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If you do anything BEFORE you buy a vintage Airstream – inspect the axles. If they are bad and need to be replaced you will know immediately that there will be a big expenditure in your future. The inspection process is as simple as just taking a look at trailer.
Here we will describe the process we went through to replace our axles.
The story begins with us buying our trailer WITHOUT looking at the axles – not that it would have made a difference because we would have bought it anyway, bad axles or not. We repacked the bearings and did a visual inspection with the wheels off but that tells you almost nothing. This trailer sat for 13 years and the only likely thing I might expect is that the axles we stuck. But they were free – a little too free as it turns out.
Reviewing the Airstream Forums I did some informal searching on axles. Not expecting that we had any problems with ours I didn’t think we needed to worry. When I came across the inspection procedure I read it and looked at a few pictures. It is a simple process to just look at the arm that connects the wheel to the axle.
Our arms point up - like, to the sky. This is bad because it puts strain on the frame and trailer. People have reported windows popping out of their trailer because of bad axles. It is serious.
What We Are Doing About It
Not wanting to waste any time I went ahead and order new axles. Inland RV had the OEM Henschen DURA-TORQUE axles and the ones I wanted were in stock. I chose these because I wanted to be able to just bolt them on and forget about it. I don’t want to experiment with a fancy new axle that might require some modification or another to the trailer frame or the axle itself. Besides, the trailer is designed around that axle and that is good enough for me.
The new axles we ordered are rated at 3500 pounds each so we will have a much higher capacity over the stock 2800 pound axles we are removing. This will most certainly mean a more bouncy ride. This can be compensated for to some extent by balancing the load in the trailer and traveling full enough to load up the axles.
For more information on Henschen Axles CLICK HERE.