Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Odds and Ends...

Spent most of yesterday afternoon, grinding that piece of Angle iron my Yellowstone wannabe welder hung on there a week or so ago, and, smoothing off some of the remaining welds.

Then, I'm re-skinning that floor of the fiver, around the hitch area, to make it quicker and easier to access for fairly frequent inspections of the hitch sub-structure in the future... as it was, it's kind of a pain pulling things out of the way, sufficient to see. It really wasn't made to be taken apart and put back together on a routine basis

... and now I'm gonna be kinda curious to take a look in there once in a while :)

James, the welder who IS a welder, should be getting to this project, some time this week... 

There's been a lot of comment on this, and I've gotten emails from folks with similar problems with their own RV's.

Thought I'd touch on a couple of 'em... might be somebody is gonna see something that might be of help to 'em.

One thing is the continuing discussion 'bout gooseneck or fifth wheel. The reason I chose and went with the gooseneck style hitch is my preference for boondocking, off the Beaten Path. Two of the big benefits of it are first the Main benefit from my perspective; and that is Movement. Fifth wheel hitches are very limited in the amount of side to side 'Tilt' available. Generally only 5 to 7 degrees.

This is important when you're on some narrow back road, or trying to pull into a really sweet camp... but the swing of your trailer means your truck has to go into a bit of a ditch, leaning to the left... while the trailer is still on the other side leaning right...

Now, with a fifth wheel, you hit that 5 or 7 degrees, the hitch locks up... but you tilt hard another few degrees... and... uh ... Ouch! all that twisting torque is now going straight to your truck frame and trailer pin box/frame... NOT a good thing...

With the gooseneck, if you run out of tilt... you probably already laid the trailer on its side. :) ... so, that was my main reason. The second being that you gain a whole lot of space in the bed for camp gear.

My figuring was that the reduction of "off road" frame stress was a greater gain than the increased stress Some think a goose type hitch applies to the pin box, on the road. I still haven't been convinced of that. But, it was/is a weighing of pros and cons, each person is gonna have to make on their own I guess. One thing... it did take ten years, and more miles than most fivers get drug, not overloaded, but with a maximum load, for mine to fail.

There are those that claim my recent excitement was caused by the hitch. I'm of more of the opinion that the Camels Back Breaking Straw was the Modification I had done to the suspension, that was Poorly done, back when the rig was maybe two years old. (it's now 10)

I sure seem to be finding the Poor Quality RV Workmanship don't I? I guess that Murphy fella must have thought I needed more to write about when it comes to RV wish-it-hadn't-happened-that-way sorts of events!

It was, in my opinion, the suspension being locked up for so long, because the shocks were remounted, totally compressed ( a fact hidden by the shrouds on the shocks) that caused accelerated metal fatigue and increased concussion that lead to the eventual hitch failure.That the bad position wasn't found for so long is My Fault. I should have more closely inspected the work, to ensure it was done properly.

That's the danger of taking a shops "Certification" at face value... You still have to check their work! A lot of places get lazy and careless. Check out the work you have done. Make sure it was done correctly. Use me as your Lesson! :)

If I'd not had the axles "flipped" ... I probably wouldn't have had any of this to write about :) or... IF they'd been flipped correctly.

So finally, Ted asked "What is a flipped axle?"

Well, normally, the suspension is arranged with the axle tube on top of the leaf springs.* O * When you "Flip" the axles (an incorrect name, You can't turn the axles over... that would screw up the alignment built into the axles), new spring pads are welded on TOP of the axles. That allows the springs to be moved from under the axle to a new position on top of the axle tube.

The result is that the trailer sits maybe as much as 6 inches higher.

The Reasons for doing it, in my case were two fold.
1. The space between the bottom of the fiver and the top of the truck bed was so close, the top of the truck bed was hitting the trailer, just going down the driveway apron pulling out of a gas station.

and #2, going where we like to go, sometimes, pulling through a low spot, or again, even in parking lot driveways, I'd come close to, or drag the tail of the fiver...

So... lifting the trailer with an "axle flip" gave me the clearance to avoid those issues. Of course, a year or two after flipping, I went to a flat bed and eliminated the truck bed interference anyway :) ... I still, on occasion get the tail awful close to the ground, even sitting as high as she does!

Well, today I've got a lil' fatigue of my own goin' on. Been up in the evenings editing my next Novel; A Pair of Second Chances". Finished that edit last night... or at least I think so. A few more odds and ends to button up on it and then hit the Send button! :)

So, to combat my mental fatigue :) How's that for a witty play on words? :) I'm Gonna go put two wheels on some familiar asphalt today. Kinda blow out the tangles in my brain from the last week or two.

We'll be rolling south, as soon as the repairs are completed... and the tax man is satisfied that he's drawn enough blood :) ... so you folks down on the desert, crank up your air conditioners and open your doors and windows... get that country cooled off for me... I'm a commin'! :)

Puttin' it in the Wind

Return to the main site of goin' RV Boondocking or Visit my Sister website Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road


Anonymous said...

On my motorhomes in had in the past I had the same problem dragging the tail end. In my mist recent one there was a steel roller as wide as the trailer in the back. It was great to have.

Box Canyon Blogger said...

I know you'd rather be blogging mother nature and the good life, but thanks for raising the collective consciousness of your audience about things running amuck where you can't see it happening. Could save a life or injury down the road.