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Old 08-21-2018, 12:18 PM   #1
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1999 25' Safari
Cheney , Washington
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Lift kit doesn't quite fit

I just received my Dexter lift kit and the holes don't quite line up with the trailer -- 1999 Safari 27'. The holes line up with the Dexter #12 axle but they're off 3/8" on the trailer. The holes are 9-1/8" on center on the lift brackets and 9-1/2" o.c. on the trailer. Due to wiggle room in the bolt holes the net problem comes down to approximately 3/16". Any idea what's gone wrong and how to fix it? If I get that fixed, the next fitment problem will be that the gray and fresh water storage tank covers interfere by about 1/4" on each side for either the forward or rear axle brackets. Thanks. Mort
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:32 PM   #2
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I had the same problem with my 2002 Classic. The reason is probably the same as mine. The trailer originally had Henschen axles and they are no longer in business. There is a slight difference in the dimensions as you discovered. My installer simply enlarged one hole on each bracket to make them fit. If you enlarge the same hole on both sides, there should be no alignment issue. I just did 8000 miles with my trailer and had no issues.


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Old 08-21-2018, 12:39 PM   #3
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Yes, enlarge hole and carry on. Should not be a problem.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:40 AM   #4
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Thanks. I brought the brackets for the rear axle up to Specialty Machining in Spokane for alterations. It will take about a week to get them back due to his workload. Pics and update soon.
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Old 08-22-2018, 12:08 PM   #5
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20 seconds worth of work with some reaming type bit you'd be done...
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
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2003 25' Safari
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Lift Kit?

How hard is it to install a lift kit? I have a hump in the sidewalk/lawn that I have to go across to get the camper into the back yard. I could use another inch or two. Where do I get it?
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Bondurant View Post
Thanks. I brought the brackets for the rear axle up to Specialty Machining in Spokane for alterations. It will take about a week to get them back due to his workload. Pics and update soon.

IMO, be sure when they enlarge the holes that they, or you, source bolts that match the diameter of the enlarged holes. You want a grade 8 minimum hardness and they should be either stainless, or be at the best level of corrosion proof you can obtain. It is dangerous having a significantly smaller bolt diameter than hole diameter when mounting stressed and shock sustaining road components. Staying tight in fit also will make the alignment stay tight as long as the holes are drilled in the right location. If your machinist is only doing the axle brackets, then you need to get a drill of the matching size to the enlarged hole size and and match the frame holes to the bracket holes. Mount the axles with the non-modified holes and bolts, and then use the new holes as the drilling jig for the trailer frame. This sounds like bringing water to a fish, but it is such a PITA to get under a vehicle to work and find out you don't have what you need. It is a worse PITA to get down the road, hit a hidden pothole, and get an axle knocked loose or seriously out of alignment.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:33 PM   #8
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Grade 8 bolts are not made in stainless steel. Stainless is not near as strong as the alloy needed to be grade 8. To be a grade 8 you have no choice in the alloy.
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:42 AM   #9
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Correction to Bolt Choice

Silver Villa was correct. You can get stainless bolts up to 90,000 PSI yield strength. You can get grade 8 in various rust resistant finishes up to about 140,000 PSI yield strength. I do not have the shear strength numbers, but suspect (not assume) they may be similar in relative strength relationship. If I were making the choice, I would always choose grade 8 for load or shock bearing suspension.
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Myers View Post
How hard is it to install a lift kit? I have a hump in the sidewalk/lawn that I have to go across to get the camper into the back yard. I could use another inch or two. Where do I get it?

If you still have your original axles both the axles and the trailer mounting brackets or the lift kit will probably have to be modified. The lift kit I bought is made for the current Dexter axles. Your trailer probably has Henschen. It is not a difficult modification, enlarging one of two holes on each side of each axle and each mounting bracket. At least that was true for my 5000# axles, Dexter series 11 which replaced 4400# Henschens. I suspect your axles are 3000#. The comparable Dexter is a series 10. I don't know what the differences in the mounting dimensions are for series 10.

You can find the Dexter dimensions here under #10 Torflex axles. Someone will have to crawl under your trailer and measure the comparable dimensions on your axles to determine what would be necessary to modify to make the lift kit fit.

https://www.dexteraxle.com/products/...city#resources

The lift kit I bought was made by Dexter. You should be able to find it by Googling "Dexter Lift Kit". There may be others. I bought Dexter because I just changed my axles to Dexter. Shop around. IF you have a local parts place that deals with "Redneck Trailer Supply" they can get it for you.



Al
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:26 AM   #11
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Itís the large thick washers and the torque on the bolts that let the hole to be slotted. The factory lift blocks are slotted on two holes of the 4 in each block. GMFL made his own blocks. The provided more lift and would allow mounting holes to be custom. You might search for his post in 23D forum. These type bolts / nuts are designed for one use.
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:43 PM   #12
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1999 25' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Myers View Post
How hard is it to install a lift kit? I have a hump in the sidewalk/lawn that I have to go across to get the camper into the back yard. I could use another inch or two. Where do I get it?
So far, it's a major pain to install. Most people have the dealer or RV service center do the work. I think it also depends on the particulars of your trailer. In my case the storage tanks interfere with accessing one of the nut/bolt on each side for each axle and also interfere with fitting the brackets in. That's why I have a machine shop modifying them. I'll have pics next week. Also, the type of lock nut used can only be put on or taken off with impact. They don't just screw smoothly on and off. Where you can't access with a big-ass pneumatic impact wrench, then you are hitting the end of your breaker bar with a mallet about 500 times per nut -- not fun. The kit will give you nearly 3 additional inches of clearance for the trailer (not for the axle) and the best source for me is etrailer.com.
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travel Pro View Post
IMO, be sure when they enlarge the holes that they, or you, source bolts that match the diameter of the enlarged holes. You want a grade 8 minimum hardness and they should be either stainless, or be at the best level of corrosion proof you can obtain. It is dangerous having a significantly smaller bolt diameter than hole diameter when mounting stressed and shock sustaining road components. Staying tight in fit also will make the alignment stay tight as long as the holes are drilled in the right location. If your machinist is only doing the axle brackets, then you need to get a drill of the matching size to the enlarged hole size and and match the frame holes to the bracket holes. Mount the axles with the non-modified holes and bolts, and then use the new holes as the drilling jig for the trailer frame. This sounds like bringing water to a fish, but it is such a PITA to get under a vehicle to work and find out you don't have what you need. It is a worse PITA to get down the road, hit a hidden pothole, and get an axle knocked loose or seriously out of alignment.
The holes on the trailer are slotted and the holes on the brackets connecting the bracket to the axle are slotted. So, I'm having one round hole on the bracket that connects to the trailer slotted to make it wider, but not taller, to get the right fit. All the needed nuts, bolts, and washers come with the kit so they are the correct size and quality, made by Dexter.
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Bondurant View Post
The holes are 9-1/8" on center on the lift brackets and 9-1/2" o.c. on the trailer.
I got this backward, btw. The spacing is 9-1/8" on the trailer, not the bracket.
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Old 08-25-2018, 02:03 PM   #15
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Iíve installed ONE on a 30 and yes it can be a PITA to access bolts. I bought a shorty pretty sure itís 15/16Ē combo and that helped hold many that were in tight quarters. Also I made slight clearance mod to std combo for access and one time taped a long handle on it to reach the bolt.

Pan interference can be a real pain in the pan.

Tried real hard to drop axle straight down put in same position. Donít want them skewed.

Get em tightened.
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Old 08-25-2018, 02:03 PM   #16
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These type bolts / nuts are designed for one use.
WW
Yeah, this type of lock nut seems to deform the bolt threads both going on and off. The kit comes with all new nuts, bolts, and washers.
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:04 PM   #17
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Grade 8 bolts and large grade 8 washers.....they donít bend
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:23 PM   #18
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The bolts in my Dexter kit were 15/16" (#10 axles). Getting the old bolts off drove me to a heavy duty impact gun (battery). Don't forget the heavy duty 6 point sockets.

I had to weld the heads of the bolts to the backside of the bracket (half of them... the horizontal ones) because I couldn't get a wrench on them. Torquing to 140# isn't easy for my old self. Then I had to reroute and extend the 5/8" LP line.


I probably should have made the blocks myself... that 2-3/4" is a minimum for all the work. Although, I think it will help.
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:57 AM   #19
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here is a couple of videos by a airstreamer and his wife on lifting a 23 ft? airstream with home made lift kit.. it not hard you just need the place, tools and help to get it done.

there is a couple of vids earlier that show lifting a 30 ft using teh dexter kit as well.. they are dated earlier than these videos.

Part 1

part 2
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