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Old 02-16-2010, 06:37 AM   #1
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What to watch for

Just bought a 1995 Solaris and, never having owned a TT before, I am curious as to what fails and how on these trailers. For instance, say, caulking around skylight, rust at leveling jack attachment, stuff like that.

Teach
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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I guess if I had to pinpoint problem areas that cause trouble and aren't associated with failure to winterize properly would be refrigerators going bad and roof seams leaking. Then after a long time, some window seals start to leak.

Another problem that only shows up on select units are the cracks in the aluminum siding above the entry doors. I'm not sure why some have it and some don't, maybe just due to miles, but it seems to be from stress causing flex around the axles. They seem to be more common on the coaches with radius top corner entry doors, though it has shown up some with the sqaure corners. I'd guess around 10% or less have this problem, based on the ones I know of. The solution to it is to drill a small hole just slightly larger than the crack at the end of it. Then cover the crack in silicone. This should prevent further spread as well as seal it from the elements.

Refrigerators usually start to fail sometime around 15 years old, sometimes sooner, and sometimes later. I've understood that a common cause of this is turning them on and off a lot, like in between trips. If someone were to take a trip every weekend in the summer, and always turn it off during the week, it would have a shorter life cycle than one that just ran the whole time. I'm not sure of the truth behind that, I've just heard it.

Roof seams can leak at any point really, but most problems start around the ten year mark and get more common as they get older. Most of the hype here is because people don't maintain them properly. Watching the seams for cracks and going over them with new sealant every five years or so will probably prevent you from ever having a leak. Sort of like caulking a shower...it will leak when the caulking eventually breaks away.

Most other problems are related to lack of maintenance.

There's no problems with rust that I know about except for those trailers that have been parked right by the ocean for a long period of time, and in that case it's pretty major rust that needs to be repaired and repainted quickly. I've never heard of any frames rusting through though, just the bumpers, which are commonly damp because many people store sewer hoses in there.

Jon
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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Roofs need to be monitored as Jon points out. There are quite a few posts in Repairs and Maintenance on taking care of both rubber and metal roofs.

Brakes and bearings need regular attention, regardless of age. Clean, inspect, and repack bearings annually in the spring. More often if you put a lot of miles on each year. Brakes should be inspected, lubed (yes, there are lube points in drum/shoe brakes) and adjusted annually.

Brakes should be tested regularly. A low speed, hard stop on gravel will quickly tell you if the brakes are doing their job. While you have the trailer off the ground doing bearings, etc., after you put it all back together, plug it into your tow vehicle and test the brakes on each wheel. Good time to adjust them, too. If you don't get fairly uniform braking on each wheel, the electric portion of the brakes may have a problem. Most common is wiring issues: corroded or oxidized connections, damaged or broken wires.

The bushings in the suspension mounts tend to wear out. If your budget allows, there is a wet bushing upgrade that is just super.

There are a number of detailed threads in Repairs and Maintenance that should answer almost any question in regards to brake, axle, and bearings maintenance.

Dexter was the most common axle and brakes in TT's in the '90's. www.dexteraxle.com for all kinds of info. Be sure to download their complete manual on brake/axle/bearing maintenance. Even if you don't have Dexter, their service manual is an absolute bible for this maintenance. http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/1080235/f/...anual_2-08.pdf

Any electric component can fail, but those on the outside of the trailer are especially prone to corrosion or oxidation issues. I keep a small tube of dielectric grease (available an any auto parts store) handy, and use in on any connection that I work on. Light bulb sockets, the 7 pin TV connector (both sides), etc., etc. all will benefit from a coating of dielectric grease. Living in upstate NY, we have to contend with salt on the roads for 5 months a year. My 7 pin on the TV is liberally slathered with the grease.

I am not sure which exact marker lights your unit uses. You'll want to find out which bulb they use, and keep a stock on hand. The marker lights are prone to water damage over time and should be checked regularly.

Keep some 1157 bulbs on hand for the stop/turn/tail lights. Dielectric grease on the base and contacts helps there, too.

I would encourage you to read back through the various threads in this forum and in Repairs and Maintenance. Over the past three years, almost every conceivable topic has been chewed on quite thoroughly. I have been trailering since the early 1970's, and I still find new gems by reading back through the threads.
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