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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > OVERLOADED REAR AXLE OR TOO CLOSE TO IT

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WOODYDEL

NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 05:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've got a 2007 Four Winds Hurricane model 31H which I bought nearly new from the original owner two years ago. From the day I bought it the motorhome has sat too low to the ground in the rear. Being new to class A motorhomes I did not let it bother me. Now with 24K miles behind me I realize that being too low in the back is not good. I decided to install Firestone or Air Lift air bags to bring the motorhome back up to level. I contacted Four Winds to ask advice prior to purchasing air bags. Their opinion was that the springs might have lost their camber. Though I wasn't sure camber was the proper word to use instead of simply saying the springs sagged I decided to go ahead with my purchase the air bags

Both companies claim about a 1-2 hr installation time so I'm thinking this is going to be a quick fix. Not so. Seems both companies don't make their kits fit any Thor/Four Winds motorhome with the Ford F53 18,000 lb chassis. Their claim was that Thor had the audacity to place the mounting clips for the body too close to where the air bag kits install. Mind you that Ford has two holes in the chassis which both of these companies utilize for locating the top brackets. Ford does not provide these holes for their use by these companies. The holes are for Ford's use.

Though I pointed out to both companies that the better place to mount the bags was over the axle and not onto the spring in front of the axle neither would provide me with a lower bracket which could be mounted directly over the axle.

So now I getting really hot about this and contact Ford. Ford states that it is common for motorhome manufacturers to overload axles by improper placement of motorhome components. This contradicted what Four Winds stated to me 1 1/2 years ago. Four Winds stated that all components of the motorhome including their placement must be approved by Ford prior to manufacture.

I took my motorhome to a certified scale registered with the DMV in NY state today.

My vehicle has an 18K chassis limit. My total weight of 15,680 lbs seemed to be reasonable. So what's the problem? My rear axle is rated for 11,000 lbs and my motorhome completely empty and with only 3/4 tank of gas weighed 10,340 lbs.!

So let's make believe that I tow a trailer with a 500 lb permissible tongue weight.. I cannot enter to load my motorhome without maxing out my rear axle. "No dear, you cannot come as we are overloaded as soon as your feet hit the steps!?"

Now I don't tow a trailer but I do need clothes, food, bikes, tools, camping gear, fishing gear etc. You know, all that usual stuff we all bring with us. What about my son and his wife? What about my two grand kids and their bikes? What about our bikes?

Something must be done. The motorhome manufacturer should have selected the next heavier chassis setup. The next axle up from 11,000 is 13,500. I can't fix this without spending a huge amount of money. Heavier springs and air bags won't fix a mistake made when this motorhome was designed. I think the motorhome manufacturer owes me and others a fix. It does not matter whether the owner is the "original" owner. Same as a defect in automobiles does not exclude subsequent owners to the original owner.

I'm expected a reply. They asked for side view pictures and the certified weight slip.

I'm sure I'm not the only one in this predicament. I'm sure there are many ignorant of the facts so they don't complain. Others think that motorhomes are supposed to be money pits to fix what was done incorrectly at the factory. Either way, this happy camper is looking for a FREE FIX.

More To See

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Posted: 07/13/10 06:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have just described a dirty little secret of the motorhome industry regarding overweight rigs. Every manufacturer has built such rigs over the years. And not just an occasional model. There are lots of them on the road.


95 Winnebago Vectra 34 (P30/454)

topflite51

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Posted: 07/13/10 06:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was told a couple of years ago by a suspension specialist that the only difference in the F 53 chassis from 2000 and up was the size of the springs used. I have never attempted to verify the veracity of this statement. If you receive no help from the manufacturer, which you probably won't, you might consider taking it to a frame specialist for upgrading. Heavier springs will not be that expensive, having replaced a few in my career.


">David
Just rolling along enjoying life
w/F53 Southwind towing a 87 Samurai or 01 Grand Vitara looking to fish
Simply Despicable ">
Any errors are a result of CRS.">

Fishinghat

Western Washington, USA

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Posted: 07/13/10 08:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Woodydel, you just discovered something many others had found out AFTER they bought their new "toy". That is, manufacturers save costs and make more money by using a chassis that is just strong enough to hold the weight of an unloaded coach.

Manufacturers are required to post a weight limit slip inside every coach in addition to the sticker provided by the chassis manufacturer that is near the driver's seat. Sometimes the other weight slip is in the kitchen sink cabinet, bathroom cabinet, or back bedroom clothes closet. It is generally glued on to the wall or door.


Holiday Rambler Navigator DP, Hummer, and Honda VT1100C Shadow


WOODYDEL

NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 08:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, this is what I am going or what I have already done. Now get this! There is a book this manufacturer got from Ford entitled BODY BUILDERS LAYOUT BOOK. I downloaded it from https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/non-html/2007/bb_pdf/2007bblb.pdf

This book has a section concerning my year,2007, F53 chassis. In this section of the book it states this:

2. The weight of the basic vehicle plus the sum of the

weights of:

(a) additions to the basic vehicle (body and

equipment),

(b) other cargo,

(c) fuel sufficient to fill all tanks, and

(d) the maximum number of occupants, at 150 lb

per occupant

must not exceed the GVWR of the vehicle as

specified on the incomplete vehicle label attached

to the IVM and must be distributed so that neither

the front or rear GAWR (as specified on the

Incomplete Vehicle label) is exceeded. Also see

the IVM for further instructions. All heavy

equipment installed by the body builder should be

placed as close to the floor as practical to maintain

a minimum vertical center of gravity. Side-to-side

loading should be as symmetrical as possible

about the vehicle longitudinal centerline to prevent

vehicle lean and adverse steering and braking

characteristics.


This is what I'm intending to use against them. They have violated the rules Ford set up when the chassis's were sold to them.

It's impossible for me to take advantage of the supposed minimum of 3000 lbs. cargo carrying unless maybe if I stuff all of my stuff under my sofa.

All F53 axles and springs are not the same. You can look that up from the Ford spec sheets.

Changing springs will do absolutely nothing to help. Adding helpers/air bags do nothing. When the axle is overloaded it can fail and there is no place good for that to happen. This topsy turvy side to side rocking is due to a loaded to the max rear suspension.

Ford was right about the manufacturer overloading the axle and tomorrow I will enlist their help.

Bruce Brown

Northern NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 09:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOODYDEL wrote:

My rear axle is rated for 11,000 lbs and my motorhome completely empty and with only 3/4 tank of gas weighed 10,340 lbs.!

I think the motorhome manufacturer owes me and others a fix. Either way, this happy camper is looking for a FREE FIX.

Why do they owe you a thing? Sure it's tight on specs, but it's within the specs. I hate to be the first to say this, but your lack of proper shopping isn't their problem. I know it sux, but it is what it is...sorry for the tough and harsh lesson.


There are 24 hours in every day - it all depends on how you choose to use them.
Bruce & Jill Brown
2008 Kountry Star Pusher 3910


randallb

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Posted: 07/13/10 09:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One other road block you will run into is that you are not the original purchaser. Their reply will be that they did not sell you the RV therefore they have no liability. You can sue but you will most likely lose.
Randy

WOODYDEL

NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 09:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fishinghat wrote:

Woodydel, you just discovered something many others had found out AFTER they bought their new "toy". That is, manufacturers save costs and make more money by using a chassis that is just strong enough to hold the weight of an unloaded coach.

Manufacturers are required to post a weight limit slip inside every coach in addition to the sticker provided by the chassis manufacturer that is near the driver's seat. Sometimes the other weight slip is in the kitchen sink cabinet, bathroom cabinet, or back bedroom clothes closet. It is generally glued on to the wall or door.



What they posted is not what I got. Another problem is this: They do not state how much weight in over the front and rear axle as built. Just to prove my point take a look at Winnebago's site. I absolutely think the Sightseer 37L is a great layout. Better than any I've seen for any amount of money. However, try to find out how much it can carry on the specs. You won't find it unless they added it after my email inquiry to them. If you read Motorhome you will remember the Winnebago Adventurer review this year. Did you notice the review stated the OCCC was 880 lbs?!! What?

I emailed Winnebago about this and they replied thusly:

Adventurer 37F Ford
Maximum Cargo Carrying Capacity - 3,635
Minimum Cargo Carrying Capacity - 2,969

That's not what the MOTORHOME review says!

What I'm finding out is I might be smarter than the people I'm talking to at the manufacturer (Thor/Four Winds).

WOODYDEL

NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 09:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

randallb wrote:

One other road block you will run into is that you are not the original purchaser. Their reply will be that they did not sell you the RV therefore they have no liability. You can sue but you will most likely lose.
Randy



Once I prove what they have done it won't matter if I'm the original owner. Just as it doesn't matter with a car defect or deficiency. This is not a truck. It is a personal motor vehicle just like a car. I'm hoping they will want to shut me up. The NHTSA might even be interested once made aware of the problem in the right way.

No manufacturer has the right to ignore proper design criteria. They will not be able to claim no knowledge of the proper guidelines. Ford made them aware long ago.

That's negligence.

WOODYDEL

NY

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Posted: 07/13/10 09:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bruce Brown wrote:

WOODYDEL wrote:

My rear axle is rated for 11,000 lbs and my motorhome completely empty and with only 3/4 tank of gas weighed 10,340 lbs.!

I think the motorhome manufacturer owes me and others a fix. Either way, this happy camper is looking for a FREE FIX.

Why do they owe you a thing? Sure it's tight on specs, but it's within the specs. I hate to be the first to say this, but your lack of proper shopping isn't their problem. I know it sux, but it is what it is...sorry for the tough and harsh lesson.



Read FORD'S OWN WORDS. This is not my first time trying to get through all the bull.

Tell me this, WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO PUT THE 3000 PLUS POUNDS OF CARGO? I took this rig to Alaska and back last year. The entire time I was overloaded in the rear!!! I sure a heck did not have 3000 lbs of stuff with me.

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