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Old 05-10-2005, 05:55 AM   #21
HamRad
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M.O.C. #15
All of my bolts had the thin nylon bushings not just the equalizer. Of course with the kit you get nice brass type bushings and all the bolts have the grease zerks.

The wear can be VERY hard to detect without actually pulling or partially pulling the bolts. But once they do start wearing you'll have NO trouble seeing them when you get at just the right angle.

I sorry so many folks seem to be having this problem but it is sure nice to see so many of you checking and changing out the weak OEM stuff. By the way our rig had about 20k on it when we first detected the wear. We then put about 6k on it and changed them out. We could not have gone another 500 miles without one of them breaking.

HamRad
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:22 AM   #22
awaywego
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Replaced my shackles last weekend and estimate 25-30,000 miles on them.
Here is a picture of mine.
www.picturetrail.com/awaywego
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:32 PM   #23
azstar
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awaywego and HamRad,

I will be doing mine this weekend. The Pics. are very helpful.

Did you consider putting the Shackles on with the Zerk fittings on the inside? My mini gun doesn't have the flexable hose, so I'm thinking if I was to put them on opposite I would have a straight shot at them from under my TT.

What's you opinion?

Thanks,
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:35 AM   #24
Montana_2785
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by azstar

awaywego and HamRad,

I will be doing mine this weekend. The Pics. are very helpful.

Did you consider putting the Shackles on with the Zerk fittings on the inside? My mini gun doesn't have the flexable hose, so I'm thinking if I was to put them on opposite I would have a straight shot at them from under my TT.

What's you opinion?

Thanks,
When I did this on my old TT, I put the zerks on the inside so that when (not if) a tire came apart it wouldn't tear the zerks off the bolt. Yes it makes it more of a PITA to grease, but the zerks are much better protected.

Eric
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Old 05-11-2005, 06:32 PM   #25
HamRad
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azstar,
I haven't thought of having the zerks on the opposite side. One thing I remember was the bolts have to be hammered in. It might be easier to do that from the outside rather than from the inside. But don't know why it wouldn't work.

HamRad
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Old 05-11-2005, 08:24 PM   #26
Montana_2953
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As I am reading these posts, I am looking at the layout of the trailers. Most of them (if not all so far)that are having this problem have rear kitchens. Could this be the problem? I know when we bought the 05 3400RL we didn't want the rear kitchen because of the weight in the rear. I was wondering if this could be one of the problems? Any answers? Thanks Paul
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Old 05-12-2005, 03:58 AM   #27
awaywego
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Azstar,
I thought about putting the zerks on the other side but I didn't want to crawl under to lub each time. Instructions say lub every 3000 miles and I would be under every few weeks on a trip.
I used a C clamp to press the bushings and bolts into place instead of hamering them in.
I greased the bronz bushing and put a big headed bolt in the end then used the C clamp to press it in.
As for the rear kitchen the 3280 has a side kitchen but I think the weight of the slide and all the items in the slide added to the fast deterioration.
All the plastic bushings were worn out on all the wheels and some wear on all the shackles but the right rear was the worse.
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Old 05-12-2005, 04:10 AM   #28
drhowell
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Our 3280RL has the mid kitchen with slides on each side over the tires. As others have said the factory shackles are not designed to handle the load. Those shackles are not supposed to move in the links and once the bolt starts to slip in the link it is just a matter of time.

All of the movement is supposed to happen in the spring and equalizer bushings. The factory suspension uses nylon bushings for the bearing surface. These are very thin and will not handle heavy loads for extended miles. There is no way to lubricate them and once the bolt has more friction in the 1 3/4" (spring width) of worn bushing (probably metal to metal by then) than the 3/8" thick links, the bolt starts turning in the links.

This is a very poor design and as said before, "Keystone is cutting corners in a criticle safety area". The cost for Keystone to move up to the heavy duty suspension on new units would be negligible but could improve their customer relations and product performance a great deal.

I have built many trailers using surplus manufactured home axles and they have the nylon bushings. But they are designed for one trip from the factory to foundation. Even on light duty trailers that haul 2,000 lbs or less those nylon bushings do not last and have to be replaced within 5 years.

My two cents worth!!!
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:19 AM   #29
sreigle
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I had not noticed whether this seems to be mostly the rear kitchens or not. Interesting thought. If it is mostly rear kitchen models, then I'm at a loss as to why. The idea of a rear kitchen being heavier in the rear doesn't really hold water, although it sounds logical until you think about it. Our rear kitchen also has one of the heaviest pinweights, which means that much less on the axles. I assume the axles are mounted farther back to shift that weight to the front and to reduce unsprung weight (weight behind the axles). When we were looking at trading, back in 2002, I consulted a friend who was an RVCG member and had their touted manual. He told me the "book" said the 3295RK was, at that time, the most balanced of all Montanas, whatever that means.

It would be interesting to take a poll of those who have had this shackle problem and see if there is a trend to the rear kitchens or any other model or feature. Interesting thought. I suspect we'd find the common trait is miles. But that's just a guess.
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:51 AM   #30
Montana_2785
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle

[...]

It would be interesting to take a poll of those who have had this shackle problem and see if there is a trend to the rear kitchens or any other model or feature. Interesting thought. I suspect we'd find the common trait is miles. But that's just a guess.
My humble opinion is primarily miles and secondarily axle loads. Does anyone who has vs has not had the problem weighed the rig to see how much weight is actually on the axles? Do you know about how many miles you have towed?

I have not yet checked my shackles. Its on my list of things-to-do-when-warm-weather-decides-to-stay.

Eric
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Old 05-12-2005, 07:34 AM   #31
Searchers
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I think it all boils down to engineering and the quality of the materials used. How many times have you had to replace the shackle bushings on you motorized vehicles in 100,000 miles? I've never had to do it!
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Old 05-12-2005, 03:02 PM   #32
sreigle
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Eric, to answer your question -- ours has been towed approximately 30,000 miles. Last weighing was over a year ago and it was at that time 13,980 lbs with full fresh water tank. That's 420 lbs below GVWR. We've since offloaded some things but haven't re-weighed it. I'd guess right around 13,500-13,700 now. Last time I checked our shackles I could see where there is some wear (did not remove the bolts, just saw where the bolt heads used to be compared to now). I plan to crawl under and look again before we pull out of this park.

I agree with Searchers, too. This should be a non-issue. This is a safety issue.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:51 PM   #33
Montana_738
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Hello All,
It finally stopped raining long enough to climb under the 5er to check out the shackles. I have two that showed some wear. I just ordered the replacement kit from Dexter, $121.80 with freight.
For this cost it's worth the money & time to replace. I heard too many horror stories about them breaking on a trip somewhere.
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. You opened up a lot of eyes.

Bill
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:54 PM   #34
Montana_2785
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Well, the previous owner told me that he figured that he had pulled it about 11,000 miles. I figure that I put at least another 1000 on it by pulling it home and one short trip. I weighed it when i was pulling it home but that was before we loaded "stuff" in it. Haven't weighed it yet full and I haven't taken the time to check shackles. I'm going to have the axle alignment checked soon so I'll see what things are like then... Gotta see why that one tire (the newest one) is almost worn out and the others (3 years old & 12,000 miles) look like new.


Eric
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Old 05-13-2005, 03:50 PM   #35
awaywego
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Eric,

When we bought the Montana, I noticed that one tirewas farther out (aprox 3/4 inch) than the other tire on the same side.
I ask the service manager why it was this way and he gave me the same old song and dance they give when they don't know.
I also noticed the space between the tires was a little less than the other side and the same song and dance.
We left for an extended trip west and drove from Virginia to Albuqurque New Mexico and the tire that was out farther was almost worn out and the other three were just like new.
I took it to Albuqurque alighment and they checked it, and the axle was 3/4 inch out of alighnment.
They alighned the axles and in 20,000 miles no wear to speak of.
Now the two tires are in line also.
This may explain your tire wear also.
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:27 PM   #36
drhowell
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Picked up the Dexter F71-449 kit today. My local auto parts house has a supplier. Cost $135.27 with shipping and CA sales tax delivered within 5 miles of home.

I also picked up some Monroe shocks "555001" to replace the missing one and the other end of the rear axle. When I pulled the one shock I found that it wasn't working anyway. When I tear it down for the shackles I will check the other two on the front axle. They are probably bad also?

I am very dissapointed in Keystone for cutting corners on the suspension. The shackles are bad enough but the shocks seem pretty cheap also. Hard to believe they were worn out in 4 years. Three tires have hardly any wear so I know this trailer doesn't have very many road miles. It set in Arizona for at least two years and never moved. Probably less than 10,000 total road miles.
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Old 05-14-2005, 06:43 PM   #37
azstar
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Hi Folks,

I replaced mine today. What a surprise to see the amount of damage to the Shackles. This is after only aprox. 15,000 miles including the delivery to AZ.


Answering the AL-KO/Dexter question, about whether or not you can use the Dexter on the AL-KO. Well almost. There is a clearance recommended by Dexter. It should be, minimum of 1.5" between the Rigs frame and the spring eyes. After assembly I had about 1.1" on mine.

A quick test determined that a difference in axle height of about 3", say over a curb or a good sized dip does cause the spring to hit the frame. It may be OK, but I wanted the Min. I'm cutting the middle hangers off and installing a 1/2" steel spacer between the frame and hangers, then welding it back together. This will give me a 1.6" clearance.

The Dexter Kit looks great, and should last the life of the Rig. but I am fortunate to have the equipment to do this modification.

Keystone should step up. This should have never happened.

If you have the Dexter Axle and you don't have the 1/2" thick shackles with the grease fittings I would like to encourage you to have them installed.

Happy Camping

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Old 05-15-2005, 03:31 AM   #38
Montana_2953
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HOLY COW!!! That doesn't look good for Keystone does it? You are right they should have a recall on this. To many trailer owners are having this problem. Yes it is a good thing that it was brought to our attention, but what about the people who aren't members of the MOC and don't have this information???????? What happens to them when the shackles break? Keystone needs to contact ALL THE OWNERS, BUYERS, SELLERS, ETC. and let them know about this problem. Thanks for letting us as members know. This is a must to keep in mind.
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Old 05-15-2005, 06:00 AM   #39
awaywego
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I doubt this is just a Keystone or Montana problem. This is the same suspension system I had on all the other RVs I have owned.
I think this is the standard wheather it be Jayco, Coachmen or Cardinal or whatever.
The only one I have heard of having the grease fittings on it was the Carriage Royals International my brother had. This is a expensive (110k+)full time unit.I am sure some other high end units have them also but just don't know for sure.He has a Carriage Aluma Lite now and it has the same suspension we have. He will be checking it.
I talked to Dexter when I ordered the shackles for my Montana and they said the other shackles were designed for the weekend and short vacation type units and they hold up fine for that, but they were not designed for steady use and heavy units. Who decides which units are for continued use though?
I think if we heard from other owners of other makes we would hear they are having problems too , and think how many don't know.
Kind of scary to think we are passing these units on the highways at 60 to 70+ miles per hour is it not?
This is just my opinion and I am not trying to defend Keystone.
This is something thr RVA sticker on the unit should address.
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