Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Bent Axle, or spindle welded on crooked?
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 > Bent Axle, or spindle welded on crooked?

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Coolerman

Paint Lick, KY

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Posted: 10/14/20 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cross posting this to get more answers...
Tire_Wear_Pic
I just returned from a 2600 mile trip out west towing our Venture Sonic 170VBH. The camper has about 5000 miles on the OEM*Trailer King ST205/75/R14 tires on it. I installed a TPMS right before leaving so I would be able to monitor the tire pressures.
One day, while we were in camp, I noticed*that the tread on the right rear tire was getting close to the wear bars. I took a pic of it.
That night looking closer at the pic, I realized that the tread was actually worn the worse on the outside edge of the tire. It tapered from worn out on the outside edge, to actually good on the inside edge.

Grabbed a flashlight, went outside and sure enough, the tire was worn across the tread from outside edge, where it was worn to the bars, to inside edge, where it was pretty good. I was thinking I had an axle that had shifted out of square so went to the opposite side to see if that tire was worn like that also. No! The right rear was the ONLY tire with wear like that! The other three tires were evenly worn, and were no where near the wear bars. They had plenty of tread left. If you look at the pic, I circled the area where the wear bars are. You can clearly see that the wear is worse on the outside edge and gets better across to the inside edge. I inspected the rear axle tube to see if there were any signs of being struck by road debris and bent, but there were no signs of damage.

I can only come up with one explanation that makes any sense: The spindle was welded on to the end of the axle out of square from the factory. The only way to get the wear pattern I see is if the tire is tilted out at the top and in at the bottom. The opposite of what you would expect if the axle tube had been bent UP or BACK due to a large impact with an object on the road.

I swapped my new spare on in camp and towed it 1300 miles back home. Checking the wear I was just able to detect the same wear pattern starting on the new tire so whatever is wrong has been wrong from the beginning.

Any other ideas? It looks like I will be facing an axle swap soon...

* This post was edited 10/14/20 12:31pm by Coolerman *


Mark Baker aka Coolerman
2016 Venture Sonic 170VBH
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BurbMan

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Posted: 10/14/20 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The brake backing plate only holds the brakes....the wheel is supported by the bearings that go on the spindle. On some axles the spindle ends bolt on and are replaceable, other types the spindles and axle are all one piece.

If you crawl under the trailer, there should be a sticker on the axle tube with the manufacturer, model #, and serial #. Reach out to the axle mfr with the info you posted here and see what they recommend for a fix. You may be able to replace just the spindle, you may have to replace teh whole axle.


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Coolerman

Paint Lick, KY

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Posted: 10/14/20 11:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

The brake backing plate only holds the brakes....the wheel is supported by the bearings that go on the spindle. On some axles the spindle ends bolt on and are replaceable, other types the spindles and axle are all one piece.

If you crawl under the trailer, there should be a sticker on the axle tube with the manufacturer, model #, and serial #. Reach out to the axle mfr with the info you posted here and see what they recommend for a fix. You may not be able to replace just the spindle, you may have to replace the whole axle.


You are correct about the spindle being one with the axle. Mine do not unbolt unfortunately.

Lippert Components is the maker of the axle in question. I have sent them this same info, but not heard back yet.
Funny, on Lipperts web site, they show 2000 lb axles and 3500 lb axles but no 2800 lb axles which is what the sticker on the axle says it is. Maybe they are actually 3500 lb axles but derated to 2800lb?
They appear to have been custom made for KZ (parent company of Venture) See attached pics...

Pic 1

Pic 2

JIMNLIN

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Posted: 10/14/20 01:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many axles/stubs get bent from pulling the trailer around a sharp corner and make contact with a curb or even a deep pothole. This will push the front of the wheel in.... bending the axle/stub in a toe in position. Or even push the wheel in at the bottom causing a out of camber issue (out at the top).
Drop by a big rig trailer repair shop and talk with them about the problem. They will tell you what is wrong and the costs to bend the axle back in specs.
I've had this done several times on my road trailers.


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BurbMan

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Posted: 10/14/20 03:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JIMNLIN wrote:

Drop by a big rig trailer repair shop and talk with them about the problem. They will tell you what is wrong and the costs to bend the axle back in specs.


If the spindles aren't replaceable this is probably the best option if you have such a service center local to you. If not your other option is to just replace the axle.

Your assumption is that the axle is bent down and causing the tire to wear on the outside, but it could also be bent forward or back (or some complex combination) and producing the same results.

JBarca

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Posted: 10/14/20 09:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The wear pattern in your pic, can come from the wheel being in an excessive toe angle condition. And I think it may be excessive tow in on yours. Tow in meaning, the wheel is tipped inward pointing towards the camper. Basically, the wheel is at an angle too far from spec and the tire is scrubbing the road with the trailer going straight.

By eye, you said the other tires look OK, but they too may be wearing wrong if you measure the wear close enough, they just are not as bad yet. Tires start out true even in tread depth when new. And measuring the thread depth across the face of the tire tells how good or bad the wheels are in or out of alignment. Knowing all 4 tires in tread depth can tell a story on how the axle alignment is at all wheels.

There are other reasons beyond the end of the spindle being bent or welded on wrong that can create that condition. The axle could of been made on the high end of spec for toe in, the rear hanger on that side and or the opposite side can be welded to the frame out of location, the U bolts were tightened with the axle seat and axle pin favoring tow in (there is clearance between the pin and the hole in the axle seat), and or the leaf spring can be made wrong with the hole location for the center pin. Or a little of all 4 adding up against you.

Pending what tools you have to work with, and if you have the means and want to figure this out yourself, it can be done at home. Even gross checks to see where the problem may be.

See this pic, this wear is like yours, just it is excessive tow out, and not toe in like yours. In my case, I had axle tubes made wrong from day one and I had hangers welded on in the wrong location.
[image]

If you want to try and sort this out yourself, this post may help.
TT axle alignment & install - Detailed (long lot's of pics)

I looked up your camper, if this it?
https://www.venture-rv.com/2016-products........-trailers/2016-specifications-sonic.html

A 2016 170VBH? It lists a 4,000# GVWR, 21 ft long, with a 680# cargo capacity. And I'm assuming it is tandem axle.

680# is not a lot of cargo capacity for a 21 ft camper, while you are checking things, have you weighed the camper? Ideally you can get individual wheel weights, or at least each axle weight. Need to rule out a wheel loading situation.

There are trailer shops that bend the axle tube to put it back into alignment. I myself am not a fan of that, but it is done often. The ideal first thing to do is, to find out what is wrong. Are the hangers welded on wrong, that wheel location too heavy, the axle made wrong etc. Once you know what is wrong, you can make better choices on how to fix it and not have this come back in the future. Bending an axle tube to correct a welded on hanger in the wrong location or other issue beyond the axle tube, is not the right fix.

Hope this helps and let us know how you make out.

John


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Lynnmor

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Posted: 10/15/20 01:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It was probably backed into a curb bending the spindle forward. Drive straight on a level parking lot and stop gently. Now lay a straight edge across the pair of tires, I'll bet that you will see the problem.





mbopp

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a bent axle on our last trailer. Fortunately there's a very good truck frame shop near me and they were able to straighten it and tweak the rest of the wheels for a true 4-wheel alignment.


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fj12ryder

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Posted: 10/16/20 09:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Coolerman wrote:

You are correct about the spindle being one with the axle. Mine do not unbolt unfortunately.

Lippert Components is the maker of the axle in question. I have sent them this same info, but not heard back yet.
Funny, on Lipperts web site, they show 2000 lb axles and 3500 lb axles but no 2800 lb axles which is what the sticker on the axle says it is. Maybe they are actually 3500 lb axles but derated to 2800lb?
They appear to have been custom made for KZ (parent company of Venture) See attached pics...

Pic 1

Pic 2
You're probably right about them derating the axles. They do that so the tires will meet the weight rating. It's most likely a standard 3500 lb. axle. They did the same thing on my Fuzion: derated 7000 lb. axle to 6800 lbs. so the tires, rated to 3400 lbs., could be installed. I assume that if they put 3500 lb. axles on your trailer, they would have to put tires rated to carry 3500 lbs.


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ajriding

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Posted: 10/23/20 09:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good news is that axles are cheap and can be shipped to your house. When in doubt, toss it out. lol.

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