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Old 06-18-2021, 08:49 PM   #1
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Bent spindle? Alignment?

Iím the second owner of a 5.0 TA and just took it out for its first long trip. Over 3500 miles one of the four tires wore significantly on the outside shoulder. I noticed it halfway through the trip and watched it get worse as we headed home. We have a TPMS so I kept a close eye on that tire as we got close to home.

Now that Iím home Iím looking to get it fixed. I booked an appointment with a trailer shop, but they were not optimistic. They said it could be a bent spindle and they may not be able to fix it.

Any advice I should consider between now and heading in to the shop?

Are there shops who wouldnít have a problem with a bent spindle?
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith3 View Post
... I booked an appointment with a trailer shop, but they were not optimistic. They said it could be a bent spindle and they may not be able to fix it.

...

Are there shops who wouldn’t have a problem with a bent spindle?
The issue isn't the capability or willingness of the shop, it is that most trailer axles don't have replaceable spindles... in which case the fix is a new axle. Traditionally, Dexter axles (used in all Escape models) do not have replaceable spindles.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:04 PM   #3
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With a Dexter Torflex there is no fix for a spindle except axle replacement or repair. Some shops can bend the axle back in place- if you call Dexter they will tell you which shops closest to you can do this. Sometimes the new Dexter axles aren't true and this has to be done.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:14 PM   #4
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Any advice I should consider between now and heading in to the shop?
Cross your fingers and whatever else you do to bring on good karma in hope that the tire wear problem isn't related to the spindle/axle itself (it's possible, maybe even as simple as a heretofore latent tire defect)

Hopefully the shop will have the wherewithal to properly determine spindle alignment and look for other possibilities if within spec.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:28 PM   #5
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So if the outside edge is wearing off, that would seem to indicate IMHO that the “pointy” end of the spindle is bent down. I would also think there could be a bearing load issue as well. Have you checked that wheel bearing? Yep, might just be a tire issue too. Surely the previous owner would have knowledge of the problem?
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:39 PM   #6
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I lubed the bearings just prior to the trip and they all seemed in good shape.

I’m not real sure how to ask the prior owner without sounding like I’m accusing them of hiding the defect. I always assume a used item isn’t perfect so I don’t hold grudges against prior owners. I may curse them in the moment while trying to untangle some mess of wiring or half assed plumbing job, but in the end that is just part of the deal when buying a previously loved trailer. And this one is miles better than others I’ve bought.

Even if I have to replace the axle I’m still happy with the purchase.

I will reach out to Dexter to see if they have any recommendations. I didn’t figure the spindle was a repair item.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:42 PM   #7
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... Surely the previous owner would have knowledge of the problem?
Giving benefit of the doubt, timing coincidences happen, IMO it's quite possible the PO had no knowledge of the problem and personally I wouldn't hasten to that conclusion.

Especially if 'not new tires' that didn't exhibit the symptom upon delivery, and even if '(near) brand-new tires' which will tend to show their defects relatively early in service.

So, Keith, just as a matter of curiosity, were the tires '(near) brand new' when you received the trailer, or did they have some miles / normal wear on them?
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:45 PM   #8
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We had a bent axle on our 2017 E19. We had noticeable tire wear on the outside of the front tire on the passenger side last summer. If you place a straight edge across the tires on a side, it will be helpful to see if one of the wheels is out of line. See following video for similar concern:



Escape (Dustin) recommended that I called Dexter. After sending Dexter photos of the out of alignment wheel (per the above video) and tire non-uniform wear measurements, they sent an axle (free!). I have to replace the axle, but since the E19 is a dual axle trailer, it was not that difficult (trailer could be supported on rear axle while I replaced front axle). Bonus is that I got new set of front brakes.

In terms of the spindle comments, the axles on our trailer does have replaceable spindles. The problem is that the spindle is far more stout than the axle, so the axle bent in our case. The only reason I can foresee to replace the spindle is if the axle threads were damaged.

2 cents
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:05 PM   #9
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Hopefully not an axle issue, but FWIW Dexter's Limited 10-year Torflex Warranty only applies to the original purchaser (of the trailer).

That doesn't necessarily preclude 'good will assistance' for a second owner like the OP, but ...
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:46 PM   #10
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Ouch - did not know that - thanks Alan.
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Old 06-18-2021, 11:07 PM   #11
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A real trailer builder/repair shop can fix a bent spindle, not an RV store. Check your area for one that works on landscaping or horse trailers. My usual for bearing repacks replaced my crappy ETI coupler with a Bulldog coupler for less than half of what Camping World quoted.
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:10 AM   #12
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Most likely, you or a repair shop will be contacting Dexter, the mfr. Try to determine the serial number of the axle. Dexter can tell exactly it's characteristics (for exact replacement), based on that number.
If you look at the photo in post #8, see the paper label wrapped around the axle. That has the serial number, and quite a bit of additional information. (on our 2015 Escape, that label is still in place, through rain, heat, and snowy conditions). Edit: we took a photo of that label, a copy of which we keep in our permanent records.
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:27 AM   #13
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MVA: Thanks for the video. I’ll take a level down to my trailer next week. I’ll likely be seeing the same thing.
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:42 AM   #14
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We replaced both axles on our 5.0 in the first 9 months. The warranty was through Dexter. I was advised by 3-4 high end alignment facilities they would not straighten a Dexter axle, since too often they would just bend back into the skewed position. 25,000 miles later our tires are wearing perfectly. We'll be getting somewhere around 35-40,000 miles on these tires.

Enjoy,

Perry
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