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Old 08-24-2020, 08:12 PM   #1
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2017 30' International
Paradise , California
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DIY Dexter Lift Installation

Ok gang, our first thread on the forum. The new (to us) AS ('17 30' International) is sitting in the yard and the Dexter lift brackets are sitting on the work bench. I've read a lot on the forum about how most people love the lift once they have it, but has anyone installed themselves?

I've got a shop to pull it into for the install and a decent set of tools (there may be a fair amount of Harbor Freight in there). The directions that come with the kit make it look like it takes about 30 minutes, though the pictures are definitely not of an AS. I've seen some YouTube guys doing it over the course of 2 days.

So, has anyone out there done it? If not, around how much was it to have it installed? Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:23 PM   #2
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Hi Genophiles,

Lots of people have done it. There are a lot of threads on the Airforums. Use the search functions.

Here are a few of the threads I have used.
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f43...ay-189927.html
https://www.airforums.com/forums/blo...lift-kit-2901/
[/URL]
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f43...102393-10.html

There are many more. With the proper tools, it is a relatively easy job.

Good luck!
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:48 PM   #3
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i just finished that job on our '19 FC 30'. It is a huge job!! It took me a total of about 10 hrs over the course of a week. with the 30' trailers, half of the bolts have no access because of the water & waste tanks, so you must weld keepers onto them so you can tighten the nuts. It is also difficult to get enough leverage on the torque wrench when doing the final tightening, not enough space to use a long cheater bar either. I hope it will be worth the effort!

there is a decent video on YouTube that shows the process.

good luck!
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:04 PM   #4
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I lift an Airstream almost every week. Some welding required to weld stop tabs on the bolt heads. Takes 4 hours start to finish for the job.
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:13 PM   #5
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Thanks DaveP. Tried lots of searches on the forum for diy dexter lift and kept getting the same few results. I'll check these out.
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:24 PM   #6
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GMFL & oldnavey, thanks so much. So somewhere between 10 hours over a week and 4 hours? Love it! I'm a General Contractor, so I can tile faster than than the average homeowner, but not as fast as a tile contractor. Maybe the best thing is to just take it to GMFL and learn!
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginophiles View Post
Ok gang, our first thread on the forum. The new (to us) AS ('17 30' International) is sitting in the yard and the Dexter lift brackets are sitting on the work bench. I've read a lot on the forum about how most people love the lift once they have it, but has anyone installed themselves?



I've got a shop to pull it into for the install and a decent set of tools (there may be a fair amount of Harbor Freight in there). The directions that come with the kit make it look like it takes about 30 minutes, though the pictures are definitely not of an AS. I've seen some YouTube guys doing it over the course of 2 days.



So, has anyone out there done it? If not, around how much was it to have it installed? Thanks.


Hi Ginophiles..... I have a 2016 Bambi 16’ which is a single axle on which I installed the lift kit and I’m very pleased with the results.... You will need some good jacks and a rolling floor jack to lower the axle just enough to put in the lift kit, one side at a time.... I left one side loosely bolted and removed the bolts on the other side to put in the lift kit....You will need an impact wrench to remove the bolts..... The kit comes with new bolts.... It took me about 2 hours from start to finish... From jacking it up, unbolting the axle, putting in the lift kit, and then lowering it to the ground.... Not difficult at all.... Be sure to keep the axle aligned when you tighten the bolts holding it in place .... If you have the tools and some decent mechanic skills, you can do it... Go for it.....
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Old 08-24-2020, 11:20 PM   #8
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Suggestion : If you are indeed in Paradise CA, take it to Vinnie's Airstream Repair in Wilton, CA.
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Old 08-25-2020, 10:27 AM   #9
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I did it myself, but it took much longer than 30 minutes. I also re-torqued all the nuts again after the first trip, which took about 1 hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginophiles View Post
Ok gang, our first thread on the forum. The new (to us) AS ('17 30' International) is sitting in the yard and the Dexter lift brackets are sitting on the work bench. I've read a lot on the forum about how most people love the lift once they have it, but has anyone installed themselves?

I've got a shop to pull it into for the install and a decent set of tools (there may be a fair amount of Harbor Freight in there). The directions that come with the kit make it look like it takes about 30 minutes, though the pictures are definitely not of an AS. I've seen some YouTube guys doing it over the course of 2 days.

So, has anyone out there done it? If not, around how much was it to have it installed? Thanks.
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Old 08-25-2020, 10:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginophiles View Post
Maybe the best thing is to just take it to GMFL and learn!
That's what I did!!!
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Old 08-25-2020, 11:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyooo View Post
Hi Ginophiles..... I have a 2016 Bambi 16’ which is a single axle on which I installed the lift kit and I’m very pleased with the results.... You will need some good jacks and a rolling floor jack to lower the axle just enough to put in the lift kit, one side at a time.... I left one side loosely bolted and removed the bolts on the other side to put in the lift kit....You will need an impact wrench to remove the bolts..... The kit comes with new bolts.... It took me about 2 hours from start to finish... From jacking it up, unbolting the axle, putting in the lift kit, and then lowering it to the ground.... Not difficult at all.... Be sure to keep the axle aligned when you tighten the bolts holding it in place .... If you have the tools and some decent mechanic skills, you can do it... Go for it.....



I just installed the lift kit on my 2018 Bambi 16' the other week but have not taken it out yet to check things out. Planning on taking it on a few more or less straight sections of highway around here. Do you have any tips/suggestions RE checking the alignment, especially when the shop floor isn't totally level?

When I tightened the bolts I made sure there was a little upward pressure on the axle (but not too much), other than that it felt like the horizontal alignment took care of itself by lining up the bolt holes.

Any relevant wisdom would be much appreciated!
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Old 08-25-2020, 11:57 AM   #12
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My wife and I installed a set of these on our '17, 25 FC and it took up about 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon.
We lifted one wheel off the ground by backing the adjacent one up on Legos then used a floor jack to lift, unbolt then lower the hanging axle.
Be sure and check the nuts and bolts supplied with your lift kit. Ours didn't thread very well at all, even using an air impact wrench. And, they're plated like grade 8 but clearly not; we purchased grade 8 hardware at the local Ace and installed all with blue threadlock.
Lastly, my wife painted a red, nailpolish index stripe on each nut just to check for any looseness or rotation in future inspections.
It's a chore but absolutely 'do-able' in your driveway with a helper.
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Old 08-25-2020, 12:02 PM   #13
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Hardest part of doing mine was convincing myself I could do it. Finally started and took about 5 hours for both axles, just me working.
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Old 08-25-2020, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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That's what I did!!!
It would be fun to watch a master knock it out in 4 hours! But it would be a few days of travel each way.
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Old 08-25-2020, 02:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steamy1 View Post
Suggestion : If you are indeed in Paradise CA, take it to Vinnie's Airstream Repair in Wilton, CA.
Had to look that up Steamy1, seamed like an odd place for an Airstream shop, rural area of Sacramento County, but there it was. There website says they are not currently taking on many new clients. Just an appointment is months off.
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Old 08-25-2020, 02:44 PM   #16
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Its on! Cleaning the shop up now to make room. Debating trying to get it done before a little trip over Labor day, or just waiting till we get back. Will report back any problems or issues. And, again a big thanks to DaveP, for linking to the threads I couldn't seem to find. Lots of good info.
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Old 08-25-2020, 03:37 PM   #17
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Tips based on ONE lift kit install on a 30' Classic.

1. Prior to unbolting the axle, mark a reference line UP onto the frame marking where the axle was on the frame. At installation position axle back on frame at this reference line. Objective is to put it back where it was relative to the frame. You'll find it can shift front to back as you're working with it.

2. The access to front axle was not bad, rear axle some bolts not so good. I did not have access to welding to modify a very special nut and I didn't need it. I did use a shorty 15/16" combo wrench and was able to jam it in against the frame to lock it in place for tightening. But the big help was making a simple extension handle to the regular 15/16" wrench that allowed me to get the nut and wrench and fish it into position. The 15/16" shorty open end did get a trim via a bench grinder to get a good fit and clear the frame.

Read and follow Dexter directions.

Gary
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Old 08-25-2020, 04:57 PM   #18
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Having tabs welded onto the nuts will greatly reduce your install time and your level of exasperation.

I did it without stop tabs. Never again!
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Old 08-25-2020, 06:15 PM   #19
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lifted my 2014- 16 ft. Bambi with help in about 4 hours, easy with hydraulic floor jack and small blocks to get to dump side jack area.
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Old 08-25-2020, 07:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotTaGo View Post
Having tabs welded onto the nuts will greatly reduce your install time and your level of exasperation.

I did it without stop tabs. Never again!
After now doing a 19' single axle Bambi and a 23FB double axle, this is the best advice!

Take a look at perfectcasita.com lift kit and the bolts made by Orbital Machine Works. Notice the tabs on the bolts. This makes all the difference.
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