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  • Axle hangers repair

    I have been meaning to post this for some time. We have a Reflection 2017 27RL. After returning from our annual two month trip to the southwest from north Idaho, I was making some repairs to the wiring in the underbelly (another post) and nonchalantly looked up to my leaf spring hangers. I was horrified. I truly don't know how I made it home. I called Lippert and explained the problem and they notified me that the frame was still under warranty and that I should get a mobile welder to make the repairs and send them the bill. The technician indicated that this has been a problem and that Grand Design is now adding a v-support in the hangers to strengthen them. I went to a dealership and took pictures of what he was talking about so I could show the welder. The welder did not want to replace the hangers because of the substantial extra work involved but said his welds would hold better than the original hangers so he welded the cracks and installed the v-supports. He mentioned that it was odd that the square tube between the hanger and the frame was a smaller guage steel than the frame and the hanger. I had him scab on a piece of steel attaching the hanger directly to the frame. I made the repairs to the front and back hangers but not the middle, reasoning that the middle hangers do not get near as much side to side torque as the front and back. I am so thankful that I inspected the hangers and made it home safely. I will post the repair pictures in the next post.

  • #2
    Here are the pictures of the repair. Note the v-support is on both sides of the hanger. You can see the smaller guage of steel in the square tube spacer between the hanger and the frame. Probably not a good design. I ended up replacing all of the wet bolts and bronze bushings, I was worried about the heat created by the welding, even though the welder sprayed the welds with water. Lippert admitted the tremendous amount of torque on the hangers when turning and backing. Especially on the rear ones.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are lots of theories on reinforcing the spring hangers. Most (all?) of the broken hangers are the rear ones. This is because the standard suspension lifts the front axle during braking and overloads the rear. Reinforcing the hangers has to allow for the sloppy tolerances of the design. When LCI adds a V brace to a hanger, they only weld the inner leg on one side and the outer leg on the other. This is to allow flex in the hanger for the hanger to deform enough for the nut to torque against the shoulder of the bolt as it is designed to do. A “fully boxed” hanger will not allow this. See further discussion and pictures in this thread. https://gdrvowners.com/forum/operati...ension-upgrade

      Rob
      Cate & Rob
      (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
      2015 Reflection 303RLS
      2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
      Bayham, Ontario, Canada

      Comment


      • #4
        rpkramer --wow-- yet another reason for owners to crawl under their campers to do inspections pre-and-post trip. Thanks for the very good and informative pictures.
        Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

        2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmm, Rob I see what you are saying and I looked at the picture that I took of a GD Solitude and yes that one looks like it is only welded on one side. There is still two inches of hanger below the braces I had installed so some bending is still possible...is that not enough for the bending to happen to get the correct torque on the wet bolt? Doesn't the one sided brace still prevent the hanger to bend only at the part below the brace?

          Comment


          • #6
            Trailer suspension is incredibly “sloppy”. The tolerances are many times what would be considered acceptable in truck suspension. The important thing is that the nut comes up against the shoulder of the bolt and still has a slip fit to the hanger. If the nut reaches torque against the hanger, the motion of the suspension will loosen the nut.

            Rob
            Cate & Rob
            (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
            2015 Reflection 303RLS
            2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
            Bayham, Ontario, Canada

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rpkramer View Post
              Hmm, Rob I see what you are saying and I looked at the picture that I took of a GD Solitude and yes that one looks like it is only welded on one side. There is still two inches of hanger below the braces I had installed so some bending is still possible...is that not enough for the bending to happen to get the correct torque on the wet bolt? Doesn't the one sided brace still prevent the hanger to bend only at the part below the brace?
              @Cate&Rob - I”m a little confused here too. I reviewed the other post that you noted, as well as reviewing the photos. I”m getting ready to have the same repair completed on my 303. It appears to me, from what I’m reading, that the “v-clip” is too wide to begin with. Would grinding down the width of the clip take care of the issue?

              If the clip is too wide, I don’t see where only welding part of each side corrects the issue. It looks to me like the clip would still force the hanger to be held out too wide and the wet bolt, when tightened down, would draw the hanger in at the bottom, forming a slight “C”-shape to the overall hanger.

              I’m probably not explaining this very well at this late hour, but I’m a little lost in the details.


              Thanks,

              Tom
              Tom and Janice (also known as Richter on the “Other” forum)

              First came the 18' Comfort bumper-pull, was great for 20 years.
              Now a 2019 Reflection 303RLS, second air, double glass, table and chairs
              2019 F350 Lariat 4x4 Crewcab with lots of goodies
              Andersen aluminum with the puck system holding it all together
              Cranberry Twp. PA, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh

              Comment


              • #8
                Tom in PGH

                Hi Tom,

                The V clip does need to be narrower than the hanger for it to allow the hanger to bend to the correct width for the nut and bolt. To reinforce both sides of the hanger, the reinforcement is welded to one side on the forward half and the other side on the aft half. This is going to induce some amount of "twist" in the hanger as the nut is tightened, but the tolerances in the design are so sloppy that this does not seem to matter. One important caveat in this discussion is that the V clip reinforcement is needed only in the LCI tall hangers which are no longer used on most trailers.

                Attached is some information that I put together several years ago when we were in the thick of sorting out a solution to tall hangers that were breaking. Subsequent to this, LCI began installing V clip reinforcements into the hangers on Solitudes and using shorter hangers on other models.

                Rob

                Spring Hanger Reinforcement.pdf
                Cate & Rob
                (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
                2015 Reflection 303RLS
                2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
                Bayham, Ontario, Canada

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cate&Rob Rob, is there a measurement for the long hangers? Trying to determine if I have long or short as they appear quite long to me.
                  Joseph
                  Tow
                  Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                  Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                  South of Houston Texas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jlawles2
                    Hi Joseph,

                    There are a number of different hangers used by LCI at different times. The tallest hangers were used with the "Correct Track" alignment adjustment system that has been discontinued. (No dealers would invest in the laser measuring system that LCI devised to go with this adjustment system . . . but, I digress) Attached is a drawing that I made of the 5" tall hangers used on my 2015 Reflection. The hangers used on your 2021 are quite likely a different height.

                    Rob

                    Correct Track Hanger.pdf
                    Cate & Rob
                    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
                    2015 Reflection 303RLS
                    2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
                    Bayham, Ontario, Canada

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cate&Rob Thanks.

                      I measured my hangers. 4" OAH 3-1/4" to bolt, 3" plate width, 2-1/4" os-os leaving about 1-3/4" is-iks for spring, and approx 1/4" wall thickness.

                      Wonder if these classify as Tall still. Want to add the brace on them as they do look a bit on the high side for my liking. Also I do have a hard cut to get the trailer parked in the drive off the street, so any additional bracing will not hurt to prevent fatigue from flexing.

                      Attached Files
                      Joseph
                      Tow
                      Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                      Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                      South of Houston Texas

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jlawles2

                        It is interesting that the inside dimension of your hangers is 1 3/4" . . . this would be a better fit to the spring eye bushings than my hangers which are 2" wide. But . . . if you measure this at the bottom of the hanger, this may be compressed by the bolt. Does the width measure 1 3/4" at the top of the hanger where it is welded to the frame?

                        Rob
                        Cate & Rob
                        (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
                        2015 Reflection 303RLS
                        2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
                        Bayham, Ontario, Canada

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cate&Rob Measured about in the middle. It looks fairly parallel.

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Joseph
                          Tow
                          Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                          Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                          South of Houston Texas

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Click image for larger version

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                            I opted for the "boxed" method when I installed wet bolts, CRE3000, and x-factor on the center hangers. Even though the boxed method is not recommended by many I feel it is a stronger solution. 11,000 miles and I am still happy with the "problem free" upgrades. I will probably inspect and/or replace the bushings after this season.
                            Mike and Karen
                            2021 2600RB
                            2011 Tundra 5.7 DC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cate&Rob View Post
                              Tom in PGH

                              Hi Tom,

                              The V clip does need to be narrower than the hanger for it to allow the hanger to bend to the correct width for the nut and bolt. To reinforce both sides of the hanger, the reinforcement is welded to one side on the forward half and the other side on the aft half. This is going to induce some amount of "twist" in the hanger as the nut is tightened, but the tolerances in the design are so sloppy that this does not seem to matter. One important caveat in this discussion is that the V clip reinforcement is needed only in the LCI tall hangers which are no longer used on most trailers.

                              Attached is some information that I put together several years ago when we were in the thick of sorting out a solution to tall hangers that were breaking. Subsequent to this, LCI began installing V clip reinforcements into the hangers on Solitudes and using shorter hangers on other models.

                              Rob

                              [ATTACH]n91827[/ATTACH]
                              Rob, my hangers are right at 4” to the hole for the wet bolt, so I think that they would be classified at “tall”. I’ll have to measure the width in the morning. If they are 2” inside width, then I probably need to go with the “modified welding plan” where, as you’ve described, only half of each hanger is actually welded in place for each side and the other half of each side is left free to flex or float. If it is closer to 1.75” inside width, then a solid and full weld would probably be better. Am I understanding all of this correctly and do I have it right?

                              Thanks,

                              Tom
                              Tom and Janice (also known as Richter on the “Other” forum)

                              First came the 18' Comfort bumper-pull, was great for 20 years.
                              Now a 2019 Reflection 303RLS, second air, double glass, table and chairs
                              2019 F350 Lariat 4x4 Crewcab with lots of goodies
                              Andersen aluminum with the puck system holding it all together
                              Cranberry Twp. PA, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh

                              Comment

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