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Old 01-01-2014, 09:47 PM   #1
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I probably already know the answer. Is it possible to upgrade axles?

We bought our first class A and made a little hiccup without noticing the CCC. The one we bought was near identical to a model from another manufacturer so we made assumption that the CCC would be similar (I know, I know) If we run without much water in the tanks and are careful we will stay under I think.

The DP has 4 slides. It has a 20k rear axle and a 12k front (independent suspension)

What would it cost to upgrade the axles. We know we would take a hit on resale value if we sold it to get a different one later and the coach itself suits us really nicely. Would the loss in resale value be similar to the cost to upgrade to say a 22k rear and 14k front? Is this even something freightliner could do?

Also this is a National RV so it is no longer in business. Would I still be able to get updated stickers reflecting the change so that it may help in the resale somewhat.

I know the answer is probably just to live and learn and move on to another coach if we need to. I was just curious.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:17 AM   #2
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The rear axle may not be a problem. Most RA's actually have a higher capacity but the mfrs. use 20,000 lbs. as that was the max capacity allowed by law. Get the model and make of your RA and contact the mfr. for the capacity. I don't have an answer for the front. Have you weighed the MH? How much are you over?
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #3
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You are already maxed on the rear axle. You will have to call around and get some prices on upping the front IFS to a 14K rating. Then you'll have to decide if the cost of the change is going to be more than the loss of trading on one that already has the CCC you need.
You probably will not get back any money spent on the upgrade when it comes time to sell or trade.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:19 AM   #4
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We weighed the coach (not 4 corners) after we bought it and had very minimial stuff in it. Maybe 150 pounds of cargo plus myself and the wife. At the time it had a full water tank.

We had approx 800lbs remaining capacity on the rear and about 400lbs remaining on the front.

This coach carries about 900lbs of water so if we run with minimal water we get a lot back.

Additionally we have removed the heavy tvs and replaced with lighter flat screens. We also removed the dining table and 4 chairs which were very heavy for what they were. We are having a desk built in but I think the net weight will be lighter. We are using ultralight aluminum chairs for the desk.

We have also done alot of small changes to what we are bringing and what was in the coach that I think will add up to some weight savings.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:32 AM   #5
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The big problem is not the axle ratings, but rather the rest of the package. What is the frames design rating? How about springs? Axle ratings are generally much higher than the whole package. Changing one single component is not going to alter the GVWR number placed on the coach by the manufacturer. Which is further complicated by the frame/chassis builders rating. Contact the chassis manufacturer and see if you can get any information from them on frame ratings.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:30 AM   #6
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Quit weighing it. Problem solved.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by stuhly View Post
Quit weighing it. Problem solved.
Sticking you head in the sand is not the answer. An informed owner is the best safety feature a vehicle can have.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:08 AM   #8
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Welcome to the world of RV's. We had a 40 ft '08 Allegro Bus on a Freightliner Chassis that had a 17,000# Meritor rear axle that Meritor had waived to 19,000#. Never could get a straight answer on if it was at Freightlines choice or Tiffins to go the waiver route. It was actually waived though, as the Federal placard did show 19,000 even though the Meritor part number showed the 17K axle. Then to make it even more interesting, when we weighed it we found we were just about AT 19,000# dry and no internal stuff. With careful loading we ran at just about 21,500 to 22,000 for all trips. Needless to say I was not pleased, but there was not anything I could do except keep the cargo stored with a thought to the rear axle, and run it "gently". We put 75,000 miles on the coach before we traded it, but I did make sure I did a good inspection of brakes, axles, and most of all, all the axle welds and attachment areas at each maintenance cycle.

Other than a quick "pencil whip" to extend the limits on what you presently have, there's not too much you'd be able to do on yours. The cost of putting a new axle, wheels and brakes would be quite prohibitive, even if you could find a frame place that would be willing to tackle it for you. Drive it gently, inspect it thoroughly and be glad the Feds finally extended the allowable axle loadings on RV's to 24,000 for non=commercial RV's. At least you won't have that dog biting at you.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:19 PM   #9
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The most important compentents of any "weight ratings" are the tires/wheels. It has been mentioned a few times that identical chassis/axle set up can have different load or weight carrying capacities. The frame/air bags/ springs/torsion rods ect... may all be the same, but...
Tire size is important because of it's stopping abilities. Here in PA, the D.O.T has a set standards for chassis manufactures that xxx amount of footprint must be on pavement to meet a coefficient of friction of xxx to provide enough stopping power for a vehicle weighing xxx in a certain amount of distance. An example is a vehicle that has a 20,000# rear axle and a 14,000# front axle, the vehicle should legally be able to haul 34,000 lbs., but the maximum in PA a 2 axle vehicle can haul under D.O.T guide lines is 33,000 lbs.. This is because the government deemed that 33,000 lbs. is the maximum a vehicle with 6 tires can safely stop. So in your case, what size tires do you have? You can mount larger tires if there is enough room in your wheel wells and if your wheels are wide enough. Rims/wheels must have enough space between them for tire flex, so you more than likely would need to purchase wheels to mate to new larger tires to keep a safe stopping distance.

Secondly, what is the tire and wheel load or weight ratings? They should be stamped on each one. My personal rule of thumb is to go 110%. If you know that you will be pushing the limits on each axle, make sure the cumulative weight rating of your tires and wheels will be at least 22,000# on the rear axle and approximately 13,200 # on the front axle. For an example, your wheels may have a weight rating of (this is off the top of my head, but I don't think I'm to far off) 6400 lbs. each. That is a cumulative weight rating on the rear of 25,600 lbs., and 12,800 lbs. on the front. If you get a little over loaded on the rear, the wheels will handle it, but you have very little wiggle room on the front axle.

Increasing the size and load capacities of your tires and wheels will not legally change your D.O.T carrying capacity. But if you know you will be at, or just over your load limit, it is the least expensive and most bang for your buck to make sure you are as safe as you can be at that weight. 100% my opinion, results may vary, ....

Another option, if Freightliner can not up your axle weights, is to get a quote on a tag axle. Not sure on how your rig is set up so it may be very costly to move or get rid of compartments, black/fresh water tanks, or a generator. But adding a tag axle, especially one that only needs to add a weight carrying capacity of 5-6000 lbs may be within your budget.

Personally, I chose to "upgrade" my tires and wheels to a greater weight rating, I also have your "must not add water to be safe" thing going on, but sadly the more I read about it the more I think we are the majority and not the minority...
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:22 PM   #10
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Fortunately one the previous owner put some nice tires on it and the wheels are good to handle them.

The tires have plenty of room to go way over the axle ratings, not that I would do that, but it gives me some comfort that I shouldn't have a blow out due to weight issues if I weigh and inflate accordingly.


Live and learn. We'll still be having fun. I am going to carry my tool box and scuba tanks in the toad.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdDoggin View Post
The most important compentents of any "weight ratings" are the tires/wheels. It has been mentioned a few times that identical chassis/axle set up can have different load or weight carrying capacities. The frame/air bags/ springs/torsion rods ect... may all be the same, but...
Tire size is important because of it's stopping abilities. Here in PA, the D.O.T has a set standards for chassis manufactures that xxx amount of footprint must be on pavement to meet a coefficient of friction of xxx to provide enough stopping power for a vehicle weighing xxx in a certain amount of distance. An example is a vehicle that has a 20,000# rear axle and a 14,000# front axle, the vehicle should legally be able to haul 34,000 lbs., but the maximum in PA a 2 axle vehicle can haul under D.O.T guide lines is 33,000 lbs.. This is because the government deemed that 33,000 lbs. is the maximum a vehicle with 6 tires can safely stop. So in your case, what size tires do you have? You can mount larger tires if there is enough room in your wheel wells and if your wheels are wide enough. Rims/wheels must have enough space between them for tire flex, so you more than likely would need to purchase wheels to mate to new larger tires to keep a safe stopping distance.

Secondly, what is the tire and wheel load or weight ratings? They should be stamped on each one. My personal rule of thumb is to go 110%. If you know that you will be pushing the limits on each axle, make sure the cumulative weight rating of your tires and wheels will be at least 22,000# on the rear axle and approximately 13,200 # on the front axle. For an example, your wheels may have a weight rating of (this is off the top of my head, but I don't think I'm to far off) 6400 lbs. each. That is a cumulative weight rating on the rear of 25,600 lbs., and 12,800 lbs. on the front. If you get a little over loaded on the rear, the wheels will handle it, but you have very little wiggle room on the front axle.

Increasing the size and load capacities of your tires and wheels will not legally change your D.O.T carrying capacity. But if you know you will be at, or just over your load limit, it is the least expensive and most bang for your buck to make sure you are as safe as you can be at that weight. 100% my opinion, results may vary, ....

Another option, if Freightliner can not up your axle weights, is to get a quote on a tag axle. Not sure on how your rig is set up so it may be very costly to move or get rid of compartments, black/fresh water tanks, or a generator. But adding a tag axle, especially one that only needs to add a weight carrying capacity of 5-6000 lbs may be within your budget.

Personally, I chose to "upgrade" my tires and wheels to a greater weight rating, I also have your "must not add water to be safe" thing going on, but sadly the more I read about it the more I think we are the majority and not the minority...
Tag isn't an option. Basement AC.
I'm sure I am overthinking it bit I will do my best to be a responsible RV'er.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by moisheh View Post
The rear axle may not be a problem. Most RA's actually have a higher capacity but the mfrs. use 20,000 lbs. as that was the max capacity allowed by law. Get the model and make of your RA and contact the mfr. for the capacity. I don't have an answer for the front. Have you weighed the MH? How much are you over?
I believe that the law has changed for motorhomes it is 24000 pounds on the rear.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:43 PM   #13
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Shadow: I am aware of the change but that is not the info he needs. When his MH was built the law was 20,000 lbs. and that is what National used. BUT many times the RA was built for more weight. That is the info he would need. The new max means nothing to an existing RA.
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