So we're towing our Sabre 35QSIK-6 on I-40 late this past Friday night heading to Cherokee, NC for Labor Day weekend when a truck pulls up next to me beeping and flashing his lights. I look in my driver-side mirror and see white smoke rising up from beneath my rig. I pull over, thinking I blew a tire, but all 4 tires were inflated and I couldn't see anything wrong. We were only a few miles from a rest stop so I cautiously drove with my hazard lights blinking and made it to the exit where I could perform a more detailed inspection with my flashlight. The rig drove fine and the smoke didn't recur as we approached the exit. Again all 4 tires were inflated and, as best as could be seen at night, I noted no debris stuck in the wells or trailing out of the suspension. At this point, having no clue what really happened, we drove to our CG and dropped the rig.
By daylight Saturday morning I crawled underneath and saw what actually happened. The rear suspension braces that are welded to the camper frame (where the leaf springs attach) actually bent to the right (looking from the rear) by ~1.5 inches, shifting the rear axle to the right such that the inside aspect of the driver-side rear tire was being gouged by part of the LR slide's track-synchronizing bar (technical name unknown
). There were small flecks of tire rubber all over the well and surrounding underpinning. Further, the "sync" bar was warped such that upon opening the slide it would bounce into the tire with each revolution.
Long story short, there was no on-site RV repair options available on the holiday weekend so, come Monday when our trip was done, I performed a campsite appendectomy of sorts and (once I closed the slide) removed the bar in question to allow for free rotation of the spare. Needless to say it was a very slow and very nerve-racking drive home but we made it w/o incident and I dropped the rig off at my local repair shop last night.
Has anyone here had a similar issue with their suspension braces bending like that? Is there a recall that anyone's aware of regarding this type of failure? Upon close inspection the thickness of the steel used to make the support looks awfully thin, considering the weight and torque they're required to withstand. I'm no mechanic but I'm thinking that, once repaired, those supports will need additional bracing welded to them to prevent further warping or bending in the future.
Any input or guidance here would be greatly appreciated.