This may be a non-issue, but I just don't know. Since the beginning, my Sunline Que has had abnormal tire wear on the inner side of the drivers side tire. I have abot 25,000 miles on the trailer and its Al-Ko torsion axle. Since I don't like unmatchd tires on an axle, I always replace both tires when only one has worn out. In the 25,000 miles I have "used up" two tires on the drivers side. So I contacted Al-Ko about their warranty. It was somewhat difficult to contact them, no one ever returned my phone calls. I did have a nice conversation with one of the "authorized service dealers" listed in the waranty book that came with the trailer. They verbally agreed with me that the camber of the axle was set incorrectly, and advised me to contact the factory. I finally made contact with them through a web-based comment form. The following is the text of my conversations over about a week. I have redacted the name of the dealer, my full name and the state in which I reside.
If others have had better luck with their warranty, I'd like to hear how you handled a claim. As I said in the beginning, I'm not even sure this is their issue, but they certaily don't act like they care.
I have arranged the paragraphs so you can read down through time like a book rather than the reverse mode in normal e-mails.
From: Alko Contact Form [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2010 4:31 PM
Subject: al-kousa.com contact form submission
Comments: I have left a phone message for Pam AAAA. I have an AL-CO 3,500# torsion axle in use since new on a single axle trailer. The left side tire wears out in 8-10,000 miles while the right side shows almost no wear.
I have “used up" two sets of tires this way. The axle serial is 2C6003, and is about 2.5 years old. I have owned the trailer since new, and the wear has been consistent since the first trip. Where do we go from here?
It does not sound like a warranty issue. It appears to be an alignment issue. Alignment is not covered under warranty. If you feel there is a material defect, not just a mis-aligned axle, you can send the axle beamin for warranty inspection freight prepaid. If we do find a manufacturing defect we would cover it as a warranty. If we do not, we would not be abel to anything further. Please let me know what you decide.
Hello, and thank you for responding;
I have measured the axle alignment from center of hitch to each axle side, and find it to be about 1/8 inch difference between sides. I have been told by some RV'ers and the XXXX RV Center that it sounds more like camber which is set by factory. In my discussion with the local XXXX RV Center repair shop (110 miles from me) they recommended a truck alignment shop near their facility that can check camber and alignment. I am willing to take the trailer to them, but I want some assurance that if the camber is indeed off that Al-Ko will, under warranty, pay for the test and pay for the camber adjustment, or replace the axle. If it is alignment, then I will pay for the test and any adjustments.
I have already put $225 in tires on the left side while the right side shows no wear. I have digital photographs of the worn tires if you would like to see them.
Camber is part of alignment. Normally it would not be a warranty issue. If you feel there may be a material defect of some sort, please feel free to send the beams in for consideration.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I know Al-Ko sells thousands of these axles to manufacturers all over the world. I have two trailers, both with torsion axles. One is the single axle 3,500 pound trailer we are discussing here, and the second one is a double axle boat trailer with a weight on the road of 5,000 pounds. The boat trailer has less mileage, but all of the tires show even and identical wear. The axle in question has never been driven over a curb or otherwise abused by me. I cannot see any physical damage to the axle.
It is my understanding that the camber is "bent" into the axle tube during the manufacturing process on torsion axles. The only way to adjust the camber is to use a hydraulic press designed to bend the axle. Could you ask your engineering department to verify whether you or I am right on this camber issue? I am a professional engineer by trade, although my field of licensure is electrical engineering. I have discussed this tire wear issue with my mechanical engineering friends. After viewing the rapid wear on only one tire, and only on one side of the tire, I have been told that it is most likely camber, and that it is bent into the axle by the factory.
This rapid one-sided tire wear has been constant since the trailer was purchased new by me in August 2007. I have attached a photograph of the wear on one of the replaced tires.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Our axles normally have the camber and caster bent into the swing arm, not the axle tube. The tube itself is usually straight. If you feel this is possibly warranty, you are more than welcome to send them in for consideration. Warranty cannot be considered without the product at issue being sent back.
Hello once again,
If I have a problem with a car or truck, I drive to a local shop authorized to look at the situation and make a warranty decision. I don't think taking the axle apart, then dismounting it from the trailer, boxing it up and sending it in (to where) for a diagnosis hidden from my view makes sense. A warranty is supposed to protect me from a product defect and you from needless expense and bad publicity (a-la Toyota). I have no idea what a new axle might cost nor do I have any idea what it might cost to ship the part to wherever your facility is. I have spoken to the XXXX RV Center , (Offers: Light Parts and Service) (from your website) that is an authorized repair facility for Al-Ko products, and they believe it is camber. I am willing to take the trailer to XXXX RV, which is 110 miles from here, but I don't hear even a hint of interest from you (Al-Ko) in stepping up in any way to honor your warranty. It is certainly possible that there is something else wrong with the installation of the axle, but just sending the part into a "black hole" and waiting for a decision just doesn't feel like a real warranty.
Why can't we agree to let XXXX RV handle the administration of the warranty, since they are your authorized distributor?
As stated in the owner's manual you should have received with your trailer, all parts need to be sent in for inspection if warranty is being considered.
As a private party I have no reasonable way to remove the heavy axle and ship it to you. To hire a mechanic and the find a shipper will probably cost as much as a new axle. This tells me that there is effectively no warranty for your large parts. You may be in violation of YYYY State law by implying that you actually do have a warranty. Should we fine out find out?
Al-Ko has not responded to my final comments and veiled threat of my "state law violation". I am contemplating a submission to the State Attorney General for a reading on what a warrranty really is.