Pressed steel wheel hubs - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-01-2006, 10:33 PM   #1
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Trailer: Trails West Campster 1970
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While in the mountains of Eastern Oregon last summer I was driving on a paved road when suddenly my 1970 Trails West Campster went down - bang! - on one side.

The hubs are made of pressed steel with what appears to be something akin to spot welds holding the two halves together. Apparently the hub had fatigued over the years and just chose that particular moment to let go. The wheel, complete with the external portion of the hub securely fastened with the lug nuts, went careening off into the woods. Fortunately we were alone on the road and no one was endangered.

I went to town, rented a U-Haul trailer, winched Trails West onto it and got it home to the ranch. I have replaced both hubs with cast iron ones that were readily available at the local auto parts store, as were the bearings.

I suggest that anyone who has an older trailer take a look at how the hubs are constructed and if they are pressed steel, consider replacing them with cast iron ones as a preventive. If this had happened on a high speed road with traffic coming, that wheel could have hit an oncoming vehicle and it could have resulted in a very nasty accident.

Andrew in Pendleton

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Old 06-02-2006, 06:06 AM   #2
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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Man, I can't believe they built junk like that! It only lasted 35 years!

Just kidding of course... it's always a serious problem when suspension and axle parts fail; particularly when they don't give notice of pending failure even with routine maintenance.

What brand of axle does your Trails West have, Andrew? That would be good information for folks with older trailers and the same equipment as you have.


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Old 06-02-2006, 10:41 PM   #3
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Trailer: 74 13 ft Boler and 79 17 ft Boler
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I find it strange that the hubs only had the wheel studs thru one side of the`d think the the manufacturer would put the studs thru both halves.....the stud head on one side and the rim to hold it all together along with the spot welds... ....Benny
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Old 06-03-2006, 01:38 PM   #4
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Trailer: Trails West Campster 1970
Posts: 6
This is Andrew - I started this discussion and am responding to the comments by Benny and Roger.

Benny, I mispoke myself in describing the separation of the hub rim from the barral of the hub, so your comment is very well placed. To re-describe it, the location of the fatigue and separation was at the weld between the flat circular portion of the hub unit that holds the lugs and the barral of the hub unit that holds the bearings. As I think about it in response to your commentary, as you properly mentioned the lugs did in fact go all the way through but the whole portion that holds the lugs and wheel is what separated and allowed the wheel to go bounding off through the woods. Now I'm wishing that I had the broken hub and it's mate so that I could have a detailed look at it to more accurately check its construction and post a photo. So thanks for your comment that clarifies the situation.

In any case, I still think that anyone who does not have cast iron hubs should inspect carefully and consider replacement.


Roger, again I wish I had those hubs that I replaced so that I could check for a manufacturer's name. At this point I have just the axle with the replacement hubs on and no identification possibility. Good suggestion and I'm sorry I can't give an accurate response.

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Old 06-03-2006, 04:30 PM   #5
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Trailer: 74 13 ft Boler and 79 17 ft Boler
Posts: 568
Andrew, thanks for the reply and by what you say , it separated right where they`ve run the continuous spot weld between the wheel nuts and the center portion......that could get kinda hairy when that didn`t mention trailer body damage....if that had happened in my 13' Boler, I`d be missing a lot of the body side because the body covers part of the wheel.......anyway good thing you came out of that OK......Benny
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