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Old 11-16-2015, 02:29 PM   #21
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmckernan View Post
Go easy on me. I'm a newcomer who has spent enough hours reading threads here to know that asking anything relating to hitches, brakes, 15 vs. 16 this, etc. can lead to craaziness, and that is not my intention

My husband and I just purchased a 1967 Overlander, and I was all ready to snap up fun things such as a Hensley Arrow hitch (from Craigslist), new torsion axles with 12" disc brakes, new 16" wheels and tires, centramatics, TPMS, etc., etc. But...that all gets expensive very fast when I'm working on some other things as well (batteries, fridge, furnace, probably h/w heater, + + +).

So, if I had to prioritize?

I was all set on disc brakes, but just got the axle quote back from Colin, and it was all a little bit higher than I had hoped (without would be $1190 for the axles plus $270 shipping, and with the disc brakes would be $1500 plus $270 shipping, plus I'd also need a $700-$800 actuator)... which makes sense, I'm just having second thoughts now. And we'll be attempting to DIY all of this (I haven't even had a chance to check the axles yet, but assuming it'll be needing them).

I found a Hensley arrow on Craigslist for $1K. Should I forgo that I favor of disc brakes? (I think I can get a Reese pro series or eaz -lift, etc on CL for under $300... Maybe a Reese dual cam for $225 but w/wrong bars).

I'm also hoping to switch to 16" wheels and tires. This seems the easiest to nix to save a little money, but since we have to get new tires anyway, I don't think it'll be that huge of an extra expense. Then there's centramatics, TPMS, and other things that I think are great ideas, BUT add up fast.

Details on how we're using it...We'll generally be towing with a Toyota Tundra (if that matters). Not full-timing, just looking to take the kids camping as much as we're able. Slowly fixing it up over time if we love it...

SO, if you had to rank such things from most impactful to least, in your airstreaming experience, how would they shake out?

I'd love to try to get the biggest bang for our buck here. I want it to function well, but in order for us to even be able to enjoy it, I need money left over to make the inside comfortable and functional since we'll be spending more time camping in it then driving it...
Thanks in advance!
Bonnie
Seems to me "Protagonist" is right about prioritizing. Having done that, explore some options on each item. I have towed a '67 Overlander many miles over 25 years and will be installing new axles before long. I use the KISS method on most things and having had very good experience with electric drum brakes will stay with them when I put on new axles. Colin's axles for the Overlander have 10"brakes instead of the original 12". Experts I have spoken with say that reduces the braking efficiency of the drums an estimated 10 to 20%. Having had two TV brake failures, both times stopping with only trailer brakes, I want to keep my 12" brakes. Andy at Inland RV quoted Dexter axles for my trailer with the larger brakes. It would be worth your while to call him for his take on the subject.
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Old 11-16-2015, 06:27 PM   #22
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1967 26' Overlander
1974 Argosy 26
Charlotte , North Carolina
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Looks like that includes 12" brakes...

Great point on the 10 vs 12.
You got me thinking, so I pulled up the details from Colin and it sounds like I should be good to go, right? I agree with you on the 12" for sure...

"The axles will come completely assembled & include 12" brakes, powder coated axle tubes, "safety lube" spindles (allows you to grease the bearings without removing the wheels), shock brackets welded in place, mounting bolts, lug nuts & an owners manual. Please note that the mounting holes will not line up with the original holes, so some minor drilling will be necessary."

QUOTE=Jacob D;1711228]Seems to me "Protagonist" is right about prioritizing. Having done that, explore some options on each item. I have towed a '67 Overlander many miles over 25 years and will be installing new axles before long. I use the KISS method on most things and having had very good experience with electric drum brakes will stay with them when I put on new axles. Colin's axles for the Overlander have 10"brakes instead of the original 12". Experts I have spoken with say that reduces the braking efficiency of the drums an estimated 10 to 20%. Having had two TV brake failures, both times stopping with only trailer brakes, I want to keep my 12" brakes. Andy at Inland RV quoted Dexter axles for my trailer with the larger brakes. It would be worth your while to call him for his take on the subject.[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:39 PM   #23
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2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
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You would like the Hensley/ProPride hitch, disc brakes, 16" wheels, new axles, and Centermatics, much better than the others have suggested. I have towed with all these items for 45 years as they became available to the RV market and they have saved my bacon many times over. Safety, performance, and low to no maintenance are the main reasons for using these items. Call me prejudiced or opinionated, but it is the truth. Why? You can buy a rebuilt and guaranteed hitch from Hensley for a fair price much cheaper than a new one. I have had lots of free replacement parts sent in the past due to extensive towing way up North. Hensley questioned a loose bearing cap and then asked me to send them the whole head. They replaced the head. They said they could not design a hitch that could stand the wear my Classic 35' SOD places on their hitches on those roads. At no time did any failure render the hitch unusable. No problem they said, "It has a lifetime warranty." Disc brakes have about two times the stopping distance as drum brakes, require no maintenance or adjustments. Replacement pads are very inexpensive Chevy aftermarket part store items that last 40,000 miles. The only problem is you need a backup camera to watch for tailgaters as they won't be able to stop in time during an emergency stop. Sixteen inch wheels will allow you to use truck tires for much better tire reliability. New axles are a no brainer if the old ones sag too much. The Centermatics keep the tire, wheel, brake, and hub assemblies in balance no matter what happens short of tire failure. However, if you are going to do the other changes, doing them all at once saves lots of repeat labor and money and you can get everything fitted up right the first time. Enjoy you trailer and hit the road.
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:56 AM   #24
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To add to a prior post above, our experience switching from 15" wheels and tires to 16" wheels and tires will alter the elevation of the trailer by about ˝" higher with the 16" wheels.

On our upgrade for the 23D, the tire and wheel change raised the trailer a little over 1":

GYM ST215/75R14C rated 1,870 pounds @ 50 psi - 26.7" diameter on factory 14" wheels

Michelin LTX (P) 235/75R15 XL rated 2,183 pounds @ 50 psi derated to 1,985 pounds - 28.9" diameter mounted on 15" SenDel T03-56545T wheels

This change brought the 23D to the same elevation of our prior 25FB so all the Hensley hitch parts worked with the same settings including the CanAm pre-bent stinger for the Mercedes.


The Classic tire upgrade:

GYM ST225/75R15D rated 2,540 pounds @ 65 psi - 28.3" diameter on factory 15" wheels

Michelin LT225/75R16/E LTX M/S2 rated 2,680 pounds @ 80 psi - 29.2" diameter mounted on SenDel T03-66655T 16" wheels.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:16 AM   #25
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1967 26' Overlander
1974 Argosy 26
Charlotte , North Carolina
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Wow, all of these answers have been incredibly helpful. Thank you all for taking the time to provide your input.

I forgot to add a brake controller to the mix... And of course now I'm all contemplating P3 vs. Direclink (ha, I should probably just stop reading threads).

Luckily, once we deal with the running gear and safety aspects, most of the rest is in pretty decent shape (unlike the argosy we got that will need everything). PO had redone water to pex, upgraded gas and electrical, appliances all work, possibly even added a grey tank (it's been in storage since we got it while I get the argosy ready to sell). If the furnace is original, we'll replace that of course though.

Thanks again for all of the advice. Even with the 100s of threads I've read, you all have really added some clarity and helpful information
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:40 AM   #26
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Another tidbit of knowledge is that with the trailing arm suspension Airstream uses, when a tire hits a bump, it travels up and back. So one must be sure the wheel has zero offset and the correct bolt pattern for the lug bolts in the drum brake or disc brake. The width of the tire must be selected so it will not run against either the plastic wheel well or the outer skin.

For the Airstream environment, the 14" wheels have five bolts on a 4.5" circle with a 3.19" center hole. The 15" wheels are six bolts on a 5.5" circle with a 4.25" center bore. SenDel makes their 16" wheel also with the 15" bolt pattern and their 15" wheel also in the 14" bolt pattern.

I acquired the SenDel wheels though a local Discount Tire store in Mesa, AZ. For reference of the wheel specifications:

http://www.sendelwheel.com/wheels/t03bm

When I arrived to pickup the 23D, we were switching to the 15" wheels and tires from Airstream's stock 14" wheels and tires. The curb front tire rubbed the front metal. Upon measurement, we discovered the the street side wheel well was cut so there was about ˝" of metal behind the plastic wheel well. The curb side had about 2" of metal. Obviously the two metal smiths at the factory did not compare notes. We loosened the trim and cut the skin to the same measurement and reattached the trim piece and the 15" tire and wheel fit fine.

The wider width 15" Michelin tires also fit with more than adequate clearance on both the 2015 23D and the 2013 25FB we had before..
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:45 PM   #27
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Lot of great ideas. Towed 31 and 32 footers to over 100 thousand miles with ez tow WD hitch and hitch to tongue sway bars the desert and mountains with no problems and I used Firestone e rated Lt tires. I never had a blow out or tire separation. Had the tires balanced at the tire store. I can forget to take a coffee cup off the counter and it is still there 300 miles later. For appliances and heaters etc try co law Rv in Carthage mo. New and used and they ship
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:59 AM   #28
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My 2-cents, FWIW:

The Overlander is not that heavy that it needs 16" E-rated tires - so my suggestion is to go with Michelin P tires. Stay away from any ST tires.

Get drum brakes with your new axles - they work fine.

Definitely get Centramatics, as that will alleviate the wheel/drum balancing issues.

A TPMS system is good, but checking your pressures manually before starting out and having an IR-type temperature reader (sells for around $30) to check tire temps will do as well. My experience with the TPMS systems is that the only one that provides reliability is the Dill system, which has to be installed when the tires are installed, as they are inside the rim (and are part of the Schrader valve).

As for the hitch, there are other that Hensley/ProPride that will do well. My AS came with the Reese Straight-Line (which is a dual-cam system) that works well for me. The newer models of them are much easier to set up that my 29-year-old one.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:20 AM   #29
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Interesting thread and lots of useful tips and suggestions. In the end, only you and your husband can decide what to do and when and how much to spend.

Some of the items you mentioned are simple add-ons - TPMS for instance. Do that later. It's several hundred dollars - does provide peace of mind but certainly not mandatory for your trailer.

Tire size and availability of different tire types P vs LT are certainly things to consider. I believe that's an upgrade that can be done later. The ride height will be affected by 1/2" or so but that's pretty minor in the scheme of things. Most hitch stingers only adjust in 1" increments. Hensley has welded stingers and my memory says they only come in 1" or more increments. My point is the hitch selection and tire size don't have to be made at the same time.

Hitch versus axles/brakes. Both very important. However, towing with worn axles can cause several problems. Ride height will be affected and the resiliency of the rubber will be nil. New axles seem mandatory to me.

Brakes are certainly a variable to be considered. Larger drum brakes seem the way to go if you decide to stay with drums. Discs are more expensive but wow do they ever stop better and make brake inspection and servicing so much easier. We added disc brakes to our trailer and it is hands down the best mechanical/safety upgrade we've made.

We have an early model Reese dual-cam hitch and it works fine for us. I can certainly imagine the Hensley or Pro-Pride are great upgrades. Upgrading the hitch is something that can be done at a later date without taking the trailer out of commission for long.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:43 AM   #30
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I'm struggling to understand all this advice for a Hensley hitch. If I was $$$ constrained and trying to prioritize, spending that kind of money on a hitch would be much lower on my priority list. I understand some folks think these hitches are great, but there are perfectly functional hitches at a fraction of that cost.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:47 AM   #31
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Which would you rather? Better brakes, better hitch, or better wheels/tires?

If it isn't broken, why fix it?

Axles supposedly only live about 25 years or less, even though we just moved our 75 with original axles 1,400 miles and it towed just fine.

WD hitch, if the nose of your TV goes up when hitched, you'd be better off with one. Again our 1,400 mile tow, normal hitch, the F250 didn't know it was back there other than a drop in fuel mileage.

Disc brakes ... (me personally) why?

16" wheels ... see disc brakes. The original 7.00x15 tires on our 75 made contact with the lead edge of the wheel well, so replacement tires we're smaller.
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