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Old 08-05-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
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NEW data on axle questions - Keystone

Hello,

I am posting this as a new post because it has been awhile hearing from Keystone. But here is the essential update and related information:

Update on my GVWR problems – and potential axle issues.

Keystone RV has now decided my GVWR was wrong on the factory sticker! They have also (both in writing) told me they were mistaken on how much cargo I could carry. Here is the relevant data:
2012 Web page (still now last time I looked): GVWR is not actually listed but "dry weight and cargo allowance" totals: 12,500
Factory GVWR sticker on my 2012 unit: 12,500
2012 Web page specs show cargo allowance of 2920 pounds
My 2012 sticker on trailer states cargo allowance of 2400 pounds (both Keystone and Federal)
((I understand the cargo allowance being reduced to 2400 pounds due to my options I elected at time of purchase with 2nd air, etc.))

NOW, Keystone has sent me new stickers for my trailer stating the first ones were in error. The new stickers:
  1. Lowers the GVWR to 12,120 (same as 2013 model of the 343RL)
  2. Lowers the allowable cargo to 2,020 pounds.
So, I have tried to call US Gov Dept that handles GVWR rules and have gotten nothing but voice mails and no return calls.

Bottom line questions:
  1. Can a manufacturer decide to lower the GVWR a year after purchase – no weighing or even looking at the unit or no unit modifications?
  2. Can manufacturer legally sell a unit and state it has cargo allowance of x amount and a year later decide the cargo allowance is significantly less than when purchased?
  3. Is it even legal for me to remove the GVWR sticker and replace it with another (I will likely not do that in any case)?
  4. I am not sure but I think the VIN number with the Feds has the GVWR – is that correct?
My original concern is the weight on the axles. Well, with the GVWR and Keystone’s stated pin weight from the time of purchase the axles are too light duty. But, of course, with the NEW GVWR they are exactly OK – to the pound: 10,400 (they are 5200 rated). How interesting.

Any recourse for the consumer? Or is is best to just forget the issue and enjoy the trailer and hope the axles don’t prove too light? Part of me is incensed that Keystone treats this issue as noted above and part of me is tired of the energy involved. But I really think the 343RL 2012 model is in violation of axle regulations and that Keystone is trying to get around the issue by changing the GVWR and cargo allowance to allow 5200 pound axels. (And it really chapped me with Dexter Axle told me the 6000 pound axles cost about $30 more than the 5200 and adds about 30 pounds in weight!! - that is cheap of Keystone).

One point: I fully realize the actual pin weight may be (could be – depending on how I load the trailer) more than what Keystone states – but that is really not the main point. Would you want to buy a 5er that was sold to carry 2400 pounds cargo safely and a year later the manufacturer decide that was a mistake? And we "goofed" on the GVWR?

Ideas appreciated.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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No surprise, they found the cheapest way to resolve the problem. My advise, time to let it go. Assuming you are happy with the unit otherwise, if 2020 lbs is sufficient, then just enjoy the unit. If you need more, then get 6k axles but live with the existing stickers.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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New axles = thousands
New sticker = pennies

Some brilliant SOB at Keystone just got a promotion. You got hosed.

If I were a regulator for the NHTSA, my next question to Keystone would be, "Have you issued new stickers to every purchaser of the same 5th wheel in this situation, or did you just do it to this guy with the squeaky wheel?"

If nobody has been hurt or the potential for harm isn't there, I'm pretty sure the Feds would put a low profile on this case. However, it couldn't hurt to file a complaint.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:24 PM   #4
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Another reason to avoid the new Lite 5'ers. You have a 37' 5'er that has a brochure dry weight of 9580lbs. That means Keystone has cut corners where there are no corners to cut. Most 37' 5'ers start near 12,000lbs or more dry. For example my 5'er has the same 5200lb axles but has a UVW of 7385lbs and a GVW of 10,200lbs. You really need 6,000lb axles. My guess is you will eventually be coming back here to post about premature tire wear or blowouts. With just the wife and I we load 13-1500lbs in our 5'er. If you load near that then you only have 500-700lbs in reserve for axle load. Your dry weight of 9580 could be close to 10,000lb before loading. Add in 1300lbs and your at 11,300lbs. Minus 20% for pin and that's 9040lbs. The 5200lb axle ratings actually reduce by 200lbs since the tires are hanging on the axles. So in effect you have axles that are rated for 10,200 GVW combined. Minus your loaded axle weight of around 9040lbs and your at 1160lbs in reserve. You're basically running at 89% of your axle capacity. As opposed to me where I'm running at 69%. IMO you seriously need to jump to 6000lb minimum axles and go to a 16" tire like a Michelin Rib, Duravis R250 style.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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I just spoke to DOT Mr. Harry Thompson. He gave me time and attention and he gave me his email. Sent him all the data and tells me he will investigate but already he agreed that Keystone would have to resticker all models sold of that year and model.

I will post any results from DOT.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by n5pht View Post
I just spoke to DOT Mr. Harry Thompson. He gave me time and attention and he gave me his email. Sent him all the data and tells me he will investigate but already he agreed that Keystone would have to resticker all models sold of that year and model.

I will post any results from DOT.
If that's the case then Keystone is getting off easy. They should have a recall and replace the underrated #5200lb axles with #6000 ones.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #7
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Check with a competent axle/spring shop and get estimate for axle replacement using all the same brakes/bearings. This would not be too expensive + take care of the worry of being overloaded. And look for 16" LR E tires--you will be set for a long time.

FWIW--I bought an '05 DRV 36' fiver in '07 at a bargain. A lot of trailer for the price, but I knew it was maxxed on GVWR. The sticker in the cabinet was for GVWR of 16000 and the trailer AS SHIPPED allowed for 815lbs cargo, NOT including any water.
Did not make any sense for DRV to let the unit out the door, but they did a lot of that getting started. I now weigh in at 17400, with 17.5" tires and 4k spring paks, and the 7k axles are doing fine + still actually under the max weight when considering the pin weight. The trailer came with 8k brakes, but 7k axles-go figure?

The axles may actually work ok, but the tires may suffer. Replace the axles, or trade for something the eases your worries.

Joe
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:42 PM   #8
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A 12500 lb 5er may have a 20 percent pin weight = 2500 lbs.

A 2500 lb pin weight from 12500 GVWR = 10000 lbs on the axle/tires.

Two 5200 lb axles = 10400 lbs of capacity. Nothing under sized there. Just close.

Quote:
Can a manufacturer decide to lower the GVWR a year after purchase – no weighing or even looking at the unit or no unit modifications?
I would say yes as the brochure usually says some where numbers can change at the companies discretion or some thing to that affect.

Quote:
Can manufacturer legally sell a unit and state it has cargo allowance of x amount and a year later decide the cargo allowance is significantly less than when purchased?
IMO for the Same reasons as number one question.

Quote:
Is it even legal for me to remove the GVWR sticker and replace it with another (I will likely not do that in any case)?
Depends on how your state statue regarding removing placards reads. My state says its unlawful to remove the placard and doing so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The vehicle manufacture may assign a new GVWR tag of their choosing. The only other person authorized to assign a different GVWR tag is a state or fed certified and licensed vehicle alterer or modifier. Its rare a vehicle modifier will issue a different GVWR tag as then they become liable for the vehicles load carrying performance. See this on vehicle alterations. Scroll down about half way to "issues pertaining to load carrying capacity". Frequently Asked Questions on the Exemptions to the Make Inoperative Prohibition

Quote:
I am not sure but I think the VIN number with the Feds has the GVWR – is that correct?
The manufacturer has registered the trailers GVWR in his home state or at least thats the way it works in my state.

In 6/'08 the Feds issued new FMVSS 571.110/.120 regs pertaining to GVWR and the axle rating. New regs reads; eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

S10. Each motor home and recreation vehicle (RV) trailer must meet the applicable requirements in S10.
S10.1 On motor homes, the sum of the gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) of all axles on the vehicle must not be less than the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
S10.2 On RV trailers, the sum of the GAWRs of all axles on the vehicle plus the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tongue weight must not be less than the GVWR. If tongue weight is specified as a range, the minimum value must be used.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Some note:

1. Several mentioned tires. (lots of threads on tires) but briefly: I had a blow out very early with the "China Bombs" that came with the trailer. I switched out for BFG commercial LT235/85R 16 tires - including the spare of course - cost me a bit but lots more peace of mind.

2. DOT tells me the manufacturer can indeed change the GVWR but has to make notice to DOT or be in violation.

3. Changing the cargo allowance after purchase is probably a consumer protection issue but not a DOT issue.

More to come I am sure... in the mean time we are enjoying camping at Emigrant Springs State Park in Oregon!
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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The 5200lb axle ratings actually reduce by 200lbs since the tires are hanging on the axles. So in effect you have axles that are rated for 10,200 GVW combined. Minus your loaded axle weight of around 9040lbs and your at 1160lbs in reserve. You're basically running at 89% of your axle capacity. As opposed to me where I'm running at 69%. IMO you seriously need to jump to 6000lb minimum axles and go to a 16" tire like a Michelin Rib, Duravis R250 style.
No need to deduct 200 lbs from the axle capacity for the tires, the loaded weight includes those same tires also. So, the reserve really is 1360 lbs.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:35 AM   #11
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Well, for those interested Keystone did send me new stickers with new GVWR of 12,120 (down from 12,500) and new cargo allowance of 2020 (down from 2400).

After DOT contacted Keystone to investigate Keystone has now decided the easier fix is to state the pin weight is higher than on their documentation. That makes it all ok! So, I have new stickers but certainly won't use them and DOT tells me Keystone tells them (Keystone did not communicate with me) that my original GVWR and Cargo allowance is actually correct and the pin weight is higher than 1720 so Fed rules are not violated.

I actually got an opportunity to weight the loaded trailer and the axle weight came out to 9600 pounds at present - 800 under the max.

So, end of story and I pray all will be well - but the whole matter gives Keystone not such a good view in my own view! Take care everyone and thanks for all the posts.

Gary Stone
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
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The trailer manufacturer (in this case Keystone) has the option and responsibility to police the trailers they manufacturer. Since the new cargo rules were implemented in 2008, Keystone has had a number of recalls for improper certification labels. To the best of my knowledge they were all voluntary recalls. In that case the vehicle manufacturer reports the recall action to NHTSA and proceeds with the recall action (s).

A recall would not be involved on a single error and a new certification label is well within the vehicle manufacturers authority. Only the vehicle manufacturer and a certified modifier can issue replacement certification labels.

Footnote: RV Trailer manufacturing regulations do not require the end product to be weighed.


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