Towables, 5th Wheels and Trailers cause us soem grief at times. Not becuase they are less suuited, but many owners neglect the supension aspects of thses RV's since they are simply towed behind.
Most trilers & 5th wheels come equiped with ST Class tires. These are simply unavailble in Mexico, and almost impossible to order in. We strongly advise, everybody bring one extra off-rim spare that they can chuck in the bed of the tow vehicle in case you have a flat or blowout. Having one spare is fine, but once you are on that spare, not having another is uncomfortable. It is possible you may be able to locate a truck tire in your size (LT). Many people use truck tires on their trailers. There is much controversy about this. ST tires are designed to flex when you back into tigh spaces with a dual axle. It is possible to mix & match LT & ST tires in a pinch, but it is not the best idea. We have had one customer in the past who resorted to this. The big issue is that there are certain tire sizes that are unavailable in ST or LT. 234/70R/16, a common 5th wheel size, is one of them. You cannot get a replacement in Mexico. So carrying the extra off rim spare is the best idea, be it an ST or LT tire. If your tires are more than 3 years old or have more than 30,000 miles on them, consider getting new ones before the trip. Trailer tires have been know to rot from the.inside out and blow, even though they appear to have plenty of tread left. The sidewalls on trailer tires take a lot more stress due to twisting of the axles on backing up and in tight turns. Most blowouts on trialers are due to excessive speed. Trailer tires are rated for 65 MPH maximum, yet how many trailers & 5th wheels do you see go flying by you on the freeeway at 75? That is asking for a blowout and the potential damage that results in. We set the max speed on our caravans at 60 MPH, and we usually sit around 55.
Another area neglected by trailer & 5th wheel owners is the spring shackles. No salesman ever warns you about those. Nearly all manufacturers cheap out on these and it is dangerous. A broken spring shackle on each side can cause an axle to twist out and break away, causing a serious accident. They all wear out eventually. These are what connect one end of your spring to the equalizer pivot, and can be seen by looking directly between the 2 axles. They are dry metal against dry metal and everytime you go over a bump they are designed to equalize out the shock. Eventually they will wear through. We carry replacement shackles and have had to use them twice. On rigs that are not part of our caravan!!! We insist people inspect them before they come. The best solution is to replace them with a heavy duty wet shackle kit which has grease nipples, like the one made by MorRyde. We recommend you also replace the pivot arm with their product at the same time (see Pivot Arm). That combination should last the life of your trailer, and is about a $300 US upgrade. It is worth it for peace of mind. Mexico is full of Topes (speed bumps) and a weak shackle set will become apparent very quickly. Below is a photo of a shackle about to give way. Notice the ovaling of the hole at the upper left, and start of it at the bottom. The second photo iis the result of failure. Both of these were on the same trailer, and failure of both sides probably would have resulted in axle loss. As I mentioned, we do carry some spare shackles for an emergency, but swapping them out requires some effort and 2 or 3 bottle jacks being available.
Close to failure