After nearly 5 years, around 60,000km and more than 600 nights in our Lifestyle Reconn R2, I can very comfortably say that we’re wrapped with the Hybrid Camper, and that it suits us as well as you could ever hope for. However, we’ve always had weird issues with bad tyre wear and wheel alignment, and I was very keen to get the camper to Cruisemaster in Brisbane, to see what they had to say about it.
Our wheel alignment and tyre wear woes
You can read about our Cruisemaster wheel alignment issues in the link, or a short summary below:
We picked this Hyper Camper up second hand, and not long after noticed that the tyres wear scalloping badly. I had the wheels balanced, and got a truck aligner to do a wheel alignment using lasers. His comment was that the camper was at maximum adjustment already, and he couldn’t get it any better.
The first set of tyres scalloped badly right the way to their death, despite rotations, running the right tyre pressures and having balanced wheels. I’m positive that they were lesser quality, but also firmly believe that running mud terrain tyres on a caravan, camper or hybrid is not a good idea, and it often results in scalloping.
After installing new Toyo Open Country RT tyres, I had the alignment checked again by Ken Peachey Caravan Repairs, who told me it was all OK, and we headed off on our Big Lap of Australia. We noticed very early on that the tyres were wearing the inner 30mm of the tyres way more than the rest of the tyre, to the point where I had the tyres flipped on the rims, and then put onto the rears of our Isuzu Dmax, to try and get them all to run evenly.
On a recent Lifestyle Campers service, they had a go at the wheel alignment and whilst it was improved a bit, they couldn’t get it right either, and suggested getting offset spindles from Cruisemaster.
Heading to Cruisemaster
I rang Cruisemaster the next day, and had an in depth conversation about the tyre wear, age of the camper, service history and so forth, and they moved some things around and got us in the next day for a look, which I was very grateful for.
When I arrived, they had a quick look and thought that there was steel damage to the adjustment tabs, and again moved some of their scheduled work around to get it inspected and repaired that day. This can happen when the bolts going through the independent arms (and adjusters) come loose, and allow the whole lot to flop around and flog itself out.
However, a few hours later I was called and told that it had been fixed, that there was no steel damage and I could head in and collect it.
What are the offset spindles, and why are they needed?
The Cruisemaster suspension range has adjustment for camber and toe in and out, and its really simple to do, and use. However, you can only tweak it so far, and at maximum, if its still not aligned, there’s a problem. The offset spindles are designed to allow you further adjustment beyond the norm, and you can install them individually (up to 4 on our XT suspension).
These allow additional adjustment for your toe in and toe out, or the camber, and when we collected our camper Cruisemaster had installed 4 of them, bringing all of the adjustment back into suitable territory to get the correct wheel alignment.
Realistically, these should not be needed. If the suspension is installed correctly, and there is nothing bent or wrong with the camper or suspension itself they are not required. Cruisemaster said they couldn’t find anything bent or damaged, and given its always been a problem, I can only assume perhaps the suspension was not positioned quite right when it was all welded up back in the Lifestyle factory. Either that, or we’ve bent something, and that seems unlikely given how its been treated.
What did we pay?
It was $443 for 4 offset hinge spindles, new nuts and washers, and the labour to inspect, diagnose and put it all back together. This was certainly money I’d rather we didn’t have to spend, but it was very reasonable to get professional service, it was needed, and I wasn’t going to leave Brisbane without speaking to the suspension manufacturers themselves.
How does the camper sit now?
I’ve never seen the camper wheels sitting so vertically before, and it looks a million bucks now. Before, the wheels would always be leaning in towards the chassis at the top with negative camber, and it looked terrible.
I can’t say it tows any differently, but I’m quietly confident we’ve put the tyre wear problems to bed, which will save us a good chunk of money and avoid wasting time swapping tyres around on rims!
What was the service from Cruisemaster like?
I can’t fault the service from Cruisemaster. From the conversations I’d had with them months ago, to the more recent ones, to getting us booked in, repaired and underway in short notice they were flawless in product knowledge and being helpful.
Our Reconn R2 has done extensive travel across Australia, and the fact that the suspension is still going strong (minus 4 new shock absorbers fitted by Lifestyle a few days beforehand!) is a testament to this.
Cruisemaster make quality products, and seeing the expertise in servicing and backing this up was fantastic to see in person.
Would we go back to Cruisemaster?
Yep, in a heartbeat. If you have their suspension, and are wanting brakes, springs, shock absorbers, wheel bearings, alignments or even a weighing of your trailer done you’d be mad to drive past their primary workshop in Brisbane. We were already pleased with their product range, but to see it backed up so well was just awesome.
Cheers to Cruisemaster, and tyres that should no longer flog out!