Dexter axle install gone wrong?

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Grizfan

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Joined
Aug 30, 2010
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I had a new Dexter 3500# full axle replaced in the field (campground) on a 5500 lb tandem travel trailer. I am now home 6-8 hours away from the installers and I would not go back to them anyway.  When I crawled under it today to look at the job they did, I noticed that the guys who installed it did not get the axle 90 degrees square after welding it in place.  Meaning the bow in the axle is not top dead center when comparing it to the factory installed one.  It is off just enough to notice, maybe 5 degrees, eyeballing it.  Is that a big deal?  Do I need to have it re-installed?
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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Take it to a truck trailer alignment shop.  They should be able to fix any incosistancies easily enough.
 

Grizfan

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Aug 30, 2010
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To be honest, the guy is a tow truck operator and runs a Salvage yard.  He really bailed me out by even doing it.  I was 30 miles back in the woods up a USFS road in a campground over the 4th. When I checked with my insurance, I am not covered for trailer towing.  He came out to the campground and installed the axle with the trailer on the ground. A real pita.  I did decide to get the trailer checked out at a local trucking firm that deals with heavy trailer and RV axles.  It could be okay, but I decided for piece of mind, I would get it checked out by the pros. I got a 3-4,000 mile trip this late summer and fall and the last thing I want is ruining tires or worse.
 

Grizfan

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Aug 30, 2010
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The rest of the story.  I got the trailer to a truck trailer alignment shop and before he would mess with it and spend my money, he told me to get a alignment check, which he could not do.  Off to the auto alignment shop, and lo and behold the "new" axle was fine, but the factory installed was off.  As most of you know, there are no adjustments possible with the standard trailer axles.  They recommended a retrofit that would allow limited adjustment.  Called the truck alignment shop and he quoted $1,000+ for the retro fit to one axle!  Luckily, when I picked up the trailer from the auto alignment shop, I got to speak to the Tech and he said it was not off that far, and that he would leave it alone and check tire wear often.  They factory axle has at least 12-15,000 on it and I see no unusual wear to that set of tires.  So, at this point I will watch and wait.  Now you know...
 

Rene T

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May 20, 2011
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Farmington NH
They don't need to do any cutting of welds to do a alignment. They just bend the axles in the direction needed to get aligned. I had mine done 3 years ago I believe.
And that axle with the bow not at the top. I'd be a little concerned. The bow is suppose to be on top so that when you start loading the RV, the axle would go to a straight position and the wheels should be aligned after that. If they looked at the axles without the RV being loaded, you're going to have problems I believe. Hope not though!!!  I took mine in with the RV loaded and every tank was about half filled.
 

Frank B

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Apr 23, 2005
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Calgary, Alberta
Rene T said:
They don't need to do any cutting of welds to do a alignment. They just bend the axles in the direction needed to get aligned. I had mine done 3 years ago I believe.
And that axle with the bow not at the top. I'd be a little concerned. The bow is suppose to be on top so that when you start loading the RV, the axle would go to a straight position and the wheels should be aligned after that. If they looked at the axles without the RV being loaded, you're going to have problems I believe. Hope not though!!!  I took mine in with the RV loaded and every tank was about half filled.


May I gently question that?


IIUC, having the bend exactly vertical will only adjust camber. Having the bow slightly behind true vertical would adjust camber and toe in, correct?


This next one I stand to be corrected on, but with the springs mounted way to the ends of the axle, is the weight of the trailer loaded vs. unloaded really going to affect the bow on the axle?


Someone please step in and correct me if I'm wrong. I would really like to know for sure, as our trailer is on the heavy side. :)
 

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