I broke a leaf spring on I40 east outside of Statesville, NC a couple years ago. Happened at 4:30 Sunday afternoon. I guess Sunday afternoons are when springs break most often.
First road service guy was no help. Second road service guy suggested loading on a low-boy. But the height would not allow it to fit under overpasses. So this guy jacked the frame of the trailer up and wedged a 4X4 wood block between the frame and the spring perch on the axle. And strapped in in securely with ratchet straps. We limped some 20 miles to a Camping World. And they fixed it up after a week waiting for the correct parts.
My Theory is that springs take a lot of stress. Tight turns on pavement, Hopping or sideswiping curbs and stuff. Each case causes a little fracture here and there. And they next case makes that fracture a little bigger. When they have enough of that...they break completely. Leaf spring on 5th wheels break quite often. It's not an unusual thing. Happens a lot. Best to keep checking them closely from time to time. Use a flashlight and look for small cracks.
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I have a 2004 Cedar Creek. I do check my suspension a couple of times a year. I have replaced a broken shock and all four springs as well as bushings and equalizers. The leafs in one of the springs had slipped from the bracket that binds them and had cracked. Long story short. Replace all the springs and parts. It does not cost all that much and gives you peace of mind not to mention safety. We tend to forget that stuff that is out of sight. Glad you made it safely.
dj, My rig is a Cardinal 37rl, 37 foot 5th wheel. My road service could not get a mechanic to come at all on Sunday evening. I was just trying to get it .8 of a mile to a weigh station so I would be off the Interstate. I got nothing till 9:00AM the next day. I have never seen a 5th wheel 37 feet long being hauled so I cannot say whether or not any wrecker service is equipped to do that or not? I was willing to accept chaining the housing up to try to move it .8 of a mile to the weigh station so it could be repaired there instead of trying to repair it on a busy Interstate.
.............Also , don't assume that the repair shop will replace the broken spring pack with one the Same length ! On a tandem axle trailer with 33 inch spacing from axle center to axle center the spring pack should be 25.25 inches long , eye to eye !
.............The other sad fact is that most leaf springs are China imports , cheaply made units installed on most trailers along with China mfged tires !!! When was the last time that a purchaser of a $100,000+++ 5'ver asked the selling dealer the origion and quality of the suspension parts installed on a trailer , prior to the sale ?? , jf
When I had my broken spring replaced, they sprayed the bottom of the springs with a can of orange spray paint. This made a visual inspection of springs easier to detect future cracks or broken springs.
When we had similar issues, we decided to upgrade to 8k axles and springs...one of the best decisions we made. We are a little larger at 39 feet, but this gives us great safety margin, along with 17.5 tires and rims.
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I just returned from the Forest River Dealer who has my Cardinal 37rl in for repairs. He had waited to hear from Cardinal about the leaf springs before contacting me. He reported that Cardinal told him that on the 7,000 pound axles no aftermarket spring in the same size has enough "tensile strength" to carry the weight of the 37-39 foot Cardinal and Cedar Creek? He also said he knows from experience there has been problems on the 2005-2007 models of the 37 to 39 foot Cardinal and Cedar Creek as he has replaced all of the springs on another one recently.
He also suggested that I let him install the Dexter EZ Flex wet bolt suspension kit on the 37rl at the same time that he installs the new springs. He also confirmed what others on this forum have said about the wear in the bushings in the eye of the leaf spring becoming elongated and causing problems.
By now I realize that he in reality he is saying that my entire suspension system needs replacing. It looks like I may need to try to get a wealthy person to adopt me so I can pay the bill on this Cardinal so I can get it back when it is completed. However on a more serious note, I don't want to repeat the scare that I had when this spring broke this time!
Does anyone know how to determine the weight carrying capacity or tensile strength of a RV leaf spring. The spring that broke on my Cardinal 37rl has no identifying information on it anywhere that I can see? The 6 leaf 26" DBL EYE spring that I bought to put on the Cardinal to get me home has a PR-626 stamped on the spring. The Invoice on that spring list the carrying capacity at 2250 lbs which obviously is not enough for a 15,000 lb trailer? Does anyone with a 37-39 foot Cardinal or Cedar Creek know what your spring capacity is, of so I would appreciate your answer.
Thanks for any response to my questions.
Could not find a spring with 6 leaves with 2250lb, found one rated at 3000lb 26 inch double eye. That would be about what the factory would install, 3000 each spring equals 12000 lb plus 20% (3000 lb) on the hitch, 15000 lb total. That is what Holiday Rambler did with mine. The place I found the springs does show a 7 leaf spring, 3400 lbs that would fit your unit, if your springs are 1 3/4 inch wide. Both springs, 3000 lb and 3400 lb also have the same arch height, 4 1/2 inch.
I'm sure that a call to the company could solve the tensile strength question.
I just measured the thickness of the top leaf on both springs. The old spring from the Cardinal was .370 thick and the new spring I bought to get home was .315 thick The new spring was made or sold by EMCO. The Forest River dealer told me that the Cardinal spring was made my Auveco and that was the only company that made a spring with the tensile strength needed on the cardinal. I doubt that Auveco, whoever they are, has a monopoly on tensile strength needed to carry the Cardinal? However, I do not know how tensile strength is measured?
Tensile strength is the shear point of the steel.
How wide is the spring you are looking at? Not the thickness of the spring leaf. If it is 1 3/4 inch than the replacement spring would be one of the two I suggested to you, depending on if you wanted to increase the capacity or use the original factory one. I would go with then heavier one as you have seen how the factory short cuts the load factor. I think you are looking at something (tensile strength) that is not what you should be looking at. By looking at the load in pounds that the spring is rated for the strength of the spring is accounted for. I went with the 3400 lb spring and all of my problems have gone. We have now traveled 3700 miles with the new springs and replacement bushings. No unusual tire wear, something that we have had since the very first trip with the unit, of problems. Think I have done what Holiday Rambler could not do. Make it work!!!