New leaf spring failed on Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-06-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
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New leaf spring failed on Bigfoot

Before I left Alaska in September I had a all-new Dexter straight axle and new spring/hubs/brakes installed locally on my 1989 B17G Bigfoot.

Bigfoot 17 drop to straight axle

I do not know for sure who manufactured the springs but the part number on my invoice, which is LTS 72-09, suggests they may be from Standens.

From day-one the trailer sat a little low on the left (passenger) side (about 1/4-inch) but I figured it would level out if I filled the fresh water tank on the right (driver) side. Even though I rarely tow with the water tank filled, I decided to not make an issue out of the small discrepancy.

But as I drove south to California I noticed the left side getting lower and lower and by the time I reached Southern California, there was over 1-1/2 inches difference from one side to the other! For the record I had very little loaded in the trailer (most of my stuff was in the back of my Tundra pick-up) and the water and holding tanks were all dry on each leg of the journey.

Upon arrival in California, I called the Dexter dealer in Anchorage where I had the work done, gave them some information/measurements, and sent them photos of both sides underneath. The agreed that the left spring failed and is losing its arc and agreed to ship me a new one under warranty, although I'll have to install it myself.

I'm grateful to them for standing behind the product with no hassles but I'm baffled that a brand new leaf spring could start failing from day one like this. Makes me a bit concerned about the quality of the components I put under this thing. The dealer says that although it's rare, he has seen new leaf springs fail before. I don't know how sincere that comment is but it does little to boost my confidence in the product itself.

Has anyone else ever seen or heard of a new trailer leaf failing so quickly?
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:47 PM   #2
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I'm not all that surprised. It probably missed a process somewhere along the line.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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Imported Springs

My son bought a set of leaf springs to build a trailer for hauling firewood.
After hauling 4 or 5 loads of wood the fender on one side was now rubbing on the tire. We took the spring back to N__ _ rthern E__ __ ipment and were told "What did you expect from something made in C__ __ina " I believe Jared is correct in that a few steps in the manufacturing process were skipped along the way
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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LOL, I would reply "I expect you not to sell junk!"
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:16 PM   #5
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As others have said things can go wrong in the manufacturing process on pretty well any product. I know someone who had a issue with a brand new dexter axle, the trailer was pretty new so the manufacture changed out the axle right away to correct the issues, it didnt correct it..... on further examination both axles had been mismanufactured & were out of the same batch .... third axle different from different batch worked like a charm.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:05 AM   #6
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Standen's is a very reputable company with very high quality control standards (I have deat with Standen's as a supplier for many years). As mentioned nothing can be 100%, it could be as simple as a slight flaw or contaminate in the steel stock they receive, this flaw concentrates the forces going through the spring and it can break.

I am sorry to hear that this happened to your trailer, but I am sure the replacement spring from Standen's will last.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:34 PM   #7
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I received the replacement leaf spring yesterday (Friday) so this morning I moved the trailer into place, put it up on jack stands, and dropped the left side of the axle to replace the leaf.

The replacement leaf has totally different markings than the one that failed, but neither reflect the number on the invoice. The first photo shows the replacement leaf installed. Pretty simple, only took about an hour start to finish and much of that was spent digging through my roll-away looking for the right size SAE sockets and wrenches that I haven't used in over a decade.

The height is now exactly where it was when I first had the axle replaced two months ago. Measured across the back bumper, it sits about 1/4 lower on the left side. Measured from the top of the axle tube to the bottom of the frame rail it is 3-1/8 inches on the right, and 3 inches on the left, a reasonable difference of only 1/8-inch. But this is exactly where I started when all of the suspension stuff was new in September so we'll see if it lasts.

I looked at the leaf that failed after I removed it and sure enough, it is clearly marked as being made in China. I don't believe Standens manufactures in China but who really knows? Even if they don't, it's entirely possible they use Chinese-made steel. Nonetheless, it doesn't appear that this failed spring is a Standens part. We'll see how the replacement holds up.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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I just noticed something else that may be a factor in this whole issue.

The rebound clip (clamp) on the replacement leaf goes around all three leaves, which is how the one my dealer installed on the right side of the trailer is too. The leaf that failed only has the clip around two leaves. I never noticed the difference between the left and right springs they installed until I compared the replacement that was sent with the one that failed. Perhaps the left and right springs originally installed came from different manufacturers?

Here's a pic of the one that failed (top) versus the new replacement (bottom) plus a shot of the spring they installed on the right (passenger) side in September. As you can see both the replacement and the right-side springs have the rebound clip around all three leaves. I've asked the dealer to tell me who manufactures these springs. Whether I get an answer or not remains to be seen.
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IMG_6955_900px.jpg   right_side_02_900px.jpg  

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Old 11-27-2013, 09:19 PM   #9
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Just a follow up. My dealer says they sell EMCO leaf springs although they are perplexed as to the origin of the one they installed on my trailer that failed. It is clearly not an EMCO spring, nor does it match the other spring they installed or the replacement they sent.

..:: Welcome to EMCO Industries ::..
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:44 PM   #10
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springs

Quote:
Originally Posted by trainjunkie View Post
I just noticed something else that may be a factor in this whole issue.

The rebound clip (clamp) on the replacement leaf goes around all three leaves, which is how the one my dealer installed on the right side of the trailer is too. The leaf that failed only has the clip around two leaves. I never noticed the difference between the left and right springs they installed until I compared the replacement that was sent with the one that failed. Perhaps the left and right springs originally installed came from different manufacturers?

Here's a pic of the one that failed (top) versus the new replacement (bottom) plus a shot of the spring they installed on the right (passenger) side in September. As you can see both the replacement and the right-side springs have the rebound clip around all three leaves. I've asked the dealer to tell me who manufactures these springs. Whether I get an answer or not remains to be seen.
Look around your area for a frame shop they can re arch the spring. I had Bigfoot springs redone and they added new leafs to the spring. Possibly the one the dealer supplied was made in China?
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:15 PM   #11
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Unhappy This is why I no longer eat Mandarin oranges.

Just try to buy canned Mandarin oranges that do not come from China.
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