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fivebucks

uneven tire wear on boat trailer

26 posts in this topic

I think I know the answer to this one but I thought I'ld throw it out there in case someone thinks of something I didn't.
My boat trailer tires on both sides wear out pretty bad on the inside of the tire. My tires were new last early summer and now the tread on outer 3/4 of the tire is just fine but the inner 1/4 is almost bald and it is wavey with some spots with more wear than the next spot 2" around the tire. It is this way around the whole tire.

My guess is that my axel is bent a little or my boat is too heavy for the trailer.
Any ideas?

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Those are both good possibilities but go get yourself a GOOD pair of radials and I bet the problem will be solved. I had that problem many years ago and a good set of tires took care of it.

------------------
Mille Lacs Guide Service
www.millelacsguideservice.com

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Another possibility is at some time you hit something and knocked one side back a bit.

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fivebucks,
I had the same problem (wavy uneven wear) on one tire. I just replaced it and I'll see what happens in the future.

I questioned the tire people on this and they said that my tires were improperly inflated, pressure was too low. I guess I assumed 35-38 lbs of pressure was sufficient. The tire recommended 50lbs! I started running 50lbs and the wear is much more even now.

I'm sure it's out of alignment, but I can't find anyone who is willing to align a trailer for me.

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had same problem on my boat last year tires wore on the inside called around and took trailer into tire plus and they aligned my trailer. it was off a good 1/2inch on one side and now she is fine. asked the guys what would cause this and its hitting holes in the road or a big bump somewhere.. it cost about 75 dollars to do it but worth the price if your going through tires that fast..call around and see if anybody does it in your area.. hope this helps...

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Thanks for the ideas guys. I didn't even think the trailer would be out of alingnment. I've been buying the tires at Tires Plus so I may just take the trailer there. The last set of tires are steel belted and they did the same thing the previous set of non- steel belted tires did.

Gofishintom - Did you have to have the boat off the trailer for tires plus?

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i had the same problem with my ranger and found out that i had the tires under inflated. and yes it could be your trailer too. del

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five bucks,

no the boat doesn't have to be off the trailer.. they just put it on a lift like a car... and align it that way.. also when it up there they should check your bearings also to see if they are ok....never heard of aligning trailer until i talked to the guys there and showed them my tires.. they alway wore on the inside outside was good but inside was wore right down no tread.. since alignment last fall ive put 600 miles on new tires and they have no wear on them... hope this helps out once you get it aligned you'll be so surprised that you will be able to run tires without wearing on them..good luck

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I dont think tire preasure is the problem . My tires are also wearing un evenly and I am very carefull about tire preasure. My dealer claims it is the allignment.

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Thanks for all the replies. I've been careful with tire pressure so I'm thinking it's the alignment. Off to Tires Plus for an alignment. Thanks.

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Tires Plus is the one's who told me this, and they would/could not align my trailer. Be sure to call them and see if they'll do it.

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cd & fivebucks,

there are very few people that align trailers might need to call around.. beeline rv and marine in st. cloud does it and tire one in st. cloud does it but not all will do it or have the knowlege to do it so you do need to call around to have it done....

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I'm guessing alignment may be an issue, or tire pressure, or both? But the alignment may be in part due to bearing wear? If the inside is wearing heavy it may be worn or sloppy bearings, maybe? Odd are if the bearings are that worn they would be heating up badly by then?

If the outsides wear, but not the center, it may be under inflated tires, or if the inside does and not the outside, then it is overinflated.

Cupping or flat spots are a sign of overinflated tires that hop and produce spotty wear.

Radials do make a big difference in trailering smoothly. Weight dispersal I am told has a lot to do with wear too, do not get too much on one side of the rig.

Lots of factors may influence tire wear really. You can check to see if the Axel is square with a carpenters square and a tape measure. Check from the frame to the Axel from both front and back if possible, both sides. Then tape a known spot from the Axel to the frame and see if it squares that way. A 1/16 or a 1/8 of an inch will track way off and wear both tires and bearing more quickly.

Drop off boat ramps can easily knock a Axel out of alignment. I have had mine move a couple of times so I check it from time to time to see if it is square. I trailer almost every day and use some rough ramps, or no ramps at all, just drop off banks. Stuff tends to get stressed out on rivers Eh.

------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding "ED on the RED"
701-281-2300
backwtr1@msn.com

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Thanks for all the replies. You make some good points Ed. I ussually try to keep the tires at 45-50 lbs. as it says on the tires. I will try the tape measure job this weekend and repack the bearings, although I believe they are OK but's it's been about 2 years. From the naked eye my axel looks higher in the middle than on the ends. I kindof discounted that cause that would make me think the outsides would wear more. With the uneven spots I thought about hopping tires. My boat sometimes bounces a bit on the trailer on uneven roads so that may factor into the tires bouncing also. I'll have to plug away at it this weekend and see what happens.

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You can check your own alignment with a helper and tape measure. Make a reference on top of the couple, run the tape back to your U-bolts. The distance on each side should be the same. If not, you can adjust by loosening the bolts and nudging back and forth to make up the difference.

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I just measured the distance from the coupler to the u-bolts holding the axel and one side is almost 1/2" closer than the other. It looks like that may be my problem. Time to get the wrenches out. Thanks to all.

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Went and re-aligned my trailer and put new radials on this weekend. The guy at Tires Plus said the uneven wear on inside of tires is do to the trailer bouncing. I have a Lund 1800 Pro-V which is not a real light boat. Do you guys out there think that this is actually the problem? If so, any way to prevent trailer bouncing?

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fivebucks,
i also have a lund pro-v 1800 and after i got my trailer aligned last year i have not had any problems with tire wear and i have put on about 600 miles since then.. trailers usually get out of alignment from hitting big bumps or curbs... havent heard of the boat bouncing making tires wear on inside..just have to be aware of large pot hole and try to avoid them!!!!! hope your tires wear better now that your aligned..as for measuring the trailer and loosing the bolts and adjusting yourself.. the guy at royal tire who did mine said that moving those parts and aligning it that way could shift weight and then you might get uneven wear.. let us know if your alignment works and if your tires last now..

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your drive shaft might have a slight bend or if one of the spindles isnt true to the shaft youtires might have a slight caster/camber problem so the outside edge wears more than the inside.
if the axle is good and just kittywampus to the trailer, you would definitley notice that the trailer pulls to one side and you would find that the outside edge of the tire that is closest to the vehicle would be worn. And the inside edge of the wheel furthest from the tow vehicle would be worn. If its a tandem axle good luck.
Some how my friend accidently bent my axle and anow it has a tendency to eat the outer egde of the tires a lil.
have fun

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fivebucks,
I have a Karavan trailer, and everything you stated sounds like you have the same problem I experience.

I measured the coupler to the axle and mine was a 1/2" off. I tried to re-align it, but it appears there was a large bolt through the trailer frame to an axle plate that prevents the axle from moving. I will have to take the boat off the trailer next time to see if that helps. wink.gif

I've never heard of bouncing trailer syndrom, but I can kinda see that.... my boat is way too heavy for the trailer IMO. The tires kind of bounce going down the highway.

Balancing the tires helps a lot! From the factory my trailer tires were not balanced. That may attribute to the bouncing??


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You'll get cupping from wheel hop. Trailer tires wheel hop because trailers have no shocks. Out of balance tires can wheel hop also. The excessive wear on one inner and one outer tire from the pair sounds like an alignment problem.
Next time you pull your trailer feel the tires, are they hot? Under inflation and misalligment will heat up a tire.

1/8th" is good enough for my part of town. smile.gif

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I have had this problem with both my boat and snowmobile trailers . I checked the axle to make sure that the spindles were in the same line with a block clamped to the spindle on one side.Then used a long straight edge to check and see if the straight edge was the same distance away from the other spindle as the block was on it's spindle . Did this at quarter points around the spindle ( 12 o'clock , 3, 6 and 9 )on the same bearing surfaces . If it was not true I would have tried to straighten by bending or cutting and rewelding . After I was sure of this I made a mark on the center of the trailer coupler right out on the tip in the center . With a good helper I then checked from the same point on each spindle with a tape measure to that mark on the coupler . The boat trailer I was able to adjust by loosening the axle and brought it in to less than 1/32" . The snowmobile trailer was a 1/2" off and had to drop the axle to make the adjustment slots longer in the axle mounting plates ( torsion type axle) . This axle has a bend in it made at the factory so you can not use the axle tube as a good reference for measuring . After reinstalling I was able to bring it right on the mark .

But even after all that work I still noticed a little cupping and I related it to the bouncing . I then hooked each trailer up to my truck on a level surface to make sure that the trailer rode level behind the truck with the trailers loaded. What I found was that I could not use the same height hitch in my receiver for both trailers . I had to go with the ball on the bottom of a 2" drop installed up side down in the receiver hitch for my boat trailer . The snowmobile trailer needed a 4" drop . After I started using a different height for each trailer and they do not bounce as bad going down the road and my tire wear problem is gone . The boat does not collect water in the bow while trailering in rain anymore either.

Tire pressure is important but you have to look at the weight rating of the tire and have a good idea of your load weight and then adjust accordingly . If the tire calls for 50 lbs of air to carry 1,000 lbs each . That means you can carry 2,000 lbs. max if the trailer is rated for 2,000 lbs . If the load is only 1,000 lbs you'll get more even tire wear at 40-45lbs of air pressure with less bounce . Radial tires are more forgiving because of the flexible sidewalls with max air pressure . But you still have to look at the load rating of the tire for the weight of the load to be safe .

Tire balance can help especially for the 13" and bigger tires .

Sorry about the lenghty post but I hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by MnIceman (edited 08-31-2003).]

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Lots of good info. Thanks alot. I realined the axel and got some radials balance. I'll see how this plays out and check the tires again after several hundred miles.

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On many trailers the axle is moved to provide proper balance and tongue weight. I would check to see that each side of the axle is the same distance from a fixed point on the trailer. You might be able to do this yourself or a boat dealer is experienced in trailer setup can make the adjusment.

The wear on the inside of the tires on a car is from the TOE adjustment. That is the tire is pointed inward to the center of the vehicle. A trailer does not have the toe adjustment.I supposed the axle could be heated and bent like the old Ford I-Beam supensions were. Since the problem is on both sides I think that would eliminate the likely hood that it is from a bent axle.

Inflation problems typically affect both edges of the tire or the center.

Cupping is a tire bounce problem. In a car this is a sign of worn shocks and the tire does not maintain constant pressure with the road. Trailers use heavier spring and generaaly dont have this problem. Is the boat matched to the trailer. Is the tongue weight correct.

[This message has been edited by Justfishing (edited 09-11-2003).]

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