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Old 02-18-2013, 06:20 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ASRookie View Post
I just finished having new Dexter’s installed under my ’74 31’ AS along with the new brackets that had to be welded on for the shocks. Since it had shocks when manufactured, my thought is that they were required for proper operation of the AS. Like Silverflames, I picked mine up at Redneck Trailer but in Springfield, Mo. I bought mine from Andy.
When I pulled my AS home a month or so ago, I didn’t know how recently the wheel bearings had been packed so I drove about 50 mph for about 30 miles with very little if any sway. I knew it needed axles so it sat in the driveway until last week. I pulled it to a trailer guy to install the axles with no problem or noticeable sway. Here are pics of the wheels before and after axles installed. I gained about 6” in height. This apparently caused the tongue weight to be greater since it was apparent when I hooked up to tow home (about 10 miles on a county paved road). The ride home was an eye opener. The sway was very noticeable and one that requires action before I tow it again.
I mention this because the majority of you responding to this thread have similar size and age TT’s so I’m in desperate need of help deciding on a weight distribution and sway control system. It would be very helpful to know what systems you guys are using. On a different thread, the majority of those responding (only 5 responded) recommended a Pro Pride system, $2500 system unless they have a less expensive one I don’t know about. I need something to compare it to in order to make a decision. Also, 800# bars seemed to be best for my AS. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
I think Andy might have hit the nail on the head. Make sure your AS is level as possible when it hooked up. Measure from the frame before your front axle to the ground, then behind your axle for the frame to the ground. The measurements should be as close as possible when your hooked up to your TV. Mine is still a bit down, and needs to be adjusted. I towed it to Disney, about two hours away and the only problem I had was when I hit some rail road tracks at 55 mph. Crap went flying everywhere.

What size axles did you go with? Heavier axles use a 3 inch tube. I had to notch my plates to get them to fit.

Like you I don't have 2k to drop on hitch. I bought a easy lift from Adventure RV they got them for $200, it comes with the sway control bar. Worked well so far, no problems towing. Its 1000 lbs bars, so i just make the chains sung not super tight.

But it think a property set up AS tows just find hooked to the ball and chains. I towed mine on bad axles, on ball and chains, and it still towed better than any other trailer I had.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:14 PM   #22
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The new axles were 3" so we had to notch out the plates for them to fit. I'll measure as you suggest and raise my hitch and see how it handles. Thanks for your response.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:27 PM   #23
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Any time. If that does not work you might have to measure the placements of the axles. Both sides need to be the same distance from the front jack so the axles will be in line. If your guy does axle work a lot I'm sure he took that under consideration.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:41 PM   #24
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True for the example that you've given...shocks are needed.
The point I was trying to make is that an underdamped and undersprung suspension is often described as floaty or plush. The tradeoff comes in the form of reduced handling or body control.

If we accept the basic premise that a soft ride is better for Airstream longevity, then a plush ride is desirable as long as it doesn't result in reduced control.

If a suspension system is underdamped and undersprung to the extent that it frequently reaches the travel limits, a loss of control event is imminent.

For those that desire further study, this site does a pretty good job of explaining the physics of spring mass damper systems.
ReStackor Spring-Mass-Damper Theory

To reiterate, for my Airstream, I have not found shocks to be a necessity for control or ride quality.

As usual YMMV.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:31 AM   #25
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The point I was trying to make is that an underdamped and undersprung suspension is often described as floaty or plush. The tradeoff comes in the form of reduced handling or body control.

If we accept the basic premise that a soft ride is better for Airstream longevity, then a plush ride is desirable as long as it doesn't result in reduced control.

If a suspension system is underdamped and undersprung to the extent that it frequently reaches the travel limits, a loss of control event is imminent.

For those that desire further study, this site does a pretty good job of explaining the physics of spring mass damper systems.
ReStackor Spring-Mass-Damper Theory

To reiterate, for my Airstream, I have not found shocks to be a necessity for control or ride quality.

As usual YMMV.
Thank is an interesting post.

However, it's for 2 wheeled motorcycles, which I don't really think behave on the road like an Airstream.

An Airstream can hit a bump on one side of the trailer, but for a motorcycle, a bump is a total bump, period.

Andy
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #26
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Just wondering Andy.....would you be willing to ride in the back of my trailer for a month and give me a report on the state of my running gear and deduce that my shocks are at fault by empirical evidence?

You talk about changing my mind in a heart beat if I were to ride in the back of my trailer without shocks but doing so in any trailer is assuming that everyone's axles are in the same condition and that the report can be 100% conclusive that shocks are to blame. I understand that this post is NOT about blaming the shocks.

What I'm interested is Silverflames and Winestreams accounts over REAL WORLD experience on not using shocks. I understand that they might not tow the same, at the same speeds and over the same terrain and one might tow 6000 miles a year one one might tow 6 miles a year but I am curious (and I hope they respond) that if they had a cracked shell or popped rivets they will say..."Crap ...should've put those shocks on"

Basically in a world of variables this is almost impossible. I referred back to my reference of an emergency room doctor now knowing that his heart attack patient had a bad diet, smoked two packs a day, didn't exercise and the doctor says..."well it was the cigarettes that caused his death."

In conclusion we already know where you stand Andy and no one will debate you on doing a service to the Airstream community. Those of us that spend time on here know that even if you stuck with "to each his own" we all would know where you are coming from. But I think we need to hear more from Silverflames and Winestreams and dozens of others that don't experience any problems from not having shocks or those that think they do. Please..step forward.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:17 PM   #27
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Just wondering Andy.....would you be willing to ride in the back of my trailer for a month and give me a report on the state of my running gear and deduce that my shocks are at fault by empirical evidence?

You talk about changing my mind in a heart beat if I were to ride in the back of my trailer without shocks but doing so in any trailer is assuming that everyone's axles are in the same condition and that the report can be 100% conclusive that shocks are to blame. I understand that this post is NOT about blaming the shocks.

What I'm interested is Silverflames and Winestreams accounts over REAL WORLD experience on not using shocks. I understand that they might not tow the same, at the same speeds and over the same terrain and one might tow 6000 miles a year one one might tow 6 miles a year but I am curious (and I hope they respond) that if they had a cracked shell or popped rivets they will say..."Crap ...should've put those shocks on"

Basically in a world of variables this is almost impossible. I referred back to my reference of an emergency room doctor now knowing that his heart attack patient had a bad diet, smoked two packs a day, didn't exercise and the doctor says..."well it was the cigarettes that caused his death."

In conclusion we already know where you stand Andy and no one will debate you on doing a service to the Airstream community. Those of us that spend time on here know that even if you stuck with "to each his own" we all would know where you are coming from. But I think we need to hear more from Silverflames and Winestreams and dozens of others that don't experience any problems from not having shocks or those that think they do. Please..step forward.
I have more than completed my tour of duty with Airstream "in the field" research.

Trying to help owners is my only goal.

Your being satisfied with your setup, is great for you, but possibly might not be for someone else.

I did my riding in the back of an Airstream, in the early 70's.

Thank you for the invitation, but please allow someone else to take my place in your trailer.

Having talked with thousands of Airstream owners, having investigated more than 1000 loss of control accidents involving towed Airstream products, having proved why they lost control over 85 percent of the time,
having written or approved over 40,000 estimates on Airstream damages, just by chance may give me a little edge over the typical owner.

I humbly admit that there isn't a day that goes by, that I don't make some kind of error.

Oh well, my defense is that I am a senior senior.

But.....I still like what I do.

Andy
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:06 PM   #28
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No shocks on our 65 Safari. New axle installed 3.5 years ago with over 10000 miles. No problems to date. Original owner pulled with original axle and had lots of problems. When installing the new axle I talked with Airstream service center and they told me they do not have shocks on smaller AS.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:15 PM   #29
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Thanks kasten, Are you a 60 mph + type tow or slower? Inspect your running gear before each long trip kinda guy? Or a set it and forget it and hope for the best kinda guy? Thanks for that report
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:40 PM   #30
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This has turned into one of those "I'm right and you are wrong" threads. My new axle came with shock mounts attached. I put new "Monroe" shocks on my Bambi II when I swapped out the axle last year because they were recommended by Colin Hyde from whom I ordered my set up. Are they necessary or even needed? I don't know. I do know that compared to the old axle the ride is greatly improved with the new axle and shocks.
I will say this, I think Andy is the most knowledgably and experienced on the subject in this thread. As is usual here lots of opinions and not much more from everyone else, including myself.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:54 PM   #31
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Thank is an interesting post.

However, it's for 2 wheeled motorcycles, which I don't really think behave on the road like an Airstream.

An Airstream can hit a bump on one side of the trailer, but for a motorcycle, a bump is a total bump, period.

Andy
Surprisingly the trailing arm suspension geometry of an Airstream with a rubber torsion axle is very similar to the rear swing arm of a motorcycle. Not surprisingly, the basic physics of spring mass damper systems doesn't change based on the type of vehicle.

You pointed out earlier in this thread that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but implied that opinion is only as good as it's foundation.

I think it's fair to mention that I am a professionally registered mechanical engineer. I grew up towing trailers. One of which was the '69 Airstream I now own. I spent a number of years designing race cars and have discussed suspension design and dynamics with Carroll Smith. I used to race motorcycles and still ride a bike with a fully adjustable suspension. I currently work for a company that manufactures commercial aluminum trailers.

I run my Airstream at towing speeds up to about 70 mph. I check/adjust the tire pressure and condition for all 4 before each trip. I am happy with 2 years and several thousand miles without shocks.

My opinion on shocks in a nutshell:
  • If you are concerned about harsher suspension response without shocks, don't be. You won't hurt your trailer.
  • If you would rather not spend the money for new shocks, save it. You won't hurt your trailer.
  • If you are concerned about voiding the warranty on your new axles, don't weld on shock brackets. You won't hurt your trailer.
  • If you believe in the sanctity of original design above all else, run shocks.
  • If you think that your trailer handles better with shocks or it just seems right, run shocks.
  • For everyone else, think, analyze, form your own opinion.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:32 PM   #32
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THanks Kyle...I just spit my drink all over my monitor....great summation.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:14 AM   #33
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The positions on this topic have been pretty much exhausted. It's time to move on, please.


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Old 02-20-2013, 08:23 AM   #34
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So time to bury the shock?
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:59 PM   #35
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I was discussing this with the mechanic at inland RV. He said you have to bend back the shock bracket back a bit to get the shock off of it. when the new shock is on the bracket bend/ beat it back into place. My guess is a short heavy duty pry bar would work.
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