Worn rear bushings - 50 hours labor?

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Kennyj

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Oct 27, 2021
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NE Oklahoma
Hey Members!
I have a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL with the 330 Cat diesel and a Freightliner XC chassis. I have had it only a year and a half and have taken one long trip in it (1800 miles RT). It has 53,000 miles on it. I took it into Freightliner to diagnose unstable tracking while driving at highway speeds (65). On a crowned road, it has a "dog-tracking" issue with the rear tracking to the right. You have to constantly steer it to keep it going straight in your lane. Tires are good (new fronts) and just aligned. Freightliner says the rear bushing are worn and quoted 50 hours labor ($9750) and $3000 in parts. They said the rear axle has to be dropped to do the repair. The ER was able to re-start my heart after this bad news. Have any of you heard of this type of repair at this cost? I want it to be save but this is 1/3 of what I paid for the rig. Help please!
 

uchu

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Ontario, Canada
Tires are good (new fronts) and just aligned.
The price sounds steep, and I'm not completely sure that the rear axle actually needs to be dropped to replace rear bushings...

Regarding the diagnose, this part bothers me. The rear tires should have shown uneven wear if there was a bushing issue.
 

Kennyj

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Oct 27, 2021
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NE Oklahoma
I agree on both counts. My question to Freightliner was how could the bushings wear out in only 53,000 miles? No response yet to that question. There is no uneven tire wear on any tire, front or rear. I assume the labor hours required come from the Freightliner labor guideline book that they use.
 

A Traveler

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Aug 25, 2014
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366
If it’s dog-tracking and going down the road at an angle, the rear axle is slightly out of position. It is not perfectly perpendicular to the chassis. That has nothing to do with the bushings.

Get another diagnosis. I think the shop is either ripping you off or worse, they are clueless.
 

Kennyj

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Oct 27, 2021
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NE Oklahoma
The alignment shop did an old style string measurement and found the rear axle to front 1/2 inch longer on one side to the other. They said it is not adjustable. I wonder if that misalignment could be due to the worn bushings? Seems like quite a lot!
The dog-tracking in only on off camber/crowned roads. On a flat highway it tracks ok but drifts a little left and right, requiring continuous slight steering correction.
Thanks for the advice, I think a second opinion is in order.
 

cbeierl

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Jan 12, 2007
Posts
661
Location
Nashua, NH
Hey Members!
I have a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL with the 330 Cat diesel and a Freightliner XC chassis. I have had it only a year and a half and have taken one long trip in it (1800 miles RT). It has 53,000 miles on it. I took it into Freightliner to diagnose unstable tracking while driving at highway speeds (65). On a crowned road, it has a "dog-tracking" issue with the rear tracking to the right. You have to constantly steer it to keep it going straight in your lane. Tires are good (new fronts) and just aligned. Freightliner says the rear bushing are worn and quoted 50 hours labor ($9750) and $3000 in parts. They said the rear axle has to be dropped to do the repair. The ER was able to re-start my heart after this bad news. Have any of you heard of this type of repair at this cost? I want it to be save but this is 1/3 of what I paid for the rig. Help please!
I have a 2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD on a Freightliner Evolution chassis with a NEWAY (SAF-HOLLAND) ADL-120 Rear Suspension. I'm not sure how that compares to your XC chassis Journey. I have around 73,000 miles on the coach since new and I just had to have all 8 bushings in the rear suspension replaced because the rubber was badly deteriorated. It required 3 SRK-514 Service Repair Kits (2 bushings each) and 1 SRK-515 Service Repair Kit (2 bushings). I sourced the bushings myself from FinditParts and a local supplier for a total of about $920 in parts for the eight bushings. (Btw, there were long delays in getting some of the parts and also for getting into the shop--be prepared!)

The work needed to be done on a lift and the shop had to remove the whole rear axle assembly to replace the bushings. Although they weren't leaking, the rear airbags had serious cracks and I had the shop replace them since everything was already apart and there was no extra labor. The replacement airbags cost me $627 from the shop. (Given time I could have tracked them down for cheaper, but that wasn't practical at this point.) They also replaced one of the rear slack adjusters for a parts cost of $185. Here's the shop's description of what they had to do:

SET UP COACH ON LIFTS AND STANDS, HAD TO REMOVE THE MUFFLER TO MAKE ACCESS TO THE FRAME FOR THE STANDS. DISCONNECTED ALL COMPONENTS AND DROPPED THE REAR AXLE ASSY. HAD TO REMOVE THE BRAKE CHAMBERS, SLACK ADJUSTERS, TO ACCESS FRONT PIVOT BOLTS. ALL PIVOT BOLTS HAD TO BE HEATED TO REMOVE THE NUTS AND SOME WERE SEIZED TO THE BUSHING INNER SLEEVE. SET AXLE ON STANDS AND STRIPPED THE WHEELS, DRUMS, BRAKE SHOES AND SPIDERS. REMOVED MOUNT PLATES AND PRESSED OUT ALL BUSHINGS FROM AXLE AND SUSPENSION COMPONENTS. HAD A HARD TIME GETTING SOME OF THE BUSHINGS OUT DUE TO RUST ADHESION TO THE RUBBER. THE PRESS TOOL BROKE WHILE PRESSING THEM OUT. CLEANED THE RUST OUT OF ALL THE BUSHING SLEEVES AND INSTALLED ALL THE NEW BUSHINGS. REPLACED BOTH REAR AIR BAGS. REASSEMBLED ALL REMOVED COMPONENTS TO THE AXLE AND REINSTALLED IT. REPLACED THE R/S SLACK ADJUSTER THAT WAS SEIZED. RECONNECTED ALL REMOVED COMPONENTS, TORQUED ALL LUG NUTS TO SPEC. CHECKED FOR AIR LEAKS, RIDE HEIGHT, REINSTALLED MUFFLER AND REPLACED THE TAIL PIPE HANGER CLAMP. ROAD TESTED AND RECHECKED ALL WORK, NO PROBLEMS WERE FOUND.​

Labor came to $4082, for a total cost of $5814 out the door.
 

Kennyj

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Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Posts
6
Location
NE Oklahoma
Thanks for the summary of your repair Chris. I assume you were having the same movement at highway speeds that required constant (minor) steering correction? And the repair fixed the problem?
I will get a second opinion, but it sounds like I am in for an "investment". Your shop was a lot more reasonable (half) than mine. It does help knowing that I am not the only one who has had this bushing issue. I do think 50 hours (probably 3 mechanics) is a bit too much however. I guess those rubber bushings were not meant to last 19 years even with only 53,000 miles. I will also replace the bags like you did if the bushings need replacing.
In my first post, I meant to say "I want it to be SAFE" not save. That is important. Thanks for everyone's input.
 

John Canfield

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I highly recommend you let Freightliner factory service in Gaffney, SC do that work. And they are equipped to do a 4 wheel alignment unlike any other dealer. When our coach needed its first service, I had Freightliner do the work because of their capabilities. Join the Freightliner Chassis Owners Club and get 10% off parts.
 
Last edited:

SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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St Cloud Florida USA
Tires are good (new fronts) and just aligned. Freightliner says the rear bushing are worn and quoted 50 hours labor ($9750) and $3000 in parts. They said the rear axle has to be dropped to do the repair. The ER was able to re-start my heart after this bad news. Have any of you heard of this type of repair at this cost? I want it to be save but this is 1/3 of what I paid for the rig. Help please!
This is why I keep telling newbies looking for their first RV that they should have a used RV inspector check it out.
 

cbeierl

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Nashua, NH
Thanks for the summary of your repair Chris. I assume you were having the same movement at highway speeds that required constant (minor) steering correction? And the repair fixed the problem?
...
Actually I wasn't aware of any handling issues, but the bushings caused it to fail the annual NH vehicle safety inspection, so I had to get them replaced.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What John said! If the shop is even close to correct about the rear axle alignment issue, you want a second opinion and analysis by real pros. The FCCC factory in Gafney would be my first choice and probably the cheapest place to get it fixed as well as done right. My second choices would be the few premier chassis alignment shops, e.g. Josam's in Orlando, Henderson Line-up in Oregon, etc.

Rear axle skew is not a bushing thing at all. The chassis had to have been built that way. And yes, fixing that is a lot of work.
 

oldryder

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Nov 8, 2017
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Avon MN
"Rear axle skew is not a bushing thing at all. The chassis had to have been built that way. And yes, fixing that is a lot of work."

could the rear axle skew be the cause of the bushing failures? just curious. seems like that skew would be creating exceptional loads on a lot of components. curious that this flaw (which seems like too small a word for this) wasn't exposed by tire wear.
 

Lou Schneider

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Tire wear will only show up if the tires on an axle are out of alignment with each other so they're fighting going down the road. They're perfectly happy to go down the road offset from the front wheels.
 

cbeierl

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Nashua, NH
Just fyi, the attached brochure shows what the ADL-120 rear suspension looks like.
 

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Ray-IN

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North America-somewhere
The alignment shop did an old style string measurement and found the rear axle to front 1/2 inch longer on one side to the other. They said it is not adjustable. I wonder if that misalignment could be due to the worn bushings? Seems like quite a lot!
The dog-tracking in only on off camber/crowned roads. On a flat highway it tracks ok but drifts a little left and right, requiring continuous slight steering correction.
Thanks for the advice, I think a second opinion is in order.
Are you willing to spend $300 for a total alignment? This is a 4-wheel alignment like is done on autos, only for heavy duty trucks.
I had a total alignment performed at a large HDT repair shop. The technician said the rear axle was out by 3/4" and was the reason I was worn out after driving all day. My MH was incorrect from the factory, the alignment specialist said.
The main indicator of incorrect thrust angle is the steering wheel does not look level when driving a straight line.
ALL rear axles may be properly re-aligned, IF the mechanic knows their job and the chassis well. Some chassis have the adjustments made into them at the factory.
Some rear suspension brands do require aftermarket offset bushings, which are turned until thrust angle is correct.
iu
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The open question here is whether the rear axle alignment is off because of the worn bushings, or is that a separate issue? I.E. a incorrectly mounted axle assembly? Rubber suspension bushings can deteriorate, or they might get worn by unusual stresses, though dog-tracking theoretically does not produce that sort of stress.
 

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