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Old 07-18-2021, 10:23 PM   #1
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Help! Bent axle?

All, we're 900 miles into a 6-week 3,000 mile trip. I packed the bearings on my Mini-Lite before we left. Everything looked fine. Except for the brakes not being adjusted ideally, I've never had a problem with axles, wheels, bearings, rims or tires.

Today we noted the front right wheel is canted in at the top noticeably. When I first saw it I had just maneuvered the trailer in a manner that could have caused the tires to twist I didn't think much of it. Later it seemed more noticeable but I don't think it changed.

I inspected the outside from under the trailer and find no evidence (that I recognize) of failure, other than the wheel being tilted. The wheel temp was the same as the other wheels so I dismissed a bearing issue. DW stood outside and watched the wheel as I moved back and forth and it doesn't wobble. There has been no impact that I can recall. It would have to be significant, I'd think?

The Dexter torsion axles are rated for 3500#. My 2507S has a GVWR of 6785#. My highest past CAT scale gross weight, loaded similarly and with a full tank of water, was 6960# with an axle weight of 6040#.

Pictures are below. The one showing the tilt is slightly exaggerated by the angle of the picture, but not much. Pictures of the edges of the tires show excess wear on the inside. Tire pressures and temperatures have been normal.

Being late Sunday afternoon and not being in a location where we could do anything about it, we proceeded to our destination in Shenandoah NP, traveling at 35 MPH on the Skyline Drive. We're here for 4 nights. We can stretch it to 5 and still keep a schedule to rendezvous with family on Saturday, or we can abandon plans this week and dedicate our time to getting it repaired.

Most important question: Is this safe to drive with?

What do I do next? Other than calling trailer shops (not necessarily RV shops), I'm sort of at a loss as to where to start without having to bag the whole vacation.

I have a phone and internet connection in Big Meadows so I can call around but I imagine everybody's response will be either "bring it in and we'll look at it" or "we can't get to it until September". I really don't want to drive to random repair places with no idea of what the plan would be.
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Old 07-18-2021, 10:42 PM   #2
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Is this a new or used trailer? It looks like the spindle is cracking where it is welded in the torsion arm or the torsion arm is twisted. My bet is the weld is cracked. It might have hit or was drug against a curb or hit a large pot hole.
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:12 AM   #3
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Is this a new or used trailer? It looks like the spindle is cracking where it is welded in the torsion arm or the torsion arm is twisted. My bet is the weld is cracked. It might have hit or was drug against a curb or hit a large pot hole.
I purchased it new in November 2020. I don't know how to recognize what you're describing. Would different pictures make it more clear? From what angle should I take them.

"Cracking" doesn't sound drivable.

I have no specific recall of hitting or dragging it against a curb but can't say it didn't happen.

What is the resolution? Axle replacement?
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:01 AM   #4
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Likely covered under warranty, but your next 2 to 4 months of camping will almost certainly have to be cancelled.

My recommendation - find a local (the closer the better!) trailer (utility trailer, not RV) shop to work with. They will either have the parts you need or can get them quickly, and plenty of expertise to get you back on the road safely.

And, after the axle is fixed, probably a good idea to replace that tire as it'll have been compromised to some degree.

Best of luck and please keep us posted!

Pete
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:09 AM   #5
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It's Monday morning call Dexter axle directly, have the numbers from the axle handy, let them know you can send pics, they where very helpful when I needed a new axle ( not in warranty)

Good luck
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:20 AM   #6
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Can you get a picture showing the torsion arm?
Especially where the spindle is attached to the lever?

It looks twisted or as Richard said the spindle is breaking away from the torsion arm.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:14 AM   #7
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A link for you

https://www.dexteraxle.com/Contact/
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:14 AM   #8
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My date of purchase above was in error. It was November 2019, not 2020. Is the axle warranty longer than the 1 year trailer warranty?
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by chriscowles View Post
My date of purchase above was in error. It was November 2019, not 2020. Is the axle warranty longer than the 1 year trailer warranty?
Chris... call Dexter.
They are excellent to work with.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:28 AM   #10
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My date of purchase above was in error. It was November 2019, not 2020. Is the axle warranty longer than the 1 year trailer warranty?
Perhaps the Dexter website can help with that question. For what it's worth seems someone on the internet once said it's longer to the original owner.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by purduepete97 View Post
Likely covered under warranty, but your next 2 to 4 months of camping will almost certainly have to be cancelled.

My recommendation - find a local (the closer the better!) trailer (utility trailer, not RV) shop to work with. They will either have the parts you need or can get them quickly, and plenty of expertise to get you back on the road safely.

And, after the axle is fixed, probably a good idea to replace that tire as it'll have been compromised to some degree.

Best of luck and please keep us posted!

Pete
Cancel camping for 2 to 4 months ? why a new axle can be installed in a couple hrs . doesn't have to be a dexter axle. all that needs done is finding the axle then install week or 2 tops
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:33 AM   #12
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I had an issue very similar with my trailer when I first purchased it. I had this issue before anything was loaded into the trailer in terms of camping gear. I thought the axle was for sure bent. I had it replaced under warranty but the results were the same. I put on another 3500 # axle and it was no better. Also, when I removed the second 3500# axle, the arch was right back in the axle and it looked perfect. It did not show any sign of being bent. The fact is that the trailer is built so close to the specifications for the axle, that the axle flattens out under the load. I installed a 4400 # axle and have been a happy camper every since.

I know there will be someone that will say I overloaded the trailer, but this happened on the way home from the dealer with nothing extra in the trailer. So, if it was overloaded, the trailer was built overloaded.

Also, I am not saying that a 4400# axle gives you any more cargo carrying capacity as there are other limiting factors. I am just saying that getting a heavier axle solved my problem. I also upgraded my springs due to the fact that the original springs had started to flatten out somewhat. I also upgraded the tires, again not to gain cargo capacity, but to gain margin.

Lastly, Lippert sent me the 4400# axle without charge, (I was still within the warranty period at that time). Lippert was great to work with and treated me very fairly.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:10 AM   #13
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If you deal with a "RV" shop your trailer will be off the road until Thanksgiving. If you deal with a trailer shop it might be off the road for a day after they the parts ...

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Old 07-19-2021, 09:30 AM   #14
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Can I tow the trailer? Or do I need to get a flatbed? I cannot extend my stay in Big Meadows because space is not available. I could claim a first-come-first-served site Friday AM but there's no point in doing that since it involves moving the trailer. If I can move the trailer, I might as well move it to a repair shop before then.

I don't have all tools required to swap the axle but could travel to a store to buy jack stands and a few sockets, if required. I do have a bottle jack, scissors jack, 3/8" ratchet, 1/2" breaker bar and 1/2" torque wrench, and a few sockets. The site is solid pavement so I feel safe jacking against it.

The campground has an ambulance stationed in it. Assuming the drivers know the region, I'll ask there about trailer repair shops.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:35 AM   #15
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Can I tow the trailer? Or do I need to get a flatbed? I cannot extend my stay in Big Meadows because space is not available. I could claim a first-come-first-served site Friday AM but there's no point in doing that since it involves moving the trailer. If I can move the trailer, I might as well move it to a repair shop before then.

I don't have all tools required to swap the axle but could travel to a store to buy jack stands and a few sockets, if required. I do have a bottle jack, scissors jack, 3/8" ratchet, 1/2" breaker bar and 1/2" torque wrench, and a few sockets. The site is solid pavement so I feel safe jacking against it.

The campground has an ambulance stationed in it. Assuming the drivers know the region, I'll ask there about trailer repair shops.
I'd suggest pulling the wheel and drum to put eyes on the spindle. No point in us armchair quarterbacks telling you what to do without more info.

If the spindle welds are cracked as you yourself said you'll need a flatbed, if things are just bent a gentle tow reasonably close should be safe. (advise may differ from other armchairs)

What did Dexter say?
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:51 AM   #16
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I'd suggest pulling the wheel and drum to put eyes on the spindle. No point in us armchair quarterbacks telling you what to do without more info.

If the spindle welds are cracked as you yourself said you'll need a flatbed, if things are just bent a gentle tow reasonably close should be safe. (advise may differ from other armchairs)

What did Dexter say?
X2

We really can't see it.

Pull the wheel and look where the spindle enters the torsion swing arm.
Compare it to one of the others.

Did you call Dexter?
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:11 AM   #17
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Looks like a bent spindle, and from experience, it doesn't take much to bend one. Probably a quick and simple fix if you can get it to a truck spring shop, not an RV dealership.
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:34 AM   #18
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Can I tow the trailer? Or do I need to get a flatbed?
dump any water/waste you have in the tanks and tow the trailer, although I would stay at 55, since I see you have a dual axle... You should not be far from a spring shop somewhere if you are still on the east coast.
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:54 AM   #19
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I spoke to Dexter and didn't get any meaningful advice. I was advised to complete a warranty claim form online and that a response may take ~24 hours. He wasn't dismissive but couldn't say much without pictures.

I submitted the claim, including the photos I have. I didn't pull the wheel yet so I don't have a picture of the spindle.

I can pull the wheel pretty easily with the equipment I have. Swapping the axle, if I do that myself here, requires a bit more.

I suspect my resolution will be towing to the closest trailer (not RV) shop and paying cash for a repair, assuming it's towable. After that I'll submit a warranty claim. I'll validate that approach with Dexter before committing to it.
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:54 AM   #20
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Cancel camping for 2 to 4 months ? why a new axle can be installed in a couple hrs . doesn't have to be a dexter axle. all that needs done is finding the axle then install week or 2 tops
Yep - if they take it to an RV dealer/service center. That's why I suggested taking to a utility trailer shop.
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