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Old 09-08-2021, 11:44 AM   #1
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Weird tire wear - axle problem?

So last year, I returned from a road trip with bizarre wearing just on the outer shoulders of my tires on one side only. After much back and forth with the shop, I ended up taking it to a trailer alignment shop and getting a new set of Goodyear tires. It was very expensive.



A year later, maybe 5000 miles on these new tires, and now just one, the left front has wear on the shoulder. I took it back to the shop. I think there is something wrong with the axles. I shouldn't have to be aligning it every 5k miles AND replacing expensive tires.


Shop doesn't seem to know what is happening, and they've been going back and forth with Lippert on this. Personally, I'm a little concerned and getting ready to purchase a new camper. After this experience, not sure it will be a Forest River. Any ideas as to what could be causing this?
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:58 AM   #2
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Excessive wear on the outside shoulder of the tire would indicate too much positive camber. If this is the case, the alignment shop should be able to figure it out.
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:14 PM   #3
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I had this happen on the right side of my 5th wheel when I was westbound on I-80 in Wyoming. I was fighting a sidewind for a long ways and by the time I got turned southbound for Colorado it had scrubbed the trade really bad. After that and all the way back to Arizona everything was normal.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:21 PM   #4
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Excessive wear on the outside shoulder of the tire would indicate too much positive camber. If this is the case, the alignment shop should be able to figure it out.
I get this, and the alignment shop made similar comments. They said the alignment was off significantly, which caused the initial wear. What I am saying is that is it reasonable to expect the alignment to be off (again) after so few miles? Should I expect to perform an alignment and get a new set of tires every couple of years, essentially 1 big trip and many little trips?


If that's the case, I need to rethink this trailer thing.
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WeLikeCamping View Post
I get this, and the alignment shop made similar comments. They said the alignment was off significantly, which caused the initial wear. What I am saying is that is it reasonable to expect the alignment to be off (again) after so few miles? Should I expect to perform an alignment and get a new set of tires every couple of years, essentially 1 big trip and many little trips?


If that's the case, I need to rethink this trailer thing.
Did the shop actually align the axle? Or did they just tell you it was out?

A sound and properly aligned axle shouldn't wear tires unless it was damaged again.

FWIW, edge wear can be caused by BOTH camber and toe. One, the other, or both at the same time.

Alignment shops with modern equipment can show printouts of before and after alignment readings. Older shops using outdated equipment only TELL you it's OK after they perform the work.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:56 AM   #6
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No, it's not reasonable nor expected to have to realign trailer axles frequently, unless you did something to knock that side out of whack. I'm a bit surprised the trailer alignment shop can't fix the issue, unless they truly think the Lippert axle is bad and are trying to get compensation. Is it possible the trailer is overloaded on one side? Also, you might want to go to a different alignment shop; they're usually billed as truck spring shops.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:36 AM   #7
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As mentioned, the need for alignment of axles every year or XXX miles isn't something normally done as routine maintenance. Now... if you hit some big pot holes or slammed a curb, then all bets are off on what you might need.

A 'good' axle shop should quickly be able to tell you if the axle is in need of alignment.
5000 miles seems like a short amount of time for excessive tire wear on an axle that was supposedly in alignment. Maybe it wasn't and maybe that's why they seem to be squirming now? The shop saying they don't seem to know what is happening is suspicious. Have they checked alignment again?

One last thing... you mentioned now only the LF seems to be having issues. I'm not accusing you of anything but the leading axle is always the axle that takes the brunt of hitting something whether it be a pot hole or a curb or even just something laying on the road.

Also, the manufacturers are making these R/Vs to the bare minimum specs like never before to save money. The days of having axles, springs, tires and frames with substantial cushioning before damage seems to be no more. One pot hole and tires are blown, axles are bent, springs are busted and frames wrecked. We see more and more of these kinds of threads than ever before.
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Old 09-09-2021, 11:20 AM   #8
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The FR dealer/shop hasn't got a clue about alignment and I don't trust them to fix it. I took the trailer to an alignment specialist, who did a "laser" alignment, and gave a printout with all the before/after numbers. I thought I was good at that point, and seemed that way for the first couple of hundred miles. While on my latest trip, around 2K miles is when I noticed the wear returning.



It's quite possible that I hit something with the front left - and that was my thought too, but I'm pretty careful about rolling over curbs and rocks and whatnot, and I'm always checking the tires. It's a toyhauler - and I use it like a toyhauler.



This - "Also, the manufacturers are making these R/Vs to the bare minimum specs like never before to save money. The days of having axles, springs, tires and frames with substantial cushioning before damage seems to be no more. One pot hole and tires are blown, axles are bent, springs are busted and frames wrecked. We see more and more of these kinds of threads than ever before."


Maybe I shouldn't be taking my trailer off road, but I'm not a campground camper. ;-)
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:03 PM   #9
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I had a similar issue a couple of years back on my new to me RV, bent axles. Not being able to fix or replace the axles myself I turned to Hecht Trailer in Toms River NJ. After some back and fourth I decided to go up one size to 3.5 inch I think. Wear problem is fixed, tires wear is perfect and I am a happy camper.
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:24 PM   #10
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Weird Tire Wear

I am having the same problem. I assumed it was from backing into our storage unit and our driveway. I always back in from the left and always see the tire marks on the road and warehouse driveway.
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:11 PM   #11
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I have a 26' bumper pull. Have you ever had to make a very sharp turn and during this sharp turn you had to get out of the truck (may be to see where you're backing or pulling in to refuel) and your two tires on each side of the camper are like really torqued in different directions?? It makes my think this cant be good for the alignment. Could this be screwing up cheap axles??
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Old 09-09-2021, 03:09 PM   #12
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Happened to me a few years ago. Inside of only one tire on one axle scrubbed down to the cord in less than a thousand miles. When I looked underneath, I was able to see the axle curved downward instead of up, as they do normally. Why only the tire on one side wore so badly I can't explain.
I did find evidence that I had hit something - the wheel had a dent, but whenever it happened, it didn't go flat. A new axle was "only" less than $1,000 installed, and Did solve my problem. I have been told that a commercial trailer repair shop can straighten a bent axle, but I never pursued that course.

Your alignment problem might be from a different cause, but a bent axle is something to consider..
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Old 09-09-2021, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:

Also, the manufacturers are making these R/Vs to the bare minimum specs like never before to save money. The days of having axles, springs, tires and frames with substantial cushioning before damage seems to be no more. One pot hole and tires are blown, axles are bent, springs are busted and frames wrecked. We see more and more of these kinds of threads than ever before.
Mfr's have always tried to save money. The big issue today is saving weight. More and more want trailers that can be towed by SUV's and 1/2 ton pickups.

Add to that the higher speeds on highways and deteriorating roads with bigger potholes.

You don't have to hit curbs or big objects in the roads, there are enough other hazards in the road surfaces themselves.
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Old 09-14-2021, 01:09 PM   #14
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Circling back on this, I just heard from the shop. Apparently BOTH axles are bad. This is one case where I'm glad I purchased the extended warranty - that expires next week. Got the claim in today to replace both axles.


I imagine they won't be replacing the tire that is bald on the shoulder - but maybe I can make that my spare. I hope this fixes the problem.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:42 PM   #15
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Does your trailer have torsion axles? If so, that is your problem.
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Old 09-14-2021, 07:50 PM   #16
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Does your trailer have torsion axles? If so, that is your problem.
Where's your proof torsion axles are inferior?
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Old 09-15-2021, 05:12 PM   #17
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Does your trailer have torsion axles? If so, that is your problem.
No.
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Old 09-20-2021, 06:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by WeLikeCamping View Post
So last year, I returned from a road trip with bizarre wearing just on the outer shoulders of my tires on one side only. After much back and forth with the shop, I ended up taking it to a trailer alignment shop and getting a new set of Goodyear tires. It was very expensive.
A year later, maybe 5000 miles on these new tires, and now just one, the left front has wear on the shoulder. I took it back to the shop. I think there is something wrong with the axles. I shouldn't have to be aligning it every 5k miles AND replacing expensive tires.
Shop doesn't seem to know what is happening, and they've been going back and forth with Lippert on this. Personally, I'm a little concerned and getting ready to purchase a new camper. After this experience, not sure it will be a Forest River. Any ideas as to what could be causing this?

Having data would help us give informed answer, otherwise just a bunch of guessing.
1. What are the Spec numbers? Toe, Camber and Cross Toe (different names but the alignment of the two axles relative to each other)
2. What were the measurements BEFORE adjustment?
3. What were the numbers AFTER adjustment?
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Old 09-20-2021, 06:49 PM   #19
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If you jacked up the wheels using the axle that would cause this problem
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackrock View Post
I had this happen on the right side of my 5th wheel when I was westbound on I-80 in Wyoming. I was fighting a sidewind for a long ways and by the time I got turned southbound for Colorado it had scrubbed the trade really bad. After that and all the way back to Arizona everything was normal.
I just experienced the same thing westbound on US 2 in Montana. Fought a stiff crosswind from the south the entire way and the left rear tire was worn to the wear bars on the inside. But not the left front. Put the spare on and drove another 1500 miles without a crosswind, got a headwind instead (7MPG) and tire is wearing normal.
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