Almost lost a wheel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
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Almost lost a wheel

I put Ford Ranger rims on my 1978 Trillium 4500. During our first camping trip I learned a valuable lesson. The rims have a recessed holes where the nuts fit in. When they are tightened there is only about half an inch of nut that I could get the tire iron on.

I guess I did not tighten the nuts enough. While my wife was driving, We were descending a rather steep hill, when the trailer started to swerve back and fourth, the tail was waging the dog. When we got it to a stop, the wheel was almost off and two of the studs on the hub were sheared off.

We got out the floor jack, that my wife insists on carrying, got the wheel on tight, (with the remaining three nuts), and limped into Creston BC. $230 got us a new hub, and a replacement steel wheel, with our new Load Star tire switched over to the new to us rim. The Ranger rim was now oval in the centre and was deemed unusable.

I felt pretty stupid, but the mechanic told me that aluminum rims are more prone to this then steel. With everything tightened down, we didn't have any more trouble with the wheels. I am now looking for some long nuts that I can get a good grip on with my tire iron.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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Ouch! Glad it all turned out OK in the end.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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Yup- there's a reason why race sanctioning bodies insist on open-ended lug nuts so that they can see that there is a certain amount of thread sticking outta the nut when tight. However, they look like (blank) on the street.

In the case of alum wheels they are a lot thicker than steel ones, so there is no-where near so much thread available to screw onto

Longer lugs and bigger lug nutz are the answer (As well as rechecking the torque on the lugnutz every chance you get - esp first thing every morning!
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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Glad you and the trailer are ok. Good to know that about the aluminum rims.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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Almost any brake shop can press out the studs and install longer ones for a v reasonable price.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:33 PM   #6
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In 1947 towing a 1939 Kozy Koach trailer with an 85 hp 1937 Ford from Florida to Michigan a wheel on the trailer came off while in motion. Apparently the nuts weren't quite tight enough allowing some "shucking" back & forth on the wheel. Finally the nuts tore right through the bolt holes. My dad burned his hand on the wheel when trying to pick it up. In those almost all trailers had only one axle as ours did. When the wheel came off, that side dropped and ran for a short time on the brake drum. Ground a flat spot on the drum. Finally got it taken care of and got back to MI without furether ado. Glad I was only a kid and not old enough to be driving.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BCDave View Post
Almost any brake shop can press out the studs and install longer ones for a v reasonable price.
The studs are plenty long, the rims have a depression that the nuts sit in that leaves only 1/2", or less of the nut to get a tire iron on. Longer nuts are the solution.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #8
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Hummm, do the wheels have the wrong offset? I believe trailer wheels are zero offset. Anyone know for sure? If you've got the wrong offset changing the lugs and nuts will mask a problem waiting to happen. Be safe.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:05 PM   #9
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Hummm, do the wheels have the wrong offset? I believe trailer wheels are zero offset. Anyone know for sure? If you've got the wrong offset changing the lugs and nuts will mask a problem waiting to happen. Be safe.
Trailer wheels are generally zero offset, Rangers are generally -20mm offset. Most Rangers, like my last two, have lug nuts which are mated to the aluminum rims and also made to accept the hubcap. Of course, they made Rangers for twenty-eight years with various wheel sizes and offsets, the only thing constant was the bolt pattern. Offset(within the limits of the wheelwell) should not likely affect the propensity for lugs to work loose.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:18 PM   #10
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That wasn't you in Creston yesterday with a good looking Trillium 4500 with AC on the top was it? I was trying to get a good look at it as it was driving by?
Unfortunate incident, glad you were all okay and of course the Trillium.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kootenaigirl View Post
That wasn't you in Creston yesterday with a good looking Trillium 4500 with AC on the top was it? I was trying to get a good look at it as it was driving by?
Unfortunate incident, glad you were all okay and of course the Trillium.
No not me, but I think I saw them at Green Point when I was there. The roof looked like it was sagging under the weight of the A/C unit.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:25 PM   #12
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Dave
Don't feel too bad,I did lose a wheel on my Trill 1300 while flying along on I75 in Atlanta and for exactly the reason you suggest!

The Trill had fancy Aluminum Mag wheels on it when I got it and evidently the nuts were not designed for the bolt/wheel combination?

Luckily no one was hurt and I only lost a day while all new studs were installed on the axle and I found Ranger wheels in a junkyard and bought new rubber.

I am a firm believer that the reason I came through it alright was the beast of a vehicle I was driving at the time.
I felt a slight shudder and looked in the mirror to see the trailer leaning hard towards the drivers side,the Land Cruiser didn't seem to understand why I was pulling over? The wheel passed us on the left and I never saw it again!

I will never tow with a vehicle I feel is just enough and risk bigger problems,I want the vehicle to always be in charge if possible.

Ed
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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Dave

I will never tow with a vehicle I feel is just enough and risk bigger problems,I want the vehicle to always be in charge if possible.

Ed

If more people followed that advice there would be a lot fewer towing incidents.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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^^ Ditto!
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