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Old 07-08-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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Question Leaf Springs on my Sierra

I have a 2009 Sierra 356RL 5th wheel. It has a GVW of 14,075#. About two weeks ago I had returned from a weekend trip and before I ran the slides in I decided to lube the slide rails. While under the slides I noticed that the tires had been hitting the bottom of the trailer; enough times to rub holes in the protective covering exposing the trailer floor. I took the trailer back to the dealer to see what was causing it and a few days later he called and stated that the leaf springs were bad. This doesn't make sense. The trailer is only 3 years old. I have never come close to maxing out the weight. However, Forest River also agreed that the leaf springs were bad. After further investigation, Forest River built this trailer, as well as other heavy models, with two 6,000# axles with 6,000# leaf springs to go with 'em. If the trailer is rated at 14,075 GVW, why are they putting 12,000# of axles on the trailer? Am I missing something here? Has anyone else had this problem??
Thanks
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
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About 20% of the gross weight is on the pin. Subtract the pin weight from the gross weight and you should have 12,000 lbs or less on the axles.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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Thanks. What you say makes sense but why would the leaf springs wear out in just 3 years? Any ideas?
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:09 AM   #4
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The manufacturer usually determines the campers GVWR by adding the dry pin weight to the axle ratings...6000 x 2 + 2075 = 14,075 lbs.

Does it appear that the springs have lost some of their arch? Is camper sitting lower now than before?

Dave
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Well, the trailer has always rode low. I always had a hard time getting the tire covers on cause there wasn't room to get my hand between the tire and trailer. Plus the tires have been hitting the bottom of the trailer. The mechanic did say that my trailer has 3" hangers and all the new ones have 4". I went ahead and had the mechanic put 7,000# springs on it cause I'm going on a long trip this weekend. There is a noticeable difference in towing and it raised the trailer about two inches maybe more. Forest River also looked at pics we sent and they even said the springs looked bad. It's 3 years old! They shouldn't be bad.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:38 AM   #6
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Angry *** SAFETY ALERT *** 3500lb. Axles

****** SAFETY ALERT ******

If you own a Forest River Camper with 3500 lb. Axles and your tires are wearing like they are underinflated or overloaded - CHECK YOUR SPRINGS !!!

Contact gmyers@forestriverinc.com immediately if you have concerns.

I will post about my experience with Forest River and my 2011 Wildwood 26DDSS with flat springs soon. Bottom line - If you want to a headache buy a Forest River.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:50 AM   #7
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Photos please. Why are the springs bad?
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:52 AM   #8
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I have a 2011 Wildwood 26DDSS with 3500 lb. axles we bought new last fall. My tires were almost wore out last fall so this spring I was checking things out and that is when I noticed the same bottoming out you were explaining. Started looking and found all my springs were flat. Contacted my dealer immediately and they said they had sold another one with the same problems and they had 3 brand new units on their lot with flat springs. I think they are cutting corners relying on that 20% and they end up being overloaded. If you have concerns talk to gmyers@forestriverinc.com. He'll jerk you around and around making you despise Forest River.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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My dealer has the pics of the springs. I'll get them tomorrow and try and post them.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Photos please. Why are the springs bad?
I would venture a guess that the axle mfg got a batch of springs that missed a heat treat or the wrong material that couldn't be heat treated. Happens more frequently than you would imagine. Have dealt with similar problems for years in the mfg industry.

The axle mfg needs a better receiving inspection system and should require material certifications and certified heat treat results.
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