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Old 12-03-2018, 05:35 PM   #1
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Lift Kit Installed Today

This lift kit has been in my garage or trailer since before we headed out to the Blue Ridge in October and maybe since we headed out for International in July, don't remember. I finally got together with Charlie who did my axle and brake transplant and he met me at the storage facility this morning. We started about 9:30 and finished at 1:15. It would have been quicker but the vertical web and top flange on one of the brackets was interfering with the pan under the holding tanks. We thought we were going to have to modify the pan so we dropped it. Then we found the bracket was going to rub on the black tank. We figured out we could grind a quarter inch off of the web and top flange in the problem area. But we had already dropped the pan so we had to put it back. Charlie was a good sport. He didn't charge extra for my help. His truck is fully equipped for mobile service with a gasoline powered compressor and welder/generator. I brought my air over hydraulic jack (a lot easier than pumping a floor jack) and a couple jack stands.

Here's a before picture:

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Here the wheels are off:

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Here's Charlie working on the curbside front. The height difference is clearly visible:

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Here's the finished product on the curbside:

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Had to lower the stinger to keep everything level. I went down two holes which looks just about right. Good thing, it's the bottom hole.

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I hope I don't drag her butt from now on, and the Propride bars are now over twice as far from the ground as they were.

Al
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:09 PM   #2
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That's looks great.

I normally wouldn't want to change something as significant as the axle mounts. Especially since this is an OEM designed/engineered system but all things considered I'm thinking a lift-kit is in my future.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:20 PM   #3
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Love it. I am seriously considering lifting my 30'. Love the length but keep dragging the rear end over relatively small transitions!
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:31 PM   #4
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It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done to our 23D.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...lift-kit-2901/
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivetED View Post
That's looks great.

I normally wouldn't want to change something as significant as the axle mounts. Especially since this is an OEM designed/engineered system but all things considered I'm thinking a lift-kit is in my future.
I'm not sure what you meant by your OEM comment, but the lift kit is designed, manufactured and sold by Dexter who made the axles. The axles are designed for either top or side mount. Airstream uses the side mount. The lift kit brackets bolt to the original trailer axle mounts and also bolt to holes already in the axles for top mount. On newer trailers it is a straight bolt in installation. On my older trailer that originally used Henschen axles the side mounting hole dimensions are different by about 1/4". We slotted one hole on each of the brackets (just like we did when we mounted the Dexter axles in the spring). If you go to Dexter's website you can search "lift kit", you can Google "Dexter axle lift kit" and get the installation instructions so you can see this more clearly than my explanation.

Al
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:23 PM   #6
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Al,

I can't prove it but yours might be the unique one, a lifted Slide Out. Wow.

They ain't a lot of fun to install when stuff gets hard to reach and interference sets in.

Keep an eye on the bolts, maybe mark or spray paint witness marks to watch for staying put.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:24 PM   #7
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Congratulations on getting it done!

I have owned a kit for three years now and still have not found the confidence to do it myself, even though I have jacks, impact wrench etc., and have not found someone nearby that I would trust to do it.

I actually started to go for it when I removed the front wheels to clean and re-pack the bearings, but I could not break the LP gas fitting from the junction. I started to twist the tubing and decided to stop before I did any damage.

I spoke to Airstream of Utah, and they said they could do it, so that may be the default if I can't move it along myself.

It really is not that complicated; I installed the kit on our 19' Bambi myself but hesitant to do the double axle for some reason.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:42 PM   #8
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Looks good!
Is the kit just spacers? That would be a great improvement for my 34', to keep from dragging the rear skid plates.
Was there any mod to the shock bolts or the brake wires?
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
I'm not sure what you meant by your OEM comment, but the lift kit is designed, manufactured and sold by Dexter who made the axles. The axles are designed for either top or side mount. Airstream uses the side mount. The lift kit brackets bolt to the original trailer axle mounts and also bolt to holes already in the axles for top mount. On newer trailers it is a straight bolt in installation. On my older trailer that originally used Henschen axles the side mounting hole dimensions are different by about 1/4". We slotted one hole on each of the brackets (just like we did when we mounted the Dexter axles in the spring). If you go to Dexter's website you can search "lift kit", you can Google "Dexter axle lift kit" and get the installation instructions so you can see this more clearly than my explanation.

Al
I can see where OEM can be confusing in the context of the entire trailer and sub-assemblies. I was referring to Airstream/Thor (as the 'OEM') and their decision to mount the Dexter axles as they do. What makes me feel comfortable about the lift-kit is that it is a Dexter designed and manufactured product.

Our current Airstream ( and the last 2 ) have all had clearance issues. This latest 25' FC-RBT has a low fresh water tank and the low-point drains are mounted to the bottom of that. They are approx. 8" above the ground. That is just an incident waiting to happen!

I really like what you had done to yours and I think I'm a candidate for a Dexter lift-kit myself. I do not feel this is a DYI project for me.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:21 PM   #10
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Ed,
The great part about doing the lift is it is not very harded to do. Basic tools and a little time are all that is needed.
I know things like this can be intimidating but it really is just 8 bolts per axle (4 on each side). I built my own but a lift kit from dexter will have all the hardware and the hole should line up perfectly.
Bottom line is with a friend helping you can do this project yourself. Heck bring it my way and I’ll help YOU do it. A project like this is a great way to build confidence in working on you unit.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Ed,
...I know things like this can be intimidating but it really is just 8 bolts per axle (4 on each side). I built my own but a lift kit from dexter will have all the hardware and the hole should line up perfectly.
Bottom line is with a friend helping you can do this project yourself. Heck bring it my way and Iíll help YOU do it. A project like this is a great way to build confidence in working on you unit.
Thanks for the offer, I appreciate that.

I know this is not a hard job but you are right, I'm intimidated with the thought of dropping the axles and then reattaching them correctly (I've seen some messed up tires over the years from mis-aligned axles). I've read some good threads here about the process and Al and Missy's success just really got my attention.

If nothing else I'm going to order the kit and have it on hand for the right 'moment', or weekend!
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:53 PM   #12
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I installed the kit a month ago. With the use of a friend's level driveway and helping hand, it would have been a one day job. On my unit, the corners of the rear belly pan was in the way, so I killed half a day figuring out how I wanted to modify the corners, then doing it, so it ended up being a day and a half job. The "Heads up" from others that the lock nuts were very tight, was helpful, otherwise I would have thought something was wrong. I scribed the frame in case there was movement in the bolt holes, but it lined up dead on the marks with no play. Very pleased with the look and additional clearance. Can now back into my driveway without having to move boards around to prevent tail from scraping. Had a couple of aches and pains the next day from spending so much time rolling around on the concrete, but nothing a couple of adult beverages couldn't cure.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
Looks good!
Is the kit just spacers? That would be a great improvement for my 34', to keep from dragging the rear skid plates.
Was there any mod to the shock bolts or the brake wires?
The kit contains 4 spacers, and 16 sets of bolts, washers, and single use locknuts. The spacers are lengths of steel channel probably 3/16" thick the legs of which are the same height as the width of the frame rail and the other side about 3". There are 2 strengthening webs welded at the 1/3 and 2/3 points of length. The brackets are drilled to match the holes in the trailer mounting bracket on the side and the axle mounting bracket on the bottom.

To be honest, I didn't pay any attention to the shock angle when we did the mod. The "top" of the shock dropped 3" which, I think, made it slightly more horizontal, but the Airstream shocks are reported to be designed for horizontal mounting so I'm not too concerned.

Regarding the brake wires - I don't have any. I converted my trailer to discs this spring and love them. I ended up using the holes the wires came through to route my flexible brake lines through the frame. We did not have to disconnect the hoses when we dropped the axles. My hoses were routed from the hole up along the swing arm and tied to the shock bracket. They then connected to steel lines to the caliper. This routing is similar to the way the wires I took off were routed, so I doubt there would be any problems with brake wires. In any event, there was significant slack in the wiring.

Al
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:27 PM   #14
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So now that your lifted how is the "step height" for getting in the trailer? Is it still a comfortable step or does it seem high now? Will you have to bring a step stool?
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartsDad View Post
I installed the kit a month ago. With the use of a friend's level driveway and helping hand, it would have been a one day job. On my unit, the corners of the rear belly pan was in the way, so I killed half a day figuring out how I wanted to modify the corners, then doing it, so it ended up being a day and a half job. The "Heads up" from others that the lock nuts were very tight, was helpful, otherwise I would have thought something was wrong. I scribed the frame in case there was movement in the bolt holes, but it lined up dead on the marks with no play. Very pleased with the look and additional clearance. Can now back into my driveway without having to move boards around to prevent tail from scraping. Had a couple of aches and pains the next day from spending so much time rolling around on the concrete, but nothing a couple of adult beverages couldn't cure.


Wow. I may have to lift my 2018 Classic 33FB. Will look for a Dexter That long butt tends to drag....
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by RivetED View Post
Thanks for the offer, I appreciate that.

I know this is not a hard job but you are right, I'm intimidated with the thought of dropping the axles and then reattaching them correctly (I've seen some messed up tires over the years from mis-aligned axles). I've read some good threads here about the process and Al and Missy's success just really got my attention.

If nothing else I'm going to order the kit and have it on hand for the right 'moment', or weekend!
It would be next to impossible to screw up the alignment, at least on my trailer. Fore and aft location is controlled by hole locations and there is minimal slop as originally designed. When we replaced my axles, we had to slot one hole on each side of each axle about 3/8" to accommodate the difference between my original Henschen axles and the new Dexters. The remaining hole provides location of the axle to within 1/16" or so. I did over 8000 miles after replacing the axles and didn't notice any unusual tire wear. We slotted one hole on each of the brackets for the same reason. We did not slot the Airstream mounting brackets so the trailer is still as it was when it had Henschen axles.

Al
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:45 PM   #17
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So now that your lifted how is the "step height" for getting in the trailer? Is it still a comfortable step or does it seem high now? Will you have to bring a step stool?
Good Question! We have the Classic dual step. On level ground it is just about right now; before the first step was only about a couple inches off the ground. On a site that slopes up significantly from front to rear, a supplemental step might be needed.

Al
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:31 AM   #18
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Youíll love it. Itís the first thing I did when I got my Ď76 31íExcella. New axles and a 3Ē lift. Like they said it was easy enough. No clearance issues with any pans on mine. Bolt holes had to be drilled to line up though. By myself, both axles and lift kit job was about a half a day max. As far as the step, I now have both unfolded and the lower step is about 8Ē off the ground, perfect height. Next will be 16Ē rims and taller wider tires. Biggest that will fit with no flex clearance issues.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:34 AM   #19
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Axle alignment

After a trip to Alaska my front drivers side tire wore down badly on the inside.
I took it to a reputable alignment shop in Salt Lake.
They told me that it was such a tight area to work in that they couldnít fix it, just rotate the two driver side tires periodically to minimize the wear.
Not really a good solution.
Iím wondering if the lift kit installed would give more room for an alignment , and is there another shop recommended near Las Vegas.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieppe9 View Post
After a trip to Alaska my front drivers side tire wore down badly on the inside.
I took it to a reputable alignment shop in Salt Lake.
They told me that it was such a tight area to work in that they couldnít fix it, just rotate the two driver side tires periodically to minimize the wear.
Not really a good solution.
Iím wondering if the lift kit installed would give more room for an alignment , and is there another shop recommended near Las Vegas.
I am not aware that there are any provisions for alignment on Airstream trailers. If only one tire was wearing, I'm wondering if you hit a bad hole with that wheel and bent the axle. Wearing on the inside only sounds like negative camber to me. Negative camber tilts the top of the tire in putting more weight on the inside of the tire tread and less on the outside. This could be consistent with a hit from a pothole. Camber is adjusted at the axle factory by bending the axle tube. Some trailer shops may be able to do that.

Al
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WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

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