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Old 05-08-2020, 08:43 AM   #1
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1975 Argosy 26
Ripley , West Virginia
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Running gear rehab (brakes, bearings, rims)

another tinker project on the 56. Main goal is to get brakes on and new rims and tires.

Im planning/wanting to add electric brakes to my safari. Seems as though it may have had warner (??) hydraulic setup in past, but no lines, brake parts or master cylinder on tongue are present... just empty drums..??? They measure 12". See pics.
Does anyone know of a loaded brake kit that will fit?

If i have to buy new backing plates and drums, should I stick with the 6 on 5.5" pattern or go to 5 hole? 6 lug seem overkill for trailer. Is a bolt pattern more common and cheaper as apposed to other? Tires are 7.00 15 LT dry rotted vintage specials on split (cocked cannon) rims.

The spindle and bearings on the side i pulled appear to be solid and usable. No heat signs, corrosion or pitting. Bearings/hub rotates smooth and castle nut seems properly loaded (not overtightened). If I can find bearings/seals I may just replace. But these seem to me to have life left in them.

I know most would say to update axle. But Id rather work with what I have then let next owner make that call. Im wanting to get safari safe to pull with working lights and running gear, then I plan on selling.

Just checking options/input.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:47 AM   #2
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It looks like the brake mounting flange is a five bolt pattern. That would make it tough to downsize to a 5 lug wheel. They generally mount on a 4 bolt flange with 10" brakes.

I'm not saying you can't find a 5 lug wheel that fits on a five bolt flange. Just saying the more common fit would be a 6 lug wheel, 12" brakes, on a five bolt axle flange.

I would stick with the 6 x 5.5 bolt pattern on the wheels with 12" brakes. I don't think the cost is that much different.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:50 AM   #3
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1975 Argosy 26
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thanks for the input. Thats a very valid point.
Now, is there a 12" loaded backing plate and 6x5.5" drum setup that will fit my axle?
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:01 AM   #4
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Yes, go to eTrailer, Redneck, or find a local Dexter distributor. The axle flange should fit the newer backing plates, mine did.

BTW the brake drums you have look like they may have been electric, with the magnet armature removed. They look just like the brake drums that came off my '59.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:17 AM   #5
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It may have had electric brakes...the holes in the drum indicate the possible presence of the magnet friction disk at one time.

Axle=leaf springs, a relatively easy re-build along with new bushings.

Good luck 👍
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:24 AM   #6
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
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Rob,

I'd agree that you need to find a good trailer supply vendor; and not necessarily one that deals with RV's. We have several here in SW Michigan that primarily deal with construction equipment, I was able to get loaded backing plates for less that the cost of the individual parts I needed. They can explain the various options you have regarding hubs and wheels.

One thing that might effect your decision: Are you existing wheels usable? If so then stick with the existing bolt pattern, I am sure you can get tires to fit. In any event, take the drums, bearings, seals and seals to the trailer supply and see what they say. (I prefer name brand bearings after having an on road failure with an inexpensive import.)

The threads you may have read about axle replacement do not apply to your trailer. Airstream changed from solid axles with leaf springs to torsion axles in the late 60's or early 70's. It is the torsion axle that deteriorates over 20 to 30 years and cannot be repaired. Your leaf springs are probably OK.

You will get it sorted out. I helped a friend get bearings for a home made boat trailer using a 30's Plymouth front axle. A restored wood 14 foot Thompson fishing boat looks good sitting on it!

Good Luck - kindly report back on what works out.

Whit Nash
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:53 AM   #7
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1975 Argosy 26
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Thanks for all the input

I have positive experiences with Etrailer and plan on reaching out to them.

Just didn't know if being old axle/setup if it would be hard to obtain parts.

What brand is the axle on my 56? Any badge plate or stamping to look for?

Could I reuse my drum with new backing plates or would/should I purchase new drums?

Im planning on new rims and tires. So I would assume 15"x6" rims. Just something fitting for era (steel wheels with chrome dog dish centers).
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:53 PM   #8
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Given the age of the coach and components, replacement with a new axle might be best approach. Fix once and done. Pat
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:27 PM   #9
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It is most likely an AL-KO axle.
I replaced mine with a Dexter axle, mostly for availability. I don't know if AL-KO does retail parts anymore.
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:55 AM   #10
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1986 25' Sovereign
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Rob,

I suspect that there are generic parts available to repair your axle; hubs, bearings, seals etc. Unless the spindles are scored from a spun bearing or the axle is bent there is no need to replace it. Obviously, a new complete axle might save some time and decision making. But, they are heavy and there is some work involved in removing the old one and the inevitable rusted fastener. I replaced both axles on my trailer because the torsion springs failed; I have a well equipped shop and it was no big deal. But, I would not have done it if the only repairs required were backing plates, bearings and hubs.

I don't know how much a simple straight axle costs, I think mine were about $650 each. If you go the new axle route you need to carefully measure the old one to get the correct replacement; width, spring perch placement etc. (I ordered mine from a vendor that specializes in vintage Airstreams. I went with a heavier axle; bigger brakes and bearings but de-rated spring function. The vendor was quite helpful in explaining my options.) A custom axle will allow you to get exactly what you want - at a price.

Good luck,

Whit Nash
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Old 05-09-2020, 10:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75ArgosyRob View Post
Thanks for all the input

I have positive experiences with Etrailer and plan on reaching out to them.

Just didn't know if being old axle/setup if it would be hard to obtain parts.

What brand is the axle on my 56? Any badge plate or stamping to look for?

Could I reuse my drum with new backing plates or would/should I purchase new drums?

Im planning on new rims and tires. So I would assume 15"x6" rims. Just something fitting for era (steel wheels with chrome dog dish centers).
Rob, you will not be able to re-use the old drums with new backing plates. Someone has removed the armature plates on your old drums so they are worthless.

Regarding new rims and tires, you will find that new radial tires on 15x6 rims will be a lot wider than the old 7.00 x 15 bias tires. They may be a tight fit, both for getting the new wheels in and out of the wheel opening, and for clearance for the shock absorbers. Just a few things to check as you move ahead.

You'll be glad you got brakes and new wheels and tires.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:15 PM   #12
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1975 Argosy 26
Ripley , West Virginia
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thats exactly what I was thinking (about drums) markdoane. Now to take back apart drum/hub to get part number (and measure) for inner bearing, measure seal. Hopefully that will lead me to a new drum that will fit.

Ill try the st225/75-15 spare for my argosy and see how that fits.

e-trailer replied with links to 10" backing plates and bias ply tires (after asking about 12" and radial tires)....????.... guess ill figure it out.
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:45 PM   #13
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1975 Argosy 26
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seems like I some options...

1 new axle, hubs/drum and brake plates

2 add armature plate to existing drums and install new brake backing plates. Or if need retro fit new brake parts on my old hadco backing plate.

3 find a set of used hadco brake assemblies (drums and loaded plate)

4 sell with no brakes. install new rims/tires and repack bearings.

my measuring and research (and Jon from etrailer) concludes a modern drum and bearings will not fit my old al-ko drop axle.
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