||AXLES - Can I buy axles directly from Dexter?
Dexter axles are manufactured specifically for each customer order.
Since there are literally tens of thousands of size and option
combinations, we do not stock any axles. Therefore, every order must be
set-up to produce. While we do sell axles direct, it is generally less
expensive to purchase small quantities of axles through our
distribution network. Because they buy in volume, they can supply axles
at a more reasonable price than factory-direct due to set-up and
freight costs. There is a complete list of Dexter Axle authorized
distributors on our web site. Those coded with "AB" stock bare axle
beams and can provide complete axle assemblies with a very short
||AXLES - Can I buy just a spindle?
is against our policy to sell loose spindles for axles. The
installation, alignment, and welding of the spindles is the most
critical operation in the manufacturing of axles. It requires
sophisticated alignment fixtures and precision welding to insure the
proper attachment. The only recourse is to obtain a new axle beam. On a
sprung type axle, this is the tube, spindle, and spring seat. On a
Torflex axle, this is the tube, inner bar, rubber suspension, spindle,
and bracket assembly.
||AXLES - Can axles be used without suspensions?
capacity will be reduced by at least 50% when used without a suspension
system (axles or stubs attached directly to the vehicle frame). This is
NOT a recommended configuration as it transfers load directly to the
frame rails and is a very harsh ride.
||AXLES - Can mobile home axles be reused?
Dexter MH (mobile home) type axle is designed for limited usage in the
delivery of manufactured homes and has a one-time limit use. The axle
has steel forged spindles that are not precision ground. The brake
assembly is welded onto the beam and not intended to be field replaced.
Additionally, the bearing package is smaller than the more expensive
service type axle. Most MH axles are also equipped with a single leaf
spring suspension for very heavy loads. We do not have components that
would convert MH axles to serviceable assemblies.
||AXLES - What type of warranty does Dexter Axle offer?
Axle warrants to the original purchaser of a recreational vehicle
manufactured by RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer's Association)
members for private non-commercial use or service, that the spring
suspension axles will be free of defects in material and workmanship
for a period of the earlier of two (2) years from the date of purchase
by the original purchaser or 24,000 miles. The warranty period on the
Nev-R-Lube bearing package is for a period of five (5) years or 100,000
miles from the date of purchase by the original purchaser.
||AXLES - Where can I find replacement parts for mobile home axles?
Dexter distributors do not stock components for mobile home style axles
because the axles are intended for limited use in the delivery of
manufactured homes. However, this distributor should have the
item(s) you need.
||AXLES - Why are some axles bent in the middle?
upward bend in the axle is called "camber". Camber is the angular
relationship of the wheel to the road surface in the vertical plane.
Axles are typically built with a pre-determined bend in the tube that
compensates for the expected deflection under load.
||BEARINGS - How often should I grease the bearings?
with bearing adjustment, proper lubrication is essential to the current
function and reliability of your trailer axle. Bearings should be
lubricated every 12 months or 12,000 miles.
||BEARINGS - What is the proper bearing adjustment procedure and recommended grease?
review the Dexter Service Manual for instructions and specifications
relating to bearing adjustment and lubrication. WARNING: It is
important NOT to mix different types of grease thickeners. The grease
that Dexter Axle uses has a Lithium Complex thickener. Mixing our
grease with a Barium, Calcium, Clay, or Polyurea soap based thickener
agent will cause adverse affects. This may include causing the two
greases to harden, separate, become acidic, or pose other hazards and
damage to the bearings.
||BRAKES - Can I change my brakes from electric to hydraulic or vice versa?
can be done on most axle models. We recommend contacting the trailer
manufacturer prior to changing your braking system to identify any
||BRAKES - Can I upgrade to bigger brakes?
the different brake sizes offered by Dexter are not interchangeable on
existing axles. There are only a few cases where you may be able to
upgrade with stronger magnets and more aggressive linings. Typically
the problem that causes weak brakes is under adjustment in the smaller
brakes that require frequent manual adjusting (see: How often should I
adjust my brakes?) or insufficient brake voltage in the electric brakes
(see: Why aren't my electric brakes working properly).
||BRAKES - Can brakes be added to an idler axle?
brakes to an idler axle is relatively easy if the idler axle is
equipped with the brake mounting flanges (the plate to which the brake
is bolted). About half of the trailer manufacturers decide not to put
the flanges on their idler axles to reduce their cost. If the axle does
have flanges, you need both a RH and a LH brake assembly as well as two
hub and drums to replace the plain hubs currently on the axle. If the
axle is not equipped with flanges, you will need to purchase a new axle
beam with brake flanges attached by Dexter Axle.
||BRAKES - Can brakes be used on trailers towed by motorcycles?
Axle does not recommend the use of brakes on small touring trailers
designed to be pulled by motorcycles. Proper control of the brakes on
these vehicles can be very difficult. Even the slightest imbalance of
the trailer brakes might cause the rider to lose control. A secondary
issue is the spontaneous and unexpected actuation of the brakes. This
can occur when a Torflex axle is not fully loaded. Under this
condition, the torsion arm is not rotated to its normal position, which
puts the brake assembly out of level. If the axle is fitted with
electric brakes, this non-level condition can result in unexpected
brake actuation when the trailer encounters large bumps. This can occur
because the magnet inside the brake has sufficient mass to move the
actuating lever during extreme jounce situations. The farther the brake
assembly is rotated out of level, the greater the chance that this
spontaneous action can take place.
||BRAKES - Do Dexter brake magnet wires have polarity?
wires on a Dexter magnet do not have polarity. It works like a common
resistor. One wire will connect to power and the other to a ground. It
is Dexter's recommendation that a common ground be run from the trailer
plug to the brake magnets. Do not ground each brake individually to the
trailer frame or structure. Also note that the brakes should be wired
in parallel, not in series.
||BRAKES - How can I increase the aggressiveness of the 12"x2" brake?
is not possible to put a larger magnet in the 12"x2" electric brake,
nor does Dexter offer a self-adjusting brake in that size. However, we
do offer a more aggressive lining. The lining kit number is K71-127-00.
You will need one for each brake.
||BRAKES - How do I measure brake current or amperage?
7" brakes draw about 2.5 amps per brake and all other brake magnets
draw about 3 amps per brake. The total system amperage is calculated by
multiplying this number by the number of brakes/magnets connected to
the brake system. To measure the brake current, the engine of the
towing vehicle should be running. Disconnect the wire at the point that
you wish to measure the current draw and put the ammeter in series with
this line. Make sure your ammeter has sufficient capacity and note
polarity to prevent damaging your ammeter. NOTE: If a resistor is used
in the brake system, it must be set to zero or bypassed completely to
obtain the maximum amperage reading. The amount of current draw will
depend on what point you are measuring. If the ammeter is at the plug,
you will get the total current draw from all magnets. If the ammeter is
connected at one of the magnets, you will measure the current draw
through that magnet only.
||BRAKES - How do I measure brake voltage?
voltage is measured at the magnets by connecting a voltmeter to the two
magnet lead wires at any brake. This may be accomplished by using a pin
probe inserted through the insulation of the wires dropping down from
the chassis or by cutting the wires. The engine of the towing vehicle
should be running when checking the voltage so that a low battery will
not affect the readings. Voltage in the system should begin at 0 volts
and as the controller bar is slowly actuated, should gradually increase
to about 12 volts. This is referred to as modulation. No modulation
means that when the controller begins to apply voltage to the brakes it
applies an immediate high voltage, which causes the brakes to apply
instantaneous maximum power. The threshold voltage of a controller is
the voltage applied to the brakes when the controller first turns on.
The lower the threshold voltage the smoother the brakes will operate.
Too high of a threshold voltage (in excess of 2 volts as quite often
found in heavy duty controllers) can cause grabby, harsh brakes.
||BRAKES - How often should I adjust my brakes?
recommends that manual adjust brakes be adjusted . . . 1) After the
first 200 miles of operation when the brake shoes and drums have
"seated". 2) At 3,000 mile intervals. 3) Or as use or performance
||BRAKES - Why are my boat trailer brakes rusting so fast?
Dexter offers marine application free-backing hydraulic brakes in both 10"x2-1/4" and
12"x2" sizes. The brake components are all either E-Coated, stainless steel, or zinc plated to resist corrosion.
||BRAKES - My brake linings are cracked, do I have to replace them?
light cracking of the surface of a brake lining can be expected under
normal use. This is not cause for replacement. However, if the lining
is deeply cracked to the shoe surface or is missing chunks, your brake
linings will require replacement.
||BRAKES - Which magnet wire is the positive, they are both the same color?
Dexter magnet is not a polarized component. Use one wire to connect to
power from the brake controller and use the other to attach to the
ground. It is Dexter's recommendation that a common ground be run from
the trailer plug to the magnets. Do not ground each brake individually
to the trailer frame or structure. Also note that the brakes should be
wired in parallel, not in series. The wire color is used to identify
the component since so many Dexter magnets physically look the same on
the outside; however they are different strengths for the different
||BRAKES - Which way do electric brakes mount to the axle?
actuation lever should curve around the front side of the spindle. The
wires should always exit the brake to the backside of the assembly when
installed on the trailer.
||BRAKES - Why aren't my electric brakes working?
electric brake malfunctions that cannot be corrected by either brake
adjustment or synchronization adjustments of your brake controller can
generally be traced to electrical system failure. Mechanical causes are
ordinarily obvious (i.e. bent/broken parts, worn out linings or
magnets, seized lever arms or shoes, scored drums, etc.). A voltmeter
and ammeter will be essential tools for proper troubleshooting of
electric brakes. NOTE: After replacing your brake shoes and magnets you
will experience a decrease in braking performance until the components
have worn into the drum and finished the burnishing process. This
process requires many stops to bring the new shoe's performance back to
normal. This may take more than 100 stops to finish this break-in
period with stops of 20 mph decreases in speed. Please refer to the
Dexter Service Manual for detailed troubleshooting instructions to
further determine the cause of poor brake performance.
||BRAKES - Why can't I lock and slide my electric brakes?
an unloaded trailer, you may be able to lock up your brakes if your
electric brake controller is supplying full amperage to the brakes.
When loaded to capacity, you may not be able to lock your brakes as
electric brakes are designed to slow the trailer at a controlled rate,
and not designed to lock up the wheels on a fully loaded trailer. Our
brakes are designed to meet all applicable safety standards. All of our
brakes will perform better after numerous burnish stops to seat the
brake linings to the drums.
||BRAKES - Why do I have to adjust my brakes?
must be adjusted to compensate for the lining and drum wear that occurs
during the use of the braking system. Some brakes require manual
adjustment to move the linings closer to the drum. Refer to the brake
adjustment section of the OPERATION MAINTENANCE SERVICE MANUAL for your
style of brakes. Other brakes may have an automatic brake adjuster such
as the automatic slack adjusters for air brakes.
||BRAKES - Why do my brakes and hubs get so hot?
systems use friction to slow the vehicle and the energy used to slow
the trailer is converted to heat. Dexter brakes are designed to operate
up to extremely high temperatures during hard braking application. This
heat is noticeable on the hub and drums and is to be normally expected
on a properly functioning brake. If a brake is malfunctioning and
running excessively hot, this can be noticed by smoking brakes or the
paint burning off of the brake drum.
||E-Z LUBE - Can I upgrade to the E-Z Lube option on my existing axles?
the E-Z Lube option requires a specially controlled machining operation
to drill the holes in the spindles to provide the grease path from the
end of the spindle to the inner bearing.
||E-Z LUBE - What is the E-Z Lube option?
E-Z Lube option was designed specifically for the marine application
where the axles are constantly being immersed in water. This feature
provides a convenient method for purging the water from the hub cavity
without having to pull the hub every time. The hubs should be removed
every 12 months or 12,000 miles to inspect the bearings and it is
imperative to replace the seal at this time to assure that the grease
does not leak out the back onto the brake linings rendering the brakes
||MISCELLANEOUS - How can I change the height of my trailer?
offers an over/under conversion kit for leaf spring axles. The two
different kits available are K71-384-00 for axles with 2-3/8" diameter
tube and K71-385-00 for axles with 3" diameter tube. Please note that
these conversion kits CANNOT be used with reinforced spring seats.
Additionally, changing the spring mounting from underslung to overslung
(or vice versa) will change the trailer frame height and change the
center of gravity of the trailer. This may affect the towing
characteristics of the trailer.
||MISCELLANEOUS - How do you calculate hitch weights?
hitch weight for conventional, bumper type hitches should be 10% to 14%
of the gross weight of the vehicle. The remaining 86% to 90% of the
load will be carried on the running gear. The hitch weight for 5th
wheel and gooseneck type trailers should be 15% to 20% of the gross
weight of the vehicle. The remaining 80% to 85% of the load will be
carried on the running gear.
||MISCELLANEOUS - Is it okay to jack up my trailer?
recommends that you do not jack up the trailer on the suspension
components because there is always the potential for damage. Bent
hangers, leaf springs, or axle tubes can cause bad axle alignment with
bad tire wear resulting. Also, many trailer builders do not use Dexter
hangers and we have no idea how strong these hangers may or may not be.
Therefore, we take the conservative approach and recommend jacking up
only on the trailer frame.
||MISCELLANEOUS - Where can I buy Dexter replacement parts that are not on your web site?
Axle genuine replacement parts are available through an international
network of authorized distributors.
||NEV-R-LUBE - Can I upgrade to the Nev-R-Lube option on my existing axles?
the two bearings were moved closer together and combined into a single
sealed cartridge with only one spindle journal size. This required
different spindle and hub-drum designs to accommodate the Nev-R-Lube
cartridge. In order to upgrade to this option it will require
purchasing new axles, hubs-drums and possibly new wheels. The
Nev-R-Lube option can only be used with certain wheel offsets.
||NEV-R-LUBE - How often should I grease my Nev-R-Lube bearings?
Dexter Nev-R-Lube bearings are a sealed bearing cartridge that never
requires repacking with grease. However, they still need to be
inspected every 12 months or 12,000 miles and can be done during your
normal brake maintenance inspection process.
||TORFLEX - Can I change my Torflex start angle?
No, the different start angles are achieved with different components that can't be changed once the axle is built.
||TORFLEX - Can I use 3 Torflex axles under my trailer?
Dexter does not recommend triple Torflex applications because Torflex
axles are totally independent and not equalized like a typical leaf
spring set of axles. There is no ability to transfer loads from one
axle to another. When traversing uneven operating surfaces such as
driveway entries, railroad crossings or speed bumps, the entire load
can be put onto one axle causing severe overload. It isn't reasonable
to expect one axle to carry the entire load of three axles when these
conditions occur, even though these instances cause only momentary
||TORFLEX - Can I weld to my Torflex axle or move the brackets?
the Torflex axles contain rubber cords to provide the suspension system
and can be damaged by the heat generated from welding on the bracket or
||TORFLEX - What are the advantages of Torflex versus Leaf Spring axles?
Dexter Torflex axle carries a 5 year warranty vs. a 1 year warranty on
our sprung axles, which demonstrates how confident we are with the
Torflex suspension. There are no suspension parts to wear out (spring
shackles, hangers, etc.). Rubber cushioning eliminates metal-to-metal
contact. The axle capacity can be closely matched to the trailer
requirements by the amount of rubber assembled in the axle. The
independent suspension allows each wheel to travel totally independent
from the others. A smoother ride, less sway and reduced noise is
achieved with the rubber suspension. The axle can be built with various
start angles to achieve desired trailer height.
||TOWING - How do I determine hitch weight?
hitch weight for conventional, bumper type hitches should be 10-14% of
the gross weight of the vehicle. The remaining 86-90% of the load will
be carried on the running gear. The hitch weight for 5th wheel and
gooseneck type trailers should be 15-20% of the gross weight of the
vehicle, with the remaining 80-85% of the load being carried on the
||WHEELS & TIRES - Can I change to aluminum wheels?
wheels are thicker through the mounting bolt area and may not leave
enough stud length for proper nut engagement. Consult the wheel
manufacturer for stud length and mounting face requirements and wheel
||WHEELS & TIRES - Can I use wheels with greater offsets?
offset is the distance from the mounting surface to the centerline of
the tire. Dexter Axle bearing sets are designed for wheels with 0 to
1/2" inset. Exceeding this offset will shorten bearing life and may
lead to dangerous bearing failure.
||WHEELS & TIRES - What is the difference between "hub" and "stud" piloted wheels?
wheels have a center hole machined to a close tolerance and are
intended to mate with a hub having a properly sized pilot diameter. The
bolt holes will be bored or stamped straight through the center disc
which is designed to be fastened with either flanged nuts or a clamp
ring using cone nuts. Stud-piloted wheels have a center hole which
provides clearance to the hub nose. The bolt holes feature a tapered
seat designed for clamping with properly matched cone nuts. The cone
angle of the nut must match the cone angle around the bolt hole of the
center disc. Failure to properly match these components will result in
catastrophic wheel loss.
||WHEELS & TIRES - What tires can I use on these wheels?
and tires must be matched. The wheel will have a label stating its rim
diameter, width and contour. The tire selected must be approved by the
Tire and Rim Association for use on that particular size wheel. The
tire capacity selected should not exceed the capacity rating of the
wheel. The tire inflation pressure must not exceed the pressure rating
of the wheel. WARNING - The use of tires that are not approved for use
on a wheel could result in explosive separation of the tire and wheel
and could cause a serious accident.
||WHEELS & TIRES - Why do I need to re-torque my trailer wheels when I don't do that on my truck?
wheels carry substantially more weight than tow vehicle wheels of the
same size and see more disc flexing due to side loading stresses. It is
necessary to re-torque them several times until the wheel nut torque
stabilizes. This is especially true for new wheels that need to have
the paint worn away at the hub mounting face and under the wheel nuts.
WARNING: Be very careful to use only the recommended wheel fastening
torque amount as specified for that wheel and fastener. It is possible
to permanently damage a wheel that has been over torqued and may cause
the loss of that wheel from the trailer.