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  TRAILER TIRES: Effect of Axle Alignment on Tire Wear

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Author Topic:   TRAILER TIRES: Effect of Axle Alignment on Tire Wear
MickeyB posted 02-28-2006 10:42 AM ET (US)   Profile for MickeyB   Send Email to MickeyB  
I have a trailer that I purchased new in 1999. The tires have to be replaced every year because they wear to the belt on the inside but have a like new tread on the outside.
My friend who boats alot says that this may be due to the axle not being aligned straight.
I trailer all over for fishing and need to feel safe about my tires. Can you give me some advice?
Chuck Tribolet posted 02-28-2006 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Something's not right.

Do the wheels LOOK vertical?

How many miles a year?

Could the tires be rubbing on the fender, or something else?
Maybe when you go over a bump?


Chuck

bsmotril posted 02-28-2006 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
What kind of Tires are you using. I've experienced premature wear with Carlisle tires. Putting the same size Goodyear Marathon in their place gave about 5X the live I was getting with the Carlisles.
BillS
Jerry Townsend posted 02-28-2006 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Your wheels are not aligned right - the camber is off. Take the trailer to a automotive service business that aligns the front end of cars and ask them to correct the alignment on your trailer. ---- Jerry/Idaho
Tom W Clark posted 02-28-2006 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
It doesn't matter what kind of tires he's using, if they are wearing unevenly then there is something TERRIBLY wrong.

I agree with Chuck, if the wear is as grossly uneven as reported, it should be apparent to the naked eye.

The tires/wheels are either canted in at the top or they are WAY toe-out. The toe-out condition could happen if some time in the past the trailer tires had run into some obstruction, like a phone pole...on both sides, and bent the axles backwards. Seems unlikely.

Some form of tire/frame interference could result in uneven wear for one side of the tread to the other, but it would be apparent too I would think. I would expect more of a gouge in the tread.

Sonic posted 02-28-2006 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sonic  Send Email to Sonic     
I do a fair amount of car racing and DIY wrenching so I have some experience with this sort of thing.

Camber would not cause wear that fast unless it was rediculous, and you would know what the problem was because the wheels would be tilted in so far at the top it would look funny. I've run 3+ degrees of camber on some cars I have, which is very noticable, and it gives very little camber wear in the inside of the tires.

Toe, however, can easily scrub away tires in no time. If they are worn on the inside of both tires, they have a toe out condition, when looked at from above, they would look like this " / \ " with forward being the bottom of the screen. The tires are trying to turn away from each other while being dragged forward.

I would imagine that you experience some instability in the trailer with a setup like this, does the trailer wag?

I would imagine the only way to fix this on a beam axle trailer would be to bend the axle back into shape. Right now it is probably bent with an arc going toward the front of the trailer. Measure the distance of the axle from a know fixed point that is not part of the trailer, to the left, right, and middle of the axle to see if it is true. If it is bent as I suspect, Try chaining the center of the axle to a big tree and pulling a little with the tow vehicle...but be careful, don't want to pull too far.

Also try measuring for toe angle...google for DIY alignment and you'll see lots of ideas how to do it, or try this link http://corner-carvers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22252& highlight=alignment

What I do is use a plumb bob and atape measure. Plumb down one of the trailer tire grooves in the front and mark the ground where it touches. Then do the same thing on the other wheel in the corresponding groove. Measure between the 2 marks to the 1/16". Repeat the process on the back side of the tires. Make sure you use the same grooves in the tires as you are going to compare the measurements. If the measurement on the front is larger than the measurement on the rear, you have toe out.

Backlash posted 03-01-2006 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
This sounds like an alignment problem to me. I had a similar problem 8 or 9 years ago - uneven tire wear, trailer not tracking straight, etc. I called around and someone suggested a frame straightening shop. This shop specialized in straightening big over-the-road truck frames. I took the boat and trailer (twin axle) in and they put it on their frame rack and, using chains and hydraulics, bent the ends of the axles into alignment. They thought the spindles were bent from hitting pot holes, etc. After they had performed their magic the trailer pulled like it was on rails and still does to this day. I think they charged around $100 for this. My only other option was to have new spindles welded on or replace the axles. I'd call around to frame shops in your area.
Chuck Tribolet posted 03-01-2006 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Toe out could also happen from backing the center of the axle
into a stump, curb, pipe, ...


Chuck

high sierra posted 03-03-2006 01:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
Axle is bent down in the middle. High sierra
Lil Whaler Lover posted 03-03-2006 06:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lil Whaler Lover  Send Email to Lil Whaler Lover     
The first thing I would do is verify that the trailer has sufficient capacity for the rig being carried on it. If it does not, it would cause the wear pattern on the tires reported here.
MickeyB, please tell us what model Whaler you have and the weight capacity of the trailer you have it on. Dave
jimmy c posted 03-06-2006 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimmy c  Send Email to jimmy c     
You can do all the above great advice.
If it were mine I would first check that the trailer is the correct capacity for the boat.
Then I would purchase a new axel...cheeper and better in the long run.
Because the trailer is a 1999 I would also replace the springs ( proper capacity) bushings and bolts and U bolts also new wheel bearings and seals....thats what I would do if it were mine....( I sold trailers for 20 years)
JohnMummert posted 03-08-2006 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnMummert  Send Email to JohnMummert     
Is there a good book that goes over trailer maintenance? Covering topics like replacing the Hubs/bearings, springs.....
jimh posted 03-08-2006 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the archives of the website are many articles related to trailer maintenance.
The Machinery Killer posted 03-12-2006 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Machinery Killer  Send Email to The Machinery Killer     
Hey MickeyB,
Take a look at this if depending where you are located. For an alignment issue I would contact http://www.bettsspring.com/ since they can handle a single axel alignment as well as a seven axel alignment. Also I have had them do specialized work for me that exceeds weights commonly found in this forum. On the tires I have gone round and round with few learning from my mistakes. Then again a smart friend learns from his mistakes and a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Les Schwab is one of the few people who go out of their way to take care of the customer http://www.lesschwab.com/. Are they perfect? Hell no...do they try to do everything possible to take care of the customer? you bet. To me that is all that matters and yes I have been a purchaser of tire rack and the tire rack is no where to be found when it comes time for a free tire rotation every 5,000 miles with flats fixed for free.

Carlisle is a rip off of a company gone bad. They use to have a great product made in PA now it is made in China...I got ya China right here!. The rubber material is softer then a sponge and is worthless yet people still for what ever the reason still buy it. The Goodyear Marathon can handle 110-125% of rated it just will pick up a lot of road material causing flats. Goodyear G614RST's are a 14 ply 16" tire that you will pay FET for but they can handle 3750lbs per tire and are worth their weight in gold to me.

Get the alignment checked at a commerical shop near your house since the automotive folk have a hard time dealing with cars. From there if it is a straight axel trailer they can note if it is bent and if it needs to be replaced. Torflex is a fraud since when the weight exceeds 50% of rated the tires bow out and wear quickly on the inside so be careful.

Semper Paratus,

Joe

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