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Upgrading Axle and Braking System for a 1956 Airstream Safari Trailer


Im wanting to upgrade/add electric brakes and service running gear bearings, hubs, shackles, shocks, etc on my 1956 Airstream camper. Current setup is 12, 5 bolt backing plates which have no brake parts loaded, 6 lug x 5.5 Hadco maybe ?? drum/hubs with the magnet armature removed ??. Outer bearing is TimKen 1779, unsure of inner I did not remove inner seal which has 46156 stamping. Thinking the axle is AL-KO, unsure of weight rating. Curious if you know of a loaded backing plate, brake drum/hub and bearings that would work for my setup? Tires are 7.00x15 on split rims. Hoping to upgrade there as well to a radial tire and black rim with chrome dog dish center. Also what measurements would you need to help determine shackle and shock replacement parts?


Expert Reply:

We do have the means to help get your 1956 Airstream Camper up to snuff but the axle you have on it currently is a very old design that will need to be replaced in order to use a newer braking system. Normally all of the info you gave me indicates the the axle is in the 5.2K - 7K range but you'll need to look on the tag at the front of the trailer or tag in the middle of the axle to determine this, especially since this is such an old trailer.

To determine the correct replacement axle you'll need to take a hub-face measurement and a spring-center measurement (see attached) for the traditional suspension system. We do carry the Axle-Less system from Timbren which takes a lot of the guess work and fine-tuning out of the equation, plus it promotes ground clearance since there won't be an axle tube. For this you'd simply pick out the correct weight rating and go from there.

For example, the kit # ASR5200S01 is rated for 5,200 lbs and comes with brake mounting flanges so you could easily install the brake kit # AKEBRK-6 and 2 of the hub and drum assembly # AKHD-655-6-EZ-K.

Then you can use the Karrier ST225/75R15 Radial Trailer Tire with 15" Black Steel Wheel # AM32575 with the Chrome-Plated Steel Americana Baby Moon Trailer Wheel Center Cap # AM90086 to complete the old-school look you're trying to accomplish.

Of course you'll also need to make sure you have a 7-Way, I recommend the Junction Box Kit # e99011, a Breakaway Battery Kit # 20099 and an appropriate amount of 10 Gauge Wire # 10-1-1 with Butt Connectors # DW05745-10 to complete the braking setup.

But first thing's first. Let's find out what the weight rating is for your axle(s) and then take the next step from there!

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expert reply by:
Jon G

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