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RV Log Page # 0013
Thursday February 25, 2010
The day has finally arrived! It was like trying to sleep in a Christmas morning when I was a kid.
We left right on schedule (9:00 AM) to avoid the morning rush hour traffic going south to Portland on I-205. We figured that even with a stop for a late breakfast we should be in Florence by 2:00 PM, at the latest.
The weather was great for traveling and we were making good time, even though I was planning on driving at 55-60 mph for the best fuel economy.
We stopped at the exit that goes to Oregon State University that has one of our favorite eateries and, usually, plenty of parking. We had to get our shoehorn out to get parked, but we made it.
After eating I checked the rig - tires, etc. - and we were on our way again. We exited at Eugene, OR to Beltline Rd. West and Oregon State Route 126 West to Florence.
We were about 5 miles west of Eugene when a guy passed us and motioned frantically that we should pull over. I started decelerating from about 45 mph and when I reached about 20 mph I saw a tire pass us and land in the ditch across the road from us! It WAS our tire! Once I got stopped as far off the road as I could I ventured out to see what had happened.
When I got back to the trailer I could see that on the middle (of three) axle on the driver's side most of the lug nut studs had sheared off and the two or three that were still there were messed up. The guy that had alerted us to the problem suggested a Les Schwab Tire store in Eugene, but we decided that we had better alert the dealer in Florence, where we bought the trailer, to what had happened as we were under warrenty.
Lori, at Country Roads RV, got right on it and contacted emergency road service that, in fact, contacted Les Schwab, who sent out a service vehicle to assist us.
While waiting, I decided to try to get the wheel back on in order to get to a better (safer) place for the service guy to do his thing. I got my bottle jack out and some 4"X6" lumber blocks and then crawled under the trailer to try to jack up the axle. I did manage to get the axle up off the ground and high enough so that the wheel would go on. Problem was that the remaining studs were in terrible shape. Anyway ... I did get the wheel back on - sort of. Most of the inserts (alloy wheels) for the studs were gone and a new wheel would have to be aquired.
With the wheel - sort of - reattached, I was able to pull ahead about 300 yards to where the shoulder widened out quite a bit.
After about 20 minutes to service guy showed up and started to ascertain to extent of the damage. He jacked the axle back up, and when he did, he noticed that the front wheel was loose. He got another jack and raised the front one and then removed the wheel. Upon inspection, it looked almost as bad as the middle brake hub assembly.
He said that he couldn't repair it on site and we would have to get it back to their shop, about 8 miles away, back in Eugene.
We decided to use our spare and put it on the middle axle that had two 'good' studs left. Then the front wheel was tightened back up as well as could be done. He had brough a bunch of lug nuts with him and he used them as taps to try to straighten the threads back up on the studs. He got three of them pretty snug, so we decided to limp back into town, with him following with his flashers on.
Everything was going smoothly when, about 5 blocks from the shop, the front wheel let go (at about 15 mph) and headed into oncoming traffic. It hit 2 cars on their bumpers (no damage). The serviceman picked up all of the pieces and we continued on to the shop.
We arrived without further incident. Then we waited for about 2 hours for someone to be freed up from what they were doing to work on our problem. The serviceman had meanwhile started checking on availability of parts. He said that if we could get the parts identified in time to match things up at a local trailer supply store (before 5 PM) we might be back on the road that day. Otherwise, we were looking to spend the night in their parking lot. I guess it could have been worse.
At about 4 PM one of their workers started on the mess. He was able to identify the brake hub assembly. He called the trailer people and, YES, they had the parts. It required two of the assemblies as the places where the studs insert were damaged beyond repair.
So, the two assemblies were delivered, the two tires were put on new steel wheels, (they didn't have matching alloy wheels) and we were done. They suspected the axle caps as the culprits thinking that they were keeping the lug nuts from fully securing the wheels to the brake hubs. So, I told them to remove all of the caps to eliminate any possible future occurrance.
We got the bill (almost $600.00) and we were on our way. They advised us to be sure to get the wheels retorqued within 100 miles of travel. We said we would, figuring that we would get it done in Reedsport, OR the next day.
We finally got to Florence after a 'white-knuckle' drive, due to darkness overtaking us, and rain. We actually did fairly well parking at the Port of Siuslaw Marina & RV Park even though it was difficult to communicate with the darkness and all.
Well ... the end of day # 1 of our 3-month trip. We were both exhausted and hit the hay.
What a day!