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Old 07-06-2021, 11:45 AM   #1
Tom_S
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Leaf spring for 2018 Bullet with wide stance axles

Hello and good afternoon community... been a long time reader and researcher, but first time I needed to post - hoping someone can help me out.

We have a 2018 Keyston Bullet 277 BHS. This has the 3500# Dexter axles, wide stance.

We broke a leaf spring on our way home from our summer camping trip last week. Didn't think it was that big of a deal until we saw the damage it did. The drivers side rear leaf broke, and the equalizers of course rolled forward all the way, lowering the frame significantly. The carrier bolts for the leaf springs on the passenger side bottomed out on the frame causing the bolt heads to pierce the propane line that goes all the way down the frame rail! Luckily nothing sparked, but wow, what a shocker!

So now what I thought would be the easy part... order 4 new leafsprings, replace them, and then replace the propane line. To my surprise, the leadsprings are incredibly hard to source. No part # on the leaf itself, and every authorized Keystone repair shop I have called will not return calls or email, or just cannot get them.

I went to a local show who specializes in gears and axles, and he is not able to match up anything either. He did the measurements, and says these are 16X16 tapered mono-leaf.

Does anyone know of a part number or an alternative part that would fit?




Thanks in advance!

Tom
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:54 AM   #2
jasin1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_S View Post
Hello and good afternoon community... been a long time reader and researcher, but first time I needed to post - hoping someone can help me out.

We have a 2018 Keyston Bullet 277 BHS. This has the 3500# Dexter axles, wide stance.

We broke a leaf spring on our way home from our summer camping trip last week. Didn't think it was that big of a deal until we saw the damage it did. The drivers side rear leaf broke, and the equalizers of course rolled forward all the way, lowering the frame significantly. The carrier bolts for the leaf springs on the passenger side bottomed out on the frame causing the bolt heads to pierce the propane line that goes all the way down the frame rail! Luckily nothing sparked, but wow, what a shocker!

So now what I thought would be the easy part... order 4 new leafsprings, replace them, and then replace the propane line. To my surprise, the leadsprings are incredibly hard to source. No part # on the leaf itself, and every authorized Keystone repair shop I have called will not return calls or email, or just cannot get them.

I went to a local show who specializes in gears and axles, and he is not able to match up anything either. He did the measurements, and says these are 16X16 tapered mono-leaf.

Does anyone know of a part number or an alternative part that would fit?




Thanks in advance!

Tom
May be a better option to buy four new upgraded leaf springs and forget trying to match them… seems like either your overloaded or have underperforming springs…and the other one on that side has likely been over stressed having to bear all the weight

Edit : sorry for reposting the pictures. 2nd edit : geez did I even read the post thoroughly? I see you are searching for four new springs…forget this post
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:59 AM   #3
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Thank you. Yes, definitely want to upgrade them, but don't want to go too much and make the ride a lot harsher and shake things apart.

Definitely not overloaded, only travel with 50% water and not much else. I think the design with the mono leaf is less than ideal... we did run over a blown tractor trailer tire a couple years ago on a cross country trip and it was brutal - felt like we about jumped the thing... so there is a strong possibility there was some metal fatigue hiding in the waiting.
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Old 07-06-2021, 12:12 PM   #4
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Update... I finally got a call back from one of the local Keystone authorized service centers. Apparently, they are unable to buy leaf springs by themselves. You have to buy the whole axle with the springs attached. A mere $800 per axle.

There must be a better way. lol
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Old 07-06-2021, 12:34 PM   #5
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I would check in your area for a company that makes springs... we have several in our area that can make springs to order... I've never been a fan of Mono leaf springs...but I guess they have their uses...
Think I'd have ones made that resemble a more traditional leaf pack instead.. then get some new equalizers and shackle kits with grease fittings... JMHO..
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:00 PM   #6
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Take a look at eastermarine.com/leaf-springs.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestion. I checked and they don't have anything long enough. These wide stance axles are turning out to be a real 'interesting' design choice.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:24 PM   #8
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The same thing has happened to a couple other members in the past. One in 2018 and one in, I think, 2019. Both had the same problems finding replacement springs.

Here is the link to a thread started by one of those members when his spring broke. His was "covered by warranty, but the replacement did the same thing and he just replaced both axles with upgraded axle/spring assemblies. As for as I know, he is still towing that trailer with no further "suspension issues" after the upgrade axles were installed....

I've heard of more broken springs with the mono-leaf spring design than with any multi-leaf spring configuration....

Here's the link to that one thread. You can do a forum search for "broken spring" and find other threads....

https://www.keystoneforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=34888
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Old 07-06-2021, 07:18 PM   #9
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Excellent info, thank you! And thank you for the link, much appreciated!
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Old 07-26-2021, 03:51 PM   #10
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Well I finally got my replacement leafsprings! That was like finding a magical unicorn... crazy. But I am having a heck of a time getting the new one installed in place of that broken one now. The equalizer rolled forward and the rear axle is at an odd angle now, close to 45 degrees off. I am able to get the eye bolts in, but the pin won't line up on the axle. It's like the axle needs to roll back some, and move out an inch too. I just cannot seem to figure out the geometry on how this needs to go.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks on how to accomplish this? I've got everything basically 'reset'. Trailer is back on 3 wheels and the tongue jack.

Thanks!

Tom
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:24 PM   #11
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This is exactly why I traded in my Bullet. 5 days in a Walmart near Dayton parking lot waiting for etrailer to send me the wrong parts, yes they were told year make model. Then 5 days in Piqua waiting for the leaf springs, left the trailer at Paul Sherry RV and they put it all back together.
I took it to Northern Michigan for a week and got rid of it.
I found the parts too hard to get and the build quality was crap. Loved the layout.
Love my Cougar, it's not perfect but I can stand on the roof and perform my own maintenance sans pieces of ply or styrofoam. JMHO
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:47 PM   #12
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Everywhere I went in Dayton, literally every spring shop, said we don't carry mono springs that long, I think they were 31" in length.
If you have the Correct track you have to ensure the Yellow plates are lined correctly when sliding bolt through shackle.
.

I hope you bought the HD wet bolt kit, well worth the low price.
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Old 07-26-2021, 05:26 PM   #13
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Everywhere I went in Dayton, literally every spring shop, said we don't carry mono springs that long, I think they were 31" in length.
If you have the Correct track you have to ensure the Yellow plates are lined correctly when sliding bolt through shackle.
.

I hope you bought the HD wet bolt kit, well worth the low price.
I lost a bolt and star cam coming across the Mackinac Bridge dodging the bullet . I didnít realize it till stoping at the casino in Mackinaw. I ordered the star from a E trailer, It was waiting for me in Illinois a week latter . I didnít know there was a procedure with the cam. I made sure that all four of them are on the same flat and called it aligned. I suppose a fifth wheel would be the same technique coming from the hitch lug, if I donít have the easy flex suspension the equalizer would have rolled and the spring would have come out of the saddle with the opposite side tires rubbing each other. I suppose Iíll get bored Someday and try that alignment technique.
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:09 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies guys - much appreciated. Looks like I have a bunch of work cut out for myself. I contacted a local mobile RV mechanic, and their first appointment is Sept 14th. lol! Good gravy...

And yes, I have plans to trade this in very soon - I am not happy at all with a lot of the build quality, especially the wide stance axles. yuck.
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Old 07-27-2021, 11:59 AM   #15
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An update and an interesting discovery... Got everything up on jack stands and both axles suspended freely, and what do I find? The opposite side of the broken leaf... The shackle mount is completely broken off of the frame at the welds. Unbelievable. My neighbor is a very knowledgeable metal worker and said the factory did a crappy job on the welds, didn't get near enough penetration. Why am I not surprised.

So now at least all I need is a good mobile welder, which will be a heck of a lot cheaper than a mobile RV mechanic ��
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:20 PM   #16
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An update and an interesting discovery... Got everything up on jack stands and both axles suspended freely, and what do I find? The opposite side of the broken leaf... The shackle mount is completely broken off of the frame at the welds. Unbelievable. My neighbor is a very knowledgeable metal worker and said the factory did a crappy job on the welds, didn't get near enough penetration. Why am I not surprised.

So now at least all I need is a good mobile welder, which will be a heck of a lot cheaper than a mobile RV mechanic ��
Heaven knows Keystone can "screw up enough stuff on their own" so no need to blame them for someone else's issues... The spring hangers are welded onto the frames by Lippert as a part of the frame construction. So, that crappy job on the welds is "Lippert's fault" not "Keystone's fault"....

There is about a 20 year history of "crappy welding at Lippert"... The two "biggest complaints through the years have been "cheap chinese steel" and "crappy, elementary welding attempted by unskilled workers at Lippert"...
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:46 AM   #17
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Good to know, thanks!
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:56 AM   #18
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Just as an FYI Lippert doesn't just send their crappy welds to Keystone. They are shared equally amongst many brands.
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:07 AM   #19
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Just as an FYI Lippert doesn't just send their crappy welds to Keystone. They are shared equally amongst many brands.
Very true !!!!! I don't know of any "entry level/medium level" trailer or fifth wheel manufacturer that builds their own frame any more....

The "custom built frame manufactured in "our facility" starts in the "luxury trailer manufacturer lines, not in the "Jayco, Forest River and Keystone lines"...
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