Cruisemaster suspension alignment issues; strange tyre wear

As many of you would know, we purchased our Hybrid Camper Trailer second hand back in 2019, with it being just over a year old.

We used it a fair bit before noticing near Exmouth that the tyres were both wearing very badly on the inners, and by the time we’d finished the trip they were only a few mm away from the wear marks.

Tyre wear
Shocking tyre wear on our camper trailer

I had the tyres flipped on the rims, balanced and put back on, and then got in touch with a mobile truck aligner, who did caravans regularly for our Cruisemaster Wheel Alignment.

He came out and aligned the tyres using a laser system, off the hitch and the problems went away. At the time, I did some research to see what the bolts should be tightened to, and read 180nm on the Cruisemaster website.

I asked him how tight he did them, and he said he put two 24mm spanners together and heaved on them. Good enough for me, but he did make mention of the fact that one side was loose when he arrived, and essentially flopping in the breeze, which isn’t what you want, at all.

Cruisemaster suspension
Cruisemaster suspension needs to be aligned

He also said that one was at maximum adjustment, and despite needing to go further it couldn’t be done. I read later you can get offset bushes to accommodate this, but wasn’t overly pleased with that idea.

I believe there are a number of copies of suspension out there now that have a bit more adjustment available than the Cruisemaster gear, which is interesting to think about.

Alignment on suspension
You can get offset bushes for these

The bolts come loose

On our latest, 6 week trip I could see the tyres weren’t wearing the best again, and at Pender Bay I jumped underneath to check them. I could see the tabs were in different positions, but as I hadn’t marked them I had no idea where they were. I could also see a clean section, where one side of the suspension arm bush had clearly dropped, about 8mm.

I grabbed a torque wrench, and found 3 of the 4 bolts loose, with one being nearly a full turn loose, which was pretty poor. I only had two 16mm nuts extra, so I put them on the worst arms to double nut it, and to prevent them coming loose.

I knew the alignment would be out, but there wasn’t much we could do about it, especially not having any markings to show where the tabs had been put.

I wished I’d marked them, and that I’d thought of double nutting them earlier, but such is life.

Double nuts put on
Double nuts put on to stop it coming loose

We continued the rest of the trip, and when we got back in Perth we ended up replacing both tyres, and I still need to get an alignment done again.

Tyre rotation and brake settings

One thing I will point out is that you need to regularly rotate the tyres, and make sure your electric brake controller isn’t too turned up. The scalloping issue that we had seems to be from heavy braking, and now I run the dial down a bit lower. By rotating the tyres, you end up with them turning in the opposite direction, and they will correct the wear considerably.

Before another big trip though, I’ll need to get the Cruisemaster suspension looked at again, and will be putting double nuts on and marking where it was set up!

EDIT – I had Ken Peachey Caravan Repairs check the alignment, and service the bearings. They did a great job, and the figures are still correct despite it having come loose up north, which is great. Now we’re good for our lap of Australia.

EDIT 2 – We’ve now done about 30,000km on our Big Lap of Australia, and both tyres are wearing the inner 30 – 50mm of the tyres far worse than the rest, and so much so that I had to get the tyres flipped on the wheels to avoid them becoming bald on that one section.

We aren’t too far away from Cruisemaster headquarters, and I’ll drop in for a discussion to see what they say. We actually put our Toyo Open Country RT tyres from the camper onto the Dmax, which means all 6 tyres should wear out fairly evenly, but had to pay for this to happen, which is a bit annoying.

EDIT 3 – Cruisemaster have resolved this issue by installing offset spindles. The adjustments were at maximum, and without cutting the suspension off and re-doing it all, this was the only solution. You can read about it here – Cruisemaster offset spindle install for wheel alignment correction.

Reconn R2 wheel rotation
Swapping tyres from the camper to the Dmax, to maximise their lifespan

That said, given we’ve had no other Cruisemaster Suspension Problems and its been punished all over the country, we’re still relatively happy. It will be interesting to see what the alignment figures are when we get it checked, and we’ll go from there.

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  1. Hey Rod,

    Sorry to hear you are having issues. I bet you’ll find it was never aligned when it left the factory.

    In general Cruisemaster has an excellent reputation, and I’ve not heard too many complaints about their gear. I will get ours serviced properly, with offset bushes installed as needed and I’m confident we won’t have any further issues.

    If you do continue to have problems, speak to Cruisemaster directly; they are very helpful, and as far as I know a good quality business

    All the best

  2. Rod Grice says:

    Reading with interest as we have a kimberly kamper with sugar glider setup, 200,000 klm plus never had an issue and always used in the backblocks outback. Now have a newage with cruisemaster xt coil and have now travelled just under 8000k and tyres down to bands on inside and all travell has been on blacktop. The dealer has offered to replace the tyres and alignment cost but I fear that the wishbone is to weak for the load and they flex way to much. This can be seen when you jack up the van as the deflection would be around 15mm over the length of the stub axle end. Either way Im stuck with it so no wonder newage dont warrant there vans on gravel roads. Unfortunatley we have some distance to go before we get to an anlignmemt shop. We are a single axle van.