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Old 09-20-2022, 02:31 PM   #1
DT6
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Washboard Road Mitigation

Does anyone have experience towing their Escape over a badly washboarded dirt road? Will deflating the tires on the trailer help mitigate a road like this and if so, what PSI is recommended and for what duration (e.g. 25psi for up to 4 miles)?

There are a few locations we would like to go to, but the reviews all say access via a bad washboard road, or similar.

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2022, 05:35 PM   #2
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Plod on

We drove 12 miles on a washboard gravel road in the U.P. Of Michigan this Summer, from Grand Marais MI to a state park. The alternate route was 60 miles or something. A chore, and I didn't do anything special, other than trying to avoid the bad spots. A WDH helps a lot in the ride. No damage noted from the rough road. Deflating may help, but is a PITA to accomplish on 8 tires. How much deflating might help....I don't know.
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Old 09-20-2022, 05:41 PM   #3
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In Baja it's a standard procedure for bad roads and off roads. But I've always thought that it's for the rough and/or soft sand conditions. I'm not sure about the washboard. I've never de-aired, mostly just go slow, avoid as much as I can and grit my teeth while muttering "I know this will end".

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Old 09-20-2022, 09:53 PM   #4
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25 lbs sounds reasonable and will keep the tires on the rims. I would not do it with any more.

I would not use your average bike rack on the back of the trailer and keep track of your spare tire holder as they have been known to crack. Make sure all the windows and roof vents are closed or dust will be everywhere.

If you tow with a pickup that has a cover on the back…expect dust on everything in the bed.
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Old 09-21-2022, 01:31 AM   #5
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We once took a drive on a bad washboard road on Maui for about 7 miles. The rental car company said that driving on the road was prohibited and could cost us a lot of money if we did so. Fortunately it was a rental and we threw caution to the wind.

M I S E R A B L E drive. I think I lost a tooth from all the shaking and can't imagine how a wood hinged door would survive much less anything else on a camper. I did not try the tire pressure trick but I tried every speed to find the sweet spot to no avail. The best speed was slow.
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Old 09-21-2022, 07:35 AM   #6
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I grew up and learned to drive on washboard roads, and yes with somewhat deflated tires. I'll drive a mile or two slowly on washboard to get to a camping site while towing the Escape but feel badly for my equipment when I subject it to those conditions. 26 miles of pavement vs 12 miles of washboard sounds heavenly to me especially if pulling a valued travel trailer.
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Old 09-21-2022, 08:07 AM   #7
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A farm boyís idea of bad washboard roads and a city boyís can be quite different. Iím a farm boy. This coming winter we plan to drive from Chiricahua National Monument over the Chiricahuaís to Portal to save around 100 miles. Itís a combination of potholes and washboards. The drive is beautiful. We donít deflate, but definitely go slow.

Enjoy,

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Old 09-21-2022, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post

If you tow with a pickup that has a cover on the backÖexpect dust on everything in the bed.
You're right, even with a hard box cover everything in the back is coated with dust after unpaved country roads.

I've taken to put a blue tarp down in the bed with lot's hanging out over the tailgate. Then load and pull the tarp up and over the box contents. Works well and keeps stuff clean.

Ron
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Old 09-21-2022, 11:26 AM   #9
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My experience with washboard roads and underflated tires is limited to mountain bikes, not travel trailers.


I tried it once, and decided not to do it again. Without proper pressure the tires were squishy and my control was seriously diminished.


I'd expect it to be worse with a trailer. I would also be worried about overheating and weakening the sidewalls.
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:38 PM   #10
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Perry,
Every year in November, I take my Escape south from Three Points to a rough camp at. least 16 miles south toward Mexico , and last year, the washboard gifted the Escape with a broken drawer support , and a two lower cupboard doors needing replacement hinges. Because it’s a yearly family reunion ( and we’re all getting older!) not going to our family historic spot is a no go. This year, I’m going to inch along. I feel sorry for the pick-ups having to follow me.
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Old 09-21-2022, 08:22 PM   #11
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My list of washboard induced damage to my Escape 21 is rather extensive.
Included:
Cracked housing to the furnace.
Loose screws inside the stove top holding the burners.
Loose screws inside the overhead storage bins.
Broken refrigerator shelves.
Broken door hinges.
Numerous open doors, including the 'fridge door until we installed a strap.



It sounds painful but all was repairable.
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Old 09-21-2022, 09:20 PM   #12
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I wonder how the advertised 'off-road' travel trailers, like the Black HQ19, would fare on rough roads:

Black Series Camper Official Manufacture Website - BlackSeriesCamper.com

Me, I'd stay away from bad roads, so my Escape is pretty safe.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:09 AM   #13
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We just got back from a trip up to Colorado. The campsite we stayed at was 23 miles down a dirt/washboard road. We took it slow (20-25 mph) and did our best to avoid the worst parts. We ended up with a few bent cabinet hinges and a couple of rock chips out of the gel coat. I will replace the hinges as needed and was thinking of applying the same "bedliner" stuff Escape uses on the storage box to protect the front corners where the storage box doesn't quite cover.
End result was definitely worth it!
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Old 09-22-2022, 11:32 AM   #14
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Lowering tire pressure can make a huge difference in smoothing out the ride, but at the expense of the speed you can travel. Too low a pressure or too high a speed will cause heat build up and then you have the risk of weakening the tire and enjoying a blowout. But most all 'overlanders' that travel serious distances off smooth surfaces will tell you reducing tire pressure is a net gain in comfort and equipment preservation. Where the sweet spot is for any individual vehicle or trailer would take some experimenting to determine. I wouldn't trust the integrity of cheap/crappy tires to be up to the task though. A well reputed or an LT type tire would be on my list if I were going to do lots of miles on unserfaced roads.
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:08 AM   #15
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Washboard advice

Are we talking a single or tandem axle Escape. Over recent years we've had our E-19 over the Dempster, Top of the World, and Trans Labrador highways... all involved long, long stretches of gravel of various qualities including rough washboard. I've never deflated the tires... we did buy a tandem axle trailer as they do smooth the ride out somewhat. Most interior cupboard damage to our trailer has been from some rough, rolling pavement on the S end of the Trans Labrador, and then sharp gravel on Dempster ate our holding tank drain pipe storage... it was made of far too light pvc. I replaced it in Inuvik, NWT with an ABS pipe. We've had some dust in the trailer, extra weather stripping on the door helped. Rough roads in the your future, consider a tandem axle with WD hitch, and drive SLOW!
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:13 AM   #16
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I regularly drive on dirt/back roads that are washboard, and sometimes worse (rocks). I drive a highly modified Toyota 4Runner that is built specifically for off-roading. I deflate my tires once on the dirt. I air them up once back on the pavement. I carry an air compressor. My 4Runner has 10-ply tires and modified suspension. The faster you drive on washboard roads the smoother the ride. The is no way I'd take any travel trailer on a long drive on a washboard road. The trailer simply isn't built to do so.
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Old 09-28-2022, 01:02 PM   #17
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By lowering the pressure of the tires you risk breaking the cords in the sidewall of your tire. Leave the pressure up and go very slow.
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Old 09-28-2022, 05:56 PM   #18
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Washboard

We did a 25 mile route through BLM park in San Luis Obispo County, California. Much of it was washboard. We did not deflate. We drove VERY slow, less than 20mph and often closer to 10. Nothing broke on our Escape, but it did have the unintended benefit of shaking all of the remaining construction sawdust that were behind walls and cabinets onto the floor for easy pickup. None since!
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