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1 hour ago, MAX Burner said:

IMO:  The 2k#-rated Alcan spring-packs (or similar 5-spring packs) pair better with the 3.5k# Dexters than the OEM 4 spring-packs...

Or possible mis-rated and/or poor quality 3.5K# Dexters spring packs.

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31 minutes ago, 2008RN said:

Or possible mis-rated and/or poor quality 3.5K# Dexters spring packs.

Right on, brother!

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12 minutes ago, MAX Burner said:

Right on, brother!

Max,

How common has it been to have a leaf spring break?  I have been following this issue.  We stay on good roads with the occasional pothole.  I see a lot of owners who are switching out.

John


John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 3.5 liter Ecoboost, with heavy duty tow package. Hull #1290, twin bed with Truma package (a/c, furnace, hot water heater with electric antifreeze option), lithium pro package, picked up November 7, 2022

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Our original 5200lb axles & springs (5 leaf) on our 2015 LE2 have not given us any trouble, believe Scuba/RX said there have been no failures with these springs reported on Ollies. 

We try to avoid rough roads as much as possible and go slow over railroad tracks.

One time in Montana we came to a construction zone and was directed to a temporary road. It was terrible (we drove really slow), so terrible three of the four AC mounting bolts broke in a another camper before Ollie. Should have turned around and found the long way around, my fault.🙃

Should try what MaxBurner tried, if memory serves, riding in Ollie with my Wife driving the TV to see how good or bad the ride is in Ollie. 🙂

Edited by rideandfly
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On 4/13/2024 at 11:57 AM, SNY SD UP said:

Starting with 'where does Oliver source them from' to that sources part numbers & spec's

The answer is on your axle decal.  We now know of two sources for our axle configuration number.  As posted above, the first one is Nuera Trans, and now we add Tex Trail.  If the specifications were different between the two, they would have different configuration numbers. 

You will want to contact TexTrail for your build sheet, and then verify the numbers against your axle measurements if you can.

GJ

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Edited by Geronimo John
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OTT Forum members reading this really, REALLY need to carefully read the 100s of posts, already provided in the 12 long pages of this thread. Every question asked in the last many days has been asked a good 2-3 times already and answered in considerable detail in the pages above.

Bottom line, have your suspension inspected. If your leaf springs show anything but a natural arc, have them replaced. The Alcan product is a good upgrade at a reasonable cost. Mine look fine now, so I have no concern or worry. When needed, replace your leaf springs. It's just that simple. 

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On 4/17/2024 at 9:40 AM, John Welte said:

Max,

How common has it been to have a leaf spring break?  I have been following this issue.  We stay on good roads with the occasional pothole.  I see a lot of owners who are switching out.

John

Hey, John:

There's at least 4 or 5 "reported" broken springs from reading these forums.  Obviously, no clue how many haven't been reported here.  But I've learned that there are some good reasons for switching out the 4-packs to higher rated 5-pack springs.  Let me summarize:

1. Spring Rating: There's evidence that the Chinese-made "AxleTek" 4-packs, although rated at 1,750# may actually less than that rating.  Mike at Alcan informed me of this.  The 5-packs are rated in the 2,250# range.  So, the 5-packs have somewhere in the range of 500# more weight rating.  Can an owner "feel" the difference?  I tried.  My wife drove me around our country road neighborhood for several miles before and after swapping out springs.  FWIW:  I couldn't "feel" any difference.

2. Weak Area Near Eyelets: Of the reported broken springs - the break occurs within a couple inches from the eyelet on the top spring - this break is near the end of the second spring which is about 4.5" from the eyelet.  On the 5-packs, the second spring extends beyond the center of the eyelet about 7/16" on either side - doubling the spring material where reported ones break.  To experience a broken 5-pack spring - the break would have to take-out the two top springs.  That's likely why there's never been a reported 5-pack break.

3. Bushings:  The bronze bushings in the Chinese-made spring eyelets are measured at 1/16" thickness on my springs - the replacement Alcan spring bushings are right at 1/4" thick - 4x the material, which will take much longer to wear out.  Also, to get that 1/4" thick bushing into that eyelet the outside diameter of the eyelet must be made larger.  The OD of the AxleTek eyelet is 1.34" while the Alcan eyelet is 1.53", giving the 5-pack eyelets a more robust configuration.

4. Steel Composition:  The Chinese steel is of unknown pedigree - unless someone wants to pay for an NDA test (which I'm not interested in) we'll only know subjectively that their steel sucks compared to the recognized high-quality of US-made steel.

5.  Comparative Weight:  OK, the 5-packs have one extra leaf, right?  How much more do you think that extra leaf weighs?  I weighed both - the Chinese AxleTek is right at 10#; where the Alcan comes in at 18#.  Here's why:

Screenshot2024-04-18at5_47_00PM.thumb.png.0e40e699ae48ee59b1a4fd1fb9ccd55a.png

The total length of spring material in the 4-packs is 66-1/4" versus 99" for the 5-packs, or 49% more material in the 5-packs.

10# versus 18# = an 80% increased weight for the 5-packs.

Screenshot2024-04-18at6_11_04PM.thumb.png.a5ef47304d0ab772c9fe331f8b489e95.png

Above shows the eyelet-to-eyelet measurement of the 4-pack top spring.  Each subsequent spring length was measured straight across from end to end.  Notice the "flattening" of the arc of the 4-pack.  The other 4-packs were flattened like this one.  

JFTR:  We never even come close to the 7k# GVWR of the OTT on any of our excursions.

6. Price Point:  New 5-packs/U-bolt kit will cost owners approximately $800 plus shipping from Grand Junction, CO.  I'm in NM and shipping was $110.  FYI: No tax if purchased outside of CO.

For us it was a no-brainer.  One of the last issues we want to handle is a broken leaf spring in the middle of a boon docking location in the middle of EBF somewhere.

Cheers!

Edited by MAX Burner
Corrected an incomplete sentence
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15 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

Hey, John:

There's at least 4 or 5 "reported" broken springs from reading these forums.  Obviously, no clue how many haven't been reported here.  But I've learned that there are some good reasons for switching out the 4-packs to higher rated 5-pack springs.  Let me summarize:

1. Spring Rating: There's evidence that the Chinese-made "AxleTek" 4-packs, although rated at 1,750# may actually less than that rating.  Mike at Alcan informed me of this.  The 5-packs are rated in the 2,250# range.  So, the 5-packs have somewhere in the range of 500# more weight rating.  Can an owner "feel" the difference?  I tried.  My wife drove me around our country road neighborhood for several miles before and after swapping out springs.  FWIW:  I couldn't "feel" any difference.

2. Weak Area Near Eyelets: Of the reported broken springs - the break occurs within a couple inches from the eyelet on the top spring - this break is near the end of the second spring which is about 4.5" from the eyelet.  On the 5-packs, the second spring extends beyond the center of the eyelet about 7/16" on either side - doubling the spring material where reported ones break.  To experience a broken 5-pack spring - the break would have to take-out the two top springs.  That's likely why there's never been a reported 5-pack break.

3. Bushings:  The bronze bushings in the Chinese-made spring eyelets are measured at 1/16" thickness on my springs - the replacement Alcan spring bushings are right at 1/4" thick - 4x the material, which will take much longer to wear out.  Also, to get that 1/4" thick bushing into that eyelet the outside diameter of the eyelet must be made larger.  The OD of the AxleTek eyelet is 1.34" while the Alcan eyelet is 1.53", giving the 5-pack eyelets a more robust configuration.

4. Steel Composition:  The Chinese steel is of unknown pedigree - unless someone wants to pay for an NDA test (which I'm not interested in) we'll only know subjectively that their steel sucks compared to the recognized high-quality of US-made steel.

5.  Comparative Weight:  OK, the 5-packs have one extra leaf, right?  How much more do you think that extra leaf weighs?  I weighed both - the Chinese AxleTek is right at 10#; where the Alcan comes in at 18#.  Here's why:

Screenshot2024-04-18at5_47_00PM.thumb.png.0e40e699ae48ee59b1a4fd1fb9ccd55a.png

The total length of spring material in the 4-packs is 66-1/4" versus 99" for the 5-packs, or 49% more material in the 5-packs.

10# versus 18# = an 80% increased weight for the 5-packs.

Screenshot2024-04-18at6_11_04PM.thumb.png.a5ef47304d0ab772c9fe331f8b489e95.png

Above shows the eyelet-to-eyelet measurement of the 4-pack top spring.  Each subsequent spring length was measured straight across from end to end.  Notice the "flattening" of the arc of the 4-pack.  The other 4-packs were flattened like this one.  

JFTR:  We never even come close to the 7k# GVWR of the OTT on any of our excursions.

6. Price Point:  New 5-packs/U-bolt kit will cost owners approximately $800 plus shipping from Grand Junction, CO.  I'm in NM and shipping was $110.  FYI: No tax if purchased outside of CO.

For us it was a no-brainer.  One of the last issues we want to handle is a broken leaf spring in the middle of a boon docking location in the middle of EBF somewhere.

Cheers!

Thanks Max,  I appreciate the thorough comment.  We go to Colorado at least once a year with the trailer as our daughter lives in Denver.  Any idea if they could install them if we came by Grand Junction?  I suppose we could buy them then have someone install them.  I confess that I am not too handy.  

John


John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 3.5 liter Ecoboost, with heavy duty tow package. Hull #1290, twin bed with Truma package (a/c, furnace, hot water heater with electric antifreeze option), lithium pro package, picked up November 7, 2022

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5 minutes ago, John Welte said:

Thanks Max,  I appreciate the thorough comment.  We go to Colorado at least once a year with the trailer as our daughter lives in Denver.  Any idea if they could install them if we came by Grand Junction?  I suppose we could buy them then have someone install them.  I confess that I am not too handy.  

John

Hey, John;

Alcan will absolutely install them at their shop rate in GJ.  It's what they do!  You'll have the piece of mind that they'll be R&R'd correctly.  For arrangements, you can call either Lew or Mike at:

970.241.2655

Good plan, brother!

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, MAX Burner said:

Hey, John;

Alcan will absolutely install them at their shop rate in GJ.  It's what they do!  You'll have the piece of mind that they'll be R&R'd correctly.  For arrangements, you can call either Lew or Mike at:

970.241.2655

Good plan, brother!

Good luck!

Thanks very much Max.  I will plan that.

John


John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 3.5 liter Ecoboost, with heavy duty tow package. Hull #1290, twin bed with Truma package (a/c, furnace, hot water heater with electric antifreeze option), lithium pro package, picked up November 7, 2022

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On 4/18/2024 at 2:15 PM, MAX Burner said:

6. Price Point:  New 5-packs/U-bolt kit will cost owners approximately $800 plus shipping from Grand Junction, CO.  I'm in NM and shipping was $110.  FYI: No tax if purchased outside of CO.

Art:   Did you intend on saying "Including Shipping".  

John

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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I have spoken to three Dexter Tech's in the past month.  One of them at great length.  I have relayed that we have documented 17 incident cases where our Dexter PR4B 1750 double eye springs on our 6,000 pound OTT LE2 appear to have failed prematurely.   

One of their Tech's gave me a from the heart an honest (I believe) response.  The Tech stated that Configuration 6339056 springs are under specification for a 6,000# RV trailer that is always loaded and being used as we do ours.  The Tech said we need a heavier spring.  This is exactly what ALCAN and others have stated as well. 

It did not take the Tech but a few minutes to confirm that their 2400 lb 4 leaf PR4 spring is a much better choice for our application.  The PR4B springs weigh 11 #. The PR4' springs weigh 17#.  Dimensionally they are the same lengths, but the PR4's are bit thicker due to the thicker metal used.  For installation purposes, they are a Dexter exact match.  

Not including taxes and shipping, the costs for an OE2 tandem axle set of springs, U-bolts, nuts and bronze bushings from the two sources we now can choose from are:

          ALCAN      $671.20    (From MaxBurner)   (Custom HD, 5 Leaf 18# Springs)

          Dexter      $360.52    (Dexter Quote)        (BP4 Leaf, 17#, 2400 # Rating Springs)

I am hoping that other owners will consult their alternate spring sources and advise accordingly.  More options is good for all of us.

My digestion of all 12 pages of this thread include:  

  • I am of the opinion that use of the PRB4 springs for our trailers was a mistake. 
  • I encourage OTT to advise us of what their findings were on this topic. 
  • That the ALCAN products are clearly superior to the Dexter Chinese products. 

But when I consider that I have run well over a dozen Dexter axles in my 50 years of towing, many of which have Chinese springs, and never with a failure, maybe just maybe they all are not "crap" as some of us first suggested.  But rather in this case, they were under specified in the first place.

If you buy that analysis, then the logical conclusion is that depending on how your use your trailer, your axle springs are at risk of failure.  But then, everything in life is as well.  For me, it's Just a matter of risk/benefit/cost analysis at this point.  For my case, I'm going with the Dexter PR4 replacements.  

GJ

 

Edited by Geronimo John
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@Geronimo John you made a brief mention of China, so I'm guessing their heavier springs are also made there. Too bad, and I see other issues too.

Several members here, going back 12 pages of comments, were worried about going too stiff on replacement leaf springs. I had written earlier that 14% stiffer is a nice bump - perfect! You're suggesting 2400 LB rated springs which are 37% stiffer. That's a big difference, that personally I would not at all advise this option. The Dexter "Tech" was selling the only option they had. Rethink this?

Anyway, when it's time for me to upgrade I'm going with MADE in COLORADO, U.S.A. For $310 more NP and getting the right weight rating. Besides I also trust @MAX Burner and he showed us a quality installation using Alcan parts. 

I have for years paid a considerable premium so NOT to purchase from that large land mass in eastern Asia. This country stole IP from Motorola, where I worked during the 90s. and so many US companies.

Come visit my garage to witness a 50-year collection of Made in USA tools. I'd say 96% Made in USA, and 4% from quality Asia manufacturers (also US Allies), specifically Japanese and Taiwanese made tools. Amazon has read my comment 100 times when I return junk. I click "Not as advertised" and just write "China" for the stated reason. They take them back with a smile!

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, jd1923 said:

Several members here, going back 12 pages of comments, were worried about going too stiff on replacement leaf springs. I had written earlier that 14% stiffer is a nice bump - perfect! You're suggesting 2400 LB rated springs which are 37% stiffer. That's a big difference, that personally I would not at all advise this option. 

Wholly agree with this observation

 

When my spring broke I was 250 miles from home.  I bought the only pair of springs that would fit and were geographically close to where I broke down.  they were 4 leaf, 2,400 lb springs as GJ describes above. While they did fit, I chose later not to replace the other two springs with 2,400 lb 4 leaf springs as the amount of stuff in my trailer which had stayed put during my prior 4,000 miles of travel on the stock springs had suddenly found its way to the floor during the 250 mile drive home (with only two 2,400 lb springs).  

My E2 now sports 5 leaf, 2,000 lb Alcans  

2,000 lb, 5 leaf springs will be more flexible and have better travel thru their range than 2,400 lb springs with only 4 leafs (less jarring ride).  

 

 

 

 

 

14 hours ago, jd1923 said:

 

 

Edited by Mountainman198
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On 4/19/2024 at 10:31 AM, John Welte said:

Thanks Max,  I appreciate the thorough comment.  We go to Colorado at least once a year with the trailer as our daughter lives in Denver.  Any idea if they could install them if we came by Grand Junction?  I suppose we could buy them then have someone install them.  I confess that I am not too handy.  

John

They will install them in Grand Junction. Shop rate = $125/hr. About two hours.

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1 hour ago, Mountainman198 said:

... My E2 now sports 5 leaf, 2,000 lb Alcans  

2,000 lb, 5 leaf springs will be more flexible and have better travel thru their range than 2,400 lb springs with only 4 leafs (less jarring ride).

Five leaves vs. four and the lighter rating would certainly be "less jarring." Also, the Alcan design has the second leaf at full length so that it would not fail at the contact point where the end of leaf #2 hits the primary leaf.

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On 4/17/2024 at 12:42 PM, rideandfly said:

Should try what MaxBurner tried, if memory serves, riding in Ollie with my Wife driving the TV to see how good or bad the ride is in Ollie. 🙂

Just make sure your bride keeps its under 100 Bill. 😄

David

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The way springs are rated does not appear to be consistent between all manufacturers.  Especially those of another country.  So it makes theoretical cross-manufacturer comparisons of their performance of non-like specified products a SWAG at best.  

I think it logical that a 5 leaf spring and a 4 leaf spring by the same manufacture, both having the same rating, will have different performance attributes.  Add in using different makers and designs it gets complicated.

And that is the problem we have with the Dexter 4 leaf.  It's rating method is (sadly) not the same as the US custom made ones are rated.  So stating as fact certain % increases for different springs made by different firms in different countries using different rating systems is another SWAG.    

I agree that  the 2400# spring made to the ALCON rating standard would be insanely stiff on our OE2.  We also can agree that the rating of the Dexter PR4B rating is under designed for our OE2's as they are failing.  So, we likely  the  2400# PB4 spring rating, of the same family by the same Chinese firm.... will also be ........exaggerated.  

Fortunately Mountainman 198 consulted with recognized experts on the topic.  With their recommendation, and also field testing mostly from Art, the ALCAN 2,000 spring appears to be the rating we need.  So, per ALCAN:  

  • The 1750# spring is 250 pounds under rated for our use.  % Under Rated  = (2,000 - 1750)/2000 = 12.5%,  
  • So, the 2400# spring is likely as well.  So the ALCAN rating for this spring would be:  2400 less 12.5% = 2100 pounds.

When we travel, the F/G/B tanks weight can easily be somewhere in a 300 to 600# range.  When compared to the net delta between the ALCAN vs. Dexter China rating of the two springs of just 100 pounds... it's  seems to me to be somewhat of a moot discussion for spring ratings.

I have more than once stated that I believe that the Alcan is a better spring... at a steep price.  If I were 20 years younger, my perspective may be different.  But at my vintage I do not believe the PB4 Dexter's will fail in my lifetime.  If they do, I will roger up on our post!

So when we get to meet (hopefully this summer), we can ask Art to drag is around and we can A/B the two springs both on the road and off.  My gut says the fake 2400's will be better on road and the real Alcan's 2000's will be better off road.    And that has to do with spring rates.  Which we can defer if you like.

When we are done, I'm buying the beer!  And it has to meet Art's standards!

GJ

Does iPhone have a vertical acceleration app?

 

Edited by Geronimo John
Updated source and cleaned it up a bit.
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On 4/21/2024 at 8:51 AM, Mountainman198 said:

... My E2 now sports 5 leaf, 2,000 lb Alcans  

2,000 lb, 5 leaf springs will be more flexible and have better travel thru their range than 2,400 lb springs with only 4 leafs (less jarring ride).  

@Geronimo John your post shows you quoted me, but it was @Mountainman198 who installed the Alcan springs and wrote this.

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Sorry JD!  I'll edit the above accordingl 

Guess we'll ask to compare Art's and my trailers as test "beds".

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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Here is some iceing on the cake.

GJ

GOOGLE:  What is the difference between 4 and 5 leaf springs?

Four leaf springs are generally softer for a better ride, where as five leaf springs are stiffer for better handling

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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Who's got that "Dead Horse" cartoon - @Patriot?  HA!!!

@Geronimo John - A side-by-side ride would provide some subjective insight to the differences, for sure.  

But just looking at the configuration of the 5-pack's 2nd spring and its overall length (eyelet to eyelet) gives one the sense of confidence knowing for the spring-pack to break - it's got two layers of spring material to fail.

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Art, Diane, Magnus & Oscar (double-Aaarrf!)

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I don't recall ever seeing a 12 page forum post.  Is this a record?

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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11 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

Who's got that "Dead Horse" cartoon - @Patriot?  HA!!!

@Geronimo John - A side-by-side ride would provide some subjective insight to the differences, for sure.  

But just looking at the configuration of the 5-pack's 2nd spring and its overall length (eyelet to eyelet) gives one the sense of confidence knowing for the spring-pack to break - it's got two layers of spring material to fail.

Here it is Max! At this point we may need a herd of dead horses to beat on! Ha! 😄

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