Suspension Strength - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-16-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Suspension Strength

I am in process of purchasing a Kodiak 221RBSL and having it delivered too Australia. The anti import group people in Australia are running around saying that the roads in Australia are to rough for imports and the only way is to buy Australian products as they have been made to suit the conditions(probably using Chinese made springs and couplings). The roads over here are mostly good, but away from the populated area can be rough, but I don't think we are the only country with bad roads.

So the question I have to people on this forum who do venture off the highways is how robust do you think the suspension is? Has there been any failures and if there has what was the cause?

I have searched a number of Aussie caravan web sites and can find no one reporting failed suspension on US made trailers(there are quite a few US travel trailers and 5th wheelers in Australia).
There is always the story of someone who knows someone with an import that has broken something.

From what I have seen from pictures of US trailer suspension is they appear similar to leaf sprung Aussie caravans.

Also has anyone fitted shock absorbers to their trailers.

Thanks
Warren
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:33 PM   #2
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I have a 276bhsl and have had it down a number for dirt roads here in Utah that are rough and washbord for dozens of miles. The tandom axle and the wider spread of their position make for what seems to be a smooth ride. I did notice at first the spring make a ton of noise. Some say that its the hitch others say its the axles. ..... I found that if I squirt a little lube on the shackles and leaf springs I'm good for the trip. I will say that if I were to make any mods to the suspension it would to beef up the shackles and how the are welded to the frame. They seem to be on the light side regarding strength. That said I have had no problem with mine and we usually go in to the backcountry for multiple days and are on the heavy side if not over our gvwr. The other thing I might consider is installing the Dexter ez ride kit. I will likely do this when its time to replace the tires. Good luck !
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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I have a Kodiak 242RESL with Lippert axles and in one trip (about 3800 kms -2400 miles) I had 3 dust covers come off. This trip was all good pavement. I contacted Lippert and their only suggestion was to buy more of their dust covers saying they've never seen this before, yet when I Googled it there were others with the same situation. I passed on their offer and I'll fabricate something in the spring to keep them on.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:46 AM   #4
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I hate to burst your bubble, but probably half of the parts that make up a US built trailer are Chinese.

I just learned last week that Dutchmen in their infinite wisdom put 5000 pound axels in our TT, it GVWR is 11,000+ pounds. Is it any wonder we have suspension problems and tires blowing out.

As for shock absorbers, if your have the Mor ryde rubber suspension, I'm not sure that shocks would be that much of a benefit.

When I watch the trailer in the mirrors, it looks like it is running down the road a lot smoother that the truck.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:24 AM   #5
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I too have had a dust cap missing on my Lippert axle. The unit was only 5 months old with 4400 miles on pavement when I discovered it. My dealer ( Best Value Denton, TX) didn't blink an eye and replaced the bearings on that wheel and repacked the others for no charge. I thought that was service above and beyond.

As far as Dutchmen being cheap on the rating of the axles that they use I too was concerned when I noticed that mine had a 5500# rating and the unit gvw is a little over 12K. I called Lippert and asked about it. The technician who took my call patiently reminded me that 20-24% of a fifth wheels weight is carried by the truck when properly loaded. I would have preferred a little more cushion, I should be okay unless I go crazy with loading too much stuff.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hddecker View Post
I hate to burst your bubble, but probably half of the parts that make up a US built trailer are Chinese.
Bubble not burst, but surprised that it is happening. Although there is patriotism in the US regarding manufacturing it appears profits will always be No 1.
In Australia manufacturers can't move to China fast enough, again to make higher profits. There even is a company importing flat pack caravans and assembling and selling them.

It appears that the dust covers could be an issue and will need to checked.
Because I like to over engineer most things I do, the spring attachments was one of the areas I was going to ensure I was happy with the welding.
I was looking at the E-Z Flex kit and hoping the trailer dealer where I am buying the trailer from will sell them in their parts shop. If they do I buy them and put inside the trailer before it leaves them.

Warren
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texmac View Post
I too have had a dust cap missing on my Lippert axle. The unit was only 5 months old with 4400 miles on pavement when I discovered it. My dealer ( Best Value Denton, TX) didn't blink an eye and replaced the bearings on that wheel and repacked the others for no charge. I thought that was service above and beyond.

As far as Dutchmen being cheap on the rating of the axles that they use I too was concerned when I noticed that mine had a 5500# rating and the unit gvw is a little over 12K. I called Lippert and asked about it. The technician who took my call patiently reminded me that 20-24% of a fifth wheels weight is carried by the truck when properly loaded. I would have preferred a little more cushion, I should be okay unless I go crazy with loading too much stuff.
You obviosly have a good dealer who goes to bat for his customers. Sounds like a keeper.

You are right about the TV carrying some of the weight, but I too would like to have a fudge factor built in.

I have a flat deck utility trailer with a GVWR of 7000#, the manufacturer used 5000# axles. That gives me over 3000# of excess capacity.

It all boils down to a numbers game with the manufacturers and the most important number is on the bottom line.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenK View Post
Bubble not burst, but surprised that it is happening. Although there is patriotism in the US regarding manufacturing it appears profits will always be No 1.
In Australia manufacturers can't move to China fast enough, again to make higher profits. There even is a company importing flat pack caravans and assembling and selling them.

It appears that the dust covers could be an issue and will need to checked.
Because I like to over engineer most things I do, the spring attachments was one of the areas I was going to ensure I was happy with the welding.
I was looking at the E-Z Flex kit and hoping the trailer dealer where I am buying the trailer from will sell them in their parts shop. If they do I buy them and put inside the trailer before it leaves them.

Warren
Warren,

Check online first for the kit. You may find even with the shipping added you can get it and save several dollars.

Being a Canadian, I find that our RV dealers are quite happy to add 30 - 50% to the US prices. I start with a quote from an RV dealer, then check the auto supply shops to see if they have access to the needed part. Then I shop around online and find many sellers who are priced low enough to make it cost effective to buy online.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #9
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Hddecker,

Good idea about searching around for the EZ Flex.

I have also come across a similar item called a Trailair Equa-Flex. They both appear to do the same, but which on would be the better on to purchase.

The Dexter EZ-Flex has two types, one for 33" axle spacing and one for a 35" axle spacing.

Would anyone know what the axle spacing is for a Kodiak 221RBSL?

Thanks
Warren
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