Spring Failure - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 03-14-2016, 02:15 PM   #1
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Spring Failure

For those of us who have duel axle toy haulers here is something you may want to look at. We have a 2015 model 3305 that we purchased new. In it we haul a golf cart that weighs in at 830 lbs. (just about the weight of one full dress HD motorcycle). Many of our cupboards are still empty and we cannot fill the fresh water tanks beyond 1/3 (30gallons) due to a fill/venting factory screw up that I still need to fix. The usual camping supplies like two lawn chairs, cords & hoses, weenie forks, and my tool box is all we carry. The same things we carried in our 28’ bumper pull that we traded in, minus the golf cart since it wasn’t a toy hauler. When spec’ing out the unit I went with a standard I’d heard years ago where you allow 750 lbs for each person using the unit for food, clothing, fluids, and gear. An allowance of 1,500lbs plus the 830 golf cart for a load of 2,330lbs. I should be fine…

On our trip out west last summer, I noticed the outside edge of the tires on the curb side were grinding off with only 2,500 miles on them. It was bad enough that we headed for home, fingers crossed.

Without going into all the ugly details of the six weeks dealing with Keystone, LCI, and the dealer, we finally got approval to replace all four springs since the pictures sent to LCI indicated spring failure. The axles still had the proper camber and did not show signs of being grossly overloaded. (Note: LCI was very helpful and straightforward in getting this resolved) The dealer also agreed to replace all four tires with “G” rated ones.

Picked up the unit after the repairs, hauled it the 40 miles home completely empty, and took another look. The shiny new springs were failing again. Flat with a reverse bend beginning to form just like the old ones.

I then took it to a local spring shop where I learned they have seen several problems like this with duel axle toy haulers. They repaired the damage, installed an extra leaf into all four springs and did an alignment check where they found everything to be nearly perfect. Side note, I had thought of installing the Correct Track system but cannot since all the hangers are bent and it will not fit. Thankfully, I don’t need it. (I have pics of that too, but the limit is three/post).

The unit shipped with two 7K lb. rated axles that appear to be inadequate for a toy hauler with a 16.5K GVWR (Appx. 3K of which would be pin weight). As was pointed out by the owner of the spring shop, the axles are always running at near max rated load when traveling. What caused this? I really can’t say for sure since, in hindsight, I should have taken it to a cat scale as soon as I saw the problem. Not to mention the problem reappeared towing home after the repair with it totally unloaded and I was weary of fighting with Keystone any further. I do have suspicions of another possible root cause, but would like to hear other ideas before throwing it out there.

The spring upgrade seems to have corrected the problem. I would have been very unhappy after spending $900.00 on it had it not. This last trip of 2,500 miles shows no problems with tires or springs so far… Go figure… Lucky me…

The pics are of the original springs.
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:30 PM   #2
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I have a 2016 V3305, I was shocked that something of this weight only has two axles. I will have to keep my eye on the springs, I am riding nose high and need to lift the trailer, I have order correct track, after reading your post I sure hope I don't have bent hanger clips. Any ways thanks for the heads up!
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:42 PM   #3
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My spring hangers have all the outer brackets bent inward, the inner brackets are perfectly straight. The correct track system will only fit if the outer brackets are bent back into a straight position again. This was done by the factory assembly people. Let me know if yours are the same.

Thanks,
BT
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #4
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Another example of mimimalist consturction by Dutchmen. It sucks that we have to deal with this kind of crap, it seems when it is a supplier problem you get action. If it would have been a longer fight if it would have been a Dutchmen assembly issue.

Did the shackles get an upgrade or are they still the paper thin factory shackles?

I recommend that you do a wet bolt kit. The kit will give you shackles that are just about 2 1/2 times the thickness of the factory shackles. You won't be replacing the plastic bushings and dry bolts every few years.
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:17 PM   #5
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I recommend that you do a wet bolt kit. The kit will give you shackles that are just about 2 1/2 times the thickness of the factory shackles. You won't be replacing the plastic bushings and dry bolts every few years.
That's on the list for this fall, The shackles are still the thin ones and the plastic bushings are new for now. The spring shop said they's install the kit for $150.00 labor. I may do it myself since I've managed much larger and heavier jobs solo, just getting a little lazy these days I guess...

I do believe the issue is a combination of a design error coupled with a Dutchmen assembly problem since the axles and frames are shipped from the supplier separately and are married together at the Dutchmen plant. It was a very intense battle that involved advice from an attorney to get them to replace the springs even though they will never admit fault.
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:11 PM   #6
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I do believe the issue is a combination of a design error coupled with a Dutchmen assembly problem since the axles and frames are shipped from the supplier separately and are married together at the Dutchmen plant.
It doesn't help that most of the springs are Made in China now. The axle shop I went to for my new axles has a container full of Chinese made springs for the econo market or for a few dollars more they will make you a set of springs using American spring steel.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:08 PM   #7
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Jim,

Can you share info on where and what the "wet bolt kit" is and where one can get them.

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:42 PM   #8
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LCI sells them, this is the short link type, there are a couple different types/sizes I believe.

Wet Bolt Tandem Axle Attaching Parts Kit
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:35 PM   #9
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The pics are of the original springs.
Is it possible to show pics of your new springs? I checked mine and they're not as flat as yours, but now I'm curious what they should look like when correct.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:09 PM   #10
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I'll crawl under it when the rain lets up here and get a few pics. What "correct" looks like could be open for discussion I suppose. What incorrect looks like was when they were flat with distinct bends in the opposite direction near the axle like the old ones were. You can see the bends if you look closely where they are mounted to the axle. I was providing LCI with pictures and measurements of the suspension mounts when they noticed the spring problems in the pictures. The original thought was an alignment problem until that was discovered. I'm still trying to understand how the outside edge of the tires wore on the curb side though..?..
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:20 AM   #11
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Thanks for the link. Did find two different sets of the heavy duty attaching hardware. One with 12 links and one with 18 links...so I guess I'll have to crawl under the 3800 and see what I actually have!

Thanks for the info!

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Old 03-15-2016, 01:41 AM   #12
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Jim,

Can you share info on where and what the "wet bolt kit" is and where one can get them.

Thanks,

Pirate
Pirate

The wet bolt kit includes, bronze bushings, bolts with a grease fitting and the thicker shackles. I bought my kit from the local spring and axle shop, as they are Dexter dealers mine is Dexter. Lippert also makes a kit.

Here's a link to a single axle kit at etrailer, but the kits come for 2 & 3 axle set ups as well.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Sus...71-358-00.html
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:52 AM   #13
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Jim,

So what is the difference, in terms of carrying the load and lasting...between the kits with the bronze bushings and the kits that have no bushings, but thicker shackles?

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 03-15-2016, 03:00 AM   #14
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Jim,

So what is the difference, in terms of carrying the load and lasting...between the kits with the bronze bushings and the kits that have no bushings, but thicker shackles?

Thanks,

Pirate
I've never seen an eye spring that didn't have a bushing of some type.

Before the plastic bushing that is common today you had the bronze bushing. Over the years there have been self lubricating bushings, with some sort of compound mixed into the bronze.

Now add to the bronze bushing a way to keep them greased and you have a bushing that outlasts the factory bushing by many, many years.

We probably abuse the suspension more than most folks, as we like the old US and State Highways and our Canadian equivalents.

If we wear out the wet bolts, I guess I'll have to add a set of shocks.
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:45 AM   #15
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Jim,

So what is the difference, in terms of carrying the load and lasting...between the kits with the bronze bushings and the kits that have no bushings, but thicker shackles?

Thanks,

Pirate
Pirate - here are a couple of links for the project. I have all these parts in my barn and this is on the short list before our longer trips this season.

Wet Bolts Voltage 3950

Voltage 3950 axles

Never Fail Bushings
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