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Old 12-05-2023, 06:34 PM   #1
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Axle replacement?

Replaced the tires this month on my 2006 19' single axle (Dexter) Bambi. The tech recommended I have the alignment checked because of the way the tires had worn. Took it in to a good alignment shop (specializing in RV's) and they tested and said the only fix was to replace the axle. Attached are the specs.
I'm wondering if the cost of replacement is worth it at this time. I use the trailer 4 to 5 times a year for a total of maybe 25 days. They are checking with Dexter to find the replacement, but guessing it is going to be $1500 to $2000. Any thoughts or comments appreciated...
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Old 12-05-2023, 07:18 PM   #2
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Folks on these Forums have talked about getting their Airstream wheels aligned. I read the alignment actually involves "bending" the Dexter axle to get the desired alignment specs. Maybe your right side hit a big pothole at some time. And maybe your shop saw some damage to the axle and thus recommend replacement.

Maybe your shop is a Dexter Axle distributor, or local expert. If not, I would recommend a second opinion by a shop who are experts in Dexter Axles.

I hope others will chime in here and offer their advice.

David
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Old 12-05-2023, 07:32 PM   #3
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If the axle is the original from 2006, it would not be unusual that it needs to be replaced.

Tim
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Old 12-05-2023, 07:49 PM   #4
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IF those specs/measurements are correct…. that axle might be installed backwards.
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Old 12-05-2023, 10:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. The shop did say they could not bend the Dexter, so I'll check further to see if it's just them or a characteristic of the axle itself.
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Old 12-05-2023, 10:46 PM   #6
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Interesting thought on it being backwards...another thing to check on. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2023, 06:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by njoynRVn View Post
Interesting thought on it being backwards...another thing to check on. Thanks.
That idea might be a red-herring, (considering the trailing-linkage design of the axle)…but….Be aware…if the axle is reversed….the brake assys will likely need to be swapped side-to-side when the axle is turned around.
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Old 12-06-2023, 08:31 AM   #8
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I would say that the specs having the appearance of a backward axle would have to be purely coincidental, as there is no way the wheels would be in the wheel wells if the axle was backwards. See the attached pic.

Anyway, the rule of thumb is that the elastomers in the axle will last around 20 years, so you are just about due for replacement anyway. You may not feel compelled to get an axle just for the alignment issue, and the wear it causes on tires, but as that axle loses its elasticity, handling will become more hazardous, and your trailer is going to get shaken more severely as you go down the road. This is one of those "stitch in time saves nine" type of situations.

Your estimate of $1500-2000 might be a bit low. It has been 10 years since I bought an axle, but a single axle back then ran about $750 with delivery, and I installed it myself.

good luck!
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Old 12-07-2023, 12:50 PM   #9
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Wow, Belegedhel, that's a pretty impressive photo. The anxiety I would go through to get my trailer in this position would be a non-starter for me to DIY! I do appreciate your input though on the life of the axle and if the shop's original guesstimate comes close to the actual once they get a response from Dexter, I'll probably go ahead with it.
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:59 PM   #10
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That photo is actually just the frame--no shell attached. I dropped my axle into position with the frame upside down, so it was super easy, as I was nearing the end of a shell-off. The standard means of swapping an axles is much less dramatic--you'd merely jack it up and drop the axle from underneath.
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:27 AM   #11
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I replaced the axles on my 2005 safari last year. I did one at a time working off the floor. It wasn’t that hard of a job and you get new brakes and bearings. I ordered from Colin Hyde and they know what you need. I also changed the drop angle and that lifted the trailer a bit.
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Old 12-08-2023, 10:12 PM   #12
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I agree with slimpockets.
However, I also find it hard to believe that the axle has been bent resulting in a significant change in the wheel alignment. I believe it would take a major force like being in an accident to bend an axle.
One option, if you aren’t driving a lot, is to monitor tire wear and not change your axles immediately. If tire wear becomes a problem then go ahead and change the axle..
Either way, I see a new axle in your future. I would be curious to see the wheel alignment after a new axle is installed.
Good luck.

Dan
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Old 12-09-2023, 11:04 AM   #13
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Once again, I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I did a DIY install of lifts a couple of years ago, a huge improvement on the ability to navigate in not so trailer friendly situations. The installation of an axle seems a little more daunting. I'll check with Colin Hyde on pricing to see how it compares to what my shop comes up with.
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:18 PM   #14
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Several years ago I had the same problem. I contacted the factory and was given a list of several shops authorized to do alignment on Dexter axles. As you are in Oregon, (so am I), we have used Kaiser Brake and Alignment in Eugene. We have used them several times and if there are no larger issues, the cost for the alignment was under $200.
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Old 12-11-2023, 07:20 AM   #15
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No guarantee the new axle will be any better
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:31 AM   #16
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I agree with tjdonahoe. Might be a good idea to make sure you have a problem before you try to fix it. How old were the tires that you replaced? If you’re getting 5 or 6 years out of the tires, might be a whole lot more cost effective to replace tires than axles.
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:41 AM   #17
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Just how “accurate” can an axle keep wheel-alignments when the axle itself isn’t solid metal…?? I mean… after all…the wheel ends of these axles are inserted into a hollow tube…. filled with RUBBER STRINGS that hold those wheel-ends and allow them to be FLEXIBLE and wobble all around …by DESIGN.

Minor out-of alignment cannot be a major concern if you can get many-thousands of miles out of a set of tires before they need rotation or replacement.
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:47 AM   #18
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Just how “accurate” can an axle keep wheel-alignments when the axle itself isn’t solid metal…?? I mean… after all…the wheel ends of these axles are inserted into a hollow tube…. filled with RUBBER STRINGS that hold those wheel-ends and allow them to be FLEXIBLE and wobble all around …by DESIGN.

Minor out-of alignment cannot be a major concern if you can get many-thousands of miles out of a set of tires before they need rotation or replacement.
I've often wondered about this. Is there any kind of inner or outer bushing which centers the torsion shaft in the axle housing? I have searched for diagrams and cutaway pictures and find nothing conclusive either way. What keeps the torsion shaft from walking out the end of the tube????
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Old 12-11-2023, 07:16 PM   #19
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The square torsion rod inside the axle tube is welded to both swing arms. Dexter builds the axle length "hub face to hub face" according to the customer's order. The swing arms move up and down, but can't move in or out.

We heard tell of an Airstream that fractured the spindle off the swing arm on a Colorado I70 pothole. We also know we can not jack an Airstream up in the are or place a jack stand under the axle tube as you can bend it. Dexter used to align the trailer wheels by bending the axle tube, but I don't know what they use to do it.

I guess I better research Dexter torsion axle alignment before I do any more guessing.

David
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Old 12-11-2023, 08:14 PM   #20
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The square torsion rod inside the axle tube is welded to both swing arms. Dexter builds the axle length "hub face to hub face" according to the customer's order. The swing arms move up and down, but can't move in or out.

We heard tell of an Airstream that fractured the spindle off the swing arm on a Colorado I70 pothole. We also know we can not jack an Airstream up in the are or place a jack stand under the axle tube as you can bend it. Dexter used to align the trailer wheels by bending the axle tube, but I don't know what they use to do it.

I guess I better research Dexter torsion axle alignment before I do any more guessing.

David
But what keeps them from moving out? Just the friction of the expanded rubber rods? That's hard for me to fathom, especially after they harden and begin to disintegrate.
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