I have a "Relaxed Axle"

Page 3 - Passionate about caravans & motorhome? Join our community to share that passion with a global audience!
Mar 14, 2005
16,962
2,640
50,935
Just because a company has achieved accreditation to BE EN ISO 9001, does not tell the whole story, You have to see the scope of the accreditation, which might only be for a portion of a business's activities.

In relation to Swift group's current online presence, I have reviewed their web site, I could find references to membership and accreditation to the NCC and other awarding schemes, but no specific reference to BS EN ISO 9001. This is unusual because it is seen as a real feather in the cap and should be shouted about. So it raises the question, did they ever achieve accreditation? or has it been withdrawn?, or did Swift decide to let it lapse?
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
ProfJohnL said:
Just because a company has achieved accreditation to BE EN ISO 9001, does not tell the whole story, You have to see the scope of the accreditation, which might only be for a portion of a business's activities.

In relation to Swift group's current online presence, I have reviewed their web site, I could find references to membership and accreditation to the NCC and other awarding schemes, but no specific reference to BS EN ISO 9001. This is unusual because it is seen as a real feather in the cap and should be shouted about. So it raises the question, did they ever achieve accreditation? or has it been withdrawn?, or did Swift decide to let it lapse?

Prof
Earlier caravan brochures did quote ISO 9001 accreditation but you are correct that current ones don’t, neither can I find any reference on thier group website.

Today I will contact Alko DE and plan to try and video the axle plate using an IPhone then see if any frames have captured the details.
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Bingo, with the help of a slim phone, a strong work light I have now managed to obtain some good photos of the complete Alko axle tally plate. What is surprising is that the top section which has caused the complication contains no additional information than cannot be read on the lower section which was easy to photo, and the bottom section has the axle type number, speed rating, load etc as well as a barcode. So why the top section was required by Swift, Western Towing and dealer is a puzzle. Oh the top section also includes Alko's UK address in Southam. :whistle:
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Well after quite a while my new axle is on order. But the lead up doesn't show the caravan industry at its best (maker and sub assy suppliers). My first contact was Swift who could not provide details of the axle and suggested I contact Alko. In order to obtain price for the axle I was asked to photograph the details of the Alko tally plate affixed to the axle as well as any other markings. This I did. I then sought a price from a well established towing supplies outlet in the south east who sent the photos to Alko, who then sent back full pdf assembly drawing. Everything on the drawing looked okay but I was asked to confirm certain measurements as correct including the distance between brake drum flanges. ( A wheels off job). if ordering down this route I would hav etc arrange fitting somewhere.

In parallel my normal Swift dealer service department also obtained a price which was quite a lot more expensive, but also required the existing axle to be measured prior to ordering. The drawing provided to them was the same as to the towing supplies company. My dealer was prepared to fit the axle provided via the other company but understandably would not support warranty claim for an assembly not provided through them, other than the fitting service.

Alko would not support the upgraded axle unless Swift approved it, which was not accepted.

So I explained to my Swift service dealer the price difference and they went back to Alko and did obtain a reduction in price. But for this option I have the Swift service dealer measure the axle as fitted (done yesterday) order and fit the new axle, with normal warranty etc. So the new axle is on a 3-4 week delivery.

Whilst I can understand that the price to two separate outlets might be different due to their respective purchasing power, I do find it incredible that in this day and age companies like Swift and Alko cannot define what is fitted to the caravan without having to resort firstly to photography, which then requires physical measurement of the axle with the caravan wheels removed and the caravan up in the air.

Throughout, my normal Swift Service Dealer has given really good service and liaison, and now that the die is cast I am quite pleased that they will be doing the work. A friend of mine bought new Swift dealer special last year from a large outlet in Somerset and has since moved his business to the smaller company that I have used on account of their good customer service and thorough approach to their work.

Edit PS has something changed with Postimage.org as I cannot get an image too show properly apart from a link address.
 
Jul 15, 2008
3,586
551
20,935
.......your story of how manufacturing companies work doesn't surprise me.

I once bought a tri-axle HGV trailer brand new from a leading trailer manufacturer.
I asked to be given a wiring diagram and was told that none existed and they added
.......we have a wiring man that wires all the trailers and no one else knows anything about it :huh:
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Ah well that’s half term gone. The new axle from Alko has been delayed so the half term trip has gone the way of all our other bookings since last April. Too much celebration of Oktoberfest no doubt. Now to think what to do with the incumbent teenager :)
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
I am somewhat pleased that the Alko axle has been delayed as today was to have been the day I was to take the caravan to have it fitted. So instead of towing through high winds and rain I might touch up some paintwork prior to house viewings this weekend. Crikey I must be bored!
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
I guess that Alko will be at the NEC “purveying the dream”, whilst my replacement axle previously revised delivery date has been revised yet again. Guess I might as well dig out the Fenwicks Overwintering and think of 2019!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
3,027
40
20,685
Wow! This thread has got legs.
I've just picked it up again and see a reference to ISO standards which actually were the succors to BS 5750 of blessed memory. Having contributed to the original, I have a paternal interest.
The standard was/is much understood are relates to a quality axssurance system, not specifically to the quality of any particular item. Or did originally. Younger members will doubtless correct as appropriate.
Thus it would ( perhaps still is) perfectly possible to manufacture an object which 'conformed' to BS 5750 but which was actually quite unfit for its intended purpose. Classic example was a wash hand basin which also had Design Council approval, but had a recess for the bar of soap which sloped inwards not outwards such that said bar of soap reposed in half an inch of water.
Beware of certifications unless you study and understand the small print
 
Mar 14, 2005
16,962
2,640
50,935
Hello Ray,
Your assertion that BS5750 related to the quality assurance system, rather than products is quite right. Consequently a product cannot be made to conform to BS 5750, it can only be manufactured under a management system that is accredited to conforming to BS5750.

BS5750 was indeed the forerunner to the more recent BE EN ISO 9000 series, and although certain elements do remain very similar they are in fact quite different beasts. You could describe BS5750 as "Say what you do, and do what you say" In essence it stifle development of a product, becasue it was so difficult to get changes approved. It was all about maintaining consistency, which meant if a product had a weakness, that weakness would be likely to remain in production for some time.

BE EN ISO 9000, changed that. Management is charged to "continually improve" and look for opportunities for improvement. That does not mean make changes for teh sake of it, but to fully evaluate a change or modification before it is rolled out, and to establish KPI's so the effectiveness of a change can be measured. Strictly speaking the standard still only applies to management processes, but that should rub off and influence product development as well as all other aspects of the businesses operations.
 
Jun 20, 2005
16,450
3,028
50,935
We worked to BS EN ISO 9001 . This laid down set procedures and quality control forms even fir writing telephone messages. As the Prof points out you could religiously follow the procedures but the intellect and sense that went into the content was never tested or questioned , gigo :(
 
Mar 14, 2005
16,962
2,640
50,935
Dustydog said:
We worked to BS EN ISO 9001 . This laid down set procedures and quality control forms even fir writing telephone messages. :(

Hello Dusty,
The standard, which is a "model" standard only efectively says "the organisation must have in place processes and procedures that achieve a prescribed set of aims". It does not specify how to do it, only what the outcomes should be. It is up to the organisation to demonstrate to the assessors from their notified body, that the organisations methods are effective.

The set procedures you had to work to were not imposed by the standard, they would be of your organisation's choice which the assessors had agreed as being effective, and thus written into the organisations quality assurance manual.

This relative freedom to choose your method of compliance, means that organisations are not straight jacketed into an externally set of prescribed procedures, which for local reasons may not be the best way to function. But many organisations may have other legaslative forces which do prescribe methods for certain activities which the they must follow.

However, it's not uncommon to find that two different organisations may have almost identical QAMs. This can arise because the standard encourages the adoption of best practice, so copying something that is known to work can be a route towards accreditation. Or as I have seen on several occasions, the director of a succesful company moves to another and will use what's familiar to them.

In the work I did as a consultant, helping organisations to atain or remain accredited, whilst I used diverse approaches to match the organisations current systems, but where a system needed to be implemented from new, I would suggest proven strategies based on my experience.
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Well today’s the day! The axle has been delivered and the van goes down today to have it fitted. I’ve also splashed out on a couple of shock absorbers which for a loss of 3 kg payload just might mitigate the loads on the new axle rubbers even by a small amount. Hope it’s .75 inch offside clearance holds out over the 40 mile trip. Still I think it’s totally bottomed out as most of the rubber bushes have extruded out.
 
Sep 29, 2016
1,758
171
11,735
Hopefully all will be sorted soon OC.

I think the shock absorbers are very worthwhile and for relatively little investment or payload loss.

Enjoy.

Anseo
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Anseo said:
Hopefully all will be sorted soon OC.

I think the shock absorbers are very worthwhile and for relatively little investment or payload loss.

Enjoy.

Anseo

Thanks. I was in two minds about the shock absorbers as a 2012 University of Bath study showed them to have limited functionality compared to car ones. But after forking out quite a large chunk of money to get this axle replaced £100 or so on shock absorbers is neither here nor there if they attenuate just a few percent of dynamic loads then I will be satisfied. And since 2012 Alko design may just have moved on a smidgeon. Although I can’t rule out the possibility that the previous owner had overloaded the van. It’s a five berth and they had children. And as we know some outfits disgorge large quantities of kit when they arrive on site. :)

May even be able to book a trip out for New Year.
 
Jun 20, 2005
16,450
3,028
50,935
Fingers crossed the transplant goes according to plan. B)
The thesis from The University of Bath is , as far as I know, the only scientifically based article that discusses the use of shockers.
Shock absorbers were not fitted as standard items on most applications until this decade.
My 2005 Bailey Pageant had none. I fitted them retrospectively. IMO there was a noticeable improvement in overall handling.
My latest TA came with factory fitted shockers.
If you look closely at the Al-ko chassis it has been for years with the fixing points for shockers.
Maybe shockers were fitted as standard outside the UK for decades :eek:hmy:
Clive,
You get my vote fitting the shock absorbers. They will relieve some of stress on the axle :)
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
Dustydog said:
Fingers crossed the transplant goes according to plan. B)
The thesis from The University of Bath is , as far as I know, the only scientifically based article that discusses the use of shockers.
Shock absorbers were not fitted as standard items on most applications until this decade.
My 2005 Bailey Pageant had none. I fitted them retrospectively. IMO there was a noticeable improvement in overall handling.
My latest TA came with factory fitted shockers.
If you look closely at the Al-ko chassis it has been for years with the fixing points for shockers.
Maybe shockers were fitted as standard outside the UK for decades :eek:hmy:
Clive,
You get my vote fitting the shock absorbers. They will relieve some of stress on the axle :)

Dusty
Thanks. It got there without wearing the wheel arch or tyre. A big relief.
Your right about shock absorbers only being a OEM fit in recent times in UK. One reason for their wider fitting in Europe may be because German regulations require them to be fitted along with some other aspects if the owner wants to tow at the higher legal speed.
 
Nov 16, 2015
9,817
2,362
30,935
OC , at last your getting the new axle, well done , just a question , how did you find out about your prolapsed rubbers, ! On a service or just noticed it.
 
Nov 11, 2009
18,475
5,290
50,935
EH52ARH said:
OC , at last your getting the new axle, well done , just a question , how did you find out about your prolapsed rubbers, ! On a service or just noticed it.

A service noticed it and when I crawled underneath I could see a section of rubber had extruded from the tube. I think I have a photo somewhere if I’ve not deleted it I will post. It was at 25 mm on first finding and I reckon dropped about another 6 mm after a trip to the Midlands. After that quarantine. Yet the towing quality seemed absolutely fine.
 
Nov 16, 2015
9,817
2,362
30,935
otherclive said:
EH52ARH said:
OC , at last your getting the new axle, well done , just a question , how did you find out about your prolapsed rubbers, ! On a service or just noticed it.

A service noticed it and when I crawled underneath I could see a section of rubber had extruded from the tube. I think I have a photo somewhere if I’ve not deleted it I will post. It was at 25 mm on first finding and I reckon dropped about another 6 mm after a trip to the Midlands. After that quarantine. Yet the towing quality seemed absolutely fine.

Thanks OC, I have suapension dampers on my Coachman, don't really notice any difference, but I would request they balance your wheels before the whole job is finished. A smoother tow for the internal items of the caravan.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts