Pacifica, CA - Broken Trailer Axle Repair, Welding, 5th wheel broken suspension, Toy Hauler broken leaf springs

Last week we drove out to a RV Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What a view the San Francisco RV Park in Pacifica, California. Sits on a cliff of sand directly overlooking the ocean. It’s one of those places that would never be allowed to exist now days but has shoe horned itself into existence via being from the past.

We arrived to find an un-towable fifth wheel trailer sitting on the ground due to its axles ripping away from the frame. All the leaf spring, equalizers and axles decided to go different directions and wammo our customer’s undercarriage became plural. This phenomenon in our industry is referred to as axles Dog Tracking. All the alignment points on these new fifth wheel trailers are no longer made of bronze with lube points but instead plastic and do they ever ware out.

Did you know most spring equalizers and leaf springs on newer toy haulers and trailers are now unfortunately designed without lube points? The bushing material used is this horrible crap plastic instead of bronze. How did we go from Bronze and greasable Zerk fittings to dry plastic? Well there is the “it’s cheaper” answer but it’s a bit more complicated than that. We originally went from bronze to Teflon bushings. Teflon doesn’t use lube grease so there was no need to incorporate lube points on the trailer, ”horary cheaper” said the manufacturer’s. All of the sudden some genius in China realized that there was no real way to tell the difference between high quality Teflon and crap plastic. Hey this plastic stuff looks just like Teflon and it’s… even cheaper!! But it’s plastic right? Who cares bigger profit margin and we will never take the heat for this anyways. For some strange reason the people buying the fifth wheel trailers and toy haulers for 15 to 45k are considered weekend warriors and don’t need the real suspension components.

In a short while the axles have so much slop due to premature wear that they start fighting each other tracking all over the place. As the dog Tracking gets worse the force from the axles tracking different directions bend the spring hangers which makes the axles Dog Track even more severely. Finally the spring hangers/axles bust off the frame. Sometimes we even have to repair a bent frame.

Here is the worst part of it all!! When we do the repairs we will only install the old school (what the now called) “heavy duty version,” bronze bushing hanger/equalizer kit. The entire kit ends up costing the customer a whopping hundred dollars more than the junk plastic kit. Essentially we pull up to these $45,000 toy haulers and spend two days reworking the frame and lining up the axles with lasers due to the manufacturer not spending the extra $100.

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