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Old 01-10-2019, 07:24 PM   #1
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Location: Douglas
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Tire Clearance to Undercarriage

Hi folks, my 2012 Cougar Xlite 26SAB has about four to five inches of clearance from the tires to the undercarriage on the non-slideout side. I bought the 5th wheel used and after my first trip, for some reason, I looked at the undercarriage and both tires on that side had rubbed. The damage was slight and basically rubbed off the fabric. I'd like a little more clearance so I don't have any issues and am wondering the best course of action, if any. I'm wondering if this clearance amount is normal or if it is definitely not enough. Perhaps I, or the previous owner, hit a bad bump too fast?

Has anybody had any experience with this? Is it something to worry about or could it be an anomaly?

I've tried to find a similar 5th wheel to mine, same year and model, to compare but I haven't been able to find one nearby.

Thanks for your help.


2012 Keystone Cougar 26SAB fifth wheel
2006 Dodge Ram 2500
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:36 PM   #2
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Are you sure the rub marks are from your use? As you mentioned, perhaps it was from the previous owner overloading the rig. I would put some paint or tape on the rub spot and see if it is happening with the load you are Towing. Also seems like a payload issue if one side is rubbing and not the other. 4”-5” seems adequate if GVWR is not exceeded. A CAT scale should be in your future.


Steve & Diane
2015 Montana 3402RL
2017 F350 Super Duty Lariat 6.7 Powerstroke, Super Cab, Long Box, 4WD DRW
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:05 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve and Diane ... I did tape it up with Gorilla tape and am going to keep an eye on it. I would think after six years there would be more damage if it happened more often, but it does seem minimal. Thanks for the reply. Jeff
2012 Keystone Cougar 26SAB fifth wheel
2006 Dodge Ram 2500
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:54 PM   #4
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You definitely should check all the suspension, springs, shackles, bolts, just everything to make sure nothing is broken or excessively worn. Your tires should not be contacting anything under the rig.
Bob & Becky
2012 3402 Montana
2012 Chevy 2500HD D/A CC
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:35 AM   #5
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Have you checked tire size? Maybe oversize tires have been put on it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:01 AM   #6
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I agree with Bob. Check the shackles, spring hangers, axle mounts and especially the spring packs. You may have a broken spring in the center of your spring pack that you can't see by glancing at it from in front of the tire. Get on a creeper and inspect the suspension from under the trailer where you can get "up close and personal" with every component. Oversize tires are also a possibility, but it would be easy to verify the size on the axle with the sticker on the side of the trailer.

2015 F250 6.7l 4x4
2014 Cougar X Lite 27RKS
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:21 AM   #7
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Just an added thought...we had a 2012 Cougar half-ton 282 RESWE. From the day we brought it home, I thought that the rear of the trailer looked too low and there didn't seem to be enough tire clearance - especially at the left rear wheel. After traveling some unusually rough roads, I noticed that the left rear tire had come in contact with the Darco in the wheel well. Taped up the damage and decided to "keep an eye on it".
Well, on our way to the balloon festival, the left rear spring broke. Turns out that, judging by the rust marks, the major leaf of that spring had been cracked for some time. I regularly inspected the springs and never saw the crack.
The Cougar had 4400 lb axles. The mobile repair guy said he thought the springs were too light for the trailer. BTW, the spring broke after something over 20,000 miles.
I guess my point is to be sure and check the integrity of your springs. If I had it to do again, I would go to a welding supply and buy some dye penetrant or have a spring shop look at it.
If you look on the spring, you will find a tag with the part number. Check to make sure the springs are rated high enough for your trailer's weight.


Jack & Marty
2018 Laredo 298 SRL
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