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Freak Trailer Accident

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by MJS, May 16, 2009.

  1. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,316

    So yesterday, in the middle of my route, I noticed a faint clicking/grating noise coming from the trailer. I stopped, checked the nuts, axles, etc - and nothing was loose or out of place. . . It continued making noise, which worried me a bit, but it was driving fine, and the brakes were still responding normally. (This at about 3 o'clock)

    At about 5pm, I was on my way to the last lawn of the day, on a 35mph road in a busy commercial area, when the entire wheel assembly (tire, rim, everything) came bouncing off the trailer and across the road - almost hit another car.

    I stopped after a few hundred feet, and was able to retrieve the wheel and assess the damage.

    #1 the cotter pin is completely gone
    #2 the brake assembly is mangled
    #3 all of the lug nuts are tight (it came off behind the nuts)

    It's being repaired today - the mechanic said that while it's kind of a freak accident, he still sees it occasionally.

    How common is this? I've been driving trailers around for several years, never even thought something like this was possible. . . Have any of you guys had a similar experience?

    Thank God for tandem axle trailers.
  2. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,114

    Sounds like the bearing seized and came apart. Glad nobody was hurt.
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    What happened is really common. The locking tab broke the outer wheel bearing started to back the axle nut off and it must have been working on it pretty hard if the cotter pin let go. Once the nut spins off the hub assembly and the wheel leaves the trailer :laugh:

    The other thing Sitesolutions said happens to usually on boat trailers thou. I loose count each year I see a boat and its trailer on the side of the road with its wheel missing. Or its on the side of the road with the axle snapped in half or the hole spindle snaps off from rust.

    I had my hub on one of my F-350s let go what a mess it ruined the threads on the spindle etc. Very common on Dana 60s and 70s to have the axle lock ring let go.

    Your lucky it didn't happen when you were doing highway speeds :dizzy:

    Trailer bearings and brakes should be inspected bi-annually if the trailer is used daily.
  4. lyube

    lyube LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,598

    Never even seen it before with LCOs in my town.


    You got bad luck man. Real bad luck. I'm avoiding you from now on....
  5. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,316

    What actually happened (this from the shop) was the bearings just went bad and locked up. - he said (like you) that this is really not that uncommon. . .I just need to pack the bearings with grease more often. They also offer a fairly inexpensive annual inspection for work trailers - I think I just might do that next year.

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure I had a guardian angel working hard to make sure nobody was hurt or killed. (and that wheel was bouncing)

    That's cool lyube - if I see you out and about in St. Louis, I'll be sure to turn the other way :laugh:
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    I had that happen on a landscape trailer. I stopped at a traffic light and the wheel passed me.

    Same thing, didnt grease the bearings often enough.

    We put "bearing buddies" on all the trailer wheels, which are replacements for the dustcaps and have grease fittings that you grease from the outside. Since then, no more bearing problems.
  7. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    Had something similar happen. The inside dust seal failed, got torn somehow, let water and dirt into the bearing. I was towing along, just singing to the radio when my the right tire on my trailer just locked right up, it was a single axle and it brought me to a stop, wore the tire right out too. Had to take the whole axle off, cut off the old bearing and have the axle machined.
  8. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    I was following a tandem dually gooseneck a few months back and two tires came off bolted together at 70 mph. This was in morning rush hour coming up the Turnpike through Ft. Lauderdale. That was pretty scary, but they made it off the road without hitting anything.
  9. blakeg314

    blakeg314 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    what kind of trailer was it?
  10. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,316

    If you're asking about mine it's a tandem axle enclosed trailer. . .

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