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Check Your Equipment

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#1 Steve Wilson

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 04:10 PM

Many of us are 3 to 6 years into the sport and we have become accustom to preparing our gear for what is needed at a contest. I am not a mechanical guy, but have read my manuals and nowhere does it speak of maintaining my trailer. I wish I had. The last two contests have been nightmares for us on the road and I don't want to see anyone else encounter our problems. We have had equipment failures on the trailer that could have been very tragic. Please everyone check your trailers running equipment, tires, bearings, and the other equipment that could fail. We were fortunate that both of our occurrences happened when we were stopped or going slow, or it could have been far worse. At the Santa Clara contest we had a bearing fail from lack of maintanence. The mechanic suggested the bearings be serviced yearly, being re-packed. Our accident this weekend was caused by a hairline fracture that went un-noticed and failed under emergency breaking causing the trailer to break free from our truck. Scary, time consuming and it could have hit us or even someone else. We were very lucky.

So please do yourselves a favor and have an expert look at your trailers/gear for a safety check... I wish I had. Good luck everyone and safe travels.

#2 Todd Carpenter

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:01 PM

I am glad your latest incident was not as bad as it could of been! Never have I seen a hitch crack where yours did, and it is a reminder to expect the unexpected, at the worst possible time. Anyone who pulls a trailer should have it inspected once a year at a trailer repair facility as they are more knowledgeable in what to look for on trailers than a normal (yet fully competent) general mechanic. And thanks for reminding me to repack the bearings on my own trailer, it is long over due.

#3 Kay Spencer

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 09:23 PM

I have a motorhome that mostly is used for short runs and sometimes for long trips. Unfortunately the tires don't typically get the mileage of an auto but still should not be used more than 5 years from the code date. Because the tires are not worn does not mean the tires are safe.

Edited by Kay Spencer, 15 July 2014 - 09:24 PM.

#4 Brian Gutierrez

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:37 AM

So last month I read this thread and didn't act on it and payed the price on the way home from Lakeport. My trailer is new to me but the guy that built it used a used axle. Ended up having a bearing lock up as I was driving down I5. It happened so fast as I heard a faint noise, looked in my side mirror and saw smoke coming from the tire as it started to pop out like an old VW. I was able to slow down and pull off the road safely but the cap flew off, the bearing was shredded and the end of the axle melted. I was very lucky and it could have ended up a lot worse than being a late night stuck on the side of I5. Winnings from Lakeport now going towards a new axle. So as Steve mentioned above, have your trailer equipment checked out.

#5 Jerry Aguilar


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 11:04 AM

That sucks Brian, but glad you're safe!

#6 Stephan Franklin

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:44 PM

Just made an appointment to get my bearings packed, before I hit the road to Colorado. My trailer isn't quite 2years old but I think it is due every two years.

Brian, I am glad you are safe for sure.

Edited by Stephan Franklin, 25 August 2014 - 02:44 PM.

#7 Kevin Barteaux

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:49 PM

Just had my trailer checked out today due to excessive wear to the inside of one of the tires. Turns out the axle is bent over 2" and needs replacement. Glad I got that checked out before heading to KC!

#8 Steve Wilson

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 04:04 PM

I hope everyone is pro-active on this. As Brian and I can attest, we were lucky it wasn't worse. I just replaced my rig and the manual spelled out a pre-check, here it is:
1) check your maintenance schedule and make sure your up to date.
2) check hitch. Is it showing wear? Is it properly lubricated?
3) Fasten safety chains and breakaway switch actuating chain or wire securely. make sure breakaway barrety is fully charged.
4) inspect towing hookup for secure attachment.
5) Check load balance, 10% of total weight on hitch, 15% for smaller trailers.
6) DO NOT OVERLOAD. Stay within your gross vehicle weight, consult the trailers Identification plate for the weight.
7) Inflate tires to recommended specs, also on the ID plate.
8) Check wheel nut torque with a torque wrench.
9) Synchronize trailer brakes with tow vehicle.
10) check operation of all lights.

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