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Old 03-18-2007, 06:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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uneven tire wear on the trailer

I've got a wood deck 18ft flatbed that I use to pull my Toy. In the last 6 years the heaviest its ever pulled is a Scout II, normally pulls my rig which weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000 lbs. I replaced two of the cheapie tires that were on it, and those are fine. I didn't replace the other two in question because the tread on them was still good. Last time out I noticed the inner tread blocks on one of the tires is worn down a LOT more than the rest of the tread. I figured bearing, someone mentioned bent axle but can definately say it hasn't been overloaded.
I took a quick look tonight, and I noticed not just the inner tread, but really goofy almost wavy tread wear on these two tires. The back, newer two still look brand new. I'm thinking these tires were just not heavy enough for the load? They are "C" I think(haven't checked in a while) light truck tires. Also what leads me to think this is the sidewalls are a little wavy, like broken belts.

Any thoughts? They are the front two tires on my triailer. I suppose I am replacing the tires anyhow and checking bearings...
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Old 03-18-2007, 06:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by J Kimmel View Post
I've got a wood deck 18ft flatbed that I use to pull my Toy. In the last 6 years the heaviest its ever pulled is a Scout II, normally pulls my rig which weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000 lbs. I replaced two of the cheapie tires that were on it, and those are fine. I didn't replace the other two in question because the tread on them was still good. Last time out I noticed the inner tread blocks on one of the tires is worn down a LOT more than the rest of the tread. I figured bearing, someone mentioned bent axle but can definately say it hasn't been overloaded.
I took a quick look tonight, and I noticed not just the inner tread, but really goofy almost wavy tread wear on these two tires. The back, newer two still look brand new. I'm thinking these tires were just not heavy enough for the load? They are "C" I think(haven't checked in a while) light truck tires. Also what leads me to think this is the sidewalls are a little wavy, like broken belts.

Any thoughts? They are the front two tires on my triailer. I suppose I am replacing the tires anyhow and checking bearings...
If the axles are not bent, then I would suspect tires. Many of the trailer tires are now made in China. Some just will not wear evenly.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"C" rated tires are used a lot on lighter duty trailers. As long as you know your weight (use a scale, not your eyeball) and stay within the load rating they should work fine. Wavy tread wear on the inside edge leads me to suspect alignment problems. Get that checked before you destroy the good tires that you are about to buy. Check the bushings and bolts that hold the springs too.

The axle could be bent even if the trailer has never been overloaded. Bouncing over a curb or dropping a wheel into a storm drain can bend an axle even when only 1/2 loaded. The fact that you have sidewall bulges that suggest broken belts further supports this as a possibility. Running the trailer toungue too high can also cause tire wear problems. The deck should be within an inch or two of level while rolling down the road. I've actually seen a truck with 6" of lift and 35" tires pulling a car hauler on the BUMPER BALL . The front trailer tires didn't even touch the ground

If the alignment and level check turns out OK, go ahead and spend the money for good tires. The sweetness of low price never outlasts the bitterness of poor quality!

Last edited by AERONUTT; 03-18-2007 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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hmmm...never thought about alignment. How does a trailer get out of alignment? And better yet, how does one re-align a trailer?

One more, is there a way to check if the axle is bent? Its been a while since I've looked but I think they're the kind that bend upward when unloaded?
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Old 03-18-2007, 08:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You can do a rough check yourself with a tape measure by going point-to-point between the tires on the front and rear axle then comparing that to the same measurement on the opposite side. You can also use a frame reference point such as the front corner of the trailer.

Have a buddy help from the other side of the trailer and measure tow in/out by going outside edge to outside edge on the front and rear of each axle.

Or just take it to an alignment shop and have them put the laser on it.

Bent axles COULD be unbent, but just buy a new one. If you want to try unbending an axle you can use the shrinking effect of a weld bead to warp the tube one way or the other. I don't recommend this method, but I've seen it work.
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Old 03-18-2007, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The proper way to check for axle alignment.

measure from the same spot on each spring mounting tab/bracket to the center of the hitch.

It doesn't matter what shape the frame is in, what does matter is that the axles are aligned to the trailer ball.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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thanks guys, your method makes sense Travis. I'll check the alignment and bearings and go from there!
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