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Old 05-11-2015, 07:30 AM   #1
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Putting the travel back in the trailer, questions about tires & running gear...

My nephew bought a dual axle 27' model year 2004 TT in 2007. I pulled it up to the family cottage at the lake for him and he has used it as his small family's weekend getaway and personal sleeping quarters at the lake house for the last 7 summers. The TT has not moved since I parked it there.

When my nephew bought the TT, it had a full set of essentially new Goodyear Marathons on it, which still have only a few hundred miles on them. The tires have been covered the whole time at the lake, and are sitting directly on sandy soil. Now my nephew would like to start camping at campgrounds with us. I am going up there this weekend to take a look at it and see if we can get him rolling safely.

I will inflate the tires and give them an inspection before attempting to pull it anywhere. Are the tires necessarily going to require replacement just because they have sat idle on the ground (although inflated) for essentially 7-8 years? What should I look for in inspecting the tires?

We will also lube the hubs, which I recall are Dexter EZ lube axles. Any advice as to what should I look for there?

I'd appreciate any other running gear inspection hints or suggestions anyone may have to guide our inspections and maintenance as we prep the TT.

Thanks.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:37 AM   #2
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Me being me and knowing how oriented I am towards preventing any issue out on the road if at all possible, and this is just my opinion so others are entitled to give theirs in contradiction to mine by all means, I would replace the tires and pull the hubs down and inspect, clean and repack the bearings, replace the wheel seals, etc...

Just the way i am and the way I have learned to do things. Every time I try and save time or money on the short end I end up costing myself time and money in the long run, not to mention ruining a good time of traveling or camping.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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Thanks, Ashley. I appreciate people who are great at repairs and maintenance, but my own abilities are somewhat limited. For now, they are talking about trying one trip out to a state park campground (about 80 miles round trip), just to see if they like it with their two young children. I am hoping to get them rolling with a reasonable effort to make sure things are safe and roadworthy. I am no mechanic, and basic maintenance is about the extent of my competency. Are you saying the Marathons would necessarily be bad after sitting for 7-8 years? It was in very solid working/running condition when we parked it, and the guy who sold it to my nephew was very good at maintenance. As for the work you prescribe behind the tires (pulling the hubs, etc.), do you (or anyone else here) have any idea about what that level of service would cost if we decided to take it in to a dealer? Are you aware of instructionals on those steps to either on FRF or elsewhere on line?
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern View Post
Thanks, Ashley. I appreciate people who are great at repairs and maintenance, but my own abilities are somewhat limited. For now, they are talking about trying one trip out to a state park campground (about 80 miles round trip), just to see if they like it with their two young children. I am hoping to get them rolling with a reasonable effort to make sure things are safe and roadworthy. I am no mechanic, and basic maintenance is about the extent of my competency. Are you saying the Marathons would necessarily be bad after sitting for 7-8 years? It was in very solid working/running condition when we parked it, and the guy who sold it to my nephew was very good at maintenance. As for the work you prescribe behind the tires (pulling the hubs, etc.), do you (or anyone else here) have any idea about what that level of service would cost if we decided to take it in to a dealer? Are you aware of instructionals on those steps to either on FRF or elsewhere on line?
YouTube is a great source of "HOW TO" for DIY,sure enough you will find lots of usefull videos there.
Good luck !
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern View Post
Thanks, Ashley. I appreciate people who are great at repairs and maintenance, but my own abilities are somewhat limited. For now, they are talking about trying one trip out to a state park campground (about 80 miles round trip), just to see if they like it with their two young children. I am hoping to get them rolling with a reasonable effort to make sure things are safe and roadworthy. I am no mechanic, and basic maintenance is about the extent of my competency. Are you saying the Marathons would necessarily be bad after sitting for 7-8 years? It was in very solid working/running condition when we parked it, and the guy who sold it to my nephew was very good at maintenance. As for the work you prescribe behind the tires (pulling the hubs, etc.), do you (or anyone else here) have any idea about what that level of service would cost if we decided to take it in to a dealer? Are you aware of instructionals on those steps to either on FRF or elsewhere on line?
If they are just doing the test run you described then you may fair just fine airing the tires up and pumping some grease in the bearings. You will really want to scrutinize the tires for weather cracking even though they have been covered. I have witnessed a number of times over the years, spare tires that have never been on the road or exposed to direct sunlight separate while hanging in a rack under a vehcile, trailer, etc... I have even had a spare tire I kept inside my car hauler separate simply due to age I guess. It was never outside, never used on the ground, brand new by all rights, just peeled apart. And yes, it was a Goodyear Marathon that was about seven or eight years old.

As far as bearing service, I do all that myself, but believe most shops are gonna hit you for anywhere from an hour to two hours labor for clean and repack or replacing bearings and races. All about the same labor whether repacking or replacing. So, depending on their labor rate it would vary, but the cost would far outweigh having a bearing go out and damage a spindle, hub, etc...

If they decide to do more than the eighty mile test trip, I would still stand by my original post for sure and just replace the tires and service the bearings to have the peace of mind. Again, that is just my opinion though.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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Thanks, Black, I'll give YouTube a go. And thanks, Ashley. Good advice, for sure. If pulling the hubs on a TT is not much more complicated than on my old Coleman Utah PUP, then maybe I'll even give that a shot, time permitting, before this first trip.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:08 AM   #7
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Vern, really go over those tires. Check for cracks between the treads. Check the sidewalls too. While you're at it, check over the electric brakes and wiring. Made sure the brakes aren't frozen (rusted) up.

As for the bearings, I'd definitely add some grease, don't go crazy or you'll blow out the seals. If it was me, I'd wait to repack the bearings until the TT can sit at the shop for a week or so. Besides, there may be other items in need of repair.

One more suggestion, since it hasn't been moved for a while, I would tow it without the family on board the TV. Instead, have them follow behind in a "chase vehicle" and watch for trouble. After you get some confidence, then they can travel together.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:20 AM   #8
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Thanks, RPAspey. Makes sense. I'll go over the tires very closely. We will change them out if we see anything suspicious. I was thinking actually planning on riding with him when he tows it the first time and having his wife and kids follow, so that confirms that for me.

Thinking about the brakes has me wondering about something else. My own TT is in its 4th season now, and gets used regularly and is always plugged in at home, so I'm thinking of things differently with my nephew's situation. Here's another question I've never addressed. Their use for the past 7 years has not involved any concern for the 12V system. If I find the 12V battery on the camper is dead, will the electric brakes still work? (Aside from that potential, they would not really need the 12V for this one outing, since the State park we would stay would have electricity.)
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
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You should be able to determine the 12v system as far as tail lights, brakes, brake lights, clearance lights as soon as you plug into the tow vehicle. You can and should verify the brakes as soon as you are hitched by manually engaging them and try pulling forward. You should feel the brakes working within less than a foot of travel.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:32 AM   #10
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Thanks, OC. I understand you to be saying the 12V system can be tested out using the connection to the tow vehicle. Time for a stupid question, though. What you mean by "manually engaging" the brakes is just by using the TV brake pedal, right?
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