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Old 06-11-2021, 10:18 AM   #1
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Cornerstone Spartan Chassis Tag Axle Leak

After less than one year and 14,500 miles on our 2021 Cornerstone, we experienced a blown gasket on the passenger tag axle hub. The service shop that fixed it told me that it's a common issue with the Freightliner axles in use on this coach and many others. It needs to be corrected by replacing the cheap paper gasket with an RTV seal. As it happens, the other tag axle seal was just about to blow out too and needed to be replaced.

I've asked Entegra/Spartan to issue at least a service bulletin so it can be corrected before customers end up stranded miles from any heavy truck repair facility. Initial response was negative but I've gone back to argue the case.
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Old 06-12-2021, 11:56 AM   #2
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Can you provide a bit more detail? Was it the seal at the back of the hub that seals the rotor to the spindle? Or was it the seal between the rotor hub and the hubcap that retains the spindle lubricant? Or something else?
Richard Entrekin
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:32 PM   #3
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I'm confused. Freightliner doesn't build axles - they are a competitor of Spartan in the chassis business. Both companies buy axles from axle makers, e.g ZF, Detroit, Reyco-Granning, etc.

The Entegra Cornerstone uses a Spartan k3-605 chassis.
Gary Brinck
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Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 06-14-2021, 08:48 AM   #4
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Hi Gary,

You may well be right although I'm not sure how it affects my warning to Cornerstone owners. I'm just repeating what the heavy truck mechanic told me. I did a quick search online and found Freightliner's Axle business listed here:

I think what the mechanic was saying is that hundreds of Freighliner trucks (or axles) have had this issue.

For me the issue is that being stranded somewhere, particularly at this time when every dealer in the country is busy, is not consistent with proactive customer care.
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Old 06-14-2021, 08:52 AM   #5
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More Detail


I am not mechanical and did not retain all the details. However, let me try to describe what it was, and please make allowance for my mechanical ignorance when you interpret what I say. When you look at the hub after removing the hub cover, there is a brown paper seal that goes all around the circumference of the hub. This blew out of my right tag axle hub (middle set of wheels on the Cornerstone) and was about to blow on the left tag axle. Here is the report from Spartan:

This specific repair that you had made is not part of any current recall/campaign from Spartan’s perspective. In the case of the drive axle, it is received originally with a paper style gasket, which is typically sufficient. If there are circumstances that cause that gasket to fail, repair direction that we’ve received previously from the supplier of that axle is to utilize an RTV sealer in lieu of a paper style gasket as a remedy, which is what the service provider you visited performed.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:51 AM   #6
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The tag axel and drive axel are different. The axel with dual tires and innie wheels is the drive axel. The rear axel with outie wheels, like the steer wheels is the tag axel. Sounds like a drive axel problem on a a Spartan chassis.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:24 AM   #7
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Does the axel vent? And is the vent clear?

Seals don't just blow, the assembly should not have any will build pressure with heat...that's the reason for a vent.
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:52 PM   #8
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Same Problem
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:53 PM   #9
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Not very sure what you're saying but in any event, half the paper seal was lying on my tire when I stopped for that evening. I call that "blowing" but perhaps more accurate to say, "blew out"?
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Old 06-16-2021, 03:21 PM   #10
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eroyceus, I suspect from your description you have your axles confused. The large dual wheel drive axle is the center axle on a tag axle motor home. The tag axle is the rear most axle with a single tire on each side.
Most of these large drive axles are manufactured by Eaton and utilize "floating axle shafts". With this design the axle shaft can shear but the weight of the coach is still held up by a wheel bearing assembly attached to the axle housing.

The axle shaft bolts onto the hub assembly using a paper gasket. Even though the center of the axle housing is vented, many times they "blow out" this paper gasket.
It's a fairly easy fix. Remove the axle retaining bolts and slide the axle out. You do not even have to jack the rear end up. Scrape the failed paper gasket off and apply some Ultra Grey RTV gasket maker to the flange. Then slide the axle shaft back in and properly torque the axle retaining bolts and all is well.
The first picture shows the rear drive axle with the hub cap removed. You can see the axle retaining bolts.
The second picture shows the axle shaft removed. Look closely and you can see pieces of the paper gasket on the concrete.
The third picture shows the hub assembly that the axle shaft inserts into.

Even though this may look bad, it's not a catastrophic failure and occurs frequently on class 8 trucks. It makes a mess but can be repaired in 20 min.

The question for you is did they top off the rear differential oil with the proper manufactured specification oil?
Hope this helps!
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:34 AM   #11
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You described it exactly right. For me, a major failure is one that will sideline the
coach for more than 4 days when you're on a trip. We have warranties and extended warranties so I'm not talking about money but the impact on travel. Given the huge backup at dealers and service centers today, this could have cost us two weeks in wait time. I am not capable of doing the repair and should not because the coach is only a year old and still under warranty. I'd rather have a complete a/c failure than this type of problem cause I can still drive the coach.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:35 AM   #12
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Yes, they topped up the oil. Thanks for asking.
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chassis, leak, spartan, tag axle

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