Neil and Sonya Dundas. On

2015 29RS Axle/Bearing/Insufficient Braking Issues

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My rig has 4400# Lippert Axles, 10-inch drum brakes, 15" tires and the brake hub ass'y is a 6 x 5 1/2 bolt pattern. The rig has a GVWR of 9995#. The UVW is 8564# with a pin wt of 1504#. This axle is a hybrid using a 3500# axle, modified to be rated for 4400#.
Since having this 5th wheel, we have had 2 major breakdowns involving bearings and brakes. The first one was in Dec. 2017 while traveling south for the winter. I was flagged by a motorist and the bearing actually caught on fire. This was the driver side, rear tire. The repair shop replaced the brake ass'y, bearings and magnets and rechecked and repacked the bearings ($530).
We returned home in April, 2018 and contacted Grand Design on May 4, 2018 regarding concerns about our axle ratings and braking. We thought we had 5200# axles, which was listed on our Reflection Serial Number Data Sheet. I was told that the rating was 4400# and that this was sufficient for our rig.
At the Indiana Rally in 2018, because of my concerns, I tried to have the brakes upgraded to disc brakes to try to resolve my concerns about insufficient braking. Unfortunately, these hybrid axles do not allow you to upgrade to disc brakes. I decided to upgrade the Equa-Flex Equalisers and shackles ($494) to a more heavy-duty type. As well, I had the Bearing/Axle Service at the Rally ($230) to ensure no future bearing/braking issues.
When I returned home from the Rally, I also purchased new Michilen Endurance ST tires, even though my tires were fine ($878).
Before going south for the winter in 2018, even though the bearings were serviced in August, I had the brakes inspected and adjusted ($236).
Coming back home in April, 2019, I was, again, flagged by a passing motorist and found driver side, front wheel ass'y smoking.
We got the unit to an RV dealership in Indiana and they found a blown bearing and the racer had to be cut off. They replaced the whole complete electric brake ass'y as well as a new drum brake hub since the hub overheated and broke. They also replaced the electic brake ass'y on the rear driver side since the brake shoes had completely crumbled. They were shocked at the size of the axle and brake ass'y on this unit and made a notation on work order to contact the manufacturer to have the manufacturer upgrade them.
They also checked the other bearings and brakes before putting us back on the road ($838).
We have been servicing the bearings annually and have never experienced any bearing seal issues. I've been towing various trailers for over 30 years and have never ahd this type of experience before.

Has anyone else run into this problem with these axles on the 29RS? Has anyone upgraded their axles? I've noticed that Grand Design has been using 5200# axles with 12" brakes since their 2018 model.


  1. Cate&Rob's Avatar
    Hi Neil & Sonya,

    Sorry to hear about your ongoing problems . . .

    First of all . . . posting this in a blog rather than in the appropriate discussion section of the forum will likely get you far fewer responses.

    4400 lb axles do seem to be rather "light weight" but the numbers still work. If you loaded to GVWR of 10,000 lbs (which you probably don't) with 20% on the pin, this puts 8,000 lbs on the trailer axles . . . 800 lbs less than their rating.

    The failures that you describe, don't sound like overloaded axles, they sound like incorrect adjustments. A cooked bearing might be a bearing that was adjusted too tightly. Crumbled brake shoes sound like a brake that was too tight or applied too long . . . not an axle/brake size problem.

    Admittedly, having your hubs/brakes/bearings inspected at the Rally should have assured that this was all set up properly . . . I can't explain why it wasn't.

  2. Neil and Sonya Dundas. On's Avatar
    Thanks for your response. This is my first time using this forum. I think I've managed to repost it in the correct Axle/Brake/Suspension section.
    We've had 4 different reputable rv/axle companies do all the inspections, adjustments and repairs. No issue regarding seals which seems to be a common issue.
    I always check the hubs for heat every fill - every 3 - 4 hours. It makes me wonder why the manufacturer would upgrade the system if it was adequate before....

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