Axle Alignment & MORryde Shackle/Wet Bolt Install Completed - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 07-15-2017, 10:31 AM   #1
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Axle Alignment & MORryde Shackle/Wet Bolt Install Completed

Well, after months of traveling & trying to make appointments at various places... I finally stayed in one spot near civilization long enough to get my rig into a frame & axle shop yesterday in Cheyenne, WY.

As the title states... had my axles aligned, and the heavy-duty shackle & wet bolt kit installed. While they had things tore down, also had them inspect/repack the bearings, replace the seals, and inspect the brakes. All in all, things were pretty good in the latter areas.

The rig is now a little over 4 years old, with 25,462 miles on her (according to the towing app-meter on the truck). The bearings are good, only 1 seal was bad (curbside rear, but replaced them all), and the brakes were in good shape with plenty of 'meat' left on the shoes and no scarring on the drums.

The axles were a different story. The rear axle had a ⅛" toe out on the curbside, and a 1/16" toe out street side... with a 1-degree negative camber curbside, and a ½-degree negative camber street side. Front axle was a little better overall, but had a larger 3/16" toe in on the curbside. This combo was probably a good reason why my tires were wearing so unevenly. Axles were bent to correct & align as necessary.

Still, overall, things weren't all that bad according to the technicians... especially considering the age & mileage on the rig. They said even if a trailer leaves the factory in perfect alignment, it's not uncommon for the axles to become unaligned after 15,000 miles or so. U-bolts easily slip after awhile, while continuous potholes & railroad crossings cause incremental warping over time... not counting the occasional curb-rub and/or jump. And bearings, brakes, and seals are generally due for inspection at about 20,000 miles.

One interesting note was the technician's opinion of the CorrectTrack system, which I had installed last year mainly to raise the rear to assist in my nose-high profile when hitched. Basically, he said it's good for that... but as an alignment tool, it's a gimmick with very limited usefulness. It can only "correct" a single axis (it does nothing for camber), and only then in ¼" increments IF everything else is already in perfect alignment (axles to the frame).

Anyway, it was a long day... about 9 hours in the shop for everything, which took a decent chunk out of my wallet. But at least I have a little better peace of mind now.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:44 AM   #2
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You've got to feel better knowing that everything is in good repair. Hard to put a price on peace of mind. Newer tires? Curious if you see any difference in wear.
Rusty
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
Well, after months of traveling & trying to make appointments at various places... I finally stayed in one spot near civilization long enough to get my rig into a frame & axle shop yesterday in Cheyenne, WY.

As the title states... had my axles aligned, and the heavy-duty shackle & wet bolt kit installed. While they had things tore down, also had them inspect/repack the bearings, replace the seals, and inspect the brakes. All in all, things were pretty good in the latter areas.

The rig is now a little over 4 years old, with 25,462 miles on her (according to the towing app-meter on the truck). The bearings are good, only 1 seal was bad (curbside rear, but replaced them all), and the brakes were in good shape with plenty of 'meat' left on the shoes and no scarring on the drums.

The axles were a different story. The rear axle had a ⅛" toe out on the curbside, and a 1/16" toe out street side... with a 1-degree negative camber curbside, and a ½-degree negative camber street side. Front axle was a little better overall, but had a larger 3/16" toe in on the curbside. This combo was probably a good reason why my tires were wearing so unevenly. Axles were bent to correct & align as necessary.

Still, overall, things weren't all that bad according to the technicians... especially considering the age & mileage on the rig. They said even if a trailer leaves the factory in perfect alignment, it's not uncommon for the axles to become unaligned after 15,000 miles or so. U-bolts easily slip after awhile, while continuous potholes & railroad crossings cause incremental warping over time... not counting the occasional curb-rub and/or jump. And bearings, brakes, and seals are generally due for inspection at about 20,000 miles.

One interesting note was the technician's opinion of the CorrectTrack system, which I had installed last year mainly to raise the rear to assist in my nose-high profile when hitched. Basically, he said it's good for that... but as an alignment tool, it's a gimmick with very limited usefulness. It can only "correct" a single axis (it does nothing for camber), and only then in ¼" increments IF everything else is already in perfect alignment (axles to the frame).

Anyway, it was a long day... about 9 hours in the shop for everything, which took a decent chunk out of my wallet. But at least I have a little better peace of mind now.
Hey Tom hows-about a $$ figure for general planning please sir? I know it will be different across the country but maybe a start for us newbs.

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Old 07-15-2017, 04:38 PM   #4
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Total cost out the door was $909.09. Like I said, it was in the shop about 9 hours, and shop labor ain't cheap.

That said... the axle alignment wasn't the expensive part. That was a flat-rate $130 per axle, and really didn't take that much time. The bearing repack was the time killer.

If not for a spinal injury I sustained last year... the shackle install, brake inspection, and bearing/seal work were all things I could've done myself to save time & money. Unfortunately, even though I have all the tools, I can't anymore... so my maintenance costs are now a bit higher.

On that note, it's a shame we don't all meet up & get together once a year or so for a wrench weekend (or week) to work on each other's rigs, like we motorcycle guys do. Some guys are good doing maintenance, others are good adding/repairing electronic items, others with changing tires, etc. We all save each other a lot of money when we get together like that. I know there are a few things I've seen posted here that I'd like to do/have done on my rig, and I'll bet others do too.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:22 AM   #5
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I think that's pretty reasonable for a full day in the shop. I'd be all about a gathering, if for nothing just to say thanks for all the help I've gotten in the past two years.
Rusty
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:20 AM   #6
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Very reasonable indeed, thanks. I would be u' for a gathering in 18 months! Retirement is just around the corner so maximizing my leave these days. Unless of course it is in my backyard!
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the post!

Thanks for posting this, I had my trailer in last month to have the brakes checked/adjusted and also I had very bad tire wear on the inside tread of the rear axel. They had no way to check the alignment of the axel other than visually so I just had the tires replaced and continued down the road (we are also full-time). They suggested just replacing the whole axel which also was not that expensive (I think about $300/ installed?). Anyway, nice to know I can find a good axel shop and have in diagnosed properly and straightened!
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:29 AM   #8
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Great post with useful details. There's an alignment shop in Rapid City that has a good reputation. Time to make an appointment.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:03 PM   #9
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Had mine done at Sunshine in Reno Nevada. They me $600
Before I installed heavy wet bolt kit and new trailair leaf connections. Not cheap for alignment but neither are tires. Original tires I changed at 18,000 miles first of Carlisle f rated changed about 60,000. Started by replacing two tires and they went away fast. That’s I aligned and changed shackles
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