Some originally posted in "What I did to my camper" thread, but for those who missed it I blew out the torsion suspension on the way home from Goshen.
The big shocker was I actually did a walkaround at every stop and checked the hubs and tires with my hand and felt/saw nothing out of the ordinary until I got home and put the chocks in.
That was the first time I noticed anything amiss. I spotted severe wear on the driver side inside 1 inch of tire tread, "some" unusual wear on the outer 1 inch, and the torsion bar was right at 100% of rating (horizontal to the ground) which it was NOT at the start of our trip (and we did NOT eat that much at the Rally!).
These Marathon tires had over 20,000 miles on them, had over 50% good tread left and I was recently weighed within normal limits for the camper.
After talking with OC and Roger Forbes (who changed his axles at a Florida campsite) I thought it might be something I could do myself.
The first step is to find the identical axles that you broke by hitting either a pothole or those darn railroad tracks going into the Streetsboro KOA.
This is harder than it would appear since Al-Ko is out of the axle business and you will be limited to finding someone with "stock on hand".
Leo Akins and Floyd at Flagstaff came through for me when they found two "left overs" from when they switched to Dexter axles 2 years ago. The price I was quoted was awesome and I had no problem jumping in the truck for an 11 plus (each way) round trip back to the Middleburg Plant to save shipping (which would have almost doubled the cost of the axles and gas, tolls, and one night hotel stay was way less than that.) Plus we got to have lunch with FROG BOB and Cindy!
So, for anyone wishing to tackle an axle change, I was shocked at how easy it was.
1) Find a friend with 2 20 ton bottle Jacks (or visit Harbor Freight) and a floor jack (or two).
2) Hook up to the truck and set the parking brake so the rig does not shift off the jacks.
3) Put one bottle on each side using the box frame and jack up enough to take some (but not all) the weight off the wheels. Crack the wheel nuts to just loosen them. Then lift the tires off the ground. Remove the nuts and wheels.
4) Lower the landing gear to support and prevent any side to side movement.
5) Support the rear axle with the floor jack and cut the brake wires leaving a pigtail to connect to the wires on the new (or old) drums.
6) Remove the 4 Grade 8 bolts, washers, lock washers, and nuts and lower the axle clear of the mounts and remove.
7) Repeat for the front axle.
8) Put the new front axle (with new/old hubs installed) on the floor jack and maneuver it into position. Then lift it into place. WITH NEW GRADE 8 HARDWARE, loosely attach the axle to the mounts.
9) Reposition the floor jack under the axle mount flange and lift the axle so the flat top is flush and tight to the camper frame. Tighten and torque the bolts to 100 foot pounds. (you can also drill up into the frame and fish additional bolts into the top mounting holes. See OC's thread on how to do this).
10) Repeat for the rear axle.
11) Attach the brake wires using crimp connectors.
12) Rotate the drums and feel for a slight drag (meaning they are properly adjusted). If no drag, now is a good time to adjust them. If you can't turn them by hand, they are too tight.
13) Pull the break away. None of the drums should turn by hand. Replace the breakaway.
14) Put the wheels and tires on and torque to specs. Re-torque at 50 miles.
Buy neighbor a case of beer for the loan of the tools. Drink a cold one or two for a job well done.
PS the 4000 pound rated axles only weigh about 150 pounds and while a young guy could easily manhandle them, that floor jack saved my ancient bacon.
PPS Yes, Virginia I used an excessive amount of jack stands!