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Old 04-21-2009, 09:56 AM   #1
AlanPat
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2006 RL axles

My wife and I are new to the fifth wheel camping experience and so far we love it. We purchased a 2006 3500RL and the question we have is "Is it normal to hear a popping noise from the axles when turning a corner?" Alan Pat
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
H. John Kohl
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The axles will "talk to you" when you make a tight corner.
There have been posts about worn shackles. I have upgraded to wet bolts. This link shows the topic post of the upgrade or replacement. There is a link to the photos taken during the upgrade. It shows a small amount of wear. There are earlier post by others that show large wear.

So, check the shackles to see if you have excessive wear if not then you are probably safe.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:53 AM   #3
Art-n-Marge
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Hi AlanPat,

Yup, I'm afraid the popping/click noise is normal. It is caused by the torquing and adjusting of the 5ers suspension, in fact most trailers with dual wheels will do that. The Noise is actually the shackles and bolts being stressed during the turning process. The dual axles do best when they are going straight, but in the case of a turn, the sharper and faster it is, the louder it will be as the metal on metal tries to support the turn.

I recently converted to the "wet" suspension that John mentioned above. I am a some-timer (part-timer) and live on the inside turn of a residential street, that means whenever I return from a trip and need to back in the trailer I have to make a severe 90 degree turn and the axles are definitely talking to me. At my 2 year checkup I found that the shackles and bolts were no longer sitting "flat" because they were wearing out.

Pointing this out to the dealer, he shook his head and described an industry design problem that most manufacturers (including Montana) will not spend to money on to fix and that was to install a more expensive wet suspension. So I had one put on and I'll monitor to see if this improves things. A standard suspension include flat metal shackles and spacers with metal nuts and bolts. A wet suspension adds rubber and grease fittings to quiet things down, increase flexibility and help relieve some of the stresses during turns. It does add a new step for me for maintenance but it's easy enough to crawl under the rig with a grease gun versus replacing the shackles and bolts every other year.

A few things to extend the life of the suspension include minimizing severe turns, going slow over rough roads, railroad tracks, speed bumps, curbs (sometimes you can't avoid it) and finally, after a severe turn into a campsite, drive forward a few feet and then back into your space to allow the tires, axles and suspension to straighten itself back up.

I hope this helps,
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #4
Art-n-Marge
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btw, That's the SAME exact model of Montana we have. My model has the french doors. I heard during the 2006 model year they converted to sliding doors. Just curious which ones you have. (Maybe some day I'll tell you why I think they did that)

We love our 3500RL floorplan!
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:09 PM   #5
AlanPat
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Art-n-Marge

btw, That's the SAME exact model of Montana we have. My model has the french doors. I heard during the 2006 model year they converted to sliding doors. Just curious which ones you have. (Maybe some day I'll tell you why I think they did that)

We love our 3500RL floorplan!
Thanks for the information. Our unit has the french doors also. I am having to fix one of the doors, it appears that someone tried to slide the slider in with the door ajar. My wife and I are like you all we love the layout. It is funny that they would convert to sliding doors, Pat and I were discussing why frech doors versus sliding doors, you would not have to worry about closing the slide in on it. Thanks again, we are very new to this and hoping to travel a lot.
Alan
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:12 PM   #6
AlanPat
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by AlanPat

My wife and I are new to the fifth wheel camping experience and so far we love it. We purchased a 2006 3500RL and the question we have is "Is it normal to hear a popping noise from the axles when turning a corner?" Alan Pat
Thank you for the reply and most of all thank you for serving your country. I spent time in the Air Force and make a decision to get out, still trying to decide if that was the best decision some 39 years later. Take care and maybe we will see you around.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:29 AM   #7
richfaa
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That is a eally good post by Art-n-Marge. On how to extend the life of the suspension.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:23 PM   #8
Art-n-Marge
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Thanks Rich and Helen. When I first upgraded from a single axle pop-up trailer to a two axle travel trailer (about 9000 lb GVWR) many moons ago, the seasoned old guy who walked me through the rig was quite adamant about that back and forth trick. I had no idea what he was talking about. Since then I became fortunate to notice the strain of the axles especially when backing with a tight turn into a campsite. You'll notice none of the wheels will sit straight up and down, so you can just imagine the stress.

I now follow this routine religiously. But on my new Montana that is about 2 tons heavier I converted to a wet suspension (adds grease fittings and rubber bushing) which helps with strain relief. The existing suspension was aleady showing wear at the bolts and shackles. Look for bolt heads or nuts that no longer sit flush to the shackle, or shackles holes (where the bolts go through) to no longer be round holes - they will start to become oblong from the bolts wearing them down and that was after only 2 years. I think the problem is at my house where I park it after returning from a trip because have a little bit of an angle that makes it difficult to back straight back. After installing the wet suspension I now back the at a slight angle to keep the suspension as straight as possible.

Too many times I watch someone back in with a turn and leave the rig alone. I will bring my straight level and show the camper how his wheels are not straight up and down and give them the "speech". I feel good that I now understand this and can pass on this recommendation. This problem is not as bad for a pullthrough or an angled back in, but I still go back and forth just to be sure.

Please pass it on.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:32 AM   #9
sreigle
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As others said, it's pretty normal in a tight turn, especially when backing. We also went to the wet bolt shackles last year but did a lot of miles on the dry ones in all three of our Montanas. Do watch those shackles. If interested in more, email me (click the envelope above this post) and I'll send you some pictures of what bad ones look like.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:09 PM   #10
Art-n-Marge
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Yeah Steve,

I just joined this club recently. If I had known about it sooner, I would have had to sense to take pictures of the bad shackles and bolts from my rig for "sharing". Thanks for having the heads up. Maybe you could post them anyway.
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