Project Vintage Thunder

The latest on Project Vintage Thunder, by Airstream Life magazine. Sponsored by George M Sutton RV, Reese hitch, Dometic USA, PPG Paint, Axis Products, GSM Vehicles, and Zip-Dee. Vintage Thunder is an "honest" RV refurbishment and travelogue. We tell you what really happens ...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Secret Axle Story

Now I can let you in on a little backstory that has been going on for the past week or so.

When we were in Florida, we checked the axles to be sure they were still in good condition. The usual test is to check the angle of the torsion arms which connect the wheel hub to the axle rod. If the arms are pointing downward toward the hub (positive angle), the axles are usually presumed to be good. If the arms are parallel to the ground or pointing upward (negative angle), the trailer is either overloaded or the rubber cords inside the axles are presumed to be worn out.

Vintage Thunder passed that test in February and in March. But after 1500 miles of towing up the east coast -- surprise! -- the torsion arms were now parallel to the ground or even slightly negative. What happened?

Our theory is that the rubber cords in the trailer were basically worn out and stiff when we found the trailer (which had been sitting for seven years). The stiffness kept the torsion arms pointing in the right direction. While we were working on the trailer we removed most of the interior (making the trailer very light) so they stayed that way.

But after loading up for a big trip and towing for a long distance, they loosened up and settled down. When we removed our personal possessions from the trailer, the axles remained in the "loaded" position. Colin discovered this during his inspection last week, and we promptly contacted QDS/Henschen to see if they could help us. Unfortunately, Henschen wasn't able to get us the axles we needed in time. We have to replace the axles before Vintage Thunder back goes on the road May 27, because we'll be driving over 3000 miles this summer to attend rallies.

Fortunately, Axis Products jumped in to help. A pair of axles is being fabricated now, and will be shipped from their facility in Elkhart, IN. We expect to have them in time to get them installed before deadline. And with that, Axis Products has become a proud sponsor of Project Vintage Thunder! Thanks for the help, guys!


At 12:57 AM, Anonymous said...

Way to go Henry and the crew at Axis Products!
Rich, you made a wise choice by using Axis Products! I have the first ever Airstream/Argosy axle they have ever fabricated under my Minuet! It tows like a dream!


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