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Old 04-22-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Upgrading to 7 or 8k axles ?

Just back from a 2800 mile trip from Connecticut to Disney World with our 08 32QBBS. Good trip overall but ran into an issue on the way down. Stopped in NJ to fuel up, while the kid was filling the truck I did my usual walk around checking the tire pressures etc... noticed the outside of my right rear tire was cupping badly. Checked tire temp and they where all around 108*. So off we go figuring I would check the tire every 50 miles or so, 45 miles later that tire goes bang . Oh well, pull a nascar tire change on the side of I95 @ 2am, say a few choice words about the damage the tire caused and continue on. Now I'm thinking I have no spare, what was the cause? What if it happens again? So DW and I decide to stop and get a few hours sleep just South of DC and deal with it in the day light. Found several tire shops but the only thing I could get where ST Power King TowMax tires, not the best but the best I could get "then and now". Finished the trip down and back and the tires look new. So while I am traveling I am thinking about the cause, before I left I went through everything with a fine tooth comb. New brakes, bearings, seals, MoreRyde wet bolt kit, u-bolts, steel valve stems ( replaced them since the old ones where rubber and 2 years old when I replaced the tires in 2011 due to age) I took the rig over and had it weighed fully loaded just before we left and came in @ 10232lbs and I know I didn't hit anything causing the blowout.

Now that I am home and started investigating, noticed the spring seat at that wheel "looks" like it has been crushed if you will, the spring does not sit completely flat, 3 of the leaves in the spring pack are crooked and the spring keeper has slid forward onto the main leaf. Checked the u-bolts and they are tight

So I am looking into swapping out the 5200lb axles and going to a 7 or 8k axle, Correct Track II alignment kit and Hi-Spec 16" aluminum wheels with Goodyear G614 tires. I searched several forums but have not found much about upgrading axles. Considering the Correct Track II since that will do several things for me. Level out my 5ver (sits about 1 1/2" high when hooked to my 08 F350), give me the ability to align the new axles and give me some clearance for the 16" tire wheel combo. Another thing I have been thinking about is having some fenders made out of 3/16" steel and mount them above the new tires to act as a "blow out" shield just in case this happens again to hopefully prevent the damage to the camper. Your thoughts on my thoughts?

Sorry for the long post, I don't post often but when I do I can get carried away

Mike
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:30 PM   #2
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I am only a home-mechanic with a good amount of common sense. I believe there are reasons to change out axles but not sure that’s what you need.
It sounds like you have a suspension problem, possibly an alignment issue, close to being at max weight and you mention not being level with your TV. All of these issues will lead to tire problems. I am not sure if your weight(10232lb) was only the camper or, more likely, while hooked up to the truck. I only question it because your so close to maxing out the axle and the truck could be taking some of that weight.
Lets go with the most obvious, you weighed while hooked to the truck, you do have 10323lbs on those axles. It sounds like that camper needs to go on diet. You said the camper was not level it would be interesting to see how much more weight is on the lower/heavier axle. I would contact the manufacture before going to bigger axles to see what the campers frame is rated for that could be the next weak link.
I would lose some weight(I like a 10% margin), fix the suspension, upgrade tires, check alignment, level camper(within inch)and get a good tire monitoring system.
I had a ‘93 22Terry with drop-axles, 13’’ wheels and an odd size brake shoe. I had a bearing seize up and galled the spindle. I decided with the amount of miles I put on the road it was time to change out the axles. I went with straight axles, 2 inch wider/longer EZ-Lube 3500lb(same weight rating as original) w/brake assemblies and 15’’ wheels. This did a lot for the Terry: it raised it 3 1/2’’(never drug backend again), larger bearings(less revolutions/ml), larger wheels(less rev/ml), 2’’ wider axles stopped any wheel well rubbing still keeping everything inside wheel wells, a standard size brake shoe and the grease fitting on the end of the axle. I didn’t have any problems with the original suspension and this made it very easy just to swap the axles and not have to do much with alignment. I was able to find both axles with break assemblies new for $400(for both), I spent more than that on 5 tires and rims(don’t forget the spare). I was very happy with the new axles and never had any issues; well worth it for peace of mind.
I did an axle flip on my 2011 26bhxl because it drug the back end and all is good now, very happy.
As for fabricating a stout steel wheel well, I am sure it can be done. It would surely be heavy and expensive; its only time, money and more weight. If it was SST you wouldn’t have to paint it but more expensive, could powder coat carbon steel but even that would wear and rust over time.
I am investing in a good tire monitoring system I want to watch both pressure and temperature. I hope this will help prevent a catastrophe.
Reading your post I will now change any tire with “possible” issues, tires aren’t cheap but a catastrophic blow-out would surely ruin a trip.
And you thought your post was long,
Good luck
John
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungKopernik View Post
I am only a home-mechanic with a good amount of common sense. I believe there are reasons to change out axles but not sure that’s what you need.
It sounds like you have a suspension problem, possibly an alignment issue, close to being at max weight and you mention not being level with your TV. All of these issues will lead to tire problems. I am not sure if your weight(10232lb) was only the camper or, more likely, while hooked up to the truck. I only question it because your so close to maxing out the axle and the truck could be taking some of that weight.
Lets go with the most obvious, you weighed while hooked to the truck, you do have 10323lbs on those axles. It sounds like that camper needs to go on diet. You said the camper was not level it would be interesting to see how much more weight is on the lower/heavier axle. I would contact the manufacture before going to bigger axles to see what the campers frame is rated for that could be the next weak link.
I would lose some weight(I like a 10% margin), fix the suspension, upgrade tires, check alignment, level camper(within inch)and get a good tire monitoring system.
I had a ‘93 22Terry with drop-axles, 13’’ wheels and an odd size brake shoe. I had a bearing seize up and galled the spindle. I decided with the amount of miles I put on the road it was time to change out the axles. I went with straight axles, 2 inch wider/longer EZ-Lube 3500lb(same weight rating as original) w/brake assemblies and 15’’ wheels. This did a lot for the Terry: it raised it 3 1/2’’(never drug backend again), larger bearings(less revolutions/ml), larger wheels(less rev/ml), 2’’ wider axles stopped any wheel well rubbing still keeping everything inside wheel wells, a standard size brake shoe and the grease fitting on the end of the axle. I didn’t have any problems with the original suspension and this made it very easy just to swap the axles and not have to do much with alignment. I was able to find both axles with break assemblies new for $400(for both), I spent more than that on 5 tires and rims(don’t forget the spare). I was very happy with the new axles and never had any issues; well worth it for peace of mind.
I did an axle flip on my 2011 26bhxl because it drug the back end and all is good now, very happy.
As for fabricating a stout steel wheel well, I am sure it can be done. It would surely be heavy and expensive; its only time, money and more weight. If it was SST you wouldn’t have to paint it but more expensive, could powder coat carbon steel but even that would wear and rust over time.
I am investing in a good tire monitoring system I want to watch both pressure and temperature. I hope this will help prevent a catastrophe.
Reading your post I will now change any tire with “possible” issues, tires aren’t cheap but a catastrophic blow-out would surely ruin a trip.
And you thought your post was long,
Good luck
John
Hi John,

Just to clarify the 10,232lb weigh in was the unit unhooked, sitting on the scale,( sitting on it's axles and landing legs with the truck off the scale)

I have done a ton of research on line and talked with several engineers @ Dexter axle and my local spring / frame shop. I have determined I am going with 6K axles and springs from Dexter with 7K 12 x2 1/4 brakes for better stopping ability, BF Goodrich commercial TA in 235/85/16 rated @ 3042lbs each on Hi-Spec aluminum wheels with steel stems and a TPMS. Going to build a "sub-frame" to lift the unit 3" with a 35" axle spread to accommodate the new tire, and tie all the new spring hangers together laterally much like More-rydes "X-Factor" kit. I have a local fab shop making some metal fenders to act as a "blow shield" Finally over tothe spring shop for an alignment just so I know things a right where they should be.

Probably going over board with the project but I intend to keep the unit for sometime so hopefully this will ease my mind when traveling long distance from home.

Mike
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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What's your hitch weight?
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:23 PM   #5
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What's your hitch weight?

That I do not know. When I weighed the unit it was unhooked, sitting all alone on the scale. I will be loading it up again before I cut the old suspension out from under it and get hitch weight and axles weights.

Why do you ask?
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rev_man View Post

That I do not know. When I weighed the unit it was unhooked, sitting all alone on the scale. I will be loading it up again before I cut the old suspension out from under it and get hitch weight and axles weights.

Why do you ask?
Remember you have to deduct your hitch weight from your gvw .
Or the 10232 figure you gave.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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GVW (10,232#) minus Hitch Wt (xxx#) equal Weight on Axles (xxx#). No doubt you are well within specs on 5,200# axles, but upgrading does gives great peace-of-mind, knowing that you have a wide margin on weight capacities.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:15 PM   #8
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sounds like your all good; should be a great outfit when your done.
I am interested in what your fender wells will look like, take pictures and repost please. Actually, I am interested in the sub frame as well. I did an axle flip for 5 1/4 inch lift but I really only wanted 3inches, I just didn't want to deal with alignment and the price of axle flip was only $45. Sub frame is the right way to go just be sure they get that alignment right.
John
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by YoungKopernik View Post
sounds like your all good; should be a great outfit when your done.
I am interested in what your fender wells will look like, take pictures and repost please. Actually, I am interested in the sub frame as well. I did an axle flip for 5 1/4 inch lift but I really only wanted 3inches, I just didn't want to deal with alignment and the price of axle flip was only $45. Sub frame is the right way to go just be sure they get that alignment right.
John
I am going to change the fender wells to accommodate the new axle spacing. I called Kyle @ Forest River last week and the exact ones I have now are no longer available so I would have to change them both anyway so they match. I may do a whole right up with pics through out the process in case anyone wants to do the same.

Mike
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