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Old 09-23-2020, 08:25 PM   #1
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Reese Sidewinder turret bolts breaking

We have a Reese sidewinder hitch for our 34 ft 5th wheel. We love the hitch performance ... BUT 1-2 bolts in the turret have broken (in half) EVERY year for the last 4 years! We have replaced the bolts, added comical washers and check them often and maintain the bolts at 45 lbs as instructed. Has anyone had any issues with bolt integrity and breaking?
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:21 PM   #2
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I've had two different Sidewinders and never had a turret (or any) bolt break. Have you contacted Reese about it?
Is the ring bearing between the top turret plate and the top of the turret good and well greased?
How often do you grease all the bearings (top turret ring, turret cylinder, bottom of turret plate)?
Can you turn the hitch by hand with medium effort?
Those bolts should not have any stress on them as they are mainly to keep the turret from falling out when unhitched. So the only cause I can think of is if the turret doesn't turn by hand (usually lack of maint) and the top ring bearing is bad.
They now make rebuild kits for Sidewinders that you might look at.
https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...iABEgIWXvD_BwE
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Scott and Liz - Southern NM
2012 Wildcat Sterling 32RL - w/level up (best option ever)
2007 Chevy 2500HD 4dr short bed Duramax w/allison
Reese Fifth Airborne air ride king pin coupler with Sidewinder
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NMWildcat View Post
I've had two different Sidewinders and never had a turret (or any) bolt break. Have you contacted Reese about it?
Is the ring bearing between the top turret plate and the top of the turret good and well greased?
How often do you grease all the bearings (top turret ring, turret cylinder, bottom of turret plate)?
Can you turn the hitch by hand with medium effort?
Those bolts should not have any stress on them as they are mainly to keep the turret from falling out when unhitched. So the only cause I can think of is if the turret doesn't turn by hand (usually lack of maint) and the top ring bearing is bad.
They now make rebuild kits for Sidewinders that you might look at.
https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...iABEgIWXvD_BwE
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes have been in regular contact with Reese. They say the only maintenance is to keep the bolts tight. There has always been appropriate levels of grease every time we have had to replace bolts (every year when they break- areas are regreased at that time). Reese says there is no reason to disassemble to apply grease. And yes we can manually turn the hitch. So still not sure what is happening here!
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mjgrap View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes have been in regular contact with Reese. They say the only maintenance is to keep the bolts tight. There has always been appropriate levels of grease every time we have had to replace bolts (every year when they break- areas are regreased at that time). Reese says there is no reason to disassemble to apply grease. And yes we can manually turn the hitch. So still not sure what is happening here!
I agree, makes no sense. Also makes no sense that Reese won't offer any better help on broken bolts with such small amount of torque. Seems serious to me.
When I talked to Reese techs about maint, they said to disassemble to clean and grease I don't care what they say, if you don't at least partially disassemble, you can't fully clean and regrease the turret bearing and bottom bearing. And at some point, it will start to make noise when turning.
So, in my opinion, either your bearings are worn so much that the turret has lots of play, which tilts the turret enough to stress the top cap bolts,
OR,
The turret assembly has a defect from the factory and is not aligned correctly.
When hooked up, is the kingpin arm parallel to the bottom of the turret box, or is the the arm closer in the front than the back (tilted up at the front)?
Are your bolts all grade 8?
Does your bottom square bearing look like the one in the rebuild kit? The hole should be offset, as in more bearing toward the front than the back.
When I first got my Sidewinder and installed it, it had a square bearing with the hole in the middle. This allowed the extended kingpin arm to tilt up slightly when hooked up. I sent them a picture as it bothered me, and they sent me a bearing that looks like the one in the rebuild kit. No more tilt.
Sorry if I'm being a pain, but I would really like to know what is wrong!
But at least it isn't an issue that will be a safety hazard. The worst that could happen is when you unhook, the kingpin arm would fall out (if all the bolts were broken).
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Scott and Liz - Southern NM
2012 Wildcat Sterling 32RL - w/level up (best option ever)
2007 Chevy 2500HD 4dr short bed Duramax w/allison
Reese Fifth Airborne air ride king pin coupler with Sidewinder
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