6.24.2013

Airstream axles

Finally new airstream axles. We have been riding on the old axles for way too long. We picked up the new axles from Auto Saftey house on friday. The axles are Dexter axles and we went with 22.5  degrees (which added 3 inches!)  . They came out to $446 each thanks to a friends discount. Orginally they would have been $550 but thats still much less then what the airstream websites would have charged. Inland RV was about 745 each plus shipping.  We had to drill new holes but it really wasnt that hard to do. I used a stepper bit from harbor fright that went right through the frame. We saved around $700 drilling our own holes.
 
UPDATE AS OF 08/27/2014:
(I have had a little over a year on the new axles and I am happy with the quality however, I would highly recommend going more than 22.5 degrees. If I could do it over I would do 26 to 32 degrees.)




before



after






Just looking at it you can tell its time to replace. It’s done its job for 40 years which is pretty amazing. I wonder if the new ones will last that long?   

I did research online and found that torsion axles really don’t need shocks. We are not installing shocks on the new axles. If for any reason in the future it becomes a problem I cut off the brackets from the old axles incase I want to weld them on.

Chris removing the first axle



Here you can see the new bolts. I used Grade 8 bolts that I bought from Napa auto parts. The bolts are not in the original holes on the airstream frame. We just picked a new spot and drilled away from the old holes and made sure we drilled as high as we could from the bottom of the frame using a stepper bit. Drill the new holes with the axles inplace. Drill through both axles and frame and just slide the bolt in.

Chris, Jason, Allen


Dad, helping out.

Thanks Jason for the help!

20"
23"

After everything was done we gained 3 inches!
If you are planning on doing axles yourself, I will be posting all the measurements, where I got the axles, tools I used and where I dilled the holes. Email me if I forget. It took about 3 hours.

You will need:  5/8 grade 8 bolts. I got 8 of them at napa auto parts. nuts bolts and washers came out to $35.

Suggestion: You could go with ½ inch bolts. They are MUCH easier to find and you can buy a half inch drill bit almost anywhere. If you do go with 5/8, Sears has 5/8 drill bits. If you use a stepper bit you will have to drill at a slight angle.

*Please feel free to email me if you would like more information    

8 comments:

  1. I just purchased a 72 Sovereign and was on my way to Illinois to pick it up. Little did I know the logistics involved. After a 10K weight distribution and sway bar hitch, new tires etc, I was told because the trailer sat for 18 years brakes and possible axles would need replacement. I have decided to use Dexter as well and wondered what type (nomenclature) you used along with the bolt pattern and how many bolts. Also need recommendation on tires, seems that Big O wants to sell me the 205's with a C load rating. Any help would be great, as well as time frame to do the swap.
    Brendan
    bfduff@yahoo.com

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    1. Sure thing! I dont remember off the top of my head what the measurements were so let me get all the paperwork together tonight and I'll get back to you. Also, i'm not sure what type of tire's you have on your tow vehicle but thats important as well. After about the fourth trip, one of my back tire's blew off. It was because the weight of the trailer was too much for the tires i had on at the time. Turns out having a 10ply tire on your tow vehicle makes a difference. I was able to purchase E rated tires (which is a 10ply tire) from discount tire for for only $151.00 each. It was the best price I've seen on 10 ply tires. They are Falken rocky mountain ATS. I've had them on now for about 1 1/2 years with no problems.

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    2. Axles:

      From: ASH auto safety house.

      602-269-9721 Phoenix AZ, 520-889-9551 Tucson AZ, 928-524-3582 Holbrook AZ


      Here is the information for the axles on the paper work

      A2 T3580-655E-61.5LR-22.5D-G
      #10 Torflex grease.

      Tires on trailer:
      Power king tow max STR LRD

      ST255/75 R15

      Hope this helps!

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  2. Thanks for the great blog! I'm in the process of doing the same procedure and curious about your comment "(I have had a little over a year on the new axles and I am happy with the quality however, I would highly recommend going more than 22.5 degrees. If I could do it over I would do 26 to 32 degrees.)". What is the reasoning behind that? What benefit to you gain from the increased angle? Thank you again! Erik

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  3. How did you go about aligning if you drilled the holes on your own? Also, is the height because you want more tail clearance on the older trailer o ryou want it ride highter overall. Great writeup.

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  4. How did you go about aligning if you drilled the holes on your own? Also, is the height because you want more tail clearance on the older trailer o ryou want it ride highter overall. Great writeup.

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    Replies
    1. I went higher to give a bit more ground clearance. Now I wish I would have actually Went even higher. I think one more inch would have been perfect.

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  5. The axles will always sit in the same spot as the originals. The frame has a notch that the axles will slide into. The holes on the new axles sometimes do not match the original holes so you just drill them out. As for the alignment, after the axles are installed you should take the trailer to a shop so that they can bend the dexter axles into the proper alignment. I went almost 6 months before i took the airstream in for an alignment. The tires showed a bit of inside wear. Just a small note, after the shop aligns the axles make sure you check the work they did. The shop i went to bent them up and it damaged the aluminum under the trailer. It was separated from the trailer and they didn't even rivet it back on. If I didn't check rats and water could have easily gotten in.

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