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Old 05-30-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
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Rearmost wheels bowed

Greeting all. I am new to this forum and relatively new to the 5th wheel community (towed a 28' TT before). My question for the group is this: I own a 2009 Open Range 335BHS, and the wheels on the rearmost axle appear to bow out slightly at the bottom (i.e. they're not perfectly perpendicular to the ground). Whether the trailer is completely empty or loaded for a travel makes no difference. Is this normal?
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:36 AM   #2
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Welcome. Can you post a picture?
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang_02 View Post
Greeting all. I am new to this forum and relatively new to the 5th wheel community (towed a 28' TT before). My question for the group is this: I own a 2009 Open Range 335BHS, and the wheels on the rearmost axle appear to bow out slightly at the bottom (i.e. they're not perfectly perpendicular to the ground). Whether the trailer is completely empty or loaded for a travel makes no difference. Is this normal?
Sounds like a bent axle but again need a look at a pic. to tell better .Are the tires showing a lot of ware?Were they replaced for the sale of the unit to You?If the spare is not the same tire as on the ground that is a sure way to tell the tires were changed Dealers will do a lot of things to trick out a sale.Get a different dealer to look at Your rig and You will find out about more than Your dealer Will tell You.Your guy will hide things from You as He is the seller and He and wants to make the sale profet as high as He can right.And good luck. The wheels look different as You back up so pull ahead and inspect them again they will realine some every time nathure of the beast.Bushman
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:30 AM   #4
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Mustang,
Most 5er trailer axles have a bow to them. If I remember correctly the bow is at the top of the axle. Is it possible some work was done and the axle was re-installed with the bow down? If so, this would cause the tires to bow out at the bottom. If you check with the manufacturer they should be able to tell you what the difference is at center line plumb. On the 5th wheel I had it was a good distance, noticeable with the naked eye.

JMHO
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:11 PM   #5
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RV trailer axles are solid, go to a "big" truck (18 wheeler) alignment shop and have them check the alignment. Big trucks also have solid front axles and have to be bent by an alignment shop to adjust the camber/toe in.

I personally feel that a big truck alignment shop will know more about alignment than most RV dealers. They probably sub out their alignment jobs there anyway. So you can save yourself from the middleman.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Often someone, owner/dealer/tire shop will jack under the axle tube instead of the spring plate or trailer chassis. This will bend an axle. Another is if the trailer was "high centered" - that is an off road excursion that may have put the trailer weight on the axle. As far as the axle having an arch as designed, yes they do. Installing the axle upside down - not possible as there is a welded mounting plate with a hole to locate the axle on the spring.

If it's bent, a truck shop might be able to repair it, but a replacement axle tube/spindle unit is probably as cheap and is quite easy to do with a very few tools. It is not a solid bar, but 3 to 4 inch dia. tubing and weighs about 50-60 pounds without the drum and brake assemblies, 160 with them. These are the old axles from mine - replaced due to Dexter's poor Nevr-Lub bearing design - total driveway time, 5 to 6 hours including assembling the backing plates, drums and connecting the brake wiring plus clean up:

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Old 05-31-2011, 06:27 AM   #7
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IC2,

"Dexter's poor Nevr-Lub bearing design"

Could you expand on this some?
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
IC2,

"Dexter's poor Nevr-Lub bearing design"

Could you expand on this some?
Yes - some is fact, some is opinion and some is engineering practices.

With the 6000 pound axles there is little if any extra margin in the 42mm (1.65"dia x ~1.25" long) bearing design - and the only one that is suspect - not the 52mm. It is a small bearing 'capsule', permanently lubed and totally not maintainable by usual methods. The only check/maintenance is a qualitative "rocking" of a wheel to try to determine continued use. Dexter has felt that they have to "share the blame" and have provided new bearings, new hub assemblies as well as replacement axles either at no cost to the owner (under warranty) or a very low cost if well out of warranty. Glendale with their Titanium 5ers exacerbated the situation as well by using wheels that were -10mm (.39") off the centerline of that bearing capsule. Then to make things worse, the actual weight of many trailers when fully loaded will exceed the axle load capabilities (even assuming 10-20 % is on the TV). Mine as far as unhooked dead weight, is over 11,000 pounds. Add propane, water, clothes and provisions and whatever folks carry, you then start to get close to and in some cases depending on trailer's physical size, exceed design limits.

OK - now, will everyone have a problem? Probably not. How high are the percentage of problems? In the Titanium world, pretty high - high enough that all owners of record received cautionary letters from Glendale's bankruptcy attorneys saying there is a problem, but if you want compensation, get in line. I chose - my choice!! - to replace my axle assemblies at my cost which was in the $700/pair range including shipping to a nearby truck terminal. What I do not need is a failure on a long holiday Saturday afternoon alongside a mid America corn field nor do I need a wheel/hub assembly breaking loose, damaging my trailer or worse someone else's vehicle or causing an injury - which has happened.

These are photos of the originals, the new bearings plus the difference in spindle size:









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Old 05-31-2011, 10:58 AM   #9
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I'll takes some pictures and post soon.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:01 AM   #10
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Yeah, I could almost understand it if the bow was at the top of the tires (lines up when loaded/weight applied), but with the bow at the bottom of the tires it's just doesn't seem right. I'm checking with the manufacturer now and will post their response when it comes in.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bushman512003 View Post
...Are the tires showing a lot of ware?Were they replaced for the sale of the unit to You?If the spare is not the same tire as on the ground that is a sure way to tell the tires were changed Dealers will do a lot of things to trick out a sale.Get a different dealer to look at Your rig and You will find out about more than Your dealer Will tell You.Your guy will hide things from You as He is the seller and He and wants to make the sale profet as high as He can right.And good luck. The wheels look different as You back up so pull ahead and inspect them again they will realine some every time nathure of the beast.Bushman
No, the tires are not showing a lot of wear, but they only have about 300 miles on them, so that's not a good indicator. Based on what I've read so far in this forum, and the responses to this thread, I think it'd be best if I took the trailer in and got a professional's opinion...and not the "professionals" that sold it to me that told me it was normal.
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