Simpsonsix

Albuquerque = Tires, wheels, and axles

So, if you are going to drive through New Mexico and blow a tire, it’s a very good idea to do it near the largest city for hundreds of miles.

I know what you are saying, like you have a choice, or would even choose, to have a tire blow out on you. Bless our lucky stars, we had one blow about 30 miles outside of Albuquerque, and thanks to our habit of having two spares, we were able to keep moving to our destination (which was the west side of Albuquerque).

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That’s the remains of the blow out to the left. The one I’m taking off had sidewall damage from the blow out.

So this was a Sunday afternoon, meaning that we had that evening to prepare for the phone calls that would need to be made in the morning. Wait, I said calls, let me take a few steps back.

We had been planning in the next 6 months (later than sooner) to get a new set of tires and to find a shop to upgrade our axles from 6k to a higher rating. Having done our research, we knew that both of these would be expensive endeavors, thus the planning and budgeting.

So, we are making phone calls. Some of the first ones were availability and to complete the research phase to make sure all parts would work together. The trailer came with 6k axles, and with a gross weight rating of almost 14k, that means 12k of that is supposed to be on the axles. Why put on something that (supposedly) just meets that rating? Back in the days before we had weighed our trailer and knew what limits we should be staying in, I’m fairly certain we overloaded the trailer, so I have had that nagging feeling that we tweaked our axles and they just haven’t been sitting proper since. So I want to put on heavier rated axles, but I don’t know how big I can go. 7k, 8k? What tires and wheels will fit these axles?

I know that I want to get my tires from Discount Tire since our previous set was purchased there and had a road hazard warranty, which would give us a discount on new tires. So my first call was to them to find out what they carried and could get in quickly to put on my trailer. I was excited and happy to find out that they carried the tire I have been looking at putting on the trailer, Goodyear G614. This is a higher load rating tire (G), so I know that it can carry my weight no problem and should be able to take more abuse from the road. I also had to find out if they could get in the rims for these tires, since they need to be able to handle 110 psi. Thankfully they did have some there. I have the sales person go ahead and order in the tires, which he tells me they will be there and ready to put on Wednesday morning. No problem, that’s the pace I expected.

3 hours later he calls me and says he got them in and can put them on that afternoon.

YAY!!!

So, we pack up the house and book it over there to get some new tires and wheels. As we are completing the paperwork, he regales me with a serendipitous story of how another customer had ordered the rims in that we just put on my trailer, but backed out of the deal, and how they were going to send them back to the warehouse the next day.

new tires

So pretty!

Now we have new tires and wheels. On to the axle part.

The campground we stayed at, Enchanted Trails RV Park, is located on the same road as a Camping World and La Mesa RV dealerships. I tried searching the area for trailer repair shops to find somewhere that could do the work, but all I was finding was places that worked on semi trailers. So, I went to La Mesa first to see what an approximate cost and time line would be to replace our axles, knowing full well that they, like any rv service center, would be booked up for weeks. As expected, they were unable to get me in, but they did give me two recommendations of local shops to contact. My next phone call was to MCT Industries, whom the lead service guy at La Mesa highly recommended. After speaking with their parts manager to make sure that they had all the parts that would be needed in stock (SQUEE!), we scheduled a time to bring my trailer in for them to work on it.

I will take a moment to laud the commitment to customer service that MCT has. First, they wanted to make sure that they were not doing any unnecessary work and charging me more than was needed. They have all of the parts in house to only replace or repair what is needed, so up front I was not having to purchase a complete axle assembly, even though that is what I was wanting. Because of being able to do each component separately, they are able to keep the price down.

So, I take my trailer in and they get started on it. We took off to go visit Petroglyph National Monument and get some shopping done. I received several phone calls through out the day, first confirming the work to be done as well as asking me if I wanted certain components to be replaced since they seemed too worn. Later, they kept me updated on the status and completion time, so that I was not waiting around for no reason.

Now comes the kicker. They finish the trailer and I go to settle up and take off. After hooking back up, I go ahead and do my standard pull and brake test.

No trailer brakes. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

So a crew quickly comes out to assess the situation. They make some adjustments to tighten the brakes up, then I do a short test drive to get them to set in.

Still nothing. Well, barely anything. I can tell they are actuating, but they are not stopping the trailer at all.

More diagnosing. This time they take the whole assembly apart to figure out what the issue is. Turns out I needed new hubs as well, so they go grab four of them from their stock, BECAUSE THEY HAVE IT IN STOCK! Right there, ready to go, no waiting.

I take another test drive, and things are starting to work now. I return to let them know, settle up accounts, and head home. This is at 6 pm. They close and were supposed to get off work at 4:30 pm. I couldn’t thank the 4 guys that stayed back enough for ensuring that my house was safe before they went home.

So, happy end of story here, right?

Nope.

On the drive back to the campground, I notice that the truck is increasingly having to struggle to keep up speed. As we hit the final hill, I can tell that something is not right with the trailer. I checked temperatures and the wheels once we got back to the campground and ascertained that the brakes were working too good now. Figured out that they had adjusted them for the old, worn hubs, but once the brakes set in, they were too tight for the new hubs.

So first thing in the morning I call back to MCT to appraise them of the situation. They sent one of their guys out to me at the campground to help adjust the brakes to their proper setting, then he waited while I did a test drive to make sure that everything was in proper working order.

This. This is customer service at its finest.

Now we are so happily excited to have a completely new system for our house to bounce (a little less) down the road on.

For technical details about tires, wheels, and axles, click here.

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