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Old 12-28-2010, 09:47 AM   #15
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1967 24' Tradewind
Greenville , South Carolina
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My experience

Originally Posted by tphan View Post
My experience with my '72 Overlander was this: the #10 Dexter tubes fit up into the frame slots just as Lumatic's did- perfectly snug. With them jacked up into place, I then used a "blair cutter" kindly loaned from Aerowood. This is a kind of super sharp "hole saw" designed for metal, and worked well for the semi-overlapping holes of the frame/new mounting plates. Yeah, you're laying down and drilling sideways but it really doesn't take long with a 1/2" drill. As stated earlier here, be careful with the torque of the drill while doing this by having a firm grip with both hands! I had no problem and I'm kinda weak.
I did not measure beforehand to see if the factory-made slots for the axle tubes were the exact same distance from the tongue, as described here, I guess for 2 reasons: 1) I figured the geniuses in Jackson Center did this with some kind of jig when they built my trailer, and 2) Grinding or torching the slots to modify them was not something I had any real interest in doing. I liked the original snug fit.
I have made several trips with the new set-up and have only noticed good things- mainly a smoother ride. There is NO uneven tire wear or any other indications of out-of-whack axle placement.
When I measured afterwards (after reading a similar post) the factory-made slots were indeed in the right place. Just luck? Who knows, but pre-measuring certainly isn't a bad idea I suppose.
Last I heard, Airstream was using #10 Dexters on the newer trailers up to a certain weight category, heavier than my Overlander IIRC. That said, OEM's would be easier to install but budget is part of the renovation equation for a lot of us.
Good luck and have fun! -tim
I had the same experience as Tphan and Lumatic. Axle fit very snugly in slots and just had to drill holes which by the way you would also have to do if going OEM.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:08 AM   #16
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1968 26' Overlander
West Columbia , South Carolina
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You guys are awesome! I keep checking in while on breaks from cursing rusted bolts. The tips have already spared me some heartache...and I haven't dropped the first axle yet.

I'm going to round up some shim stock and a burr, then take the plunge. I'll try to get some side by side photos if I can remember.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:20 AM   #17
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1973 23' Safari
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I also used Dexters and was fully prepared with my step bit but I didn't use. My axels fit perfectly,no drilling required!
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:03 AM   #18
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1963 19' Globetrotter
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I installed dexter # 11 on my 77 ,I had to notch out the trailer`s mounting plate to get them to fit,then used a 5/8 hole saw to drill the holes,no hang ups or broken wrists with the hole saw. Dave
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:01 PM   #19
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It's been awhile but I remember bolting one end of the shock before you jack up the new axles makes it easer. Also make sure you don't put the shock on upside down.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by garry View Post
It's been awhile but I remember bolting one end of the shock before you jack up the new axles makes it easer. Also make sure you don't put the shock on upside down.
That reminds me...

I opted to go shock-less after my axle change. I know this will probably get a few people riled up but I've got better things to do with $150 (rough cost of 4 new shocks) when the rubber that's already in the axles is self-damping. I did get my Axis axles though with the shock bracket welded on so that if anyone should come to own my AS in the future and decide that they can't live without shocks, then the brackets are already there.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:12 PM   #21
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1968 26' Overlander
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So, in case you come to this in your search of the archives, here's an update. Drilling the holes was really pretty much a non-event. But, there is some information that may be useful.

In my case, I used a #10 Dexter axle. The tube on this one is smaller than the cutout on my 1968 Overlander. There is a little less than 1/4" gap. Other folks mention widening the cutout. I think that in these cases, they may have been using a #11.

Having been forewarned about the dangers of hanging up a 5/8" bit, I eased up on the juice as soon as I could see daylight through the hole. I also kept enough pressure on the bit to keep the revs down. So, when (notice I didn't say IF) the bit hung up, it was no problem. Just back up and ease in again at a sane speed. This worked even on the holes that partly overlapped an existing hole.

I did use the bur on one hole. But, the tiny slivers of metal that it produces are a real hassle. Otherwise, it's a nice alternative.

I also did check alignment BEFORE drilling. I was delighted to see that it was perfect with the first axle pressed against the rear side of the cutouts.

In summary, I had to drill two holes on each side. The only tricky bit was that one set overlapped existing holes.

BTW--when talking to an engineer at Dexter, I was told that it might be possible to get a blind (no holes) bracket from the factory. But, I expect it's at the discretion of whoever you ask. I basically forgot to ask when I ordered mine .

Also, be advised that if you use your frame holes as a guide for drilling into a blind Dexter axle bracket, one of the holes will be obstructed by the wheel. For this reason, I think it's actually easier to drill into the frame flange. Keep in mind that the flange is added onto the actual frame. So, I don't foresee a significant change in the structural properties.

I will be posting additional information on 16 inch wheels, LT tires, and other provocative notions in a separate thread. I will put a link here if I can remember.

Thanks again to everyone who answered my question.

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Old 12-31-2010, 12:08 PM   #22
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1962 28' Ambassador
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Replaced my X with a dexter #11. Only praise for the product, company & dealer. The reciever slot on the side of the trailer mounting plate had to be cut an additional 1/8, new X was larger. Soft steel, easy job with a recp saw. All 4 mounting holes did not line up. To insure NOT boring partially into an existing holes in the frame plate I did remove the brake backing plates from the new X. With them out of the way no problem. X jacked into place, bored 1/4" guide holes, 5/8" bolt holes. Both plates are soft steel. Sharp bits, 1/2 drive rechargable drill, hot knife thru butter. Just be carefull about pinching the elec. brake wires in the backing plates when you reinstall, yep I did it!
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:54 PM   #23
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West Columbia , South Carolina
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Link to thread on conversion to axles, 16" wheels and LT tires

As promised:

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