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Made in USA leaf springs


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On the way home from the SW this year, I had the pleasure of experiencing a broken LR leaf spring while underway.  It broke in the usual place (see pic).  Fortunately the broken spring was noticed quickly and I found a safe place to overnight and perform the repair the next day.  Unfortunately, I was not carrying a spare spring. After finding a pair of springs locally and installing them I made it home the next day. What I found when inspecting my broken spring was what appeared to be a defect in the steel (see pic). In no way do I blame Oliver for this failure as the trailer spring market is monopolized by Springs made of Chinese steel and Oliver, like all other manufacturers source from the same pool of components.  In fact, after opening a service ticket, Mike was extremely helpful in getting me the specs and info I needed. 
 

I decided that once I got the trailer home I would replace all four springs with the best springs I could find. Preferably from a US company, made in the US and with US made 5160 spring steel. What I did not appreciate was that there did not appear to be any trailer parts sources which met this criteria. This was not proving to be a simple task. Everything I could find in the RV aftermarket was sourced from China. No exceptions. The only good news I found was that Chinese springs are cheap ($35-55ea). 
 

I remembered a Spring Company from my offroading days and gave them a call. They had a set of four springs which fit the measurements provided by Oliver Service and were made in the US with US 5160 spring steel. Cost is $150/ea spring but since I had already spent a fair amount of $ upgrading to stainless lugnuts and US made Timken bearings this did not prevent me from placing the order for a set of four springs and new ubolts.  New springs should be here later this week. 
 

I will update with pics once I get the springs and also once I install and of course again after towing a few thousand miles. 

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2021 Elite II, Hull# 898

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Interesting too that it appears as though the one that broke was on the street side.

Certainly it does appear that the steel simply doesn't look right.

Bill

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If you don’t mind, please share the information on where you purchased your new USA made springs. Last year I purchased two replacement springs from Dexter along with new U bolts and nuts, wrapped the springs and carry them in the truck just in case. 

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29 minutes ago, mountainoliver said:

If you don’t mind, please share the information on where you purchased your new USA made springs. Last year I purchased two replacement springs from Dexter along with new U bolts and nuts, wrapped the springs and carry them in the truck just in case. 

I most certainly will. Waiting to see and touch them first and confirm the measurements and specs are right (should be no issue). Once I have confirmed this I will share the info and contact details. 

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2021 Elite II, Hull# 898

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Thank you for the information. You are at least the fourth Oliver owner to have broken springs. Some trailers are newer and some have been older so certain ages of trailers don’t (at least so far) seem to be more or less prone to failure. Also as you stated, this is not an Oliver issue in any way. I believe that all trailers of any make are prone to spring failures. 

Edited by mountainoliver
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3 hours ago, topgun2 said:

Interesting too that it appears as though the one that broke was on the street side.

Certainly it does appear that the steel simply doesn't look right.

Bill

The curb side rear spring was in the process of failing as well. Starting to flatten with the rearward end starting to invert. 
 

I have attached the tag from the springs on my trailer.  According to Oliver, they are made by Emco  7C164B67-BE0E-47B2-A804-2BDA440669E2.thumb.jpeg.8ad1677331f387d5f4a6c92e88d49be9.jpeg

7BE86E8C-4943-45BB-B56C-90F1FA8E59E7.jpeg

29AF4996-AE0E-4CE4-B686-6A01B5229AFF.jpeg

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2021 Elite II, Hull# 898

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3 hours ago, routlaw said:

Another reason for Oliver to change their suspension system maybe? Just saying. 

YES

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1 hour ago, ScubaRx said:

Another reason for Oliver to change their suspension system maybe? Just saying. 

Coil springs would be nice. 

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9 hours ago, mountainoliver said:

You are at least the fourth Oliver owner to have broken springs

Suggest starting a list of hull numbers, Month & Year MFG, trailer miles, and predominant use type (RV Parks, Boondocking, Off Road).

GJ

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DIY’s: Timken Bearings, BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DIY’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all, installed Ham Radio (WH6JPR).

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6 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

Coil springs would be nice. 

They would make height adjustments to gain more spring travel a lot easier!

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21 minutes ago, Geronimo John said:

Suggest starting a list of hull numbers, Month & Year MFG, trailer miles, and predominant use type (RV Parks, Boondocking, Off Road).

GJ

I've personally seen 10 trailers with one or more broken.

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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50 minutes ago, MAX Burner said:

How about an individually adjustable pneumatic airbag type suspension for Ollie?  

No axles - lighter, smoother ride - less damage to OTT and components, no more broken leaf springs, more ground clearance by adjusting air pressure, enhanced braking, and "drum roll" please.... no more zerks!

...screenshot taken from an earlier thread on "Aussie Quality RVs":

Screenshot2024-03-06at6_20_07AM.thumb.png.d1369f98e9b46998c977b21d85bcd6a9.png

....just say'n

Keep in mind that four wheel alignment becomes a periodic maintenance requirement with independent suspension. There's always trade offs so depending on your style of camping. Also there are a lot of other possible fail points with that system. It's a very complex system. I wander what the cost of a conversion would be?

Edit: PS - The beauty of the current suspension is you can pick up replacement parts rather cheap, albeit not lifetime quality, at any local farm store and be back on the road in hours. The high end suspension would likely require sourcing parts long distance that would have at least a few days lead time. I think I would be hard pressed to consider this type of upgrade. 

Edited by Ollie-Haus
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@Ollie-Haus - agree with your assessment.  The tradeoffs would need to be thoroughly evaluated for a particular owner's camping needs, for sure.  Just thinking that a world-class travel trailer like the OTT would be better served with a world class suspension such as earlier discussed and presented in the Peregrine video.  We haven't done an analysis at the PRO/CON level - but we would definitely be interested in examining a suspension such as the ATX (designed for the Aussie Outback) for our rig.  

Price Point?  The Lippert air suspension starts north of $2,100, for example.

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A different suspension design would be great going forward but I doubt that it actually could be retrofitted at a reasonable cost. Right now I’d be happy with USA made springs. That small change could make a huge difference. Maybe Oliver could start buying just the axle assemblies from Dexter and springs from a different manufacturer. I know that none of the other mainstream trailer manufacturers would ever do anything so bold or even consider out of the box thinking but Oliver often thinks out of the box, that’s the very reason we have such a great trailer and they’re in such high demand!

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6 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

They would make height adjustments to gain more spring travel a lot easier!

…or this, see around time stamp 15:20. The Aussies know how to make a quality trailer!

 

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1 hour ago, mountainoliver said:

A different suspension design would be great going forward but I doubt that it actually could be retrofitted at a reasonable cost. Right now I’d be happy with USA made springs. That small change could make a huge difference. Maybe Oliver could start buying just the axle assemblies from Dexter and springs from a different manufacturer. I know that none of the other mainstream trailer manufacturers would ever do anything so bold or even consider out of the box thinking but Oliver often thinks out of the box, that’s the very reason we have such a great trailer and they’re in such high demand!

This is the direction I would like to see as well.  One of the US Spring manufacturers (St. Louis Spring) said they would replicate the springs on my E2 with USA sourced 5160 spring steel if I would send them a new one to copy.  Knowing what I know now, I certainly would have paid a premium at time of purchase of my Oliver for USA made springs.  I would like to see Oliver investigate this path.  Now that they are at dealers, it would certainly further set them apart from the rest sitting on Chinese suspension.  I cringe now knowing that my trailer went 25,000 miles supported by a $150 set of springs (again, not Oliver's fault.  The entire RV components industry has gone to the cheapest possible cost model without regard to quality or safety).  

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6 hours ago, Ollie-Haus said:

Edit: PS - The beauty of the current suspension is you can pick up replacement parts rather cheap, albeit not lifetime quality, at any local farm store and be back on the road in hours

I recall from a relatively recent post that the spring length's are not one of the common standardly stocked kind.  Something about Mr. Oliver wanted to shrink the distance between axles to reduce tire scrubbing during maneuvers or something like that.....

GJ

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DIY’s: Timken Bearings, BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DIY’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all, installed Ham Radio (WH6JPR).

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6 hours ago, rich.dev said:

…or this, see around time stamp 15:20. The Aussies know how to make a quality trailer!

Per the video, the Zone 19 footer checks in loaded at 7,000 pounds.  Our OE2's typically are about 6,000 pounds.  I bet much of the Zone's extra weight is the suspension.  

Somehow could we get air bags under our's?  That alone would make a huge difference.  Has OTT considered such an option?  is it even possible with the small space we have between the frame and the Dexter axle system?

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DIY’s: Timken Bearings, BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DIY’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all, installed Ham Radio (WH6JPR).

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7 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

No axles - lighter,

Yes to the first part..... I would think "not" for the second part.  Lots of steel there.

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DIY’s: Timken Bearings, BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DIY’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all, installed Ham Radio (WH6JPR).

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My new springs arrived today. I confirmed measurements are correct and that they are the same size as what my E2 had when it shopped from the factory. Should be a direct bolt-in. 
 

Here are the specs on the new springs:

-Made in USA with USA sourced 5160 spring steel

-Bronze eye bushings vs. plastic

-2,000lb rating/ea vs. 1,750 (will not change gvwr as axles/bearings remain determining factor)
 
-5 leaves vs, 4
 
-second leaf extends underneath eye on each end (protecting common break area)
 
-steel, bolted spring keepers (one each end) vs a single, sheet metal band
 
-width = 1.75"
 
-drop = 3”
 
-length (eye-to-eye) = 25.25”

 
 
The company I sourced them from is ALCAN. They are known for durable offroading springs and have been building custom springs for rock crawlers and overlanding vehicles for decades. Attached below is their contact info. Ask for Mike and tell him you are interested in the 1.75” wide trailer springs like he sold to Lance from Colorado. 
 
I will report back when I have them installed, but that may not be for a couple months until after the snow melts up here in the Rockies

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45273BF3-7A1B-443D-B025-114053420281.jpeg

4B5E6233-6DC7-4FA5-B5A4-21CBB49E5E4D.png

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15 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

Suggest starting a list of hull numbers, Month & Year MFG, trailer miles, and predominant use type (RV Parks, Boondocking, Off Road).

GJ

John,

Our 2015 LE2 #75 has 5200 pound axles and springs. Understand at the time Oliver ran out of 3500 pound axles, so Legacy Elite axles/springs were installed on our Ollie. 99% highway use with no spring issues.

Here's the springs on our Ollie:

OllieSprings.jpg.cef21925a99915c4f311bf18a4f7f996.jpg

Edited by rideandfly
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2015 LE2

 

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11 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

How about an individually adjustable pneumatic airbag type suspension for Ollie?  

No axles - lighter, smoother ride - less damage to OTT and components, no more broken leaf springs, more ground clearance by adjusting air pressure, enhanced braking, and "drum roll" please.... no more zerks!

...screenshot taken from an earlier thread on "Aussie Quality RVs":

Screenshot2024-03-06at6_20_07AM.thumb.png.d1369f98e9b46998c977b21d85bcd6a9.png

....just say'n

I like the idea but it seems that just looking at this picture with my tired eyes; there are as many pivot points as with the OE set-up. Maybe more.

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Larry:

This really is significant.  It appears that the heat treatment was not consistant across the cross section of the spring.  This would set up the spring to have force concetrations and/or embrittlement fractures.

image.png.04569ffa5a340f20aa68929ded2b0d30.png

I have been contemplating various ideas to stiffen up our OE2 suspension, and the higher rating for the spring rate with a small air bag may be a step in that right direction I think.

Once you have a chance to install, if they work out as hoped, I am thinking that there will be a significant number of us that will want to replace ours.  With commitment for a lot of sets, it becomes possible to negotiate a group purchase at discount.  Paid in advance of the production run with an option to pick up at the factory or shipped to owners desires address with additional cost.  I know more than a few of us could be in their fine city later this summer.

Do they have a facility suitable for installation on our trailers?  The would be helpful for those of us on the road.

Your thoughts?

GJ

PS:  I OFTEN take posts of significance and turn them into a condensed word document.  Hope you don't mind, but my version is attached.  I find it handy having an electronic copy for down the road, and having the info you posted is GOLDEN! 

Made in USA leaf springs (6 FEB 2024).docx

 

Edited by Geronimo John
fixed posted picture of failure and possible description of failure mode
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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DIY’s: Timken Bearings, BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DIY’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all, installed Ham Radio (WH6JPR).

  image.jpeg.9633acdfb75740f0fd358e1a5118f105.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

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