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Dexter HD Suspension & EZ-Flex Install (long w/ pictures)

LAdams
Explorer
Explorer
I recently purchased the Dexter HD suspension kit that comes with the new EZ-Flex Idler... I had installed a similar kit on my previous Nomad 27' TT and it worked quite well so I decided to install the newer kit on my 31' Nomad... Below is a picture of the kit I installed...






Now it's worth mentioning here that this type of job isn't exactly for the "faint of heart"... Basically what your going to do is to put your TT on Jack stands and rip off the suspension and install a new one... Your going to need a pretty good assortment of standard mechanics hand tools and an air compressor with a variety of air tools is also very helpful... I would also suggest that you buy the

Harbor Freight Ball Joint Tool

that you see in this post... It is used for pressing in bronze bearings and serrated bolts and works very well for this application...

You could just use a big hammer and beat things into submission, but pressing the bearings and bolts in is a lot more elegant and easier on the frame and also the installers hands... I also used an air operated impact (gun) wrench, an air operated ratchet wrench, demolition bar, numerous 1/2" drive sockets, 3 pound hammer, grease gun, assorted screwdrivers, vise grips and other hand tools...




Start the project by putting your trailer on jack stands on a good firm surface... I also used my 6 stabilizer jacks attached to the trailer to further aid with stability... Here are some photos of that...



















You should also have 2 or 3 hefty jacks, either the bottle type or floor type to aid in the installation... I use a 4 ton floor jack and a 12 ton bottle jack... The 12 ton picks up the TT effortlessly and is small and compact... Here are a few photos of them...



















Start by removing the standard OEM idlers and shackles... This is done by removing the lock nuts on the inside of the suspension components and then hammering the bolts out of the hangers... All the bolts on my OEM suspension system were serrated, so using the impact gun to turn them and remove them would have damaged the shackle hangers by reaming out the mounting hole... If I would have done that then the new serrated bolts would have no material to bite in to... Here are a few pictures of the old suspension components...









Here is the rear OEM bolt...









In this photo the springs have been removed from the idler and their plastic bearings have not yet been removed...









Once the old components have been removed, you can begin to install the new ones... When pressing in the new bronze bushings, it is a good idea to use a pilot bolt or installation bolt so that the soft bronze bearing does not distort or bend... Here is a bolt I used for that purpose... Note that I ground off the serrations... This bolt is also used to push out (hammer out) the plastic bearings...









Here are a few typical plastic bearings after about 6000 miles... Some were already showing signs of extreme wear...









Now we can install the bronze bushings in the spring eyes... Apply grease to the inside of the spring eye, the outside of the bronze bearing, and the inside of the bronze bearing as well... Then use the Harbor Freight Ball Joint Tool (HFBJT) to push the bronze bearings into the spring eye as shown below...



















Once the bearing is pressed into the spring eye, then we press the serrated greasable bolt into hanger using the HFBJT...









This isn't the spring eye but here we are pressing the idler bolt into the hanger the same way you would do it with the spring hanger...









Once you complete the spring eye ends, then you can install the EZ-Flex Idler... It is installed by holding the idler between the frame hanger, inserting the proper size bolt and using the HFBJT to press the serrated bolt into the hanger... In the picture below the EZ-Flex idler has been hung on the bolt...









In the picture below, the serrated bolt is being pressed into the hanger...









Once you have the EZ-Flex Idler mounted you can install the HD shackles for the front and rear springs... Here are a few photos of that operation... The photo below shows one shackle in place...









The photo below shows the second HD shackle being installed...









And this is what the assembly looks like when completely installed...









Here are a few photos from underneath the trailer looking at the inside view of the suspension components...














And here are a few extra views of the HFBJT in use... This tool was really a life saver... We used a similar tool that my buddy had at his shop when we did the previous trailer and I knew I would need a similar tool to successfully complete the installation of the HD EZ-Flex Kit...














And the finished product with the TT wheels again mounted...














It took me all day yesterday to install the EZ-Flex kit and HD suspension shackles on the curb side of the TT... I spent about 8+ hours on it but it was somewhat a learning experience... Today I installed the street side portion of the kit and I did that in about 4 hours... Not too bad for the first time although I don't plan to do another any time soon...

I haven't done a test ride yet - that will come in about 2 weeks when we attend another rally, but I suspect the HD Suspension shackles and EZ-Flex will be a big improvement just like the last one was, although my last one had a solid idler assembly, not rubber shock mounted like the EZ-Flex...

I'm having some problems getting grease to flow in the spring eye portions of the greasable bolts... I called Dexter Tech support and they suggested I reverse their direction... All the greasable bolt holes should run in a horizontal plane facing either the front of rear of the TT as opposed to pointing either skyward or ground ward... Dexter says the grease will not migrate properly if they are in the up or down position... So I reversed the direction of the leaf spring eye bolts and I still can't get grease into them...

I'm going to run the TT a bit and see if the bronze bearings loosen up to the point where they will take grease readily... I remember my last TT being like this and sometimes I had to jack the frame a bit to relieve pressure on the greasable bolts... We'll see what happens with this issue... There were no problems getting grease into the center idler and shackles...

Les

2000 Ford F-250SD, XLT, 4X4 Off Road, SuperCab
w/ 6.8L (415 C.I.) V-10/3:73LS/4R100
Banks Power Pack w/Trans Command & OttoMind
Sold Trailer - not RV'ing at this point in time




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419 REPLIES 419

LAdams
Explorer
Explorer

steve-n-vicki wrote:
but as Les has showed you it is doable by just about anyone and the pic's makes it easier to follow



Gee Steve - thanks :H - I think that was a compliment :R :R :R

Actually, I do all my own maintenance on my TT, motorcycle, truck, and cars or at least as much as I can...

I knew the job was pretty straight forward, but my limitations are I'm not 35 years old anymore, and crawling around on the ground under the TT for many hours can be pretty tough for this "senior citizens old bones" :W ...

Anyway - thanks for the kind words (I think :W)

Les

2000 Ford F-250SD, XLT, 4X4 Off Road, SuperCab
w/ 6.8L (415 C.I.) V-10/3:73LS/4R100
Banks Power Pack w/Trans Command & OttoMind
Sold Trailer - not RV'ing at this point in time




HUNTER THERMOSTAT INSTALL



HOME MADE WHEEL CHOCKS

MCrankyPants
Explorer
Explorer
Fantastic write-up!

With a little time and the right tools, the average DIY'er can do so much maintenance and upgrades to our rigs.
The biggest hurdle is usually lack of "concise" instructions.
You've given that, and the pics are a huge help too.

Before we traded our old trailer, I was going to have this mod done, and had no plans on doing it myself...if I'm ever in that position again, I wouldn't hesitate for a second.
Props!!
2007 Teton Experience Sunrise pulled by 2003 Dodge 3500 Cummins HO 6-spd. 4x4
'61 VW Double-Cab

steve-n-vicki
Explorer
Explorer
I installed the same kit in April and it was easy for me to install , however I am in the medium , heavy truck and heavy earthmoving equipment repair field.
but as Les has showed you it is doable by just about anyone and the pic's makes it easier to follow

brohloff
Explorer
Explorer
Put the Dexter HD Suspension Kit in our '05 Nash TT this spring. Was not the E-Z Flex but a regular suspension. Went well. Took about 6 hrs. I used an 8" C-clamp to press the bushings in. Worked well. I positioned all the grease outlet holes in the down position (as it made the most sense to me that that is where the clearance will be when the weight is on the suspension) and had only a problem getting grease to one of the 14 greaseable bolts.
Also, I positioned all my zerks to the inside, rather than to the outside as Dexter shows, as it seemed easier to slide under the TT (lots of clearance under the Nash) rather than have to take the wheels off to grease them. At least IMHO.
A great TT addition for the $120 spent. Too bad Dexter doesn't add these as OEM.
'05 3500 CTD SB SRW 4x4
'07 Tacoma 4x4 daily driver
'05 Nash 22H, Equalizer, Brakesmart

cachingcampers
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks RG7Fan!
That answers that! However; now I wonder about size for the brass inserts for the leaf spring eyes for non dexter springs... ..:@
2010 KZ Spree 324BHS-LX- Hensley Arrow 14K,Prodigy
2006 Dodge Ram 2500 MegaCab Laramie Heavy Duty,I6 CTD,4x4
Me-1970
DW-1967
DS-1995
Our Pics & Trips
Winter Camping Tips & Tricks!

RG7fan
Explorer
Explorer
cachingcampers wrote:
Realy dumb question.....I realize this is a "Dexter" made kit, I'd like to install it on my KZ which has Alco axles/springs. Is this kit "universal" or should I be looking at something else.

I did read the specs on Dexter's website, but it doesn't indicate if it fits any other manufacture's then Dexter.

TIA!

BTW, nice work Les!


I had the same question about this kit for my Starcraft TT with Lippert axles and springs, here is the response I got from Dexter.

The DEXTER AXLE E-Z Flex equalizers are designed to be direct replacements for specific size cast iron equalizers.

The P/N K71-654-00 equalizer kit is a direct replacement for equalizer p/n 013-104-02. These equalizers have the bottom hole spacing at approximately 5.7” If you have an equalizer that have hole spacing of 5.5” to 6.0 inches than you can use the K71-654-00 kit.

The p/n K71-655-00 equalizer kit is a direct replacement for equalizer p/n 013-122-02. These equalizers have the bottom hole spacing of approximately 7.67 inches. If your equalizers have hole spacing of 7.5 to 7.75 inches then the K71-655-00 kit will work.



Duane Belisle

Dexter Axle Product Engineer

574-296-7334

574-296-7320 Fax

JBarca
Nomad II
Nomad II
Les

Real nice job and nice write up. This type of mod and shocks are in my future as well. However I was going to go with the Trail Aire in place of the Dexter.

To your comment on the cheap nylon bushings, that is not a Skyline exclusive. Mine also have the same cheap nylon bushings and talk to me each time I do a turn on the TT reminding me just how cheap they are...

Thanks for sharing

John
2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10 RA, 21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR, upgraded 2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver. Hitched with a 1,700# Reese HP WD, HP Dual Cam to a 2004 Sunline Solaris T310R travel trailer.

Allen_Schultz
Explorer
Explorer
It takes quite a bit of time to put together a presentation like this. I appreciate your efforts! Thanks.
02 K2500HD Crew Cab Duramax Long Bed. Rickson 19.5" wheels + Bridgestone R250's. Rancho 9000's, Hellwig Sway Bar & Leveling Springs. 02 Summerwind 8.5 Camper with extended cabover. Honda EU3000 runs 13,500 AC.

Drbolasky
Explorer
Explorer
Superb text & pix. You should write for TL.

Doug, Linda, Audrey (USN) & Andrew


2008 Sequoia SR-5, 5.7 L, 2000 Coachmen Futura 2790TB Bunkhouse, Dexter E-Z Flex Suspension, Reese W.D. Hitch/Dual Cam Sway Control, Prodigy Brake Controller, McKesh Mirrors
:B

cachingcampers
Explorer
Explorer
Realy dumb question.....I realize this is a "Dexter" made kit, I'd like to install it on my KZ which has Alco axles/springs. Is this kit "universal" or should I be looking at something else.

I did read the specs on Dexter's website, but it doesn't indicate if it fits any other manufacture's then Dexter.

TIA!

BTW, nice work Les!
2010 KZ Spree 324BHS-LX- Hensley Arrow 14K,Prodigy
2006 Dodge Ram 2500 MegaCab Laramie Heavy Duty,I6 CTD,4x4
Me-1970
DW-1967
DS-1995
Our Pics & Trips
Winter Camping Tips & Tricks!

srd357
Explorer
Explorer
I did mine, 1999 Sunline 2475. First trip out, with the kit, we went over a bridge with the expansion joints.
The truck went thump thump and there was nothing from the trailer. The wife turned around, to look out the
back window to see if the trailer was still there. She looked at me and said "that's weird, I didn't feel the trailer,
and thought it was gone. What's up with that? " I answered "You're welcome"
Yes, it makes that big of a difference.
Steve

LAdams
Explorer
Explorer
I'll ask Admin to make it a Sticky at the top of the TT Forum - look for it there in a day or so...

Les

2000 Ford F-250SD, XLT, 4X4 Off Road, SuperCab
w/ 6.8L (415 C.I.) V-10/3:73LS/4R100
Banks Power Pack w/Trans Command & OttoMind
Sold Trailer - not RV'ing at this point in time




HUNTER THERMOSTAT INSTALL



HOME MADE WHEEL CHOCKS

pete42
Explorer
Explorer
Very nice job and this post should go as a reference for any of us planning on this Mod.

Again very nice job.

PETE

JIH
Explorer
Explorer
LAdams wrote:
Each greasable bolt has 1 hole in it... According to Dexter, the hole exit is supposed to be in a horizontal plane rather than a verticle plane... I haven't sat down ad figured out what forces are in play in the axles, bolts, hangers, etc but I guess that this is the ideal position for the greasable bolt to be in so that grease will flow readily thru it and lubricate the balance of the bolt surface...


The reason is that the max wear areas are at the top and bottom. Where there is wear, there is metal movement in brass bushings. The movement can cause the hole to slowly fill with this moved metal. It has to go somewhere.
2000 Southwind 36Z
2004 GMC Canyon, Toad

LAdams
Explorer
Explorer
I got mine directly from Dexter but Barney got a much better price - wish I would have saw that before I ordered... Actually that kind of surprises me because I order all my bearings and seals from Dexter and they beat the local auto suppliers by huge margins - Oh well :S ...

But I did order in kind of a hurry as I had a ton of stuff going on in my life then with work and retirement just around the corner (I did retire June 30th) :B :B ... But then I figured I saved a TON of money doing it myself... Even if my dealer could have installed it in say 6 hours (which I doubt) at his labor rate that would have been almost $700 in labor!!! And working on my TT is my therapy - I love to do it...

Haven't towed with it yet - we'll be going out July 16th so I'll be able to report after we get back after that weekend... It amazes me that Dexter only installs those cheap little nylon bushings on their OEM axles rather than using bronze bearings and wet bolts... Perhaps that's a Skyline spec when they order axles from Dexter - I dunno :H

I will say that it is a challenging job, at least for these old bones :R ... I'm not as agile as I used to be and think I have a touch of arthritis and crawling around on the paver driveway for 2 days got me pretty sore... It would have been a lot easier with a buddy too - trying to start a bolt when tugging on a breaker bar trying to move an axle into place was just about all I had - could have used an extra set of hands on more than one occasion...

But still, it was a fun job and it only took 2 days, so I just figure all those dollars I saved and the pains go away - you can buy a lot of Tylenol for $700 bucks :B :B :B

Les

2000 Ford F-250SD, XLT, 4X4 Off Road, SuperCab
w/ 6.8L (415 C.I.) V-10/3:73LS/4R100
Banks Power Pack w/Trans Command & OttoMind
Sold Trailer - not RV'ing at this point in time




HUNTER THERMOSTAT INSTALL



HOME MADE WHEEL CHOCKS