If you wish to venture further than the local meet or mundane, parking-lot camp grounds, then traversing of unknown highways and secondary, or dirt roads, will be necessary. When a vintage trailer is your chosen shelter, components and their condition below the belt-line is crucial. The problem is, aside from uncertain accumulated miles, many mid-century trailers use outdated brakes, wheel-lug patterns, and tire sizes that are no longer available.
Even a Platinum card holding roadside-service member will be S.O.L. if replacement parts haven’t been produced or stocked since the Carter administration. Take this solid axle to torsion-beam axle conversion we performed on a 1960 Airstream Pacer. By replacing the leaf springs and solid axle with a torsion-beam design, the trailer gains more travel, independent wheel motion, consistent tire/road contact, and roll stiffness.
In comparison, this torsion-beam design provides about three to four inches of travel, with almost an inch of static sag — where the original leaf and solid axle might have offered an angry inch with compromised tire contact every time it absorbed a bump. If you’ve ever witnessed a trailer rock, weave, and bounce side-to-side in the rear view, a simple and archaic solid axle’s a major contributor to the problem.
The peace-of-mind from an upgraded axle with modern technology is worth every penny, and it also adds immediate value to vintage trailers. With the addition of a torsion-beam axle, as well as shock absorbers, this ’60 Pacer will provide its owners excellent towing manners and confidence when hitting the open road.
This conversion required custom fabricated mounting brackets for both the axle and shock absorbers. At Camper Reparadise, we have the capabilities to change axles, springs (including air suspension for adjustable ride height), brakes, and wheels to suit every trailers individual needs.