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Old 03-28-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
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Axle problems on Grey Wolf 29DSFB

We have a 2013 model of this camper, bought new. At about 1500 miles we discovered that all four tires had worn out on the inside tread. We had already noticed that the wheels would angle out or in depending on turning. We took it back to the dealer, who ended up replacing both axles and all four tires under warranty. This was completed in late June of 2013.

Fast forward to now, about 1000 miles later. We find that again all four tires are worn out, in the same way as before. We again notice that the wheels angle in and out while turning, as well as now we have noticed that we have frame damage where the axle u-bolts have hit the frame and bent the I-beam flanges. The tires have rubbed against the the inside of the wheel wells, and the wheels sit cambered out on flat pavement.

Forest River's answer was that we needed radial tires, so has replaced them (note: third set of tires in 1.5 years, second set of axles). No effect on how the wheels sit. My mechanic, and several car nut friends, have all suggested that our axles are insufficient for the weight. The camper weighs 7700 pounds fully loaded (which we haven't done yet) on two 3500 pound axles. We have also noticed that anything larger than a 1/2 ton truck passing us, or a small gust of wind, will make the trailer sway badly. We have to travel at no more than 50-60 mph to be even a little under control. We have an E2 hitch, pretty much the best we could find.

The camper is back in the shop as of today, and since it is out of warranty I expect to not get much help from Forest River. My dealer has been great, but there is only so much they can do.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can try?
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:52 PM   #2
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The sway most likely is caused by the WDH not being adjusted properly. As for the tires when turning they will twist and bend there will be times you think the tires will roll off the rims when making sharp turns. The 3500lb axles are at the limit of weight for the trailer. Part of the 7700 lbs will be taken up by the hitch weight. Do the axles have a bow when the trailer is unloaded. There should be a slight up bow when not loaded. The trailer is now out of warranty and if the tires are wearing out every 1000 miles it might be in your best interest to take the trailer to a truck repair shop and have them check everything out. There is something wrong with the axles and a good shop that deals in axles and spring would be the people to talk to. If the axles are found to be bad I would contact FR because this is a problem that started before warranty had expired and they might be able to help you out.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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The manufacturer sets the campers GVWR by adding the axle rating plus the dry hitch or pin weight. In the case of your camper, that's 3500 x 2 plus 722 for 7722 lbs, using the 2014 specs. Because of the big dry weight of the camper, you have only 1001 lbs of carrying capacity including water. This number in real life is typically lower than the spec...check you sticker on the left front corner for the CCC for your specific camper.

You should really scale your set-up because you may be exceeding the axle rating of the camper...pretty easy to put more than 1000 lbs in the camper. If the axles are overloaded, that would easily explain the tire wear that you're experiencing.

The second benefit of scaling your set up is to optimize the W/D hitch...doesn't sound like it's the best as you're getting a lot of sway. The E2 hitch has only 2 point sway which may not be sufficient with that weight of camper...you should have gone with an Equal-i-zer hitch with 4 point sway control. You need 3 separate weighing to get all the info you need. If you search on here you'll find the method used.

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Old 03-28-2014, 11:26 PM   #4
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We don't really carry that much, clothes, food, bikes and kitchen supplies. Maybe 400-500lbs of stuff. The service guys at the dealership seem to think it is an axel issue as well. One of the key things we looked at when we bought the camper was the weight and towing capacity. We have an Expedition and the towing capacity is 9000 so we should be well within our limit. We also do not carry water (or at least we haven't yet.). I hate to hear that about the sway though since the dealer told us that what we were buying was the best out there.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:46 AM   #5
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In answer to the question of seeing an up bow of the axles when unloaded, no they are actually bowed down when it is unloaded (or loaded for that matter). The reason for the original axle replacement was (according to the dealer) there was no camber to the axles.

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This is the tire that caused the call back to the dealer this time. It has about 1000 miles on it. The frame damage picture is the same wheel/axle, also happened during the same 1000 miles. I don't remember any rough roads, so I have no idea how it bottomed out that bad.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:47 AM   #6
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It looks like there isn't enough axle to frame clearance, either due to weak springs or not enough clearance designed into the suspension system. I believe it's due to both conditions. If Dave_Monica is correct with the weight numbers(and after looking at the specs he is), then you should have a pair of 5200 LB axles and springs. This will give you the carrying capacity of the springs and axles and better brakes(12"x2" instead of 10"x 2 1/4").This combination will also lessen the sway condition. There is a 4400 LB axle that has a larger axle tube, but still only has 10"x2 1/4" brakes(I would go to the 5200 LB set up before I would go to the 4400 LB set up). My buddy has the same size trailer that has a dry weight of 6300 LBS and a max GVW of 10,000 LBS. Keep on Forest River to replace the axles and springs with the 5200 LB ones and wheels and tires to go with the axles(including the spare).
Hope you get this sorted out sooner than later.

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Old 03-29-2014, 04:39 AM   #7
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If the axles are bowed down in the middle, that's a bad thing. Always should have a bow up in the middle, which can flatten out a little when loaded. Something isn't right for sure. If the u-bolts are tagging the frame, sounds like overloaded / underrated axles. On the hitch, we had the same set up Dave mentioned when we had a bumper pull, the Equal-i-zer, and found it to be well worth it. I'd be interested to see what the yellow sticker says as far as gross weight and CCC. I also agree with Dave on the getting it scaled. Well worth it for CYA, and peace of mind. We just weighed ours recently and were pleasently surprised to be 900 Lbs under gross weight loaded down with necessities. But, that was with estimated 10 gallons of fresh water, no gray, no black, empty water heater and only 25% in one propane tank. Very easy to overload one.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
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If the axles are bowed down, there is a remote chance the axles need to be turned over with the bow up and the springs sitting on top of the axle instead of under them. Probably messed up from the factory and the dealer duplicated the error. JMO.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCoot View Post
If the axles are bowed down, there is a remote chance the axles need to be turned over with the bow up and the springs sitting on top of the axle instead of under them. Probably messed up from the factory and the dealer duplicated the error. JMO.
Was thinking similar after I posted, but also thinking surely factory wouldn't make that mistake. But, in this day in time, it really wouldn't surprise me if they did mount them wrong.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:25 AM   #10
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could be 2 different problems. The lack of clearance between the axle and frame is an issue in itself. That alone isn't going to wear tires. I had a severe tire wear problem on the Wildwood I traded after only 1 year. Turns out the axles weren't in-line with the frame. When I measured everything per the Lippert instructions, my rear axle was almost 1 full inch further back on the right side than the left. Measurements taken from front of trailer frame to front edge of leaf spring hanger.

I have attached the instruction on how to measure.

I traded that for the 5th wheel you see in my avatar and sig. The tires will last forever on this one since winter won't end so I can use it
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File Type: pdf 0088.pdf (508.9 KB, 69 views)
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