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Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:40 pm
by Chief409
Just had an outer bearing failure on the right rear, causing the hub and rim to depart. Lucky, no major coach damage, I was making a left turn leaving a gas station, speed less then 5 mph, one mile from home. No roadside assistance available here, so towed the 'Bird 25 miles on three wheels to a shop. VERY slowly.

2007 Cardinal LE 33', appx 100,000 miles on the original bearings, yearly inspection and repack. Never has been loaded over axle limits, checked on a scale. Plenty of bearing grease evident in the remains of the bearing, I check for a hot hub on all four at every stop, never had one. I suspect the bearing was worn and the stress of the left turn caused it to fail. Instructed the shop to replace all eight bearings.

I suggest that anyone owning a trailer with lots of miles on it get all the bearings replaced instead of just being visually checked at your next yearly brake inspection and bearing repack. Cheap insurance.

We got REALLY LUCKY this time. I should have gone back to the gas station and bought a bunch of Lotto tickets. Next was the 14 freeway on our way to San Francisco. The trip before was to Las Vegas last July, two days before that, a trip to San Francisco.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:06 pm
by bop11
Wow! You were lucky Jeff. Good advice about replacing the bearings. :thumbrt:

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:30 pm
by Rob & Cathy
Yikes Jeff, how does the spindle look?


Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:51 am
by Chief409
Rob & Cathy wrote:Yikes Jeff, how does the spindle look?


Spindle and inner bearing appear OK. Still had the bearing retainer, lock nut and cotter key in place. Minor damage to the wheel skirt. Drum might be OK, I should know more shortly about it. Brakes - gone. I picked up all the mangled pieces before I left. Wasn't leaving them in the middle of the street.

Also have 4 new Michelin XPS Ribs waiting to be installed. 7 years on this set, but after running one tire way overloaded, I moved up my scheduled replacement for next spring. Figured since XPS ribs are the only LT tires Michelin offers that are approved for retreading I'd run them longer. No sidewall cracking, lots of tread left. Replacements are $1430 installed and balanced at America's Tire, where I bought the first set. Worth every penny. First stop I'm making when the 'Bird gets outta the shop is across town for the tires.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:20 pm
by Chief409
Picked the 'Bird up this afternoon. Turns out the right Front outer bearing was about to fail too. The bearings were discolored and the bearing cage was starting to crack, I did take a long look at that. A very long look. The shop owner said the grease on the right side bearings was like "Vaseline" in thickness. All the left side bearings had the correct bearing grease and were in good shape. The shop had to replace the right rear hub and axle spindle in addition to bearings. Nice to know: My hubs are 6000# on 5200# axles. Bearings are much larger in the 6000# hubs. Luckily he had just received a full set of 6000# bearings as shop spares so we didn't have to wait for some to come in.

Used every one of the new 6k bearings on the 'Bird. New bearings all around. And a couple sets of brake shoes, one set which hadn't been lubed and was almost frozen (guess which side) or destroyed when the wheel bearing failed. Had the bearings and brakes checked just about a year ago, improper grease and failure to correctly lube the brake shoes almost created a disaster.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:49 am
by snoking
Jeff, one of the problems I see is that diesel tow vehicles are not effected much by a things like a trailer tire going flat or bearing failing. We tend to just "keep on trucking"! With both the diesels in the boat and the truck I try to remain attentive to sounds, smells, and loads. On the road I will sometimes just pull over and do a walk around sniffing and shooting the tires and hubs with the infrared heat gun when something does not seem right!

It is good to get out and walk around from time to time anyway!


Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:06 am
by Chief409
Traveling over the years hauling kids, dogs and the wife I kind of got accustomed to pulling over. :)

Every stop is an inspection of the trailer, hitch, breakaway, chains on a conventional trailer, electrical plug, tires, hubs. Everyone should do this every time they pull over. Also at the beginning of a long trip I plan a stop for coffee the first within the 50 - 60 miles, mainly to inspect all the above again. Got lucky this time, the first bearing failed coming out of that coffee break, instead of on the freeway over a mountain pass. Found the second bearing that was damaged and ready to fail because I had the shop replace ALL the bearings. Hard to protect yourself when a mechanic uses the wrong grease in the bearings. The worse case would of been two wheels on the same side coming off at the same time up in the pass.

Nightmare. But a miss by an inch is as good as a miss by a mile.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:58 pm
by BMullins46
Jeff, We had the same thing happen to us back in 2012, only we were traveling at 65mph on a 7 lane section of interstate hwy approaching Atlanta. Fellow pulled along side and told me the trailer was smoking, I had to cross 4 lanes to get to an exit. I got off the interstate and found a wide spot where I could stop and as I stopped the left front wheel went rolling along the trailer. I got temporary repairs made there in Ga., and the shop suggested I get the axle replaced when I got home. I put 2 new 7k Alco axles (derated to 6k because of the 6 lug drums) on with all new hardware when we got home. Our guardian angels have been looking over us.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:42 pm
by Chief409
2 things got my attention.

1. Both wheels on the same side had something that wasn't bearing grease. Almost didn't make it to the shop. Other side was fine.

2. Happened on the right side, so limping to the shop at 30 mph on three tires, the water lines to the kitchen got trashed.

Made repairs to the water lines, including using elbows, then put in insulation and the Gorilla Tape temp repairs. Which have lasted for 2K miles so far. Talked to the owner of the shop last week about a permanent fix (that I can pull off to take care of any water leaks), estimate is $600.

Expensive annual bearing lube.

On a different subject, my Michelin XPS Ribs lasted from 2007 to 2014 with no failures. Minor cracking around the rims from all the tight turns, otherwise in fine shape. I expected no less, they are one of the few tires approved by Michelin for retreading. There is a brand new set of XPS Ribs under the 'Bird now. A year before I was planning on. Wasn't chancing running on the overloaded tire, even if it was overloaded for less then 30 miles. The Desert is a harsh school, and I've learned much over the years. So add in the cost of new tires to the above statement about the bearing lube.

Shoe Glue and fiberglass mesh tape saved the wheel skirt. Shoe Glue also fixed a crack in the skylight over the shower. Just follow the directions.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:38 am
by DrLewie
And all this time I thought I was alone. We lost a wheel on the right rear a few years ago on I-95 in North Carolina. Didn't feel a thing in the cab of my F-250 Diesel. My wife noticed something flapping in the mirror so we stopped. The entire wheel/brake assembly was gone. All that was left was a charred spindle. Fender skirt and rear lower panel were torn up.Got it to a shop where the tech said I needed to replace the axle. At the time the trailer had about 30K on it and I had the bearings packed or inspected every 10-15K. I asked the tech to check the other bearings and he found one of them was dry and ready to come apart. Tracked down an axle in Texas, but there was an ice storm, so it couldn't be shipped right away. Stayed in a motel 2.5 weeks waiting for the parts to come in and the work to be done. Since then I carry an IR thermometer and check the temp on the wheels and tires several times a day on long trips. I also have the bearings repacked, not just inspected, every year. That was a trip to remember.

Re: Wheel Loss

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:23 pm
by Chief409
We where lucky. Just finished a 800 mile trip, spent the night at home, left for Las Vegas, realised I didn't have my military ID to stay at Nellis AFB, turned around at Primm, NV. Got home, left on the next trip and lost the wheel ONE MILE OUT coming out of the coffee stop making a sharp turn in the parking lot. Just before getting on the freeway.

Update: Since this happened the Bird has rolled 20K+ miles, including many trips on I 580 in the San Francisco Bay area known as the "car wrecker" because the potholes are so bad CalTrans had to pay for a new vehicle because a pothole totaled it. Worse damage for us is the Dirt Devil central vacuum gets disconnected and I need to chase down loose water line fittings that are weeping in the basement after every trip on 580. And the refrigerator door needs to get realigned, which will require it to be pulled out, it already has a couple washers on the lower hinge. Still latches, can't put anything in the shelf's though.