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Old 09-14-2021, 05:45 PM   #41
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As a current owner of a number of cars built in the 1960s and 1970s, the bad old days were bad. At least as far as maintenance and vehicle design.

They are pretty and that is why I have them. As far as maintenance, they require a lot more attention than anything built after 1996.

Air Streams for the most part fit into that same category. They are old school, low tech and high maintenance. But that is a function more of the low production numbers. For the volume of units made it is difficult to have expensive new technology on small numbers and keep the cost inline enough so the buying market will pay and buy in greater numbers. Because it makes no sense to change (improve) a thing unless it generates more sales. If it generates that same or less sales why bother?

The exception to the above from a manufacturing point is if a change reduces liability.

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Old 09-14-2021, 05:52 PM   #42
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I haven’t had to worry about wheel bearings on any truck or car for many decades. I had a 1990 Nissan pickup I sold with 145,000 miles and some other vehicles above 130,000. No problems with bearings.

I agree that some manufacturers go with the cheapest parts and materials and often because of price represent a major part of the market. But the market is not monolithic and quality will always attract a significant amount of buyers. Toyota made its reputation for reliability and the result was to be one of the top 2 or 3 companies by volume. Now that Toyota has put style and speed first, it appears quality is not what it was—eventually that will catch up with them.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:42 AM   #43
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My Airstream dealer uses etrailer. January delivery for new Dexter brake drum is confirmed.
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:36 AM   #44
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I replaced 2 Nev-r-lub axles with EZ lube axles that had everything on them, i.e. all I had to do was put them on and hook them up, for just a bit more than half of what you are quoted.
I attended a Lippert seminar on axles and slides. The presenter said that if they got behind they would get things, like axles, from Dexter and Dexter would do the same with them.
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:46 AM   #45
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You can replace just the two rear brake assemblies
They just need to be equal assemblies each side for equal braking. Then down the road you can replace the next two
IMO 1/8 inch is it critical but it is getting there. There is a cost saving to do all 4 at once
You might want to asses your brake controller adjustment if you have been mostly level pulling. Might be a bit aggressive and having the trailer do the bulk of the braking
I changed two at a time on my 96 Excella and had the drums refaced and turned. You can do this once as long as the drum brake face is not scored too deeply. Cost was about $100 (Canadian) for two drums . Your quoted price doesn’t sound like turning or replacing drums so be prepared for them to hot you with an extra
I doubt however that the dealer will offer turning the drums
I purchased new backing plates for $80 or 90 each
Dealer price at 115 USD is not pricy but not unexpected for a dealer
Can you do the work yourself? If not the quoted price is reasonable
I hear costs of $300 plus per wheel here in Canada
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:56 AM   #46
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I upgraded my SOB to disc brakes a couple years ago. The costs noted by the OP are close to what I paid for the disc system installed. I purchese from and had install done by Performance Trailer Braking in Norman OK. These are electric/hydraulic brakes, the system has a dedicated pump mounted on the trailer. To bleed air from the system, we used the break-away disconnect switch to activate the pump. Disc brake pads can be purchased at many auto parts stores - same pads are used on many cars. My Ford OEM brake controller has a setting for electric/hydraulic brakes.

My trailer has 3.5k lb ez-lube axles and the brake rotors are Dexter parts.
Stopping the trailer is MUCH better with the disc brakes.

I'd recommend the change over to anyone.
Main reason I swapped from Dexter never-adjust brakes (which are becoming common). The old ones kept way over adjusting. With the a wheel off the ground, I couldn't manually turn the wheel, not the "normal" slight drag. To date, I have had zero brake issues since installing them.

Good luck with your rig.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:14 AM   #47
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$200 for 4 backing plates with brakes. Brakes are .20 thick. 1/5”. I had the magnet drum area turned down in the drum
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:57 AM   #48
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I bought a Lippert brake assembly from an Airstream dealer (Atlanta) after a Dexter brake assembly committed suicide when we were 1000 miles from home. No trailer or brake shop would look at it in time. I had removed the guts of the brake at the campground thanks to a borrowed 36 mm or 1 7/16 socket. The AS dealer did not have the Dexter assembly in stock but sold me the Lippert at 100% over Amazon price and guaranteed that it would fit. I installed it at another campground after purchasing my own socket and snap ring pliers.

When I returned home, I purchased from Amazon a Lippert companion brake assembly for the same axle. I also purchase a matching set of Dexter brake assemblies for the other axle at twice the price each of the Lippert.

Comparing the two, the new Lippert has far less play in the components than the new Dexter. I don't know if this is good or bad. And I don't know if the components of one are better than the other. The brake linings look the same to me but I don't have a trained eye for this sort of thing.

Back to the dealer...I wonder if they routinely install Lippert brake assemblies on Airstreams.

And the punchline...a Dexter plant was 15 minutes away from the first campground. Piles of axles out front. They would not even consider selling me a brake assembly directly or through an auto parts store.

Reading this forum convinced me that I had to remove the brake guts for safety's sake and that running on three brakes, while not routinely advised, can be done safely if you're careful. The installation is easy if you have the correct socket. An impact driver would help, too, but a breaker bar can get the job done.
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Old 09-15-2021, 12:59 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fungus View Post

Back to the dealer...I wonder if they routinely install Lippert brake assemblies on Airstreams.



And the punchline...a Dexter plant was 15 minutes away from the first campground. Piles of axles out front. They would not even consider selling me a brake assembly directly or through an auto parts store.
Your two items above.

Based on my automotive dealership service department experience and the infrequent RVs that came in, I would guess a service department uses what ever is the fastest available. If a vehicle is on the property and not being worked on because of parts availablity that is lost revenue. That space could be occupied by a vehicle that is waiting for service. OR the repair could be completed NOW and payment for services would be in that month's performance.

The answer to the second situation - Liability and liability only. The world sues. To limit that risk all activities that are not for contract should not be done. Dexter does no retail activity. Sorry but that is what the US has come to. And it only takes one time with a lawyer even if you win to make that policy.

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Old 09-15-2021, 05:10 PM   #50
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From the OP..."The grand total will be $2,716.02 before sales tax."

We just went through this exercise with a hot brake.

I would do it, the price is reasonable.
The bearings alone are expensive.
The drum kit comes with new grease/dust caps, clips, castle nut, drum and bearings and lug nuts.
When you say backing plates you mean an entire brake assembly including the plate.

So you are getting all new stuff.
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