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Old 08-12-2013, 11:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 2
2012 Vibe 6502 axle failure

I am a new owner of a Vibe 6502. I bought it from the first owner who never used it, not once. He did not know that the left tire rubbed on the inside rear with severe sidewall damage. I did not know it either until I bought a set of Goodyear Marathon tires as I heard too many scary things about the OEM Chinese tires. I did not get a half mile down the road from the tire shop when I saw a lot of smoke coming from the left tire. When I got back to the tire shop after having driven a total of about 3 miles in order to get off the interstate and back. It turned out that the left axle was "toe out" not straight in line. I contacted Forest River and was promptly blown off as I am a second owner of a trailer that up to now has only about 200 miles on it including trips from the dealer to the first owner and back plus his towing it to my home. FR did tell me I should contact Lippert Components. I called them and at first got the standard "it's not our problem as you are the second owner" line. After more forceful explanation of avenues I could use regarding the National Highway Transportation Agency complaint process, Lippert Warranty Group asked for pictures of several areas of the axle on both sides. I sent them some very good pictures showing the RH side that ran straight but also did display some tire contact with the trailer body. The trailer has never been loaded. The LH side had a severe black streak starting from the rear and tapering off at the top of the fender well. This demonstrated that the axle was not tracking straight. Lippert notified me that they would be happy to replace my axle (with no warranty though). I offered to pay for an upgrade to a heavier axle. They declined but did say the replacement while still rated at 3500 pounds was 'heavier built'. When the new axle arrived, it was noticeably beefier looking and it was much heavier weight. It is installed now and the tires measure the same clearance front and rear on both sides. Lippert did step up to the plate. I thank them for that. I should add that they offered to pay to have it changed out. I had to decline as it was either a 90 or 100 mile drive to the nearest travel trailer dealer who could do the work. With the help of a friend we were able to change it out in about 3 hours working in some unbearable heat and humidity. I will run this axle for the rest of this year and into next year. I expect to replace it with a Dexter 6000 pound axle and 15 inch wheels and tires by next Summer. For now, I will have to tow it with no water in the fresh tank and add some weight to the bathroom to get the tongue weight up to 360 pound or so. My tow vehicle is a Chevrolet C1500 Silverado extended cab. Still wondering if I need a sway control as my truck weighs around 5000. I have been thinking that I could fill the grey tank with water for towing and dump it at the campground when I arrive.

Gary Spires
2012 V-Cross Vibe 6502
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 192
Originally Posted by Spike45 View Post
I Still wondering if I need a sway control as my truck weighs around 5000. I have been thinking that I could fill the grey tank with water for towing and dump it at the campground when I arrive.
Hi Spike: I have a 6504 (with slide), and completed the 6K Dexter Axle & 15 inch wheel upgrade last summer shortly after purchasing my unit. I would suggest "sway control" is a must as this particular type of trailer is very tricky to balance cargo vs tongue weight. The equalizer product works quite well on these units (especially for the VIBE units that are pre-equipped with the factory mount brackets on the trailer frame).

I have logged a few trips with the new axle and found that it does not take much to mess up the tongue weight - having the main hidden cargo area in the rear of the trailer. (any weight added to rear cargo significantly counterbalances on the axle fulcrum reducing tongue weight).

Depending on the needs of my family of 4, I shuffle load. (ie: put lighter weight cargo in the hold -lawn chairs, beach toys, briquette bbq). If I need to place heavier cargo in then I need to ensure I equalize that with heavier cargo up front or a change in distribution ie: Storing our "add a room" gazebo and tools, jacks, in a crate toward the front of the trailer for travelling.

I any event I do not regret going with the 6K axle as I now have piece of mind and the bonus of a lot more clearance under the trailer for working.

2015 Rockwood 2306 MiniLite
2012 Chevy Traverse
2011-2014 - 50 nights
Paul, Darcie, Li & Yan
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 18
Hey Spike
When I had problems with my roof leaking due to having the wrong molding installed when they built it. The dealer sent it back to the factory for repair. I drove over to Indiana to pick it up and was doing a walk through the guy said oh yeah we replaced the axle because the old one lost it's camber. I could see rub marks where the tires had been rubbing. I swear I didn't see any rub marks when I dropped it off at the dealership. I bought it early last year but they called it a 2013 model. I wonder if they had a bad batch of axles. As far as the Sway control goes I bought a Equal-I-Zer Weight Distribution Equalizer Hitch 6000# lbs, It has 4 way sway control. I would also like to swap out the axle for a 6000 pound unit.

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2012, axle, vibe

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