At Henderson’s Line-Up, inspections are a big part of what we do every day. Unlike passenger cars, which are fairly easy to have inspected, (or even to inspect yourself if you’re so inclined) trucks, trailers and motorhomes are large and heavy, and have a number of different suspension/brake and steering systems depending on the make/model. In addition, RVs tend to cover a lot of miles—and owners aren’t often inclined to perform regular inspection/maintenance while they’re enjoying life on the road. Below are some pictures of owner’s trucks and trailers from a recent Heartland RV rally. You’ll likely be surprised as they were at how close some of these rigs came to serious damage, even disaster while on the road. If it’s been a while since your rig has had a once-over, now is the time to book an appointment at Henderson’s Line-Up as the busy travel season comes to a close. Inspection is FREE at RV events and rallies, and at our shop November-February. We only charge $67 to weigh the truck and trailer at each wheel for an accurate evaluation, and you can download a coupon for $100 off our Road Performance Assessment (RPA) here: https://www.hendersonslineup.com/coupons
Make sure to get a comprehensive inspection before the next travel season!
This customer had recently converted his trailer to a disc brake system, so it was logical that he thought the oil leaking through belly pan was coming from a broken brake line or loose fitting. Turned out to be a leak from the hydraulic ram that operates the slideout just above. This is why it is so important to check out a rig completely and ask the customer as many questions as possible.
The weight label in the trailer provides some very valuable information about the trailer, including the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). However, it doesn’t tell you the whole story. For example, the rig’s delivered weight isn’t shown, and this can vary depending on the floorplan and optional equipment. That’s why it’s so important to have your trailer weighed with water, propane and all supplies on board.
This trailer is not equipped with wet (greasable) bolts, which means that the bushings are going to wear out quickly if they haven’t already.
When we perform an inspection, we inspect both the pickup and the fifth wheel. This truck only had about 38,000 miles on it but already had a blown wheel seal on the driver’s side rear; you can clearly see the presence of oil. Even worse, this customer had recently been to the dealer for service and it was never mentioned to him…he was completely unaware.
Some trailers have shock absorbers, but if they are installed at a dramatic angle, they not only don’t work, but can prematurely wear the bushings and break the shaft, as shown here. We recommended a shock conversion kit that restores the proper angle and prevents these problems.
The Joy Rider system is a good product that allows owners to install shock absorbers on their trailer. However, early Joy Rider kits placed the upper shock bushing at a severe angle. If you have one of these early kits, check the bushings regularly for premature wear.
The Liberty Rider uses a drop-down bracket that puts the shocks at a more effective angle. We installed this system more than a year ago and we wanted to see how it was holding up. So far, so good!
This is an original Dexter rubber equalizer. You can see that it is cracked and split, ready to fail due to age and the weight of the trailer. Would probably recommend a MORryde system for replacement in this application.
If you look closely, you can see the shiny area behind this shackle nut. This indicates that the shackle bracket isn’t rigid enough, and is moving around causing premature wear to the bushings, even if you have installed Never-Fail bushings. In this case, we recommend replacing the shackle brackets with thicker, heavier duty plates that cinch everything down better. These are available through Dexter and MORryde.
This one was interesting. The factory had installed the heavy duty wet bolt kit, but they had never been greased (yellow circle) More importantly, look what’s happening here—the metal band is supposed to hold the spring pack in place, but isn’t strong enough and allowed the leaf in the spring pack to “walk” or move around. You can see now that one of the leafs continually walked and was eating into the hanger bracket (red circle).
Just because a trailer is new, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems. This coach had a brake line that was rubbing on a leaf spring—and as you can see, was close to failure.
The problem with trailers is that there is a lot of weight over a small area, so they are more likely to break a spring. Here you can see one of the spring packs has broken. Not an immediate danger, but definitely putting stress on the rest of the components. Customer wisely decided to stay in Oregon until new springs could be overnighted from Heartland and installed.
This drag link on new Ram one ton truck already had loose jam nuts, creating a “clunking” sound when the rack was turned back and forth. If not discovered, this nut could have come loose completely and caused a loss of steering.