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Old 06-29-2014, 05:08 PM   #1
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Catastrophe avoided?? Handling diff WOW

Imagine my surprise the other afternoon, while waiting on DW to get home to leave on trip I decide to crawl under the motorhome just to give a brief inspection, and while under there to look for where the "cookie sheet" heat shield may have fallen from. I was looking around to see if my sway bar bushings which I have replace still look OK, if the steering stabilizer I installed still looked OK, if the Koni shocks that I installed still looked OK, when suddenly I notice something that made me heart stop! The bolt through the front eye of the rear leaf spring was missing a nut, and the bolt had worked it's way completely out of the spring, the spring was literally sitting in the bracket with the weight of the motor home holding it there and absolutely not fastened in any way to the frame. So to understand this, the rear spring was only connected to the chassis by the rear shackle and GRAVITY. I laid there staring at it completely dumfounded.

No wonder the motorhome was wandering and swaying on windy days and when a truck went by! I looked at it and looked at it and just wondered how long had it been this way. My conclusion....since I got this unit 2 years and 16,000 miles ago!! I always noticed the compartment where the sewer connections are had a dent in the back of it, and often wondered how the PO managed to get it hit there, then remembered he had a flat back there and thought it had come from that. NOPE, the dent was the bolt being backed out by the movement of the spring once the nut fell off. It was jammed between the bracket and the compartment and was just wedged tightly in there. I was able, after much ado, to get the motorhome frame jacked up to take the weight off the spring, pry downward on the spring to line up the eye with the bracket holes, then actually had to drive the bolt through by hammering it from inside the compartment with progressively larger and larger wood shims. The space between the bracket and compartment is about 4 inches when all is back where it belongs, so not enough room to remove the bolt if necessary, I guess this comes about from the coach builder adding the body and compartments to the assembled chassis.

Well, trip was delayed a day, and the handling of the motorhome with influence of wind and passing trucks is astronomically different. I was thinking about looking into a rear track bar because of the problem, but now....95% solved. Now that I no longer have a "floating" rear axle

In picture you can see the new nut installed, and if you look to the right of the spring bracket in the photo you can still see the indent where the bolt became wedged. I highly recommend checking chassis components THOROUGHLY! I can't tell you how many times people have been under this thing, me included, and no one noticed this!!
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:09 PM   #2
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trode,
Good job guy. It pays many, many benefits when one is diligent and observant. You will remember that fix for years to come.

Nice work!!

TeJay
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:13 PM   #3
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Some days you'd rather be lucky than good , when you spotted that, it happened on the day you were both .
Travel safe.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:11 AM   #4
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That is the old:
DW: What you doing under there?
DH: Just looking.
DW: For what?
DH: Nothing, just looking.

Nice catch.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:42 AM   #5
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Made me climb under today!
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostdog View Post
Made me climb under today!
I highly suggest it! You know I have been thinking about how that nut could have possibly worked it's way off, and makes me wonder if there was ever a nut on there!!
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:30 AM   #7
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wow, great advice. We sometimes treat these beast like cars and just jump in and drive. thanks for sharing the experience. I know I will make a trip under before each trip out.


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Old 06-30-2014, 09:49 AM   #8
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Leaf Springs

Lucky is good enough in this case.

I think I would have put a second nut on all of them.

I had a similar thing happen on the road and it was 'nasty'. Broken leaf spring. The wheel hit the inside of the wheel well every time the MH rocked, almost caught fire. I ended up replacing all the leafs and adding airbags. The bags made the biggest difference.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trode View Post
The bolt through the front eye of the rear leaf spring was missing a nut, and the bolt had worked it's way completely out of the spring, the spring was literally sitting in the bracket with the weight of the motor home holding it there and absolutely not fastened in any way to the frame.
Wow! That is crazy - great catch!
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:45 AM   #10
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I found this exact same problem on my '01 a few years ago. The nut was almost off, something was holding it in place, or there was not enough room for it to fall off. Anyway, I drilled a hole in the compartment, raised the axle, and drove the bolt home. The threads were a little messed up but I figured that would act as a good "locktight".


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Old 06-30-2014, 11:02 AM   #11
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Wow, amazing what can go wrong with these large vehicles. I usally get under mine just at the beginning of the season but i think now before and after every trip might be a good idea. Thanks.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:02 AM   #12
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Who does your chassis lubrication??

The below quote was taken from Workhorse's Chassis Guide and only applies to the Workhorse chassis. (Note, the U-bolts attaching the rear axle to the leaf springs should be checked and retightened to the specified torque after the first 500 miles of operation.)

"The U-bolts attaching the rear axle to the leaf springs should be checked and retightened to the specified torque after the first 500 miles of operation. Recheck the U-bolt torque each 10,000 miles thereafter. The torque specification for the U-bolt nuts is 140 lb. ft. (190 NM) for the W Series chassis-15/16 socket, 152 lb. ft. (205 NM) for the P Series chassis with JB8 brake system-1 1/8” socket and 193 lb. ft. (260 NM) for the P Series chassis with JF9 brake system-1 1/8” socket.

-Tom
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:13 AM   #13
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Grateful for the shared experience! I prefer to learn from others....
I think I will spend an hour underneath my rig with a torque wrench and grease gun.
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