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Old 11-17-2008, 11:15 AM   #1
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Replace axles on 1976 31'

OK I can no longer deny that my old original axles need to be replaced. So I am starting the process to look at my options.

Dexter or Henschen

Do it myself or have someone else do it

stay with standard drum brakes or make the change to disc brakes
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:22 AM   #2
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Given time, you will look back on this thread and chuckle. Let the games begin!

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Old 11-17-2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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U are kickin the ant hill. Use the search feature Forums Under AXLES U are gonna get 400 different opinions.
This has been discussed time and time again.
My opinion Go Henshen THEY are made exactly like the ones U take out,the are made from original factory spec's from your serial number .
They cost more but are the easiest to install.
I installed a pair in August 08 Im 70 years old how hard can it be.
Roger
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:27 PM   #4
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I did mine with no help. In a gravel driveway in the winter time. Would be a lot easier on a concrete slab.

As far as brakes go, disc systems are very expensive and can be troublesome at times. I personally do not think they are worth the trouble, unless you camp a lot in WVA, PA, or the Rocky Mountains and tow with a light duty vehicle.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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As posted elsewhere, it's easy to do yourself, or with another pair of hands to help...been there done that...

As Pick says above, you don't really need disc brakes unless you cruise in hilly terrain all the time...

Get new backing plates with the new brakes already assembled - it's the best way to go, and you'll get all new stuff on your axles...
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:19 PM   #6
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Go with a direct replacement. Do it your self. If you call Airstream and give them your V.I.N. you will get what brand you have , incase you arent sure.

Anytime you change Brands there is always some kind of Mod needed
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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I order Henschens from Andy at Inland RV. No hassles, fit perfect, 12 inch drum brakes, 3500 pounds, 35 degrees down on a 1972 Sovereign 31 foot. Put them on alone on a gravel driveway. The first one took almost two hours, the second one about fortyfive minites. I read a lot of the posts and they say both sides have to go up at the same time. Reading that and doing that was a little difficult for this Hillbilly to figure out. I was sure I could just get it up in there. An hour later and I ended up using wood blocks to raise it up inside of the frame. It was really a pretty easy job. The trailor tows much better, stops and great.
Good luck, Bill
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:44 AM   #8
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Dexter axle with disc brakes

As I understand the Henschen axle with the Kodiak disk bakes is 12" 6 bolt on 5 1/2"centers. But the Dexter disc bake setup is either 10" or 11" with 5 bolt. Is this correct.

Thanks

Don
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:01 PM   #9
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Email Inland RV with your trailer VIN and they an give you all the specs and prices on the OEM's (I think they are the only place to buy OEM's for your year camper). Talk to your local Dexter dealer to get their specs.

When it comes to an expensive purchase like axles, I'd want to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

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Old 11-22-2008, 04:15 PM   #10
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replacement axles

Airstream does not sell replacement Henschen axles, unless your at their service department.

We have a contract with Airstream that spells that out, "very clearly."

Andy
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:38 AM   #11
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Smile I am going with the Henschen axles and Kodiak disc brakes

I completed the order for new axles and the Kodiak Disc brakes with Gregg at Inland RV on Friday. Gregg was a big help and provided a lot of timely information through a number of PM's. I would like to thank everyone that responded and send PM's for their input and help.

The axles and disc brakes will ship on Monday and should be here by the end of the week. Now I can move on with the 1st step, removing the old axles. Since I am installing disk brakes I am planning on putting the trailer on jack stands or blocks while I run the brake lines after installing the new axles. But before that can happen I have to take off the old axles. The 8 bolts that hold the axles on or very rusty and I expect that they will be difficult to remove. Any suggestions on removing the bolts and what to do if they will not budge.

I am going take pictures of the removal and install process from start to finish and will be posting these as I move forward in this thread.

Thanks in advance for your continuing input and assistance.

Don
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:41 AM   #12
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You should be getting some new mounting hardware with your new axles (nuts, bolts, washers), so it doesn't matter if you break the old stuff while removing it. If you have access to an air compressor, use a wrench to hold one end, and an air gun to remove the other. Liberally soak the shock bolts on the frame with Blaster, or Howe's oil, and let them sit. After several hours, zip those nuts and washers off as well. Save those fasteners, you will need to reuse them. Undo the brake wires, you won't be needing them, so snip them fairly close to the frame. At this point, the axles should pretty much fall out on their own, and if they don't, all it will take is a bit of persuasion with a hammer, prybar, etc.
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:35 PM   #13
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I didn't get axle mounting bolts from Inland RV when I purchased my axles (didn't ask, though). I went to my local industrial hardware and bought new Grade-8 bolts, locks, and nuts to mount the new axles...it's worth the few extra bucks to start off with shiny, new hardware!

At Inland's suggestion I sprayed all the original bolts on the AS with penetrating oil, the day before I started the removal of the old stuff...using my battery powered impact wrench, the nuts came right off without a problem, after 30 years being stuck together!

Gregg and the crew there at Inland RV are indeed a good bunch of folks to deal with, and they know their stuff when it comes to AS's!

Looking forward to seeing your pics...I didn't take the time to take 'in progress' pics.

Make sure your AS is really stable on those jacks before crawling under there! I did one axle at a time, on ramps, and kept the TV hooked up with the parking brakes on to keep things stable.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:41 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Axles have arrived

The axles, shocks, Kodiak bakes and assorted parts arrived today. I had them delivered to a friends business so that I could save the extra cost for delivery to a residential address. The axles and four boxes on one pallet. The only thing I had to do was cut away the shrink wrap and load them in my Suburban. The boxes were easy enough, but the axles are heavy and cumbersome even without the brakes attached. This old guy was straining. A nice young man came along and helped me wrestle them into the Suburban and that is where they are going to stay until I am ready to install them.

Anyway they are home and I and making my invitation list for the axle party.

Don
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:53 PM   #15
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A furniture dolly will help move the axles to where you're working, cardboard helps to slide them under the trailer. Lift one end, put a bolt in. A floor jack will help lift the other end that last 1/4 inch that's stubborn. The shocks may need to go on before the axle bolts. If you have help, even easier than this.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:21 PM   #16
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Use the furniture dollys one on each end. Use a floor jack in the middle of the axle only to raise the axle into the notch DO NOT put pressure on the axle.Tap a little with dead blow soft hammer if needed they will slid into place. Put in the 4 bolts and they are hung. The rite height can be achieved if U pull the trailer up on 2/2x6"or 8"peices of wood laid one ontop of the other like stairs, Pull up one axle at a time. Leave to TV hooked up for stability.
If U can get an extra pair of hands the process takes about 2 hrs for both axles

Roger
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:42 PM   #17
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Axle party 1/24/2009

I know everyone is getting tired of all my talk about installing these new Henschen axles and Kodiak disc brakes since I have had them in the back of my Suburban since just before Thanksgiving. Well the day is coming this weekend, 1/24/2009, let the party begin. If you are in the area and want to come by let me know.


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Old 01-23-2009, 02:43 PM   #18
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Taking off old axles today

I have started to take off the old axles and after soaking the bolts for a few days in WD-40 I was able to loosen all of the axle bolts except one with my air wrench. Also 3 of the nuts on the shocks that connect to the frame came off without a problem On shock nut does not want to budge. I don't want to force it and twist the bolt off so I am letting it soak another night. I am not concerned abiut the tough axle bolt since I can cut it off if need be. I will post progress as I go along and post picvtures when I am finished.

Don
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:43 PM   #19
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Let us know when you get all this done. Take lots of pictures. Then if you feel sorry for some folks from OKLAHOMA, come on up here because there's another 76 Sovereign waiting. If it was Spring and I had some time off, I'd come help you so I would know just how it's done. Where is Missouri City anyway?
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel View Post
Let us know when you get all this done. Take lots of pictures. Then if you feel sorry for some folks from OKLAHOMA, come on up here because there's another 76 Sovereign waiting. If it was Spring and I had some time off, I'd come help you so I would know just how it's done. Where is Missouri City anyway?

Missouri City, TX just SW of Houston.
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