First, find the leak or everthing you do will be for naught.
When I bought our '85 Wilderness (nearly pristine except for water damage) I knew it had water damage, but was surprised that 3 of the corners were so rotten the studs fell out in pieces and bathroom floor almost completely gone. really bad caulking jobs allowed the water in at the corners. Those leaks did not reach the bathroom floor. Took a long time to discover that the sink p-trap had been very slowly leaking (drop or two at a time when using sink), that the water over 29 years had migrated under the tub and in front of the sink. That was hard to find. Being very handy and a carpenter/mechanic, I repaired everthing during last winter (not bad in Pacific NW).
The surprising thing is that none of the leaks damaged or even showed up in the interior it was all hidden.
One reason TT's leak, is that going down the road the vehicle is twisting and shaking over bumps etc., this loosens things up and creates gaps. That's why you need to inspect the caulking at least once a year and maybe re-caulk every two. I wouldn't agonize over a leak, I say all trailers have leaked, are leaking now, and will leak tomorrow.
opnspaces, haven't been on here for a while so just saw your post. The rig now stops so much better that I don't have to use the manual lever if I don't want to. However I want to. I apply it very lightly to start slowing everything down along with the engine on compression (the 292 has a lot of it). I finally apply the brake pedal to bring it to a complete stop. Makes for a very smooth stop.
I primarily use the manual lever as my tow vehicle, being a 1965 Chevy Van, never had very effective brakes (plus its 49 years old). So I prefer to use the trailer brakes to help out the old beast, plus its cheaper to replace trailer brake shoes than the van brakes. Parts are getting harder to find for the '65.
Note - the van brakes have been completely rebuilt with new master cylinder, brake lines, shoes, springs and cylinders, so they are as good as they can get. I don't tow stupid.
way too many dummy trailer towers on the road, why didn't he slow down?
Last week, on our way to eastern WA going over Stevens pass, saw a bad RV accident. Based on the black "S" shaped tire tracks all over the road, it was clear that TT swayed out of control and put the TT on its side and destroyed the TT. The tracks were all over both lanes (two lane road), just lucky no one was coming the other way.
It worked! Rewired the whole brake system and it really improved the braking ability of the TT. Feels much better to be able to slow down and stop like it should. When stepping on the brake pedal, I can definitely feel the trailer brakes engage just before the TV's. Stopping is no longer an adventure. Thanks all for the comments and advice.
(All of the brake components are in very good shape and all work freely).
man, that's a bonified bummer, at least both damaged sides matched.
I've had several tire gages, and they all registered a little different, a couple of them way off. I keep track of inflation by inspecting the edge of each tire to see if the worn area hits right at the edge, down over edge, too soft, toward middle, too hard. Although, if the rig is overloaded, will have to overinflate to keep the tires looking right, not good in that case.
Once in a while I'll take my gages into Les Schwab and asked them to compare mine with theirs, some matched, some didn't.
Yes. this 10 Gauge wire is thicker than needed. 12 gauge will probably work. But for a few pennies more (and 10 gauge wire has more outer sheathing protection), "up sizing" top 10 gauge wire is worth it. Especially if you plan to keep your RV/TT for many years.
Also remember that with inertia brake controllers (like Prodigy), one should be > 20 MPH to test the trailer brakes. Having trailer hub on jack / block and apply TV's brake peddle won't activate its internal inertia trigger. In other words, TT brake hub won't activate.
spike, I was simply hooking up and applying the brakes thru the controller to make sure I was getting power to all wheels. Each magnet was buzzing. When I spun the drums on the passenger side I was surprised to hear the magnets scraping on the drums then, really got puzzled when on the driver's side, one locked up and the other didn't seem to be working like the other side, even though the magnet was buzzing.
Wow!, great advice by everyone. Interestingly enough, I've been thinking I should run individual wires from the front junction box to each wheel, now I know I should. Didn't know it was called Star. I'm surprised that 10 gage is recommended, that's a lot more power going to each wheel than I thought I'd need. My question is, since the wires attached to the magnets aren't 10 gage, wouldn't that be overkill?
The stock wiring was absolutely tiny, maybe 20 to 18 gage going from one side to the other, thru the rusty axle. I replaced it, but not with 10 gage.
At least I did seal all my new connections with liquid black tape.
I'm impressed with the wire protection many of you have employed, that makes a lot of sense. On all of my dozen new trailers I've ever owned, I've noticed that the brake wire connections were hanging loose, all over the place. That's always concerned me, but I stupidly figured the manufacturer knew what he was doing, not. I at least cable tied them up under the frame rails.
Any idea why when applying a small amount of brake pedal voltage (Prodigy shows 1.6) would cause one wheel to lock up and the other not to work at all? Could bad wiring to that?
Just saw reply from opnspaces. I do run the Prodigy at B3 and at full gain. I keep the brakes adjusted as tight as possible. There is a dedicated ground wire going from the van to the TT. I don't rely on the trailer ball for a ground. In fact, doing this recent testing, the van isn't even hitched to the TT, its just close enuff to plug in. From what everyone has said, my current TT brake wiring system clearly sucks.
I've always used the manual control when stopping. The van brakes, while in good shape, aren't all that strong (all drums). I like the trailer to pull back on the van, so I gently manually apply the brakes to help scrub off speed long before I need to stop. When you drive a flat front forward control van you drive way ahead of yourself and must ready to begin applying the brakes way before you think you might need em.
I have a 1985 Wilderness 3000CL TT, it is in very good condition, aluminum siding still shines, upholstery perfect, everything looks and works good, except the brakes.
I think it spent most of it's life sitting at an RV park near the ocean here in Western Washington as there is a lot of surface rust on the undercarriage, nothing serious. It seems to have been towed so little that it may be that the brakes are the original as well as are the bearings. Bearings are good and the shoes only half gone and drums are still good.
The brake springs and mechanisms on each wheel were rusted and stuck and therefore didn't work very well. Wires going to each wheel were in pretty bad shape and some not even connected.
I cleaned the mechanism off with brake cleaner and a brush, lubed the star wheels and got them to work like they should. Had to replace one of the magnets. Also fixed all the wires going to the magnets.
I've never been totally happy with the trailer brakes as they don't grab as much as they should. No way will they lock up. I can use the manual control (Prodigy) to slow things down but it takes a lot of pressure on the brake pedal to get everything stopped. I know that the manual control isn't supposed to be used to stop the whole rig, but on other TT's I've had, the manual control had a lot more effect. I like to manually engage the TT brakes first since the old van brakes aren't the best, but if I have to, a lot of foot pressure will bring everything to a pretty quick stop.
A couple of times on our last trip last week, the Prodigy briefly showed the trouble code "n.c." so the trailer brakes stopped working for a few seconds.
I should note that the tow vehicle is a 1965 Chevy Van with a 292 I6 engine. Been towing with it since 1988 and about a half dozen different trailers.. The trailer wiring from the Prodigy back is all new. When the brakes are applied the brake terminal (blue) registers 12v.
Today I jacked up the TT, hooked it up to the TV, took off all the wheels and gently applied the van brakes. All of the magnets were buzzing. When I rotated the right side brake drums there was some resistance and could hear the magnets contact the drums. However, on the left side, the wheel with the new magnet actually locked up and the rear wheel spun with no resistance or magnet contact (but the magnet was still buzzing). What's weird is that the trailer has always slowed down in a straight line and the brakes have never locked up.
The lever the magnet is connected to is real tight on the rear left side wheel, but the lever on the front one with the new magnet has a half inch of play before it begins expanding the shoes.
I've always done most brake and bearing work myself, but this one stumps me. Any ideas?
Look for the most level area of the camp site (near the pedestal).
Eyeball it from back and side, determine the number of inches to raise the lower side, select correct number of yellow plastic leveling blocks, double check by eyeball, crank it up or down using eyeball, go inside look to see if wands on the shades hang vertical (might try the bathroom door thing),crank down stabilizers, done.
I used to use level bubbles but they were too small to be accurate, plus are they mounted right? I have found that it's how the trailer "feels" when walking around inside that is the best way to level.
Yes, definitely bleach it. Water sitting a long time in the tank will go bad, taste funny and could cause illness (specially in hot weather). I pour my 1/4 cup of bleach down the hose, then stick the hose into the filler tube and turn it on, certainly mixes it well.
Using a front wheel drive vehicle for towing doesn't sound very safe to me. The tongue will weigh the rear down a bit taking traction away from the front drive wheels. Of course a WD hitch could resolve that problem. FWD's must have different reactions to TT sway or even cornering. Just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. While I love my Chevy HHR, just have never liked the way FWD's handle, pretty much all you can buy anymore, except for pickups and full size vans.
I have heard it saves a ton of money but do they allow it
Have you checked DMV rules in your home state for registration requirements? Noble idea, but the 'revenuers' in your state might definitely be offended!
I bought a used 5th wheel in California 5 years ago. Thought I could get a transit permit and temporary tag to tow it back to Florida where we live full time. Went to California DMV office with the owner to do the title transfer. Didn't happen. California DMV said NO! Left the office $2500 poorer after paying registration/tag, title fees, & 'use tax'!
Fortunately when we returned to Florida I showed the tag office folks the California paperwork and did not have to pay Florida Sales tax, only the registration fee.
Interesting, we bought a Class B Roadtrek in Irvine CA in 2005. We didn't have to pay CA fees and tax if we hired a driver to drive it to the Nevada border. We eventually licensed it in Washington.
TRANSMISSION COOLER! The transmission is the weak point in tow vehicles, so be sure your vehicle has an external cooler or get one installed BEFORE you tow, ask me how I know.
As for used TT's. We recently bought a pristine 22' 1985 Wilderness for $2200. best one we've ever had (have owned over a dozen new TT's since 1988). Like new inside and out. Every thing in it is made in the USA, so everything works good. I knew it had water damage (mainly in 3 of the corners and bathroom floor) before I bought it. It was relatively easy to fix, plus I love fixing things. So, check for water damage mainly in the corners where caulking can shrink. Jump around on the floor to see if there are any soft spots. Look for dark spots on the walls and inside of cabinets.
Next check the brakes and bearings. You'll need to remove a wheel to do this. In a used trailer, you'll probably have to adjust and/or fix parts of them including electrical. As the Wilderness had sat in an RV park for most of its like, it had the original brakes and bearings. They were stuck and wouldn't move. Sprayed lots of brake cleaner on them and now they work great, with the original shoes, springs and magnets. Some of the electrical connections were corroded so I did replace some wires.
Anyway, got to look over used TT's closely. If you know a good TT mechanic or someone who knows about vehicles, take them along. Good luck! (oh yea, be ready for lots of disappointments when you go look at a TT that looked really good on Craig's List, most of them don't match the photos. We found some dealers that really covered problems up).
I've been driving for 52 years and towing for half that. until recently I've never torqued lug nuts, but I do now since I finally bought a torque wrench (for other purposes). There are several very knowledgable people in this forum that maybe can answer a question. Should the threads on the studs be cleaned and/or sprayed with a lubricant-penetrating oil? (I use Aero-Kroil). In other words, do I screw lug nuts on dry or wet?
Low to the ground as possible for better aerodynamics;
Old enough to be pre-Chinese and all USA;
no leaking slidesWe're with you all the way! (Oh, accept ours is Canadian...) Let's just say all North American for that part...
Love those Awards, tried to find one once, didn't
As I tow with a short wheel base 1965 Chevy Van, I used to use two anti-sway bars, til I replaced the chain on my WD hitch with a square steel tube, bolted the upper end to the A-frame, drilled right thru the snap-up mount, then a bolt thru the U-bolt on the bars. I tighten the upper bolt thru the A-frame real tight for a lot of friction, so it acts like the expensive Equal-I-zer,Reese etc. anti sway hitches. Sooo simple, fee and easy. I finally figured out that all the anti sway hitches do is either eliminate the chain and/or severley restrict it from moving too much and too easy using friction. For safety sake, I do use one of the anti-sway bars, lightly tightened. Now instead of those skittery back and forth movements and of course big swaying from wind or semi's, it's rock solid back there. Works so good I should probably patent it.