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Old 04-18-2020, 12:53 PM   #1
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Uneven tire wear

My 2018 Escape 21 after about 12000 miles of towing is showing uneven tire wear on the inside edge of both driver's side tires while the passenger tires both show normal wear. Tire pressure has been kept at 50 psi and braking has been fine?
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Old 04-18-2020, 02:20 PM   #2
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You will get numerous responses including what kind of wear are you getting uniform wear or cupping. Bent axle etc etc. First thing I would advise is removing the tire and wheel, take off dust cap that covers retainer clip and king nut on the spindle and then check to see if the king nut is tight. I make sure the thrust washer is pushed tight against the outer bearing and the drum is firmly seated by actually putting about 50 ft lbs of torque on the nut which is so tight the drum wonít spin. Then I back it off just a little till the drum spins freely. This will ďstandĒ the wheel up so itís vertical. To just hand tighten the nut when the drum is installed and the clip put on the nut, is not good enough. That thrust washer has to be seated and hand tightening doesnít always do it. Thatís my first guess.
Iím assuming even loading front to back and side to side, good bearing because of your stated low mileage, no bent axle, and tire and wheel in balance. Others may offer up other reasons for the wear and with the number of variables involved any of us could throw 8 10 the hard way, itís a crapshoot sometimes. But there is a reason.
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Old 04-18-2020, 02:42 PM   #3
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Escape folks told me to take it to a Dexter Axle service facility since the trailer is still under warranty I would assume based on purchase date. I replaced all my bearings and races in my 19 Escape so I know what you are asking me to check. I will do that but when I adjusted my brakes at 6000 miles there did not seem to be any excess play in the bearing but I did not torque it and back it off. Thanks for your response and no, I did not hit anything that could possibly have bent the axle.
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Old 04-18-2020, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
You will get numerous responses including what kind of wear are you getting uniform wear or cupping. Bent axle etc etc. First thing I would advise is removing the tire and wheel, take off dust cap that covers retainer clip and king nut on the spindle and then check to see if the king nut is tight. I make sure the thrust washer is pushed tight against the outer bearing and the drum is firmly seated by actually putting about 50 ft lbs of torque on the nut which is so tight the drum won’t spin. Then I back it off just a little till the drum spins freely. This will “stand” the wheel up so it’s vertical. To just hand tighten the nut when the drum is installed and the clip put on the nut, is not good enough. That thrust washer has to be seated and hand tightening doesn’t always do it. That’s my first guess.
I’m assuming even loading front to back and side to side, good bearing because of your stated low mileage, no bent axle, and tire and wheel in balance. Others may offer up other reasons for the wear and with the number of variables involved any of us could throw 8 10 the hard way, it’s a crapshoot sometimes. But there is a reason.
Iowa Dave
Thank you Dave! I had my rear axel replaced by Dexter under warranty after a bearing failed at about 10,000 miles. I had the shop that installed the new axel repack the bearings on the existing axel and adjust the brakes.

We have since put 4,200 miles on the trailer and the passenger side wheel on the new axel is wearing unevenly on the inside. The other three tires are wearing normally. Your procedure gives me something to check before assuming the replacement axel was not built correctly.

By the way, the suspected cause (per the shop that replaced the original axel) was an over packed bearing that blew out the inner seal. We had 3 consecutive days of temps in the low 20's (F) through Wyoming and Idaho while retuning from the east coast last Oct. The bearing failed in the first 15 miles after breaking camp in a snow storm on the 3rd day.
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Old 04-18-2020, 03:08 PM   #5
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You may also want to rotate the tires from the passenger side and see if the uneven wear continues after following Iowa Dave's advice on all 4 wheels. My Dexter axles had to have the seals replaced after the trip home from the factory last year as they were leaking. Escape split the cost with me. No abnormal wear had occurred yet but when I had my inspection for registration was when it was discovered. All 4 wheels were done.
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Old 04-18-2020, 03:11 PM   #6
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Hi David
It’s good that you have a complete understanding of what you’re looking at through you’re experience. Worth the trailer setting on a flat surface can you measure from the top
Center of each tire to the opposite side top
Center and then the same across the bottom for both sides? Assuming your inflation is adequate that the tires are not flattened by the weight on them, the distances should be the same. It would be surprising to me that both axles would be bent and to the same degree that the excessive tire wear looks the same on both tires. The axle guys should be able to help you out. It is possible that when they were jigged up and the spindles were welded in that something was not checked for square that should have been. I don’t know how they are put together at the Dexter factory.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:13 PM   #7
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Worth the trailer setting on a flat surface can you measure from the top
Center of each tire to the opposite side top
Center and then the same across the bottom for both sides? Assuming your inflation is adequate that the tires are not flattened by the weight on them, the distances should be the same.
Equal distances would mean zero camber, and I don't think it's reasonable to expect exactly zero. The axle assembly is built with positive camber (tops of tires leaning out) to compensate for the tendency of the assembly to bend under load toward negative camber.

It's hard to find the tire centre accurately enough to measure camber this way, anyway. For an alternative, with the trailer sitting level side-to-side, place a level vertically against the face of each tire, hold it vertical, and measure the distance from the level to the wheel lip (not any part of the tire) at the top and bottom of the wheel. If the top and bottom distances are the same the camber is zero (wheel is vertical); if the top distance is less than the bottom the camber is positive.

If the camber of all wheels is similar, there isn't likely a camber problem. If the camber is negative that could cause faster wear on the inner side of tread, but for camber to cause the observed problem the driver's side would have to have negative camber, on both wheels, and substantially more negative camber than the passenger side.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
First thing I would advise is removing the tire and wheel, take off dust cap that covers retainer clip and king nut on the spindle and then check to see if the king nut is tight. I make sure the thrust washer is pushed tight against the outer bearing and the drum is firmly seated by actually putting about 50 ft lbs of torque on the nut which is so tight the drum wonít spin. Then I back it off just a little till the drum spins freely. This will ďstandĒ the wheel up so itís vertical. To just hand tighten the nut when the drum is installed and the clip put on the nut, is not good enough. That thrust washer has to be seated and hand tightening doesnít always do it. Thatís my first guess.
That makes sense if there is a reason to suspect improperly adjusted bearings. Before going to all that effort, it would make sense to me to do the simple check that any mechanic would do: jack up each wheel (one wheel or one side of the trailer at a time), grab the top and bottom of the tire, and try to tilt it. It shouldn't have any noticeable free play: if it does the bearing is likely loose; if it doesn't an adjustment or even re-seating the bearing is unlikely to change anything.
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:10 PM   #9
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Good points Brian. My father in law was a body man for many years. He was a tape measure guy and pretty fast. I watched him measure up cars he was working on quite a few times and he could get them pretty square whatever he was working on. Forty years of doing body work sometimes in pretty crude conditions will do that.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:41 PM   #10
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Sprinkledavid@gmail.com, we hope you find a solution to your uneven tire wear soon. We've also experienced uneven tire wear and a wheel bearing issue. We found this out when we decided to do some routine maintenance on our bearings (a bit earlier than normal, Jan 2020) since our trailer is still under warranty. We aren't very mechanical, so we took it to down to our local Les Schwab Tire Center; they have been repacking our trailer tires for 20+ years. Glad we did.

Problem 1. They said one tire (front driver's side) had some random balding spots on it. They said it was most likely from the brakes set too high. That made sense to us. At orientation ETI told us to set the trailer brakes at 8, which I thought was kinda high. Sure enough, on our first trip home, I could tell the wheels were locking up (puffs of white smoke) on the curvy mountain roads. After readjusting to a lower setting, no more locking up. So now that tire, which still has plenty of good tread, is now my spare tire. Sure hope we can take it out soon to test it and make sure we diagnosed this correctly....

Problem 2. The front passenger tire was missing an 'inner bearing seal'. They said there was grease all over inside the wheel. They said they fixed it, and that I was able to drive it ok, but now the outside hard cap would not pop back on. Now instead, a flimsy soft rubber seal was exposed and they handed me back the little hard flat cap (that was supposed to be on my wheel). (See pics) I was not comfortable with this.

The next day, a call to ETI, led to a call to Dexter. Was dreading it but got ahold of someone in Dexter's warranty, right away! Dexter sent me to a nearby authorized Dexter Axle Service RV place to get it fixed. They repacked that one wheel, and now the outside little cap is back on...and all is good. Turned out it wasn't an 'inner seal' that was missing; it was an 'inner cap' that was initially missing. But Kudos to Dexter. They were very good to work with and covered the whole repair bill. Glad we did this early! If you have to work with Dexter, we hope you have the same great customer service. -Bea
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Old 04-18-2020, 09:25 PM   #11
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Problem 1. It sounds like one of the brakes is not adjusted properly for one tire to scallop and not the others. If it was your brake controller was set too high with the brakes adjusted properly, all the tires would have shown wear - not just one. You might want to find a better place to have your trailer work done.



Problem 2. Definitely find another place to have your trailer work done. This place has no idea what they are doing to make that type of jury rigged repair.

Good choice to contact Dexter for a reputable repair facility. I can't imagine how much damage to your wheel hub would have happened if you had gone on the road with the way the Les Schwab Tire Center patched it.

Here's the final point. a place like Les Schwab Tire Center has people come and go on a constant basis. If in the past, there was someone there that was knowledgeable about trailer work - that person has been long gone from that facility.

Good luck on your trailer - it looks like Dexter has taken good care of you.
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Old 04-18-2020, 10:54 PM   #12
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Problem 1. It sounds like one of the brakes is not adjusted properly for one tire to scallop and not the others. If it was your brake controller was set too high with the brakes adjusted properly, all the tires would have shown wear - not just one. You might want to find a better place to have your trailer work done.
Problem 2. Definitely find another place to have your trailer work done. This place has no idea what they are doing to make that type of jury rigged repair.

Good choice to contact Dexter for a reputable repair facility. I can't imagine how much damage to your wheel hub would have happened if you had gone on the road with the way the Les Schwab Tire Center patched it.

Here's the final point. a place like Les Schwab Tire Center has people come and go on a constant basis. If in the past, there was someone there that was knowledgeable about trailer work - that person has been long gone from that facility.

Good luck on your trailer - it looks like Dexter has taken good care of you.
tdf-texas, thank you so much for your advice! Will definitely look for a different place for maintenance. Thanks too for the video. Very helpful. Appreciate all the mechanical wisdom you guys give! Feel good about the bearings now...but the jury is still out, in my mind on the scalloped tire. Have no idea if Les Schwab adjusted the brakes or not. Thanks for giving me some direction on this! -Bea
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