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Old 09-06-2016, 03:59 PM   #1
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Can't believe this actually happened...

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.

Thanks,
Doc
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:06 PM   #2
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I have not experienced your failure on my 299 RKDS Sabre, and I'm glad nobody was hurt, but your assessment of those spring brackets (hangers) needing extra support has been discussed on other forums. The upgrade involves boxing in the brackets to strengthen them, preferably on a workbench as working over head is challenging , then welding them back on your frame. Opt for a thicker material if you can find them. eTrailer.com has a good selection of spring hangers, but they don't indicate the thickness of the material used.

Fearful of this same issue happening to my Sabre, I installed a shock absorber kit to help take some pressure off the springs when we are running across those rough bridge transitions on I 40 at unmentionable speeds.

Please report back and let us know how you completed the repairs as I will not be off the road and able to box in my hangers until after mid October, hope mine lasts that long.

P.S. if you were traveling on I-40 last friday heading to Cherokee, I was the white Sabre heading the opposite direction.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
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Hey Doc, additional thoughts sir....consider also upgrading your spring shackle straps to the much thicker wet bolt kit. As those cheap dry nylon bushings wear, and they wear really quick, you tend to get some lateral movement of the spring as it attaches to the hanger. Possibly another reason for the failure. You can purchase wet bolts individually from eTrailer and just refurbish the spring ends at the hanger/bracket, or get the kit and do 'em all including the equalizer. Even the mounting hole at the top of the equalizer can be done if you massage it with some 40grit sandpaper rolled up and chucked in a power drill. It really helps with the side-play and the camper feels more solid.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:37 AM   #4
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We just had something similar happen to our 2014 35 QSIK...

We were getting ready to head out on a 2000 mile trip, and I'm going over the camper making sure it is ready, and I noticed a gouge wore into the inside sidewall of the left side tires. They are rubbing on the bar connecting the gears on the main slide. There is only 1" of clearance between this bar and the tire. So I am wondering if this is a new problem, or has it been lightly rubbing for the last two years? I swapped tires side for side and pulled the camper for an hour. The fresh tires already show signs of contacting the slide out bar. I removed the slide out bar and continued on our trip. Every time we stopped, I had to install the bar to run the slide out then remove it again in the morning. PIA!

Not sure how to fix, nothing looks bent. There is a small gap between the spring mounting bolts and the shackle. I think I'm going to start by disassembling the suspension and replacing all the wearable components, bushings, etc. I'll look into those wet bolts and reinforcing the thin square tubing everything is made out of.

Please continue to post anything that may be of interest, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:11 PM   #5
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Without pics, my bet is on severely worn shackle straps. It has been reported that some 2&1/2 inch wide springs have been installed on 3 inch wide hangers, leaving a small amount of play. Add to this the worn nylon bushings and dry mount these to thin shackle straps and you could get significant lateral movement possibly causing tire rub.

Suggested remedy is to upgrade to the thick shackle straps and of course wet bolts, if this is the cause of your tire interference. Washers between the spring and hanger could lessen the movement also, if the thicker shackles don't take up the slack. Send us some before & after photos.

I did not replace the mounting bolts thru the spring end that mounts directly to the hangers, I had no play there. But five bolts on each side of the camper at the equalizer seemed to cure my movement issue.
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