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Does the Alko spare wheel carrier have a design problem ?

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Posted

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.

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44 answers to this question

Posted

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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Posted

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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Posted

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.

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Posted

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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Posted

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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Posted

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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Posted

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.

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Posted

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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Posted

Surely it is like anything else - maintain it correctly and it is fine, use it correctly and it is also fine.

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Posted

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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Posted

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

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Posted

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

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Posted

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

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Posted

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:

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Posted

The recommended way is to

jack the van up

drop the legs for safety

then change the wheel

Now I don't use an ALKO Jack I've got the bottle jack from a Frontera (got two now)

Like Maurice said try in grass ::o: the use of a levelling ramp only ads a couple of inches and the jack may not like the extra pressure when you realease the thing would hate to ruin the corner steadies

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Posted

Any vehicle not on a hard standing will be difficult to jack UNLESS you put in your own hard standing first, I always carry a couple of two foot lengths of stout timber planking which also double up as extra height pieces when on a slope and the plastic levels are not enough. If the ground is so soft that the planks sink then I think I should get the van moved first.

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Posted

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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Posted

The answer is don't even think about the above scenarios. Anybody who attempts to change a tyre on grass/motorway is asking for trouble. The grass scenario is obvious but the motorway scenario is frightening. You may be relatively safe changing a nearside wheel but the offside is a no no. Wait for the breakdown service after leaving your car is the recommended action,

Regards,

Ian.

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Posted

To quote my own quote....

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

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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Posted

Or how about this design from an Eriba Touring caravan, where the spare wheel fits in a 4x4 type rear wheel carrier:

touring_frei_uebersicht.jpg

And on a UK caravan would helpfully lower the nose-weight.

Robert

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Posted

All our Airstreams carry a spare on the back as well - much better idea as it lowers the noise weight.

As for trying to change a tyre on the Motorway ---------- I'm far too much of a coward. A slow creep down the hard shoulder to the nearest safe point is about as much as I could handle and sod the tyre !

Anyone ever tried changing a wheel on soft ground.? Another one NOT for the soft hearted. Beter to pull the van slowly onto hard standing first

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Posted

Spare wheel at the back may reduce the noseweight but it increases the flywheel effect. It's this flywheel effect that can cause terminal snaking!

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Posted

Spare wheel at the back may reduce the noseweight but it increases the flywheel effect. It's this flywheel effect that can cause terminal snaking!

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Posted

Ian

The Eribas are small and light so can no doubt tolerate this.

The caravan insurance companies will know how common/uncommon snaking accidents are, together with models of cars and caravans.

I have heard of Caravan Club insurance being refused for a specific combination of car and caravan, but usually after a claim.

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Posted

Ian

The Eribas are small and light so can no doubt tolerate this.

The caravan insurance companies will know how common/uncommon snaking accidents are, together with models of cars and caravans.

I have heard of Caravan Club insurance being refused for a specific combination of car and caravan, but usually after a claim.

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