Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
John E Davies

Dexter EZ Flex?

Recommended Posts

 

Anybody use this? The stock Dexter suspension is pretty much garbage, the plastic bushings and thin shackles wear out in no time. This system isolates road vibration and is much stouter, and can be greased every few thousand miles for quiet reliable operation. There are no negative reviews for this system, it makes a huge difference in trailer ride quality.

 

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/21609645.cfm

 

It's inexpensive but the labor will use up a few hours.

 

http://www.nickstruckparts.com/k71-652-00.html

 

I wonder if I can order axles through Oliver with this stuff pre-installed...? Comments? Have any high mileage Ollie's had suspension issues? Have you looked at your bushings _lately_? LOL, I am not trying to scare people, but the reality is that the standard parts are not intended for prolonged use or exposure to harsh environments like dust. They just don't last.

 

BTW the picture above is wrong, the grease zerks should be installed facing inboard so you don't have to remove the wheels to lube them!

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 5

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oliver has agreed to install this upgrade on a new build for $270. I don't know what the cost would be for a retrofit, but it would be a little more since there would be disassembly of the old parts involved. The $270 includes credit for the unused original parts.

 

I think this is perhaps a little high since wholesale cost on the parts is probably well below $100 and there is minimal extra labor involved when building up a new suspension. The only extra work would be tearing out the old plastic bushings in the spring eyes and pressing in the new bronze ones. And then greasing all the zerk fittings afterwards. Whatever....

 

You can find the kit for less than half MSRP (Dexter parts have a huge markup), so a local shop should be able to do this affordably or you can attempt it at home if you are handy, have the jacks and muscles.And your joints don't hurt too badly. You will also need a heavy duty ball joint press, but you can borrow one from Autozone or many parts houses.

 

Here's a video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6hXCegZNxE&app=desktop

 

 

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 3

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As luck would have it, it appears I will need to install one of these kits on my one year old Oliver. During our last trip to Utah which we've just returned from a week or so ago our suspension has developed an obnoxious set of noises when leveling the trailer and from all I can determine the issue is with the bushings in the shackles. Keep in mind we have towed this trailer less than 8000 miles and they need to be replaced. So to anyone ordering a new Oliver my recommendation is to spring for the additional heavy duty suspension kit.

 

I do want to point out though the kit linked above is the wrong one. You will need K71-653 not 652 for the entire enchilada, or K71-655 if you choose the abbreviated kit with just the equalizer only. Link below for the correct full kit.

 

http://www.dexteraxle.com/inc/sdetail/18096/18100

  • Thanks 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update on the Dexter EZ Flex kit, just ordered from Nicks Truck supplies so with cost of kit and shipping I'm in for $211 so far. For those wanting to retrofit these were the least expensive I found on the net. Also checked with the go to guys here in town that do the best undercarriage work on vehicles, i.e. alignment etc. This part is painful. To do the complete install and taking out all the old stuff it could be as high as $700 depending on whether or not an alignment is needed after the installation. But probably $500 bare minimum. Ouch!

 

The moral of the story is, if you are planning to order an Oliver or have one in the works you're foolish for not including this kit installed for $270 bucks, otherwise its classic case of stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

 

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to do a quick update on this kit. Received my parts kit on Wed but have not had the time to install yet, but if all else fails I do have an appt at our local expert shop to have it done albeit for a chunk of change. Had another forum member contact me about one aspect of the install and wanted to share what I have learned regarding this issue. Apparently there has been some internet chatter on other forums where the resident "experts" claim the zerk bolt hole should be not only mounted on the horizontal plane which is correct, but also depending on its location, i.e. which spring eyelet the bolt goes into, that the lube hole should face either toward the front or the back of the camper.

 

So addressing this in the install and owners manual there is nothing that implies either a forward or aft facing install, only that the hole should be on a horizontal plane. Not being quite content I decided to call tech support at Dexter to get their take on it. Jim, told me in no uncertain terms that the engineers only require the horizontal plane, direction matters not so long as the lube hole does not face down or up.

 

Now that out of the way I would be remiss if not including the following info. This kit is massive heavy duty makes the standard shackles, equalizer parts look like a cheap toy. Also worth noting many of the zerk bolts and their brass/bronze bushings come already installed and pressed into place reducing the amount of work needed for the complete install. Its heavy over 30 lbs for both sides.

 

Good luck for those who decide to make the installation themselves. For approximately $200 just for parts this will be money well spent.

 

 

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ordered this (K71-653-00 E-Z Flex® Complete Tandem Kit) last night from Nick's Truck. I called them first to verify the parts were in stock and that it would be shipped today. The kit is $163.75 plus some pretty extravagant shipping and handling bringing my total to $196.58. I suppose the difference in mine and Rob's order total's is due to his living in the hinterlands of Montana and at least part of the delivery is done by mule pack train.

 

Thanks, Rob for the good info posted above about the wet bolts. That will make the install somewhat easier.  I will jump on this next week barring poor weather.  I will try to take pictures as I go to help anyone else that is attempting this mod.

 

Wish me luck...

  • Thanks 3

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no doubt you will do well with this mod, but do keep us informed on how it goes. Likewise I will do the same.

 

Regarding deliveries, yep we usually get our shipments in via the 20 Mule Team Borax crew but thats only a recent new advancement for these parts, still had the pony express when I moved up here in the mid 70's. So we're moving pretty quick now days.

 

The views aren't too bad though, long as those mules don't get in the way.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Appreciate the info in this thread.

 

We purchased our 2015 Elite II used with about 6000 miles and 1 year of use. Will order the K71-653-00 E-Z Flex kit and hub seals to install this summer when I inspect brakes and pack bearings.

 

Took a couple of photos of axle info while under the Ollie today:

 

 


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really appreciate all the information in this thread.  I'd like to get this installed before I leave for Utah in early June.  Knowing my mechanical limitations, I emailed Jason and asked if the factory can recommend a good RV shop in my area to do the installation.  I'll let people know the cost once I have that information.

 

Watching the video sold me!

 

 

 

Don


Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don you could have this done at any auto undercarriage shop too, i.e. shocks, brakes, alignment that sort of thing. I just took our Oliver down to what is considered to be the best sort of shop for this type of work in our town this morning. Had hoped to do it myself but the weather just isn't cooperating lately with not much end in sight either and with a big project coming up. Since Dexter supposedly has a two year warranty on their axles I'm hoping to get some relief for doing this but am not holding my breath. Oddly enough these guys were talking about aligning the axles too, said most of them do not come with any camber or toe etc etc and they have a hydraulic tool that can set the axle correct. My response was do nothing until we discuss it further. Apparently they have done this to thousands of campers/trailers. Had me a bit skeptical though given how well the Oliver tows as it is.

 

Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buzzy, no not at all, but agree with your analysis. When they first brought it up I was a bit taken back. Could be once they get under the thing and see how its built they might have a different opinion. And as stated before the thing tracks incredibly well even without a WD hitch, sway bars etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick followup, just picked up our Oliver from Toms Alignment here in the Bozone. They did check for alignment but said it was dead nuts perfect. The EZ Flex suspension system is now installed and it is quiet as a church mouse either going over bumps on the road or leveling the trailer. Its only a short drive from our house to the repair shop so I haven't put it to the test for ride quality but from what I could tell the towing did seem somewhat smoother and more compliant, a good thing. The guys working on it thought the kit was awesome.

 

Inspecting the old parts, the following is what we observed. Some plastic bushings in fairly rough condition but not as bad as I would have imagined, but rust and lots of it everywhere, inside and outside of the bushings as well as the bolts and races the bushings fit into. If there ever was any grease in these areas, and I doubt it, that grease had long left the building. Some bushings did have cracks and splits along the length while others still inside their through holes or races had some flaking.

 

Will try and do a test ride later today or tomorrow and report back on the ride and towing improvement if any.

 

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Buzzy, but given that I got drug into this kicking and screaming due to an excessively noisy suspension not sure I deserve any altruistic awards. Regardless its great others are finding some useful information on the subject and that you have found it helpful.

 

In the short term other than the annoyance of putting up with the noise its unlikely there was any immediate danger to the Oliver, but left unchecked I have no doubt the rust could have become a much bigger issue later, possibly requiring more parts and labor, and perhaps some handling issues on the road.

 

It is worth pointing out too, if an individual does not want to incur the entire cost of the EZ-Flex kit + installation fees, they could just replace the existing bolts (8 per side) with zerk bolts and probably new bushings as well (though that may not be mandatory) and at least they would have a serviceable suspension for lubing once or twice a year. Better than standard issue, but for another nickel and a tad more effort they could have the entire enchilada and far better suspension. Once you're in this deep, another $300 ± or so is chump change given the piece of mind and serviceability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kit arrives tomorrow from Nick's Truck. I'm probably going to do the install myself. We'll see how that works out. I will attempt to take pics as I go along (sometimes I get carried away and forget) to document this event. At least I can pass on any mistakes and pitfalls that I encounter. Wish me luck...


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Final update on the EZ Flex install and how it works.

 

Just took our Oliver back out to storage but took the scenic route adding quite a few miles on some skinny back roads full of patches, ripples from frost heave and various other whoopty do's on the road bed. No question about it the towing and ride are much smoother and more compliant with this suspension upgrade and again quiet as a church mouse. In fact I'll go so far as to say the ride out with the trailer in tow was smoother than the ride back unencumbered. Decided to take the same route on the return leg. Granted not a 100% exact comparison but close enough for this purpose.

 

It will be interesting to see if Steve's response and assessment coincide with mine. Good luck with the project.

 

Be glad to answer any questions anyone has.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buzzy, I'll answer on Steve's behalf since I don't believe he has installed his kit yet.

 

I had my zerks installed toward the inside for easier access, yes all pivots have a zerk fittings and each can be lubed individually. Since I didn't do this myself, the installers in this case Toms Alignment here in Bozeman did lube each pivot and bushing before and after installation. Don't recall or can't verify what Dexter recommends on mileage for periodic lubing but if they say 3,000 miles ± I would use this as a yardstick.

 

FWIW our suspension was squeaking fairly loudly before we even returned home from picking up our Oliver March one year ago. Probably only had some 3,000 miles at that point… max. Didn't pay too much attention to it at this point, but by 6500 or 7000 miles we developed the obnoxious and loud clanking while leveling the trailer. This was more disconcerting than the squeaking while moving slowing in the campgrounds.

 

Hope this helps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No problem Buzzy, sort of figured that might have been the case. But regarding your other questions, honestly I can't tell you though I am aware of what you asking having spent quite a bit of time on the Dexter website before plunging into this soiree. But the Oliver does NOT use a torqflex suspension instead they use the leaf springs. Other campers like Casita, Scamp etc use the torque flex, would assume this also eliminates the removable spindle.  Not sure about the EZ lube bearings, have not seen any thing that resembles a sway control device underneath, and also not sure about the Never-R-Adjust brakes but doubt it. Now all that said I did have the local shop check my brakes and wheel bearings while they were at this, and the result is all was good. We currently have just shy of 8,000 miles on ours.

 

Perhaps Tommy can shed some info here, but my guess is, if Dexter did not include these superior suspension parts such as the EZ-Flex I would be willing to be dollars to donuts none of the other items you mention are on the standard axels. I have read on other forums the EZ lube bearings can be problematic with the brakes, i.e. grease overflowing onto the pads or drums. Not a good thing.

 

For now I'm going to leave well enough alone, but have considered installing Bilstein Shocks on my F150 as well as the Roadmaster Active Supsension system which I've heard nothing but good things about, linked below.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lot's of great discussion about this subject. I stopped at Midwest Frame and Axle in Iowa City yesterday on my way to Decorah, Iowa for a few days of camping in beautiful Northeast Iowa (it really is beautiful here!). They agreed to install the Dexter EZ Flex for $175. Given my lack of mechanical ability, I made an appointment to have this done before leaving for Colorado and Utah with the Ollie in June.

 

Thanks for the input and advice!

 

Don


Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is worth pointing out too, if an individual does not want to incur the entire cost of the EZ-Flex kit + installation fees, they could just replace the existing bolts (8 per side) with zerk bolts and probably new bushings as well (though that may not be mandatory) and at least they would have a serviceable suspension for lubing once or twice a year. Better than standard issue, but for another nickel and a tad more effort they could have the entire enchilada and far better suspension. Once you’re in this deep, another $300 ± or so is chump change given the piece of mind and serviceability.

 

The HD shackle kit that comes with the bigger greaseable bolts has been around for decades and is well with the money. You cannot use the bigger bolts with your old rinky-dink shackle plates because they are way too long. You cannot use the new bolts with the old plastic bushings since they are larger in diameter. The addition of the rubber flex equalizers is simply  icing on the cake, at minimal extra cost. Especially important if you are paying a shop $100 per hour to do the work, the extra labor for installing the new equalizers is zero since they would have to spend extra time removing the old plastic bushings from the original ones and pressing in the new brass bushings. The new equalizers come ready to install. It really is a no-brainer to install all the parts at once.

 

I am still holding off on ordering a new Ollie Elie II and it is killing me. We have sold our big echoing house and we are living in a rental duplex while a much smaller new home is being built. They broke ground yesterday and we move in in mid-September. There will be a 16 x 47 x 16 ft RV bay (AKA "The Hanger Deck")  waiting for the Ollie. It will be long enough that I can store it and my Ram short bed in it, coupled together and ready to go. I canNOT wait. Well, I guess I have to.....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...To the best of your knowledge, do the current (2016) trailers use any of the following; Dexter Torflex Suspension Axles, Dexter Torflex Removable Spindle, Dexter E-Z Lube Bearings, Dexter Sway Control, Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Brakes? I am thinking yes to the Nev-R-Adjust Brakes, maybe to the Dexter E-Z Lube Bearings and no to the others. Am I close?...

 

None of the above items are included in the standard setup. Oliver formerly used the E-Z lube bearings, but that has stopped. I believe there were too many issues with blowing out the rear seal with this and it was really designed to be used on boat trailer hubs that are constantly submerged in water. It allowed you to force out water contaminated grease without having to repack the bearings.

 

I got my Dexter Kit last night and have been up under the Oliver today checking things out to see what I'm up against.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a TON of information at the Dexter website, you will see more than you could possibly want. To start with, FAQ:

 

Applications Manual (general information mostly):

 

Resource Library - detailed owner, installation and parts manuals for specific axles, brakes, etc.

 

This one (from the above page) is the complete parts catalog with "exploded" photos of all the component parts. It is a great reference.

 

Please remember that the MSRP for Dexter parts is very VERY high and if you cannot find parts at a 40% or greater discount, you just haven't tried. Sometimes it is way cheaper to buy an assembly, such as a complete electric brake with backing plate, than it is to buy individual parts. Plus it saves labor time. Ten or so minutes researching the part online can save you a ton of cash when it comes to any part made by Dexter.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Buzzy. Saved in Evernote!

 


Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They also state the recommended grease per Dexter 

The bushings are not rocket science, they are not really stressed, nor do they require expensive grease. If you are religious about lubing, any cheap chassis grease from Walmart will be fine. If you tend to neglect the lubrication, or tow in severe wet conditions, then by all means use a super high grade synthetic, since it will resist washout and deterioration better. In my dry climate I choose to use the cheap stuff and grease often. Any grease is better than dry plastic bushings....

 

John Davies

 

SPOKANE WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just replaced the original equipment with the EZ FLEX kit, took about 2 hours.  Simple tools plus one 3k floor jack and one from under the seat in my Fiat to move the axles around easier. If you have an air tool (to break all the rust loose) there's no real strength needed to do any of it.  In the process found my 2015 has NVR LUBE bearings.

  • Thanks 1

Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...