RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Fifth-Wheels: Near tragic event!!

RV Blog

  |  

RV Sales

  |  

Campgrounds

  |  

RV Parks

  |  

RV Club

  |  

RV Buyers Guide

  |  

Roadside Assistance

  |  

Extended Service Plan

  |  

RV Travel Assistance

  |  

RV Credit Card

  |  

RV Loans

Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Fifth-Wheels

Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Near tragic event!!

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 4  
Next
Sponsored By:
Likes to tow

Huntington WV

Senior Member

Joined: 01/13/2006

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 09/26/20 06:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not new at this. I have pulled boat trailers since I was 17 and Rv's for the past 16 years. I've owned 3 fifth wheels. My maintenance procedures are second to none in my opinion......up until last Sunday! I'm thorough on wheel bearing maintenance, tire pressure and brake adjustment. Never had a problem! Last Sunday after arriving at my campsite 90 miles from home I got all set up and plugged in. When I started up the steps to enter the camper my eyes were drawn to the most unbelievable site I have ever seen. I stood there looking at it for probably a full minute and could not believe what I saw.
My complete wheel was missing on the front axle!!!!!!!!!! Most of my 90 mile journey was Interstate and I did not notice anything different in towing nor did I hear any noise or vibration. All of the lug bolts were sheared off even with the surface on the drum, the dust cap was missing and obviously the axle was sagging down on that side.

Last August 2019 I performed my yearly maintenance in preparation for a trip West. All wheels removed one at a time, new grease seals, clean bearings and repack, clean and inspect brake shoes & adjust and check tire pressure. We drove 4500 miles through Colorado and New Mexico. In October we had a trip into southern Ky and late October we went to the Smoky Mts. Then this year 2020 in May we went to North Carolina/Virginia and lastly in July we went to the mountains of West Virginia. I'm thinking all these trips were near 5000 miles + of trailer towing. Flawless enjoyable towing and travel. Since we canceled our long range travel this year due to the out of control violence in our nation I had not done any maintenance in 2020 and the season is coming to an end for us until the we feel more secure traveling.

My advice to anyone pulling a trailer is this. Follow instructions on the torque specs on the lug nuts. I've never used a torque wrench on wheels and simply relied on tightening them really good. The only thing I can think of is this particular wheel was not tight and the many miles of travel just allowed them to loosen up, vibrating and shaking, then shearing off the studs. I also thought of the possibility of someone loosening the lug nuts. I hate to think of anyone doing this but in today's world it's hard to comprehend what we see going on everywhere. Had I failed to tighten the lug nuts in August 2019 how did I travel 5000+ miles with no problem?? I suppose it would take that long to begin to loosen up the nuts?? If this had been on a passenger vehicle you would feel the vibration or noise and stop to check it out. On a trailer you hear or feel nothing !!! I checked the other three wheels on my return yesterday using a torque wrench and all were between 90-110 pounds. I took one day to remove the brake drum and take it to a local tire shop where new studs were pressed into the wheel and put the spare on for my trip home. I did not come back on three wheels!!

One last observation. Last year I put 4 new Goodyear Endurance tires on and removed the China Bomb Westlakes. I truly believe that the single Endurance carrying the entire load for how ever many miles after this happened enabled me to arrive safely. The Westlake or any China bomb would have blown under the increased load it was temporarily carrying. The wheel could have come off in the first part of my 90 mile trip or toward the end, I have no idea.

CHECK LUG NUT TORQUE AS PART OF YOUR MAINTENANCE !! Even if you do not do any maintenance on your axles you can at least put a lug wrench on your wheels and check for tightness. Do it often. My procedure now will be after removing a wheel I will tighten to proper specs with a torque wrench......then check again after driving a few miles.

JKJavelin

Milwaukee, WI

Senior Member

Joined: 12/31/2016

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/26/20 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will get many opinions here, but I think the studs sheared from over tightening or, more probable, defective studs. You might want to replace all of the studs, and for sure, replace the other tire from that side. The remaining tire took the whole load from that side and may be compromised. I'm glad you avoided other damage.
JK


2018 Ram 3500 Laramie Cummins 6.7
2016 Open Range RF316RLS
Titan Disc Brakes
Trailair pinbox
Morryde SRE-4000 w/ wetbolt kit
Demco Hijacker Autoslide 18k
570 watts of Solar

2017- 21 Nights
2018- 75 Nights
2019- 138 Nights
2020- 72 Nights

BackOfThePack

Fort Worth

New Member

Joined: 08/03/2020

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/26/20 07:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Air pressure gauge & TQ Wrench EVERY MORNING.

Dedicated tools.
Not borrowed from other tool boxes.
This is their sole use.

(Second to none does not equal no TQ Wrench)

As a member of that same club, the above is correct: something else somewhere has some shortcuts in it. Dig em out.

Where’s the video of you coming down the steps? (Great description).


2004 555 CTD QC LB NV-5600
1990 35’ Silver Streak

Likes to tow

Huntington WV

Senior Member

Joined: 01/13/2006

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 09/26/20 07:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BackOfThePack wrote:

Air pressure gauge & TQ Wrench EVERY MORNING.

Dedicated tools.
Not borrowed from other tool boxes.
This is their sole use.

(Second to none does not equal no TQ Wrench)

As a member of that same club, the above is correct: something else somewhere has some shortcuts in it. Dig em out.

Where’s the video of you coming down the steps? (Great description).


If I had a video I could submit it to America's Funniest Home Videos on tv and win first place. The look on my face must have been comical. Nobody was in the area however.

Likes to tow

Huntington WV

Senior Member

Joined: 01/13/2006

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 09/26/20 07:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JKJavelin wrote:

You will get many opinions here, but I think the studs sheared from over tightening or, more probable, defective studs. You might want to replace all of the studs, and for sure, replace the other tire from that side. The remaining tire took the whole load from that side and may be compromised. I'm glad you avoided other damage.
JK


Now this raises a question.....defective studs?? I will check the others.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

Senior Member

Joined: 09/07/2010

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/26/20 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I learned at the ripe old age of 16 that a "4 way" lug wrench can put lug nuts on so tight that only that same oversized 4 way can take them off !

Lynnmor

Red Lion

Senior Member

Joined: 07/16/2011

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 09/26/20 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Put a real torque wrench on the other wheels and see just how tight you made them. My guess is over tightening is the issue. When you had the new tires installed, was there another party involved?





JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

Senior Member

Joined: 09/14/2003

View Profile



Posted: 09/26/20 07:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Welcome to the world of towing trailers. The biggest tragic event when loosing a wheel assy is if it goes through another vehicle wind shield and kills/injures someone. I've lost a wheel assy at nite and never knew it.
Loosing a wheel from sheared lugs or lost lugs or busted centers happens especially for those that make a living 365 days a year. Trailer wheels are subjected to lot of side stress issues a truck wheel never encounters every day. In the eleven years I was on the road I saw lots of wheel issues on my trailers and other O/Os. Most lost wheel issues were with aluminum wheels, probably for various reasons.

Some time back the trailer industry had issues with wrong material or wrong heat treating process issues with hub studs. I don't remember if it was a brand specific issue.
You might give your axle mfg a shout out for any input if your trailers axles might have come with those faulty studs. It might be a wise idea to change the others if your sure those lugs weren't severally over torqued.

* This post was edited 09/26/20 07:50am by JIMNLIN *


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 two slides

BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

Senior Member

Joined: 04/04/2005

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/26/20 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without using a torque wrench there are two possibilities. You over tightened them to the point of weakening the studs. And the strain eventually caused one or more to fail taking the rest with them. Or you did not tighten them properly, they worked loose, and the pounding of the loose wheel cause one or more to fail and take the rest with them.

Many people think if tight is good, then tighter is better, and stand on it is the best. Using a cheater bar is the ultimate. Not so. And inversely, not tight enough is not good either.

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

Senior Member

Joined: 12/12/2003

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/26/20 08:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's amazing what goes on back there on the trailer without any thumps, bumps, or vibration.

I lost a wheel on a loaded car trailer once. I was slowing down for a highway traffic light and the wheel passed me! My first thought was OMG, somebody lost a wheel until I looked at my trailer and realized it was me. The wheel went through a red light, right between 2 cars, did a lane change and passed a car before changing lanes again and running off into the ditch without hitting anything! Amazing and I was very lucky.
I felt absolutely nothing and the trailer felt normal.

I've had 3 very severely shredded trailer tires, again without feeling a thing. One of them totaled my TT with steel belt damage and I didn't notice until I saw smoke in my mirror. And it was a single axle 69 Prowler. Should have felt something with a single axle, but nope! I was towing with a dually. Didn't feel a thing.

So yeah, I can easily see how you never noticed the missing wheel.

TPMS is king! We should all have it.


2007 GMC 3500 dually ext. cab 4X4 LBZ
Dmax/Allison

2007 Pacific Coachworks Tango 306RLSS - 32'


Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 4  
Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Near tragic event!!
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Fifth-Wheels


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.