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Old 10-08-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Dave
Trailer: ,Bigfoot 25 foot plus Surfside 14 foot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,148
Sheesh! Wotta trip!

So my son & I decided to go to the Monroe Swap meet. I still need some bits & pieces for a few of my projects - notably my '37 Dodge, but I don't ignore the potential parts for my Henway, my '56 F100 or my '57 Chev either. And one never knows when another potential race car may show up.

Anyway, while we were in line for crossing the border, Jon (my son) went back to get something out of the trailer. The trailer hissed at him. That'd be the bright new Robertson screw that was sticking of the sidewall of one of the new (less than 6 months old) tires. So after clearing customs, it was time to pull into a grocery store lot and put the spare on. The spare was a Marathon, purchased and installed in Seattle in September - it is now about 6 weeks old. All others are Les Schwab Towmasters, incl the one with the screw through the sidewall. Since we now have no spare, we double check tire pressures and we drive at 55 mph despite the fuel mileage penalty. (My truck really prefers speeds in the 70-75 range for towing my Bigfoot, where it gets approx 3 mpg better than at 55.)

Onwards. Arrive at the fairgrounds at midnight, set up camp.

Hmmm. Curbside propane tank is empty, so shut off the valve, open the valve on the "streetside" tank. Nothing. That tank was filled in Texas a year ago and has not been used at all since. How can it be also empty?

Luckily we have a "Hottrodd" in our HW tank, and we have a cube heater and we have a site with power so we are OK. Switch the fridge to electric and we're golden.

Saturday, after the swap meet, we take the two "profane" tanks to be filled. The one that had been on the left side could/would not be filled as propane came out of the leaky valve as fast as it could be pumped in. (Explains why it was empty!) So we now had one full 30 lb tank and one still empty.

Les Schwab was closed so we could not get the "screwed" tire replaced.

Sunday afternoon, after another day of swap-meet shopping, we leave for home.

After all this hassle, we didn't find a single useful car part at the meet, but I did score a refrigerant-style compressed air dryer for my shop at a super good price.

Since we have NO spare tire, we continue to drive very slow and careful. We check tire press before leaving. All are at 65 psi. We drive at 55 mph. We get back to I-5 and just North of Marysville, a tire violently lets go, tossing pieces of rubber all over the road. Yup - its that one and only Badyear Marathon Timebomb. It likely has about 100 miles on it, all at about 55 mph and it is just over a month old. A buddy, also heading home, recognizes us, stops and, through happy luck, has a Ford Ranger on a tow bar behind his moho. The Ranger has the right 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern with a 14 inch passenger car tire on his spare so he loans that to me so we can continue home, still sans a spare and collecting a bunch of useless rubber in the bed of my truck.

Arrived home with further incidents.

In two days time, I leave again, this time for the NOG.

I now have a new 30 lb profane tank to replace the leaker.

I will return the borrowed Ranger spare tire to Jim (and drop off a box of wobbly pops).

I will be stopping at a Les Schwab to get the tire with a screw in it replaced under road hazard warranty, and I will be stopping at a Badyear dealer to get my $$$$ back for that blown-up, one-month old Marathon timebomb.

I will get another Les Schwab tire as spare.

And hopefully, will have a much less eventful trip this time.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Posts: 1,469
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Glad to hear you made it home safely. What a trip! This sounds like the first trip we took with our UHaul VT, except its tires were old. We took it out on the first trip after buying it and on the return trip promptly blew a tire that came on the trailer. (It heated up the hub so badly that it later failed on a trip in Wyoming later that summer, ball bearings rolling all over the road when I removed the wheel. ) We should have known better, but the tires "looked" good. The spare was also old but serviceable, so I tried to put it on when the hub finally cooled down enough to touch it. The wheel didn't fit! Apparently a previous owner didn't know that UHaul had a strange hub bolt pattern and just got a wheel that "came close." I got it on just enough to get the nuts on the bolts, but it didn't snug down to the hub. With about 120 miles still to go to home, I drove with the flashers on, going about 25-30 mph. I stopped every 10 miles or so to check the nuts and they stayed tight, but barely on the bolts. With about 75 miles still to go, my VW Eurovan wouldn't start after one stop. Nothing. No sound. So I called the VW hotline in my manual and they told me that it was probably the safety switch associated with the shift mechanism and that is was under recall. They also gave me the "super secret" way to fool the switch, thus starting the van. I got it going and didn't turn it off again whenever I stopped to check the nuts. Made it home in about 4 hours longer than it should have taken, but I was home. Next day it went to the VW shop for the recall and I took my old 1969 beetle to the tire shop with the trailer wheels in the back seat for all new trailer tires. Whew! Aren't trips fun?!
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape
Posts: 1,532
Yes. Trips are fun. While in Utah a few years ago both the lift pump and the injector pump in our Dodge diesel died. $2700 to get back on the road. Luckily the dealer had both in stock.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:22 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 546
Glad you had someone close with a correct tire to get home. There must be something in the air, I went out the the garage on Saturday to load some clothes for the NOG and the CO/Propane alarm was wailing away. I tried cleaning it and airing out the trailer, but nothing worked. I ended up buying a new one and installing it. I'm glad it didn't go bad while sleeping in it.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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Name: Bonnie and Claude
Trailer: N/A
Posts: 224
Although I imagine it was very frustrating, Dave, you have a real story-telling talent! Hopefully when we head down to Florida this Saturday we we will be whole lot luckier!
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