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Old 04-14-2017, 06:43 PM   #1
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Broken Leaf Spring

So today I had the unpleasant experience of cracking and loosing 2 leafs out of my leaf spring. It could not of happened in a worse location with no shoulder or safe place to pull off.

The spring broke unknowingly to me and due to traffic I was constantly on the brake. Now the loose bracket and axle back are sliding back on the spring eventually seizing the tire against my rear BR stairs, smoking. Trailer started towing at 30 degrees to the TV then the tire locked up.

I get the unit off to a right lane, in traffic, jack it up and ratchet strap the axle back into position, tighten down the u-bolts and limp off to a safe place while being escorted by Police. No spring shops were open in the area so we decided to limp home.

Had to re-adjust again 30 miles later since the braking was pulling it back and wound up turning the trailer down to 2 on the brake controller. We kept 2 telephone poles between cars to get home.

I am now in the process of buying and upgrading to 8 leaf, 4K springs all around with 1 extra in hand in case this ever happens again. Talk about a helpless feeling. That was the worst one yet.

Something else to add to my check list upon arrival at all CG's.

My 2 cent advise to all is to carry an extra leaf spring. Not something you can pick up at any auto parts store.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:00 PM   #2
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Dang man. At least you had what you needed to hold it together to get somewhere. I carry a crazy amount of spare parts, including pex and a t-stat, but a spare leaf spring would be a new one.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:04 PM   #3
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I feel your pain.

Three years ago I had a leaf spring break on our 2007 Eagle FW as I was entering I-25 in Colorado Springs. When the axle moved the tire rubbed against the shock mount and blew. Fortunately the shoulder was wide enough to allow me to pull over safely.

Called roadside assistance and they sent out a mobile repair guy. He had a spring the right size (lucky me), so two hours and $325 later we had a new spring, the spare on and were on our way.
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Old 04-14-2017, 08:57 PM   #4
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At least everything ended safely. I know what you mean, seems like the wrong time and place when these things happens. I wouldn't be surprised if the springs are china made. I was under mine today and saw plenty of made in china stickers till i got to the frame. But I'll be keeping eye on everything very closely. No room for a extra leaf spring. Note to self - put two come along's in tool box.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:21 AM   #5
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Check your axle tube. The tube could of crushed and allowed the u-bolts to get loose and cause the failure.


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Old 04-15-2017, 05:05 AM   #6
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Very glad you guys are okay! What are likely causes such a failure?
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:58 AM   #7
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Mine appeared to be a mfg. defect. Looking at the break I could see where a hairline crack had apparently been there for some time and finally gave way. Not sure why it failed at that particular time as I was on a smooth road surface.

I purchased the 2007 unit used in 2011, so I have no way of knowing if the spring was original, but it appeared to be.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mopar_Earl View Post
Check your axle tube. The tube could of crushed and allowed the u-bolts to get loose and cause the failure.

Earl
Not the tube as the spacer was perfectly aligned once back in place.


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Very glad you guys are okay! What are likely causes such a failure?
All the road conditions in and around the lovely state of NY I am sure had something to contribute to it. Then there is the metal conditioning which may be inadequate. And finally I am sure as with all components the ratings are at bare minimum for this unit.

The range in weight capabilities for a 6 leaf spring range from 2750-3500#. I am now upgrading to a 4K, 8 leaf with all 4.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:53 AM   #9
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Metal conditioning and marginal components are at the top of my conclusions - so prevalent. Buy, mod, and upgrade parts immediately seems to be the mantra we chant. I am sorry that this happened to your investment. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:49 AM   #10
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Glad it all turned out ok.

I broke two springs on my last pickup, luckily not the primary spring.

Years ago we broke the equalizer between the springs. Found it as we tore out the sewer system when we pulled into a remote Montana CG. First had to do a field repair of the broken pipes, then find a repair center that could sneak us in, as we left to go home.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:13 AM   #11
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Very glad you guys are okay! What are likely causes such a failure?
There are many possibilities, I 've been sitting here for the last couple weeks watching the park empty out. I'm amazed how many leaving with late model trucks that are nose high, worst on the shorter units. Makes me wonder how each individual axle would weigh out. That's one thing I consider my top concern. I've been thinking about heavier springs, heavier side wall tires etc. Then question how those changes exactly will translate in the frame and unit itself. With the quality issues I've expereiced so far, it may not be in my best interest to go in that direction. That's my honest concern.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:22 PM   #12
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Loaded my unit hit 13,300 on the rear axles over the Cat. That only allows for 700# of extra capacity on my 7K axles. My springs look like they are stressed and are almost flat which has me concerned. My tanks are always empty when we go out as is the fridge until we get within 1 hr of the CG's where we load up food and stuff.

I sit level within an inch and all the tires run within 5 degrees and 5 PSI all around.

In the end no one was hurt and I avoided an all out disaster. The key is that I had enough tools and some know how to get myself moving again. Had the spring completely failed I would not have been so lucky in moving which is why I will be keeping an extra one in my truck for such an occasion.

Hope that my experience will help someone down the line avoid or at least be prepared.

I will document and share the upgrade once I get all the parts here to complete the work.

My seals and bearings are also getting repacked which was on the list already for next month.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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First off glad no one was hurt and you were able to get home.

I assume you have electric brakes on the camper. Wonder if it would have been better to cut the wires for the brakes going to the bad axle? Not much different than dialing the controller down to 2.

If you are that close on the weight of the trailer axles, how close are you to GVWR on the camper? It seems like you don't have a lot of room to spare.

I know my father was telling me about my grandparents who were full timers back in the early 70's. My grandfather used to pull into a weigh station every few months and make my grandma clean out stuff that she had collected over the months because they kept getting too heavy.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:55 AM   #14
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First off glad no one was hurt and you were able to get home.

I assume you have electric brakes on the camper. Wonder if it would have been better to cut the wires for the brakes going to the bad axle? Not much different than dialing the controller down to 2.

If you are that close on the weight of the trailer axles, how close are you to GVWR on the camper? It seems like you don't have a lot of room to spare.

I know my father was telling me about my grandparents who were full timers back in the early 70's. My grandfather used to pull into a weigh station every few months and make my grandma clean out stuff that she had collected over the months because they kept getting too heavy.
Can't cut the wires as they are in series and renders the entire system useless. The controller will confirm once you hit the brakes.

We are pretty good about keeping it lean every season. I revolve with stuff based on dry camping or FHU. You can accrue "stuff" for sure, but most of my cabinets are empty. Bikes, tools and clothes are most of our weight.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:22 AM   #15
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Can't cut the wires as they are in series and renders the entire system useless. The controller will confirm once you hit the brakes.

We are pretty good about keeping it lean every season. I revolve with stuff based on dry camping or FHU. You can accrue "stuff" for sure, but most of my cabinets are empty. Bikes, tools and clothes are most of our weight.
Fair enough. I have never looked at the schematics. Seems odd that they are in series but maybe it is done that way for safety. As you point out if a wire is damaged you should see at the controller that there is a problem this way. However if you hit something going down the road it it bounced up hitting one of those wires breaking it you would lose all trailer brakes. I would prefer to have them in parallel so that I at least have some braking power to slow the trailer even if only on one axle.

Yeah the weight thing was more a comment on how close some of these campers are to their GVWR when new. We have no intention to but our's would be a bad candidate for full timing. There just isn't much cargo capacity (weight) from the time it left the factory optioned out to GVWR. It is only 1150# and a full FW tank would take 400 of that. Our rig though is more intended for weekend trips which is how we are going to use it.

Last year my father in law, son and I went fishing in northern MN. We took their Big Horn 5th Wheel and he has a 1 ton GMC with DRW like yours. We traded off driving and I wasn't sure how much braking the trailer like that should do. As we were going down the road I pulled up the settings on the brake controller which is built into the truck on most of these newer TV. It was set to 0. I mentioned it to him that I was pretty sure that it wasn't right. No idea how it got reset but it had been in for some an unrelated warranty item and it is possible they disconnected the batteries and it forgot the setting. The trailer might have been a bit heavier than yours but the truck was stopping it fine even with no brakes on the trailer. Of course it was better once we dialed it up a bit.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:45 PM   #16
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Electric brakes are wired in parallel, not series!! That would be extremely dangerous. Not to mention each brake after the first will have less and less function. By the time the 4th brake gets power it wouldn't do much if anything. If your brakes are wired in series, someone wired them wrong and you will want to fix that ASAP! Also if wired in series, if a magnetic fails, no power would get to the other magnets. Same if a wire failed.


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Old 04-16-2017, 01:47 PM   #17
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I think I misrepresented my last post. By Series I meant that if you cut the wire on the first brake you could render the same side back brake useless.

There is one set of wires coming from the frame which are then joined together behind the first brake. Then from that junction another wire goes back to the rear brake magnet and terminates.

So in my description of the circuit I meant that by cutting one wrong wire could lead to a complete failure of that side (2 Wheels) which was why I chose to just dial down my pressure.

When these wires are open my controller throws a code that the circuit is open. Had it happen last year with my failed brake.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:16 AM   #18
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broken leaf spring

Samething happened to me. Axle slid about 6 inches on leaf spring and was going down the road out of alignment. Double check center spring bolt to make sure there not loose.
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Old 12-21-2020, 05:35 AM   #19
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still shipping cheap springs

I recently pulled my 2016 Jayco Eagle to Florida for the 4th winter. Last winter we suffered a broken rear passenger side spring on the side of a very busy freeway in Birmingham, Alabama. Got it replaced at a cost of $1500. No warrantee of course. This year, the Lord blessed us with safe travel but when I arrived in my site in Florida, I had a broken front passenger side spring. The end was rusty, so apparently the u-clamp that holds the springs together had supported the trailer for some time. I am no faced with another spring replacement before I can move the trailer. Jayco refused to talk about defective products and Lippert refuses to talk about defective products. So I'm contemplating upgrading all four springs to what they should have been to begin with or selling the trailer.
No, I didn't overload it. Yes I checked wheels and tiers every day when traveling. Yes I had the axles maintained by the dealer annually. The dealer never mentioned cracked springs or any other issue. This has certainly ruined me on Jayco and Lippert products. Cheap steel and badly designed undercarriage. I am in search of a well designed replacement trailer.
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Old 12-21-2020, 05:44 AM   #20
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I recently pulled my 2016 Jayco Eagle to Florida for the 4th winter. Last winter we suffered a broken rear passenger side spring on the side of a very busy freeway in Birmingham, Alabama. Got it replaced at a cost of $1500. No warrantee of course. This year, the Lord blessed us with safe travel but when I arrived in my site in Florida, I had a broken front passenger side spring. The end was rusty, so apparently the u-clamp that holds the springs together had supported the trailer for some time. I am no faced with another spring replacement before I can move the trailer. Jayco refused to talk about defective products and Lippert refuses to talk about defective products. So I'm contemplating upgrading all four springs to what they should have been to begin with or selling the trailer.
No, I didn't overload it. Yes I checked wheels and tiers every day when traveling. Yes I had the axles maintained by the dealer annually. The dealer never mentioned cracked springs or any other issue. This has certainly ruined me on Jayco and Lippert products. Cheap steel and badly designed undercarriage. I am in search of a well designed replacement trailer.
Should of replaced all 4 leaf springs. At the minimum, in pairs on the same axle. Lippert and a lot of other brands of leaf springs are china. Source some good US made springs and you will be good to go. The entire suspension on trailers are wear items.

Extremely difficult to buy any RV that doesn't have Lippert suspension. Or one that has something different than the common trailer suspension that's been around since tandem trailers were born.


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