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Old 06-27-2015, 05:36 PM   #1
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Angry KZ Sportsmen Owners Beware

I have a 2011 KZ Sportsman 19BH and was looking under it this afternoon and noticed the brake line on that side was crimped completely. It had been run directly along the top of the axle between the axle/leaf spring U-bolt and the frame. At some point the trailer suspension bottomed out and crushed the brake line shut. I figured it was just an assembly mistake. But upon checking the other side, I see that that side is exactly the same. I don't know exactly when they were crimped, as I bought it used from a dealer. But I do know I have probably been driving around with essentially no brakes for a while at least. I don't know if it was just an isolated incident where the worker had a bad day or if it was standard procedure to route the brake lines in this way. If it was, you had better check your brake lines if you have a KZ Sportsman and maybe other models as well.





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Old 06-27-2015, 06:01 PM   #2
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From the look of it, looks like the previous owner bottomed out the suspension. I agree that is not the placement for the lines. Should be an easy fix relocating them so it won't happen again.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:02 PM   #3
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I am not even saying that I didn't bottom out the suspension. But regardless who did it doesn't really matter. It can and often does happen so the designers at KZ are either dumb, or the installer had a really bad day. Rerouting them wont be to bad probably if there is some play in the lines, but I will have to replace them now anyway.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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Eek!
No good.
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:42 PM   #5
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I bought some new brake lines and tools today. i will be working on getting them replaced tomorrow. I am still dumb founded over this. I hope to hear back from KZ and/or the dealer tomorrow or soon regarding this. I want to know who is responsible.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:58 AM   #6
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Admitting fault can have dire legal consequences these days. I wish you luck in finding out... but I don't hold out much hope.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:18 AM   #7
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I am curious... these look like hydraulic lines.
Would expect electric brakes.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:29 AM   #8
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As before , we have electric brakes, yours must be hydralic, not familar with them. Sounds like you have a good handle on how to repair the damage.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:15 AM   #9
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Yes, they are Surge brakes (Hydraulic). I did repair them yesterday. I spent the afternoon with a buddy replacing them and the brakes now work great. It is a big relief to know that I now really have working brakes on the trailer, but I still would like to know who installed them. Probably more importantly, they need to know for quality control in the future. Maybe even recall other trailers that might have been affected in the same way.
The brakes could have been an option from the the KZ factory or may have been put on by the dealer as a retro fit to facilitate renting the trailer to people whose vehicles don't have an electric trailer brake controller.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:24 PM   #10
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OK, so to update this dilemma. After going back and forth between the dealer and KZ Customer Service 2 or 3 times each and each blaming the other for the installation of the brake lines, I finally got KZ to call the dealer and figure out between the two who actually installed the brake lines on my trailer. Bottom line is that the factory installs the Surge Brakes and all components to include the brake lines and the dealer puts in the fluid and bleeds the brakes. I asked if the practice of installing them ON TOP of the axle would be reconsidered and she said “NO”. She stated that that is the way they had always been done in the past and are still done now. I asked why and she said that they had not found it to be a problem in the past. She did allude that they had seen the crimping on a “couple” before but wouldn’t get specific.
So, I am glad mine are fixed and I won’t have to worry about it in the future. The hundreds or perhaps thousands of other KZ travel trailers with surge brakes however should worry.
I understand that maybe it is uncommon for a trailer to bottom out but I don’t think it is uncommon enough for the factory not to take steps to alleviate the problem if it does. It would not even require any additional expense, just a simple rerouting of the existing lines upon installation. If not, then there should be “bump stops” installed in case of bottoming out to prevent the lines from crimping. Just about everyone towing a travel trailer has hit a big bump, RR tracks, ran over a curb or whatever that could easily lead to the suspension bottoming out. In my case, I can’t remember every hitting a bump or road hazard all that hard while towing. It could have easily been done during the two years it was used as a rental. We all know how people treat rentals. But bottom line is that is it a reasonable possibility for the suspension to be bottomed out which inevitably would lead to crimped brake lines with the way they are installed now and have been for a long time by the factory.
Why the company wouldn’t even consider changing the current practice after being warned of the potential problem is beyond me. They are ripe for a big law suit. I guess that is when they will “Review their installation procedures”. After someone is killed or injured because the trailer they were pulling didn’t have functional brakes. And this is after they were informed of a possible problem. Does this remind you of the GM ignition recall issue?
The KZ Customer Service representative was very apologetic, cooperative and forthcoming but I think someone above her pay grade needs to take note of this issue now.
If you own a KZ travel trailer with surge brakes, I highly recommend that you get under the trailer and check your brake lines or at least have it checked by a competent mechanic. Waiting until you are going 70mph down the interstate and having the car in front of you lock up their brakes is not the time to find out that you don’t have working brakes on your trailer.
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Old 07-11-2015, 06:18 AM   #11
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It is a bad design. Routing them on top, in front, behind or under the axle leaves them too exposed to damage from road debris.
They need to instal at least a shield over them.
But as with most things, your best bet is "know your enemy" and since you now have a good understanding of the risk and are sharing it with others, that may be the best you can get/do.
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:57 PM   #12
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Thanks TDI:
Yep, I have already redone the lines completely so they run to the back of the axle now and there is no chance of them getting pinched between the frame and axle again. Hence, the risk is no longer existent for me. So, I am set. I just hope other owners with surge brakes on a KZ trailer check the lines out and have them rerouted as well.
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