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Author Topic:   unusual trailer tire wear
lhg posted 06-09-2000 07:09 PM ET (US)   Profile for lhg  
I have the above NEW problem on one of the four tires on my trailer, and hope someone here can help. I'm completely confused, since in 30 years I've never seen anything like this before, and before I start a lengthy & time consuming process trying to islolate the problem, I thought I'd try here. Here's the situation, and for reference, there is a picture of this trailer in Jim's trailer reference section. Also in page 2 of Cetecea there is a picture of me standing in front of this side of the trailer.

It is a tandem axle 6000lb capacity trailer (for my 25 outrage), with conventional springs (just replaced last year) and ST205 x 75 R14 (load range C) Goodyear Marathon Radial tires (balanced). I just towed the boat 1400 miles, and during that distance the left front trailer tire went from being almost new to completely worn down, on the OUTSIDE edge, and for only HALF of the circumference of the tire. The tire has to be replaced. The other half of the outside edge is not worn at all! The other 3 tires on the trailer show no unusual wear at all. I have just spent some money on this trailer, and it is in excellent condition. Here is what I had done before the trip, and one of these new changes must be causing the problem:

1. I had new, original manufacturer supplied, and dealer installed, 3500lb galvanized axles put on the trailer. This was simply done for preventitive maintenance after 11 years and 80,000 miles of use.

2. I had new Stainless Steel disc brakes installed on all four wheels, and they came complete with a one piece new hub & rotor combination.(brand is Tie Down Engineering, Inc.) These were also supplied by the trailer manufacturer and installed by their Dealer. Everything appeared to be a very nice job, although it appears that this same wheel is leaning in ever so slightly at the bottom. Without the boat on the trailer at the time the work was done, I didn't think much about this, figuring the weight of the boat would compensate for this extremely slight, barely noticeable, inward camber at the bottom.

3. Before leaving, I noticed a small leak in this same tire, resulting from a nail, and took it to a Goodyear Dealer who dismounted it and fixed the leak. When he re-mounted it on the galvanized spoke rim, it was not re-balanced, nor were the original weights removed. This seemed relatively incompetent to me, and I complained, but they insisted that it wasn't necessary to balance any trailer tire, (which is not true) and that the tire was remounted in the same position on the rim. So I let it go.

So my question is:

1. Is it possible that I got a defective, untrue axle? The only thing here is that if the axle is causing the tire to not hit the road squarely, I would think that the edge wear would be uniform all around, and it's not.

2. Could a defective hub, or bearing job, cause this kind of abnormal tire wear on only half of the tire?

3. Could the problem be an out of balance wheel, or even could they have damaged the rim re-installing the tire. (The wheel exibits no wobble when turning on the axle)

So I'm confused. If anybody can help, I'd be most appreciative. I'm going to start by getting the wheel off the trailer and checking it out for problems. My best guess is that I got a defective axle installed, which is what I don't want to hear! What a headache.

Backlash posted 06-09-2000 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
I believe you have both an alignment and tire balance problem. I had an alignment problem on my Load Rite trailer shortly after I bought it. The trailer would not track straight down the road and I noticed that the tires, at rest, were not vertical, i.e., perpendicular to the road. I took the boat and trailer to a tractor/trailer shop and they chained it to an alignment rack for semi-trailers and used hydraulic jacks to bend the axles into alignment! After that the tracking was better than when new and I have had no more problems in the last 6 or 7 years. I'm not sure this is the accepted method of aligning trailer axles, but that shop does it all the time due to pot holes, etc.

I think an unbalanced and misaligned tire could wear on the outside edge and only on half of the circumference.

A reputable tire dealer should be able to tell you exactly what caused the abnormal tire wear and direct you to a shop to correct the problem.

Good luck.

Backlash posted 06-09-2000 09:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Just a follow up. This was a frame straightening shop. Your trailer axle is just a length of square (or round) steel tubing with spindles welded to the ends. If the spindles weren't welded perfectly square to the tubing then that spindle will be misaligned. Logically, the easiest way to correct this is to bend that end of the axle. Certainly quicker and cheaper than replacing the axle. Also, IMHO, the axles should be aligned with the boat on the trailer.
Clark Roberts posted 06-10-2000 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, consider the shackles! Since the entire "trolly" is suspended (supported) by the spring shackles any wear, change, wrong part, damage ...etc... may cause or contribute to your strange tire wear problem... just grasping at straws, mind you, since I can't think of anything else! Keep us posted... Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
Walt Steffens posted 06-10-2000 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Walt Steffens  Send Email to Walt Steffens     
Larry: Here goes the old tire dealer frame shop forman in me. Your problem is located in the wheel balance. This is shown in the fact that only 1/2 the tire circumfence is worn. You stated that the tire shop didn't remove the weights an rebalance after dismounting and patching the tire. Unless they carefully marked the tire in relationship to the wheel (usually a chalk mark at the tire stem) there is no way they could get it back in the correct spot in relationship to the still mounted weights. Also they might have even put the originally mounted outside side wall on the inside compounding the problem. This is because a properlly balanced tire will more than likely have weights applied to both the inside and outside of the rim. There is an outside chance that the bead break down clamp might have bent your rim but I seriously doubt it.

The correct procedure for the patch would be to dismount the tire from the rim. Use an internal valcunized patch, and then remount and balance. Time and more money costly but the best way. The reason for the rebalance instead of marking the wheel tire and weights is that the patch will add weight to the rotational assembly, and should be accounted for. Besides you may have thrown a weight before you got the nail hole!

As for breaks, axle toe in and shackles etc, I doubt it. The dammage is as you said only on 1/2 the circumfrence of the effected tire. If it was from the above it would have been full circle. If you want to check the toe in and the squareness of the axle carriage that can be done with a tape measure. As for the bent rim you can check that by jacking up the offending wheel just to clear the ground, and placing a brick close to the side wall and spinning the assembly. If it looks way out check your other tires in the same manner.

Sounds as if your trailer rebuild was a 1st class job. You shouldn't have any troubles as far as I can see.

Hope this makes you sleep better. And the bright side is that you didn't break down on the road somewhere!

Best WLS

Walt Steffens posted 06-10-2000 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Walt Steffens  Send Email to Walt Steffens     
Larry: As a follow up to my post. You mentioned that the one tire leaned slightly. I don't think its a problem as the spoke wheels will have a tendency to slightly "give" laterally during tight turning and backing manuvers. There can also be an optical perception due to radial tire side walls.

Trailers don't generally have alignments. Meaning that the don't (tandem espically) require toe in, camber , or caster adjustments. You can do a relatively simple check with a tape measure, plumb bob and level, with the boat and trailer on a level floor and leveled up. You should check for squareness of the carriage to the frame rails, as well as squareness of the axles to themselves and the frame. Measurements taken this way with the tape measure are plenty accurate, and should fall within 1/8".

If you are concerned about the "camber" setting (tilt in and out at 12&6 o'clock) you can do that with a level. This should be done with the trailer normally loaded, not light or piled hi as in vacation mode. Remember that the side walls bulge so you will have to figure out how to get on the face of the wheel for use of the level. If all 4 wheels read within (I am esimating here) 1/8 bubble you should be fine. Be advised that you should be on a level flat floor and that you should run the trailer back and forth in a straight line several times before measuring the "camber" so as to allow all the wheel hub flanges arrive at their normal straight ahead towing location.

lhg posted 06-12-2000 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks for the info Steve, Clark & Walt. I feel a little relieved that it may only be the wheel balance situation. I looked at that wheel, and when it was originally balanced, it had two 3" long weights together on the outside rim, and weights on the inside also. So when the repair technician put the tire back on the wheel, he could easily have ignored the previous tire position. I was also beginning to think wheel balance weights could be the problem. I won't let that happen to me again. So first I'm going to buy a new tire and have them check the rim and re-balance. Hopefully, this will solve my problem. I'll keep you guys posted on my progress in solving this. I don't know why so many tire shops all insist it's a waste of money to balance trailer tires! If nothing else, it seems they should have at least removed the previous weights.
Walt Steffens posted 06-12-2000 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Walt Steffens  Send Email to Walt Steffens     
Larry: You said that there were 2 3" long weights on the outside of the rim next to each other. Thats 6oz of weight. The tire was very out of balance. When that happened originally they should have broken it down again and rotated the tire 180 degrees to see if that reduced the ammount of weight required in one spot. When I was in the tire bussiness, I would be very unhappy if a tire took more than 3-4 oz of weight total at 4 places around the rim (2 inside and 2 outside usually opposed to each other).

As for tire shops not wanting to balance trailer tires, most think the customer won't want to pay the price.

lhg posted 07-25-2000 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have finally discovered that the source of my problem appears to be a recently bent wheel. Don't know how it happened, but the galvanized spoke rims were 11 years old! I have often wondered if the wheel rims on a tandem trailer can be damaged, or bent, by a very sharp turn, which seems to put a lot of torque on the wheels. When the boat has been in for engine work, I have noticed how these jockeys move the boats around the yard with a fork lift, making jacknife turns, which seems to put incredible stress on the wheels.

Incidentally, I just bought a new galvanized spoke wheel, with 14" Carlisle radial on it, for $99., at Boat US. The Carlisle radials look very similar to the Goodyear Marathons.
Thanks to everybody who responded to my question.

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