Forest River Forums

Forest River Forums (
-   Running Gear, Axles, Brakes, Tires & Frames (
-   -   Total Hub Failure, I Blame Lippert! LONG Post! (

DouglasReid 12-15-2018 11:56 AM

Total Hub Failure, I Blame Lippert! LONG Post!
I NEVER thought it would happen to me a total hub failure resulting in a wheel separation while driving.

First a little back ground:

Camper gross weight 12,100 lbs with 9800 on the wheels. Lippert axles rated at 5500 each, for a total capacity on the axles of 11,000.

I do my own maintenance and repacked the hubs this past spring. I saw no issues at that time.

The previous time, while cleaning the hubs while repacking I noticed the LF wheel had the outer race spinning in the hub. I replaced the hub with one purchased at Thibs Trailers in Duson, Louisiana. They are a manufacturer of custom trailers and very knowledgeable in all things frame and running gear related.

The outer bearing on the replacement hub was larger than on the hub Lippert supplied. Inner bearing and seal the same for both hubs.

The Event:

This past Monday we were driving along the Henderson Levee Road leaving Lake Fausse Point State Campground.

It is a narrow, 2 lane road with very few locations which even have a shoulder to pull on to. Ground on the sides of the road were wet from all our recent rains and too soft in most places to support the truck and/or camper.

I noticed smoke coming from the right rear of the camper and was looking for a place to pull over. Just as I reached one, on the left side of the road, the Right Rear tire canted at an angle and then separated from the axle. It bounced into the brush on the left side of the road.

Fortunately I was able to pull off and clear the roadway. I did locate the tire just inside the willows and even found the outer portion of the hub on the side of the road as well.

After being unable to obtain a rig that could load both our truck and camper to take it to a repair station we decided, after speaking to an RV repairman we are acquainted with we strapped up the axle and drove, Very Slowly (15-20 MPH the 40 miles from where it happened to Thibs Trailers. It was a nerve wracking 3.5 hour trip.

What we learned:

We learned at Thibs that the rear axle and tire needed to be replaced (no surprise there)

Also in need of replacement were
1. RF tire from being overloaded on that journey
2, LR tire because of being canted and belts slipping on that journey
3. Both sets of springs from being overloaded and canted.
4. All the shackle bolts

When to explained to the the men there about the outer race spinning and the difference in the size of the bearings I had observed earlier I was informed that the smaller bearings are 3500 lb bearings. that is the rating per axle, NOT per bearing.

This means the outer bearings on the two axles are only rated at 7000 lbs, 2800 lbs less than the weight on both axles. :eek:

I saw on the end of the hub that I picked up that the axle nut and retainer are still both now welded to the outer portion of the hub, along with what is left of the race. I never did see the remnants of the outer bearing.

It is obvious to me that race spun in the hub as well and the result was the total loss of that wheel. Thank Goodness we were only traveling 25 MPH when it happened.

The Repair:

We are having both axles replaced with 7000 lb axles manufactured at Thibs Trailers. 4 new G Rated tires, both sets of springs, bolts. In other words a complete new running gear under the camper.

Im not sure yet on the final cost but our Auto Insurance carrier, USAA covers our camper, while attached to our truck for a total premium of $35.00 per 6 months. I will be responsible for our $500 deductible and one tire.

Are we the victim of a bad batch of hubs, whose races are prone to spin, or of Lippert providing materials too light for the weight rating of their axles? I don't know the answer to that question.

Nobody was harmed and no property damage was incurred except to our own rig so no lawyers are involved. I think Lippert should be eternally grateful for this fact!

The Lesson:

Even hand packing after dismounting the wheels, cleaning the hubs and inspecting them will not necessarily save you from what can be a catastrophic failure of your running gear if you have axles like I had under your rig.

Certainly, the EZ lubers who never get the opportunity to inspect their hubs are in even more jeopardy.

Nobody was harmed and no property damage was incurred except to our own rig so no lawyers are involved. I think Lippert should be eternally grateful for this fact!

DouglasReid 12-15-2018 12:01 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I neglected to add the photos of the damaged components. Here they are:

I dont' have a pic of the rest of the hub, it is at Thibs still attached to the wheel and tire.

DouglasReid 12-15-2018 12:05 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Pic of axle end

Daycruiser 12-15-2018 04:19 PM

The lesson here is never buy anything riding on Lippert running gear. Pure Junk.

Glad is wan't worse than it was but shouldn't have happen at all.

5er_tom 12-15-2018 05:45 PM

Mine rides on Dexter. Might not be much better.

DouglasReid 12-15-2018 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by Daycruiser (Post 1989836)
The lesson here is never buy anything riding on Lippert running gear. Pure Junk.

Glad is wan't worse than it was but shouldn't have happen at all.

Thanks and Amen to that!

Agroen 12-16-2018 02:39 PM

We had very similar experience. Was just finishing off a 6 month 20k km trip from Ontario to Florida to California and back. Lots of grinding but we managed to pull in to my nephews acreage where we ended living for 6 months in the trailer.

2 LIPPERT axles on a Crusader RET270. The right front bearing was gone, like gone!. Mind u I hadn't lubed for a while. The bearing had ripped into the spindle. Turns out the spindles were 3500 lb'ers welded onto 5000 pound tubes. A standard trailer bearing for a 3500 pound spindle also didn't fit. Seems like the rv had specialized proprietary parts.

Local rv places said they could get us new axles from the manufacturer but it would take weeks. We we were grateful were were not stuck out in northern ontario on the side of the highway!

Finally went to a huge semi truck and trailer repair place in Ottawa. They knew the problem and claimed to regularly help out rv owners. We replaced both axles with standard 5000 lb Dexter trailer axles - the ones used on all commercial flatbed pickup towable trailers. Took 2 weeks to get them and 20 minutes to swap them out.

Whenever we can, we replace parts with normal parts rather than the crap rv parts. 65 bucks for a toilet valve, gimme a break.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:12 PM.