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Old 12-13-2010, 07:06 AM   #1
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hokiecampers
Check you spring hangers!

When arriving at our campsite at Claytor Lake State Park in VA with our 264SR Thanksgiving weekend, we discovered that the left rear spring hanger had broken loose from the frame, allowing the left rear tire to contact the left front tire. This must have occured just before arriving at the campground because I had felt no change in towing characteristics and the only damage was excess tire wear on left rear. We were able to get a truck repair shop to come to the campground and weld the hanger sides back to the frame (a patch job) in order to get home. Has anyone else had this problem?
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:54 AM   #2
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Oh jeez...you were lucky. We haven't had that problem, but we spent the week before Thanksgiving 2007 and the week of T'giving 2008 at Claytor Lake! Isn't it wonderful when it's empty like that? I'm sorry we weren't there to meet you this year! The same hosts were there both years. Their names escape me, but they have a Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel, and a case of 2 Buck Chuck (wine) that they like to share You might recognize site #40 is where my signature picture was taken!
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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Hi Hokie

A broken spring hanger is for sure a problem.... I have had them bend from sharp turns but not break.

Would you happen to have a picture of where it broke? Trying to learn if the weld cracked off leaving a U shaped hanger loose or the physical hanger cracked in 2. One points more to an original welding problem at ass'y by the frame builder the other an actual component failure.

Do you do much off road traveling to camp? If so there are some mods that can be done to stiffen up the suspenion to take those twists and turns not common with highway towing.

John
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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Both sides of the spring hanger broke at the 90 degree bend and were still attached to the spring. The top part of the hanger was still attached to the frame. Sorry, but I didn't think to take any pictures.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiecampers View Post
Both sides of the spring hanger broke at the 90 degree bend and were still attached to the spring. The top part of the hanger was still attached to the frame. Sorry, but I didn't think to take any pictures.
Hokie

I can relate to that explanation. And

I'm trying to think how that was even created on the left rear hanger. The front spring hangers take the abuse in tight turns and I have seen them bend from that. The rear hangers take the abuse in turns too but I have not noticed it as bad as the front. The rear tire sort of gets dragged around the turn on the inside and the outside turn get's pushed. Same as the front axle just the arc of turn is a lot bigger so less stress.

When they made the hanger if the bend radius was too tight that can create high stress in the bend and even start a rip of the metal generally seen at the edges. I would not think this to be the case although not impossible as I'm sure they have a forming die to stamp these things out by the thousands.

For those following along see these 2 pics of my stock frame setup.




On mine I have 5" long hangers. They really hang down and make the hanger more susceptible to bending. Your T264SR may have the same thing as the frames I'm sure are similar both being 2004 models.

This much I will say, without knowing more or seeing the hanger before it was re-welded on it is going to be hard to nail down a root cause. But this much I do know. Check the lower flange of the I beam where the hanger meets the flange. That flange is very thin and the hanger twists the flange a lot in turns. The forces involved to crack a hanger are such that there may have been twisting going on the lower I beam flange.

If you are going back to a weld shop to have a new hanger installed, ask them to do a dye penetrate test on the I beam flange area by the hanger. It is a test for cracks. They clean the metal real well, spray on red deep penetrating dye that seeps into the cracks if there is any. Then they wipe off the excess and spray on a developer that makes the dye in the crack show up real easy. EMD_Driver here on the forum recovered a 2004 T299SR from salvage that had rolled over in an accident. During the roll over, either the accident or the tow truck flipping it back over, ripped the I beam flange at the rear or front spring hangers. Can't remember which one. So enough force to break a hanger of could have issues on the I beam flange.

Your failure may have occurred in 2 steps. One side cracked and may not have been totally separated yet. However the other side is now taking all the load flexing back and forth and soon that heavy flexing will crack it. Once it gets to the point the one good side can no longer hold the turn side loads into the hanger, that side will crack off. Looking for rust in the crack can be signs of it happening over time or no rust may point to an all at once failure.

Something else just came to mind. When I was at the Buttonwood M & G 2 years ago I was talking with Art, (Art and Jan at Buttonwood) do not know his last name and I do not believe he has a screen name here on SOC. However he has a 2004 T264SR and we where talking about all his mods. He had several leaf spring breaks and a center spring hanger issue. He took the camper back to Sunline and I saw the added gussets they welded on at the center spring hanger. Do not know why this is unique to the 264SR but he had the issues. May have been there just was not added support to start with.

Now mine is also a 2004 but it rated at 10,000# GVWR where yours is 8,600#. They both have the same I beam frame however on mine I had a center gusset on the equalizer hanger from the factory. See here


And a better close up


That 1/4" thick by 2" wide flat bar welded in on and angle stiffens up the lower I beam flange a lot. Arts 264 had angle iron welded in the I beam flange to stiffen it up. They obviously did not have the flat bar at an angle on his.

I have since reinforced all my hangers and the center equalizer area. Part of this was driven by tire clearance from the Dexter EZ flex I had to create the other part due to bending the hangers in turns on this camper.

See here what I added. The equalizer area






Front and rear hangers I put a long piece of flat bar on like the center hanger and I added a tube between the hanger to stiffen it up.






I will this spring also add the cross tube on the front and rear hangers.

Hope this helps and report back anything you find out. It helps the rest of us.

John
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for the good info. This will be helpful when permanent repairs are made.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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Glad to help Hokie. Also curious if yours has any extra support on the center equalizer hanger. If there is nothing there, it will not take the weld shop much to add the gussets.

Thanks

John
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:05 PM   #8
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Great info. I'll check all that before we head south to Texas in Jan. Very impressive job John!!
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