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Tire Rotation


kfrimr

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You that pull heavy fifth wheels with a HDT do you rotate your tires on the 5th? If so how often? Annually? By Mileage? If you do rotate your 5th wheel tires do you include the spare in the rotation? I'v really not heard this question discussed, so I was assuming it was a not issue, because everyone knows to do it... or know not to? Help me out here?

Kent

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Tire rotation on free rolling axles is not nearly as important as something like a car, which has a mix of powered and free rolling tire positions. The reasoning there is to even out the wear caused by differences in traction(starting and stopping) and stresses caused by directional changes(steering) by changing the tire locations, a worthy goal and effective in extending tire life. Also safety is enhanced by inspecting the tires and checking inflation.

The traction and steering stresses are almost non existent on a 5th wheel trailer. Braking should be equal at all positions and unless you turn sharply frequently on pavement that stress is minimal.

Do inspect for unusual wear, check inflation. Rotating tires shouldn't be necessary.

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Typically the purpose of rotation is to extend the life of the tires by wearing more evenly by rotating them through the various mounting positions. As others have noted above, not really an issue on a trailer, every position has the same expected wear characteristics, discounting some issue like a bent axle, which is another discussion. In RV service the tires are far more likely to be taken out of service due to date of mfg or dry rot than wearing out the tread due to mileage. Unless you are piling on a BUNCH more miles that the average camper.

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Thanks for the counsel. Part of my thinking was:

1. An annual inspection of brakes and bearings is essential anyway so why not take advantage of having them off and just move them.

2. I did also think that rotating the spare into the mix would give it more life, like 20% more.

3. If the spare were to sit in the tire well for 6 years unused I would be hesitant to take it off and use it if needed. In fact that was part of the reason for my question. Our last fifth wheel we had for 6 years and in the last year I had a tire go out and put the spare on but only long enough to get to a dealer at half speed to replace it, because I didn't trust a 6 year old never used spare.

Thanks for the input

Kent

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A close inspection of many trailers and fivers out there will reveal that the axles (solid tube) are hung from the frame with the spring hangers slightly off. This is especially a problem when one axle is canted in the opposite direction of the other by even 1/16". Second issue is straight tube axles are intentionally arced or bent to introduce camber to the tires. Over time and heavy loading and this camber can be reduced or even lost. Lastly, weighing a fiver often reveals that not all of the tires carry the same load. On mine the RF is 300# heavier than the LR. While it best to correct these toe and camber issues it is something that is not regularly done. Rotating all of the trailer tires left to right and front to back is one way to equalize the wear patterns. Extremist will even dismount and flip the sidewall to even out sun exposure - I think this is a little too much. I do rotate my trailer tires each year when I lift it off the ground with the hydraulic jacks to pull things down and inspect and repack the wheel bearings, check the brakes, Dexter center points, shackles and grease the wet bolts - and yes I include the spare in the rotation. Of course, a lot will depend on how much mileage you put on your trailer tires. Just guessing, but I would say 80% of the trailer tires age out before wearing out due to the weekend warrior and 200 mile limit often observed by working families. IS is entirely different.

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