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171. The trailer bites again


We’d decided to bring the Scout back home from Bicester in order to complete the last few jobs before it’s ready to fly.

We knew it would tow satisfactorily behind a Land Rover Discovery, and so we bit the bullet and hired one for the day.

I headed down to Bicester in a brand new one, and hitched up. Driving on the road was something of a nerve-racking experience after my last little contretemps but everything seemed fine and once on the motorway I turned on the cruise control to 50mph and it was steady as a rock.

The last quarter of a mile to the airfield is single track road, which is a bit interesting with such a large trailer behind, but we’d done it before and I would have been happy to do it again.

Unfortunately the road was closed for repairs, and so I had to take a fairly long diversion involving about a couple of miles of single track road.

I took it very slowly, and managed fine, not meeting a single car coming the other way.

Then about half a mile from home I felt a gently pull and thought I’d gently brushed the bank at the side of the road or gone over a small pothole. My speed at the time was somewhere between 5 and 10mph. Everything seemed fine otherwise and I carried on.

But when I got to the gate of the airfield, I was horrified to find the left front trailer wheel sticking out at a very curious angle, with the rim completely bent in such that the tyre had deflated.

The damaged wheel

The damaged wheel

Indespension trailing arm

Indespension trailing arm


Wheel rim close up

Wheel rim close up

Oh dear, I thought – that’ll mean a new wheel and Indespension unit, until I rang the trailer builder and he told me that it wasn’t possible to replace one side only – an entirely new axle would be required!

I’ve been back over the road about four times now, both on my own and with someone else, and we simply cannot see what could have caused such a massive disruption. What’s even odder is that the tyre next to the rim is completely unmarked, and there’s no evidence of any contact with any other part of the trailer. Keith, who built the trailer, has never seen an Indespension trailing arm bend like that, and he’s tried fairly hard.

And to crown it all, the car hire company says that the towhitch on the Discovery is bent! If that’s all it takes to bend a factory towhitch, I suggest you don’t use one for towing off road as all I can say!

It’s proved an expensive weekend and I may ask someone else to tow it next time…



From → Building

  1. Steven Jefferson permalink

    Oh Dear, better luck next time. I’d avoid that track if possible!

  2. Never seen anything like that outside accident damage. My feeling is that it most likely hit something projecting from the bank at axle height so that it couldn’t roll over it. A tree root perhaps. You don’t need that much speed to do damage if you squarely hit something anchored solidly enough with the momentum of a 4*4 plus trailer. Should you feel like going back again I’d look for holes in the bank at axle height where something has very recently been as well as objects sticking out. Wouldn’t need to be sticking out very far, just a couple of inches if you brushed the bank as is all too easy to do. I assume the trailer is wider than the tow vehicle..

  3. Been there, done that. About four times, by myself and with Theo. Still no sign of what it was. It would have been almost impossible to achieve intentionally, since it missed the tyre but got the rim of the wheel.

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