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Old 03-23-2020, 11:19 AM   #1
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Center Hanger Bent

First let me apologize, this is not a Jayco camper, it is a KZ, but the folks on this forum are much more helpful and active than I have found on other forums.

I decided to install a wet bolt kit on my KZ fifth wheel ToyHauler, it is a tandem axle trailer rated at 14K GVW.

I found the center suspension on the right side bent inward about 1.5 inches, the other side of the trailer appears to be fine. I was able to bend the hanger back into position and install the suspension. There are no obvious broken or missing welds. I plan on reinforcing the center hanger on both sides of the trailer. I did not find any other damage.

Has anyone else seen this type of damage?

What did you to repair the suspension?

Any ideas what may have caused the damage?

Thanks
Rich
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:11 PM   #2
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That does seem to be an unusual circumstance, and I haven't heard of it before. My first reaction is concern over the strength of the hanger after it was straightened. Reinforcing the hangers is advisable, but I would have a good welding shop look closely at the hanger that was bent to be sure you do not have cracked welds that may not be visible.
My next concern would be to try to determine what caused it. Is there any evidence of it being pushed or struck by anything? Did it look like it was bent recently, or could it have been that way from the factory? It is normally the rear or front hangers that get damaged from the twisting under heavy loads while turning sharply. I assume you inspected them carefully as well. Any evidence of uneven tire tread wear? Are the axles parallel? Was the equalizer in good shape, how did the old bushings and bolts look when you removed them?
I think further investigation is necessary, you don't have a minor issue there.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:24 PM   #3
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The tires and rims do not show evidence of curb rash or other damage.
The tires are worn on the inside edge more than the rest of the tire.
The equalizer and the front and rear hangers are in good shape, no unusual wear or other damage.
The bolts were good, the nylon bushings needed replaced, but had not worn through.
I will have to inspect the axles themselves again to make sure they are bowed correctly and parallel.

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:18 PM   #4
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I second taking it to a "trailer" place and having them take a look at it or just replace the hanger. That type of movement weakened the steel and replacement is probably the best solution. You certainly don't want to hit a bump in the middle of nowhere and have it break. If you aren't traveling that far then it may not matter but be prepaired for it to fail.
did you buy it new or used?

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Old 03-23-2020, 02:59 PM   #5
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Let me offer a little background, I am a mechanical engineer with over 40 years of experience in the design and evaluation of mechanical systems. I am not concerned with the structural integrity of the suspension or the hangers. I am going to reinforce all of the hangers by welding a strap to the hanger.

I am puzzled by the cause of the bent hanger, I do not think it was bent when we bought the trailer last year, but I could have missed it. I cannot visualize how the center hanger could be bent and the front and rear hangers not be damaged.

On our trip out west last year, we did hit some very nasty roads with potholes and ledges, but I cannot envision how that could bend the spring hanger and not have blown a tire(s).

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:30 PM   #6
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Welding a strap, gusset, or brace will certainly be a good insurance policy. Sadly, many campers end up with hanger failure, especially if the hanger is designed with two locations for the spring bolt location to adjust the camper's height and the lower hole is used.
I am completely with you on the query of how that center hanger got bent without damage to the front or rear hangers. I would think it would take some extreme and rare forces to do that, and hitting very severe pot-holes would be more likely to break a spring than bend that hanger. The most conceivable cause would have been when the frame was at the manufacturer being moved or positioned during transit or before it made it to the assembly line. I have been to the Jayco Factory and witnessed how the frames are stacked outside waiting to be brought into the production line. It's not at all inconceivable that it would not be noticed because the springs and axles are installed already but without wheels. I would think you could still see a point of impact from something like a forklift fork or anything capable of bending that hanger. (I doubt you bent it back with just a pair of pliers!)
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature Ist View Post
Welding a strap, gusset, or brace will certainly be a good insurance policy. Sadly, many campers end up with hanger failure, especially if the hanger is designed with two locations for the spring bolt location to adjust the camper's height and the lower hole is used.
I am completely with you on the query of how that center hanger got bent without damage to the front or rear hangers. I would think it would take some extreme and rare forces to do that, and hitting very severe pot-holes would be more likely to break a spring than bend that hanger. The most conceivable cause would have been when the frame was at the manufacturer being moved or positioned during transit or before it made it to the assembly line. I have been to the Jayco Factory and witnessed how the frames are stacked outside waiting to be brought into the production line. It's not at all inconceivable that it would not be noticed because the springs and axles are installed already but without wheels. I would think you could still see a point of impact from something like a forklift fork or anything capable of bending that hanger. (I doubt you bent it back with just a pair of pliers!)
I used a 18" pipe wrench with a 2' cheater pipe to straighten the hanger, with that it wasn't very hard to straighten one strap at a time. I should have add these hangers have two sets of holes, but use the top set and I decided to continue to use the top set.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:26 PM   #8
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Being in the top set of holes makes me think it is even less likely that was bent by forces from the suspension.
It would be a big help if you get any replies from someone who also experienced this.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:47 PM   #9
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Lippert, who makes frames (donít know if yours is one of them) has had some trouble with spread axle trailers cracking frames. One of the things they say to do is to weld 2 inch square tubing to all three spring hangers side to side. This reinforces both the hangers and the frame. They also make a bolt on kit if you donít want to weld something on. I am going to do this to my Jayco 24RBS. Right now Iím thinking about welding plates to the ends of the tubes then bolting the brace on with the hanger bolts. Jay
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:54 PM   #10
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Thanks, I am going to add gussets to the hangers to reinforce them. I still can't visualize what would bend the center hanger on one side. We bought this camper used from a reputable private dealership, I can't believe they would have missed this damage when they worked on the trailer, or that I would have missed it when I went over the trailer before we bought it.

We took a 3000 mile trip last fall across the Midwest to Las Vegas, back through southern Az and then home to Pa. Some of the roads were pretty bad and I did cut short on some turns, but I would have thought I would destroy a tire before bending the hanger.

We are planing another long trip this fall, I will pay more attention this time.

Thanks
Rich
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:04 PM   #11
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Peoples, Yes, I have seen that on an old prowler Regal. It was on the curb side of the TT. We straightened it out for the guy and I welded in a gusset from the "center" hanger along the rib about 12" long. Worked fine in fact I did the other side for him as a preventive measure about a year later.
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