Jump to content

2018 Unicorn 4 Axle Failure


Recommended Posts

I have been away from the forum for several years but recall reading many posts about axle failure, mainly I believe on Unicorn 3`s.

 

I have a Unicorn 4 that has just been in for it`s four year service and the Dealer has just told me that it needs a new axle at a cost of £1675.

 

I am very careful not to overload and put as much equipment as possible in my estate car.

 

I would be much obliged if someone could update me with the current situation with axle failure on Unicorns of this age.  My Dealer says that Bailey will not make a contribution to the cost of replacement and will say it`s as a result of over loading. which, as I said above, I am very careful not to do. 

 

I need to get the axle replaced asap as we will be relying on using the caravan a lot over the next few months due to a delayed build on our new home (the problem could not have been found at a worse time) and feel inclined to tell the dealer to go ahead although he says it may be 10 to 12 weeks wait for the axle.

 

 I intend to continue to use the caravan (the tyres are not rubbing on the wheel box liners )  keeping the loading to the minimum until the axle can be replaced. What are your views please ?

 

Bob

 

Mercedes Benz E220 AMG Line Auto Estate and Bailey S4 Unicorn Cadiz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First though is to search for issues on your specific model. This may reveal if it’s a “known” issue. 
I would also make enquiries  to Frazer Brown (think that’s correct) as to cost of repairs, and their thought (they may have history that helps). 
Ultimately, you want to build as strong a case as you can, to put pressure on the dealer to step up and pay 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The original axle problem was related to 2015/16 models and has not arisen elsewhere AFAIK.

I would be inclined to ask your dealer under what criteria they are advising a new axle is required - especially if the wheels are still a minimum one inch clear of the wheel arch linings.

If you are not happy with their response I would seek a second opinion from another dealer.

2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having experienced the problem on our Swift caravan, I can offer some advice. First, take a photo of your axle data plate which shows the AL-KO build spec' and serial number. Contact Western Towing at Exeter (01392 216336) and get them to quote you for a replacement axle - price and delivery date. We had ours delivered in about 2 weeks. Then ask for a price for installation We paid for 2 or 3 hours labour. Western Towing are AL-KO dealers and did a great job of replacing ours while we waited with a cup of coffee.  With this information (FACTS) you will know where to start from. The price your dealer has given you is ridiculous, as we had Western Towing replace ours with a complete brand new one for well under half that. Remember that a brand-new axle includes brakes etc, so it's a great deal. I'm sure you will be satisfied with their offer.

The alternative is to contact Frazer Brown in Scotland and get a price for a repair/upgrade. This will be about the same cost as a new AL-KO replacement.

If you want anything more, please contact me.

Edited by Ern

Ern

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Dealer says that Bailey will not make a contribution to the cost of replacement and will say it`s as a result of over loading. which, as I said above,

 

What proof do they have? Did the dealer put it on a weigh bridge!

 

Did you dealer warn you when you bought the van regarding weak axles?

This should be  covered under your warranty?

Edited by gtepete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Bob From Dunstable said:

I have been away from the forum for several years but recall reading many posts about axle failure, mainly I believe on Unicorn 3`s.

 

I have a Unicorn 4 that has just been in for it`s four year service and the Dealer has just told me that it needs a new axle at a cost of £1675.

 

I am very careful not to overload and put as much equipment as possible in my estate car.

 

I would be much obliged if someone could update me with the current situation with axle failure on Unicorns of this age.  My Dealer says that Bailey will not make a contribution to the cost of replacement and will say it`s as a result of over loading. which, as I said above, I am very careful not to do. 

 

I need to get the axle replaced asap as we will be relying on using the caravan a lot over the next few months due to a delayed build on our new home (the problem could not have been found at a worse time) and feel inclined to tell the dealer to go ahead although he says it may be 10 to 12 weeks wait for the axle.

 

 I intend to continue to use the caravan (the tyres are not rubbing on the wheel box liners )  keeping the loading to the minimum until the axle can be replaced. What are your views please ?

 

Bob

 

this engineering firm up in Scotland refurbished my axle when it failed on my 2017 series 3 Unicorn

www.fraserbrowneng.co.uk

 

it was collected by TNT repaired and returned in within 5 working days and the repair refurbishment is guaranteed  cant remember the exact cost but was less than £700 

Edited by N&L

2022 Pilote P696GJ for European touring-  2022 Coachman VIP 565 for touring the UK towed by a 2020 Kia Sportage GT line S

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your helpful replies.

 

The dealer has explained that my 2018 Unicorn has a "6 bolt axle" introduced on the Mark 4 Unicorns. This has reduced the failure rate but is a more expensive axle. Costs approximately £1475 and his labour charge is approximately £200. 

 

I have checked with two other Bailey dealers and, subject to confirmation when they have  the exact axle number from the axle plate, they have quoted me higher figures.

 

Looks like I will have to bite the bullet as in our current position, between homes, it is quite difficult to invest the time necessary to explore possible cheaper options.

 

Thanks again for your responses,

 

Bob

Mercedes Benz E220 AMG Line Auto Estate and Bailey S4 Unicorn Cadiz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fraser Brown add 10-12% additional rubber and use a higher grade of rubber than AL-KO.

 

If you get a new axle yes you get new brakes etc but has the new axle been improved or will it collapse again in a few years.

 

I believe 25mm gap between wheel and wheel box is the minimum distance, anything less Bailey/AL-KO considered replacing the axle when the original problem occurred.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 20/01/2022 at 15:59, Bob From Dunstable said:

Thank you all for your helpful replies.

 

The dealer has explained that my 2018 Unicorn has a "6 bolt axle" introduced on the Mark 4 Unicorns. This has reduced the failure rate but is a more expensive axle. Costs approximately £1475 and his labour charge is approximately £200. 

 

I have checked with two other Bailey dealers and, subject to confirmation when they have  the exact axle number from the axle plate, they have quoted me higher figures.

 

Looks like I will have to bite the bullet as in our current position, between homes, it is quite difficult to invest the time necessary to explore possible cheaper options.

 

Thanks again for your responses,

 

Bob

 

I can totally understand you biting the bullet.  I would keep the old axle and pursue a claim through your consumer rights after the repair.  If your successful you won't recover the full costs due to "Betterment" but you could get a good contribution.  Its blatantly obvious that these axles fitted were not fit for purpose of being either underrated for the caravan or faulty from manufacture.  Bailey should have recalled the affected caravans and at the very least offer a contribution of repair if outside the manufactures warranty. 

 

The whole situation stinks and as usual Bailey, Dealers and AL-KO are not honouring their obligations and turning their backs on loyal purchasers of their products.  I hope you find the time and spirit to fight for your rights and very best of luck if you do. 

 

https://worldwidewalkies.blog/2018/02/10/bailey-AL-KO-axle-problem/

Edited by Silverback
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having been in the same predicament as you are now,there needs to be a couple of questions to ask.

 

1 Has the van been regularly serviced.

 

2 You need to get your van weighed. But even this proved difficult.

 

3 I take it with a 2018 it is out of warrenty.

 

I thought the years when AL-KO had these issue, as it is not just a Bailey issue. where around 2015 to 2017.When my van was found to have a collapse axle it was weighed with me present,and with just the basic stuff in the van then everything removed and with absolutely nothing left weighed again.It was found to be 29kg overweight with no clothing ,food ,camping stuff etc etc. but it did have pots and pans and bedding.

 

Due to this ,it goes to show how small the payload figure is.The long and short of this was,a new axle they met me half way, and completed the annual service with a cost around £700 completed in one day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had an axle failure on my 2018 Unicorn 4 Valencia, I'm fairly confident the axle issues still exist.

 

Bob, from your initial post you suggest that the repair needs to be done urgently, this may not be the case and it may give you some time to research the matter. The caravan is still towable and it sounds like you may be towing it once and then it used onsite whilst the building work completes so very little towing required. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think if you want to pursue this you need more details from the people who have suffered this problem and check other forums to see if you can find more. I you get enough to show a problem then you have a decent chance of success. The alternative might be an engineers report on the axle but this could be expensive and only worthwhile if you can find others to share the cost. 

The claim should be for the full cost., the idea of you  getting some enjoyment is only applicable to a claim for the full cost of the caravan. If it has stopped you using the caravan you could in fact add this loss to your claim. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Wildwood said:

I think if you want to pursue this you need more details from the people who have suffered this problem and check other forums to see if you can find more. I you get enough to show a problem then you have a decent chance of success. The alternative might be an engineers report on the axle but this could be expensive and only worthwhile if you can find others to share the cost. 

The claim should be for the full cost., the idea of you  getting some enjoyment is only applicable to a claim for the full cost of the caravan. If it has stopped you using the caravan you could in fact add this loss to your claim. 

Did you read silverbacks comments above and click on the link... This guy did his homework too and succeeded without going to court, if not, have a read...

Edited by gtepete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

18 minutes ago, gtepete said:

Did you read silverbacks comments above and click on the link... This guy did his homework too and succeeded without going to court, if not, have a read...

I did but some time back, it is the homework that needs to be there and you have to hope the firms involved do give in, but if they get too many they may run a test case. From their point of view defending thee claims can be very expensive compared with settling but you have to have the evidence ready to produce to convince them to settle.

Possibly Silverback may be able to help if approached. 

It is now a long time since I had any involvement in defending small claims actions, but the simple fact we were needing to use junior solicitors costing even then £200 an hour shows the defence problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the all the comments about the axle failure  including the blog of the guy who successfully  claimed against Bailey  for the  repair with great interest as I had never heard, in 30 years of towing  diving RIBs and other dive boats with AL-KO axles, of a failure of the suspension arms , with boats its mainly bearing failure or brakes seizing due  to salt water ingress - regular inspection and greasing  being required before travelling.

Thanks to everybody who contributed,  it proves what a great forum this is for sharing ideas and problems and promotes customer power.

I hope the original poster does pursue his claim  against the dealer/bailey as it does seem its a design fault, which unfortunately appears to  common to that make/model of Van and I'm sure a judge would agree.

As a relative newby to owning a caravan  this will be   another thing to check before setting out on the road  ,also I'm going weigh all the items we put in the van and get the empty van weighed as well, to make sure I'm legal. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure why, but as far as I can tell, it is only Bailey who have had this problem which makes me wonder if it is down to something in their design. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Wildwood said:

Not sure why, but as far as I can tell, it is only Bailey who have had this problem which makes me wonder if it is down to something in their design. 

 

It is!

They use square wheel boxes (internal mudguards) whereas most others use semi-circular ones so there is much less clearance between the top of the tyre and the wheelbox. On caravans with semicircular ones if the axle rubbers “relax” the same amount there is still enough clearance for the tyre not to come into contact with them. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Wildwood said:

Not sure why, but as far as I can tell, it is only Bailey who have had this problem which makes me wonder if it is down to something in their design. 

I have also  seen  an Elddis based van with the problem 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's NOT only just Bailey, their flat-top wheelbox design just makes it worse! I know of at least 10 'vans of other makes: Elddis & Lunar being the most prevalent. The fault is either (or both!) skimped capacity or under-spec 'd. rubber inserts. Yet another penny-pinching design feature that the customer supposedly has to tolerate.

 

 

 

3L auto Nissan Terrano, 2004 & Swift Elegance 530, 2018. As Leonardo da Vinci once said: 'If you find from your own experience that something is a fact & it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority & base your reasoning on your own findings' ie: use your common sense!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it is capacity then it would seem AL-KO is at fault and it should work its way back to them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has, trouble is they appear to have ignored many of the claims.  With a monopoly in the market the the best response would be a whole gang of people taking them to court 'Class Action'.  

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...