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Old 01-18-2016, 12:58 PM   #1
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Rear Suspension Troubles / Suggestions

I have a 96 Motorhome on a Freightliner MT55 Chassis

I just installed new air springs, a new compressor, new air lines, new air tank

I pressurized the system, and it started going up as hoped for.

Then the driver side lower bracket / mounting arm shifted (hopefully not enough to damage the new air spring)

It was already slightly bent from riding on the damaged old air springs. But now it is shifted a good 2-3 inches.

I am not sure what this part is called (control arm / air spring lower mounting bracket) But judging by these pictures, would you think it could simply be heated and bent back into position? Some 4x4 people seem too heat and bend similar parts back .

Any other suggestions or things to look for would be very appreciated.

View image: IMG 2395


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Old 01-18-2016, 01:28 PM   #2
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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I think you need a new trailing arm. That one is twisted and if you heat and try to bend it straight, it won't be long before it does that again.
If you do have it bent back straight- I'd have it reinforced with plating so it doesn't twist again. JMHO

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Old 01-18-2016, 04:49 PM   #4
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ah - reinforcing with plating sounds like a great idea - unfortunately for me, even Freightliner is unsure on what some of these parts are (apparently only a few of these chassis were made this particular year and many parts are unique to it)
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Old 01-18-2016, 05:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by omingnome View Post
Then the driver side lower bracket / mounting arm shifted (hopefully not enough to damage the new air spring)

It was already slightly bent from riding on the damaged old air springs. But now it is shifted a good 2-3 inches.

View image: IMG 2395

Unfortunately I think you did some of the damage yourself by not straightening things out before you "repaired" it. And, as you said, parts might not even be available for it. Hope you can get someone to fix or fabricate parts.
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Old 01-18-2016, 05:50 PM   #6
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I had a Spring Hanger Bracket attached to the frame, get bent and twisted on a Rig. The Repair shop would not heat and straighten it. Said that the DOT would not allow that type of repair. They cut the bracket off of the frame and Arc Welded on a new one. Most shops don't want the liability and in some states it is illegal.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:34 PM   #7
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It's hard to tell from the two pictures but is the axle properly centered on the frame, indicating the front part of the trail is straight?
If it is, then the rear part of the trail arm, behind the axle, is what is likely bent/twisted. I can see that portion getting bent if the bag was run low on air and the piston in the center of the bag hit the support bracket welded to the frame. What I can't understand is how just airing up the new bag would bend the trail arm end even more unless the end is cracked or weakened in some way. I think this is where some close inspection needs to be done and probably a new trail arm, if available.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:36 PM   #8
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hopefully this is helpful to someone one day

So, it turned out that the U bolt that holds the torsion rod in place was loose and allowing the axle to rotate slightly. I would imagine it could have gotten scary if it went unnoticed any more.

The bracket that holds the bottom the the air spring was a bit bent, but the steel beam was not bent (it was crooked because the axle itself was pulling the entire left side forward)

So, I took a 2,500 LB winch and connected it to the driver side of the axle on a bracket that holds the shock in place and I connected the other end to the frame on the passenger side. I cranked it down.

I then drove the bus backwards and forwards with slightly exaggerated turns right. And after one cycle of back and forth I would tighten down the winch.

Eventually the winch pulled it dead straight - in fact it got to a point to were two clicks on the winch would be too far and two clicks the other way would be not quite enough - it was easy to make the final adjustments, by looking from behind and eyeing it level. (have a buddy click the winch and release clicks til level) The bags lined right up. I tightened the U bolt on the torsion arm down.

I temporarily took off the bottom mount of the air spring, and hammered the weak bracket back up (and am going to have a friend weld in reinforcement beneath the bracket itself to be safe).

this would probably be much easier if you had something to lift up the entire rear end, then you could simply winch it into place and then tighten down the U Bolt, however I did not have a jack tall enough, not stands supportive enough, nor a budget grand enough to do it more properly, but this way could be useful for someone on a budget or in a pinch with limited supplies.

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