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-   -   The Minuet is at the Axle Doctor! (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f437/the-minuet-is-at-the-axle-doctor-16297.html)

Anon 04-25-2005 10:03 AM

The Minuet is at the Axle Doctor!
 
I have taken the Minuet to the "Axle Doctor". It is in the manufacturing facilities of Axis Products, Inc. in Elkhart, Indiana roght now.
Henry Spilko, Director of Business Development and long-time axle nut, graciously accepted my offer to use the trailer as a "prototype" to develop a high-quality replacement torsion axle for Airstreams and Argosys.
I dropped the Minuet off yesterday. Yes, on a Sunday. Henry met me at Axis Product's shop and parked my baby inside. He took time out of his Sunday to spend two or three hours with me. Showing me around the shipping and warehousing facilities at Axis Products. No production was running so he could not show me how they make the axles. He did describe the process and it is nearly identical to the Henschen process. There are some differences but they are all value-added.
Henry crawled right under the Minuet and went to work identifying how to remove the axle and what would be needed to refabricate a direct bolt-on replacement. No welding of brackets. No hole drilling. No modifications needed. Just bolt on and go.
While I was there Henry showed me several different axle products that they supply to commercial, industrial and heavy indistry. They actually make the axles that go under the Lone Star semi trailers! Axis Products manufactures axles for several markets.
I approached Henry last week about making an axle for my Minuet. I asked him what the ballpark figure would be and he shot back a ballpark figure that is about two thirds the price of the Henschen replacement!
I then asked him what he needed. He said he needed an axle to start with. Then he can make anything I needed after that initial old axle.
I told him he could have the whole darned trailer for a week if he wanted it.
Henry gladly accepted and told me to bring her on down. He put her up in his warehouse and will be putting his engineers all over it starting today.
Here is what I am getting from Axis Products:
Dexter brakes and drums
Through-the-spindle lube fitting
E-coating the ENTIRE axle inside and out
22.5 degree drop

Henry says that once he is done he will be able to provide any of you with an axle just by knowing a few things. Henry is starting to amass axle information on every axle that Airstream used. He would like to be able to supply a bolt-on replacement with you telling him what options you want.
Heck, he will give you a few choices on coatings for the axle too boot!
If you want disc brakes I saw a whole stack of Kodiak disc brakes there. I also saw a mountain of Dexter loaded backing plates!

Take a look at the pictures in my Members Photos section that I took while I on my way there and while I was there. I did not get too many of Axis Product's facility as they were not open when I was there.

AYRSTRM2 04-25-2005 11:40 AM

Lou, this is astounding! Can you get me some contact info? Also, would you be willing to PM me and let me know how much approximately this should set back us single axle owners?

Also, how did your trailer handle in the snow?

Janet H 04-25-2005 11:51 AM

Caveat -

It's my understanding that on different models and different years the mounting brackets had different locations. I think it's dangerous to assume that a "one size fits all" replacement will work.

We replaced the axle on our Minuet and had to have the Mounting brackets cut off and relocated - i understand that now Henschen ships axles with the brackets packed loose - they have to be individulally located on each install.

Anon 04-25-2005 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janet
Caveat -

It's my understanding that on different models and different years the mounting brackets had different locations. I think it's dangerous to assume that a "one size fits all" replacement will work.

We replaced the axle on our Minuet and had to have the Mounting brackets cut off and relocated - i understand that now Henschen ships axles with the brackets packed loose - they have to be individulally located on each install.

Not saying that one size fits all.
All that the manufacturer of the axle needs to know is where your brackets are located. Once they know what the bracket looks like then they can fit them for you.
If you have a 1977 Minuet, guaranteed your brackets look exactly like mine.
I am sure that the brackets are not custom made for each individual frame. That would not be cost effective when manufacturing anything.
I am sure that the mounting brackets and locations cross models and years. It does not make sense to constantly re-engineer something as simple as the locations of a mounting bracket for an axle.
This isn't anything new. People have been replacing their Henschen with other axles for years.

Anon 04-25-2005 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AYRSTRM2
Lou, this is astounding! Can you get me some contact info? Also, would you be willing to PM me and let me know how much approximately this should set back us single axle owners?

Also, how did your trailer handle in the snow?

The trailer handled great in the snow. A lot of that has to do with the tow vehicle too. I have an AWD Safari and that thing is "grippy". Not only is it "grippy", it has a lot of "Oomph" with the 4.3L V-6. I cannot kill that power train!
It was also the first run since the renovation. I had no A/C on it when I hauled it home.
With the new axle it should sit a little higher too. I have looked at the sales brochures for the 1977 Minuets. The Minuets seemed to sit lower than the other Airstream and Argosy products. I am not sure what the angle was but I am pretty sure it is less than the standard 22.5 degrees. I just want a little more height out of it. I am mounting BAL remplacement stabilizers under it and I want a little more clearance.
Henry at Axis Products told me that I can get just about any degree of angle I want. There are standards and Airstream is not the only one to use 22.5 degrees.
To let everyone know, I am paying whatever anyone else would pay for their axle. I am not one to take freebies and then blow a horn because of that. I am just not paying any S&H for my axle.
If you look at all of the Minuets, they will have the same "bracketry" that mine does.
Even if you have to tell him where the brackets go or the brackets come "loose" paying one to two thirds less makes it worth it.

Anon 04-25-2005 04:02 PM

No more saggy bottom!
 
3 Attachment(s)
Take a look at the pictures of what came out from underneath my 28 year old Minuet!
It took a bit of work on the part of Axis Products but they got it out!
I was told there was 28 years of rust to break free in order to drop the axle!
Henry says that it should be cake work for the brackets! After that no more bad axle.
Also, the shock mount was originally welded in. He told me that he can weld a new one in or bolt it. I told him that I would like to be able to hack the old one off in the future so I won't have to play with it. He is going to bolt mine. He did say that they can weld it back on if you want. Not my preference as I want to be able to work on it five to ten years down the road.
Take a look at what they pulled out! :)

markdoane 04-25-2005 04:31 PM

Lou,

Make sure you take the old Henschen with you.

Unless they want to buy it from you for competitive analysis.

I'd say it's worth about $175.

:)

Anon 04-25-2005 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markdoane
Lou,

Make sure you take the old Henschen with you.

Unless they want to buy it from you for competitive analysis.

I'd say it's worth about $175.

:)

:eek:

I will keep that in mind! Why is it worth so much? Does somebody use them?

Anon 04-25-2005 04:54 PM

Does anyone know if the Minuets came with something other than the 22.5 degree down angle?
It looks like mine has sagged but not that much.
I am thinking maybe a 10 degree down angle?

markdoane 04-25-2005 04:56 PM

Nah, I was just giving you a starting point for negotiation. If they give you $20, it will pay for your gas to get home. ;)

But they probably will just laff.

sfixx 04-25-2005 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markdoane
...I'd say it's worth about $175. :)

Really? Why? Where?


Lou, Sounds like a great solution. How did you find Axis Products?

Steve

Anon 04-25-2005 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markdoane
Nah, I was just giving you a starting point for negotiation. If they give you $20, it will pay for your gas to get home. ;)

But they probably will just laff.

Not my pig! It took $40 just to get it down there! :o
I think the 50 mph headwind for half of the drive had something to do with that though.

Anon 04-25-2005 05:00 PM

I'm thinking about pulling the axle out of the 1973 Argosy 20 and taking it down to him when I go pick up the Minuet! It will all depend upon whether or not I want to do that one right away. It still looks pretty good and it had some work done to it by the PO.

Anon 04-25-2005 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sfixx
Really? Why? Where?


Lou, Sounds like a great solution. How did you find Axis Products?

Steve

Steve,
I had intially emailed them from an auction on eBay.
They had a couple of sprung axles that were over runs or something like that.
I asked them if they made torsion axles. They said yes.
Then another member on here had conversed with Henry but he was in Cali and Henry is in Indiana. It would not be feasible for him to take Henry his trailer. It was for me.
It looks as though dealing DIRECTLY with the manufacturer of the axle is a better solution. I take great comfort in knowing that Axis Products is personally handling my axle situation. It beats going through a rep or a distributor. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Mike B 04-25-2005 06:22 PM

Replacement axles
 
I just spent a while on the phone with Henry from Axis Products about their axles and what they can provide. I was very impressed with the different options available for finishes on the axles from hand painted waterbased paint all the way to a galvanized finish if thats what you want. There is a multitude of different brake systems available, electric to disk in different materials. I think that they can provide you with anything you might possibly want and seemed very responsive to satisfying any request the customer may have.
I am going to have them give me a quote on a pair of axles for my 31'.
Mike B

markdoane 04-25-2005 06:23 PM

I don't think I'm giving away any secrets, but 'axleman' on this forum is the guy from Axis Products.
https://www.axisproducts.com/

05ModPod 04-25-2005 07:59 PM

This sounds very interesting.

We were looking into both the Dexter from several trailer dealers and the OEM Henschen from Inland RV.

One of the main questions we are facing with ours is the weight rating of the axle.

For the minuets and the caravels - the 3500# axle is fine - however the Globe Trotter Original Duro-Torque Axle was rated 4000# and the OEM replacement is also 4000# (also available in a 4500# if you want to carry a bit more cargo). This gives the trailer 750# cargo/liquids - but if we put a 3500# axle on her that gives us 250# cargo/liquids. Our trailer weighed about 3380#with no liquids - just a big of cargo in her.

All other axles we have found as a possible replacement jump from 3500# which we think is not enough to 5200 - 6000# which is too much and we have been told that it will be way to stiff and break her apart almost as bad as the dead axle in her now.

Can anyone shed some light as to where we would stand with the Axis Torsion axle?

The price for the Axle at Inland is $800 US complete for 10" - we also had a price of $150 for shipping (which was very reasonable). So would our axle requirement also be 2/3's of the above price?

Thanks

gotair 04-25-2005 08:02 PM

We can all say thanks to Lou for taking his axel to Indiana in a FREAK SNOW STORM on a sunday .... so that everyone of us can benefit from his labors .... I wish I could have done it....
Obewan, the force is strong in this one...

Anon 04-25-2005 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GT6921
This sounds very interesting.

We were looking into both the Dexter from several trailer dealers and the OEM Henschen from Inland RV.

One of the main questions we are facing with ours is the weight rating of the axle.

For the minuets and the caravels - the 3500# axle is fine - however the Globe Trotter Original Duro-Torque Axle was rated 4000# and the OEM replacement is also 4000# (also available in a 4500# if you want to carry a bit more cargo). This gives the trailer 750# cargo/liquids - but if we put a 3500# axle on her that gives us 250# cargo/liquids. Our trailer weighed about 3380#with no liquids - just a big of cargo in her.

All other axles we have found as a possible replacement jump from 3500# which we think is not enough to 5200 - 6000# which is too much and we have been told that it will be way to stiff and break her apart almost as bad as the dead axle in her now.

Can anyone shed some light as to where we would stand with the Axis Torsion axle?

The price for the Axle at Inland is $800 US complete for 10" - we also had a price of $150 for shipping (which was very reasonable). So would our axle requirement also be 2/3's of the above price?

Thanks

I would call and talk with Henry at Axis Products.
His contact info is: 574-266-8282.
I would agree with your assessment of an axle that is rated for more weight than the trailer was designed to carry.
I have gone with a 3500# axle as I am sure this will be within the window of what the body was designed to handle from road stress, etc...
Henry would be a better source of information.
I would have to say that the 2/3 for the price would still apply. Do not quote me, as I am not Axis Products. I am just a restoration nut. I do my research, find a good price on a quality product and then act upon it.
This is the first time I have dealt with Axis Products. I have seen that they supply torsion axles to a number of popular manufacturers as their OEM axles.
They actually make torsion axles for heavy farm tractors. I figured if they can make a torsion axle that supports 10,000 lbs. then they should be able to make one that supports a lot less than that.
If you would like to visit their website, which is how I found them, the address is posted right above in another forum member's post.

Anon 04-25-2005 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gotair2
We can all say thanks to Lou for taking his axel to Indiana in a FREAK SNOW STORM on a sunday .... so that everyone of us can benefit from his labors .... I wish I could have done it....
Obewan, the force is strong in this one...

Luke,
I have used The Force for good.
It can be turned against us and used for evil as well.
Use The Force wisely, Luke.

Obewan


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