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Dexter axle loose bolt at the equalizer


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I know I saw this before but could not find the thread.

Anyways, I went to grease the Ollie and found the left bolt/nut that secures the equalizer to the frame hanging by a tread - literally. I tried to tighten it - but the bolt would not hold torque, Lucky me. We were heading out Sunday, so I called Oliver too see if they had one in stock. I will be there in the morning. Glad I'm within a couple hours drive.

I know I did a visual during the last long trip, but apparently not on the return leg. From now on I'm doing a full inspection after the clean up each time I use the Ollie.

RB

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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During your travels over 3,000 miles, do you grease the EZ-Flex system or just wait until you return home?

Horace & Dianne

Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4x4 Limited

2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull # 93

 

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You are a lucky man.... the bolt has shallow splines close to the head that grip the steel of the hole in the spring mount. It is important to not turn the head, instead tighten the nut while holding the head motionless with a big wrench. If you let the head turn the splines will wallow out the hole, making a loose fit.

 

It would be interesting to inspect the failed bolt, set it down beside the new one to see if there are any obvious flaws....

 

Check all the other nuts and also the ubolts holding on the axles. I bet there are others that need tightening. Please keep us updated.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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Horace -

I carry a grease gun with me and give the equalizer zerks a shot any time I get over 3,000 miles. Since I've always got a tarp with me too there is never really any excuse not to lay the tarp down and take care of business. Besides, after all that hard work I deserve an adult beverage - as if an excuse is really needed.

Bill

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Horace –

I carry a grease gun with me and give the equalizer zerks a shot any time I get over 3,000 miles. Since I’ve always got a tarp with me too there is never really any excuse not to lay the tarp down and take care of business. Besides, after all that hard work I deserve an adult beverage – as if an excuse is really needed.

Bill

 

I also carry a grease gun with me on trips that I think it will be 3,000 miles or more. I also carry a tarp for the same purpose.

Horace & Dianne

Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4x4 Limited

2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull # 93

 

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In less than 24 hrs., the problem was fixed - Oliver service is the best, I had planned to get the bolt and do the repair, but Oliver said no just bring it by, we'll get done. I got there at 8:30, headed home by 10. The service guys n girls are top notch. Richie and Jason, Cindy on the phone, and the other folks - Thanks.

 

The bolt had some wear where it had backed out, but we had no clues what drove it to loosen. They replaced it, put a little anti-seize on it, torque to 43lbs, and I was gone.

 

I do carry a grease gun and associated stuff, but NO I don't service it every 3k miles. How that would effect the bolt and nut to part ways escapes me, but what do I know.

I am going to put together a quick checklist to ensure I do a complete visual at each fuel stop.

RB

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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  • 9 months later...
On 10/3/2019 at 7:03 AM, BackofBeyond said:

I know I saw this before but could not find the thread.

Anyways, I went to grease the Ollie and found the left bolt/nut that secures the equalizer to the frame hanging by a tread - literally. I tried to tighten it - but the bolt would not hold torque, RB

My EZ Flex heart bolt also came loose in 2018.  The nut was no where to be found, and only two threads of the bolt kept the EZ Flex from droping down off the frame mounts.  Fortunately a disaster was avoided by my going dead slow up a steep grade.  Had Ollie been moving faster and gone "Negative" .... the EZ Flex heart bold would have fallen out with potentially disasterous consequences.

When I talked to Jason and Dexter, neither had any knowledge of such an event happening in an OE2.  Now it appears that there may be at least two of us. 

Back of Beyone:   Please confirm that it was the heart bolt that failed.  THanks, GJ

Other Owners:  If this has happened to you, or know of other incidents, please reply  to this issue.  Thanks, GJ

 

Edited by Geronimo John

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2 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

My EZ Flex heart bolt also came loose last year.  The nut was no where to be found, and only two threads of the bolt kept the EZ Flex from droping down off the frame mounts.  Fortunately a disaster was avoided by my going dead slow up a steep grade.  Had Ollie been moving faster and gone "Negative" .... the EZ Flex heart bold would have fallen out with potentially disasterous consequences.

When I talked to Jason and Dexter, neither had any knowledge of such an event happening in an OE2.  Now it appears that there may be at least two of us. 

Back of Beyone:   Please confirm that it was the heart bolt that failed.  THanks, GJ

Other Owners:  If this has happened to you, or know of other incidents, please reply  to this issue.  Thanks, GJ

 

Everyone who has the EZ-Flex equalizer needs to read the following explanation I put together for this condition. I know from experience that there is a disconnect somewhere as to how this bolt should be torqued.

If the EZ-Flex center bolt is not properly torqued to the 65-75 ft lb specification, the steel center bushing that is supposed to provide the lubricated pivot point for the two individual arms, will not be held stationary allowing it to rotate directly on the un-lubricated center bolt. The center bolt now becomes the pivot point for the entire equalizer assembly as a single unit. This un-lubricated bearing contact will tend to rotate the center bolt, which will in turn eventually loosen the prevailing torque locking nut. 

Hopefully the frame hanger will not have been destroyed by the rotating serrations of the center bolt. I would recommend removing the EZ-Flex and inspecting the hanger and steel bushing to see if either hole is out of round and/or enlarged. Then, if neither of these conditions exists, you may get by with just replacing the bolt and nut. Worst case could be replacement of the complete EZ-Flex and/or frame hanger repair or replacement.

I don’t think Dexter will supply just the steel bushing as an individual part because replacement requires specialized shop equipment and tools. That would be the desirable alternative to replacing the whole equalizer though.

GJ: Please keep us updated.
 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

My EZ Flex heart bolt also came loose last year.  The nut was no where to be found, and only two threads of the bolt kept the EZ Flex...

A group of us attended the 50th anniversary of the Boler fiberglass trailer in Winnipeg in 2018. We were there to represent Oliver and show off the brand. We had thousands of people come to us and view the four we had on display.  There was one guy that hung around and looked at mine for about an hour. While I was talking to some other folks he came back and stood there patiently until I was finished.  He then motioned for me to follow him around to the street side of the trailer.  Pointing down between the tires he said, "I didn't want anyone to hear me, but you've got a problem..." Sure enough, the nut was long gone and that bolt was hanging be two threads. Luckily, I had an extra lock nut for it.

When I talked to Jason and Dexter, neither had any knowledge of such an event happening in an OE2.  Now it appears that there may be at least two of us. 

I told Oliver about it when we got back...

Other Owners:  If this has happened to you, or know of other incidents, please reply  to this issue.  Thanks, GJ

Just for your own peace of mind, in addition to complete sets of bearings and grease seals, it would be advisable to carry some replacement nuts for just such rare occurrences.

 

 

Edited by ScubaRx

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 

 

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Thank you for sharing your experience with the EZ-Flex. 

  I think a call back to Jason and Dexter is in order...... 

Edited by Geronimo John

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I don't think my center bolt had splines either. But, I could be wrong. Since it is not a wet bolt and there are no shoulders on it to prevent over tightening, I'm not sure if it would matter if it could rotate. If you tighten this nut too tight it would pinch the hanger against the equalizer.

What do you think?

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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 

 

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46 minutes ago, ScubaRx said:

I don't think my center bolt had splines either. But, I could be wrong. Since it is not a wet bolt and there are no shoulders on it to prevent over tightening, I'm not sure if it would matter if it could rotate. If you tighten this nut too tight it would pinch the hanger against the equalizer.

What do you think?

Here's a picture of the bolts I removed from 2018. I have to assume they are the original bolts Dexter provided with the kit that OLIVER installed when the chassis was built. 

Pinching the hanger against the equalizer bushing is precisely what you want. This longitudinal pressure on the ends of the steel center bushing, along with lateral pressure from the bolt shoulder shank resulting from the weight of the trailer, is the only thing that keeps this bushing from rotating. There is a paragraph 13 on page 3 in the attached Dexter installation instructions about the procedure.

9450A6A8-5164-4879-A248-56C29A3CDF0F_1_102_o.jpeg

059-867-00_ez_flex_complete.pdf

Edited by bhncb
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Thanks for the pdf and enlightening me about the proper way to mount that bolt. No wonder mine fell out.

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 

 

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From BHNCB:  "If the EZ-Flex center bolt is not properly torqued to the 65-75 ft lb specification, the steel center bushing that is supposed to provide the lubricated pivot point for the two individual arms, will not be held stationary allowing it to rotate directly on the un-lubricated center bolt. The center bolt now becomes the pivot point for the entire equalizer assembly as a single unit. This un-lubricated bearing contact will tend to rotate the center bolt, which will in turn eventually loosen the prevailing torque locking nut."

One additional technical input that I learned from Jason this morning:  The Center Pivit Bolt flanks (not the threads) should have "Never-Seize" applied during re-installation.  Doing so helps prevent the dry Center Pivit Bolt from becoming the pivit point vs. the (wet) steel center bushing" that BHNCB discusses above.   

Today I spoke at great length with Jason, and also Dexter (Nikki).  She has sent up to the Dexter Senior Manager (Mr. Sean Cantzler) the failure of the center pivit bolt locking nut not holding torque concern.  

From BHNCB, I think I understand that the EZ Flex center pivit bolt and frame tabs form a simple crush connection.  Since there is plenty of room on either side of the frame tabs for a longer bolt, why not  change out their shackle bolt Center pivit bolt with  longer bolt (with Never Sieze) that uses either double nuts, or better a castilated nut with a cotter pin?  This would eliminate the single point of failure that at least four of us have had to deal with... fortunately by the Grace of God without injury to ourselves or family.

Geronimo John

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On 7/27/2020 at 9:47 AM, Geronimo John said:

One additional technical input that I learned from Jason this morning:  The Center Pivit Bolt flanks (not the threads) should have "Never-Seize" applied during re-installation.  Doing so helps prevent the dry Center Pivit Bolt from becoming the pivit point vs. the (wet) steel center bushing" that BHNCB discusses above.   

Today I spoke at great length with Jason, and also Dexter (Nikki).  She has sent up to the Dexter Senior Manager (Mr. Sean Cantzler) the failure of the center pivit bolt locking nut not holding torque concern.  

From BHNCB, I think I understand that the EZ Flex center pivit bolt and frame tabs form a simple crush connection.  Since there is plenty of room on either side of the frame tabs for a longer bolt, why not  change out their shackle bolt Center pivit bolt with  longer bolt (with Never Sieze) that uses either double nuts, or better a castilated nut with a cotter pin?  This would eliminate the single point of failure that at least four of us have had to deal with... fortunately by the Grace of God without injury to ourselves or family.

Geronimo John

I'm not so sure I'd go along with the anti-seize on the center bolt shank. The means of keeping the pivot bushing stationary is imo the Achilles Heal of the EZ-Flex. The more that can be done prevent this bushing from rotating the better. Given that the weight of the trailer is exerting vertical lateral pressure between the bolt and inside of the bushing, this additional force creates further resistance beyond just the longitudinal pressure on the ends by the hanger pinch.  Seems to me lubricating this area with anti-seize is opposite that goal. On the other hand, anti-seize will prevent corrosion between the bolt and bushing making removal easier when service is required. The installation instructions specify this so probably best to use some.

Understand that there is pretty significant resistance to the bronze bushings being able to rotate on the outside (lubricated) of the steel bushing because of forces from the compressed rubber shock puck, which are transferred to the arm ends, resulting in opposing lateral forces against the outside of the steel bushing.  This resistance has to be overcome in order for the arms to rotate. If the resistance too rotation on the dry part of pivot bushing is less than on the lubricated side, guess where rotation will occur.

Your thoughts about a longer bolt and different retention are good ones. I was going to mention possibly using medium thread locker and a pair of thinner jamb nuts. Those style bolts only come in application specific lengths so you may have trouble getting the same shank length with a longer treaded portion. This may limit your alternative methods.

Sure hope I haven't made this unnecessarily complicated. 

Edited by bhncb
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On 7/26/2020 at 1:58 PM, Geronimo John said:

My EZ Flex heart bolt also came loose in 2018.  The nut was no where to be found, and only two threads of the bolt kept the EZ Flex from droping down off the frame mounts.  Fortunately a disaster was avoided by my going dead slow up a steep grade.  Had Ollie been moving faster and gone "Negative" .... the EZ Flex heart bold would have fallen out with potentially disasterous consequences.

When I talked to Jason and Dexter, neither had any knowledge of such an event happening in an OE2.  Now it appears that there may be at least two of us. 

Back of Beyone:   Please confirm that it was the heart bolt that failed.  THanks, GJ

Other Owners:  If this has happened to you, or know of other incidents, please reply  to this issue.  Thanks, GJ

 

Yes John that is the bolt in question. Seems weird Jason and Ritchie don't remember repairing my unit - we did it in the rear parking lot  - but they see a lot of stuff - memories wane. We used never seize on the bolt as described.  No issues since - however i have greased it twice since then, and have a painted indicator stripe on the nut/bolt. If moves at all its easy to tell - and I visually check just every fuel stop. 

If I wasn't so busy with more  important stuff - I might have replaced it with a double nut and bolt, but no issues since and I'm good with it.

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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2 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

and have a painted indicator stripe on the nut/bolt. If moves at all its easy to tell - and I visually check just every fuel stop. 

Painting a witness mark on the end of the bolt is a really good idea. There are also vinyl nut caps with pointers for this purpose but these may be too big.

Update:

Here are some pretty cool adjustable indicators. The #30601 will work.

https://www.kentool.com/product/30601-30602-30603-30604-hexchex/

Think I'll order a selection to have around for....

Edited by bhncb
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  • 5 weeks later...

So far, after 30 days, Dexter appears to be stonewalling me on this topic.  Despite repeated calls, they have not even acknowledged the issue, or graced me with any sort of reply

I have  a list of five Oliver Owners that have had this problelm.  As mine is a two time failure,so  we have six incidents.  Once I get back to Hawaii, I will have the time and resources to work this "more vigerously".  

In the mean time, if other owners have had this issue, please PM me soonest.

Thank you

GJ

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Is this in any way related to the safety recall posted in the Oliver Safety Recall Bulletin on December 19, 2019?

 

Ray and Susan Huff

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17 minutes ago, Susan Huff said:

s this in any way related to the safety recall posted in the Oliver Safety Recall Bulletin on December 19, 2019?

No this is an unrelated issue.

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I assume the bolt you're discussing is the one circled below:

923895916_dexterez.thumb.jpg.cbc3a6ad5e746a7c319c96188e2f5546.jpg

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23 minutes ago, ctshort09 said:

I assume the bolt you're discussing is the one circled below:

 

That's it. The bolt may be installed the other way however, with the nut out, making it easier to inspect. 

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