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Old 03-12-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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first5thwheel's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 323
Need Advice: Pre-Tow running gear maintenance

I have Dexter P29 Model SLR Axle's. I have yet to pull the wheels off and find out if they are EZ-lube or Never-lube. The max capacity stamped on the identification plate says max 5200 lbs.
This is a 2000 Fleetwood Wilderness 32'.
Now here is the most confusing thing: on my parts run sheet when the 5th wheel was new they have a leading axle serial number and a trialing axle serial number.
When I crawled under the rig to try and identify which Axle's I have the SN#'s show that the leading Axle is mounted toward the rear of the 5th wheel and the trailing Axle is mounted toward the hitch. (Could the serial numbers be mixed up on the build list? OR did Fleetwood factory mount the Axle's in the wrong order? What is the difference in a leading Axle and trailing Axle anyway???? They both look the same to me, both have the same rating and both have electric breaks and identical leaf springs and shocks? Slightly confused here on this?
The 5th has been pulled very little over the last 12 years. I doubt the rig has more than 4000 miles on it seriously. It was mostly lived in by an elderly man who purchased new in 2000 and lived in it for 6 years and then it was stored for another 4 years. I have owned it a year.
Surprisingly everything works, and some things were replaced by the 1st owner during the 6 years he used it as a home. They day I purchased it the electric breaks were checked by the tow person I hired to move it to my home. He said the breaks worked just fine. The rig still appears in very good codition given the age.
I am new at towing and in 8 weeks I plan on towing the 5th wheel 1200 miles. I have purchased new rims and wheels and they are compatible with factory equipment and the rims are zero offset. (I made sure of that), but I need to pull the old wheels and check the breaks and lubricate any items that should be lubed (not the magnet or shoes mind you), but my question is I cannot find on the Dexter site which Axles these are. I can't find P-29, I can't find them by serial number and there are a bunch of numbers on the serial plate, and I did see a 13 3 I am assuming that must mean the (13.3) I am seeing on other websites.
Bottom line I just want to be sure the brake shoes and breaks work and that the bearings are lubricated. I would hate to pull this rig 1200 miles and in the process have a bearing failure or break failure. I am not good with an Ohms tester, so I am open to any suggestions on how I can validate these items.
Do any of you know the breast way to test the breaks and what I should be alerted to on a rig that has sat as long as this one has? It has been in a dry hot climate all its duration so moisture has not been an issue, but regardless there has to be decay and not good the rig was never pulled allot? Any advice any of you could give would be truly appreciated. I am going to call Dexter during business hours to see if they can offer some help as well.


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Old 03-12-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Burleson, TX
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Call Dexter with the numbers--they have a very detailed list of everything they supplied to trailer mfgs.

I think the website is www.dexteraxle.com

Leading/trailing is only a reference to where they were placed, should not be difference in axles. I would not obsess over these items, just the bearings and brakes.

You DON'T have the NevRLubes, I would bet, and if there isn't a grease zerk in the center of the hub, then you don't have the EZLubers either. Probably just the normal hand-packed bearings. Take it to an axle/spring shop and they can inspect the bearing and repack them, or you can do it yourself if you are handy at things like that.

As to checking the magnets--jack each wheel up and apply the brake while someone trys to rotate the wheel, that should tell you if it is working. Don't jack on the axle, use the spring mount plate to place the jack.

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