one end and my floor jack on the other to reverse load the arm. Not the best and possibly not the safest . . . And it did a nasty twist to the end of the angle iron . ..

As for the beer - I can't stand the smell of the stuff, much less put it in my mouth!! But I like white tea . . .
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Removing the old original rusted bolts from an axle is easy.

All you need is a cutting torch, and the job is done before your beer can warm up.

Andy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem,
And that's one thing I don't own. . . Someday!!
Try one of these nut splitters - lots less dangerous than a red hot flame and safe around the garage. Just split off the nut and drive out the old bolt.

Mike
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:33 PM   #11
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Try one of these nut splitters - lots less dangerous than a red hot flame and safe around the garage. Just split off the nut and drive out the old bolt.

Mike
How wide is that tool? That very well might fit between the frame and bar arm.

For others that need to do what I did, where and how much?
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:34 PM   #12
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A couple of options...

Sears Craftsman $14.99

Ace Hardware $25.99 Wow!

Amazon 2pc set $7.99 (Northern Tool)

Harbor Freight suprisingly doesn't seem to have one available.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem
How wide is that tool? That very well might fit between the frame and bar arm.

For others that need to do what I did, where and how much?
I know mine will fit over a 7/8 nut (been there, done that), it may work on one as big as 1 inch. It's an older Craftsman model - the newer ones just don't seem to be as well made but should do the job. Mine was a garage sale find (the best kind). Grade 8's split like pecans because of their hardness. Funny thing - cheap nuts you have to crank and crank on and they cut like playdough.

Not the tool you want to go to often but in a pinch they wook.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:24 AM   #14
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Impact Wrench/PB Blaster

I have worked with several old Airstream/Argosy rusted on axles - I found a Snap-On impact wrench did the trick every time.

Oh yeah - PB Blaster soaked in for about 1/2 hour first!

Smiles,
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:28 PM   #15
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Just an FYI with regard to the Henschen axle: I have the axle installed. Decided to go with 16" X7" aluminum wheels and BF Goodrich Commercial T/A All season 225 75R16 LRE's. They have more clearance from the shocks on the inside, and less clearance (about an inch) from the wheel well outer skin - not ideal, but do-able, unless I get a lot of mud on the tire.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:20 PM   #16
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For removal of the rusted-in-place bolts, I use my trusty I-R 2135 Impact wrench, set to tighten. Usually only takes a few seconds to snap the bolt off, and both halves drop out. So fast, your ice cream won't even melt, much less allowing your beer to warm.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:04 PM   #17
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I'm crawling under and blasting them with WD-40 every day while I wait for my order to come in. If that doesn't work I'll try your trick Terry
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
For removal of the rusted-in-place bolts, I use my trusty I-R 2135 Impact wrench, set to tighten. Usually only takes a few seconds to snap the bolt off, and both halves drop out. So fast, your ice cream won't even melt, much less allowing your beer to warm.
Well, that's clearly one easy way to do it.

I just gotta get more welding and air tools. Problem is - that won't happen until this project is done. All the financial resources are ear-tagged for needed supplies. At least there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and the only cabinetry left is the galley. . . Oh, then an air conditioner . . . and an awning . . . and electronic stuff . ...............
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:49 AM   #19
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If you don't have the impact wrench do as I did before I bought some cool tools. Put your wrench on the bolt and put a 2' long cheater bar on the end. If the bolt is rounded off use a pipe wrench and wear gloves so when the wrench slips off or the bolt breaks you won't bust your knuckles.
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:25 AM   #20
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I thought about using a cheater bar - my dad does that all the time on the farm. The reason I didn't go that route is because at that time the wheels were off and the TT sat on jacks - not the most stable and secure setting. The space under the TT was limited to really reef on the cheater. It just wasn't a right situation to be cheating, if you know what I mean.

GP, I used WD40 on one of the bolts (the sandblasting job a couple years ago took care of the rust issues). But if your bolts are that rusted, and you plan on over tightening the bolts as a means to snap them for removal, you don't need to worry about using WD40.
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