Wheelhouse Inspection

Exterior Inspection Instructions

This information is a breakdown of the activities in the Exterior Inspections Checklists that Yetti Outdoors recommends that you perform on your wheelhouse.  This overview of exterior inspection key points contains additional details from the checklists presented in the owner’s guide reviewing important exterior inspection items and recommended times to perform them.  If you are looking for that list you can find it here: Exterior Inspection Schedules and Checklists.

Throughout this post, if additional content is available to clarify the topic in more detail, we have inserted links to other Owner Guide information.  If you have questions as you perform your Yetti wheelhouse inspection you should clarify questions by reading your manual or checking in with a service center near you.

These are the key points for an exterior inspection we are going to go over:

  • Wheelhouse Structure
  • Ball and Coupler
  • Fasteners and Frame
  • Welds
  • Wheels
  • Landing Leg or Jack
  • Lights and Signals
  • Wheel Rims
  • Tires
  • Lugs Nuts
  • Wheel  Bearings
  • Brakes
  • Breakaway Brakes

 

Wheelhouse Structure:

Instructions on washing your wheelhouse can be found here:  Washing Your Wheelhouse.

 

Ball and Coupler:

Before each tow, coat the ball with a thin layer of automotive bearing grease to reduce wear and ensure proper operation; and check the locking device that secures the coupler to the ball for proper operation. See the coupler manufacturer’s manual for other inspection and maintenance procedures. If you do not have this manual, contact your dealer for assistance.  If you see or feel the evidence of wear, such as flat spots, deformations, pitting, or corrosion, on the ball or coupler, immediately have your dealer inspect them to determine the proper action to prevent possible failure of the ball and coupler system. All bent or broken coupler parts must be replaced before towing the Wheelhouse.

The coupler latch lever must be able to rotate freely and automatically snap into the latched position. Oil the pivot points, sliding surfaces, and spring ends with SAE 30W motor oil.  Keep the ball pocket and latch mechanism clean. Dirt or contamination can prevent the proper operation of the latching mechanism.  When replacing a ball, the load rating must match or exceed the GVWR of the wheelhouse.

You can find additional instructions on how to grease your towing vehicle hitch ball by clicking this link: Ball and Coupler Maintenance Information.

 

Fasteners And Frame Members:

Inspect all fasteners and structural frame members for bending and other damage, cracks, or failure. Repair or replace any damaged fastener and repair the frame member. If you have any questions about the condition or method of repair of fasteners or frame members, get the recommendation of, or have the repair done by your dealer.

WARNINGS: Broken or damaged fasteners can cause injury or damage to the wheelhouse and contents. Inspect four and repair all damaged parts at least once a year.

 

Welds:

All welds can crack or fail when subjected to heavy loads or movement of cargo that was not properly secured. Any time that you know or suspect that the wheelhouse has been subjected to heavy loads or movement of cargo, immediately inspect the welds and fasteners for damage.  To prevent severe damage to your wheelhouse, inspect all the welds for cracks or failure at least
once a year. If a weld failure is detected, contact your dealer.

WARNINGS: Do not attempt to repair a cracked or broken weld unless you have the skills and equipment to make the repair.  Improper weld repair will lead to early failure of wheelhouse structure in serious injury or death.  Broken or damaged welds can cause injury or damage to the wheelhouse and contents.  Inspect for and repair all damaged parts at least once a year.

 

Landing Leg Or Jack:

If a grease fitting is present, use a grease gun to lubricate the jack mechanism. Grease the gears in the top of hand-cranked jacks once a year, by removing the top of the jack and pumping or hand-packing grease into the gears.

 

Lights And Signals:

Before each tow, check all trailer lights for proper operation. To avoid the risk of collision all lights must work.

 

Wheel Rims:

If the trailer has been struck or impacted, on or near the wheels, or if the trailer has struck a curb, inspect the rims for damage. Replace any damaged wheel. Inspect the wheels for damage every year, even if no obvious impact has occurred.

 

Tires:

Before each tow, check the tire pressure to make sure it is at the level indicated on the tire sidewall or VIN label. Tire pressure must be checked while the tire is cold. Do not check tire pressure immediately after towing the trailer. Allow at least three hours for the tires to cool, if the trailer has been towed for as much as one mile. Tires can lose air over a period.

Replace the tire before towing the trailer if the tire treads have less than 2/32-inch depth or the telltale bands are visible.

A bubble, cut or bulge in a sidewall can result in a tire blowout. Inspect both sidewalls of each tire for any bubble, cut or bulge; and replace a damaged tire before towing the trailer. If you are storing your trailer for an extended period, make sure the tires are inflated to the maximum rated pressure indicated on the sidewall or VIN label and that you store them in a cool, dry place such as a garage. Use tire covers to protect the tires from the harsh effects of the sun.

To view a diagram and more information on this topic, check out the Owner Guide’s post here: Tires Wheels and Bearings.

 

Lug Nuts:

Lug nuts or bolts are prone to loosen right after a wheel is mounted to a hub. When driving on a remounted wheel, check to see if the lug nuts or bolts are tight after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving, and before each tow thereafter.

Tighten the lug nuts or bolts in three stages to the final torque for the axle size on your trailer, to prevent wheels from coming loose. Tighten each lug nut or bolt in the order shown in the following figure. Use a calibrated torque wrench to tighten the fasteners. Verify that wheel studs are free of contaminants such as paint or grease, which may result in inaccurate torque readings. Overtightening will result in breaking the studs or permanently deforming the mounting stud holes in the wheels and will void the axle warranty.

To view a diagram and more information on this topic, check out the Owner Guide’s post here: Tires Wheels and Bearings.

 

Wheel Bearings:

A loose, worn or damaged wheel bearing is the most common cause of brakes that grab. To check your bearings, jack up the trailer and secure it on adequate capacity jack stands. Check wheels for side-to-side looseness.
If the wheels are loose or spin with a wobble, the bearings must be serviced or replaced. If your axle(s) are equipped with a grease zerk on the ends of the axle(s), the bearings must be greased every 6 months or 6,000 miles to ensure reliable and safe operation of your trailer.
1. Remove the rubber plug from the axle end.
2. Place the grease gun on the zerk.
3. Pump grease until new grease begins to appear. Use a different color grease each time so
you will know when the new grease begins to appear.
4. Install rubber plug and cap. Repeat for remaining wheel bearings.

If your trailer axle(s) are not equipped with grease zerks, refer to the axle manufacturer for service information.

To view a diagram and more information on this topic, check out the Owner Guide’s post here: Tires Wheels and Bearings.

 

Brakes:

Checking over your brakes is part of a routine inspection that we recommend in our service maintenance schedule before each tow. While towing less than 5 mph, manually operate the electric brake controller in the tow vehicle. You should feel the operation of the wheelhouse brakes. If the wheelhouse’s brakes are not functioning, the brake system MUST be evaluated to determine the cause of the problem and corrective action MUST be taken before the wheelhouse is used.  To find additional information on testing your wheelhouse brakes check out this Owners Guide information: Testing Electric Brakes & Breakaway Brakes

 

Breakaway Brakes:

Checking over your brakes is part of a routine inspection that we recommend in our service maintenance schedule before each tow.

To find additional information on testing your wheelhouse breakaway Brakes check out this Owners Guide information: Testing Electric Brakes & Breakaway Brakes

 

Summary:

To perform many of the inspection and maintenance activities, you must jack up the trailer. When jacking and using jack stands, place them to clear wiring, brake lines, and suspension parts (springs, torsion bars).

For placement on where to jack or block your wheelhouse check out this blog: Blocking Your Wheelhouse Information

For the Inspection Schedule and Checklists, you can view that here:  Inspection Schedule and Checklists

 

Cautions:

  • Worn or broken suspension parts can cause loss of control and injury may result.
  • Have wheelhouse professionally inspected annually and after any impact.
  • Never go under the wheelhouse unless it is on firm and level ground and resting on properly placed and secured jack stands.
  • The tow vehicle and wheelhouse could be inadvertently moved while a person is under the trailer.
  • The tow vehicle engine must be off, the ignition key removed, and the parking brake set before entering the area under the wheelhouse.

 


Failure to properly maintain and service your Voyager equipment may result in personal injury and may void any manufacturer warranties. Please contact your local dealer with any service, maintenance, or warranty questions.

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