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Old 10-24-2019, 06:47 PM   #1
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Default Trailer Axle

My left trailer wheel was smoking when someone told me to pull over. When checked the bearings were shot and the axle damaged beyond repair. Nothing appeared wrong with the right wheel.

In May I had the bearings packed with grease and new seals. I was told the bearings were fine and did not require replacement. I have since towed my 1509 Hi Lo approximately 5,000 miles primarily on but some off pavement without incident. When returning home I always wash my 4 Runner and Hi Lo. I have never noticed any grease on either of my wheels.

There seems to be no explanation for this problem. Since this happened while driving downhill on I 70 on the west side of the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel I've wondered whether the left brake locked when I used my trailer braking system which is adjusted to my towing vehicle. The mechanic reported that the problem did not appear to have anything to do with the brakes.

I am still waiting for a new axle and open for comments.

Richard
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Old 10-24-2019, 08:28 PM   #2
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Richard, I'm glad you had a helpful driver behind you when this happened. I had a similar helpful "road buddy" get me to stop back when my trailer was new and the cords separated on one of the OEM tires. A blowout can do serious damage and with our single axle trailers, it's not something I'd want to ever experience.

I can't see how a locked brake would cause a bearing failure. I had a brake lockup on my trailer (again when it was new and the OEM brake adjuster disintegrated), and all that happened was tire damage - it filed the tire sort of flat on the tread that was in contact with the road while it was locked.

Since then, I've replaced the tires with better ones and replaced both brakes too, I've had no further problems.

I wonder if the bearing service you had was faulty, or, if a seal failed? I'd think this a more likely cause for what you experienced. I do my own brake and bearing maintenance, because I've learned to not trust the mechanics at RV places.

- Jack
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:13 AM   #3
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Lock brake/dragging brake will heat up brake drum and brake drum houses bearings..Heat causes grease to degrade and walla failure..

but of course it could have been bad repack job or overlook on bearing inspection..or faulty bearing from the big C

Repacking bearings is a simple easy task...the hard part is getting it all clean and keeping it through the complete job..Use correct grease and adjust properly

I used to stop every 100 miles or so and feel bearing hub that stick out between lug bolts...If they to hot to touch somethings wrong...I now have a lazer IR temp gun to check them...There only 20/30 bucks and handy around home too
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:50 AM   #4
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I hadn't considered a "dragging brake" in my last post. When my drum locked, it LOCKED!

I monitor the wheel temperatures with my TPMS, and haven't had any alarms since installing them. Good idea on the laser temperature reader - I've got one of those and should put it in my go-bag.

- Jack
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:52 PM   #5
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JackandJanet and cva34. As always thanks for your experience and insight.

When I contacted the automotive garage (not an RV dealer/service center) that serviced my camper I was told that if something like this happened it was more likely to occur much sooner than after 5,000 miles. This place has been in business many years, has an excellent local reputation and recently serviced a couple of friends' vehicles. Still, anything that can happen will happen.

I now have confidence in the garage where it is located as the owner has taken personal responsibility to do most of the work himself. A couple of days ago he called me to say the place where he went to pick up the new axle had made the wrong one based on dimensions provided by the ? original axle company. Anyway the owner of Red Mountain Autos in Silverthorne, Co. will remove my axle and take it personally to the company who he thinks has the correct product in stock which will save some time. At least I winterized the Hi Lo before the fateful trip.

Richard
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:14 PM   #6
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I'm pleased you've found someone you can trust! That's an important factor. And, I agree - I'd think your failure would have occurred sooner too, but....

What year and size is your HiLo?

FYI - Colorado is the State I mostly grew up in (back when my Father was off fighting wars - WWII and Korea) My Grandmother lived in a home they had built in Idledale (between Morrison and Evergreen, west of Denver). I have very fond memories of that area.

- Jack
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:05 PM   #7
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Jack, I moved to Evergreen in 1972, after serving in South Carolina and Korea during Viet Nam. When asked to reinlist I chose Colorado instead.

Idledale has a few large houses above the town but is otherwise unchanged. Fortunately thanks to some far sighted individuals we have Denver Mountain Parks, Jefferson County Open Space areas and Mountain Area Land Trust which have limited development. Elk Meadow and Bergen Peak are still great views as you enter from I 70. The Alderfer, Flying J and Meyers Ranches have been preserved for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling. Elk dominate the roadways during the rut.

I live on an acre between Evergreen and Conifer with a view of Mt. Evans and deer frequent my yard. So far I haven't found anywhere better to live.

Small world. Richard
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:07 AM   #8
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Small world, indeed, Richard! I now live on an acre in Ponderosa Pine country at 5700 ft on the southern rim of the Colorado Plateau. It's named the "Mogollon" Rim (pronounced mug-ee-yun") and there's great camping and hiking here. Like you, I have many deer visit my place, but I also get even more elk, some javalinas (a type of peccary), bobcats and at least one grey fox.

I saw my Grandmother's house again about 4 years ago and we also visited Evergreen. I recalled the dam there as a marvel when I was a kid. Now it looks sort of "puny". Caught my first fish in Bear Creek.

I loved that area too, but it's a bit warmer here.

- Jack
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:03 AM   #9
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I need to check out the area where you live once my Hi Lo is repaired and some of this snow melts.
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:50 PM   #10
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Richard,
My wife and I live in Bailey off Hwy 285. We are members of the Rocky Mountain Hi Lo Club. If you want to get involved with a group of Hi Lo enthusiasts locally, let me know. Our email is tmjbp@aol.com.
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:49 PM   #11
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Thanks for contacting me. I would be interested in meeting other Hi Lo owners. At present I am still waiting for mine to get a new axle in Silverthorne.

I suspect your live either on the Burland Ranchetts or Id Ra Ha Je side. I have my hair cut in a house near Id Ra Ha Je.

I live off Hwy 73 and Cragmont near Marshdale. Perhaps we could meet in Conifer at some mutually agreeable time and place. 285 Cafe for breakfast, Three Margaritas for early dinner or somewhere else.

Richard Wheeler 303-995-6020 richardwwheeler@gmail.com
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