Bent torflex 3.5K Dexter axle - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-03-2017, 07:17 PM   #1
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Bent torflex 3.5K Dexter axle

Some person jacked up my 17' Escape, at the centre of the torflex axle, bending it upwards. This was done to replace the tires in a shop in Utah. I just noticed this today while replacing my brake assemblies and doing the bearings. Now I wonder how this effects the angle of the wheels? Maybe I have to replace the axle or try to find a shop to straighten it. Has this happened to anyone else Any suggestions would be welcomed.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:21 PM   #2
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These axles have a curve to them I found out.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:49 PM   #3
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Really BENT

I can see the jacking point and know it has been bent upwards a significant amount.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:45 PM   #4
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The axles are usually ordered ( as an option) with a upward bow or camber bend. Get the info from your axle data plate and call Dexter. They should be able to tell you how much and how to measure your deflection to verify if it is or is not within specs .
If bad you can order an a blank axle W/O brakes and hubs and reuse your brakes bearings and hubs. You will save about $250. on the axle alone. It is not a difficult swap if you can do your own bearings and brakes. You can also order other options during the swap like replaceable spindles or a heavier load rating up to 4K, high lift purches or a different down angle.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Hall View Post
I can see the jacking point and know it has been bent upwards a significant amount.
Not disputing you but an obvious bend in the axle is normal. Maybe yours is bent even more. If so you will notice increased wear towards the outside of the tires. Do your tires show this? If the tread wear pattern is normal you have nothing to worry about.

I'll go over tomorrow and take a picture of ours, there is a obvious upward bend in the axles which is normal. The axle is designed so the weight of the trailer will straighten the bend just enough to keep the tires flat on the ground.


People have made the mistake with the other type of axle and flipped them under the springs instead of having perches welded on top the axle and quickly discover they have very rapid inside tire tread wear.
That causes the bend to be down instead of up. The correction is to have someone bend the center up until the axle has the correct degree of bend.
Or do it correctly and have the perches done right and remount the axle.
Myself I would not trust it if it was rebent and would replace the axle if I came across one of those.

Here is an axle showing the bend. Reaching back into memory that is the camber adjustment. I imagine Iowa Dave can expand on the importance of camber.
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File Type: jpg axle.jpg (23.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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When a tubular torflex axle shaft is reshaped by outside forces, I believe there is also concern regarding internal flexing components that might no longer be able to function for suspension as designed, especially if the outer casing is dented inward. As others suggested, I think you need to take some photos, especially where the jack made contact with the shaft, and send them to Dexter for their assessment. And call the tire shop to inform them as to what they did wrong so they know not to do it again to someone else's trailer that has a tubular axle with internal suspension components - and to let them know you might be sending them a bill for the damage they caused. They should have known better (I think there are even warning stickers on the axle about that, or used to be), and the shop probably did it for their own convenience hoping you wouldn't notice.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:08 PM   #7
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:27 PM   #8
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The affected angle is the camber. This can be checked (to a reasonable approximation) with a level and a ruler. It should be positive (top of wheel tilted outward compared to bottom) when unloaded (trailer lifted in the air by the frame), and near zero when the axle is carrying the trailer's load.

The Dexter Applications Manual shows typical Torflex axle (with the visible intentional bend) on the cover page, and defines camber... but it doesn't give a typical or recommended camber specification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
When a tubular torflex axle shaft is reshaped by outside forces, I believe there is also concern regarding internal flexing components that might no longer be able to function for suspension as designed, especially if the outer casing is dented inward.
True, but if it was jacked up at the centre, the jacking point would be far from the rubber bits, which are only in the outer foot or so at each end.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
... True, but if it was jacked up at the centre, the jacking point would be far from the rubber bits, which are only in the outer foot or so at each end.
True, but I would still send photos to Dexter in order to have the professional opinion of their design engineers for two reasons: 1) peace of mind and/or 2) evidence to present to the tire shop if needed. I'm not sure the attached photo of one of our two axles helps, but the best I can measure with a rigid steel rule, the axle shaft naturally deflects upward in the center about 1/4 to 3/8 inch (no on-board water and minimal contents within the camper). I didn't see any warning labels under there about where to locate a jack for lifting, but our spray-on insulation might have covered it.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:51 AM   #10
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Here is mine. I have a picture of the axle showing the amount of bend and one with the bend area circled which shows the slight concave in the lower surface which I assume was caused by whatever was used to bend it.
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File Type: jpg IMG_20171204_083909.jpg (176.6 KB, 81 views)
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
True, but I would still send photos to Dexter in order to have the professional opinion of their design engineers for two reasons: 1) peace of mind and/or 2) evidence to present to the tire shop if needed. I'm not sure the attached photo of one of our two axles helps, but the best I can measure with a rigid steel rule, the axle shaft naturally deflects upward in the center about 1/4 to 3/8 inch (no on-board water and minimal contents within the camper). I didn't see any warning labels under there about where to locate a jack for lifting, but our spray-on insulation might have covered it.
I measured with the trailer on the ground and there is 3/8 of an inch in the center. I can't jack it up here to measure how much it changes but I know it increases.

I replaced the axles on a previous trailer once. Lying on the ground they had an obvious bend and I was a little concerned that they might have had shipping damage. But checking with a straight edge had them both the same so it was normal. Installed they had less bend. They were Dexter round tube axles and the bottom center had a concave dimple where they had been bent.
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:56 AM   #12
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Thought I might have a bent axle upon returning from a trip last April as one tire had worn from the outside in across about half of the tire. Most common reason for this is a bent axle evidently. Spoke with Dexter and they had a short list of shops that had the ability to bend the axle. Called All Wheel Auto, Truck & RV Repair in Redding, CA and they told me that in some cases they have to bend a new Dexter Axle as it came bent or untrue from the factory.

Fortunately, prior to heading up there on our way to Oregon I happened to discover that a local shop I hired to do wheel bearings did not properly seat a new bearing race or cup for an outside bearing they said was bad. That caused the camber to shift outward. The only proof came after a new tire showed no further abnormal wear after the next few thousand miles.

As to the OP's suspicion the Utah shop jacked it up using the axle- most shops would know better, however there are always "training issues" with employees.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Hall View Post
Some person jacked up my 17' Escape, at the centre of the torflex axle, bending it upwards. This was done to replace the tires in a shop in Utah. I just noticed this today while replacing my brake assemblies and doing the bearings. Now I wonder how this effects the angle of the wheels? Maybe I have to replace the axle or try to find a shop to straighten it. Has this happened to anyone else Any suggestions would be welcomed.
Ian,
I have a 2015 17A, with the same 3.5K Dexter axle assembly. I just measured the upward deflection in the center as 7/16" ± 1/32. I placed a 4 foot level across the torsion tube span to get a set of measurements, then subtracted the difference (1-1/16 at center, 5/8" at each end.)
photos attached (the jack is merely to hold the level in place). Also, the bottom center of the torsion tube has a flat spot. I also included a photo of the axle label on the front side of the torsion tube; there should be one on yours as well. Edit: sorry, the closeup is really crappy.
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File Type: jpg Dexter Axle.jpg (190.3 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF4862.jpg (134.6 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF4863.jpg (106.8 KB, 57 views)
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:43 PM   #14
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#10 Torflex 3.5K axle camber and toe settings

OK.. thanks for all the input. I talked to a very experienced trailer axle guy who is familiar with the Dexter #10 3.5K torflex axle.
When FULLY LOADED: Left wheel should have positive camber of 1/2 degree;
Right wheel when fully loaded should have positive camber of 1/4 degree.
The toe in for both wheels is positive 1/8 inches. He stated the alignment and frame shop should not have any trouble setting this up. Seems the curve in the axle between the two frame pieces is probably nothing. Thanks to everyone for your contributions. He also noted Dexter is vague about camber and toe settings; likely due to liability issues, as people use their trailers very differently.
I feel a lot better knowing my axle is likely an easy fix when I bring it out of storage in the spring. I also learned the hard way to check my bearing adjustment every year; and I also plan not to use the easylub feature, but to hand pack yearly.
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:52 PM   #15
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#10 Torflex 3.5K axle camber and toe settings

I also started a thread on the fiberglassRV forum; which also makes for some good reading.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:35 PM   #16
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Axle not bent

OK, here is the update. I had the alignment checked... and it is perfect. So this is what seems to have happened: I bought the trailer with the easy lub feature; every year I lubed the bearings, but never checked the tightness of the axle nut---didn't know I had to. So after 4 years and about 35,000 miles I had some crazy tire wear and assumed it was the alignment---WRONG. When I checked the axle nut I could turn it at least 3/4 of a rotation... so the bearings were very loose and caused the abnormal tire wear. I ended up replacing both sets of bearings and races; also did the brake assemblies at the same time. I am about to head south and trust that all is well once again. Hope this helps anyone else with the easy lub feature.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:59 PM   #17
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Yes, that can certainly happen- even with pros in a hurry. I had abnormal wear after a pro replaced a bearing and did not fully seat the race. Back to doing my own.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:43 PM   #18
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Thanks for the update.

Funny things can happen. Years ago I was gifted an old Jeep Cherokee because the owner was tired of it and thought it had major problems with the front end. Investigated a bit closer and realized it was only loose lug nuts. That truck was a great driver for awhile and then I sold it for a 1000 bucks to a neighbor to tow his boat.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:04 PM   #19
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I had one tire wear abruptly too.

I'll get on the races soonist. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:02 PM   #20
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Reporting back

Returned from 4,500 mile trip south. No abnormal tire wear. So, it was my failure to check the bearing adjustment each year that caused my abnormal tire wear.
Dexter website has a good video on doing your own bearing adjustment.
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