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Old 04-10-2013, 01:30 PM   #1
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Had an incident a couple of weeks ago on the way homeafter the winterArizona that travelers should be aware of. We had just crossed the Lake Union bridge on I-5 in Seattle when we almost lost the rear axle on our 5th wheel 2010 Cruiser 29CK. What I think happened was that the u-bolts hadworked loose (sections of the interstate and state highways or getting pretty rough)on the drivers side rear axle and the axle came loose. I got it safely to the side of the freeway and three hours later we finally got a big wrecker there. The driver was great and decided that if we could get the axle shoved back into a reasonable position where we could drive the rig to a tire shop it might be better and faster than trying to load the truck and 5th wheel onto his big rig (if possible since the rear axle was cocked out probably 30 degrees and the rig was not tracking so well). The driver discovered that the leaf spring/axle centering pin was also gone as well as one of the leaf springsbutwe tightened things down as best we could with the tools we had and made it to a Les Schwab tire shop. Les Schwab fiddled around with it and put in a temporary centering pin and we limped home the last hour so we could get it fixed properly close to home.

We ended up at a local frame and axle shop and I had them replace both rear axle springs, both Equa-Flex hangers andall bushings and did arealignment ..AND.. they discovered that one half of one of the equa-flex suspension hangers was completely broken in two along the top weld and also twisted. The other side was badly cracked and twisted and on its way to a failure in the near future also. I don't know which came first, thelooseningof the u-bolts and centering pin missingor the equa-flex failure. In any event, there were no bolts thru the center hole in the equa-flex suspension like there were on the new ones we ordered. The bolts were never installed at the factory because there were equa-flex decals covering the bolt holes. Due to stresses on the system the missing center bolts and washers probably allowed the equa-flex hanger side plates to bulge out causing the metalfailure there.

The advise and lesson learned is for you all to crawl under your rigs before any trips with wrench in hand and inspect everything no matter how new or old your rig is. We dodge what could have been a very serious accident.



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Old 04-10-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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Glad you are safe. Pretty scary situation. I check my suspension system a couple of times a year. You are giving good advice for everyone.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:44 AM   #3
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You should submit a formal complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. This could be a problem at CR's end that other owners may be going to have/have had and a recall could be in order. If that should be the case CR would have to refund any money you paid for repairs/towing.

www.nhtsa.gov

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Old 04-11-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up. I agree with the post above about reporting to the NHTSA. This is a serious safety issue, and if they get enough reports of it, they can issue a mandatory recall. If I were you, I'd be sure to keep all receipts associated with this incident. Even though there may not be a recall now, if they issue one that covers your suspension two years from now you might be able to recover your costs.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:02 AM   #5
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I checked the torque on all of the bolts on mine after taking delivery - 60% of them were not torqued to specs. Don't assume that the factory tightened them to specs.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:12 AM   #6
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</span>I was installing wet pins in the suspension and found the right side equaflex cracked and slightly twisted. No bolt in the center hole. This is the second time I have had to get this equaflex repaired. It is the one that hits most of the holes on the edge of the pavement,but I thinking there must be something better. I'll put a bolt in that center hole and see if that helps. We need to start watching the equaflex pretty close.
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:34 AM   #7
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Why the center bolt may be out (from a lippert manual):

REMOVING CENTER BOLT ON 3,000-6,000LB EQUAFLEX UNITS TOFACILITATE USE WITH TWO-HOLE FRAME HANGERS</span>
</span>


The upper bolt prevents mounting the Equaflex suspension unit in the top hole of two-hole
frame hangers.

To lower the trailer frame height, LCI has tested and concluded the upper bolt can be
removed without detriment to the function or durability of the unit. With the trailer supported on
jack stands, use a 13/16" socket and wrench to remove the upper bolt, nut, and washers. Once
removed, the Equaflex unit can be reinstalled into the upper hanger hole if desired to lower the
frame height of the unit.


To decrease the unit further, the shackle links can be changed out and longer ones installed.
The longer shackle will decrease frame height an additional 3/8". Order Kit PN 146294 for
a tandem axle application. Old shackle links measure 2.25" from hole center to hole center, new
ones measure 3.125".

I installed the wet bolt kit too - checked the equaflex when I serviced the bearings/brakes - no issues so far.

A person posted pictures of his equaflex failure - did yours fail in the same fashion?



</span>




Edited by: NorskeNY
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:59 AM   #8
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I will third or fourth the suggestion to file a complaint, this is serious business and your family and others are put at risk by shoddy assembly and/or junk components.

The report only takes a moment to complete....
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:11 AM   #9
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The side plate broke just above the rubber bumper block. Dexter also make a cushioned equalizer but it is shorter and would lower the unit a little. The welding shop can make a new side plate and rebuild unit cheaper than buying new.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:05 AM   #10
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The failure on my Equa-flex was different than the other picture posted. Mine was the upper edge of the metal side plate that sandwhitches the rubber. How do you post a picture in here???



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