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For those towing, check your shackles


telcoman

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Yeah, I am stuck in an RV park in Melaque, Mexico. My wife is flying down in 2 weeks and bringing me a kit with those. I don't dare move the trailer right now. The springs on one side are resting on the frame. As you can see by the photos, the other side was just about to give.

 

It is fortunate she has to fly home for a few days anyway for a medical procedure. I have a caravan I am leading that is due to arrive in 2 weeks. (I had turned it over to another couple for a few weeks due to my wife having to fly home, timing was good under the circumstances) One of the guys on that has air tools

Paul Beddows

Summer-Abbotsford BC, Winter Jalisco Mexico

Co-Founder of NATCOA

Wagon Master for Caravanas de Mexico RV Caravans

2010 Majestic Class C

 

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Everyone who pulls a trailer should check these things on an ongoing basis! Several of our RVing friends have had minor to major damage due to failed shackles. You can't check them too many times! <LOL> Be careful out there. Dennis

Trailer: Montana 5th wheel, model 3582Rl, model year 2012

 

Truck: Ford 450 PSD Super Duty, 2002 Crew Cab, Long bed, 4:88 rear end, last of the 7.3 engines, Automatic Transmission.

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I came from a truck camper, This is a learning curve. i just wish i had not learned it the hard way, but no accident resulted. This trailer is only 2 years old. but the equalizer does a lot of work since it is on its 3rd circuit through Mexico, the land of over a million Topes (speed bumps)

Paul Beddows

Summer-Abbotsford BC, Winter Jalisco Mexico

Co-Founder of NATCOA

Wagon Master for Caravanas de Mexico RV Caravans

2010 Majestic Class C

 

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I had all 4 trailer springs break after hitting a large bump at speed.

 

I didn't notice anything wrong until I stopped for gas several miles later. Each spring was neatly sliced off just ahead of it's rear shackle and the trailer frame was resting on the end of the spring. This caused the trailer to settle about an inch lower than normal due to the distance between the shackle and the frame rail.

 

Incredibly, the remaining front half of each spring acted as a drag link, keeping the axles in their proper positions, at least while going forward. I didn't try backing up.

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It took me a couple of looks at the original pictures to understand what I was looking at, and I am quite technically savvy. For folks who might not understand just what they are looking at, editing the original posting with what to look for and what is wrong would be very helpful. What is obvious to see in person is sometimes difficult to see in a photo.

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G 
2020 Chevy Colorado Toad
San Antonio, TX

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

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We broke ours just outside Clint's Well, AZ and it cost a pretty penny in travel time to get a mobile RV repair guy to drive up from Cottonwood to fix them and the spring that was damaged. On the other hand the mobile RV repair guy was dirt cheap compared to what the alternative was, rent a truck and low-boy flatbed to get the fiver hauled to Flagstaff.

 

At a minimum you should inspect these when you do your annual break and bearing work.

First rule of computer consulting:

Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.

Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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Problem I ran into was that getting a flatbed to tow a 5th wheel is almost impossible. My 5th wheel is 13'1" now with the AC front and back. In most states heights are limited to 13'6". That's only 5 inches for the flatbed and not near enough for a 5'er without permits, and not to count how are you going to load that. It's not a good thing at all when the springs or shackles have gone wrong. It's pretty much a fix on the spot to at least be able to move it anywhere.

 

Dave

Dave & Linda

2011 Bighorn 3670

2000 Ford 7.3 PS diesel white and tan in color Now Fulltiming since May15, 2010

 

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We were shocked when we had ours checked on our previous unit which was a 5th wheel. Fortunately we were doing routine maintenance we saw the wear.

Ron & Linda

Class of 2007
2000 Monaco Diplomat

2005 Honda Element

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" Theodore Roosevelt

"We can't control the wind, but we can adjust our sail"

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We broke ours just outside Clint's Well, AZ and it cost a pretty penny in travel time to get a mobile RV repair guy to drive up from Cottonwood to fix them and the spring that was damaged. On the other hand the mobile RV repair guy was dirt cheap compared to what the alternative was, rent a truck and low-boy flatbed to get the fiver hauled to Flagstaff.

 

Would Coach Net cover the cost of the roadside call?

 

And - Is this ever an issue with tow vehicles? I have wet shackles on my 5th wheel, but dry on my RAM. The RAM gets a heck of a lot more use than the 5th wheel.

The richest are not those who have the most, but those who need the least.

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You'd have to ask your roadside service folks what they'd cover, we didn't have any coverage at the time so coverage never came up.

 

Trailer suspensions are very flimsy, look at your fiver and truck and you'll see the truck is a lot sturdier even though it likely carries less weight most of the time.

First rule of computer consulting:

Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.

Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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I had wet bolts, but....didn't see the zerks on top of the equalizer because they were hiding behind the frame mounting brackets. The center bolt elongated the hole in the equalizer until the equalizer broke in half. Other side was worn but didn't break. Replaced 'em both & greased 'em all after that!

 

Ron

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In the photos, the only way I could see you getting that type of wear is if the bolts were not tight holding the shackle to the inner spacer, so the shackles were pivoting on the bolts instead of swinging as a unit against the bushing. If that was the case, wet bushings would not improve the situation.

"There are No Experts, Do the Math!"

2014 Freightliner Cascadia DD16 600hp  1850ft-lb  18spd  3.31  260"wb
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I don't know, that is the way they came from the factory. I have now seen many similar pictures. I simply dont think they are strong enough to take the load. This is the trailers 3rd trip into Mexico. It is on the road 8 months a year, not used to go to the lake once a summer.

Paul Beddows

Summer-Abbotsford BC, Winter Jalisco Mexico

Co-Founder of NATCOA

Wagon Master for Caravanas de Mexico RV Caravans

2010 Majestic Class C

 

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I'm not aware of any really effective maintenance you can do to keep the wear down on non-lubed suspension gear. You could look at some good lubricant, likely a chain lube type stuff that goes on thin to flow into the friction area and then thickens to stay in place. The downside is attracting grit that might make the wear worse.

 

http://www.campertraileraustralia.com.au/features/technical/1502/greasing-shackle-pins/

 

A good repair video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIldNMCPZSg

 

Way more that you want to know... Even more stuff if you click the Technical Information link on the left.

 

http://www.suspensionspecialists.com/tech0004.html

First rule of computer consulting:

Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.

Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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telcoman

We completed over 10,000 miles in our 5er in Mexico before we crossed over into a DP. 5er had 110,000 miles on it when we sold it and had to rebuild the suspension 3 times. Local trailer repair & supply in Tucson said the life of most trailer suspension is 20,000 - 30,000 miles even with grease fittings & bronze bushings. Suggested watching suspension components closely as they take a beating. Good luck!

 

rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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rocmoc,

Wow! Only 20 to 30 thousand and you need to redo the suspension! That seems like a really short time frame. I can see checking and servicing as necessary. We got only about 4 to 5 K on our first set of really cheap OEM but when we replaced we used really heavy duty shackles. We never had to change them again and got at least 60 to 70 thousand miles and they looked as good as new when we changed rigs. But good to know what some folks recommend. Can't stress enough how important it is to check all the suspension parts on a regular basis. We've had too many friends who have had suspension problems. Dennis

Trailer: Montana 5th wheel, model 3582Rl, model year 2012

 

Truck: Ford 450 PSD Super Duty, 2002 Crew Cab, Long bed, 4:88 rear end, last of the 7.3 engines, Automatic Transmission.

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rocmoc,

Wow! Only 20 to 30 thousand and you need to redo the suspension! That seems like a really short time frame. I can see checking and servicing as necessary. We got only about 4 to 5 K on our first set of really cheap OEM but when we replaced we used really heavy duty shackles. We never had to change them again and got at least 60 to 70 thousand miles and they looked as good as new when we changed rigs. But good to know what some folks recommend. Can't stress enough how important it is to check all the suspension parts on a regular basis. We've had too many friends who have had suspension problems. Dennis

Without service that seems within the short end of reasonable. I will be installing my 3rd wet bolt kit soon on our new to us unit. My first set was from Dexter & I towed ≈30K after that without significant wear (serviced every 2-3K). The last set were from Moryde & would consider this the better of the 2. The shackle bolts are pre-installed in the links which are ½" thick vs ¼" with the bolts a bit longer. the 4 end bolts are regular length same as the Dexter set. That unit was in the 70K range of mileage and still in fine shape when it was totaled while parked in our yard. I ordered 4 additional long bolts for this install as I intend to strap the spring brackets to the trailer with 2X¼" strap to reinforce them. (Have had the bracket tear from the frame on ours and reported other units from Glendale) so all the bolt interfaces will be ½" when I'm complete. We use Roto-Chocks to clamp the wheels and when I hear the shackle bolts popping during setup I grease. (usually 2-3K)

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Guess I need to add more info. Was a triple axle 5er and never the same problem. As a stronger better component were used something else up the line would fail, hangers, center balance mount and etc. Would never own a triple axle again.

 

rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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In the photos, the only way I could see you getting that type of wear is if the bolts were not tight holding the shackle to the inner spacer, so the shackles were pivoting on the bolts instead of swinging as a unit against the bushing. If that was the case, wet bushings would not improve the situation.

Mine did the same thing. The shackles are not thick enough to withstand the weight and movement without a way to lubricate them. The shackle bolts have a knurl near the head that is pressed/drawn into one shackle link but the nut end cannot be knurled, otherwise it would be ruined when pressed through the outer shackle link. The HD shackle replacement set includes 3/8" thick shackles instead of the OEM 1/4" thick shackles and greasable bolts; however, most people do not grease them correctly. The RV must be jacked up to relieve weight from the bolts as they only have one hole for grease to be forced into the bronze sleeve/bolt interface, if that hole is on the top it effectively seals the grease exit hole, preventing lubrication.

 

I had 15,500# being supported by 16 of those 1/4" thick shackle links, not being greased, made worse by the torsion on them whenever I had to make a sharp or spot turn.

I donno if that explanation makes sense or not.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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