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Old 09-06-2006, 08:18 AM   #1
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Question Things to check prior to towing a trailer which has not moved in 4 years!

Hi all. Thinking about purchasing a trailer (mid-90s Excella) which has not been moved in 4 years. It has basically been sitting partially on jacks and partially on its own four tires. Prior to moving this trailer (I was going to tow it to the gas station to put air in the tires ~6miles) what should I do/check for to assure a safe 8+ hour tow back home? Should I get a compressor and fill the tires where it sits and then move it?
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Old 09-06-2006, 08:53 AM   #2
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Yes, you should make sure the tires are up to the correct towing pressure because a soft tire will heat up and can fall apart. Also if they have been sitting that long they may have dry rot so it's better to find out while the trailer is sitting rather then on the road. Also you need to check the brakes and the lights.

Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:54 AM   #3
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Streamer1 -
I'd bring along a compressor. If the tires have been sitting for years, tire pressure will be very low. I'd pump up the tires, then tow to town and buy new tires (many suggest replacing tires every 5 years, whether used for towing or not, when a trailer will be on the road.) Be sure to have the wheel bearings inspected and re-packed at the same time. Then start for home.
I recently bought a much older trailer ('59) and I have a 3-4 day tow trip coming up. I'm bringing a loaded-for-bear tool kit, rope/bungee cords/duct tape/quick ties, soldering gun, rivet gun, grease gun, floor jack and jack stands, . . . I can carry a lot in the back end of my pick up - I'd err on the side of bringing too much, and try to be ready for surprises.
Some good advice given to me: make sure the door, all windows, and roof vents are securely closed before you reach highway speeds.
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:03 AM   #4
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Good points! I shall heed your advice. Anybody else have things to consider?
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:41 AM   #5
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Have a method to change a flat tire; lug wrench, jack, boards to raise one wheel, wheel chocks.
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:39 AM   #6
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I just brought mine home, it was sitting 5 years.

I bought 4 new ST tires at 65lbs

Pulled all brake drums inspected and repacked bearings.

check clean harness, then check lites brakes etc.

Drove 200 miles no problems
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:46 AM   #7
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towing

If at all possible Have somebody near the tires while the trailer is being pullled out to listen for clicking or other noise that may mean trouble for on the road. Also if a brake hangs up pay close attention when going to the gas station for overheating it may mean your magnet is rusted to the rim or a spring on the shoes broke. ussually from sitting the shoe material becomes loose. If it pulls right out and no real noises then you will probably be OK.
AAA has towing ins roadside assitance or tow truck service for less than $100.00. Hope this helps ( just walk next to the trailer dont get to close while it is moving)
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamer1
Hi all. Thinking about purchasing a trailer (mid-90s Excella) which has not been moved in 4 years. It has basically been sitting partially on jacks and partially on its own four tires. Prior to moving this trailer (I was going to tow it to the gas station to put air in the tires ~6miles) what should I do/check for to assure a safe 8+ hour tow back home? Should I get a compressor and fill the tires where it sits and then move it?

Check out the axles.

A torsion axle can go bead simply by not exercising the rubber rods.
i
If they are bad, the trailer will bottom out when hitting bumps, which can result in damage to many parts of the trailer.

If they are damaged, do not tow over 50 mph or so.

To check them out, go to,

http://www.inlandrv.com/articles/dur...axle-92001.htm

Andy
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:15 PM   #9
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Streamer1, the hitch height on your tow vehicle needs to match the hitch height on the trailer so that the trailer tows level, and the electrical connection on the umbilical cord needs to match the connector on the rear of the tow vehicle. (Take a multi-meter for fault-finding this, and any non-functioning rear lights and indicators). A load distribution hitch may be required, and, of course, to state the obvious, the tow vehicle needs to be adequate.
My apologies if this is all too obvious.
Nick.
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:24 PM   #10
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Wow. Great insight. Thanks everybody!
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:07 PM   #11
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When it says the ball height is 19" is that to the top---middle of the ball?
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:18 PM   #12
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I measure to the top.
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:02 PM   #13
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Streamer 1

I just bought a coach that had been sitting for about 7 years. It was not my first trailer, so even before seeing it, I had planned on buying new tires. I got five goodyear marathons (it has a spare) fron tie rack ($82 each) and had them shipped to my home. I carried them with me to the trailer about 400 miles away. I had called ahead and found a nearby Wal Mart that would mount, balance, new valve stem and disposal for about $12 per tire. I'm not driving on old tires with that much weight in the mountains with my children in the car.

When I arrived, the frame was solid but the brakes did not work. I had arranged to bring the trailer to a nearby RV service center. The service manager rewired my ubilical cord to a 7 pole flat, got the brakes working as well as the brake, backup and running lights. I had already installed the Prodigy brake controller that was a plug and play deal in my 2005 GMC pick-up.

The tow home was taken very slow (50-55 mph) as the axles were 10 degrees above the frame. I had no problems and do not regret spending the money up front for safety.

These are not requirements but anything less could pose a real threat to yourself, your family and others on the road. Good luck and let us know how it goes. I'm always available to answer questions. I feel that you should drive like your life depends on it.

Joe
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Old 09-07-2006, 11:11 AM   #14
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Thanks Joe.
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:22 PM   #15
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Take some Fix-A-Flat

I recently moved mine that had set at least two years. The pressure was low but thought I could make it to the station. It didn't happen. I poped a seal with-in two feet. While it was getting fixed I put a can of Fix-a-Flat in each of the other tires. It got me home(less than 10 miles). I also had two vehicles loaded with tools.

Good Luck

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Old 09-15-2006, 11:31 AM   #16
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You might want to take some spare light bulbs in case the brake turn lights don't work.

Bungee cords and duct tape for issues that you have not considered.

And move any loose items inside to the floor. Hey if it could fall it might. Unless it's already on the floor.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 09-16-2006, 05:21 AM   #17
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Sounds like I need to think along the lines of Mcgyver (sp?)!
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:58 AM   #18
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And not least - ensure the entry door will not pop open from worn striker or plate, loose hardware, etc.. I can't begin to imagine a project trailers problems amplified on day-one by door damage.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:11 AM   #19
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Streamer1,

To some degree that is true. And as posted above I have seen pics of the door coming open and breaking off the hinge. Unfortunately the door opens up with the opening facing the on coming wind. The force usually takes the door off the trailer.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:19 PM   #20
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I would be interested in hearing about your final experience with towing-I am moving a 1957 Overlander that has been sitting for about 12 years, 50 miles or so. Thanks! Sue
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