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Old 11-08-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
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To Shock or not to Shock

I have a 1965 17' Caravell. I purchased a Henschen Axle from Andy in 2007. Shock brackets came with the axle but were not attached. The original axle had shocks and the upper brackets are still mounted on the trailer.
I am nearing completion on a complete remodel of the trailer.
Should I mount the brackets and install shocks or simply tow with the action of the axle only?
The axle has a 35 degree angle on the arms.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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I have a 1965 17' Caravell. I purchased a Henschen Axle from Andy in 2007. Shock brackets came with the axle but were not attached. The original axle had shocks and the upper brackets are still mounted on the trailer.
I am nearing completion on a complete remodel of the trailer.
Should I mount the brackets and install shocks or simply tow with the action of the axle only?
The axle has a 35 degree angle on the arms.
Shocks are motion restricters.

Torsion axle offer a soft ride, but it's a some what bouncey one, and that's why the shocks are used, which kill most of the bounce.

Henschen axles always had the shock brackets installed, therefore I have no idea why yours were not.

Install and use the shocks, as Airstream, to this day, say that they are a necessity.

Andy
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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You want shocks. In the process of my off frame renovation of my Globetrotter my welder put the shock mounts in the wrong place so there was no shock travel so essentially no shocks. The trailer almost bounced off the road before I turned around and got the mounts rewelded in the proper location. Since then it rides smooth as silk.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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I went through this 6 six years ago. I bought a trailer with replacement axles that had no shock absorber brackets. I bought 4 Airstream shocks and a friend welded up brackets for me.

The shocks definitely make difference. Any kind of spring will benefit from damping.

Since you already have the brackets, installation will only take a few minutes.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:06 PM   #5
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I just put new axles and shocks on mine and it made a world of difference. Remember your shocks dampen vibration and help slow the weight transfer during braking.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:07 PM   #6
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I did not install the shock brackets that came supplied with the axles I bought from Andy. I have only towed about 4,000 miles since I installed the new axles but I see no need for the shocks.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:45 AM   #7
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Debateable subject-
The folks who sell axles with shock mounts say you must use shocks
The folks who sell axles with out shock mounts say you don't need them (but will sell you the brackets if you ask)
Airstream uses shocks but the only place you can get the 'right' shock is thru Airstream.
None of the other trailer manufacturers use shocks on thie torsion axles

I haven't seen anyone document a 'shockless' axle having problems that were fixed by installing shocks.

Me Thinks it's not so much a technical question as a user preference.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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My Overlander has had new Dexter axles for three years and no shocks. I don't see any wiggle, bounce, or sway when I'm towing, and things stay put inside.

I got new axles last year on the Sovereign, with shocks. I don't see any difference.

I think torsion axles are self-damping, certainly not as much as a shock would provide, but enough.

If I had shock mounts and could get the shocks locally, I'd do it. (eg, if it's easy and cheap, do it, otherwise forget it)

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Old 11-09-2012, 10:38 AM   #9
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If the brackets are there, great, put shocks on. If not, I wouldn't spend a lot of time, effort or money installing them.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:43 AM   #10
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shocks

Airstream engineers say that the shocks are VERY IMPORTANT.

But it's your trailer to do with as you wish.

Keep in mind, that Airstream does not install needless or useless things.

However, some shock opinions, which are just that, are opinions, that never include engineering facts or data.

Andy
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:10 AM   #11
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I would be more inclined to hear what the axle manufactures say about installing shocks on a torsion axle. And what applications they recommend shocks be installed.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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I would be more inclined to hear what the axle manufactures say about installing shocks on a torsion axle. And what applications they recommend shocks be installed.
Henschen said ALWAYS.

Dexter says NEVER

Airstream says ALWAYS.

Reduction of bouncing says ALWAYS.

For those that have boubt, ride in the trailer over a bouncy road, with and without trailer shocks.

You will find that the shocks make a huge difference, by reducing the bouncing.

Bouncing an Airstream causes structural damage, be it from unbalanced running gear, bad roads, and/or no shocks. That has been a factor for Airstream since day ONE.

Andy
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:04 PM   #13
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The way I look at it, if Airstream could save some money on each unit produced, the bean counters would make sure that they do. Since all airstreams come with shocks I believe that they have figured out that they are necessary, or they would be omitted as a cost saving measure.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:24 PM   #14
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As long as Airstreams outlive its owners by many years, as 1000's have proven here in print, everyone should be adhering to the original design, period.

Maybe the shockless want stanchions punching dents through the ceiling for the next owners, doors sprung and striker plates worn out, black-ring and missing interior rivets for everybody in their trailers' future path?
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:24 PM   #15
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Shocks or No

I have a 1965 Caravel wirh a torsion Dexter Axel. The shocks were mounted but the shocks rubbed on the tires when turning corners. I called Dexter and they said remove the shocks, torsion axels don't need them. I see no difference, but I am not riding in the trailer. I kept the shocks and can remount them if I necesary The brackets could be bent to eliminate the rubbing, but I think the shocks are not necessary on the 1965 Caravel.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #16
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I've just replaced the axels on a '79 7.3 Minuet. The shocks that I removed were original and still in excellent condition. This tells me they
weren't doing very much if anything. The tortion axels were 'popping rivet shot'. The new axels raised the ground clearance 2.5". had I not ordered new shocks the old ones would have been reinstalled. The test drive today was excellent, nothing slid off the counter nor did any of the bulkheads pop any rivets.
Are the shocks necessary...... beats me.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Airstream engineers say that the shocks are VERY IMPORTANT.

But it's your trailer to do with as you wish.

Keep in mind, that Airstream does not install needless or useless things.

However, some shock opinions, which are just that, are opinions, that never include engineering facts or data.

Andy
Is that the same engineers that put OSB board in the floors and didn't think caulking was needed at the back bumper area? Or the engineers that used frame members in the 2002 CCD+ models that bend like cardboard or crack when you use the step? Shocks are way down the list of VERY IMPORTANT in my mind. Of course this is just my opinion.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:16 AM   #18
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Is that the same engineers that put OSB board in the floors and didn't think caulking was needed at the back bumper area? Or the engineers that used frame members in the 2002 CCD+ models that bend like cardboard or crack when you use the step? Shocks are way down the list of VERY IMPORTANT in my mind. Of course this is just my opinion.
Those things mentioned above are all cost saving measures that didn't work! Airstream still installs shocks on all trailers, so they must have proof that they are necessary or they would be eliminated as another cost saving measure. Remember it's all about cost, these days nothing is installed unless there is a cost/benefit to it.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by searcher View Post
I have a 1965 Caravel wirh a torsion Dexter Axel. The shocks were mounted but the shocks rubbed on the tires when turning corners. I called Dexter and they said remove the shocks, torsion axels don't need them. I see no difference, but I am not riding in the trailer. I kept the shocks and can remount them if I necesary The brackets could be bent to eliminate the rubbing, but I think the shocks are not necessary on the 1965 Caravel.
Dexter is WRONG.

Shocks are necessary on EVERY Airstream product.

If they are necessary on a motor home, then they are equally necessary on a trailer.

No one ever disputes the need for shocks on a car, truck or motorhome, so why think that they are not necessary on a trailer, especially an Airstream that flexes from every bump in the road.

Using a torsion axle, has nothing to do with it since rubber bounces, no matter where it's used, since to one degree or another, it flexes.

Andy
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:09 PM   #20
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one other factor with shocks is traction when braking. the tire will have a lot of 'air time' when riding over rough surfaces with bad or no shocks. shame on dexter.
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