Common Grand Design Axle Issues (Lippert Axles vs Dexter)

It is hit and miss. When you buy an RV, especially a travel trailer, you never know if you are getting quality parts even when it comes to the axles. Because RV makers look for the cheapest parts possible, it is always a guessing game if you are going to be one of the lucky ones who does not have axle problems

Some of the common problems include using the lightest axle they can just as long as it meets the GVWR rating. This can result in damage to your tires, axles, and springs. Or there is a manufacturing defect, inferior components were used or they were defective before assembly.

To learn more about the Grand Design axle woes, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need as well as the answer to the Lippert vs. Dexter axle comparison. Take a few minutes to see if you need to be concerned about your travel trailer.

Does Grand Design use Dexter Axles?

Yes, this company uses that brand of an axle but from our research, it seems that they only use this brand of an axle on some of their trailers. Not all of the models come with Dexter axles and Grand Design uses Lippert as well.

We know this because in 2021 one law firm has been looking for owners of Grand design RVs that have been given Lippert axles. There seems to be a problem with those axles leaking grease onto the braking system. The law firm wants to start a class-action lawsuit against Grand Design.

However, Dexter axles are not faring any better as a recall notice was sent out by grand design because the Dexter axles were given the wrong interior bearings. That recall notice was sent out in September of 2021.

No matter which brand you have under your RV or travel trailer, you may have trouble with it.

What Axles Does Grand Design Use?

From what we can gather, Grand Design uses axles from two different companies. The one most people are familiar with is the Dexter axle. It is assembled in the US and often the company puts on the lightest axle it possibly can.

The other brand is Lippert Components and it seems that this company fares about as well as Dexter Axles does. While also assembled in the US, this company has its share of problems with inferior parts and assembly.

The Dexter axle option is supposed to be the EZ Lube model and that style of an axle, no matter the brand name, seems to have its share of problems and a bad reputation. The problem is you cannot inspect your bearings to see what type of condition they are in.

There is no word on if the company has changed brands due to the massive issues they have with both brands of axles not lasting a long time.

Grand Design Axle Issues

One of the issues for owners is that Grand Design is pushing those that complain off onto the two brands they contract with. You may not get help from Grand Design but have to go to either Lippert or Dexter to get any problems resolved.

Other issues come in with the company placing too light of an axle on the trailer and it cannot support the weight for the long term. Replacement is often your only recourse. Then the axle may bend on you due to driving conditions, overloading, and other issues.

But that is not all, many times the company uses inferior parts to save money. These parts are not up to the task that comes with RV life. The parts can fail on you, leak grease onto your brake pads and rotors as well as other problems.

Finally, there is what is called curbing the axle and this can happen at any time, even long before you buy the trailer.

Grand Design Bent Axle

Axles are not made the same. It has been reported that the manufacturers use different thicknesses of steel to create their axles. Sometimes the steel is 3/16ths thick, other times it is 1/4” thick and still more are 5/16ths thick.

It is a hit-and-miss type of situation as you never know what thickness of steel your axles will be made from. The thinner the steel the easier it is to bend driving under normal conditions.

With the lighter capacity axles, you get more problems because they weigh less and have less strength to them. Also, overloading the trailer is a cause for bent axles. Some people do not know how to pack properly when it comes to maximum weight and they put too many items inside their trailer.

These owners tend to forget that the tanks will weigh a lot more when full.

Can I Upgrade My Trailer Axles?

Yes, this is possible. If your axle is still under warranty, Grand Design has been known to send heavier and stronger axles to replace the defective ones that have caused you many problems. This treatment can be hit and miss as well.

Most owners that we saw during our research said, they often took care of the upgrades themselves. They have axle companies that they visit and get the included axles replaced with more heavy-duty ones. The cost for this upgrade will depend on the shop you use but it can be done and has been done many times over the years.

This is a good option to consider even when your trailer is new. Many of the Dexter and Lippert axles fail while under warranty. The problem is not the warranty but the axle company’s refusal to pay for a replacement. Finding a better axle will save you hassles over the coming years.

Are Dexter Axles Better Than Lippert?

This will depend on who you talk to as owners of Grand designs have had problems with both brands of axle makers. But the consensus seems to be that Dexter is the better of the two brands.

The Dexter Torflex axle is supposed to be the best one of all and it is highly recommended by at least one expert. This does not take away from Lippert’s quality but the word is that while Lippert is good, Dexter is better.

But f you want a real opinion on this topic, go to the different RV forums and see what owners of RVs and travel trailers are saying. From what we read, according to RV owners, etc., Dexter is better than Lippert.

Lippert Axles vs Dexter

This will depend on your preference of course but from what we have found out, while Lippert makes a good product, it does not match up with the quality of the Dexter axle.

Both brands have experienced problems and Grand design may be facing a class action court case due to some malfunctions in the Lippert axles. But that is not to say that Dexter’s version is better. That company sent out a recall which you will find more about coming up.

We will just say that Lippert is popular but more people prefer Dexter to that brand.

Where are Lippert Axles Made?

The company’s website, near the top of this landing page, says that they have 3 production facilities in the US- Goshen, IN; Waxahachie TX; Nampa, ID. However, as you scroll down that same page, you will come across a set of black and white images with keywords listed underneath them.

The one with the map of the United States has the words ‘assembled in the USA’. What that means is that their axle components are most likely made in another country in the world and those 3 production plants only assemble the axles.

That does not mean the parts are not made to Lippert’s specifications, it just means their axles are not American-made.

Grand Design Dexter Axle Recall

There is an axle recall notice that has been in effect since September of last year. The summary of that recall notice goes like this-- “Summary: Dexter Axle notified Grand Design RV that the D30 axles installed on the affected vehicles may have been assembled with incorrect inner bearings. As a result, premature failure of the inner bearing and hub lock up may occur resulting in the potential for a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.”

You can find the notice at this link

Some Final Words

When you are buying your Grand design or any travel trailer, make sure you know what type of axle you are getting. The ones that come with the trailer may meet the GVWR rating but may be too light to handle long-term towing and loads.

If you want a good axle, the Dexter option is probably the best option you can have. This is despite the recall which only affects one type of axle Dexter makes.

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