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Old 04-14-2018, 09:04 AM   #1
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I hate dexter...

Tearing down my suspension to check the heavy duty suspension components i installed in 2012/3 and I found failures of the all the bronze bushings I got to before I got disgusted and stopped. Bronze bushings all are worn completely through and wet bolts are all scored (ruined) from riding directly on the springs. 35000 miles and 6 years of wear on a light 5500 pound trailer and those kits are rated at 6000 pounds per axle. I should have taken photos of all the exotic places I’ve layed on the ground greasing them on the road....
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:21 AM   #2
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Hi Tod,

WOW... that is not what I would of expected. Mine I installed back in Feb of 2009 and I have worn very little. But I have not put 35,000 miles on them yet. I have to go back and talley it up but I suspect maybe 25,000 to 30,000. And I'm riding heavy, close to 10K lb loaded.

I do grease them twice a year.

I asked Dexter back when, how long do they last? The eng tech told me, a good long time if you grease them. He did not give me a mileage or time line. At the time in 2009 they where the best upgrade around. They for sure are better then the stock nylon one that wear through in about ~ 8,000 miles regardless of camper size just about.

Lippert bought a company along the way that makes the NeverFail bushing.
https://www.lci1.com/never-fail

They claim "lifetime" guaranteed or they will replace. See the flier http://images.salsify.com/image/uplo...s58zuw1pn06iwl

They show a bushing that is 100,000 miles but no specifics on the loading.

I have never tried these, have 2 camper friends that installed them both on 10K pound trailers. But they have not been in long enough to know if they hold up to the claim.

They may be an option. Please report back on if you do try them and how easy/hard to install. We have 3 more Sunlines to do suspension upgrades to and may try the NeverFail.

Thanks

John
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:30 AM   #3
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I called and asked the same thing about expected lifetime a couple months ago, since I was just casually thinking of checking them, and I got the same “a long time” answer. Really a bummer. I was thinking at worst I’d have to get some bushings, but the are toast, one is probably 75 percent gone by mass, it is just a sliver of bronze.

I can do a full accounting after lunch when I get everything apart.

I’m obviously going to call them on Monday. I just wish I knew that they needed checked (like a published service interval), so I didn’t ruin the bolts.

I’m also going to check the other options you suggested.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:31 PM   #4
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So the tally for bushings is: 2 completely gone (totally eroded just gone, spring on bolt), 5 partials (from just a sliver left), and 1 not yet worn through (but just about worn through).

Has anyone heard of this? I was diligent in greasing and followed the greasing interval. We drive a lot of gravel and a lot of very rough road, but with the great gobs of grease that surround the bolts and bushings, I don’t see how it would get in there.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:50 PM   #5
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Mine has nylon bushings I just replaced them again but I did have a lot of miles on them I'll guess 10,000 there is a lot of movement on the equalizer makes for a smoother ride but the bushings take a beating. I had considered machine the bolts and using metal bushings but at 10,000 they really were not that bad and it's a 1/2 hour job the entire kit equalizer etc was less than $50 from etrailer. They have the metal bushing kits too.
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:02 PM   #6
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Hi Tod,

This is perplexing. There is one somewhat larger difference between your end results and my current ones. I bought mine in 2009. You bought yours in 2012.

An unknown is, is the physical bronze the same in yours and mine? Knowing somewhat about the metallurgy of bronze, it can be alloyed to have varying degrees of toughness/hardness. Some can be made to be as tough as some lower carbon steels if the bronze is alloyed up right. Ampco 10 aluminum bronze for one that I have used a lot of is close to carbon steel as compared to standard SAE 660 general bearing bronze. I do not know if Dexter changed it's manufacturing or if they had a sub supplier issue.

I wish your post would of come about 3 days ago. I just had my camper up on jack stands and the wheels off checking the axles for alignment after adding more reinforcing frame steel. I could of, would of, taken the shackle links apart and measured the wear. I can tell by how the grease flows in, there is not mega clearance and I just did that last week. I did do a wear test about 4 maybe 5 years ago (at about 50% of their current life) and there was not more than 0.015" wear. And my camper is almost twice the weight of yours.

Something is really different with yours OR I have big problem I do not know about yet... If this bugs me enough, I may jack it back up again... and try and do an indicator test on the shackles in place. That should not take that long. Today I finally finished all the winter work and upgrades getting it ready for camping... Doing a bushing rebuild for sure was not in the original plan right now...

Keep us posted on how this goes.

Thanks

John
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:16 PM   #7
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I’ve got the pieces soaking, I’ll clean them off and get a couple photos up. In thinking about it I remember fighting to get the grease into them when they were new and it not being so bad the last few times. Should have made a light go off, My bad I guess.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:28 AM   #8
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My tractor has greasable pins that work on the same ideal as the suspension pins they grease properly. The hole in in the center of the pin and there is a machined ring groove in the center also this ensures that grease comes out of both ends of the loader frame I have not seen a wet spring bushing on a camper but many years ago old cars had greasable spring pins so the camper pins it says in the fine print should work too. Like I say the equalizer moves a lot so how much is enough grease? Another point is all though the movement is great the swing is not so they would tend to wear in a small radius instead of a circle.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:16 PM   #9
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What is the thought on the consistency of the rubber cushion on the equalizer? I pulled mine today as the final step of removing the suspension components. I remember that it was rubbery when put in, but it isn’t now. It is the consistency of fairly low density plastic. Not at all rubbery like an eraser or tire or rubber mallet. If dropped it doesn’t bounce and makes a thunk more like a piece of wood than rubber. I put it in the big vice and compressed it to the max I could, which was about a 1/16”, no bulge, no sign of deformation other than at the jaws.

I know they had oodles of troubles around 2011 and I’ve read all about it here with John’s problems.

Also of note, I have lots of wear in the bushings in it, all wallowed out badly. The main/center pivot that rides on a very large (1 inch or so) steel bushing is even messed up. Tons of side to side play and I wonder if I don’t have something odd going on stressing the components.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:01 PM   #10
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Tod any pics?

I had to convert to the Trail Aire equalizer when I upgraded to 16" wheels. I do not have long term data on the EZ flex. I do think they sell the rubber as a spare part. While that rubber is stiff, it is not to be soggy or that will go back to the original issue and colpase.

Since your close to a first name basis with the Dexter tech's... it might be worth a call. I do still have 2 of those in the barn. I'm away for work this week but I can play with them when I get back. They are aged from time, just not in a camper.

Thanks

John
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
My tractor has greasable pins that work on the same ideal as the suspension pins they grease properly. The hole in in the center of the pin and there is a machined ring groove in the center also this ensures that grease comes out of both ends of the loader frame I have not seen a wet spring bushing on a camper but many years ago old cars had greasable spring pins so the camper pins it says in the fine print should work too. Like I say the equalizer moves a lot so how much is enough grease? Another point is all though the movement is great the swing is not so they would tend to wear in a small radius instead of a circle.

Hi Mainah

The "trailer" wet bolts only have a drilled hole coming out one side of the pin in the lube area. No grease grooves. Remember we are talking RV's here not agricultural or even automotive...



And yes, I agree there is concentrated load from the camper weight down on the bushing/pin. And... the pressure contact point is at the 6:00 location on the pin/equalizer or spring eye. I know that does not sound right but see the pic below at the spring hanger, the equalizer is the same. They want you to rotate the wet bolt to either the 3:00, 6:00 or 12:00 location for the grease hole as if you put the grease hole at 6:00, the pressure of the camper on the bushing seals off the grease hole and there is no "normal" hand grease gun with enough pressure to pump the grease into the hole sealed like that.

At the other locations the grease is going into the clearance of the pin and bushing. Again no grease grooves to actually allow the grease to go to the 6:00 location other then working itself around as the suspension works. Not ideal.

Here is the sketch of what is going on at the spring eye, hanger and pin. This sketch is with the grease hole at the 6:00 location


A grease groove would help the cause.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:23 PM   #12
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Oh boy, I do hate Dexter now!!!!

So, make a call to warranty/service.... talk to Connie and she says to send photos.... Well I spent some time getting everything cleaned up nice for the photos, and sent them. I get a call back and my new best friend Connie at Dexter tells me that she reviewed the photos with the Senior Service Technician and it appeared that there wasn't grease on the parts and that lack of grease can cause wear. I'm easily excited and let me tell you... I didn't like her tone and content of what she was saying and my blood pressure went through the roof after having spent the time to clean the parts, I get accused to not greasing them enough. In my email I described that I'd greased them a lot, mostly at the required interval (3K miles) and never over 5K miles. She offered to cover the equalizer and give a deal on the heavy duty bolt kit on the phone. She emailed with a summary of our discussion and offered to replace the entire kit (ez flex and heavy duty wet bolts) - I have no idea why they did that. She said there was a problem with the equalizer rubber at that time - too hard as I observed.

The photo shows the best three bronze bushings. The service tech noted "just a hint of grease on one of them". ERRRRGH!



Rubber cushion. You can tell it is not doing its job in the next photo since the inner surfaces of the parts of the equalizer show no wear from moving against each other (compare to outer where it wears on the hangers) – this indicates the unit is moving as one piece and not against each other. She said there was a bad batch that was too hard and the reason they were offering replacement origionally.



Look at the wear in the main equalizer pivot point, the bushing is wallowed out at the bottom inside but not outside, indicating that the unit is splayed out in use. The wear is clearly not even. I noticed that the steel spacer/bearing at the main pivot is about 1/8" longer than the width of the equalizer, which “allows” the unit to splay out as the bushing wears (the hanger doesn't pinch the two halves together).



outers. You can see the wear from the hangers, compare to the inners.



Uncleaned, it has always bothered me how messy the wet bolt and equalizers is. I sent this photo to them to show what they looked like before I cleaned them after I was accused of not greasing. I've thought about pressure washing these to remove the grease, but that seemed like it could drive grit in, so I just live with it.



I have no plan on what to do next. I talked to MorRyde today and their heavy duty shackles and wet bolts are supposed to be greased every 6-10K (vs. 3K for Dexter). They say they often last over 50K. Their CRE3000 equalizer seems good. I may put all this free "goodwill" Dexter stuff in and just watch it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:26 PM   #13
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Interesting Tod. I remember from back when John and I bought our kits, they had an issue with the rubber being too soft, and crushed to a concerning level. Luckily mine was ok though, it didn't compress too much.

Personally I'd do the goodwill kit and if it fails again quickly, then go with the MOR/ryde.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:15 PM   #14
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Yeah with a setup like that it moves even less because of the rubber stop so the thrust is going to pretty much in the same spot. Once the spring is weighted it's not going too move much but the equalizer will. Positioning the bolt to match where it's worn might help but it's kind of doubtful. I worked for BMC and Jag's had a brilliant rear suspension system right down to tapered bearings (like a wheel bearing) on the control arms. It really looked good on paper but because there was not enough movement the bearings wore deep grooves in the races because the movement was so minimal they wore in one spot. After doing mine a second time I pretty much resigned myself to doing them every few years because there was not much I could change to correct it.
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