Camper Trailers Tech Tips

Spares for the Camper






spares for the camper


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 it.

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 the rim.

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 welder.

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.



ouch spare bearings kit jacking base


tyre repair kit compact storage pre-trip inspection

more reading

camper trailer maintenance
axle inspection
servicing wheel bearings
adjusting camper trailer brakes
replacing that wheel





march 2010