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Old 08-14-2019, 06:35 PM   #61
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I bought a air powered metal shear at HF and used it to cut the corners back about 2". I bought some sheet aluminum and closed the holes I made with angled pieces leaving room for the axle brackets. Only had to do that on one side.

In my case there was no need to mark the axle locations; they would only go in one way. There were no horizontal slots for mounting, only holes.

Are your existing axles Dexter's? Mine were Henschens and the holes and brackets are not the same as Dexters. The difference is slight, but the bolts will not line up. If you run into this problem, determine which side of the wheel well has less clearance for the tires and slot the same hole on each side of each axle or lift bracket to move the axle the right way.

Al
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:28 PM   #62
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Here is a couple of my blog post on the lifts (plural) I have installed.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...3fb-lift-3033/
http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...lift-kit-2901/
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:12 PM   #63
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Reno Classic, you got this. When I tapered the first corner of my pan, I wasted a lot of time by removing the entire end panel, which involved drilling out a lot of rivets and removing the screws. This allowed me to see how much space I had between the pan and the tank and come up with a plan. I cut my pan material with a small cutting wheel on small angle grinder. Since this mod looked good and gave the necessary clearance, I did the other corner without removing the panel and it took less than 30 minutes. Make sure your cutting tool and drill bit don't go any deeper than necessary.
Trailer attached to TV to prevent movement.
Pulled trailer onto 6" high repair ramps to get rear axle off ground and avoid having to jack the trailer. Creates adequate working room.
Axle only has to drop far enough to insert lift block. Support with floor jack.
Kit nuts are an SOB to tighten. You will think you have it cross-threaded. Nuts have a right and wrong way. I marked an arrow with a sharpie on each nut to make it easy to see when under the trailer and harder to screw up.
I bought the cheapest 15/16 combination wrench I could find and cut in half for the tight spots to hold the other end. In some spots the box end was better, on others, the open end worked best. I duct taped the short wrench to a piece of rebar for reach.
Lift blocks were an exact fit, no play or room for adjustment on mine.
Like most of my projects, I get out all the tools I think I will need up front, but the time I'm finished, I have 3X that many pulled out.
Back rear axle onto ramps and repeat for front axle. Readjust hitch head. Off you go with minimal worries about dragging the hitch or tail. Feel free to reach out if needed.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:59 AM   #64
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I too found the nuts to be VERY difficult to tighten and this is by design so they will not vibrate off. I highly recommend using an impact wrench to spin them on (it goes slowly), then use a torque wrench to snug them up.

Also, do not allow children to play in the work area. They might get hurt and will definitely learn four letter words.
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:49 AM   #65
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Thanks to all for your great advice. Cutting the wrench in half makes so much sense, great tip! My holding pan is heavy duty, I would guess 18 gauge with welded corners, no rivets or spot welds. It's in there tight and I can see where Airstream used a hammer to fine tune the fit. My kit arrives from E-trailer on Monday so I have the ramps, tools & jack stands ready to go. Hope to have it done within the next week or two as soon as I line up a good helper. Will post pics when done.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:58 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno Classic View Post
Thanks to all for your great advice. Cutting the wrench in half makes so much sense, great tip!.

That’s what my reference to a 15/16”
Shorty was. It can help getting into tight spots.

You cut a wrench short you get one end box or open. A short wrench offers both a box or open.

Found mine at northern tool.

Be safe.
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:43 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkott View Post
I too found the nuts to be VERY difficult to tighten and this is by design so they will not vibrate off. I highly recommend using an impact wrench to spin them on (it goes slowly), then use a torque wrench to snug them up.
Do you think I should use anti-seize or blue Loctite on the threads to act as a lubricant? I know the nuts are intended for one-time use only.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:46 PM   #68
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I didn't put anything on the threads, but also didn't expect them to be as tight as they were. Depending on the power of your impact wrench, I had a couple where nut stopped turning with threads still remaining. Backed nut up a few turns, then back to tightening and it went the rest of the way, no problem. Same as if cutting or cleaning threads.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:56 AM   #69
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I checked a removed nut and bolt from the original axle. 5/8" fine thread. The nut is flanged and has what is described as Top Lock Nut per Fastenal. This is very similar to what was removed and replaced with new.

Read the notes at the bottom of this item description. https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/0167008

NOTES

"Uniquely shaped threads provide a vibration resistant friction fit, so the nut stays put. These all metal locknuts withstand higher temperatures than nylon insert locknuts. Top thread section is deformed to create two or three locking zones; they start easily by hand, then must be wrenched into final position. IFI 100/107 Grade G. ANSI B1.1 UNC and UNF Class 2B. Zinc plating, retards the corrosion rate in a normal atmosphere."

Dexter lift kit includes instructions.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:10 AM   #70
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Talking

Thanks GCinSC2 and StuartsDad. My helper shows up in an hour. I've got everything staged and ready to go. Let the fun begin...
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:47 PM   #71
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Success ?
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:12 AM   #72
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Lift kit successfully installed on 2006 30' Classic

Well it took a day and a half, cost my helper one band-aid and we solved a few problems on the way. There are so many good posts by Al & Missy, GMFL, Explore More, GCinSC2, StuartsDad and others that I would encourage anyone to review them all and consider my contribution an extension of their experience. As best I can I'll try to tell the story through pictures.

Before and after. It's hard to tell here but the lift is a full 3". The blue tape above the wheelwell and under the mid-beltline are my original measurements to the floor.

#1 Rule: SAFETY FIRST. My ramps are rated at 10,000 lbs. each and the jackstands in the rear and under the tongue are placed as backup. Note the trailer is hooked up to the TV, wheels chocked and emergency brake applied.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:30 AM   #73
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Front axle lowered. The side mounting plate is 3/16" back from my original reference point. Try as I may the axle was fully forward in the mounting plate slot and I tried to center the new bolts in the same position as the original bolts. As the job was completed all four axle locations kept missing the reference marks by 1/8" to 1/4". I have an appointment for a wheel alignment next week so everything hopefully will be squared back to an ideal position.


I decided to lower the entire pan under the black & gray tanks. Using a motorcycle jack with a plywood platform made the job much easier.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:44 AM   #74
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The streetside corner of black tank as the pan was coming down. Note the hacked up factory trim job with sharp pointed edges as they hammered the pan in place and covered the axle mount bracket.

No wonder my black & gray sensors never worked--wires pinched and very difficult to remove at this point. Tank was pushed tight against the pan/axle and as Al&Missy pointed out in his earlier post with the same problem, I had to trim a 1/4" off the spacer to allow clearance. More details and solutions on that coming up.

The curbside corner of black tank. Lots of room to spare!
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:54 AM   #75
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For future reference when I need to service the dump valves or install a Sea-Level monitor system. I added temporary plumbing straps for support so as not to stress the plumbing system while working.

I'll be adding two more straps in addition to these since I'll be driving to the alignment shop with the tank pan removed. (Tanks empty of course.) As a side note, access to the nuts and bolts for the rear axle was made much, much easier by removing the pan. It was worth the effort in more ways than one.
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:13 AM   #76
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Same as what Al&Missy ran into. The spacer was tight to the black tank so I removed a 1/4" slice for clearance.

Once the axle was lowered it was still pushing against the corner of the tank and had no room for movement. I'm thinking...how the h*ll am I going to remount the pan and will this cause undue stress and cracking of the plastic tank?

The solution I found was so simple I'm kicking myself just thinking about it. I removed the toilet and six wood screws attaching the closet flange to the floor. As soon as the last screw was removed the flange moved about a 1/16". I gently applied a little pressure and the flange slid towards the center of the trailer about a 1/4". Because it was pivoting from the area of the dump valves this gave me more than a 1/2" of clearance in the problem area below. It took me about 20 minutes to remove and remount the toilet which would have saved me at least an hour or two dealing with the clearance issue, cutting the spacer and gaining additional space to get a wrench on the hard-to-reach bolts. Since the movement of the closet flange was so little I am confident the plumbing system remains intact. If anything I probably relieved any stress that was built into the system
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:32 AM   #77
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After measuring, I used a nibbler to cut the streetside corner of the pan. Once the pan is re-installed I'll fabricate small patches as needed to close up any gaps.

View of the factory cut on the curbside corner of pan. It appears that the axle will now be below the pan on this side so no modifications will be necessary. I'll fabricate a corner patch to fill in the empty space before re-installing.

One additional detail. It's hard to see in this photo but I bent the first 12" of the mounting flange down and against itself to act as a stiffener. When installed at the factory there were holes drilled for mounting bolts into the frame but they were not installed because of limited access. When dropping the pan straight down the unattached mounting flange would contact the lower frame lip and because the black tank was tight against the pan/axle the only way to remove the pan was to slide it back about 10" and then down. Of course the 3" plumbing outlet and valve pull handles were in the way so I had to bend the side of the side panel down to allow room for the pan to slide back far enough. By crimping the pan mounting flange into a stiffener this will allow the pan to be installed in a straight vertical direction and make any future removal of the pan a much easier process.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:19 AM   #78
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Must have timed out because I had a great closing message. Will try again.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:34 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno Classic View Post
Front axle lowered. The side mounting plate is 3/16" back from my original reference point. Try as I may the axle was fully forward in the mounting plate slot and I tried to center the new bolts in the same position as the original bolts. As the job was completed all four axle locations kept missing the reference marks by 1/8" to 1/4". I have an appointment for a wheel alignment next week so everything hopefully will be squared back to an ideal position....
If they are all missing by the same amount, in the same direction, there should be no impact to alignment. Note that the vertical slot you showed cannot move fore and aft, so alignment is ensured. We slotted the same hole on all four axles and let the other hole control alignment.

I think an alignment shop can adjust only camber and maybe toe-in, by bending the axle tube. If there is skew between the left and right end of the axles I doubt they can do anything other than drop the axle and slot the mounting holes. Then there is the potential for road shock to throw the alignment out.

Nice post and an addition to the corporate knowledge on lift kit installs. I wish I had thought to move the toilet.

Al
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:45 AM   #80
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In closing I would say yes this job had some challenges but quite honestly if you are good with tools it's really not that bad.

Dexter must supply a different brand of lock nuts because these felt pretty normal installing them. Resistance while tightening, yes, but nothing at all like described by StuartsDad and jrkott in earlier posts. I initially used anti-seize compound on the first couple of bolts but removed it with brake cleaner because installing the nuts was too easy and I was worried they were not going to stay tight. I could have welded tabs onto the nuts as others have done but I was worried about weakening the grade 8 bolts. Dexter should definitely pursue a source for these. Others complained about the poor paint job. Although not show quality, this paint is significantly improved over what was previously reported.

Everyone complains about limited access. I found that after removing the rear holding tank pan, access to the rear axle bolts was much improved. On the curb side I believe I only used a standard length and stubby 15/16" wrench. On the street side I used a Snap-on crowsfoot (pictured earlier) with 1/2" extensions and an adapter. Several select expletives were used at strategic times to move the job along nicely.

Because I have new Endurance tires I decided to go with the axle alignment since I was unable to match up to my reference marks. Following this I will install the rear holding tank pan and update this post if I run into anything worth reporting.

If you are planning a project like this I hope some of you find my information helpful. Good luck and go for it!

-Gary-
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