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Old 01-09-2015, 08:14 PM   #1
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Tires

I have a 2008 sprinter 3500 Interstate with 33,000 miles. The front tires are cupped on the edges and need replacement (whine or singing sound but not unbalanced). The rear are OK but I don't think they have ever been rotated. Does anybody have experience with problems like this? These are probably original equipment tires. I bought the unit from a wholesaler last year who didn't have a lot of history on it.
Does anybody rotate tires on a 6-wheel Sprinter as recommended in the owners manual, taking tires off the inner rear rims etc.?
Maybe I should just replace them all after 6+years in sunlight and weather.
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Old 01-09-2015, 08:32 PM   #2
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I think the tire mfgs recommend about 6-8 years before the tires should be replaced but for RVs this site says 5-6. I do use the tire covers when the RV is not in use.

The wear on the outer edge seems to be endemic to the Interstate. My opinion is the camber needs to be set as close to 0* as the spec allows due to the added rear weight of the conversion.

I had mine rotated at about 22K and front end aligned. I didn't get as close to zero as I wanted and didn't have the special MB camber bolts w/ me. Will see if the outer edge wear slows down.
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Old 01-09-2015, 08:38 PM   #3
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Are all the wheels aluminum, or are the inner duals steel?
If they are all aluminum, I'd take the two front tires, and put them both on the right rear, oriented so they are still turning in the same direction they are now. Put the two right rear duals on the front, also turning in the same direction they are now. You can probably get another camping season out of them, in this manner.
If the inner duals are steel, the tires would need to be dismounted/remounted in order to maintain aluminum wheels where they will be visible.
You can try moving the left front tire and wheel to the right outer dual, and the right front tire to the left outer dual. Just know you will probably have some serious wheel cleaning to do.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:20 PM   #4
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The inside of the front and rear outside wheels are not polished. You have to remount the tires.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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I would probably replace them all with Michelin's.

How long have you been in New Bern? I lived there for a couple years a long time ago.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:19 PM   #6
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Does anybody rotate tires on a 6-wheel Sprinter as recommended in the owners manual, taking tires off the inner rear rims etc.?
If you get your service performed at Mercedes Benz they will go by the Sprinter Maintenance Manual (see page 5 of the manual), which calls for tires to be inspected at every Schedule A service, and rotated if necessary.

But if your Sprinter is eating front tires, and the rear tires are holding up just fine, you may want to leave them alone and not rotate them at all, and just settle for replacing the front tires twice as often as you replace the rear tires. It may be cheaper in the long run.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:39 AM   #7
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We have changed the front tires on three Interstates to Michelin XPS RIB 225/75R x 16". This tire has a shorter side wall and stronger construction so it gives a much more direct steering feel. We have used this tire on the front of Class B's for many years and owners are always quite amazed at the improvement they make. I have not seen any tire wear issues with them. They look better as well.

The downsides, one is that MB uses the front tires to feed the speedometer so it reads 3.8% faster, the other is they are not quite as good in snow.

I tend to think the labor cost of rotating tires on these is more than the savings in tire wear.

I hope this helps.

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Old 01-10-2015, 10:31 AM   #8
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Don't mix tire sizes as that will cause problems with the electronic stability system. I agree with Protagonist- just replace the two front tires and get an alignment. The problem is the Sprinters come on from the factory with front end alignment set for empty vehicle. Then Airstream adds lots of weight and doesn't get them realigned.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:15 AM   #9
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We have changed the front tires on three Interstates to Michelin XPS RIB 225/75R x 16". This tire has a shorter side wall and stronger construction so it gives a much more direct steering feel. We have used this tire on the front of Class B's for many years and owners are always quite amazed at the improvement they make. I have not seen any tire wear issues with them. They look better as well.

The downsides, one is that MB uses the front tires to feed the speedometer so it reads 3.8% faster, the other is they are not quite as good in snow.

I tend to think the labor cost of rotating tires on these is more than the savings in tire wear.

I hope this helps.

Andy
This statement for the Michelin XPS RIB tire on Tirerack would be of some concern for winter driving:

"Highway Rib Summer tires are not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice."
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The inside of the front and rear outside wheels are not polished. You have to remount the tires.
If you are handy and want to DIY, I wonder if you can polish the wheels?
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Don't mix tire sizes as that will cause problems with the electronic stability system. I agree with Protagonist- just replace the two front tires and get an alignment. The problem is the Sprinters come on from the factory with front end alignment set for empty vehicle. Then Airstream adds lots of weight and doesn't get them realigned.
I don't have an Interstate in front of me, but perhaps getting all of the tires replaced with the XPS would be a better plan. No problems with traction/stability control then, the tires would last longer, and could be rotated.
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This statement for the Michelin XPS RIB tire on Tirerack would be of some concern for winter driving:

"Highway Rib Summer tires are not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice."
Most of us would be traveling and camping during warmer weather, so this may not be a major concern, depending on whether you are going to be using the Interstate as a driver during Winter.
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Old 01-10-2015, 03:43 PM   #11
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The 3.8% difference in size is close enough that the ESP is not affected. This is about the difference between new and worn tires. I think the 215/85's may ride a little smoother on the dually rear axle.

You are correct they are not as good in winter conditions but not terrible. Many of the ambulances here in Canada ran them all winter for years. I used to drive them quite a bit in snow on our Pickups as well, they all have 17" rims now and the XPS is not available for those. You could go to LTX all season tires in the 225/75 but they don't steer as precisely, still better than the 215/85s though.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:57 PM   #12
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If you are handy and want to DIY, I wonder if you can polish the wheels?
While I haven't seen the inside surface directly, it feels pretty rough to the touch which means it would require a lot of effort to polish to a shiny surface. But it would be possible.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:07 PM   #13
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While I haven't seen the inside surface directly, it feels pretty rough to the touch which means it would require a lot of effort to polish to a shiny surface. But it would be possible.
I'm not entirely sure that the inside surface of a front wheel matches the shape of the outside surface of a rear wheel, and vice versa. I don't know if they have only one wheel design, and polish one side for the rear and the other side for the front. I haven't taken off front and rear wheels at the same time to compare their dimensions to see if they're even reversible.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:03 AM   #14
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Prairie,

You have practically the same AI I have - 2010 Airstream Interstate, I bought in 2009, that's built on a 2008 chassis.

I would just count on replacing all the tires. Mine were cupped and made a humming noise while driving. I replaced all the tires last year with BF Goodrich tires from Discount tires. The original tires were Kumho. Even though they had good tread depth, the tires were cupped (front) and all were showing signs of dry rot. Discount tires said they would rotate the tires for free when they needed it, even though it involves removing the tires from the rims to do so.

I took my AI to my Mercedes dealer for the alignment and they added the adjustment bolts. I really don't know why MB doesn't include these from the factory.

You will be surprised how much quieter it is with the new tires. Feels like brand new again. Since the tires were cupped for awhile, we didn't realize how noisy they actually were.

We went on a 5,000 mile trip last summer. The peace of mind of having new tires was worth buying them to me.

I surprised that MB has not added a factory TPMS system for the 3500 chassis van yet.
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