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Old 12-16-2007, 04:16 AM   #1
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1998 34' Limited
ont , Ontario
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getting to the dealership to repair a brake problem


We bought our first airstream in May of this year. It is a 1998 34 ft classic ltd. After having it winterized in October at an airstream dealership we towed it to a storage facility.

While driving we noticed a squeal coming from the trailer that started a few minutes after leaving the dealership. It got progressively louder and we pulled over to check things but since we are new to owning trailers we couldn't tell what was wrong. We had picked up the trailer from the dealer at closing time so we decided to continue to the storage area since we were about equal distance between the two, and we arrived with no trouble just a loud squeal.

Then while the husband was towing I noticed that the front left wheel was locking up and skidding. I don't think it locked in reverse. We stored the trailer and intended to return the following week to troubleshoot -the dealer told us to jack it up and if the wheel spins, it's the wheel bearings, if it sticks, it's the brakes.

Then we had a baby unexpectedly early , and only now are we able to think about the airstream again. We aren't going to try to repair ourselves, just want advice on getting it back to the dealer in spring for repairs. Is there anything special to know about taking one wheel off and towing in that condition? We don't want to risk doing further damage so we came here to start learning from this great resource!

Thank you for any advice.

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Old 12-16-2007, 05:18 AM   #2
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1984 34' Excella
Farmington , New Mexico
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Congratulations on the new baby and the "new" Airstream. On the 34' triple axle you can remove the wheel from the axle and drive to the dealership for your repairs with only two wheels on the ground. Just do it carefully and slower than normal. I am assuming yours is built like my 1984 34'. Airstream axles do not sag without the wheel on. For extra security you can throw a change around the axle and frame but it is not really necessary.

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Old 12-16-2007, 06:19 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I agree. You can remove the left front wheel, and drive carefully back to the dealer. We have a tandem axle 25' that we once drove 50 miles on a single wheel on one side after our second blowout of the day.

It is usually best not to jack an Airstream. Lay out some boards or plastic levelers and back the left rear wheels on them. They need to be of sufficient height to get the front wheel off the gtound. Then remove the problem wheel.

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Old 12-16-2007, 06:33 AM   #4
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Hi, and congratulations on the new addition to your family (the baby, not the Airstream). Now, about your trailer's problem. Hook up the trailer to the tow vehicle, loosen (but don't remove) the lug nuts on the affected wheel. Back the trailer onto 2-3 2x6 boards, enough to let that tire hang free. Remove the wheel, and put it in the tow vehicle. Pull the trailer down off the boards, and tow the trailer at reduced speed (no more than 45-50mph) back to the dealer. Remember to give them the wheel and lug nuts so they can reinstall it.
If you haven't had it done lately, it would be a good idea to have the brakes checked, and all the bearings repacked at that time. This should be done annually.
Good luck with it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:37 AM   #5
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1998 34' Limited
ont , Ontario
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thanks everyone, it seems pretty straightforward. will check brakes and get wheelbearings re-packed since we don't know when that was last done.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:05 AM   #6
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ont , Ontario
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All fixed now, here is what was wrong - on the wheel in question the brake adjuster was broken and ground to pieces. On another wheel the grease seal was blown apart.

We didn't end up taking the wheel off - when we picked up the trailer, we drove a little and the wheel wasn't locking up or squealing. So we thought the brake had been stuck and was somehow now unstuck. We drove slowly to the dealership and about halfway there the squeal returned. We slowed down even more and kept going. In hindsight I think we should have take the wheel off anyway, opinions welcome.

Went for a test run this past weekend and everything is great, all new brake shoes, repacked bearings and a new adjuster on the one wheel.

One other problem though haha, I'll start a new thread!
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:23 AM   #7
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IMHO, i would have replaced all the small hardware one each wheel that are just as old as the failed parts
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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1998 34' Limited
ont , Ontario
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I asked the technician about that and he said everything else "looked fine" but I think you are right Ricky. Should have done it!! It might be a good thing for us to try to do ourselves this summer - we want to learn but it takes courage to dive in and do it yourself!

{edited to add: don't know if the PO's replaced any of the other parts, in defence of the tech's reply}

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