Rattled to pieces!!!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-13-2014, 09:55 AM   #1
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Scamp 13'
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Rattled to pieces!!!!

Hello Fellow Fiberglass RVers.
I've had a sudden development that is of concern. AFter several uneventful outings towing the Scamp 13, a few hours into a 700+ mile trip from east Texas to Big bend National park the camper developed a bad vibration out of nowhere as if a wheel had "suddenly" gone out of balance, which doesn't seem possible. Anyway, I jacked up the trailer and checked the bearings, tried shifting the cargo in the camper and the 4runner, changed the angle of the hitch, anything I could think of. Nothing helped. We carried on to to Big Bend and when we finally arrived and opened the trailer, doors had fallen off, unscrewed screws or ripped out of the walls, everything, everywhere, etc... SO I deal with it and enjoyed our stay, and drove home with fingers crossed, no casualties other than the interior of the camper.

SO... what the heck? My first thought was "unbalanced wheel", and I will have them checked asap, BUT, can a wheel become "suddenly unbalanced"? There were never any lead weights on the wheels, so it's not like I lost one.

Any ideas as to what is going on?
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #2
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I believe the belts inside the tires can delaminate or come apart a bit internally, and not be visible externally. I seem to recall hearing about this happen to someone I know recently.

No flat spots on your tires?
Maybe try running the spare on one side, and then the other to see if you can isolate it to a certain wheel?
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:12 AM   #3
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Maybe try running the spare on one side, and then the other to see if you can isolate it to a certain wheel?
Now that's one thing I didn't think of. Sort of obvious one too.

No flat spots or anything. new tires too. hopefully not falling apart.

If anyone else has any insight, lets hear it.

Thanks
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:29 AM   #4
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I'd vote for the tires as well... How old are they?

Also, lift each tire about 1/2" off the ground and spin them, if they are out of round it's time for new tires as well. A sudden out of round condition can be caused by internal cord failures.

BTW: If they are deteriorating inside, balancing will only be a temporary fix, they are doomed to failure.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
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Tires are less than two years old. closer to one than two. Probably less than 3000 miles on them... or so I was told by the previous owner. They appeared nearly new when I bought it a year ago.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromags View Post
Tires are less than two years old. closer to one than two. Probably less than 3000 miles on them... or so I was told by the previous owner. They appeared nearly new when I bought it a year ago.
My guess would be the tires. I've had new automobile tires delaminate within a couple hundred miles. Take them back to the dealer and see what they say.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Astromags View Post
Tires are less than two years old. closer to one than two. Probably less than 3000 miles on them... or so I was told by the previous owner. They appeared nearly new when I bought it a year ago.
Suspect you are using ST trailer tires and they are starting to come apart, and now are out of round. Do as Bob suggested and give them a spin.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:37 PM   #8
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I just caught "or so I was told by the previous owner"

Check the date codes. They may have already been on the shelf for 3-5 years before they were bought.

Age trumps good appearance etc.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:48 PM   #9
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Check the date codes on the tires. Buying new tires doesn't mean they are new. just means they were not sold before. Its not like car tires that are sold in the millions each month. Take the tires off and head down to the tire shop and have them spun at high speed it will tell the tail. Before you remove the tires jack up the trailer so the tire is just off the ground. Grab the outside of the tire and try to move it about. If it moves about check the bearings and if they are OK try looking at the axle where it enters the axle tube. The spindle assembly is just pressed into rubber inside the tube. If the rubber is failing the insert can get wiggly. I don't think you can get to the backside of the tire at mid point to measure across the front and back of the 2 tires to check if there is still toe in. If you can. spin a line on each tire and measure from line to line. Should be closer together in the front of the tires than the back side. Trailer needs to be hitched and with road weight on the tires. Get under the front of the trailer and check the frame for cracks especially close to where the tongue enters the body all the way back to where the frame bends close to the tires.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:56 PM   #10
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Ahh, the old hard to diagnose weeble-wobble. I lived through this with old Corolla. My Mom gave me the car when she inherited a newer one. The Corolla was lightly used and stayed in her garage most of the time. Shortly after I got it the ride got progressively worse and you had to keep a death grip on the steering wheel to keep it from running off the side of the road. I had just had the CV axles and seals done so suspected that but they were fine. Finally in desperation I decided I would swap the front wheels side-to-side to see if that made any difference. When I sat down to start I got a close look at one tire and could finally see the (internal) warpage. Running your hand over it you could really feel it. Four new tires and the 20 year old Toyota drives and handles like a new one.

The funny part of the story is when I was on my way to the tire store and about 2-3 miles away the front left tire peeled off a piece of tread about 5” long. It would slap the wheel well and then the road. I was not about to stop to change it for the spare that close to getting new tires so I eased on at 5 – 10 miles per hour, slap, slap, slap all the way. I pulled into the bay at the tire store making sure the thrown piece of tread was clearly showing and said to the guy “I think I need some tires”. And “Looks like I got all the good out of that one”.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:50 PM   #11
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Excellent info, everyone. Definitely going to give the tires a good going over, and the other stuff mentioned too.

Thanks
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:56 PM   #12
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FWIW, I had a vibration at 45 - 60 MPH on my Scamp 16 this spring. Since the tires were worn out anyway (and 6 years old) I replaced them. The vibration is gone.

--Dan Meyer

P.S. My new tires have been balanced as well.
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