It is a good
idea to carry a range of tools and spares to suit both your vehicle
and camper trailer when travelling into the remoter areas of
Australia. Lives have been lost when a simple unexpected breakdown
occurs and an easy fix could have been made if the right gear would
have been included as a safety kit.
By having a
little know how, a workshop manual for your vehicle and some tools
and spares onboard, necessary repairs could be made to safely get
you out of trouble, back on the road and into the next town for
expert repairs. You may not be able to fix the problem yourself, but
if you have the tools and parts on hand someone may come along that
could fix the breakdown for you.
Looking at spares for the camper trailer, the most important
spare to carry would have to be a set of wheel bearings complete
with matching cones. Wheel bearing failure would have to be one of
the most common causes of trailer breakdowns.
Next time you inspect your wheel bearings, take note of the
number stamped on them and duck down to your nearest vehicle bearing
specialist and pick up two new sets. Each set consists of an inner
and outer bearing and inner and outer cones. Donít forget a new set
of seals while your there. Change the bearings, cones and seals and
keep the old ones as spares. This way you know they will fit back in
and you will not be fuming at the salesperson for selling you the
wrong bearing set.
You should feel comfortable inspecting and changing your
wheel bearings. It is not a hard job. If you do not know how, get
your mechanical mate around for a bbq & let him show you how to do
Include a spanner that will fit the large castle nut, a few
split pins, a small tub of grease and a set of wheel studs and nuts
for one wheel. There have been times when wheel nuts have come loose
and in the process can chew the thread on the studs. The studs
simply hammer out. Align the splines with the grooves in the hub
from the old studs & tap in with a hammer to seat.
In remote areas it is a good idea to have matching rims and
tyres on your camper trailer that can interchange with your vehicle.
This way you will have two spares for six wheels. Your camper
trailer spare wheel should be properly inflated and a tyre repair
kit is one of the handiest items you can carry.
A basic tyre repair kit could consist of a 12volt tyre pump
and a tyre plug kit for tubeless tyres. This will allow you to
perform a simple nail hole repair and get you mobile again without
even taking your wheel off the camper or vehicle. From there you can
expand the kit to include bead breakers, tyre levers, internal
patches, glue, valve tool, valve stems and rubber mallet to name a
few in the complete kit.
An old trick to help seat the bead is by placing a ratchet
strap around the circumference of the tyre forcing the bead toward
In an extreme emergency an inner tube can be placed into a
tubeless tyre to get you to the nearest town if your tyre is beyond
repair. A few large internal patches could be used to hold the tyre
together & speed kept to a minimum.
Donít forget a jacking plate to place your jack on in soft
ground. This can be a piece of 20mm ply about 300mm square.
A 6x4 foot tarp is on the list of handiest items to have in
the camper too. It can be used as a ground sheet when making
repairs, to lay on when doing an under camper or vehicle inspection
or even as a wading sheet on the bullbar when crossing a deep creek.
When packing up wet canvas it can used over the bed to keep it dry.
A couple of globes that suit your camper trailers tail lights
if you donít have LEDís are always handy as is a selection of blade
fuses for your onboard 12volt systems fuse box and some glass fuses
that are in some cigarette light plugs or inline fuses.
I have seen some camper trailers with a spare leaf bolted to
the side of the trailer or a spare bolt-in stub axle for an
independent suspension. Not all independent stub axles can be
unbolted on the roadside & a new one inserted, some are welded. The
welds need to be ground out before the stub is unscrewed or tapped
out. For roadside repairs this involves a generator, a grinder and a
The big question is just how far do you go to being self
sufficient with spares. Is it necessary to carry a complete axle
just incase. The answer lies with good pre-trip inspection and a
proper maintenance schedule. But sometimes you just canít help bad
luck however good your maintained schedule may be.