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AH64ID

Moving up to a 5er

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A while back the wife and I decided we wanted to upgrade to a 5er for a couple of reasons. Our current TT has been great and served us well since buying it new in 2012 (2011 close out model, great buy). 
 

Alas, a 5th week as been on our list for a bit but we’re rather picky on brand. Based on construction techniques and frame design we were only willing to purchase a trailer built within the Nash Family of trailers. Those are the commonly known Arctic Fox or Fox Mountain 5th wheels, or the less common Outdoors RV’s. Our TT is a Outdoors RV, so we have first had experience with their “off-road chassis”. 

Most Outdoors RV’s 5th wheels are in their Glacier Peak line (debuted circa 2014), which is very rugged but have also turned into one of their luxury lines.. which has made them more prohibitive cost wise, at least while we’re still camping with dirty kids :lmao:

 

Up until 4 days ago we thought ALL Outdoors RV 5ers were Glacier Peaks. While perusing kslI came across a 2011 Outdoors RV Wind River 275SBS 5er and did a double take. I know about the Wind River line but never knew that they had a 5er (actually 3 floor plans in ‘11). So to make a long story longer the wife and I talked about it, really like the floor plan and made a deal we couldn’t walk away from with the dealership. 
 

So yesterday I drove down to Logan, UT and brought back our new 5er. It’s in great shape and should serve us well. We have to do a little prep work for 3 kids to sleep inside when the weather is too cold, but they are usually in tents these days. It has the same insulation package as our current TT that is 4 season and has served us well. It also has the upgraded thermal pane windows and a 8 cuft fridge. 
 

I transferred the 16” wheels with LT tires to it from our TT before towing it home, as the others were OE. Over the next little but I’ll get the rest of the stuff we want to keep transferred, inverter, ammeter, voltmeter, lifeline batteries, etc and sell the TT. 

 

It towed great. Had a 20mph head wind most the way home and never felt it. We crossed the scales at 16.7K. 
 

I do need to level it with truck. In the photo the truck is in the lowered trailer height that I tow in. The pin box could be raised, but I like the clearance to the bed rails so I’ll likely lift the rear of the trailer a little. We do lots of dirt road camping so a little more clearance, it already has lots, isn’t a bad thing. 
 

I also want to say how great the guys at Castle Countey RV in Logan, UT are! Great price, easy to deal with, and fast communication. I’d do business with them again, thou I hope to be out of the trailer market for a while. 

 

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Congrats...

 You probably already...the list below all Nit-noid stuff on wives 2013 AF 25w I've gone thru.  NW uses alot of common parts on all there makes, so throwing this out.  Might help you or not even apply. Your mileage may very.

 

If you have trimark door locks, they had a recall about your OEM timeframe. Search trimark recalls.

 

Fire extinguisher had a recall.  (Someone on here when thru the process and got a new one from extinguisher manufacture).

 

Of course RV  frig/freezer has had many recalls over the years.  Worth checking by serial number if yours is up to date. 

 

Aniod rods and suburban...we go with the one that falls apart quickly.  In Yuma, only got 4 months out of one. Well water.    Around pac nw change about every other year.

 

Elec switch on water heater broke. Cheezze suburban switch. Now everytime I mess with aniod I toggle that switch on/off ouple times. Rust or metal fatigue in cheap switch. I think

 

 

Axles, when collecting every part number I could possibly find, our axles were Alko which got bought out by dexter.  Anyway the sticker with part number was barely readable and pointing up towards front.  

 

On ours the Northwoods skylight over kitchen used a skylight that is 1 or 2 inches smaller than what is commonly available and about twice the price. And had to special order.  Went with one little bit bigger than OEM, no problems.

 

Door holder bracket had mixture of stainless and zinc. 

 

Wood work touch up "blend-in" pencil was number 1 or 2.  Had to get off amazon. Big box store didnt have right color.  "Minwax blend-fil pencil" is what OEM uses supposedly, according to ex employee.  

 

Citrus based Goo-gone bought buy the gallon to remove caulking screw ups at nw.

 

Upgraded to led's throughout ...

after I accidentally turned light on in my pass thru.  Couple days later when I opened the door to get something. noticed light was on and the plastic lens was melted.  After LED's heat no problem from led, as much less heat than old style.  

 

About all RV oem's put in screws with some type of device that employees end up suffering out some screw holes.  Had 2 cabinets hinges come lose. And 1 hinge needed replaced.  Some people tighten up with toothpicks or whatever.  I got 1/2 mil bigger in diameter from ace hardware.  Some screw makers call there finish antique brass or aged brass but big difference, take a screw with you to match up color when buying replacements.

 

If you have screw clamps anywhere in pressurized side of plumbing, keep them tight or upgrade to something better (shark bite fittings)

 

Imo Frame paint is really thin black cool aid.  

 

Carter pins on castle nuts ?axles) supposed to be stainless steel. Not regular steel.  

 

There is a special pin that the slide gears need in order to work.  1/4 screw with nylox bolt works just as good for us.

 

Depending on how you store your rv... my battery disconnect switch didn't disconnect co2 alarm in disconnect position.  Took about $250 for new batteries to find that out.  

 

After traveling around U.S. couple years and seeing what all problems rv's have...we are very pleased with our nw product.  

 

Now if wife would get better medically, I'd be so far out in the boonies... enjoy your new rv while you can.

 

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I’ve been slowly giving the new 5th wheel some love. It got the 300AH lifelines, inverter, battery switch, gauges, converter and auto transfer switches from the TT installed. I had to build a new wider battery box, but everything installed in a similar fashion. 
 

I removed the converter and fridge from the general 15A circuits and gave them their own dedicated circuits. This allows me to power the 2 15A circuits with the inverter and auto transfer switches. 
 

Don’t mind the rats nest, it’s actually cleaned up from OEM. I still have a little tidying to do thou. 

 
I left the 2 gallon accumulator tank in the TT and got a 5 gallon one for the 5th wheel. There is plenty of room for it in the “crawl space”. While I wait for the last couple PEX fittings to arrive I’m going to work on the suspension. 
 

The 5er and TT have the same springs/axles but the 5er’s springs show more day, despite the camper showing less wear. It is a little heavier thou. I’d also like to lift it about 1.5”. I found some US made 3000lb springs that will give me about 1” of lift. I’m also replacing the work out equalizer with a Dexter EZ-Flex which will give me about 1/2” of lift. I’m also adding a shock kit and replacing all the bearings while I’m working on it. This should make for a level trailer with more than enough clearance to the bed rails. Tried to get as much US made as I could. 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Royal Squire said:

What is purpose of accumulator tank?


It does a couple things. Mainly it reduces the pulse short cycling of the pump during use by having a volume of water on standby. When that volume runs out the pump then runs steady until the tank is refilled. Pump life and flow are improved. 
 

It also allows for a reserve of water with the pump off, like when you’re sleeping. The toilet can be flushed or a glass of water filled without cycling the pump. 

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12 minutes ago, Royal Squire said:

Sounds like one of those many items that it seems manufacturers would install on all campers. 


One would think so, but I’ve never seen a camper with one from the factory. 

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So I've been making some progress, but like all projects there are issues. 

 

I got the old suspension off very easily. It turns out the springs really weren't that worn out, despite multiple measurements of them. No biggie, the springs weren't overly expensive and the new ones are 5 leaf instead of 4. The bushings were fairly worn, as were the bolts. The shackles were all super sloppy and the equalizer was also worn out. The equalizer was a Reese model I don't think is made anymore. 

 

I realized right away that the seals I removed were for 2.25" splines, not the 2.125" splines I expected to find... and had seals for. A quick call to 6 states and they had some, problem solved. 

 

This is the 3rd Dexter EZ-Flex I've installed over the years and it was the easiest yet. I did one thing different this time, I installed the bolt heads with the grease zerks inboard. One issue with the other 2 kits is that the zerks are hard to get to with tires on. Now I'll just back it into the shop and use a creeper!

 

I wanted to move it around a little before doing the shock to let it settle any, so the tires went back on. I was pretty shocked when it wasn't sitting much higher as I expected about 1.5". Got out the measuring tape and I had only gained .5". Crap.. I wanted a little more for a level ride and more tire clearance since I'm running taller than OE tires. That was my first issue, and it took me a couple days to decide how to solve it. With the new U-bolts I had just over 1" of threads still showing, so I had room for a spacer but I couldn't find a .75" spacer. I also am not a huge fan of spacers, but then it dawned on my that my Ram has them as did my 05...and if they can handle all that torque I can probably run a similar spacer on a trailer just fine. I also realized that the old springs were 3/8" thick and already had a center bolt hole, and sitting in my shop. I disassembled 2 of them and cut 8 spacers that were around 1" longer than each side of the perch... boom cheap and easy 3/4" lift. I grabbed new center bolt's for $9.50 and got to work putting it all together. This also was very easy. I now have a lot of tire clearance, but haven't hitched up yet to see how level it is. 

 

I also got going on the new wheel bearings. I took the hubs off, beat the old races out... I HATE doing that. It's never easy or fun. The hubs were cleaned up, painted, and I installed new races. Packed all the bearings and put it back together. Luckily the brakes were good shape so I can save those for the next time I grease the bearings. 

 

I test fit the new seals and was quite shocked that they were so loose. Calipers don't lie, I have the 2.125" spindles I expected... no idea how long the previous seals had been on there but there wasn't any leakage so I don't think long. When I bought the trailer I inspected the grease and it looked brand new, not so much after the 300 mile tow home. Most likely it was serviced not long before I bought it. It makes me really glad I decided to pull it all apart. Luckily I hadn't returned then 2.125" seals yet. 

 

Last on the list was the shock install. I'm still only 1/2 way done as I had to modify the brackets to fit my frame. It shouldn't take me too long to do the passenger side. Plenty of clearance and travel. 

 

In this whole process I also found a couple of issues that have likely been issues since it was built. The emergency window in the bedroom wouldn't open. I discovered, and a little frustration, that some plastic spacers were keeping it from opening. I had to remove the window to get enough flex in the frame to remove them. Pretty sure the window manufacturer messed that up 10 years ago. 

 

I also noticed that the tail lights had a clear lens section, and single element bulb, but they didn't work. I pulled the light out and realized they had the single element bulb, with the clear lens tied into the brake lights...I'm sure that was safe. Looking into the hole in the camper I found a wire with a splice on it that wasn't hooked up. I jumped the reverse probe at the 7-pin and grabbed my multi-meter. Sure enough, it's a reverse light wire. I rewired it and now have reverse lights on the 5th wheel!

 

Pics to follow after dinner. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

All buttoned up. 
 

 

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That’s with the truck in Alternate Ride Height mode. I’m quite happy with how it’s sitting. 

 

EDIT: added a pavement pic, looks even more level. 
 

 

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Edited by AH64ID
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12 minutes ago, Royal Squire said:

Those shocks are kinda severe angle aren’t they? Please explain 

 

Trailer shock angles are based on the limited height between the axle plate and the top of the frame. The instructions mention a 45° angle and that's what the mounting plates are bent to. Mine are exactly at 45°, and part of why I had to modify the brackets. If I hadn't modified the brackets I would have been down near 30° and useless. The instructions show spring over axle installation but I think it's designed for spring under axle trailers more. 

 

Either way 45° angle is somewhat common in vehicles too. When I built a semi-custom rear suspension for my '95 4Runner back in college the shock bar I used put the shocks at 45° and it worked awesome. It allows for great dampening and more suspension travel per inch of shock travel. I did run the trailer thru full up to full down and I have a lot more shock travel than suspension travel. 

 

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Combo looks great, good job! The center bolt appears to be up side down? Did the nut fit the perch okay without mods? Did you align/check the axles after? Enquiring minds want to know:)

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25 minutes ago, NIsaacs said:

Combo looks great, good job! The center bolt appears to be up side down? Did the nut fit the perch okay without mods? Did you align/check the axles after? Enquiring minds want to know:)


The center bolt is how it was from the factory, and on every other set of leafs springs I’ve worked on. Round pin on top, nut on bottom. It fit perfect. The nut fits the perch, but I’m not sure it would fit the top plate but I have the old one and can go see. 
 

There isn’t much room for adjustment so I didn’t bother with an alignment. I’ve had good look with this company building their trailer frames true in the past, so hoping I get lucky. The frames are one of many reason I prefer Outdoors RV. They build their own frames, to the spec of the floor plan and overbuilt for dirt/gravel road use. 

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I think the center bolt is that way because most springs are underslung, but yes, if it fit, all is good, you just can't see the nut if it comes loose. After clamping the u-bolts I like to check/tighten them.

 

I agree on quality build practices, way less to go wrong. I am used to working on all types of junky trailers, where alignment is key. I have found springs to be different in length by as much as 1/4 inch. Even 1/8 or 1/16th" will compound between 4 springs to cause issues. You bought quality parts so you are probably fine.

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Just now, NIsaacs said:

I think the center bolt is that way because most springs are underslung, but yes, if it fit, all is good, you just can't see the nut if it comes loose. After clamping the u-bolts I like to check/tighten them.


 

 

That makes sense as all the trailers I’ve worked on are spring over. I wonder what our trucks are. 
 

I are-torque the u-bolts with weights on the springs and got a bit more out of each nut. Ewww

 

Just now, NIsaacs said:

I agree on quality build practices, way less to go wrong. I am used to working on all types of junky trailers, where alignment is key. I have found springs to be different in length by as much as 1/4 inch. Even 1/8 or 1/16th" will compound between 4 springs to cause issues. You bought quality parts so you are probably fine.


There is so much stuff out there that builds on quantity of quality. 
 

I was very happy with the look of the springs. They all measured out to be the same, but I wasn’t going 1/16” accurate, which will certainly add up. 
 

I’ll get some miles on it and look at the tires, the old way 🤣

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