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Old 11-13-2007, 05:59 PM   #1
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After a campout this past weekend I was parking my 5ver when I heard a loud noise and the trailer was leaning abnormally to the left.

A quick inspection revealed that both metal straps that connects the rear spring to the equalizer had broken at the bolt holes and the rear spring had impacted with the trailer frame. As it was getting dark I left it for the night.

Today after taking the left wheels off and removing the springs and equalizer I discovered the whole suspension had been made in china and instead of using quality material it was mostly junk. All the bolts were scored badly where they fit into the metal straps, the bushings were cheap plastic instead of nylon and were all worn out and cracked in half, all the bolt hols in the metal strap connectors were wallowed out as well as the bolt holes in the equalizer.

I am going to have to replace all the suspension components (bolts, bushings, and connecting straps. Finised left side today and was able to use brass bushings in the equalizer to overcome the slop of the wallowed out bolt holes and nylon bushings elsewhere. Will do right side tomorrow.

If you own a Keystone product, I would recommend you inspect your suspension components for excess wear. The folks at Husky Trailer parts said good nylon bushings should last several years and they had never seen metal connecting straps break like mine did. I was lucky that it did not break on the road. Left unattended it could have been a major failure.
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Old 11-13-2007, 05:59 PM   #2
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After a campout this past weekend I was parking my 5ver when I heard a loud noise and the trailer was leaning abnormally to the left.

A quick inspection revealed that both metal straps that connects the rear spring to the equalizer had broken at the bolt holes and the rear spring had impacted with the trailer frame. As it was getting dark I left it for the night.

Today after taking the left wheels off and removing the springs and equalizer I discovered the whole suspension had been made in china and instead of using quality material it was mostly junk. All the bolts were scored badly where they fit into the metal straps, the bushings were cheap plastic instead of nylon and were all worn out and cracked in half, all the bolt hols in the metal strap connectors were wallowed out as well as the bolt holes in the equalizer.

I am going to have to replace all the suspension components (bolts, bushings, and connecting straps. Finised left side today and was able to use brass bushings in the equalizer to overcome the slop of the wallowed out bolt holes and nylon bushings elsewhere. Will do right side tomorrow.

If you own a Keystone product, I would recommend you inspect your suspension components for excess wear. The folks at Husky Trailer parts said good nylon bushings should last several years and they had never seen metal connecting straps break like mine did. I was lucky that it did not break on the road. Left unattended it could have been a major failure.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up. I do not own a Keystone product but since RV manufacturers tend to go with the crowd I will inspect mine.
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:09 AM   #4
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Folks this ain't no cheap trailer and it's only 4 years old.

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Old 11-15-2007, 10:21 AM   #5
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You are replacing plastic with plastic? Wow, you are braver than I am. I replaced all of the chinzy plastic bushings in my 2 year old fiver with greasable bolts and real bronze bushings. No more problems for me.
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:53 AM   #6
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I agree, greasable spring hangers are the way to go.

My trailer came with greasable ones from the factory and I crawl under about every 6 months or so and give them a few shots from the grease gun. Never had a problem.... all 4 of the HH trailers I've owned were greaseable.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #7
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Don, I was speaking with another engineer the other day and he told the story about his company was executing a contract with a Chinese company and in bold print in the contract specifications was the statement that no Chinese produced steel was to be use in the project. Only US, Japanese or European steel was acceptable.

Kind of makes you wonder.....

Ken
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:40 PM   #8
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Ken,
The equalizer is stamped Made In China so I assumed all the components were made there.

450Donn - I discussed using the nylon bushings at length with the techs at the trailer supply store where I bought my parts and was told the nylon should last as well as brass. The chinese stuff was plastic not nylon. The brass is just tensionally stronger so I used brass in the wallowed out holes of the equalizer at the suggestion of the tech also. They did not have 6 inch equalizers in stock or I would have replaced them as well.

If I may ask where did you find the aftermarket fittings?

That was another surprize as well to the tech that a trailer the size of mine would have a 6 inch instead of 8 inch equalizers.
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:35 AM   #9
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Believe it or not, but I got mine from TrailAir. They had everything in stock and were quiet reasonable. If I had crawled under and done a head count I would not have had to reorder. But I was two short to do the complete job. Remember, there are three on the equalizer for a total of 14 pivot points. OOPS! I have to disagree with the guy who sold you the parts, plastic,nylon does not matter, they will still wear out rather quickly compared to a greasable part with bronze bushings.
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:50 AM   #10
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allendp,

It amazes me with some of the cheap parts used in key locations. Your signature says you own a Keystone 5er. Do you know who made the chassis? I have a Wildcat and Lippert is the chassis/frame mfg.

Thanks,
MaxRock
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Old 11-16-2007, 06:48 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MaxRock:
allendp,

It amazes me with some of the cheap parts used in key locations. Your signature says you own a Keystone 5er. Do you know who made the chassis? I have a Wildcat and Lippert is the chassis/frame mfg.

Thanks,

Lippert makes probably 95% of the frames today. They have factories all over the country, many times right next to the trailer builder. They build the frames according to the trailer builders specifications. They do not, as far as I know, design frames. They have gotten a bad reputation lately for shoddy workmanship, etc. Personally I don't see how a design flaw is Lipperts fault. Manufacturing quality, YES that is their problem. However like many other industries, their labor force is probably not paid enough to keep the best people employed. A good all position welder can earn 25 or more dollars an hour on a regular job shop and field work pays a lot more than that. What does Lippert pay their welders? I agree that someone is specing cheep components for a lot of the parts in our trailers. But the question is who? IS it Lippert to keep the cost down to keep the business? Or is it the coach builders in an effort to keep competetive in what ever market segiment they are aiming for? I really don't know, but sure would like to!
MaxRock </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:18 AM   #12
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In July reworked the suspension on my New-to-me 2001 5th. While repacking the bearings and checking brakes, notices the spring shackles on the curb side were worn and the bushings on the hanger/springs were due to be replaced as well. The roadside looked pretty good, but noticed the equalizer had been replaced.

The running gear on my unit is made by Dexter Axle. After not finding a dealer in the Jacksonville area that carried all the parts I needed for the suspension and brakes, I was able to obtain everything I needed from Dexter, as they will sell direct. Found the prices to be competive with prices from local sources and they provided one stop shopping.

The kit had bolts and equalizers that were greasable. This should help solve some of the problems, but anytime you have moving parts and heavy loads they will always need attention. Don't think it makes much difference who made your unit, we all have some of the same problems. As far as part sources, it would be nice to have options. The equalizer I removed on the roadside had both Dexter and china stamped on it, and the new one I installed said the same. Only major difference, the one I removed had a better finish.

Dexter Axle has some good information in their resource library if you have Dexter axles on your unit or just looking for "good reading" during those slow moments.

Hope something helped.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:49 PM   #13
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dexter sells a EZ flex kit thats has greaseable brass sleaves and very heavy duty equilizers with new spring bolts and plates , its a good idea to make your trailer ride smoother also.
kits cost about 170 to do everything .
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