Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rboat

Trailer Tires

Recommended Posts

I have a single axle trailer for my 16' fiberglass bassboat. I noticed that the inside 1/2 of tread on each tire has worn down some and looks and feels almost lumpy as you move your hand around the tire? Do trailer tires need alignment and balancing? Should I buy new tires? What do I need to do? Please help. Thank You.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a similar problem. I ended up needing to align the axle. It was off by about 3" amazingly. She's squared up now. I basically launched the boat, tied her off, and did the work in the parking lot. My 12yo son was the extra set of hands. Took about an hour. Make sure the distance from the tang to the axle is EXACTLY the same on each side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It could also be a balance and tire pressure problem. The bumpy sounds like balance. I always keep my trailer tires balanced and have them checked and rotated every 6 months by the pros just to be on the safe side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how old your tires are, but if they're more than 5 or 6 years old, then you need to replace them pronto. Of course, after fixing the alignment issue first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. I took it to a tire shop today. They told me that a straight axel trailer cannot really be aligned. It is possible the axel is bent, but not likely. The tires I had were just too old. They were not totally wore out on the outside but the rubber on the inside was breaking down causing the lumpy look. They also were never balanced. The old tires were bias ply and kind of a older cheaper type. I got two new radial tires and had them balanced. I am hoping this solved all the problems, time will tell. I was lucky, the guy said these tires could have blown out at any moment. Just a reminder to all, visually check your tires closely each month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. I took it to a tire shop today. They told me that a straight axel trailer cannot really be aligned. It is possible the axel is bent, but not likely. The tires I had were just too old. They were not totally wore out on the outside but the rubber on the inside was breaking down causing the lumpy look. They also were never balanced. The old tires were bias ply and kind of a older cheaper type. I got two new radial tires and had them balanced. I am hoping this solved all the problems, time will tell. I was lucky, the guy said these tires could have blown out at any moment. Just a reminder to all, visually check your tires closely each month.

You cannot align a straight axle trailer? Of course you can. It's done by straightening the axle if it's bent. You may not be able to do it with shims or adjustments, but the toe (in or out) and the camber can be measured. If the tires are not parallel or perpendicular, the wheels are out of alignment, and need to be aligned by someone who knows how to do it. It's cheaper than replacing the axle, and increases the life of the tires.

It's done on straight axle rear ends on race cars every day to set the camber and toe to improve handling. You can buy cambered spindles which are welded into the axle tube, or the tube itself can be bent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course you can align a trailer axle and yes they do need aligned. You've gotta find you one of the old aligment guys or shops that has the equipment and know how . Most can't and don't have a clue because their is no program in their computer.

Until Ford came out with the split I beam and chey's and others started using an A fram suspensions, the only way you could align the early pickups was by bending the front axle.

Get the proper drop hitch so the tounge height is set right for the proper tow height on your trailer. Then find someone that does know you can bend the axle and, has the know how and eqipment to do it. Once you get that done, put your new tires on and have them properly balanced. You will see a huge difference in tire wear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get the proper drop hitch so the tounge height is set right for the proper tow height on your trailer.

Good post, This is overlooked by a lot of people, there is a small amount of camber and caster built into most all trailer axles and having a trailer too high at the tounge will adversely change these angle's.

Also don't forget to look at the leaf springs for any damage or wear and your shackle mount's and bushings should also be inspected before bending the axle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caster? That's interesting because caster is the kingpin angle, or, in the case of double wishbone suspensions, the angle of a line through the centers of the upper and lower ball joints to the ground. Caster is what makes a car go straight when you release the steering wheel. Conversely, when you are backing up and release the steering wheel it will snap suddenly to one side or the other.

Shopping carts have "caster" on the front wheels. The pivot line falls forward of the wheels, which is what allows them to follow the turns you make. The same with dolly wheels. However, when you back up a shopping cart the front wheels do a 180 and the pivot, though now behind the wheel in relation to the cart, still leads the wheel in the direction it is going.

Bicycles and motorcycles have caster in the front wheel so they will not only track, but also provide camber during turns. Steering a car to the left or right also increases the camber in the front tires. Technically it adds it to one and decreases it to the other since there is negative and positive camber. In any case, it makes the top of the tires lean in the direction of the turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm-kay, I'll bite. If there is any camber in the trailer wheels, then altering tongue height undoubtedly alters caster. But I guess you guys are the experts, LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm-kay, I'll bite. If there is any camber in the trailer wheels, then altering tongue height undoubtedly alters caster. But I guess you guys are the experts, LOL.

I'll answer. If the trailer tires have any camber, and the tongue were to be lifted to perpendicular the camber would become toe in or toe out.

A couple of inches one way or the other of hitch height will produce a negligible effect on camber.

I'm not an alignment expert, but I was involved with a local stock car, and we checked the camber and toe of the rear end every week. If it took a hard hit, then we had to bend the axle tubes to put 1.5 degrees of camber, negative on the right and positive on the left, plus a sixteenth of an inch of toe in on the right side. We bent the tubes by heating and quenching them to make the metal "draw" in the desired direction.

Caster was critical in the front end geometry along with toe and camber. Never heard of caster in a solid rear end. That's why I asked.

Some get the terms confused. Just so we are all on the same page.

Caster.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A couple of inches one way or the other of hitch height will produce a negligible effect on camber.

OK, if you say so I'll defer to you. But, it only took about 1/2" to gobble up one of my trailer tires in one season, so every inch counts if you ask me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caster?

Yes Caster, Some manufactures offset the spindle usually these are bolt on spindles but I have seen them made as one solid unit as well where the spindle is raised slightly above center.

The position of the axle as to where the axle is mounted to the springs can be rotated to give positive or negitive camber if needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I got my current truck I was towing off the bumper. I went through a set of tires each year. Now I'm pulling it from a hitch and my tires are holding up much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Caster, Some manufactures offset the spindle usually these are bolt on spindles but I have seen them made as one solid unit as well where the spindle is raised slightly above center.

The position of the axle as to where the axle is mounted to the springs can be rotated to give positive or negitive camber if needed.

I'm still not understanding it. Here's the definition of caster, as I understand it. It is either the king pin inclination, or the angle formed by a line passing through the center of the upper and lower ball joints to the perpendicular.

Caster - Definition

Caster angle is the angular measure from the vertical of the suspension of a steered wheel in a car or other vehicle, measured in the longitudinal direction. It is to the angle between the pivot line (an imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint to the center of the lower ball joint) and vertical. Car racers sometimes adjust caster angle to take optimize car performance in particular driving situations.

The pivot points of the steering are angled such that a line drawn through them intersects the road surface slightly ahead of the contact point of the wheel. The purpose of this is to provide a degree of self-centering for the steering - the wheel castors around so as to trail behind the axis of steering. This makes a car easier to drive and improves its straight line stability (tendency to wander). Excessive caster angle will make the steering heavier and less responsive, although, in racing, large caster angles are used to improve camber gain in cornering.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Caster

Caster Definition

Caster can be defined as the forward or rearward tilt of the projected steering axis from true vertical, as viewed from the side. This line is formed by extending a line through the upper and lower steering knuckle pivot points. For vehicles with front control arms, visualize the line extending through the upper and lower ball joints. On strut equipped vehicles, the line extends through the lower ball joint to the center of the upper strut mount. Caster is always viewed from the side of the vehicle.When the upper pivot point is rearward of the lower pivot point, caster is positive. If the upper pivot is forward of the lower pivot point, caster is negative. When the two points are straight up and down from each other, the caster is zero. A maximum side to side variation of ±.5° is recommended on most vehicles. Caster is NOT a normal tire wearing angle and is used as a directional control for stability and steering returnability.

http://www.aligncraft.com/terms/terms.html#FrontCaster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically in the simplest terms I can make it:

Caster is the relationship of the center line of the spindle(from upper ball joint center line to lower ball joint center line) measured in degrees. If the upper ball joint is slightly forward of the lower, it will have negative caster. And visa versa.

Camber is the relationship of the same center line, but in regards to the "tilt" of the center line in regards to degrees. If the top ball joint is farther out than the lower ball joint, making the tire lean out towards the top, it is positive camber. Visa versa.

The way this plays in effect on a boat trailer is simple. You do NOT need to set 0 camber on a bare trailer. If you set your trailer on 0 degrees camber with no boat on it, and place your boat back on the trailer, the weight ( mostly centered on the trailer) will cause the camber to turn negative(tire tilting towards the center of axle) and cause uneven tire wear. The best way to measure camber is with the boat on the trailer, and also hooked to your tow vehicle, on level ground.

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still not understanding it. Here's the definition of caster, as I understand it. It is either the king pin inclination, or the angle formed by a line passing through the center of the upper and lower ball joints to the perpendicular.

Caster - Definition

Caster angle is the angular measure from the vertical of the suspension of a steered wheel in a car or other vehicle, measured in the longitudinal direction. It is to the angle between the pivot line (an imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint to the center of the lower ball joint) and vertical. Car racers sometimes adjust caster angle to take optimize car performance in particular driving situations.

The pivot points of the steering are angled such that a line drawn through them intersects the road surface slightly ahead of the contact point of the wheel. The purpose of this is to provide a degree of self-centering for the steering - the wheel castors around so as to trail behind the axis of steering. This makes a car easier to drive and improves its straight line stability (tendency to wander). Excessive caster angle will make the steering heavier and less responsive, although, in racing, large caster angles are used to improve camber gain in cornering.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Caster

Caster Definition

Caster can be defined as the forward or rearward tilt of the projected steering axis from true vertical, as viewed from the side. This line is formed by extending a line through the upper and lower steering knuckle pivot points. For vehicles with front control arms, visualize the line extending through the upper and lower ball joints. On strut equipped vehicles, the line extends through the lower ball joint to the center of the upper strut mount. Caster is always viewed from the side of the vehicle.When the upper pivot point is rearward of the lower pivot point, caster is positive. If the upper pivot is forward of the lower pivot point, caster is negative. When the two points are straight up and down from each other, the caster is zero. A maximum side to side variation of ±.5° is recommended on most vehicles. Caster is NOT a normal tire wearing angle and is used as a directional control for stability and steering returnability.

http://www.aligncraft.com/terms/terms.html#FrontCaster

Rhino I hope this helps I could not find the web site I was looking for but I made a quick sketch to show you what I am refering too.

Most axles are a fixed angle axle that are found mostly in smaller trailers (less than 3000 lbs) But in some cases there are single axle trailers that can adjust to a larger boat such as mine for example, it is currently hauling around my 17' Nitro BUT it is made so that I can adjust to a 20' boat as well and has a 5000 lb rated axle.

This particular axle has a tortion bar built into the tube and will allow the spindle to give or move as you get into tight turns and are mostly found on multiple axle set up's such as campers,larger boat trailers etc...

post-28162-0-60390500-1321656065_thumb.j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rhino I hope this helps I could not find the web site I was looking for but I made a quick sketch to show you what I am refering too.

Most axles are a fixed angle axle that are found mostly in smaller trailers (less than 3000 lbs) But in some cases there are single axle trailers that can adjust to a larger boat such as mine for example, it is currently hauling around my 17' Nitro BUT it is made so that I can adjust to a 20' boat as well and has a 5000 lb rated axle.

This particular axle has a tortion bar built into the tube and will allow the spindle to give or move as you get into tight turns and are mostly found on multiple axle set up's such as campers,larger boat trailers etc...

I think you are referring to torsion axles. I could find plenty of images, but nothing that referred to alignment, with good instructions or illustrations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my two cents. Camber & toe in or toe out will both cause premature tire wear if not properly set. And yes both setting should be checked with the trailer fully loaded as when towing. Caster on the other hand will only effect handling but not tire wear. A simple explanation of toe in is toes pointed in & heels pointed out as in pigeon toed. Toe out is toes pointed out while the heels are pointed in. Toe wear scuffs the tires by dragging them somewhat sideways as they rotate. Now camber is the relationship between two tires leaning towards each other at the top or leaning away from each other at the top. Camber wear causes the tire to wear more on one side than the other because the tire is carrying more load on one side than the other as opposed to even distribution across the face of the tread. Caster is the angle measured straight through the center of the tire from top to bottom. Negative caster places the tire leaning back as it moves forward. Like you standing and leaning back on your heels while walking forward. Positive caster places the tire leaning forward like you standing on your toes with weight shifted forward as you walk ahead. Caster angles affect steering/handling but don't cause premature tire wear. Usually the best place to get a boat trailer aligned is a frame shop that does collision repairs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my two cents. Camber & toe in or toe out will both cause premature tire wear if not properly set. And yes both setting should be checked with the trailer fully loaded as when towing. Caster on the other hand will only effect handling but not tire wear. A simple explanation of toe in is toes pointed in & heels pointed out as in pigeon toed. Toe out is toes pointed out while the heels are pointed in. Toe wear scuffs the tires by dragging them somewhat sideways as they rotate. Now camber is the relationship between two tires leaning towards each other at the top or leaning away from each other at the top. Camber wear causes the tire to wear more on one side than the other because the tire is carrying more load on one side than the other as opposed to even distribution across the face of the tread. Caster is the angle measured straight through the center of the tire from top to bottom. Negative caster places the tire leaning back as it moves forward. Like you standing and leaning back on your heels while walking forward. Positive caster places the tire leaning forward like you standing on your toes with weight shifted forward as you walk ahead. Caster angles affect steering/handling but don't cause premature tire wear. Usually the best place to get a boat trailer aligned is a frame shop that does collision repairs.

WOW! Makes my attempt at a simple explanation seem straight Latin! Well said!

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that I've ever seen caster on a boat trailer. My concern has always be camber and toe-in. Now, if you're the auto tech type and a pretty good redneck engineer, you can align your own. I've been doing my own for many years because the old school guys have gotten almost impossible to find. Years ago, I made me a bender with some I-beam and port-a-power. JC Whitney used to sell, (they don't now but that's no problem) a manual angle guage to the camber and I made a couple of bars, one with measuring tapes on each end to place on the tires/wheels for setting tow-in.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS448US454&q=camber+angle+gauge&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=4992698447867572728&sa=X&ei=loXJTp3wGs7Mtgeb-Z3aCw&ved=0CHAQ8wIwBA#. I've never used this but something like this is all you need to measure camber angle.

Anyway, it's a very simple process to measure and bend about 1/16" - 1/8" toe-in and approximately 1.5 degrees camber angle. It's just going to take a pretty good support (like the I-Beam I use) to bend one of the heavier 3,500 lb axles.

Just remember, make sure you write down the toungue height, because that height will need to be used for that trailer until you align it again.

Oh well, so much for doing your own. I've been searching for the last 30 minutes for one of the cheap camber guages like I have and they don't exist. Looks like it would be cost prohibitive to try and buy one today for doing your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the wheel is not bent, a straight edge and a smart level can be used to determine camber. We used a smart level to set the angles of the rear links on a race car as well as camber. The length of the straight edge should sit against the step of the wheel that holds the bead, not the edge of a wheel.

To make sure the wheel runs true, jack the trailer, put something that almost touches the step where the straight edge will sit. Spin the wheel. The gap should be constant when the wheel is turned.

When doing this, make sure the wheel bearings are properly adjusted. If they are too loose, they can allow the wheel to wobble, making it appear the wheel is bent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you are referring to torsion axles. I could find plenty of images, but nothing that referred to alignment, with good instructions or illustrations.

Rhino: I am referring to torsion axles for the most part, I doubt very seriously you will find alignment specs since there are none, they are supposed to be replaced when it sags or is worn, usually you can get the original specs from the manufactures website or call their support line and they will fax it to you.

Way2slow: Usually when I see these axles on single axle boat trailers it has been modified by a previous owner or it is a special order...I live in the sticks I see a lot of mods or attempts to mod anyway...lol.

Here is a pic of what I think you may be referring to for the guage if it is what you are talking about you can still get them from Hunter Alignment.post-28162-0-01619400-1321876559_thumb.j

Dwight: Nice post!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing forum

    fishing

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing forum

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×