Broken Leaf Springs on the RV | New Mexico

After leaving White Sands National Monument, we headed back to the RV, topped it off with a full tank of fresh water and took off.

White Sands National Monument

Our goal was to make it all the way to Buckeye Hills Regional Park in Buckeye AZ,  but that destination was 420 miles away.   Knowing we might need to overnight in a WalMart or something, we made sure our tanks were full and we were ready to do so if needed.  (Turns out that was a good thing and bad omen at the same time.  

White Sands National Monument

The landscape continues to evolve and change as we drive through the country.  These peaks are sharper, higher, and dusted with snow.

White Sands National Monument

As we come across the country the trains get LONGER AND LONGER.   This was the beginning of a massive train setup.

After the first 120 miles of our trip to Phoenix, we decided to stop off at a Flying J gas station to fill up.  Normally we start out our daily trips with a full tank of gas, but we had 3/4 of a tank and expected to fill before hitting Arizona.  While I was pumping gas, I took Cole for a bathroom break and looked back at the RV/Truck setup and noticed the trailer was leaning to one side, quite a bit.  I first checked to see if I was parked on some sort of obstacle but after realizing I wasn’t… I knew right away.   I had heard from one of our road friend families (the Grahams) who also own a Bay Hill, that they had a leaf spring break on them.    I knew right away that it was our fate as well.  The problem was that we were in the middle of NOWHERE, but a saving grace was at least it was the middle of the day, and we had cell phone coverage.

White Sands National Monument

While I worked diligently to remove the broken leaf spring,  Jen contacted every auto parts dealer within 2 hour range, with no success.  We finally connected with a trailer supply dealer over an hour away from us and quickly worked to get that spring off, and head to that store.

The trailer store we came across was AAA Trailer Parts, 11747 Hwy 180E Silver City , NM 88061

White Sands National Monument

The girls were keeping themselves busy while I worked to get that leaf off.   Two things I was especially thankful for.   One: I was thankful for Flying J gas station for letting me leave the trailer there while we drove for parts.  Two: I was thankful for Allie and Tom for buying me the battery powered electric impact wrench that made this job relatively painless.

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

Upon further inspection, the leaf spring actually cracked in 3 places!  I wish I actually knew how long this was broken.  I am assuming it was previously cracked at least in one spot.

White Sands National Monument

So off we went for over an hour and a half to Silver City, New Mexico; in hopes the trailer supply house had the exact spring in stock.  This part of travel through New Mexico had NOTHING going on.  (Glad we at least filled up the truck with fuel)

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

After successfully purchasing a new spring, we headed back to the RV, albeit after dark; to repair the spring and hit the road.  First order of business was to get some food in our bellies and Jen went right to work on our signature roadside rice pasta with broccoli and olive meal.

White Sands National Monument

With brand new bolts, and a new leaf spring, the assembly went relatively quickly.  I think I had it all assembled in under 20 minutes.  The owners of the AAA Trailers told me that one of the main contributing factors to something like this happening is overloading the weight limits of the unit.   I knew we couldn’t really be over the limit, but I did mention to them that we have a full fresh water tank (over 500lbs); and that tank sits near the back bumper.   They immediately agreed that 500 lbs that far back, when taken into account the leverage of the tail over axle; would certainly over stress the springs.    Hmm… who would have thought.

White Sands National Monument

So after putting everything away and refueling the truck and our bellies; we were ready to continue our drive.  We had to, however alter our plans.  We couldn’t possibly continue on another 300 miles in the dark, so we contacted a Passport America RV Park in Willcox AZ, just over the border into Arizona, and they allowed us a late check in solution.

White Sands National Monument

Don’t worry about the parking between the flagpole and the bushes….  #nocomment

White Sands National Monument

After the short 40 minute drive to Fort Willcox RV, I wanted to double check all the nuts and bolts I put in the night before.  Just wanted to make sure they were all tight and secure.

White Sands National Monument

After we took off from Fort Willcox RV we continued our trip towards Buckeye Forest State Park.  (Our original destination yesterday)

White Sands National Monument

Visibly different type of terrain and rock formations during this leg of the trip.

3 Comments

  • Reply Skye Moyer April 3, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Oh man. If something like that happened to us on the road we would have NO idea what to do.
    You have a ton of tools with you.
    How did you decide what ones to take with you in the RV?

    • Jerome Braga
      Reply Jerome Braga April 3, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Ooh good question. I went back and forth quite a bit on what to bring. I’m going to think about that and possibly write a blog post about it.

  • Reply How heavy is your water tank? (Repair) - Our1Chance February 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    […] I was first alerted to the weight last year when we broke our leaf spring in New Mexico.  Read …  The gentleman who sold me a new one mentioned how dumb it was for a manufacturer to put something so heavy at the tail end of an RV.  Putting a tank that far back puts an amplified amount of stress on the mechanics of a trailer due to the cantilever effect.  Well it concerned me enough to at least look at what a half full tank looks like underneath.  […]

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