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Old 07-03-2017, 06:20 PM   #1
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1969 21' Globetrotter
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Shocking Discovery

We ordered and received a new Dexter axle last week to replace the original axel on our '69 GT. I must admit, I was relieved to have it finally in place!. The question we have is about the shock mounts, which came welded onto the axle. The shocks stick out farther at the axle attachment than at the original frame attachment, so the shocks sit at an angle to the frame of the trailer. Will that affect the operation of the shocks? Should we put a longer bolt on the old frame attachment, if that's possible?
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:28 PM   #2
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These pics show that the axles are the same length. However, the part where the shock mount is welded is different.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:48 PM   #3
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If the shocks are able to move without binding you are good to go. They don't care which angle they are mounted.

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Old 07-03-2017, 09:33 PM   #4
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My only concern would be that the shock would push out of its mounts. I assume that they are rubber.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:52 AM   #5
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How can you tell if the shock is binding?
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:57 AM   #6
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There is about 1 - 1/12" variance between the front mount and back mount from where they stick out from the trailer frame, where the original ones were parallel to the frame. Has anyone had this problem? Or is it not a problem? Just wondering before we take her on the road.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:39 AM   #7
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I'm just behind you in this process and this morning pulled one axle out. First thing that got my attention was the shock stud is only 1/2" from the frame and to replace a shock means dropping the axle, I do see though that the shock is not in align with the frame with the forward stud mount being 1/2" narrower than the rear(axle end). that 1/2" out looks bad enough and don't think I would be happy with 1-1/2" like you have.
I would either not use shocks or weld a new longer stud on the frame or the axle brkt.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:48 PM   #8
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When I replaced my GT axle I welded the shock bracket on myself and there is a small offset. Looking at your pictures, it looks like brackets were welded on the wrong side of the swing arm. You can also look into cutting them off and re-welding in a more desirable location.
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:31 PM   #9
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Here's what my shocks look like with 1/2" misalignment, outer jacket just about rubbing.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angieair View Post
How can you tell if the shock is binding?
Remove one end.
Move that end such that the shock gets longer and shorter.
If the effort is basically consistent throughout the movement the shock isn't binding.

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Old 12-16-2017, 04:42 PM   #11
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Another post pointed out this problem. It said that the new Dexter axles are different from the originals - mine were made by Henschen. The axle tube is longer and the spindle is shorter. The wheel mounting surface is the same distance from the frame rails but the shock bracket is moved out. I suspect I'm going to have the same problem when my new axles arrive.

If my installer can deal with it, I'll let him. If it gets too hard, I may just leave the shocks off.

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Old 12-16-2017, 05:59 PM   #12
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It’s the sort of thing a trailer shop (big truck) can handle. So long as precautions about welding on the frame are observed.
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:12 PM   #13
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If it gets too hard, I may just leave the shocks off.
Not a good idea, unless you want the trailer to bounce forever. The purpose of shock absorbers— despite the name— isn't to absorb shocks. It's to put a damper on bouncing. This drawing explains it better than I could:
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Old 12-17-2017, 08:34 AM   #14
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The makeup of an Airstream axle/spring is rubber not steel. The rubber encased in the tube acts as a dampener in of i's self. Because t always want to get back to the original position.

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Old 12-17-2017, 09:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The makeup of an Airstream axle/spring is rubber not steel. The rubber encased in the tube acts as a dampener in of i's self. Because t always want to get back to the original position.

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An engineer that is probably smarter than me designed our axles to work with shocks. I'll put mine back to their design every time.
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:50 PM   #16
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I would agree.

I suspect the entire design of an Airstream requires the softest ride possible versus a white box design. In my unprofessional opinion the other travel trailers can take more stress based on their general design versus an Airstream. Leaf springs with no shocks deliver a harsher ride than a torsion axle. Add the shocks and the ride is even smoother with less stress to the coach.

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Old 12-19-2017, 02:05 PM   #17
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our solution

What we ended up doing, back in the summer, was putting in some washers as spacers so that the shocks are parallel with the frame. There was just enough room on the bolts to secure the nuts. My boyfriend, the "McGyver mechanic" and I agreed that it was a good idea to use the shocks as an added measure of security for a soft ride for out old girl. Seems to work fine. We traveled 4000 miles in August, on mostly paved roads, and about 100 miles a couple of times in the fall, which included some very bumpy dirt roads. (We drove slow )
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:47 PM   #18
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I was thinking you could put a big adjustable wrench on the upper shock mount and twist it a bit to help remove some of the offset. it just a flat metal it appears.

washers are another way to do it. if you have enough and they don't rub and not binding then good to go.
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