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Old 05-08-2017, 06:02 PM   #1
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Default Changing tire on towlite 18

My fiancé and I just bought an 18 foot towlite Hilo camper. It's in really good shape for its age and we haven't taken on a trip yet but it seems to be a really nice camper. I've had pop ups, travel trailers, and motorhomes but this is my first Hilo I want to replace one of the tires that is showing a little dry rot and I am completely baffled how to get the tire out from under the camper once I get it unbolted from the hub. It's got the torsion bar suspension that doesn't seem to allow the hub to come down far enough for the tire to clear the side of the trailer. With the torsion bar suspension, it doesn't matter where you jack it under because the axle and frame are rigidly bolted together. I've tried pulling the other tire up on the blocks so it supported by the other axle. Nothing seems to give me the clearance that I need to get the tire out. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:52 PM   #2
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Default Welcome to the forum

Welcome to the forum from a neighbor in Niagara Falls,NY. I sure someone will be along to answer your question. I have a Classic. Best of luck with your new to you HiLo.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:42 PM   #3
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You should be placing the jack on the frame as close to the axle as possible. Then, when I remove a tire, I get it about 3" off the ground. I can tilt the top of the tire in and bring the bottom of the tire out to remove it.

If you can't, it sounds to me that the side skirting over the wheel well is too low. You should be able to remove it by simply unscrewing it. That should open things up more.

If the skirting is the issue, you should be able to trim it with metal shears or a cutoff wheel so that the opening is higher, which would allow you to remove the tire without taking the skirting off.

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Old 05-09-2017, 10:30 AM   #4
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I tried upping the tire size on my 2001 22ft and though the diameters worked together ( dual axles), on one side the width would not clear. Turns out things were not perfectly symetrical side to side and even a quarter inch of difference mattered. Thus, I believe there is ample evidence of this forum of folks having difficulty over the years getting a tire off of a hi-lo. But, as Jack suggested, there is a way- you just need to find it Deflating the tire all the way is also a possibility, I suppose, even it seems like an absurd approach.

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Old 05-10-2017, 05:29 PM   #5
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had to take all the air out of mine, same thing happened to me but worse. they had 235-r75-r15's on my single axle 15 footer. look at my pics how far I had to jack it up. still had to go up the same height to clear fender wells on both sides, had to jack up the box also, anyways,l not just axles. I went to 205-75-r 14's. I think. may be 195;s maybe I forget a lot these days. lol
thing is now bottom of my leaf spring u bolts r only 3 inches from the road. those tires they had on it were way to big for that camper. took me 4 hours to change 1 tire. still weak from radiation and neck dissection tho, then had to air them back up. may have to add a leaf to raise it . also the thing I have been wondering if hi-lo's are such great campers? why does it seem peole are constantly having to rebuild and do work on them?
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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Taking the air out of it was the correct answer. There was a sticker on the camper from the RV dealer where it was originally purchased so I called that phone number. The service guy said the options are to either let the air out of the tire or drop the axle. Neither one is a very good option if you have a flat on the road. It blows me away that I have to deflate my spare before I can put it on. Oh well, at least I found out while I'm doing it in my driveway and not beside the road . I'm going to bring my 12 V air compressor from my ATV in case I need to use it on the road. Thanks everyone for the responses.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:50 PM   #7
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yeah I bought a small compressor also. just for that reason, also need 2 floor jacks or 2 or more bottle jacks. either or not all 4.
had I been on the road I would have been screwed. thanks it blew me away also.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:08 PM   #8
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Glad others are having the same issue. What a defect!!!
If you have dual axles, then instead of a jack, bring a ramp. the ramp can be boards nailed together or those orange lego looking things, or a curb and a cinder block (like my last flat).
Loosen your lug nuts first. Then drive (pulling the trailer) the non-flat wheel up on your ramp, but not the flat wheel. This will raise the trailer sufficiently such that the flat tire is dangling above the ground as the good tire is on top of the ramp. The other side of the camper without the flat is just rolling on the street, no ramps needed.
Tighten the lug nut fully when back on the ground.
If you get the camper high enough then maybe that spare tire, fully inflated, can fit up where it needs to go. I have no been successful yet, I had to unscrew the sides of the camper facia to wiggle the spare in.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:26 AM   #9
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I learn something new here every time I go "surfing" around. We just purchased a 2002 19' without skirting and after reading this post I am glad to be w/o cladding on the trailer. I already carry a small floor jack, a bottle jack and a "homemade" ramp so I think I am as prepared for a flat as possible. I hope to not have to find out anytime soon !!
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:56 PM   #10
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BTW, Slime does not work. I had a flat, plugged it with a Slime plug (part of the problem), the Slime leaked out of the plugged hole and sprayed all over my vehicle, and never sealed it. This is a few weeks of Slime use and the Slime is not swishing around the tire available for leaks like it should be. Do not use Slime. A better product that the desert motor racers are using, and the only thing they claim works, is a bicycle sealant called Truckerco truckerco.com. Put it in and it will seal anything. 1 liter will do a tire easily, but you can do a trailer tire with half probably, instruction on bottle.



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Old 10-22-2017, 11:12 PM   #11
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I discovered my torsion axles had sagged and lost the spring, basically they are bottomed out and stuck that way. I think this could be my reason for having trouble changing the tire. If the hub would lower a few more inches, as it should if the axle suspension actually moved, then I would have room to clear. Even when lifted up the wheel stays in the bottomed out position. (bottomed out means the tire is moved through the suspension travel such that it looks like it has so much weight on it that it pushes the suspension down as far as it will go)
Have others seen this?
I wonder if when these old trailer were new was it easy to change a tire????
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:02 PM   #12
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I have seen this on Airstreams. The basic design of the axle is something like this.
Think of an outer square tube and an inner square tube with a lever on the end of the inner tube.
Mount the inner square tube corners at 45* relative to the outer tube. In the corners insert rubber tubes to fill the void. The lever attached to the inner tube moves up an down trying to move the inner square tube against the inner wall of the outer square tube. The rubber resists. The rubber is both a spring an less so a damper.

As the rubber ages/ wears out the lever changes angles.

In replacing axles I have known Airstream owners who have ordered replacement axles with greater downward angles to increase trailer height.
It wasn't uncommon for someone with a low mileage trailer to have the rubber spring to have failed and the axles need replacement.

I hope this helps
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:25 PM   #13
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The trailer repair guy said it was worn, but had little interest to comment on them.
axles for sale…
See the thread here http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f24/...00/index4.html
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Old 03-31-2018, 06:48 PM   #14
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"Changing tire on TowLite."
Just ran into this problem today while attempting to lube bearings on a 98 Towlite. I am now considering a mod to the fascia; cutting out a Half Moon above each tire, and reattaching the trim. I do NOT want to be roadside, going thru what I experienced today.
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:27 PM   #15
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How handy are you?
Put piano hinges on that facia and have it bolt to the adjacent pieces in a way easy enough to un-do for a flat tire change.
The wheel well is curved in, so cutting it means you end up with a flat, non rounded half moon. Will not look as good.
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:30 PM   #16
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Mariinn, Great idea. I will start laying that out immediately. I' m assuming you suggest the access panel would open/cover both wheels vs two panels ? Thanks much for the idea.
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Old 03-31-2018, 11:26 PM   #17
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Not sure what access panel you mean.
My trailer has the wheel area side panels as one piece.
One issue is if the slide rails cross the panels.

Im a big fan of new axles to raise up the trailer….
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:17 AM   #18
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Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to the 'access panel' created with piano hinge. No, my slide rail would be well forward of the wheel well.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:37 AM   #19
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I just had my wheel bearings repacked on my 2008 15ft Towlite at a small trailer repair facility. I was informed that it was hard to get off the driver side wheel off and on and impossible to get the passenger side wheel on or off unless the air was removed from the tire. They said the bearings and seals needed to be replaced. $188.00 bill. I noticed that the passenger side wheel skirt was slightly bent. I doubt that they will ever service the wheel bearings again. They were quite upset. Previously, Campers World serviced the wheel bearings and never said a word about taking the wheels off. Either Campers World said they serviced the bearings at $50.00 a wheel or didn't do it all and said they did. Conversely Campers World did service the bearings and something has changed on my HiLO. Does anyone have any ideas as to what has changed? I am concerned about what to do if I get a flat.
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:00 PM   #20
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Where did they place their jack? Under the frame or under the axle end?
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