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wheel size question. Please help!

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wheel size question. Please help!

Unread postby jst_whistle on Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:28 am

I recently bought an older model travel trailer. It's an 84 Excel bumper pull of 23'. It's in really fine shape being so old. The problem is, I noticed it has 14" wheels on the front axle and 15" on the back axle. Has anyone ever heard of such thing? The 15" wheels have a lower profile to balance the height I guess. So, do I get all same size? 14" or 15"? Just doesn't seem right or safe to me. The manufacturer (Peterson Industries Inc.) Is no longer in business as of March 2015 when I looked them up to ask. Thank you for any advice you can offer.
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Re: wheel size question. Please help!

Unread postby RonJK on Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:26 pm

Can't help with that question, although in my many years in the RV lifestyle, I don't think I have ever seen a trailer with two different size wheels on the front and back axle, but maybe yours is the exception.
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Re: wheel size question. Please help!

Unread postby Limey on Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:31 am

Like Ron, I have never heard of that. In my opinion somemeone switched a pair out at sometime and put different sizes on than what was original.

Personally I would definitely switch out two so that they are all the same. Now, which two? If putting 15" ones on will still give a safe distance between the tires, I would do that.

However, with a trailer that old they may have been 14" originally. Maybe need a little mor research. :)
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Re: wheel size question. Please help!

Unread postby govols on Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:29 pm

Before you read too long of an answer, you should know that I don't "know" what I'm talking about.

On the "driver's side," or "left side" front of the camper there should be a label telling about tire size and weight rating. Do that.

If no label, a couple of thoughts. Look at the suspension. Is the front spring attachment point further or closer from the frame rail as the rear? If so, it might be that some engineer at the trailer manufacturer came up with some odd design of off-set axles that used different wheel/tire size to even out load. I can't imagine it. Makes no sense.

If the front tires are smaller, shorter from ground to top of tire tread, than the rear, I'm going to offer up a redneck engineering possibility. A previous owner had hitch that wasn't adjustable to a correct height that would make the camper ride level when hooked up. Likely it was tall in the reap and low in the front. That would make the front axle over-loaded compared to the rear. He figured that he could fix it by putting a somewhat smaller tire on the front than rear, and it would shift the load to more evenly weigh on both axles.

I'm guessing that if you jack the tongue to a height that makes the trailer "level to the ground" (on a modest slope, measure the frame to ground at the rear and front and make them equal), measure the tongue height. Make your tow ball equal to tongue height by using an adjustable height hitch very common among various "weight distribution" hitches. Hook up the camper. If it all sitting nice and level without squatting in the middle, I would bet a bundle that the axle with smaller tires is carrying more load than the one with larger tires.

I have a sneaking feeling that you should replace two wheels and four tires, and buy a good weight distribution hitch with an anti-sway control system. Your camper should ride level and your tow vehicle should NOT "squat." Then you need to go weigh the rig at a truck stop and make sure your trailer axles are very close to one another, and not over-loaded, your tow vehicle is good front and rear, and your gross vehicle weight is well within all of your rig's specs.

Best of luck, and happy towing.....................................
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Re: wheel size question. Please help!

Unread postby govols on Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:32 pm

smaller tire less load. smaller tire LESS load. my bad.
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