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Old 06-04-2015, 01:15 PM   #1
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When to change axles per JC

After my problems with brake and bearings being replaced and repacked,done by pros. I spent a fair amount of time with my axles lately and read a lot of info both here and on other sites. Mine are sitting between 2 deg pos and 0 deg and when lifting the camper I got about one inch motion. So from what I had read I thought I was in need of new axles. I called the people at Airstream jackson center and they told me that They used 22 deg pos too 10 deg neg as the normal range, and said I was not in need of new axles and that I most likely had a few yrs to go. I know this will likely stir the pot here but thought many would like to know what JC's guidelines are. Good camping Rand
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:25 PM   #2
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The 1 inch of motion was measured where???
Tire movement or some place on the axle spindle area?

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Old 06-04-2015, 01:28 PM   #3
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First thing yo need to know is the weight of the trailer and how that relates to the manufactures GVW.

If you have loaded the trailer beyond the GVW than you could just be looking at axles that have reacted to the load.

Axles are not replaced as a function of time but rather what the resting angle is and whether that is a result of aging of the rubber or just load.

My trailer, when new, sat in FL. for 3 years. The axles were shot from the lack of use and the heat.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:06 PM   #4
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axles

Well I was just at the scales last wk and the scales read 4560 on the axles and 950 on the tongue. The tag on the camper reads 3000 per axle (2) and gvw of 6300 lbs so I'm well within limits on the axles. I have been taking her out at least every 2 to 3 months for the last 11 yrs. I measured the motion by placing a thin wooden strip next to the wheel then a strip of tape on the center of the cap marked the wood and the wheel then raised the camper until the tire just lifted off the ground remarked the wood strip and measured. I'm not trying to start a big uproar here just letting members know what JC told me about my axles as I posted to start this thread. Good camping Rand
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizbear View Post
Well I was just at the scales last wk and the scales read 4560 on the axles and 950 on the tongue. The tag on the camper reads 3000 per axle (2) and gvw of 6300 lbs so I'm well within limits on the axles. I have been taking her out at least every 2 to 3 months for the last 11 yrs. I measured the motion by placing a thin wooden strip next to the wheel then a strip of tape on the center of the cap marked the wood and the wheel then raised the camper until the tire just lifted off the ground remarked the wood strip and measured. I'm not trying to start a big uproar here just letting members know what JC told me about my axles as I posted to start this thread. Good camping Rand

Thank you for the info. You know how it is here, people will argue just for argument sake and frankly I bet you already know that.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:15 PM   #6
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Interesting, I would have suspected a 1" movement would not have been acceptable.

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Old 06-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #7
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Not really. This has always bothered me. I have seen posts before that state you should have 2-3" of drop when lifting.

Per the attached, for a 22.5* start angle axle, the TOTAL travel, from stop to stop is only 2.54".

At full rated load the drop would be 1.51".

So 1" that Grizbear reports, is about right.

http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/Trail...nformation.pdf
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Not really. This has always bothered me. I have seen posts before that state you should have 2-3" of drop when lifting.

Per the attached, for a 22.5* start angle axle, the TOTAL travel, from stop to stop is only 2.54".

At full rated load the drop would be 1.51".

So 1" that Grizbear reports, is about right.

http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/Trail...nformation.pdf
I too thought from what I've read here that it should be 2-3" so I called to set up a day to have new axles installed. Thanks Michael
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:57 PM   #9
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WAIT, I was reading the wrong capacity chart. For a 4100 - 6000 lb axle----

total travel = 4.07"
FULL load drop from top of bracket = 2.3"

But, again that would be at full load.

Not sure where you are or which axles you have.

Mine are 6000lb axles. (although AS calls them 5000#, Dexter told me they don't make a 5000#er and AS specs their 6000#er at 5000# for GVWR reasons.)

I have about 4000#s on each axle when loaded for camping. I see about 1.5" of drop when raising the trailer.
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:05 PM   #10
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I see you say above you have 3000#ers. So---

22.5* drop (if that's what you have and low bracket, which I think all ASes have)

Total travel = 3.79"
FULL load drop from top of bracket = 2.3"

So you have 3610# on the axles or 1805# per axle (in a perfect world), or roughly 2/3 of capacity.

1" still sounds about right...but you should do the measurements on the chart to see if the axle "H" dimension while jacked up is close to spec. (3.79")
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:07 PM   #11
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Axles

Thanks Rich and Michael for replies I had read a lot about the 2/3" rule and the angles here and was sure I needed axles until speaking to JC. I wonder how many people have had there axles replaced without speaking to JC and having local shop replace still good axles. A phone call saved me 2 to 3 grand. Good camping all. Rand
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:50 AM   #12
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Funny to me that this post showed up today. I am currently returning from Dexter factory in Monticello Georgia. I have two brand new 5200# axles for replacement. I had a real education about just this subject. I agree with the folks who say "it depends" when asked how much drop there should be. Dexter on the web has all of the charts to measure drop based on axle and load. There are so many different configurations that the drop of 3" as a standard is anything but a standard. According to the charts, I should have seen a 2.25" drop (load to unloaded). Mine ranged between 1" and 1.5". Trailer is a 1989, but stamp on axles were 4500# made in 1971. I am replacing. I had the often reported problem of blowing tires. I went through everything including 10 ply tt. I have new 16 Michelins on New 16 Aluminum wheels waiting for the axles to be installed. (by me). I am anxious to measure the drop on the brand new axles with the same weight conditions. Stay tuned.
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Old 06-05-2015, 05:14 PM   #13
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Fordfarmer being that your axles are 26 yrs old I think a replacement is a good choice I would like to hear how the new axles measure out keep in touch. Being that mine are 11.5 yrs I thought that was early failure I hope to get 3 to 5 more yrs out of mine after speaking to JC. I will keep an eye on them for the next few yrs.
Thanks Rand
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:37 AM   #14
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They are actually 41 years old according to the welded info tag. Must have
been in inventory for a while before installation.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:45 PM   #15
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Good information in this thread. I thought I was close to needing new axles. My axle drop on an empty trailer is 1.5". It appears obvious that they are fine. I have two 3500# axles under my 2002 Safari 25. Weighed on the scales, trailer axles with no weight distribution is 5180#. The way I read the Dexter chart is that my axles will travel 2.3" from fully loaded (3500#) to no load. So my 3500# axles are carrying about 2600# when the trailer is empty. So the axle travel will be less than 2.3" because the axles are about 75% loaded with an empty trailer. I think an 1.5" travel is good for a 13 year old trailer.

Am I looking at this wrong?
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:00 PM   #16
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Actually, you have proven that you understand more than most about loading a Dexter Torsion Flex axle, and testing it for wear. Your assessment is on point. I hope many will read your post and understand the relationship to axle drop and load vs. no load. You described it well, and I agree that your axels are fine. My new axles on my 89 Argosy Fifth wheel (11000#) have proven to be the right choice. I replaced them in the spring and went from 4800# to 5200# axels. The contents of the trailer are in place when i stop to use it, and I notice a difference in the shock absorbing action of the trailer while towing. Good Luck.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:02 PM   #17
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I know that most people won't want to do this, but a short ride in the trailer will tell you more about the axles then any measurement.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:00 AM   #18
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Could an overloaded trailer and or dead axles lead to tire failure? If this were the case the tires would be acting as the suspension putting severe stress on them. Sorry if I hijacked the thread.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:31 AM   #19
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I noticed that the front curbside tire is wearing badly on the inside 2" of the tread. Could this be an axle problem?
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:40 AM   #20
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I noticed that the front curbside tire is wearing badly on the inside 2" of the tread. Could this be an axle problem?

Possibly... It could also be a bad tire, but wear on the inside is often an indication that the bottom of the wheel is cambered outward causing the load to be carried on the inner portion of the tire. Rotating the tires and observing them over time is one way to determine if the tire is the problem or if there is a something amiss with the spindle or axle alignment. Personally I would rotate the tires and replace the worn one as I've come to distrust suspect tires. I would also get the trailer weighed to verify it doesn't need to be put on a diet. If the wheel bearings check out, find a shop that can check and adjust the axle alignment. They can also determine if the arm is somehow bent... That might indicate an axle replacement is warranted. If you look under the trailer at the axle, you may see that it appears bent near the middle. This is how trailer axles are aligned and is normal. It should effect both sides equally. Unusual tire wear should be investigated to avoid a possible breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
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