Considering Over/Under Mod for 2007 Fleetwood Niagara

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by IslePilot, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    Hi all,

    Last weekend we were camping up at Lake Irwin near Crested Butte, CO. The evening before we left it started pouring rain and kept raining all night long. The lake has a spill way that you have to cross to leave the campground and the rains had washed out the dirt along the edges of the spill way and as I pulled out my axle dropped into the gulley and the entry steps snagged the bridge and got all bent up.

    I have fixed the steps (using the bigger hammer theory to great success actually) but I have always thought everything was too close to the ground on the Niagara so I have been looking into the axle over/under modification. The mod looks simple enough to do and many here have done it to the same model of trailer I have.

    My concern, however, is that Dexter Axle website specifically says that the modification kit should only be used on trailers with double-eye leaf springs. The Niagara (at least mine) has a single-eye slipper spring. So far I haven't received an answer from an engineer at Dexter, but I wonder if I should forget about the modification, or if it was just a mistake on their site.

    Here is the link to the part:
    http://dexteraxle.com/inc/sdetail/1093/1099

    Curiously, on etrailer.com, the part says it is for both double-eye and slipper spring, hence my confusion:
    http://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Dexter/K71-384-00.html

    Here are the pictures of my unmodified suspension:

    The front eye:
    [​IMG]

    The rear slipper:
    [​IMG]

    The unmodified underslung axle (with agonizingly little travel before bottoming out):
    [​IMG]

    Any thoughts on this? It seems many have completed this modification to Niagaras....anyone have any issues?
     
  2. RangerZ

    RangerZ Member

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    We were in lake Irwin campground last weekend too! We just finally got dried out! I know exactly the pothole you are talking about!

    Unfortunately I have a torsion spring axle on my Starcraft 1019 so I can't comment on your mod question with the leaf springs but best of luck! I am sure you will get replies...btw we did have our 12" wheels and tires swapped for 13" to get an extra 1/2" clearance. You might consider that as either an alternative or as a way to further increase you clearance for the unpredictable Colorado back roads!

    Also, isn't lake Irwin/crested butte a beautiful place, even in the pouring rain?! Happy camping and good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. FirePro911

    FirePro911 New Member

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    I've been thinking this over myself as I am about to start the conversion later today on our 2006 Fleetwood Niagara.

    All I can figure out is that with the springs under the axle, the camper weight pushes down on them, but at the same time they are being pulled upon by the axle, since it sits on top of them.

    Now after the conversion, the camper weight pushes down on them, but now that they sit on top of the axle, they push down onto the axle themselves now. They no longer have that pulling force on them from when they sat below the axle.

    So maybe this has something to do with that one end not having an eye on it? Either way, like I said, I will start today with plenty of pics to document it. If I see anything different afterwards, I'll post it in my thread and simply go down and buy new springs with two and swap them out. We have been building and lifting 4x4 trucks since the early '80s and this has me confused. lol!

    I didn't order the kit from that Dexter Axle shows. I went down to American Fence and bought two spring perches for about 12 bucks. Once I have axle out, leveled up on jack stands, I will tack on new perches, then cut old perches off. That way I can use the same u-bolts and brackets to hold springs in place.

    I'll be done tomorrow for sure as I am off from both jobs. So I'll have new thread up tomorrow night detailing it all.
     
  4. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    I got the following response from Dexter:

    "The kits are designed for a 1.75" wide springs. The slipper springs are 2.00" wide."

    I am at work, so I can't measure how wide they are on the Niagara, but I am pretty sure it isn't 2". Once I measure, if I find that the Niagara has 1.75" wide springs I will ask if that is the only issue, or if there is something else also.

    How wide is the spring on the 2006?
     
  5. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    That is funny that you were there too. What site where you in? We were in 19 on the 24th, then 16 for the 25th to 28th. Crested Butte has always been my favorite part of Colorado and Lake Irwin is an amazing campground--even in the rain as you say.
     
  6. FirePro911

    FirePro911 New Member

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    I just got it home and mine are 1 3/4" or 1.75 wide springs and the new perches I have are the same. So if yours is the same as mine, then their kit will work for you.
     
  7. FirePro911

    FirePro911 New Member

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    Here you go, Part 1

    PART 1
     
  8. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    I used the Dexter kit on my 2006 Fleetwood Sequoia and ran into no problems. The perches were sized correctly for my axle tube diameter as was the U-bolt mounting bracket. It took me about 2 hours to complete the project and so far, I am very glad I did it as these things are way too low to the ground.

    After:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And RangerZ, you can do a "lift" on a torsion axle. I did a 1" lift on my first PUP, a Jayco who loves to use Dexter's torsion axle. I inserted a 1" x 4" rectangular steel tubing in between the frame and the torsion axle mount that was also 1" x 4" tubing of the same gauge. I had a real problem with the little 12" tires rubbing the plastic wheel wells so it wasn't just for aesthetic reasons.
     
  9. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    So I decided to go ahead and do the modification. It came out great, and was pretty easy. While I was "in there" I went ahead and put on new auto-adjusting brake assemblies, new drums, new bearings, and new seals. I also straightened out the bent hangers on the gray tank. I ended up gaining 5-1/4". Probably psychological, but it seems like it rides nicer now and it certainly looks larger.

    Here is the height of the chassis before:
    [​IMG]

    Starting the process:
    [​IMG]

    Brake drum and brake assembly removed:
    [​IMG]

    Axle out and ready for the new spring mounts:
    [​IMG]

    After tack welding the spring mounts (also tack welded the standoffs to the bolts to make sure they don't loosen):
    [​IMG]

    New auto-adjusting brake assembly installed:
    [​IMG]

    New drum on:
    [​IMG]

    5.25" taller:
    [​IMG]

    Hooked up and ready to roll! Hitch bar changed from a 2" drop to a 3" rise:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. TX_F2

    TX_F2 New Member

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    We have a 2008 Niagara and I have wanted to do this for a while but can't. [V]


    Measured the garage door opening height and the AC won't clear after doing the Over/Under Mod. [:(!]
     
  11. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    TX_F2,

    I had to adjust my garage door opener to pull the garage door completely past the upper header of the opening to the garage. When looking at homes to buy last December, the garage opening had to be a certain height in order to squeeze the PUP into. The openings I found left almost 1" of clearance. However, I did not measure the height when the garage door was opened and they tend to not go up all of the way. Good thing I checked and checked and checked when I tried to back in the first time or I would have removed the A/C shroud. Now, I get the PUP in with centimeters to spare. I have to ensure that the roof is completely latched and not just simply resting when moving it in or out for maintenance, use, etc. See what you can do on adjusting the travel position of the door. Mine comes all the way up to the bolt that is used as a stop.

    IslePilot,

    That looks awesome and you did a professional job of the work and upgrades to the brakes.
     
  12. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    [A]

    Shouldn't everyone have these?
     
  13. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    Maybe you could let the air out of your tires to get it back outside?
     
  14. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    I haven't seen any trailers that have them unless the owner installs them. It is an expensive upgrade...the self adjusting part was $45, while the manual adjust were $36. [:D]
     
  15. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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  16. FirePro911

    FirePro911 New Member

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    Great Job Kieth!

    It does make for one large pup, that is for sure.
     
  17. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    Thanks FirePro911!

    I really like all the extra work you did on your version of the project. The sandblasting, clean up, and painting really did make it look nice...I am not quite that motivated for a trailer suspension. [:D]
     
  18. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    That's some good work! Did someone actually do the axle flip and get it stuck in their garage? LOL
     
  19. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Nice work Keith! One question - what size is your garage door opening? Is it an 8' door? Mine is only 7' so I'm not sure I could lift a HW PUP and still fit it in there.
     
  20. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    My garage opening is 92" high. I have the air conditioner on the Niagara as well and the height, with the modification done, is only 82" high, so if you have a 7' (84") opening you would probably be okay. Let some air out of the tires if it is too tight and you can probably gain another 3-4".
     

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