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Old 11-26-2021, 12:12 PM   #1
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Check Your Leaf Springs!

On the morning of November 12, 2012, I had a near-miss. I began to lose control of the truck and Excel IKR34 fifth wheel when I came around a curve going down a hill on US 180 about eight miles south of Glenwood, NM. All I could see in the mirrors was heavy smoke. My first thought was that I was in big trouble, my second was the trailer was on fire. I managed to get the truck and trailer shut down and pulled just off the road. I ran back to get a fire extinguisher from the truck box. Grant County Sheriff, Frank Gomez witnessed the event. The leaf spring on the left side of the fifth wheel completely failed. That caused the shock absorbers to fail and the front axle to shift backward. The two left-side tires slammed into each other and begin to melt. No fire, but a severely disabled trailer.

Sheriff Gomez was a tremendous help and contacted G & G Towing & Repair, Inc. in Silver City, NM, 59 miles distant. They didnít have a rig big enough to haul us into Silver City so Charlie Goodyear and another mechanic named Pete came out to try to get the trailer in good enough shape to get into Glenwood where we were fortunate enough to find one open space at the Glenwood RV Park. The mechanics returned the next day to install a new leaf spring. They discovered the leaf spring on the right side of the trailerís front axle was cracked so that one was replaced as well. They couldnít replace the shocks and all the linkage as they didnít have the parts. Mr. Goodyear recommended the leaf springs, shock absorbers, shackle links and bolts, and the equalizer be replaced on the rear axle. He also advised the shackle links, shackle bolts, the equalizer as well as replacement of the broken shock absorber on the front axle be replaced. I can't say enough good words about the support provided by G&G Towing & Repair as well as the kindness of Bucky Allred, owner of the Glenwood RV Park. The axles are Dexter 7000 lb. The rest of the chassis/axle components are Dexter as well.

I managed to get the rig home to Las Cruces, NM.

All four tires were replaced earlier this year. The left two tires need inspection and possible replacement.

The pocketbook hurts and will hurt some more before all is said and done but thank goodness that's all that hurts. We were fortunate.
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Old 11-26-2021, 01:35 PM   #2
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2012.........

What is the year of the 5th wheel?
What was the weight on 5vr axles in 2012?
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Old 11-26-2021, 03:26 PM   #3
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Always an important point to check your tires and suspension before and during any tow or trip anywhere.

Curious why the op waited 9 years to share the story.
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Old 11-26-2021, 05:12 PM   #4
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Perhaps he meant 2021.
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Old 11-26-2021, 08:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Perhaps he meant 2021.
Could be...I transpose numbers/letters all the tmie

Still curious on Year of 5vr and weight on alxes
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:52 PM   #6
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Leaf springs degrade in strength over time and, especially, by amount of use. The constant flexing takes its toll on them. I have had at least 3 of them break over the years on my (heavily used) cargo trailers that I tow for work. I wonder whether there should be a recommendation to replace all spring axles after, say, about 50,000 miles of towing? I was getting a new axle last summer so I had them install new springs also, for peace of mind; the old ones looked okay but one often cannot see metal stress, they had been on there for at least 60k, and I would rather do a prophylactic replacement than have a breakdown at a bad time or place.
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Old 11-27-2021, 06:32 AM   #7
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Just checked mine.
Looked A-OK.
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Old 11-27-2021, 06:38 AM   #8
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Just checked mine.
Looked A-OK.

Nice professional job there.
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Old 11-27-2021, 08:36 AM   #9
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Transposed the Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
2012.........

What is the year of the 5th wheel?
What was the weight on 5vr axles in 2012?
My bad - the year is 2021. It is my intention to weigh the 5th wheel when the repairs are complete. The 5th wheel is a 2013 (correct year) Excel 34IKR.
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Old 11-27-2021, 09:00 AM   #10
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I had a somewhat similar incident a couple years ago, but mine was a broken hanger bracket that allowed the tires to come together. I believe the hanger brackets are a much more likely problem than a broken spring. I was fortunate enough to have a heavy duty strap to pull the axle back into position and get home for repairs. I have since welded a steel plate on the open end of each hanger to keep them from flexing.
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Old 11-27-2021, 09:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Boogie_ View Post
Just checked mine.

Looked A-OK.
That adds a bit of lift to the springs as well.
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Old 11-27-2021, 09:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogie_ View Post
Just checked mine.
Looked A-OK.
Nice...
With those U Bolts one is thinking ahead in case more are needed

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