“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.
You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.
Enter into the joy of your master.’”
(Matthew 25:21, ESV)
Last week we met and talked with a couple having repair work done on their 5th-wheel trailer. They spoke with such a heavy southern drawl that it was hard at times to understand them. Yet the story they told was sadly all too easily understood!
They related their experience from the day before of merrily rolling down the highway just east of Idaho Falls. All of a sudden, a semi-truck driver pulled up alongside them and frantically waved at them, pointing to the back of their trailer. When they pulled over to investigate, they discovered their dual axle trailer was missing a passenger side wheel; the tire, the rim, the whole thing … was…gone! All the studs holding the rim to the drum had sheared, allowing the wheel to fly off into some nearby field, lost until someday found by the farmer. That side of the trailer was thankfully supported (though barely) by the remaining passenger-side wheel.
They tried but could not locate anyone to come out to help them. As they were only a couple miles from the RV dealership where we were having work done on our trailer, they decided to slowly limp into the dealership for repairs. The folks at Smith RV are usually scheduled about three weeks out, yet they were willing to adjust their busy schedule to help these stranded travelers.
As we talked with them, we learned they had been full-time living and traveling in their 42-foot 5th-wheel for the past eleven months. In that time, they had already gone through two sets of trailer tires! They had also experienced other problems and were frustrated with the “poor quality” of their “home.”
However, we also learned that he routinely drove the speed limit. If the speed limit was 70 mph, he would run at about 70 or a little above; if 80, he would drive at 80 or a bit above. He saw no problem with this and felt like he was just crawling if he drove any slower!
When Bruce meandered over and looked at the sidewall information on their trailer tires, he discovered they were only rated for a maximum speed of 65 mph! With the tread wear problems this couple had described to us, we suspect their trailer is over its weight recommendation as well. To top it off, they were towing their huge fifth wheel with only a 3/4-ton pickup truck, so the truck most likely was also overloaded in this towing configuration!
It seems to be rather common for people to talk about all the problems they have with their trailer or RV. We often wonder if those problems are self-imposed due to the owners’ lack of knowledge, or unwillingness to take the necessary time to learn how to care for their investment, or both. We desire to be safe on the road and help others not only be safe as well but to learn how to take care of their RV’s.
One SOWER couple we know, who is both experienced and knowledgeable, suffered a weld failure in the front part of his 5th-wheel frame. It was an expensive repair, but the frame manufacturer agreed it was most likely due to a faulty assembly weld during its original fabrication. Through their experience, we learned an important lesson from his equipment failure: trailer frames that are pulled for thousands of miles (our trailer logged ~15,000 miles last year) undergo a tremendous amount of stress and strain. Reducing those stresses is possible with a rather simple upgrade, which we felt we should make to our rig.
While we talked with this couple from the south and tried to help them learn to drive safely and take care of their equipment, the wonderful folks at Smith RV in Idaho Falls were taking good care of us and our home. They installed an upgrade we requested (image above) that will significantly reduce road-induced stress on the frame as we travel. In addition, we had them inspect the wheel bearings and axle spindle and repack the bearings. While the brake drums were open, Bruce inspected the brakes and requested the brake shoes/ assembly on all four wheels be replaced as well.
It really does not take a rocket scientist (or nuclear engineer 😉) to learn how to be a good steward of the resources God allows us to have. When we completed a 50-mile road test after the installed upgrade and wheel bearing/ brake work, we were quite pleased with how much smoother our home traveled. 🤠 🤗 We hope our diligence in maintaining our home will prevent major problems in the future and help us be good stewards of our resources!