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Old 09-20-2014, 11:02 AM   #1
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Jim Lee's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Excella
Springfield , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 325
Images: 125
Blow out on Route 66 west of Peach Springs AZ

My wife and I have been on the road since July 13 in our 1978 31' Sovereign.

Before we left the home base of Springfield MO, my nephew and I installed new axles, hub to hub, wheel balancers and 5 new tires.....MasterTrack.

Now, this is not a tale of woe about MasterTrack trailer tires, I purchased them from the same dealer when I have purchased my truck and trailer tires for years and I am very satisfied with them (Purcell Tire).

No, this tale is about something I DIDN'T do that cost me a new tire.

When nephew George and I installed the new tires, I put on the hubcaps, got the trailer all shiny and off the wife and I went.

In Green River, Utah, on a Sunday morning, about the third week of July, I pulled the trailer into an abandoned gas station parking lot to photograph some old Autocar truck tractors. As I was walking back to the Suburban I heard a hissing noise coming from the axle area of the trailer.

One of the hubcaps had shifted and 'torn' the valve stem enough to cause the tire to lose pressure. Luckily, there was a tire shop at a Pilot fuel stop maybe 1/4 mile away and, for $20 on a hot Utah Sunday morning, the trailer was jacked up, the tire removed, fixed and replaced and we were on our merry Airstream way.

I posted this story on Facebook and a friend replied:

"Sometimes that is an indication of an electric wheel brake locking up. The wheel is spinning at 70mph, you touch the brakes, if it is loaded light or forward, or the torson adjustment is off, all the weight is on the front axle, the brake grabs and the wheel stops instantly for a fraction of a second, then reaccelerates, but there is momentum in the hubcap and it will twist just a little bit. Or it was just a really old valve stem. Or both. The hubcap moving used to be a problem on certain 70s era higher end GM cars, like some of the Cadillacs, with these huge hubcaps that sometimes weighed seven or eight pounds. Sometimes when you did a panic stop by stabbing the brake pedal and locking up all four tires instantly, you would screech to a stop, and then a minute later you would start to pull away and all four tires would be flat."

After I changed the tire on the side of the road, I took all the hubcaps off. When we arrived at the camp in Williams AZ, I took a screw driver and 'adjusted' all the clips on the back side of the caps. They were much harder to re-install, but I am pretty confident I'll have no more problems.

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Old 09-20-2014, 11:04 AM   #2
4 Rivet Member
Jim Lee's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
1984 31' Excella
Springfield , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 325
Images: 125

I can never seem to post images

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Old 09-28-2014, 08:06 AM   #3
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r carl's Avatar
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Lin , Ne
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,375
Another reason to use metal valve stems.
The higher your expectations the fewer your options.
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