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Does the Alko spare wheel carrier have a design problem ?


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#1 El San

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:15 PM

Last August I purchased a new caravan and overall been pleased with it. Intending to use the caravan immediatly after Easter I decided to check tyre pressures and the torque on the bolts securing the road wheels. I then came to the spare wheel lowered the ALKO Carrier removed the nut and centre screw clamp and lifted the wheel out. The wheel had to be turned over to gain access to the air valve on doing this I was shocked to find four grooves across the wall of the tyre obviously caused by the main frame of the carrier and the tightening of the securing clamp.

Believing this to be a serious safety issue I transported the wheel to the Dealership that supplied the caravan, the Service Department would not look at the tyre and said they would take my word for it, adding this happens on all new caravans because the manufacturers keep changing wheel sizes. I was then shown several brand new caravans by different manufacturers and you could see the tyre wall deformed over the carrier frame. After informing this Dealership that I thought their comments were flippant and irresponsible disregarding peoples safety when they know of a problem and do nothing about it, they then offered to report my complaint to the manufacturers of my caravan.

Some friends of mine have now checked this out on their caravan and found they also have grooves in the spare wheel tyre wall caused by the securing method of wheel to carrier. At this time I do not know if ALKO are aware of this issue maybe their carrier is not designed for the wheel sizes that our Caravan Manufacturers use.

#2 Impy

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:38 PM

Hello El San, welcome to T & T.

We have also found the same type of indentations/marks on our spare wheel. It will be interesting to see if anyone else has the same problem, I think that contact with ALKO customer service department might be in order to see what they have to say about it. If something like this happens after such a short time then what must the spare tyres be like on older caravans?


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#3 Grandad Graham

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:51 PM

Just a couple of questions

1/ how tight was the fastening ??

2/ did the tyre have sufficient air in it ??

Not nit-picking
but tomorrow/Sunday getting my van out of it's shed and will take a look at mine which has been there for 4 years now
We had new valves fitted to all 3 tyres 2005 due to them perishing the spare was OK then but as usual the carrier was a sod to pull out



will let you know


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#4 eddie

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 07:30 PM

I noticed this on mine as well. I'm considering cutting a piece of marine ply, about 24" diameter, and positioning it on the carrier so that the full circumference of the tyre will rest on it. This will obviously make it more difficult for the wheel & carrier to clear the chassis when needed, but it's the best I can come up with.

#5 Viggo

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 11:07 PM

Is it a design fault? Well, the spare wheel cradle is prone to jamming, leaves the spare wheel exposed to road salts and muck and - you tell us - also often deforms the tyre itself. Oh, and when you need it most (after a puncture) it's a 50/50 chance that it's impossible to use because the caravan is down on one side, and Sod's Law says it's bound to be the side you need to access.

I'm beginning to doubt that there's anything about this product that isn't a fault. It's a waste of time, money and space as far as I can see!


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#6 Grandad Graham

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 08:09 AM

QUOTE(Viggo @ Apr 7 2007, 12:07 AM) View Post
Is it a design fault? Well, the spare wheel cradle is prone to jamming, leaves the spare wheel exposed to road salts and muck and - you tell us - also often deforms the tyre itself. Oh, and when you need it most (after a puncture) it's a 50/50 chance that it's impossible to use because the caravan is down on one side, and Sod's Law says it's bound to be the side you need to access.

I'm beginning to doubt that there's anything about this product that isn't a fault. It's a waste of time, money and space as far as I can see!


You know Viggo I am begining to thik you are right

especially about the chance of when a tyre goes it's going to be the access side of the carrier will report back about mine later on today after I get some other stuff sorted

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#7 Green Squirrel

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 09:46 AM

QUOTE(Viggo @ Apr 7 2007, 12:07 AM) View Post
Is it a design fault? Well, the spare wheel cradle is prone to jamming, leaves the spare wheel exposed to road salts and muck and - you tell us - also often deforms the tyre itself. Oh, and when you need it most (after a puncture) it's a 50/50 chance that it's impossible to use because the caravan is down on one side, and Sod's Law says it's bound to be the side you need to access.

I'm beginning to doubt that there's anything about this product that isn't a fault. It's a waste of time, money and space as far as I can see!


Surely it is like anything else - maintain it correctly and it is fine, use it correctly and it is also fine. I lower mine and remove and check the spare at least twice each year, I also apply some light grease to the sliders of the carrier and make sure that the wheel is replaced at a slightly different 'rotation' plus also ensure that the holding nut is not overtightened. And surely if you have a puncture and the carrier is very low, when you jack the van up the carrier will also go up undecided.gif And as to being exposed - aren't your normal wheels? And I am sure that you can buy and fit a wheel cover if it worries you. I am sure that there are other ways of carrying the spare but for me the AL-KO works well, the weight is low down and in the centre so does not upset the very delicate balance of a caravan and it keeps the wheel out of the way and out of sight - perhaps that is the biggest design fault - it is 'out of sight and out of mind' and so gets neglected.

BTW what I do is over and above what the service agent does!

#8 Del

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 10:18 AM

I agree with Green Squirrel, the Alko carrier not only hides the spare wheel, it lowers the nose weight and aides stability by having the weight just behind the axle and at the level of the axle. You can always move it back to the front locker , or do what we did before the days of dedicated spare wheel spaces and carry it either in the van or in the car.
I have cut a peace of ply and placed it below the wheel thus giving even pressure around the tyre.
A caravan is for 12 months of the year, not just for summer.

Del

#9 El San

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 03:54 PM

QUOTE(Grandad Graham @ Apr 6 2007, 07:51 PM) View Post
Just a couple of questions

1/ how tight was the fastening ??

2/ did the tyre have sufficient air in it ??

Not nit-picking
but tomorrow/Sunday getting my van out of it's shed and will take a look at mine which has been there for 4 years now
We had new valves fitted to all 3 tyres 2005 due to them perishing the spare was OK then but as usual the carrier was a sod to pull out



will let you know


Hi Grandad Graham, Ref. your two questions:-
1/ I do not have an accurate figure for the tightness of the fixing but I would estimate it required 25-30 lbs. ft. to undo. The fastenig was previousely tightened by the Caravan Manufacturers or the Dealership where I purchased the caravan on the
P.D.I. ( if they did one ).

2/ The tyre pressure was 36 P.S.I. and should have been 41 P.S.I.
Hope you find these answers satisfactory, and I am sorry for the delay in replying but I had problems logging on to the site .
Best Regards
Elsan.

#10 Viggo

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 05:30 PM

QUOTE(Green Squirrel @ Apr 7 2007, 10:46 AM) View Post
Surely it is like anything else - maintain it correctly and it is fine, use it correctly and it is also fine.

I think the maintenance schedule is too intensive - all that greasing and checking is just a pain in the bum.
QUOTE
And as to being exposed - aren't your normal wheels?

They are, to a certain extent, but that's unavoidable - but I know if I ever need to change a wheel in an emergency I'd rather be dealing with a spare wheel that's clean and dry. Even if you put a cover on the wheel, then the cover's going to be filthy.

Seems to me that the best design was the approach taken by Avondale to put a spare under a hatch inside the van, but they've recently abandoned that, haven't they? Don't know why, but I'd imagine it was down to cost.


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#11 Maurice

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 06:57 PM

the times we have talked about this over the years !!!!

I hate the damned thing --- I do not put my wheel there any more -- It goes in the toilet ---

If anyone has ever tried to get their spare wheel from the caravan in a grass field -and succeeded -they are GODS.. it is dam near impossible to get the wheel out == bugger the "maintain it and it will be OK!" lot -- I have done that -- on the drive striped it down - greased it put it back -- pushed - pulled and made sure it was working --- just you wait till you get on the road or in a grass field -- when you really need to get it out... No way ho-say!!!

I have looked at the points raised about the tyres and thought about them my self -- small dents in the side walls for a long period "cant " be doing the tyre much good..

Maurice


I wonder if you can get a retro fit of one of those (Avondale ???which was it?) wheel holders in the floor of the van --- I would pay for it to be fitted !!!!

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#12 Grandad Graham

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 07:11 PM

Right
I have now done my annual dismantle and re-assemble

the nut was suitably tight as I had left it

The tyre was at 26lb instead of the norm of 39lb (not bad leakage over 1 year)

there were four white marks on the tyre sidewall but NO indentations

On examining the set-up slowly (I'm off sick and fast is now a banned action)

I noticed that the tyre touches the floor of the caravan

This led me to wonder if the ones with indentations were pressing more on to the tyre as they were under more pressure from the floor above ?? (just a theory don't quote me)

I re-assembled the set-up complete with new Coppaslip on all moving parts including the rim of the wheel and put it back in place

one observation I will put over is I think Viggo is right I would hate to have to do that on the side of the road with the door side tyre flat



Regards

Graham & Stephanie

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website here- - - - - - - - pictures here

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May 2015 - Twin Lakes France for a week

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#13 Maurice

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 07:24 PM

QUOTE(Grandad Graham @ Apr 8 2007, 08:11 PM) View Post
Right
one observation I will put over is I think Viggo is right I would hate to have to do that on the side of the road with the door side tyre flat


Try it in a grass field --- honest -- next time you are on site just try it..try to get the wheel out... (question how do you jack up the caravan with the Alko jack?? on grass ) . Let alone on a motorway in France with 40 ton lorries missing you by centimetres !!! either side !!!

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#14 mike

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 08:36 PM

QUOTE
Let alone on a motorway in France with 40 ton lorries missing you by centimetres !!! either side !!!


I once passed a frenchman changing a caravan wheel on the A6 just south of Lyon where the autoroute crosses the Rhone. The combination was parked just round a blind bend on a bridge with a very small hard shoulder and the driver laying on the road half over the white line. I have often wondered if he survived.
I will do anything to avoid wheel changing on a motorway even if it means creeping along the hardshoulder at 10mph for 30 minutes to the next safe stopping place, sod the price of a tyre.
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#15 colonel

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 04:02 PM

Why not pull the van up on a levelling ramp, drop the legs, jack it up to overcome teh flat tyre, lowerthe legs some more and bingo! - you can now access the spare wheel as well as remove the punctured one because of the extra height that you have picked up with the ramp. Before anybody says that this might damage the punctured tyre, what makes you think that it will still be any good if you have just driven with it flat? undecided.gif

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