Burning smell from wheel on swift older caravan

Jun 24, 2018
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Hi there! Would appriciate some help here.
We just hooked up our caravan and drove about an hour. Stopped and smelt a burning smell coming from, I think, the offside wheel. The smell was still evident after a couple of hours. It smelt similar, but not exactly like a burning clutch smell.
Any thoughts please, as not sure if it is safe to tow any further.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If you checked your brake for heat it may be what is colloquially called “a relaxed axle “. Which means your offside has dropped on its suspension. Check tyre to arch clearance. Has arch been damaged by wheel rub? Axles are no longer reconditioned so if it is that be prepared for a large bill in excess of £1000.
 
Jun 24, 2018
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Ok Thanks, otherclive,
I will try to check that one out. We have put it on a site. Can you advise, would there be a clear difference from one side to the other if this was the problem?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Yes if you try and put your hand/fingers on top of the tyre you would be able to gauge if both sides were the same or different. Also if you smelt burning check out the tyre tread depths and condition. If both tyres were made on or around the same date they should have virtually the same tread depth. Also if you suspect relaxation to be the cause of the smell remove the wheels and inspect the condition of the wheel arch surfaces.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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The burning smell like a clutch is nothing to do with a relaxed axle.

What it is , is the brake shoe lining having been in contact with the drum , either because the brakes have been wrongly adjusted, or the lining has come away from the shoe .

When was the van last serviced?
 
Jun 24, 2018
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Hi, thanks, only just seen your reply. I am not finding my way around this site too well.
The van was last serviced 2 years ago and brand new tyres were fitted then too.
 
Jun 24, 2018
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Hi again, I won't be able to look again at this site until the morning,
I am assuming that the van is not safe to tow until it has been checked out? If so, does anyone know of a reputable mechanic near Cosgrove Caravan Park near Milton Keynes, that I could contact?

Many thanks,
Alimike
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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I am not sure how to reply to that news to be honest. I have no doubt that you may well take offence to my reply but here it is with no frills.
To have had the van serviced two years ago and expect it to be in good running order for an hours run at least is irresponsible to say the least.

What I expect has happened is the brake shoes had stuck to the drums, or not released correctly, and the lining has been ripped off and burnt to a crisp, which will require at least new brake shoes, and possibly new drums If they have warped.

The potential to have caused a major road traffic accident is enormous and as you had not taken reasonable precautions , like checking if the running gear was good to go, your insurance may well have had problems and come back on you for reimbursement.

Before you move the van at all in the future you must get situation sorted out by a qualified caravan engineer, there is no question of not.

Search Approved Workshops for an engineer near to you
 
Jun 24, 2018
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Thank you,
I won't take offence at all. I completely agree with you. Unfortunately others, do not understand!!
It will not be moved until sorted.
Many thanks again.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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As mentioned, the brake shoes probably stuck to the drums, just as clutch plates can stick if unused a long time.
It doesn't take 2 years for this to happen either, just a few months can do this. Next time after a lay up. ask someone to watch the wheels when first pulling away - if one doesn't turn, backing up, or moving back and forth will often free up the shoes, with a loud 'ping'.
Some people leave the handbrake off for this reason, but high winds can move a van even with the legs down, so that's your call.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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camel said:
One of my pet hates is seeing caravan handbrakes left on all the time down my storage compound ,

Ours is handbrake off feet down both wheels chocked either side, that's not going anywhere , no matter how strong the wind is !
 
Nov 11, 2009
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chrisn7 said:
As mentioned, the brake shoes probably stuck to the drums, just as clutch plates can stick if unused a long time.
It doesn't take 2 years for this to happen either, just a few months can do this. Next time after a lay up. ask someone to watch the wheels when first pulling away - if one doesn't turn, backing up, or moving back and forth will often free up the shoes, with a loud 'ping'.
Some people leave the handbrake off for this reason, but high winds can move a van even with the legs down, so that's your call.

With legs down and a wheel lock the van will not be moving anywhere far, and as others have advised four wheel chock would absolute “seal the deal”.
 

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