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Old 03-08-2024, 10:49 AM   #1
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Need two new axles

The verdict is in from the frame and axle shop; our 5.0 needs two new axles. As I mentioned in other posts, the passenger side front tire wore on the outside down to the cords and the passenger rear tire wore in on the inside. Since the axles are still under the Dexter 5 year warranty, two new axles will be ordered.

What would cause this kind of wear you might ask? Gargantuan pot hole? Hitting a curb? Running over a sasquatch? Nope. The shop tech is almost certain that the issue was caused by continually backing the trailer into a tight spot at a tight angle on an ungiving surface such as asphalt or concrete. Doing the math in my head, in the year that we had the 5.0 in Albuquerque and not being able to keep the trailer at our house, I had to shoe horn the trailer into our drive way over 30 times at a very tight angle. The black marks from the tires on the passenger side skidding across the street and driveway tell the truth and probably validate the assumption.

So there you have it. Fortunately the Escape has a straight shot into its garage at our new home. I'll post updates on the warranty process.
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Old 03-08-2024, 12:12 PM   #2
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Interesting...

It makes sense that jackknifing a trailer when backing up is going to side-load the wheels/axles, potentially resulting in damage .

I'm curious how tight the angle between the tow vehicle and trailer can get before you have to worry about this. I can definitely see how it would be possible to back up sharp enough with a 5th wheel. I wonder if there is risk with a bumper-pull as well...or is the angle tight enough that would you damage the rear of the TV/ front of the trailer first?
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Old 03-08-2024, 12:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SageRpod View Post
The shop tech is almost certain that the issue was caused by continually backing the trailer into a tight spot at a tight angle on an ungiving surface such as asphalt or concrete. Doing the math in my head, in the year that we had the 5.0 in Albuquerque and not being able to keep the trailer at our house, I had to shoe horn the trailer into our drive way over 30 times at a very tight angle. The black marks from the tires on the passenger side skidding across the street and driveway tell the truth and probably validate the assumption.
How interesting. I wonder if this isn't more of a problem with the 5.0 since you can back them at tighter angles that with a bumper pull and they are also shorter than the other tandem axle Escapes.
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Old 03-08-2024, 12:49 PM   #4
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Interesting...

It makes sense that jackknifing a trailer when backing up is going to side-load the wheels/axles, potentially resulting in damage .

I'm curious how tight the angle between the tow vehicle and trailer can get before you have to worry about this. I can definitely see how it would be possible to back up sharp enough with a 5th wheel. I wonder if there is risk with a bumper-pull as well...or is the angle tight enough that would you damage the rear of the TV/ front of the trailer first?
I don't know the angle, but it is quite severe. I once had to back into a dogleg spot, uphill, on rain softened terrain with a RR tie embankment wall on the uphill side.
I made it, but an eyelet on my vans bumper corner (for tie down of boats on top) punctured the front cargo box.

My advice is don't jack knife too hard. There's lot's of geometry and different measurements among vehicles, trailers and hitch gear.
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Old 03-08-2024, 01:10 PM   #5
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When Dexter replaced one of our axles they also gave us a credit for a new tire. They wanted pictures of the worn tire, so if you have those send them in with your warranty claim. Dexter was fantastic in terms of their warranty support
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Old 03-08-2024, 01:24 PM   #6
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Interesting indeed, thanks for sharing that.
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Old 03-08-2024, 05:38 PM   #7
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We replaced both axles under warranty for the same thing. Dexter paid for axles and cost to replace at our local tire shop. They wouldn't pay for 4 new tires and I didn't push that issue but possibly could have. We never hit anything either and I've always felt the 90' angle into our driveway caused the problems plus other sharp angles. The axles just aren't strong enough for that torque and weight maybe. I try to be more careful now but I wouldn't be surprised if they bend again. I'm going to rotate the tires about every 2000 miles. I feel this is a weak point on our otherwise great little 5th wheels.

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Old 03-11-2024, 04:15 PM   #8
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We replaced both axles under warranty for the same thing. Dexter paid for axles and cost to replace at our local tire shop. They wouldn't pay for 4 new tires and I didn't push that issue but possibly could have. We never hit anything either and I've always felt the 90' angle into our driveway caused the problems plus other sharp angles. The axles just aren't strong enough for that torque and weight maybe. I try to be more careful now but I wouldn't be surprised if they bend again. I'm going to rotate the tires about every 2000 miles. I feel this is a weak point on our otherwise great little 5th wheels.

Jimmy
Looks like that will be the case for me as well. Dexter notified me today two replacement axles will be shipped this week to the frame and axle shop that performed the inspection. Dexterís response time is commendable. I got a response in less than one business day from when I uploaded the pictures and documentation from the shop.
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Old 03-11-2024, 09:33 PM   #9
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Wow! I have had to back in at some severe angles in the eight plus years I have had my Escape but no tire wear like that described by the OP. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the first 5.0s had a leaf spring suspension and solid axles that I suspect are less susceptible to this kind of damage than torsion axles, I don’t know. Then again, I had a Scamp 19 for three years before upgrading to Escape, and even though it was a single torsion axle, it had tire wear that nobody locally could diagnose. I just had to replace shackles and bushings on my suspension but I went from nylon to bronze bushings and from plain bolts to bolts with grease zerks. Probably won’t have to do that job again as I will probably either be departed or will be too old for RVing by the time replacement of suspension components is again needed.
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Old 03-12-2024, 08:26 AM   #10
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Wow! I have had to back in at some severe angles in the eight plus years I have had my Escape but no tire wear like that described by the OP. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the first 5.0s had a leaf spring suspension and solid axles that I suspect are less susceptible to this kind of damage than torsion axles, I donít know. Then again, I had a Scamp 19 for three years before upgrading to Escape, and even though it was a single torsion axle, it had tire wear that nobody locally could diagnose..
Interesting you say that. The tech who performed the inspection suggested that if I continued to need to make the tight maneuvers on a regular basis, I convert the trailer to leaf springs and solid axles and they would hold up much better.
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Old 04-05-2024, 05:28 PM   #11
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Axle update

My two new axles were installed on the 5.0 today. Couple of hours labor at the frame and axle shop which included bearing pack/adjustment and brake adjustment. According to the tech, axle manufacturers rarely get the bearings and brakes right.

Next up, tires.
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Old 04-05-2024, 09:47 PM   #12
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According to the tech, axle manufacturers rarely get the bearings and brakes right.
Sounds pretty self serving. Seems to me that Dexter probably knows how to install bearings.

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Old 04-06-2024, 07:48 AM   #13
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Sounds pretty self serving. Seems to me that Dexter probably knows how to install bearings.

Ron
Maybe so. Plenty of posts on the forum of folks who have had to do some sort of adjustment of brakes and bearings on new trailers. I have no reason to doubt First Street Welding and Frame. They have a loyal customer base and thriving business. Anyway, I'm glad they took the time to pull the hubs and make sure everything was good. I don't have time to do that at the moment
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Old 04-06-2024, 08:28 AM   #14
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My rear axle came with bearings way out of adjustment. I wonder how many ďbadĒ Dexter axles were really bearing problems.
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Old 04-06-2024, 06:45 PM   #15
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According to the tech, axle manufacturers rarely get the bearings and brakes right.
My tech, who easily replaces a couple of Dexter axles a week, told me he has found the bearings installed on new axles either too tight, or too loose, too often. He always adjusts the brakes on new axles and does not like Dexter's self-adjusting brakes.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-19-2024, 06:53 PM   #16
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The axle replacement saga is officially over with the mounting of four, wait for it, Goodyear Endurance tires. Ya, I know, I was all about going with Carlisles but in the end the Goodyears won out. No real reason. I went with a local tire dealer with these specific requests:

1. Balance the tires and put the weights on the inboard wheel surface
2. Inflate to 50 psi
3. Torque lug nuts to 95ft-lbs.

The results?

1. Balanced but weights on the outboard rim.
2. Tires inflated to max 65psi
3. I tested the lug nut torque when I got home, two wheels had loose lug nuts (under 95ft-lbs)

Oh well.
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Old 04-21-2024, 01:32 PM   #17
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Something tells me you might be doing business with a different tire store next time? Just a wild guess...
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Old 04-21-2024, 01:57 PM   #18
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Something tells me you might be doing business with a different tire store next time? Just a wild guess...
The Goodyear tire shop I deal with has been good to me.
First off I take the tires off the trailer and go to the store with them in the Highlander. Then I examine the new tires and the wheels to make sure the tires are what I ordered and have a fresh code date on them and are the correct size. Then I examine the wheels to make sure they are balanced on the inside and that the proper metal stems have been installed. As long as they are inflated solid I don’t care how exact the inflation is because I’m going to make them exactly where I want them when I get home. Finally, I reinstall them on the trailer myself and get the lug nut torque balanced accurately with the Proto 30 to 150 ft lbs torque wrench (1/2 inch drive). That way nothing gets cross threaded, garfed up (technical term) and I’m assured that things are the way I want them. More work for me but it never hurt me yet.

As my very fine Forestry foreman used to say “if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have the time later?
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Old 04-25-2024, 08:29 AM   #19
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The Goodyear tire shop I deal with has been good to me.
First off I take the tires off the trailer and go to the store with them in the Highlander. Then I examine the new tires and the wheels to make sure the tires are what I ordered and have a fresh code date on them and are the correct size. Then I examine the wheels to make sure they are balanced on the inside and that the proper metal stems have been installed. As long as they are inflated solid I donít care how exact the inflation is because Iím going to make them exactly where I want them when I get home. Finally, I reinstall them on the trailer myself and get the lug nut torque balanced accurately with the Proto 30 to 150 ft lbs torque wrench (1/2 inch drive). That way nothing gets cross threaded, garfed up (technical term) and Iím assured that things are the way I want them. More work for me but it never hurt me yet.

As my very fine Forestry foreman used to say ďif you donít have time to do it right the first time, when will you have the time later?
Iowa Dave
Agree with you Dave. Your method is similar to what I have done in the past. This time around, because of our relocation, my shop isn't fully setup and most of my tools remain crated. Camping season is upon us (headed out next weekend) so I thought I would take my chances on a local tire shop. In the end it will all work out and we will get back into the groove eventually. For the time being, I'm pretty sure my wheels won't fly off and tires won't spontaneously combust.
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Old 04-25-2024, 09:03 AM   #20
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I prefer using a mobile tire shop, they give you a great deal on whatever type tires you desire.

I get to inspect the tires, observe and assist jacking the trailer, watch the mounting and balancing and watch him finish up using an actual torque wrench on the lugs.

I recently saw the video of the Airstream trailer where the tech at a widely known national franchise tire shop ran the jack through a holding tank and didn't say anything, it delayed their trip but the tire shop covered all of their repair bills.
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