Jayco axle issues

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 18:15
ThreadID: 119640 Views:5587 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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I have a 2013 Jayco Starcraft Outback that has one wheel with excess tow in that has all but worn a tyre out on under 10,000 k,s due to a out of alignment stub axle. No impact damage and no wear on the tyre on the other end of the axle. Has anybody else experienced this problem ?
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 19:19

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 19:19
Is it TOE IN or TOE OUT Either way take it to a truck alignment place and they will fix it.

My second van crabbed because it must have been a Monday van after a heavy weekend and the whole tandem suspension was crooked.
Manufacturer had to fork out $900 to get it straightened at a Truck body shop
AnswerID: 557477

Follow Up By: Member - reggy 2 (VIC) - Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 21:14

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 21:14
take it back to Jayco they did have issues with some vans.
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FollowupID: 843817

Follow Up By: Kelvin B - Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:50

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:50
Thanks for your input. I have booked it in for a wheel alignment with Electric Brake specialists in Adelaide. Having trouble getting Jayco to come to party if it is a manufacture fault. I am prepared to go by what the repairer says.
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FollowupID: 843828

Reply By: Slow one - Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 05:14

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 05:14
Don't own a Jayco but talking to owners they say Jayco really back their warranty.

Even if it is out of warranty, I would approach them as it is a fault from new.
AnswerID: 557487

Follow Up By: Member - Chris G (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:12

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:12
Hi Kelvin B, I have, and am very happy with a 2012 Starcraft and when having ESC retrofitted by my regular service he found I had to have major work done on both axles. Same problem as your self, New suspension bushes, magnets even a brake drum. But Jayco didn't flinch and met their warranty no problems.
Luckily well before I chewed out any tyres.
I found Jayco good to deal with.
Regards Chris G
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FollowupID: 843826

Reply By: Kelvin B - Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:58

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 at 08:58
Thanks Chris, i'm sure mine is only a toe in problem as all else seems ok. It is out of warranty because I didn't do enough mileage in the first 12 months for the issue to show up. I had to have the lino relaid at 3 months and Jayco were good about that, (Australian Caravans in Adelaide not so good), but they say I have to deal with Alco the axle supplier. I have been told they wont be interested.
AnswerID: 557490

Reply By: Flash32 - Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 at 17:38

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 at 17:38
We had a similar problem a while back and got the run around town trying to get it fixed. Eventually we were referred to True Track Truck Aligning in Bunbury WA. They only do RV's on Wednesday and our twin axle van cost was $135. It appears good value so far and prompt service to boot.
AnswerID: 588126

Reply By: Erad - Friday, Jul 31, 2015 at 15:06

Friday, Jul 31, 2015 at 15:06
Sorry for the late reply, but we have been away (with our Jayco Poptop).

You are not alone with axle problems. I am on my 4th set of tyres in my 2000 Jayco 16 ft poptop. Jayco were abysmal with their service. I'll start at the beginning...

15 months old, and we were on our way to Perth. At Esperance, I just happened to look at the tyres and the inner edge of both were worn - the R side had steel belt showing. I borrowed a tape measure and found that I had 10 mm toe out. I phoned Jayco and was told that the warranty was covered by the axle manufacturer - ALKO. Their warranty was 12 months. I bought a new tyre and fitted the new spare and we complete the trip and came home to Cooma. I took the axle off the van and found then that it was mounted about 20 mm offset such that the axle had dented the chassis rails. Jayco's warranty was 2 years or 20000 km. I had done more than that, but there was no way of recording it (other than my log book, which I wasn't giving away).

So I wrote a letter, complete with pictures and sent it off to Jayco, asking what they were going to do about it. Deafening silence. 6 weeks later, another letter. 4 weeks and still no reply. So I Phoned them. "Could I speak with the Service manager?" He wasn't there, but they left a message for him to get back to me. 3 more phone messages and 2 followup faxes, still no reply. Finally I had to go to Melbourne anyway, so I sent them a fax saying that I was coming down with the axle. I got my trailer out and loaded the axle into it. I went to the factory, and the man at the gate said to park over near the showroom. So I did - right outside the door. Anyone who wanted to go in or out had to climb through my trailer. "Could I please see the Service Manager?" Yes sir - he is right in there.

I introduced myself and told him my sad story. He said that I should have given him some notice that I was coming down. A big mushroom cloud erupted... I said " How about 3 letters, 5 phonecalls and 3 faxes, all unanswered?" He then looked thru his intray and found 2 letters and 1 fax, along with about 4 telephone messages. Needless to say, I was not impressed. He then said that he was a qualified Mechanical Engineer. I replied that so was I and we could at least stop bullsh1tting and get on with the problem.

He sent the axle off to ALKO for them to sort out. As for the misaligned axle, he offered to weld plates on the sides of the chassis to strengthen it. I wasn't keen on that, and said that I would monitor it and if any deterioration happened I would be back. So far, it has been OK, although I must admit that I haven't checked it for a few years now. Jayco's warranty covered their own work only and if the axle had not been poorly assembled to the van they would have wiped me completely. As it was, I had to set the axle up and relocate the locating plates on the axle myself, because the van was at home - 650 km away from the factory.

ALKO were upset by the toeout problem. For a start, it should have been set up with toe-in, but also the extent of the toe-in was way too much. The problem lies in the way the axle was manufactured. The place the stub axle in a jig and do a major weld on one side (maybe the front). The weld cools and pulls the axle out of alignment.Then they repeat the weld on the opposite (maybe the rear) side and as the weld cools, it pulls the axle back, but not totally back to true. Thus, there is a toe in (or toe out, depending on which way the brakes are mounted). ALKO offered to pay for the tyre I had replaced in Esperance - I should have replaced 2 at the time.

Fast forward a few years, and the tyres were still wearing on the inner shoulders. I had measured the toe-in when they sent the axle back to me and it was still over what I thought was still too much, but I had no way of knowing what was OK. We were in Port Hedland and I checked the tyres and saw the problem was still there, so I wrote a letter to ALKO asking them what the toe-in should be. I reckon it should be zero or very close to it. The ALKO service manager was very good. He asked me to call him when I got back home, which I did. He then asked me to measure the length of the axle and to get the details of the hubs. I forwarded him this information and he sent me a complete new axle - all for free. I sent the old one back (freight prepaid by them). The new axle has about 4 mm toe-in. ALKO man said that some toe-in was needed to give stability to the trailer. (I suspect that they have toe-in because they cannot make the axles without some toe).

I put the new axle on the caravan and set it up again as per the instructions (centre it and check the diagonal measurements) and so far (about 15000 km), the tyres seem to be wearing evenly, so maybe all is OK at last.

Somewhere out of the blue, I had a hub fail (cracked) as well. I phoned the ALKO man and told him of my problem, asking him where I could get a new one. He asked me to send the cracked hub down to him, along with the other hub, and he would send me 2 new hubs. He checked the hub, and found that there was a centre punch mark at the transition from the hub to the brake drum flange. That caused a stress concentration which ultimately caused the crack. Again, no charge from ALKO.

I must have run over a Chinaman some time in the past, because on my previous caravan, I wore out a set of tyres in 11000 km. That axle had 11 mm toe out. My Jayco had only 10 mm toe out so I am getting better. Naturally I am sensitive to the problem and as I walk around a caravan park, I look at people's tyres. So far, I have found 5 other vans with tyres worn and their owners had no idea of the problem at all. My caravan has done a lot of km - about 150000km now, so I am probably unusual. Most caravans would only do a few thousand a year if they were lucky. So it isn't a problem unique to you and me, but I guess overall in the big picture it isn't a major problem. As you can see, ALKO have backed their product to the full, even though I was well over the time and distance limits as stated in their warranty.

AnswerID: 588176

Follow Up By: Kelvin B - Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 13:33

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 13:33
Thanks Erad, I had to smile at your turning up at the door and the result. I have to say that while I have had a few problems with my caravan, mainly the lino lifting because of a poor glue job, then a very unsatisfactory repair by the Australian Caravan Company in Adelaide, they failed to attach the bench and cabinet to the wall properly after they put the furniture back, and then told me that it was just a lack of silicone!! It didn't even last till I got the van home, a hundred K's away. To cut a long story short, I took it to the Murray Bridge caravan Centre and they simply reattached the furniture to the wall with the clips that had been missed by the ACC, as well as adding a few more clips. Great service. However, jayco were good in looking after all the repair costs, and they have just emailed me to say they will reimburse the cost of the axle realignment.

I had taken the van to the Electric Brake Specialists in Adelaide at the recommendation of Trevor from Murray Bridge, and they found that although the rear axle was within the tolerance of plus or minus 0.03degrees, the left tyre wear was way in excess of what it should have been. They then gave the left rear wheel -0.03 and the right rear +0.03. This was done by bending the axle, not just moving it, then allowing it to spring back into place and repeating that till they got it right. I was concerned about them toeing out the right side, but they seemed to know what they were talking about. I did discuss the issue with the owner on EBS, and he said he has seen lots of caravans with the alignment within the specs that had excess wear, it seems to be a very hit and miss issue as to who gets a good axle. He also said they should have some toe in and while my front axle didn't have any, the tyres were wearing evenly, so left it as is. He also mentioned that the new independent suspension systems were even harder to keep in alignment.

I am going to Tasmania for a couple of months later this year, and will be watching the tyre wear with much interest. I was very pleased to hear you had such a good response from ALKO, jayco had told me that they, ALKO, wouldn't be interested. i hope you continue to have a trouble free run with your caravan.
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FollowupID: 856979

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