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Old 03-17-2012, 12:20 AM   #1
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1987 25' Sovereign
Signal Mountain , Tennessee
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Dexter Axle replacement

I just recently purchased a 1987 25' Sovereign and after reading countless threads decided I needed new axles. I purchased Dexters through Inland RV and knew I would be drilling holes to mount the axles. Today I dropped my first axle, welded on the shock mount and raised the new axle in place. My question is, can I use one of the existing holes to line up, and just drill one hole each side per axle? I believe it would place the tire 1" closer to the other tire, or 1" towards the wheel well. The old axle mounting bracket holes are 9" on center, and the new ones are 8". Other than tires being closer together or farther apart, as long as there is clearance, I don't see any problem with alignment doing it this way. Anyone have experience with this? Have been checking lots of forums, but can't find an answer. I don't like the idea of drilling & wallowing out sloppy holes, making it more difficult to align. And if it's okay to do this, should I move the axles towards the back or front, or one to the back, one to the front?

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Old 03-17-2012, 01:01 AM   #2
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I am sure that Andy at Inland RV would be glad to talk to you about which way would be best. Since you got them from him (and even if you didn't) he is a good source of information.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:01 AM   #3
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I just recently purchased a 1987 25' Sovereign and after reading countless threads decided I needed new axles. I purchased Dexters through Inland RV and knew I would be drilling holes to mount the axles. Today I dropped my first axle, welded on the shock mount and raised the new axle in place. My question is, can I use one of the existing holes to line up, and just drill one hole each side per axle? I believe it would place the tire 1" closer to the other tire, or 1" towards the wheel well. The old axle mounting bracket holes are 9" on center, and the new ones are 8". Other than tires being closer together or farther apart, as long as there is clearance, I don't see any problem with alignment doing it this way. Anyone have experience with this? Have been checking lots of forums, but can't find an answer. I don't like the idea of drilling & wallowing out sloppy holes, making it more difficult to align. And if it's okay to do this, should I move the axles towards the back or front, or one to the back, one to the front?

Newbie
Please call Greg at our office as I am in Hawaii and will not be back in the office until March 26 th.

Andy
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Old 03-17-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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Thank Andy, I didn't know if I could get through on a Sat, but will give it a try. Enjoy Hawaii!
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:10 PM   #5
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Thank Andy, I didn't know if I could get through on a Sat, but will give it a try. Enjoy Hawaii!
Sorry, but we are closed on weekends.

Andy
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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1987 25' Sovereign
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I will call him on Monday. I have both axles in place, temporarilly bolted 1 bolt each side to the front hole. There's just not much steel to drill through on the front side of the axle with the new shorter brackets of the Dexter. The easiest scenario is to move both axles forward 1/2" using the front hole & drill new rear holes. I would think there would be insignificant change to loading or tracking. But I'll wait & speak to Greg. Also front tire clearance may be an issue.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:39 AM   #7
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Does the new axle fit into the notches on the brackets? If so that will keep the axles in line. The axle will be setting on the frame, and for the most part the bolts keep the axles from moving around and pulling out. As long as you have room for the bolt hole you should be fine. Can you post a pic?
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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The notches on my sovereign are about 1.25" larger than the axle tube, but I moved the rear axle into the forward existing hole and the front to the rear hole on each side. I cut some flat steel off the old axles to take up the xtra space in the notch, so my bolts would have firm seating. I also drilled & tapped the frame, and bolted the axle bracket up. The net effect is each wheel moves 1/2" closer (1" total) to each other. This was due in part to clearance issues, getting my wrenches in where a socket or drill would not fit. I talked it over with Greg at inland Rv, and he assured me, it would be fine as long as I have clearance, which there is plenty. I did measure the distance to each axle from the tongue, and they were the same, so I'm sure it will be fine. I will post a picture later when I figure how to do that. Thanks
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:50 PM   #9
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The notches on my sovereign are about 1.25" larger than the axle tube, but I moved the rear axle into the forward existing hole and the front to the rear hole on each side. I cut some flat steel off the old axles to take up the xtra space in the notch, so my bolts would have firm seating. I also drilled & tapped the frame, and bolted the axle bracket up. The net effect is each wheel moves 1/2" closer (1" total) to each other. This was due in part to clearance issues, getting my wrenches in where a socket or drill would not fit. I talked it over with Greg at inland Rv, and he assured me, it would be fine as long as I have clearance, which there is plenty. I did measure the distance to each axle from the tongue, and they were the same, so I'm sure it will be fine. I will post a picture later when I figure how to do that. Thanks
Checking the axle alignment, takes 2 people and a good steel tape.

Measure from the very backside if the jack post, to the most forward lower part of the axle mounting plate.

That dimension should be "EXACTLY" the same.

Assuming that they are the same, then as long as you moved each axle, exactly the same, then you can be assured that the axles are in perfect alignment with the shell.

In the early 70's the axle mounting plates from one side to the other, were SOMETIMES welded 1/8", 1/4" or 3/8" off from one another.

That then means the holes from one side must to be changed to match the other side EXACTLY, in order for the axles to be in perfect alignment with the shell.

If that correction is not made, then the trailer will tow "dog legged", which in turn will cause unusual tire wear.

Any owner of an early 70's Airstream as well as an Argosy trailer should check their coach for proper alignment of the axles, by performing the above stated measurement.

It's an easy fix, but first a determination must be made.

Andy
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #10
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Dog legged?
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:51 PM   #11
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Dog legged?
Yes indeed, dog legged. That was the term that was used, back then.

My 31 foot Airstream was 9 inches crooked, if you wish, when being towed.

Actual measurements easily proved that, when parked next to a straight painted line.

When being towed, you could see far more of one side than the other, in the towing mirrors.

That was true when stopped in a straight line tow, in a large parking lot, or when in motion on a flat road.

For some reason, the axle mounting plate on one side of the trailer, was mounted 3/8 of an inch different than the other side. It supposedly was done to correct the curvature of the roads. It was that dimension for a 31 footer

Another idea that was very bad.

Andy
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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Well finally finished installing the axles, all that's left is re-installing the propane line. I didn't get done as fast as I thought I would. My older body doesn't like to go and crawl around as much as my brain tells it to. All alignments are correct, torqued down, and installed new shocks & centramatic balancers. My next big thing will be tires. After reading most all the recent tire blogs, I'm thinking 16" wheels & michelin ltx tires. But I'd rather keep the 15" wheels and go with the michelin LT/MS load range C @ 50 psi. But is it a true LT or a P tire? I will keep investigating. I'm still not sure how to insert pictures.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:49 PM   #13
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Andy, on an old '70ish trailer, how can we be sure that the jack post is centered to the ball? Maybe remove the jack and measure from the center of the hitch?
The EXACTLY comments in this thread make me think twice about the jack position.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:22 AM   #14
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Andy, on an old '70ish trailer, how can we be sure that the jack post is centered to the ball? Maybe remove the jack and measure from the center of the hitch?
The EXACTLY comments in this thread make me think twice about the jack position.
Place a level on the jack post to make sue it's not bent or out of alignment itself.

Andy
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