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Old 02-13-2013, 01:00 PM   #15
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Free rotation makes all the difference!

In fact since I just found out that Discount Tire offers free rotation, even on a dually where you have to dismount and rebalance all six tires to accomplish it, I may have just jumped on the rotation bandwagon. The were willing to mount my tires ($44) even though I purchased them from Tirerack, but they also pointed out for future reference that they will meet or beat their price on the tires (of course I don't pay tire rack our 8.375% sales tax that I will have to pay discount, but that's the price of doing business). When I replace the four on the back in about 5k miles, I'll goto them to purchase the tires and install and have them move the new fronts I just put on to the rear and continue rotation from there.

In the mean time, I would like to report back on the alignment. It was in spec but there was some allowance to adjust it to less toe-in while still staying in range. The before specs were .44 degrees total toe which equates to about 3/16" toe in. The tech tweaked it for me down to the minimum factory specification, .23 degrees total toe (1/8" is .29 degrees, so it's slightly less than that). A small change, but I think it was worth doing.

As a previous poster mentioned, the vans do have something else going against them that can contribute to outer edge wear. The factory spec is for .4 to 1.5 degrees POSITIVE camber ... this means that in a static state the tire is actually leaning out, putting a bit more weight on the outside edge of the tire. Mine was right at the minimum spec on the left side and close to it on the right so we left it alone. If I continue to have the outer edge wear with the new and, I hope, improved rubber, I will consider adjusting the camber outside of factory specs to correct the wear issue by setting the camber at or near zero. As a sports car guy, I'm used to running at least .5 to 1.5 degrees of negative camber on my street cars and up to 3.5 degrees negative on my road race cars. The idea of a modern vehicle having positive camber seems arcane to me but I do have some hesitation going outside of factory spec. The van tracks nice and straight as it is and I don't want to mess that up (taking some of the toe-in out of it may have already hurt it, so I want to live with that for a while before considering changing any other settings).
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:48 PM   #16
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For future reference, I think most Discount Tire stores also fix flats for free, even if you didn't buy the tire from them. I have used this service several times, and the tire techs wouldn't even accept a tip.

Now, the only time I buy tires elsewhere is when Costco has a cheaper price; and even then, Discount usually price matches. It's hard to beat Discount Tire, at least here in Arizona.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
My Interstate just ticked over 9800 miles, and I'm getting two messages on the dashboard display: "Service due in 200 miles"; and "Check DEF."

I plan to add more DEF myself rather than letting Mercedes do it. They use DEF imported from Germany, and charge by the liter. I bought a two-gallon container of the same stuff at Walmart for considerably less.
Don't delay filling after the messages as after a certain number (sorry can't remember what it is) of warnings, you only get 25 more starts and then it locks down.

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Free rotation makes all the difference!

In fact since I just found out that Discount Tire offers free rotation, even on a dually where you have to dismount and rebalance all six tires to accomplish it, I may have just jumped on the rotation bandwagon. The were willing to mount my tires ($44) even though I purchased them from Tirerack, but they also pointed out for future reference that they will meet or beat their price on the tires (of course I don't pay tire rack our 8.375% sales tax that I will have to pay discount, but that's the price of doing business). When I replace the four on the back in about 5k miles, I'll goto them to purchase the tires and install and have them move the new fronts I just put on to the rear and continue rotation from there.

In the mean time, I would like to report back on the alignment. It was in spec but there was some allowance to adjust it to less toe-in while still staying in range. The before specs were .44 degrees total toe which equates to about 3/16" toe in. The tech tweaked it for me down to the minimum factory specification, .23 degrees total toe (1/8" is .29 degrees, so it's slightly less than that). A small change, but I think it was worth doing.

As a previous poster mentioned, the vans do have something else going against them that can contribute to outer edge wear. The factory spec is for .4 to 1.5 degrees POSITIVE camber ... this means that in a static state the tire is actually leaning out, putting a bit more weight on the outside edge of the tire. Mine was right at the minimum spec on the left side and close to it on the right so we left it alone. If I continue to have the outer edge wear with the new and, I hope, improved rubber, I will consider adjusting the camber outside of factory specs to correct the wear issue by setting the camber at or near zero. As a sports car guy, I'm used to running at least .5 to 1.5 degrees of negative camber on my street cars and up to 3.5 degrees negative on my road race cars. The idea of a modern vehicle having positive camber seems arcane to me but I do have some hesitation going outside of factory spec. The van tracks nice and straight as it is and I don't want to mess that up (taking some of the toe-in out of it may have already hurt it, so I want to live with that for a while before considering changing any other settings).
Since you mentioned racing alignment, you're probably aware of the reason for positive camber which I think has to do w/ the camber change that occurs during turns. I know it's different for different vehicles as have noticed some vehicles display a lot of negative camber at full lock. Also camber changes on most vehicles thruout the range of suspension travel.

3/16" toe-in seems like a lot to me based upon what most of my other vehicles have. Usually 1/16" to 1/8" is normally what I expect. But maybe w/ a one ton chassis, you need more. Don't know about that.

Was surprised to hear that anyone will dismount, mount, balance, and rotate for free six tires. Will definitely check that out when the time comes.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:48 AM   #18
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Was surprised to hear that anyone will dismount, mount, balance, and rotate for free six tires.
Me too! Of course it's only if you buy your tires from them. They said that they do it all the time on the dually pickups so it is SOP for them. I suppose that since they have to deal with the treadwear warranty's that it is better for them in the long run to suck it up and do the rotations than deal with the upset customers and warranty claims. Still, that's a lot of work for "free".

With regards to the alignment and camber change in motion, yes you typically get way more negative camber as the wheels are turned due the caster setting, though the sprinter chassis has a relatively small amount of caster and there is not an adjustment provision. My caster was actually less than the factory spec, (mine was 3.5 degrees with the factory range of 4.3 to 5.3 degrees) but since there is not a way to easily adjust this I am not going to worry about it. Typically, as the suspension compresses the geometry is designed to provide more negative camber so as the body rolls onto the outside tire the negative camber offsets some of the body roll to keep the tire flat on the ground and not overwhelm the outside edge of the tire ... which is why sporting vehicles run more negative camber and why since our vans are top heavy and I tend to exercise mine in corners more than most I may consider deviating from the factory spec and setting it to zero or negative camber instead of the factory positive specs in an attempt to eliminate excessive outside edge wear. So far the reduction in toe-in does not seem to have effected the directional stability but I've only driven it about 20 miles. Need to get it out on the highway with some of our Oklahoma crosswinds to see if I can tell a difference.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:33 AM   #19
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We just always get our tires at home, and deal with rotations when we are there.

We have not had outer wear issues, although also have only 4 tires. We are on our third set at 130,000 miles.

We have never had a flat, but have a couple of times picked up a nail or bolt that created a leak. We look for the first tire place in whatever town we come to, and have had those fixed for $6-$8. People are always willing to help those who are travlin' thru.

We also service at Peterbilt locally and have found them completely reliable and dependable. Those ongoing relationships mean everything. They have answered questions over the phone and fixed simple, small things at no charge. Love them.


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Old 02-18-2013, 06:37 PM   #20
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"Michelin LTX MS2"

X2

Have always had good luck with Michelin tires.

Bob
So is everyone in agreement? Michelin LTX ms2?

I know my size is 215/85r16

What about going with a lower profile? Say an 80, 75 or even 70?

Would this reduce 'bounce' in rear? Or stuck with factory size?

Performance is #1 but a tire has to 'look' good as well
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Teamaron View Post
So is everyone in agreement? Michelin LTX ms2?

I know my size is 215/85r16

What about going with a lower profile? Say an 80, 75 or even 70?

Would this reduce 'bounce' in rear? Or stuck with factory size?

Performance is #1 but a tire has to 'look' good as well
If you're sticking with original rims, I'd stick with original size tires, too. Ground clearance is already low, and a lower tire profile won't help that.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:37 AM   #22
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In addition to ground clearance, the lower profile tire would have less load carrying capacity as well. I actually thought about going with a 235/85/16 because I believe the taller sidewall would improve the ride (and increase load capacity) but in the end the lack of extra clearance between the duals prevents installing anything wider.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:28 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post

If you're sticking with original rims, I'd stick with original size tires, too. Ground clearance is already low, and a lower tire profile won't help that.
Yea I thought about ground clearance. But would the 1/4 - 1/2" make a difference?

I guess I'll stay with same size, but it does seem that depending on manufacturer there are still some variations in size even though the tire dimensions are the same.

Also what are the new factory units coming with?
Continentals? And if so why aren't they popular with replacements?
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:23 AM   #24
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Yea I thought about ground clearance. But would the 1/4 - 1/2" make a difference?
Depends on where you drive. New Orleans is the pothole capital of the south, and here it would make a difference.

Quote:
Also what are the new factory units coming with?
Continentals? And if so why aren't they popular with replacements?
The tires that come on any new vehicle will usually be the least expensive that the vehicle manufacturer can buy in bulk. Cheapest, not best. When I replace tires, my personal safety is worth the extra cost to buy good tires, so it's practically a foregone conclusion that I will not buy the same brand that came on the vehicle when it was new.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:27 AM   #25
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Good experience with Firestone Transforce HT

Hi All: New to forum and new to my recently acquired '06 Airstream Interstate.

Just got back from Troy,Ohio with replacement for my Hurricane Sandy flooded '01 Chevy Express LS passenger van. The dealer, Dave Arbogast had 4 new Firestone Transforce LT225/75R16E HT installed. Most of the 670 miles I traveled home had light snow or rain. The salt spreaders were out crossing most of western PA. For most of my 76 years I was a dedicated Michelin owner, All of my Mercedes Diesels and even a '89 White/Gm/Volvo Class 8 Sleeper cab tractor with a 425 Cat engine had Michelin's. Not always the best tire life but great ride and wet road performance.

Had the new Airstream needed tires I wouldn't hesitate buying Michelin's. However I was really surprised with the quiet ride and wet road handling delivered by the Firestone's. My only gripe is the rear tires seemed to have too much air pressure. The sticker says 55 front, 80 rear. I haven't checked it out yet.

Tire reviews at "Tire Rack" seem unanimous regarding these tires with some people getting up to 80,000 miles along with good wet traction and a quiet ride as well. The Firestones will stay put.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:08 AM   #26
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Welcome to the good life, traveling in an Interstate!


We have loved our Firestones. No problems whatsoever.


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Old 02-22-2013, 08:30 PM   #27
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I bought two new front tires today at Discount Tires and when they inflated them to 61 psi they looked like they were half flat. The boss even came by and say whoa.... those tires need more air. I think they inflated them closer to 75 or 80 and now they look and ride like normal....What do you think could have caused that?
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:38 AM   #28
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Bad gauge maybe.
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