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Old 10-29-2007, 05:52 PM   #1
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Brake failure causing major damage?

I'd like your opinion on several issues here. I was towing my '86 Sovereign at 65 mph on a wet highway toward VA. All of a sudden I heard a loud "bang", let off the accelerator, looked in my driver's side mirror and saw pieces of tire hitting the highway behind me. I cruised to a gentle stop and got out to survey the damage, if any. I found a smoking wheelwell the smoke detector inside the trailer was going off. I detected burning rubber and noticed there were flames coming out behind the tire. I raced back to the truck, grabbed keys to the trailer where I pulled out a fire extinguisher. I sprayed into the wheelwell and then ran to the curbside where I spotted a red hot brake drum which was flaming. I finished that extinguisher and reached for a second which I only used 1/3 of before the flames settled down. I pulled the hubcap and found the lugbolts very hot. I backed the trailer up onto some 2X8's and as each lugbolt hit the wet pavement after being unscrewed, they sizzled. I threw the wheel/tire into the back of the truck and continued for 40 miles driving on the side of the interstate.

I located an RV sales/repair dealer and when they removed the drum they found only on little bearing out of the inner bearing set, a magnet that was shedding it's wires, parts of brake shoes, a broken spring and a chunk of the brake drum which housed the seal and inner bearing set gone. They think the spring broke (it was inspected last year) causing the shoes to rub on the drum which got so hot it boiled the grease out of the bearings. The resultant heat increased tire pressure until my Marathon C rated tire blew. A chunk of tire cracked the entire fender well and went on to destroy the inner fender well. No metal damage since this was a front streetside tire.

My question is, will insurance cover any of this?
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
I'd like your opinion on several issues here. I was towing my '86 Sovereign at 65 mph on a wet highway toward VA. All of a sudden I heard a loud "bang", let off the accelerator, looked in my driver's side mirror and saw pieces of tire hitting the highway behind me. I cruised to a gentle stop and got out to survey the damage, if any. I found a smoking wheelwell the smoke detector inside the trailer was going off. I detected burning rubber and noticed there were flames coming out behind the tire. I raced back to the truck, grabbed keys to the trailer where I pulled out a fire extinguisher. I sprayed into the wheelwell and then ran to the curbside where I spotted a red hot brake drum which was flaming. I finished that extinguisher and reached for a second which I only used 1/3 of before the flames settled down. I pulled the hubcap and found the lugbolts very hot. I backed the trailer up onto some 2X8's and as each lugbolt hit the wet pavement after being unscrewed, they sizzled. I threw the wheel/tire into the back of the truck and continued for 40 miles driving on the side of the interstate.

I located an RV sales/repair dealer and when they removed the drum they found only on little bearing out of the inner bearing set, a magnet that was shedding it's wires, parts of brake shoes, a broken spring and a chunk of the brake drum which housed the seal and inner bearing set gone. They think the spring broke (it was inspected last year) causing the shoes to rub on the drum which got so hot it boiled the grease out of the bearings. The resultant heat increased tire pressure until my Marathon C rated tire blew. A chunk of tire cracked the entire fender well and went on to destroy the inner fender well. No metal damage since this was a front streetside tire.

My question is, will insurance cover any of this?
Time to read the fine print on your policy. I'd say it was mechanical failure. If this happened to my car, my insurance propably would not cover it. It wasn't an accident, by how you described what happened. But, to be sure, call your agent...
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:16 PM   #3
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In 2002, a friend of mine was going home from the VAC rally in Santa Maria and experienced the dreaded Caravel axle spindle snap. This also caused some body damage. The damage was covered by his insurance, there is hope.

Bill
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
I'd like your opinion on several issues here. I was towing my '86 Sovereign at 65 mph on a wet highway toward VA. All of a sudden I heard a loud "bang", let off the accelerator, looked in my driver's side mirror and saw pieces of tire hitting the highway behind me. I cruised to a gentle stop and got out to survey the damage, if any. I found a smoking wheelwell the smoke detector inside the trailer was going off. I detected burning rubber and noticed there were flames coming out behind the tire. I raced back to the truck, grabbed keys to the trailer where I pulled out a fire extinguisher. I sprayed into the wheelwell and then ran to the curbside where I spotted a red hot brake drum which was flaming. I finished that extinguisher and reached for a second which I only used 1/3 of before the flames settled down. I pulled the hubcap and found the lugbolts very hot. I backed the trailer up onto some 2X8's and as each lugbolt hit the wet pavement after being unscrewed, they sizzled. I threw the wheel/tire into the back of the truck and continued for 40 miles driving on the side of the interstate.

I located an RV sales/repair dealer and when they removed the drum they found only on little bearing out of the inner bearing set, a magnet that was shedding it's wires, parts of brake shoes, a broken spring and a chunk of the brake drum which housed the seal and inner bearing set gone. They think the spring broke (it was inspected last year) causing the shoes to rub on the drum which got so hot it boiled the grease out of the bearings. The resultant heat increased tire pressure until my Marathon C rated tire blew. A chunk of tire cracked the entire fender well and went on to destroy the inner fender well. No metal damage since this was a front streetside tire.

My question is, will insurance cover any of this?
Craig.

Your insurance policy should excluded the "cause" of the loss, and pay for the resultant damages.

Andy
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Craig.

Your insurance policy should excluded the "cause" of the loss, and pay for the resultant damages.

Andy
Thanks Andy,
I was thinking I would have to pay for the backing plate, new drum, bearings and probably tire in addition to my deductible but the labor and repairs to the fenderwells are more than I could handle at this time. Any idea what the cost R & R both fenderwells including labor would be?

By the way Andy, Greg was very helpful when I called Inland RV about a source for the Dexter drum. The drum was ordered from a N.C. source sometime after lunch and it arrived from N.C. around lunch the next day.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
Thanks Andy,
I was thinking I would have to pay for the backing plate, new drum, bearings and probably tire in addition to my deductible but the labor and repairs to the fenderwells are more than I could handle at this time. Any idea what the cost R & R both fenderwells including labor would be?

By the way Andy, Greg was very helpful when I called Inland RV about a source for the Dexter drum. The drum was ordered from a N.C. source sometime after lunch and it arrived from N.C. around lunch the next day.
Craig.

All the parts in a electric baking plate, will stay in place, by design.

BUT......

What started the sequence of damage to your trailer, "AND" should be the only part that is disallowed by your insurance company, is the "brake adjuster spring."

By sequence, the spring breaks. The very next time you back up, however slight, the adjuster falls out. Then the adjuster will float within the drum, as soon as you pull forward, quickly destroying the shoes. When the shoes go, the drum starts to overheat. When the drum starts to overheat, the grease thins and it kicked out. Now the bearings are running hot, and will quickly fail. When one or both of the bearings fail, then the tire will start to wobble. When the tire starts to wobble, it will overheat, and blow and/or catch on fire. When the tire blows, anything can happen from little to no damage to the trailer, to a loss of control accident that could include a roll over.

I have preached for years, to replace the adjuster springs every 10 years.

Why, you might ask?

Electric brake adjuster springs are very "famous" for breaking. Doing a PM on them every ten years, is a very cheap investment, like $11.00 for 4 adjuster springs, or less.

In your specific case, look at the grief you would have avoided.

Again, the "instant cause" of a loss, is all that an insurance company can deny. In your specific case, the insurance adjuster will probably want to deny everything except damage to the trailer. DON'T LET THEM DO IT.

Craig, there is another part that more than likely is also damaged, based on your description of what happened.

When bearings get hot enough to self destruct, that usually results in an overheated spindle on the axle.

I would strongly suggest that you clean that spindle very well, and look for "ANY" discoloration. If there is a discoloration, then I would rate the spindle as being unsafe, since it will, in time, more than likely, fatigue crack.

Now, the next thing, is if that spindle is bad, you must replace the axle. If you replace one axle, because of the age of your Airstream, you must replace all the axles, since the new one will carry more load than it is supposed to, therefore it will quickly also fail, along with causing a sway, since the loading of the axles will be different.

Considering the above, now your adjuster will really scratch his head. DO NOT BACK OFF. If he says no to the axles, then make them give you a "guarantee" in writing, that you will not have an axle failure in the future, that could be related to your current loss. They can't do that, therefore they will have to change the axles for you. Backing plates no, but axles yes.

Another problem you will have is you cannot change a backing plate on one side, without doing the same thing to the other side of the trailer. If you only replace one, combined with the other ones that have been in service for a while, you will have a brake pull everytime to apply your brakes. That pull cannot be properly eliminated until you replace the backing plate on the other side of the axle.

I don't know the floor plan of your Airstream. But to properly replace the inner and outer wheel well covers, usually involves removal of some furniture.
Scabbing in new wheel wells will only cause more problems at a later date, and then you would be stuck, again.

When removing some of the furniture becomes necessary, the labor times will substancially increase to perhaps as much as 24 to 30 hours, just to R & R the furniture.

Ball park, if your trailer will be repaired as it should be, the bottom line of the estimate could be $5000.00 to $6000.00, or possibly more upon close inspection.

If you do your homework, properly, you should make out just fine.

If you have any other questions about this loss, call me.

Andy
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:20 PM   #7
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Craig, man you and tire blow-outs. This is two for two trailers.

Do you have comprehensive insurance. If so, I would think the insurance would cover any damage caused to the trailer. They probably won't cover the cause of the damage claiming deferred maintenance as the cause, but the rest should be covered. Where that stops, will probably be the limits of your patience. Good luck, and from what Andy describes it sounds like you may be in for a trip to Jackson Center.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:29 PM   #8
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Craig, man you and tire blow-outs. This is two for two trailers.
Actually this is blowout #3. I had one coming from AZ. to TN. with the '77 Excella, one with a one year old Carlisle D rated tire and #3 with this Marathon. I can't fault the tire because it would have been fine if the other problems had not occurred. See the tire and backing plate below.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:43 AM   #9
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hey folks,

i know there has been a bit of discussion lately about how often to remove the hubs for grease and inspection.

i think this thread pretty much puts that debate to rest.

i had a broken brake spring on a 2 year old wells cargo 20 foot enclosed car hauler that basically did the same thing, except i caught it in time!

pull those hubs once a year or every 10,000 miles!

john

craig, i am gonna sticky this thread so it stays near the top. i wish you good luck and success on your repairs.

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Old 10-31-2007, 07:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
hey folks,

i know there has been a bit of discussion lately about how often to remove the hubs for grease and inspection.

i think this thread pretty much puts that debate to rest.

i had a broken brake spring on a 2 year old wells cargo 20 foot enclosed car hauler that basically did the same thing, except i caught it in time!

pull those hubs once a year or every 10,000 miles!

john

craig, i am gonna sticky this thread so it stays near the top. i wish you good luck and success on your repairs.

john
Well said John and thanks!
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:27 AM   #11
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Craig, I am sorry for the damage to your AS and I do hope the Ins. Co. will help on your behalf.
Andy, Thanks for the enlightenment on this subject.
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:53 PM   #12
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Craig, I am sorry for the damage to your AS and I do hope the Ins. Co. will help on your behalf.
Andy, Thanks for the enlightenment on this subject.
Thanks Silverhobby for the support. I really like the trailer and it hurts to see what happened. The 3 solar panels I added to the top of the trailer have been rock solid with no indication of mounts working loose on the trailer roof. I have been pleased with over 1,600 miles traveled since the panel install. I'm really happy about that.
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Old 11-02-2007, 04:24 PM   #13
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First factory estimate is in and is based solely on pictures. Final extimate will depend on what they find once the drum is off and they get in there: $1,885
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