Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

More Adventure!

Hmmm, think some tire dressing would help?

Hmmm, think some tire dressing would help? Note the rubber marks on the body and the broken-off piece of fender.

Well, the inevitable happened. I was going to post about what I saw at the Overland expo next and ignore the return trip, but here you go. Travelling up I-25 north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I stopped at a rest area to hit the potty and check the Defiant’s wheel bearing and tire temperatures. Everything was stellar. Not ten miles farther on, I felt some weirdly bumpy pavement and while I was wondering what the deal was, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the trailer was no longer level side to side. Glancing out the right side mirror, bits of tire debris were spewing out of the trailer’s wheel well. That’s rarely good.

This happened immediately past the exit for greater metropolitan Wagon Mound, New Mexico, and I pulled off onto the end of the entrance ramp just beyond. Not much of that tire left, I can tell you. I checked for fire (which I have seen once before years ago), but everything looked benign.


Badge of honor. And a warning of sorts.


That’s when I found that my 2-ton hydraulic jack could not fit under the dropped axle, since without the tire it was just too low to the ground. I managed to raise it some by putting the jack under what’s called the equalizer bar, but it was not enough. I put wood under the axle where it was, and considered my options. I could attempt heroics by jacking up the frame, but doubted I could get enough lift. Besides, nearly half of a 7,000 trailer leaning over toward the side of the road is a bit much to ask of a 4,000-pound rated jack, and its frame was flexing as it was. So after due consideration of options, time of day and probable success rate, I called Coach-Net, my mishap road insurance outfit.

That wasn’t too painful, except the part where I had to dig through the overstuffed glovebox to find the trailer’s VIN# on my registration. A guy came all the way out from somewhere civilized in a car, and we got the wood back out from under the axle so that he could use his gizmo, a tall plastic ramp called Trailer-Aid. He stuck that in front of the good tire and had me ease forward. Up the trailer went, and the “bad” axle behind it raised enough to get his bigger hydraulic jack under it. From that point on, it was easy-peasy. Dang, I gots to get me one of them things somewheres!

During the waiting time, I’d taken most of it to horse the spare tire from 30 pounds pressure up to 65 with my crappy 12V air pump. On the spare went in a couple of minutes, while the service guy told me that he’d been teaching repair at his local community college but had to quit because the mindless bureaucracy was driving him nutzoid. The final insult was that although he’d taught there for four years, he had to come in and prove residency in order to pick up his last paycheck. Brother.

He had driven past the same semi-truck shredded tires I had on his way up, and opined that I must have suffered a puncture since the rest stop. Running the fully-loaded tire on decreasing pressure must have overheated it and caused it to blow. Apart from installing pricey pressure sensors, there’s no practical way to know when your tire is going flat on a trailer like this once it’s rolling. But that’s just the best guess, and you can bet I’m keeping an eye on the remaining three Duro tires.

I do not love the thought of running sans spare, so he told me that my best bet for finding one would be to head on up the 63 miles to Raton. That I did, and arrived at 4:55 PM. That shop had one in my size and load rating, and they’ve allowed me to overnight beside the building. First thing tomorrow, I’ll be back on my way. As I’m still an hour short of my planned stop, it will be a long drive tomorrow, but a safer one. I don’t have my hopes up, but I may hit at least the one little RV parts place in town to look for a ramp before I hit the Interstate again!

Overnighting at the tire shop, and it's fer "free!"

Overnighting at the tire shop, and it’s fer “free!”

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12 thoughts on “More Adventure!

  1. Hey Doug, you coming up my way? I am in the Denver metro area – if you are around on Saturday we should have a little Evelo comparo.

    • Dang! I’ll be in Brush City tomorrow (Friday) evening (east of Denver), and barreling further east on Saturday to arrive in Illinois June 1. I’m not sure yet what my route back will be, and it should be less on-schedule, so we may be able to snicker at each other’s Aurora e-bikes yet.

  2. PamP on said:

    Ah – you have my sympathy – I’ve been there too! Mine happened as I pulled my ‘new to me’ used Coachman home from the original owner. Good ol’ AAA came to my rescue.

  3. Andy on said:

    Hi Doug, You should check this out. It has saved my butt a few times in what could have been some nasty incidents.
    This one I have has both temperature and pressure alerts – most of the time it is the temp alert that indicates a nasty blow out on the way.

    They also show that Trailer Aid item:

  4. Linda Sand on said:

    Thank heaven for Coach Net! What would we travelers do without them? Glad there was no more damage done.

    • We’d have permanent rest homes beside the Interstate, is what! A flat with a previous owner hammered an inner fender liner pretty good, so this isn’t the trailer’s first tire mishap. Just shows to go ya that upping the weight class rating, topping out the pressure and never exceeding 60 MPH may eliminate overstress blowouts, but there’s little defense against a random puncture.

  5. Roger on said:

    Glad all worked out well. Those things can really do some damage. It pays to be vigilant. I shudder every time someone towing a 5’er passes me clocking around 70-75. Happens alot as you know.

    • Thanks Roger, and you bet it does! I got spooked last year on my return trip after passing three trailers with popped tires, two of which had blown past me earlier at the speed limit. Few seem to know that all RVs are inherently close to their tire load rating 100% of the time, that the majority will have at least one tire over its limit due to how the thing is set and loaded up, and that the load rating for all tires on all travel trailers etc is at 60 MPH at maximum pressure. They can and do certainly go faster, but their weight capacity at higher speeds radically decreases due to heat. So if your tire is already close to the max it can carry, those speed vs capacity lines cross pretty quickly, and the tire reacts to the speed-induced overload. And you don’t need a big ol’ 5’er to do it, either – one of those RVs on the side of the road was a little Casita. I’ve bumped my tires from C to D-rated for a little more margin, and they were at excellent temperature when checked shortly before, so that’s where the puncture theory comes in.

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