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Hello to all.   I have just replaced my shock absorbers ( Lunar Clubman SB 2011 ) and after watching a video on YouTube where, it stated that the length of the shock absorber when the wheel is off the ground should be 255mm bolt centre to bolt centre.  Ours measures 300mm and the suspension arm looks to be more horizontal than pointing down at an angle. Both sides even. Obviously its going to go up further when the wheel is on the ground. Does this mean that my suspension arm rubbers have failed?  Any advice appreciated.

Chris

 

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Edited by Snakecharmer

BMW X3     Lunar Clubman SB                      Everything will be alright in the end and if its not alright,  then its not yet the end!

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I have this problem on our Bailey and not helped  because of overloading by previous members of our family who used it.

 

On two 750kg unbraked boat trailers we have (with AL-KO axles), the rubber cords have also hardened and compressed over the years so that the main suspension function is through the tyres. Not good. The arm angle is supposed to be 22.5deg.

 

It was surprisingly cheap to get an axle made to spec by Peak Dynamics for the boat trailer.

 

Your caravan axle can be reconditioned cheaply (if you fit it yourself) by Fraser Brown and it will be better than when new. See the links below.

 

http://www.fraserbrowneng.co.uk/index.php?c=AL-KO-axle-repair

https://www.peakdynamics.co.uk/

 

On 02/08/2019 at 23:21, Fraser Brown said:

AL-KO axles fail because the the rubber they use has been reduced in quality quite significantly.

The rubber I use is the best that a top laboratory can design for me.

we also use more of it.

By fitting the maximum amount of rubber we add 10 - 13% to the capacity of the axle.

The capacity of a 1500 kg. AL-KO axle is exactly 1500 kgs. There is no reserve. Almost all caravans run slightly overloaded so there is no "cushion" to  soak up bumpy roads and potholes.

When I refurbish an axle it returns the caravan to it's original height and it stays there. The high quality of the rubber and the extra percentage will ensure that.

I used to do axles which were at least twenty years old. Average now is three to four.  I did one this week which was six weeks old. The owner got it under warranty from Bailey.

It failed after two trips and he could not face the trauma of making another claim.

Unlike a car, the castor and camber angle cannot be adjusted. Being a trailer axle it has no need of such refinements.

We use TNT to collect axles from the UK and the continent. They are taken apart, trailing arms are shotblasted and painted, and re-assembled with new, longer and much better rubber.

I offer a high quality repair within a week, using rubber that is better than AL-KO used to use when their axles lasted for twenty years.

 

Best regards,  Fraser Brown. 01862 851600.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks limecc, I have now read enough about this issue to put me off caravanning.  AL-KO seem to think that 98kg overloading would cause the suspension to fail.  I think that is rubbish and they should never work to such fine tolerances anyway.  Its a good job they don't build jets like that. 

 

When the caravan is stationary with four grown ups on board its well over weight and still standing predominantly

on its wheels and jockey.  Seems typical of the industry to try and blame the operator..... As they wriggle & squirm. 

 

I was aware of Fraser Brown and have now had a long chat with them.  I will be driving up Sunday to have my Axle

refurbished Monday.  Fraser believes this is common and is affected by age if nothing else.  His repair by all accounts will be better than the original.  AL-KO? 🤔

 

Cheers

 

Chris

Edited by Snakecharmer
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BMW X3     Lunar Clubman SB                      Everything will be alright in the end and if its not alright,  then its not yet the end!

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Last time I had my Bailey serviced (1st from new) the service sheet had the wheel to wheel arch clearance noted on it! 

 

Out of interest how much does FB charge for a re-furb? 

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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If you remove the axle yourself and strap it so some timber they will collect refurb and ship it back to you for £480+vat.

 

The alternative we have chosen is to take the caravan to them and in a day, while you wait, ( or do a bit sight seeing ) 

they will take the axle off, refurb and reassemble.  £420+vat Then a charge of £150+vat for strip down and reassembly. 

 

Going up Saturday with a stop over at Blair Athol castle, arrive Sunday night, Job done Monday, Stay Monday night and stop off at Pitlochry for two nights on the way back to Durham.

 

http://fraserbrowneng.co.uk/index.php?c=axle-palletising

 

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BMW X3     Lunar Clubman SB                      Everything will be alright in the end and if its not alright,  then its not yet the end!

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2 hours ago, Snakecharmer said:

If you remove the axle yourself and strap it so some timber they will collect refurb and ship it back to you for £480+vat.

 

The alternative we have chosen is to take the caravan to them and in a day, while you wait, ( or do a bit sight seeing ) 

they will take the axle off, refurb and reassemble.  £420+vat Then a charge of £150+vat for strip down and reassembly. 

 

Going up Saturday with a stop over at Blair Athol castle, arrive Sunday night, Job done Monday, Stay Monday night and stop off at Pitlochry for two nights on the way back to Durham.

 

http://fraserbrowneng.co.uk/index.php?c=axle-palletising

 

Without actually doing the detail arithmatic, thats about the same as I paid in total to have a brand new AL-KO axle fitted while we waited in Exeter. The new axle is brand new with brakes etc. 

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Ern

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3 hours ago, Ern said:

Without actually doing the detail arithmatic, thats about the same as I paid in total to have a brand new AL-KO axle fitted while we waited in Exeter. The new axle is brand new with brakes etc. 

I think I'd trust Fraser's refurb over a new AL-KO all day long.

 

Glad in a way the AL-KO axle fitted to my Bramber boat trailer is no longer in production. Fraser was completely honest that a bespoke new axle from Peak Dynamics was the cheapest way to go for me (£237 inc vat & del), effectively losing himself a refurb. Top man!

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10 hours ago, Ern said:

Without actually doing the detail arithmatic, thats about the same as I paid in total to have a brand new AL-KO axle fitted while we waited in Exeter. The new axle is brand new with brakes etc. 

I preferred to go the Fraser Brown route.

 

Only time will tell whether I made the right decision.

 

It's a year since he did my axle, and it is sitting at 40-45mm clearance each side with the caravan loaded. 

Mine was the first axle the mobile chap had sent off for refurbishment - he didn't get involved previously, and sent the owners back to the dealers for new axles.

 

Since mine, he's done quite a few refurbs and they're all holding up well.

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We arrived at Fraser Brown yesterday to a very warm welcome after a great stop over at Blair Castle & Caravan Park on the way up. We were able to hook up to electricity here and water was right handy. Today we went sight seeing to the Glenmorangie distillery, Dunrobin Castle and Dornoch where we bought some Grants Black Pudding to compare it with Charles Mcleod Stornoway black pudding which we love. Called in at Lidl, Tain, for some pastries and arrived back at Fraser Brown's with the axle refurb job completed. Fraser reckons it's good for another 20 years. Immediately we noticed a difference towing with the new shock absorbers after I had fitted them and this evening the caravan feels much more stable; not bouncing around as it used to, even though its blowing a Gail outside as I write.   Wheels are in the centre of the wheel arches and we have a couple of inches more clearance. Just need to find a way of silencing the bloody rain on the caravan roof. Tomorrow we head south again for a couple of nights at Pitlochry, a final night at Berwick on Tweed: then home Friday.  All in all a very pleasant trip. The caravan is in top shape and we will have probably now completed our first season. Its been a huge learning curve with plenty of frustrations but it's kept me busy during lock down and so been a useful distraction. I still think I prefer Cruise Ship holidays but we'll see what next year brings (that's if we can get booked up anywhere?) and also hopefully get over to France for a few weeks. So finally, I can thoroughly recommend Fraser Brown. It's taken all the hassle out of sorting out the axle, the caravan has effectively not been out of commission t all and it has encouraged us to visit sites we may not have otherwise. Next year we are booked to come back to Blair Castle for the Highland games in late May before going over to North Ledaig near Oban again which is also a lovely spot.  I will give an axle update in 20 years...... 👍 

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BMW X3     Lunar Clubman SB                      Everything will be alright in the end and if its not alright,  then its not yet the end!

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A trip to Fraser Brown in Ross-Shire is every bit as good as a stay at a caravan park, but free while you get your axle refurbished.  Hospitality is unbounded and there are lots of beautiful and interesting places to visit nearby. 5*

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BMW X3     Lunar Clubman SB                      Everything will be alright in the end and if its not alright,  then its not yet the end!

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