Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fessing Up

I was very wrong about Henchen Axles. The debate over who makes the right axle, the best axle, the proper axle has raged in the Airstream community. Nothing stirs up the people like axles do. I present all the options and my clients make the call. The owner of the Minuet chose to go with Henchen brand. I am going to tell you all, I was wrong in thinking there was no difference. I am sold and I will tell you why.
One side of the axle was actually in an upward tilt. Even with all the weight off of it, it still remained in an upward angle. How much shock absorption could that be offering?
The other side was level. Once again, how much shock control is that providing? Zero... and see that shock? looks kind of new if you ask me. I think someone is pulling a little cheap fix to a bad situation. Folks, seriously now... cheap fixes never work.

I want to be VERY honest about how this swap went. Hopefully my experience will benefit others. I began by loosening the lug nuts. I proceeded to jack the trailer up, put jack stands under her disconnect the brake wires, and cut the bolts off. I tried for a while to use heat and oil, but gave up after 30 minutes. I pulled out the sawzall and cut the bolts off. 2:08 total time to remove the old axle and have a clean slate to work from.

Here is the new axle. It took exactly four weeks to the day from placing the order till it showed up. Side by side it is identical to the original. The only difference is that it is 3500# instead of the original 3200#.

It took me 21 minutes to have the axle up into place, bolted in, checked for parallel, and the shocks mounted. The next 27 minutes were spent wiring the brakes. The leads on the backing plate could have been a little longer. I had to put a jumper in to connect everything. All the crimps slowed me down. Yes, it took me longer to do the wiring than to mount the axle. Total swap time, 2:56. No drilling, no struggling, no issues at all(except the leads being a little short).

Another task that took place required a little too much effort in removing the old item. This original vent did not want to come off. The multiple layers of sealant and caulk made an adventure of just finding the rivets. Persistence and one rivet at a time got it removed.

And now the hole is filled with a top of the line remote controlled with rain sensor and thermostat controlled Fantastic Fan. I had a slight issue with a contact and Larry at Fantastic walked me right through it. Excellent customer service at Fantastic Fan.

Marmolium floor was installed.

Front to back...

Back to front.

And a new catalytic heater to round it all off.

I will make sure and show a before and after of how the new axle lifted the whole trailer a few inches in my next post.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear the Henchen axles worked out so well. I hope they work as well on the next trailer ;-)