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Old 06-22-2022, 10:48 AM   #1
LRbill
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Possible bent axle

Hi all,

I have a serious issue that I am not sure how to proceed with. We have a High Country 343RL that is eating the right (passenger) side tire. This tire only. The other three are normal.
I have spoken with two RV service departments here thinking it's an alignment issue but both say that we have a bent axle and that there is no alignment adjustment possible. They are Dexter 5200 lb axles.

I don't recall anything but a rough stretch of interstate here in No. Illinois where we did hit a large pothole.so I am not sure how it would have been bent other than that.
Does anyone know where I can order a replacement axle and is it a DIY swap? I am mechanically inclined but have never been faced with this issue.
I appreciate the knowledge that members of the Montanas Owners group has and will be thankful for any thoughts on this not so fun topic.
Thanks!


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Old 06-22-2022, 11:46 AM   #2
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There will be a sticker and or a stamped number on the back of the axle that you can use to get a replacement axle. You can contact Dexter directly or any trailer supply company who should be able to get you a replacement axle. If you can get the rig lifted up and on jack stands, replacing the axle shouldn't be too hard with basic tools and a torque wrench.
https://www.dexteraxle.com/Contact/Online-Store-Help
or do a search online for Dexter axles for sale. Ordering directly from Dexter isn't usually the cheapest way to go, but they will get you the proper parts.
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:13 PM   #3
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What Bob said is the best plan
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:56 PM   #4
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So in 16 years I have bent two axles. (Both times my fault). Sourced both axles from Croft Trailer in Kansas City. Second time I was in Florida and the repair shop was quoted three weeks for the new axle. Croft trailer built and shipped the new axle to Florida in 4 days. (Stock Dexter axle but had to be shortened to fit my rig). Many of my RV friends in KC use them, as well as several MOC members. Might give them a try.
https://www.crofttrailer.com/
Full disclosure I have been associated personally and professionally with family members of this company for many years.
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Old 06-22-2022, 09:08 PM   #5
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You can get an alignment if you find the right shop. They actually bend the axle into alignment.

Google trailer wheel alignment.
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Old 06-23-2022, 05:14 AM   #6
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Unless there is a kink in the axle tube, yes, it can be bent back and aligned by a competent spring shop, usually one that services semi tractors or trailers


Then, a 2014 HC 343RL was "wonderfully" equipped by the geniuses at Keystone with 5200 pound suspension, This is a great time to upgrade to 6K springs, 9/16" U bolts, wet bolts and a 6K outer hub bearing. This in effect will give you a 6K suspension. Unfortunately the axle is stamped with 5200 as will the yellow sticker under the bedroom slide. The upgrades wont change the RVs legal weight rating but it will stop bottoming out, especially on the long curbside slide, stop wallow at bridge approach and departures and add to your peace of mind. The axle tubes and spindles are identical 5200 through 7000 pound axles with only springs and hubs making the ratings (the exception to that is some later 7K axles may have a little thicker axle tube)


The above is what I did (plus adding a 1" spring lift block for a bit more clearance) to our just sold 2014 343RL
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Old 06-23-2022, 07:49 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your thoughts and info. I am having a hard time finding a truck repair facility that will work on RV's in No. Illinois so I will probably have to go the replacement route.


Thanks again, it's much appreciated!


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Old 06-23-2022, 07:51 AM   #8
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Dave W,


It really would make sense to do the upgrade as you explained but I really didn't want to replace both axles.

I'll have to ponder on this...
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Old 06-23-2022, 08:01 AM   #9
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Dave W,


It really would make sense to do the upgrade as you explained but I really didn't want to replace both axles.

I'll have to ponder on this...

You don't need to replace either axle, just the outer bearing cups and races plus springs for 6k capacity. Then, of course, straighten the bent one. PM me if you need some more info
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Old 06-23-2022, 08:20 AM   #10
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It doesn't take much to bend an axle or a spindle. Yes, they are usually repairable at a truck/trailer shop. I changed out both of the torsion axles on my boat trailer last year. They're each heavier than your sprung axle. I wouldn't hesitate to do it, and I'm 73. Do or have an alignment done after the change.
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Old 06-23-2022, 09:08 AM   #11
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I found a business in our locale that specializes in axle and chassis work on school buses, trucks and trailers. This might help you find a source in a nearby metropolitan city. They did a great job of aligning both axles for camber and toe in/out. The owner said mine was one of the more difficult one that has come into his shop. Cost was $495 and was done in one day (note: I did have to wait 2 weeks for an appointment). Afterwards, I put on a new set of H rated tires and after just over 800 miles, the nubs on the new tires are still there, so that is a good sign the abnormal wear has been fixed.
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Old 06-26-2022, 02:13 PM   #12
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I was seeing bad tire wear on all 4 tires. Took my Monty to a truck/RV alignment shop and they corrected the problem by restoring the proper curve to the axle tube. Was not too expensive.
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:06 PM   #13
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We had a similar problem with our 330RL. Right rear tire had excessive wear on the inside. Talked to the original dealer about it and after a long wait, Keystone replaced the axle assembly and two tires under warranty. Something about shipping originals to the factory was mentioned to the dealer, but they declined to give me specifics.



I had taken it to a heavy truck shop that does alignments and trailer work and they could not fix the problem.


Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LRbill View Post
Thank you all for your thoughts and info. I am having a hard time finding a truck repair facility that will work on RV's in No. Illinois so I will probably have to go the replacement route.


Thanks again, it's much appreciated!


Bill
Try looking for a company that specializes in big truck suspensions and springs. They'll generally do the same work on RVs.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:31 PM   #15
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Another possible lead 4 you

Call these guys, if they canít help you, there is a strong possibility they can direct you.
Spring Align of Palatine 847.934.1525
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Old 06-27-2022, 11:02 AM   #16
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On our 2017 3791RD we also had 1 tire wearing badly form day one. Finally we took it to a semi trailer repair shop not far from Youngstown Ohio. They laser aligned it and found the right side rear tire was 3/4" towed out. The axle was bent and we only had a few trips on it. He said most likely it was bent when it was installed new, but who knows. He quoted me $400 to remove the axle, strip it down, put it in a computerized press and bend it back into position. Once completed it was perfect once reinstalled. I was thinking it would take days to fix this. I pulled it out 4 hours after they started. Since then I have pulled it over 10K miles. The tires are all 4 wearing evenly. I'd suggest you find a local semi trailer repair shop, and see what they say.
If anyone else needs a good shop, call Commercial Truck and trailer, in Girard Ohio. Old school place with honest owners and service techs.
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Old 06-27-2022, 12:16 PM   #17
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Check the bearing first

I had the same issue. The bearing was loose. Jack it up and see if there is any play. If so, replace if needed and repack the bearings. A lot cheaper than an alignment or axle. Dirty, but an easy job.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:07 PM   #18
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Mo’s Trailer in Goshen would be a good truck/trailer service shop not far from Northern Illinois.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:05 PM   #19
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I have a 2018 3790 that had the same problem starting in summer of 2020 kDiver's side). Made an appointment with a heavy duty alignment specialist (big smi trucks & trailers. Rear axle was out of alignment by 2.5 inches. Recommended replacing 7000# axles w/8000#. Problem was in the supply chain. 12-16 weeks w/no guarantee of delivery. I said do your best as i was headed south. They got within 3/8ths to 1/2". Bought 2 spare tires to travel with. Went AZ & back to central ID. Normal wear, returned spare tires. New Axles finally arrived in mid May. Debating wheather I'm exchaning them now. Oh a original diagnosis & staighten was less than 4 hrs at $250. New axles about 1100, if i go that way. Go to the pros is my advice. I'm still happily schocked.
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Old 07-16-2022, 03:30 PM   #20
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While I know your poste is older, I have just encountered Bent Axle. all 4 tires were wearing. I did find a Recall on Dexter Axles, and the Dealer /Manufacture replaced the parts, I am being hung with the labor to install.
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