Sudden Rear Air Suspension Loss

Recently I was driving my 2003 Newmar Dutch Star diesel pusher across barren west Texas when suddently the rear suspension lost it's air and settled on the frame. The unit is built on a Spartan Chassis and has 50,000 miles on it. When the coach settled, the spinning drive shaft came into contact with the frame and created an enormous vibration and noise. I didn't know what had happened but I eased over to the shoulder and got out to do a visual inspection. I thought maybe a rear tire had blown, but they were all OK. There was a roadside rest area just ahead so I drove the coach there and parked. I put down my jacks and raised the coach so I could crawl under the rig and I immediately found the problem. An "L" shaped metal bracket used to attach the suspension control valve rod to the frame had broken and the rod was dangling freely, thus opening the air ride control valve and allowing the air to escape and the coach to sink. I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance and they dispatched a repairman. He was located over 130 miles away so we waited for about three hours for him to show up. He did a temporary fix and we drove the coach home with no further problems.

After I got home I removed the broken bracket and discovered why it had failed. The bracket is made of 1/8 inch steel that is one inch wide with 2 1/4 inch legs. Two 1/4 inch holes were drilled in the leg that attached to the frame. However, only one bolt was used to attach it and it was placed in the hole nearest the end of the leg. This method allowed to much flexibility and after time, the bracket failed at its weakest point, across the unused hole.

I urge everyone riding on a Spartan Chassis to inspect your rig and fix this before it becomes a problem. I was very lucky in that the driveshaft, transmission nor the rear differental were damaged, but very easily could have been. Also when the suspension was lost, it became very difficult to control the coach.

Don't let a two dollar part cause major damage to your rig. Personally, I made a bracket out of 1/4 inch steel and bolted it on with two bolts. If I didn't explain this situation clearly, call me at 254-876-2693 and mabye I can do a better job over the phone.

Butch Walker


Senior Member
Re: Sudden Rear Air Suspension Loss

Butch sorry about your trouble and glad you are safe and sound Also glad you was able to get to a safe place long enough to get fix it. I know you feel better now that you REPAIRED IT the way you thought it should have been in the first place. Anyway thanks for sharing it with the forum. maybe you have just help someone out.
Re: Sudden Rear Air Suspension Loss

Man, that could have been a whole lot worse. Welcome to the forum and please visit often....with good news sometime. You probably helped more people than you know. Thanks again.


Re: Sudden Rear Air Suspension Loss

Ernest ,, welcome to the forum and thanks for the input ,, and i must say this (i work on these things for a living) u have found out that the piece u found ,, that had broke ,, was the best quality control piece there was ,,, i'm not being mean or anything ,, but in ALL RVS ,, they cut corners anyway they can ,, and since u seem pretty handy and knowagable ,, u adapted and over come the probs that it took engineers months to come up with ,, and i aplaud that :cool: :approve: :approve:
Btw my point being is ,, the overall building of any rv is poor ,,, how many screws have fallen out ,, how many drawers don't work and on and on ,, if they had good quality control ,, this stuff would never happen ,,, but yes i see it everyday ,, and also on my own Alegro Bus ,,, cheap stuff to make the big proffits :laugh: :eek: :eek: ;) ;) ;)