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Old 10-14-2016, 07:32 PM   #1
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What Do You Do When The Wheels Fall Off?

That's metaphorically speaking, almost.

After just 3500km of a potentially 10k-15k km round trip, a tyre exploded. The flying rubber wrapped around the slide-out and electric brake wiring, ripping it out and pulling the still anchored end as tight as a wire walker's rope.

We were on a very busy highway (one lane each way only but 110km/hr speed limit), The Palace (Heritage Glen 28RL), only just fit between the white line on the road boundary and the crash barrier. The effected side was of course on the traffic side of the van. Jacking up the axles was not too hard but my wheel brace would not budge the wheel nuts. I strained, jumped on the bar, hit it with a rubber mallet, etc, but it wouldn't move.

Cars were screaming past us at the full limit, disregarding the warning signs I had placed about 100m on our approach. While laying on the ground barely under the van inspecting the damage, one car went so far as to veer from near the centre of the road, which is where he was rounding the curve towards us, to within about 4" of my head. He was having a great laugh as he zipped by.

We had called the RACQ roadside service who were due in about an hour. Thankfully, a construction company vehicle travelling in the opposite direction saw us and stopped. The guy checked out our problem, offered to help and then drive about a km down the road so he could turn around, came back and parked behind us with his emergency lights flashing. The oncoming traffic, cars & trucks of all sizes, now slowed down a little and veered towards the centre of the road, giving us a bit more room to work.

After using his break bar to loosen the wheel nuts, we then tried removing the wheel. No go, stuck with the tangle of rubber and wire holding solid.
So, he goes back to his pickup, starts a compressor, drags out an air line and proceeds to work with a grinder to cut through the rubber and wire to free the wheel. We also had to tie up and secure all the loose wire and bits of underbelly covering now flapping in the breeze under the van.

All this took about an hour or so. Just as we were finishing, with the spare now in place, the RACQ arrived. We had a giggle at that, he still needed his work sheet signed though.

The Good Samaritan would not accept any payment or gratuity for his help (beer/wine/water).

After having a good look and think about what happened, both the construction guy and the RACQ guy agreed that the tyres supplied with the van were simply not up to the job. The tyres were rated at 1100kg load, max pressure of 60psi. The van has a curbside tare of 4100kg and loaded, I estimated at 4500kg. That meant they were near their max load limit with just 100kg spare. This is how they are shipped to the customer.

The result of all this was, we had to abandon our intended route, turn around and drive about 80km east to Rockhampton, (slowly because the van now only had brakes on one side), buy not only 1 new tyre to replace the exploded one but in order to be safe, upgrade the whole set (5) to light truck rating. So we went from 15" to 16" rims, plus tyres with the same profile (225/75R)as the original but now rated at 80psi max pressure and a load rating of 1500kg, giving us heaps of headroom.

While the wiring was being repaired I investigated a few local tyre shops and came back with three different prices, starting at 'reasonable' dropping to fair and lastly 'really good'. At Jax Tyres, we got 5 new steel rims with tyres fitted for just $1320. A bargain I thought, considering all the other dealers were selling the same rim & tyre brands. I also purchased a break bar (about 500mm long) and a new hex socket (not one of those stupid 'star' sockets).

The lesson for us as new to 'big rig' travel is, if you intend to use the 'B' roads, (as we did/do for the better scenery), slow down. Travelling at 90km/hr is fine for highway driving (in Australia) but way too fast for the back roads. The hints to us should have been heeded, like the smashed light shade on the 'rigid' fittings that had shaken loose, the pantry door that fell off because the screws couldn't take the jiggling in the very soft wood used throughout the van, etc.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:58 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear you had trouble with your tires. I am glad you did not wreck and came out of the problem safely.
Sounds like you are good to go with the new tires and rims.
Happy camping.
Ps... Are Forest River products popular in Australia and readily available?
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:54 PM   #3
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The tire "experts" here will blame you for the ST tire blowing because it was probably not at proper pressure and tow vehicle was driven on wrong side of the road (left side) and warn you that LT tires are dangerous.

You'll love your LT tires and you'll probably never have a blowout again!
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:14 PM   #4
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I Got Sprung Too!

Tyres were the first issue, next came the undercarriage.

During one of the many chats I had with other vanners/drivers, one chap, who builds very large boats and their trailers, pointed out that the springs were starting to flatten out, after just 3 months of travel.

It seems that not only were the tyres below what should have been fitted but the spring set too. As a consequence I am about to have fitted and new-fangled system called a 'walking bar'. A great load sharing system that uses no springs but rubber buffers and can be built to carry up to 15 ton and guaranteed for 5 years. About half the cost of normal (heavier duty) leaf springs.

Check out the video at the bottom of this link page....
http://timbren.com/silent-ride
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchman12001 View Post
Sorry to hear you had trouble with your tires. I am glad you did not wreck and came out of the problem safely.
Sounds like you are good to go with the new tires and rims.
Happy camping.
Ps... Are Forest River products popular in Australia and readily available?
One importer brings in 15 a year, a chap in Warragul Victoria. I am sure there are a couple of others in the northern states that deal in them, but am aware of only one guy who deals in the Big mothers.

Like most dealers, he was pretty nice about everything, until I started calling about warranty issues. Now he just hangs up the phone on me.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:19 PM   #6
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Left is Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD View Post
The tire "experts" here will blame you for the ST tire blowing because it was probably not at proper pressure and tow vehicle was driven on wrong side of the road (left side) and warn you that LT tires are dangerous.

You'll love your LT tires and you'll probably never have a blowout again!
You have to remember that when you live on the bottom of the world, things will always seem backwards (to the weird folk in the northern hemisphere).
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:22 PM   #7
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Knowing and Towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchman12001 View Post
Sorry to hear you had trouble with your tires. I am glad you did not wreck and came out of the problem safely.
Sounds like you are good to go with the new tires and rims.
Happy camping.
Ps... Are Forest River products popular in Australia and readily available?
The big secret to not losing your van when major mishaps occur is 1: the stability of the van and 2: how big your tow vehicle is. being a 5th wheel van behind a Chev Silverado, the combo is exceptionally stable.
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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Just general info about blowouts, but it is best to actually accelerate in a blowout instead of braking which is the instinct. Speed up until control is achieved, and then slow down braking lightly until stopped under control.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:13 PM   #9
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I see you had tire minders did they not warn?
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:08 AM   #10
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I have had similar experience. Agree with Skyliner. IMHO 5000lb and 6000lb axle/suspension/tire/wheel systems such as yours should be illegal on any of today's fifth wheels. As posted in other forums individual wheels can be heavily loaded for many reasons (not neglegance) and then add the abuse from highway conditions and bingo you reach failure points on any of these components.
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