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Trailer maintenance

Discussion in 'Towing & Hauling' started by ColoradoTJ, May 7, 2020.

  1. May 7, 2020 at 10:24 AM
    #1
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] O'Keefe Music Foundation Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    19,984
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    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    GMC 3500
    This thread is for buying/maintaining all trailers:

    -Travel Trailers/campers
    -Flatbed
    -Enclosed
    -Wood Deck/Metal deck
    -Boat

    We all buy trailers for work, play, or both. Regardless of size, build quality they will need continued maintenance. Depending on geographical location, some trailers will need more attention than others (salt, wet, snow, high heat, water for boat trailers).

    What do we need to do? Great question and hopefully this thread can teach us all new ideas and best practices.

    Brand new trailers:

    - When ordering/looking for a trailer, really sit down and think about the options you want and need. Adding them later can be difficult. Things to consider would be:

    1) Size. This right here has been my own personal nemesis. The tow vehicle often can dictate this decision. In the past 15 years, I have owned 4 flatbed trailers alone (7K, 10K, 14K, 14K). All these were due to size requirements for the most part...except the 7K. That one just fell apart.

    2) Capacity. This is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. Is this for personal use only, business, or both? Local laws should be researched and understood. Local DOT and Highway Patrol can point you in the right direction. There is nothing worse than getting pulled into a DOT checkpoint and getting the book thrown at you. This can add up to thousands in fines.
    Remember, not all states require both braking axles, so be cognizant when buying a trailer and ensure you are buying what’s needed.

    3) Use. What is the best trailer for your needs? (Majority of the time)

    4) Configuration. Tie down points, width, drive over fenders, removable fenders, adjustable coupler (size), wood or steel deck, ramp(s), lights (go LED, you’re welcome).

    5) Construction. What’s the difference in 4” C channel vs 5/6” C channel? Enclosed trailer siding thickness .024/.030/.040? I’m sure we have all seen the enclosed trailers that siding looks like a piece of aluminum foil that’s been crumpled up and attempted to make smooth again. Thickness matters.

    - Never assume everything is 100% completed.

    - Inspect very closely (welds, paint, wood decking, wiring, lights work, etc).

    - Read owners manual. Find out the options your specific trailer has and maintenance suggestions.

    - Take a grease gun when picking up the trailer for the first time (if the spindles have zirks). Put a couple good pumps in each. Most quality trailers have bearing buddy spindles and self adjusting brakes.

    -Warranties. Understand what you have, and get the best one you can afford.

    When you get home with the trailer:

    - Treat the deck. Trailer deck maintenance often gets forgotten. This is my new trailer, 2017 model that was never used or treated. Deck it not in good shape.

    IMG_0216.jpg

    Used trailers:

    What to look for is important. Here are some suggestions that might help later on.

    1) Overall condition. If the trailer looks like it wasn’t taken care of cosmetically, it most likely wasn’t mechanically.

    2) Decking. This can be a real pain to replace, and expensive. Regardless if you plan to do this yourself, it’s still expensive.

    Trust me, this sucks.

    2B4DC4AA-233E-4368-A908-0D480839F1A5.jpg

    3) Frame rust and weld condition. Research the manufacturer build quality. Not all trailer manufacturers are created equal, and in most cases you get what you pay for.

    4) Axles. This is a big one, especially with 3200 lb axles. Lots of times, these are purchased with the best of intentions, but often are overloaded. This is even a bigger issue when the trailer is a single axle. Look how bent the spindles/axle is? I followed this Tundra towing at 75 mph.

    40FF377A-FE35-458A-9EBD-8167C77B568A.jpg

    This trailer most likely eats tires.

    Axles in good condition should have an arch in them like this:D5C48555-C4AF-460A-BB85-C8079B15947E.jpg

    When was the last brake shoe replacement? Bearings repacked? Receipts? If not, I would pull a hub to inspect. The seller might not want to do this, but if they want a sale and have done due diligence with maintenance there’s nothing to worry about. Look to see what new replacement bearing hub/brake assemblies cost x 4. Hubs, bearings, brake assemblies on my trailer are 205-250.00 each.

    Inspect the bearing cap, and rubber grommet. Tire shops beat these up a lot, but the grommets are very important. If you see cracks in the rubber, you can assume water got inside the hub.

    72FF59F7-1066-4686-AD42-599685998731.jpg

    Good sealed up bearings with 15k miles on grease.

    F7205BC9-1D7F-4893-91B1-29BD66373F8D.jpg

    Seal was cracked, water was obviously inside hub and bearings/races replaced. This trailer is 3 years old with only 600 miles on it. Luckily I brought a grease gun and pumped some good bearing grease inside to make the trip home (600 miles away).

    E931260D-7222-4823-B6FC-D38706F8384C.jpg

    5) Coupler. Is it in good working condition? Grease inside or ran dry?

    6) Jack. Accidents happen and jacks are left down. Is the jack in good operating condition? Bolted on or welded? Replacement costs? Some jacks are 300.00 and then you need to cut the damaged one off, and weld a new one on. Then you have paint/Powder coating to deal with.

    7) D-Rings, stake pockets, tie down mounts in good condition?

    8) Safety chains. Have they been drug on the ground? Safety clips still work?

    9) Tires. There will be a lot of opinions about trailer tires. Some people I know that tow huge RV's never let their tires get 3 years old. Good rule of thumb is 3-6 years old. Personally, my flatbeds never last over 5. On the RV, every 3 years due to what is located right above the tires (refrigerator, hot water heater) and can cost thousands in repairs.
    Speed ratings. Buy the tires that have the best speed rating. My RV has ST tires that are rated to 75 mph and the flatbed has tires rated to 81 mph.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
    TXTundra2722, AZTundra, nixon and 7 others like this.
  2. May 7, 2020 at 11:20 AM
    #2
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] O'Keefe Music Foundation Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    19,984
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    GMC 3500
    Opened for comments/suggestions. This is just a start, so share your experiences.

    Personally, I would like to learn more about boat trailers and enclosed trailers. I may be owning some of those in the future.
     
    Tundyfundy likes this.
  3. May 7, 2020 at 11:23 AM
    #3
    Tundyfundy

    Tundyfundy Petunia The Tundra, and her sidekick Colbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Member:
    #7567
    Messages:
    1,897
    Gender:
    Male
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    Magnetic Grey DC SR5 4x4 2016
    SUSPENSION: Bilstein 6112 coilover (1.9") w/ Powder Coated Springs and Spring Perch (TRD Red), JBA Upper Control Arms, Bilstein 5160's w/Billet Aluminium Reservoir Brackets, +3 Coachbuilder Shackles, Diff Drop Kit, Carrier Bearing Drop Kit, Brakeline Extensions, ABS Extension, Poly Bushings for Leafs, Coachbuilder Shims (2 Each Side), Coachbuilder Bumpstop Extensions, TRD Rear Sway Bar, TRD Front Sway Bar, Air Lift 5000 airbags w jounce bumpers. WHEELS AND TIRES: BF Goodrich KO2's 275/70/r18, BORA wheel spacers 1.25", TRD Wheel Caps,TRD Valve Stem Caps, Spare Tire Lock PERFORMANCE: Bullydog GT Tuner(Performance Tune), TRD Intake, TRD Dual Exhaust (with Modified Exhaust Hangers for Levelling Tail Pipe),TRD Brake Pads, TRD Oil Cap (US), TRD Radiator Cap, TRD Oil Filter, Optima Yellow Top Battery,GP Battery Distribution Blocks PROTECTION: PNP Engineering Type 4 Rock Sliders (With Full Dimple Plate) ,ADD Stealth Fighter Rear Bumper w Red/Blk Shackles and Custom Stomp Pad, TRD Skid Plate with ReadyLift Spacer Kit, Victory 4x4 LCA Skid Plates INTERIOR: Husky Liners X-Act (Front and Full Coverage Rear and Front Weather Beater Trans Hump), Interior LED Bulbs, WheelSkins Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover(EuroPerf), Clazzio Genuine Leather Seat Covers(BLK/DRK GRYwith custom stitching and embroidered headrests), Clazzio Seat Heaters (Front and Rear), Entune Startup Screen MOD, Entune Off Screen Mod, Tinted Windows with Windshield Visor, AJT Key Fobs,Eagle Claws Floor Mat Clips, Bodyglove Visor Organizer,Custom Door Cup Inserts, Glass Break Sensor. EXTERIOR: Full Debadge, LED Brake Light Bulbs, LED Rear Turns, LED Reverse, LED Plate Lights, LED Cargo Lights, LED Third Brake Lights, LED Front Marker Lights, LED Fog Light Bulbs, Lamin-X Fog Light Covers (Amber),2018 OEM LED Headlights, iHacker harness, VLED Universal Puddle Lights, VLED Interior Footwell Lighting (Front and Rear),VLED Extreme Amber Fornt Turns, NSV Knight Rider Light bar, Baja Designs Sport Squadron Rear Bumper (Driving/wide), Painted Red Tow-hooks, Bed Rail System, Blind Spot Mirrors, Hitch-safe, Tail-gate lock, EAG Raptor Grille, Custom Grille Badge,Full Vinyl Wrap (Matte Black/Matte Pine Green Mettalic) SOUND: Noico 80Mil Sound Deadening and Noico 170 Mil Thermal Insulation (All 4 Doors, Roof, Floors, Rear Panel, Dash). Hertz Uno K170's Component Speakers (Front Doors with Upgraded Sail Panels), Hertz Uno K170 Coaxial Speakers (Rear Doors), JBL C1-075ct Tweeters (Total 4) in Side Dash and Center Speaker, JBL Stadium 5 Amp w/Remote Bass Adjustment Knob and Amp Rack, 12" Infinity Reference Subwoofer in Custom Enclosure w/ “TUNDRA” Logo, Fast Rings Foam Speaker Rings System(4 Doors), Fix 86 DSP
    I re-packed my bearings and adjusted my trailer brakes. It’s an RV so it also has other maintanence points such as replacing heater anode, oiling slides, ouling blades for tank emptying and rolling on a new rubber roof. Also there’s paint chipping at the trailer tongue so I’ll sand and repaint soon to prevent rust. Also make sure to check you suspension for leaks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  4. May 7, 2020 at 11:24 AM
    #4
    Tundyfundy

    Tundyfundy Petunia The Tundra, and her sidekick Colbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Member:
    #7567
    Messages:
    1,897
    Gender:
    Male
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    Magnetic Grey DC SR5 4x4 2016
    SUSPENSION: Bilstein 6112 coilover (1.9") w/ Powder Coated Springs and Spring Perch (TRD Red), JBA Upper Control Arms, Bilstein 5160's w/Billet Aluminium Reservoir Brackets, +3 Coachbuilder Shackles, Diff Drop Kit, Carrier Bearing Drop Kit, Brakeline Extensions, ABS Extension, Poly Bushings for Leafs, Coachbuilder Shims (2 Each Side), Coachbuilder Bumpstop Extensions, TRD Rear Sway Bar, TRD Front Sway Bar, Air Lift 5000 airbags w jounce bumpers. WHEELS AND TIRES: BF Goodrich KO2's 275/70/r18, BORA wheel spacers 1.25", TRD Wheel Caps,TRD Valve Stem Caps, Spare Tire Lock PERFORMANCE: Bullydog GT Tuner(Performance Tune), TRD Intake, TRD Dual Exhaust (with Modified Exhaust Hangers for Levelling Tail Pipe),TRD Brake Pads, TRD Oil Cap (US), TRD Radiator Cap, TRD Oil Filter, Optima Yellow Top Battery,GP Battery Distribution Blocks PROTECTION: PNP Engineering Type 4 Rock Sliders (With Full Dimple Plate) ,ADD Stealth Fighter Rear Bumper w Red/Blk Shackles and Custom Stomp Pad, TRD Skid Plate with ReadyLift Spacer Kit, Victory 4x4 LCA Skid Plates INTERIOR: Husky Liners X-Act (Front and Full Coverage Rear and Front Weather Beater Trans Hump), Interior LED Bulbs, WheelSkins Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover(EuroPerf), Clazzio Genuine Leather Seat Covers(BLK/DRK GRYwith custom stitching and embroidered headrests), Clazzio Seat Heaters (Front and Rear), Entune Startup Screen MOD, Entune Off Screen Mod, Tinted Windows with Windshield Visor, AJT Key Fobs,Eagle Claws Floor Mat Clips, Bodyglove Visor Organizer,Custom Door Cup Inserts, Glass Break Sensor. EXTERIOR: Full Debadge, LED Brake Light Bulbs, LED Rear Turns, LED Reverse, LED Plate Lights, LED Cargo Lights, LED Third Brake Lights, LED Front Marker Lights, LED Fog Light Bulbs, Lamin-X Fog Light Covers (Amber),2018 OEM LED Headlights, iHacker harness, VLED Universal Puddle Lights, VLED Interior Footwell Lighting (Front and Rear),VLED Extreme Amber Fornt Turns, NSV Knight Rider Light bar, Baja Designs Sport Squadron Rear Bumper (Driving/wide), Painted Red Tow-hooks, Bed Rail System, Blind Spot Mirrors, Hitch-safe, Tail-gate lock, EAG Raptor Grille, Custom Grille Badge,Full Vinyl Wrap (Matte Black/Matte Pine Green Mettalic) SOUND: Noico 80Mil Sound Deadening and Noico 170 Mil Thermal Insulation (All 4 Doors, Roof, Floors, Rear Panel, Dash). Hertz Uno K170's Component Speakers (Front Doors with Upgraded Sail Panels), Hertz Uno K170 Coaxial Speakers (Rear Doors), JBL C1-075ct Tweeters (Total 4) in Side Dash and Center Speaker, JBL Stadium 5 Amp w/Remote Bass Adjustment Knob and Amp Rack, 12" Infinity Reference Subwoofer in Custom Enclosure w/ “TUNDRA” Logo, Fast Rings Foam Speaker Rings System(4 Doors), Fix 86 DSP
    Also don’t forget about the module and cable that locks the brakes of the trailer runs away. Leaving your chain down is very dangerous as if it snags it will pop the lock on the brakes.
     
  5. Jun 2, 2020 at 9:42 PM
    #5
    Silver4x4trd

    Silver4x4trd New Member

    Joined:
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    77
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    Male
    Vehicle:
    2017 silver TRD 4x4
    Jba long tube headers, dirty deeds TRD replacement exhaust (2x24 mild), TRD rear sway bar, TRD reusable air filter, PnP type 4 sliders monster lined, pnp full set skid plates(not installed)
    Thanks, after reading this it pushed me to replace my boat trailer tires. I upgraded to Goodyear endurance load D 8 Piles had 6 piles before. Two of the old tires were manufactured in 2010!!! :anonymous:
     
    Tundyfundy likes this.
  6. Jun 29, 2020 at 9:26 PM
    #6
    Jpneely

    Jpneely New Member

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    Just replaced the trailer lights and the coupler on the in-laws boat trailer. next thing on my list is the bearings and leaf springs. apparently these have never had the covers on them. they still seem pretty solid to me. no wiggle or noise. gets dunked in saltwater pretty regularly. i grease them up a few times a year or before moving her any real distance (20+miles). the boat ramp is only 2 miles from the house so we dont put many miles on her normally.on her normally.
    hub.jpg
     
  7. Jun 29, 2020 at 9:36 PM
    #7
    AZTundra

    AZTundra No Longer a New Member

    Joined:
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    First Name:
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    Phoenix, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2017 White Crewmax Limited 5.7 FFV
    TRD Goodies (Pro Suspension, Pro Grille, Exhaust, CAI, Rear Sway Bar, Oil Cap). Weather Tech Floormats, BakFlip MX4, Spray In Bedliner, AMP Research Bed Extender and Bed Step, Side Steps, B&W Adjustable Drop Hitch, AJT Designs Battery Hold Down.
    Excellent write up and great advice. :thumbsup:
     
    ColoradoTJ [OP] likes this.

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