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Old 11-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
Tallassee , Alabama
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New Axles Arrived - they have changed in 40 years

My new axles arrived on Wednesday. Andy at Inland RV did great job of getting me the axles in time.

Last night I started comparing the new ones with the old ones and found several differences. The camper needs to be back on the road by next Friday so this caused a certain amount of panic.

The first difference is that the 12" brakes are quite a bit smaller than original brakes which are probably 13" or possibly larger. There also aren't mounts for the shock absorbers. Finally, the mounting bolt holes in the original axle have been replaced by oversized vertical slots in the new axles, the hole spacing appears to be the same though.

I found what is probably a current Dexter Axle catalog and there is no mention of adding shock absorber mounts as an option for any of their axles so I assume that the camper isn't going to have them installed anymore. I also determined that the drawings on InlandRV's website doesn't show them either. Is this correct or am I missing something?

The top of each mounting slot in new axles appear to be very close to where the original bolt holes are in the original axles. So if I put them back in the same position that the old axle is, there won't be any metal below the bolt to support the axle and the axle will be between 1/8" and 1/4" away from the frame.

Should I snug the axles up to the frame and tighten the bolts or should I drop them down so they are closer to the original location? I am also figuring that it would be best to use a washer and the lock washer next to the nut, which means I need a slightly longer bolt than the original. The old axle was just the bolt, lock washer and nut. Is this correct? It doesn't seem correct to have a lock washer span the slot without support. Yes I will be replacing the bolts with new ones, I assume they should be Grade 8.

If I need to snug the axles up the to frame, I really need to replace the belly pan in that area since it will be much more difficult to do so after the axles are in place.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom on this?

Tom
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:53 PM   #2
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Sounds like the new axles have 10" brakes and the old axle had 12" brakes.
There is a notch in the axle mounting plate which locates the axle. In my opinion the axle should be installed in such a manner that it is as far into the notch as it will go. Then bolted in that location. I believe if you look at the brake drums, the larger (old) drums will be narrower than the new axle drums by about 1/2". 12" brakes use a 2" wide shoe, 10" brakes use a 2 1/2" wide shoe.
As for the shocks, there is another thread running here with a discussion about shocks. You will find different opinions. But if the axles don't have at least the mounting plate with a hole to mount the shocks. You are in a bit of a sticky wicket.
I would get back with Andy and make sure he sent you the right stuff. I've read here on the forum. That he refuses to install 10" brakes on trailers that came with 12" brakes. Perhaps your trailer had an axle change after it was built and before you owned it.
My trailer is a '74 Argosy 26' and it had 10" brakes as original equipment.
Good Luck
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:16 AM   #3
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10" brake drums will have five lugs, 12" brakes drums will have six.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:06 AM   #4
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Well the drums have 6 lugs and the outside diameter is more than 10" by a good bit.

I'll look up the thread about the shocks.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:14 AM   #5
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If you have a dexter axle it is very likely it has 10" brakes. Anything under 3500# will have 10" brakes. 10" brakes can have 6 lugs, I have installed them. While the 12" brakes would be overkill, 10" have the capacity to do the job. You will probably need a welder to move the shock brackets from the old to new. Snug the axle to the frame. Post a picture of the new and old axle.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tom Bray View Post
My new axles arrived on Wednesday. Andy at Inland RV did great job of getting me the axles in time.

Last night I started comparing the new ones with the old ones and found several differences. The camper needs to be back on the road by next Friday so this caused a certain amount of panic.

The first difference is that the 12" brakes are quite a bit smaller than original brakes which are probably 13" or possibly larger. There also aren't mounts for the shock absorbers. Finally, the mounting bolt holes in the original axle have been replaced by oversized vertical slots in the new axles, the hole spacing appears to be the same though.

I found what is probably a current Dexter Axle catalog and there is no mention of adding shock absorber mounts as an option for any of their axles so I assume that the camper isn't going to have them installed anymore. I also determined that the drawings on InlandRV's website doesn't show them either. Is this correct or am I missing something?

The top of each mounting slot in new axles appear to be very close to where the original bolt holes are in the original axles. So if I put them back in the same position that the old axle is, there won't be any metal below the bolt to support the axle and the axle will be between 1/8" and 1/4" away from the frame.

Should I snug the axles up to the frame and tighten the bolts or should I drop them down so they are closer to the original location? I am also figuring that it would be best to use a washer and the lock washer next to the nut, which means I need a slightly longer bolt than the original. The old axle was just the bolt, lock washer and nut. Is this correct? It doesn't seem correct to have a lock washer span the slot without support. Yes I will be replacing the bolts with new ones, I assume they should be Grade 8.

If I need to snug the axles up the to frame, I really need to replace the belly pan in that area since it will be much more difficult to do so after the axles are in place.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom on this?

Tom
Tom.

We have the shock brackets made and supply them at no charge for every axle we sell.

Dexter is hung up on the no shock thing, but we are still working on a way to resolve that issue with them.

Dexter has been sold, so perhaps the new owners will listen a little more.

Andy
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:12 AM   #7
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Tom.

We have the shock brackets made and supply them at no charge for every axle we sell.

Dexter is hung up on the no shock thing, but we are still working on a way to resolve that issue with them.

Dexter has been sold, so perhaps the new owners will listen a little more.

Andy
Really! Who bought them? Any read on what may happen structurally and product offering-wise?
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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Really! Who bought them? Any read on what may happen structurally and product offering-wise?
I read on line, about the sale, but it was very brief and I was in a hurry, so I don't even remember who bought them.

I will however, check on it Monday and see what I can further find out.

Personally, I would look forward to some posiive changes.

Andy
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:23 AM   #9
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Here is some info about the sale:
Elkhart's Dexter Axle acquired - South Bend Tribune
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:29 AM   #10
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10" brake drums will have five lugs, 12" brakes drums will have six.
12" brakes have 6 lugs, 10" brakes can be either 5 or 6.

And I have never seen 13" brakes on a travel trailer of any kind.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:33 PM   #11
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So Andy, are the shock mounts in the UPS box that hasn't arrived?

It looks like everything else will fall into place. The plan is to install everything on Thursday and take the Airstream on a test drive on Friday.

Are there any suggestions on removing the old Axles? Should they just drop out once unbolted or is that just the first step in a difficult process?

Tom
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:53 PM   #12
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Having installed 2 sets of axles by myself in the last year, I would recommend a low profile floor jack and a helper to stabilize the axle on the both the removal of the old and installation of the new. Blocks or jack stands help with keeping the axle balance as you lower and raise them.
I built a fixture to go on the floor jack that holds the axle in the correct position. With the fixture, I just raised the axle into position and installed the bolts.
A heavy hammer may be in order to bang on the mounting plate to break the old axle lose from years of road grime and rust.
Penetrating oil for the nuts on the old bolts. I have a 3/4" drive socket set, so no problem breaking the nuts lose. If I remember correctly, I used a 15/16" socket on the nuts.
Because of the torsion arm the axle will want to rotate when it comes out of the notch in the mounting plate. Make sure you have blocking in place. Don't let it fall off of the jack and on to you.
Good luck!
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:59 AM   #13
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So Andy, are the shock mounts in the UPS box that hasn't arrived?
That's where mine were, along with new lug nuts.

Matt
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:44 AM   #14
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Mine were in a separate box. Was unaware that I had a bit of welding to do, thought it would basically be an unbolt and bolt in the new ones. I have a mig welder so I guess I'll be doing a bit of welding, though my welding skills aren't all that good yet. I'll have to drop one axle first in order to see the exact mounting for the mounts.
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