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Old 11-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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14" GYM Sidewall Bubble

So. . . I gather there's a history of some problems with GYMs.

When I returned home from my last camping trip I checked the tires as I removed my TPMS sensors. I saw a slight bulge in the sidewall of one of my 14" GYMs. From what I've read in the gazillion other threads on GYMs this could be the prelude to a blowout.

Tomorrow or early next week I'm planning to either show this picture to one of the guys at the nearby Goodyear tire shop and see what he thinks or actually take the tire and wheel in for inspection. I'm not sure what to expect in terms of them being willing to do a full replacement or give me a break on the cost of a new tire. So I'd be interested in hearing from others who have done this and what might be reasonable of me to expect of them.

I neglected to get the date of manufacture from the sidewall when I took the picture but I've had the trailer almost 2 years to the day. It was a special order and I picked it up from the dealer as soon as it arrived so it's not one that sat on their lot for a long time.

Trailer usage is about 1 trip per month. My records show the tires have 8,785 miles on them. I keep them at 50 PSI and monitor with a TPMS. Trailer is a 23D International. The one time I had it weighed it was 4,993 pounds with mostly empty tanks and my normal gear inside. Full capacity is 6,000 pounds so I'm confident I've not come close to that -- and probably never will.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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Some waviness in the sidewalls of GYM's is normal - it is caused by the steel belts. Not sure if that is what this is.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:55 PM   #3
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From what I read on the forums, an indentation is normal and indicates overlap of the belts. I've seen others mention this can actually be the strongest part of the tire. But a outward bulge is not a sign of belt overlap and is cause for concern.

The picture posted sideways because of the way I held my iPhone when I took it. The area I'm concerned about is pretty much right in the center of the picture frame.

I won't claim to be a tire expert so I'm very interested in opinions of others on this. I've seen very little posted about 14" GYM but not many of the Airstream models use them. Plenty about the 15" tires though.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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The question in my mind would be, "why would I want the dealer to give me another Marathon to replace it" ?

In the world of 14", I have one word and three numbers for you: Kumho 857

EDIT: at this point I expect numerous folks will show up to talk about all the great luck they have had with GYM's. Fair enough. Still would not convince me to use that tire.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
The question in my mind would be, "why would I want the dealer to give me another Marathon to replace it" ?

In the world of 14", I have one word and three numbers for you: Kumho 857

EDIT: at this point I expect numerous folks will show up to talk about all the great luck they have had with GYM's. Fair enough. Still would not convince me to use that tire.

I've had great luck with GYM's.

On our second set.

Changed out in 2010.

But I'm reel dum....

Bob
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
I've had great luck with GYM's.

On our second set.

Changed out in 2010.

But I'm reel dum....

Bob
Nah, you're not dum, bob ! You're lucky. And as the man said, I'd rather be lucky than smart any day !
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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That's a fair question, gmw. I have a trip planned around Thanksgiving and I want to feel confident about taking it out. I'm actually considering 15" wheels and Michelin tires. Considering a few other options, too, and that Kumho 857 is one of them. A replacement GYM is really only a temporary solution to get me through my 2 hour drive for Thanksgiving while I take a little more time to consider my options.

There is a BFGoodrich passenger tire that will fit my 14" wheels with a load capacity of 1565. That puts me closer than I'd like to be to my axle capacity of 3000. I'd prefer to keep my 14" wheels if I can to keep decent room in the wheel wells. But if I can find 15's and Michelin's that will fit in the wheel well without being too close to the rear opening that would be awesome.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:50 AM   #8
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I just love tire threads. Lots of bad information. Gives me something to do.

That bulge is caused by a slight spreading of the PLY cords (not the steel belt). Some amount is to be expected - and the photo is about half way to excessive. Nothing to worry about. If it were twice as bad, that would be something worth taking care of.

Will this cause a blowout? Absolutely not. A bulge has to be 4 times as large to cause a blowout - and I have yet to see one cause a blowout after having looked at 10's of thousands of failed tires.

So don't be surprised if they don't do anything for you. And be gracious if they do.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:15 AM   #9
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Even our TV's vaunted LTX's are a little wavy....

Bob
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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Update

Well, I stopped by 3 tire shops today with my iPad so I could show the picture. The rep at the Goodyear shop said the bulge was likely caused by hitting a curb or a pothole. I know the bulge developed after my last trip because I always check the tires when I park the trailer in the storage yard and take off the TPMS sensors so they don't get stolen. I know for sure there wasn't a curb involved and the highways in Florida generally do not have potholes since we don't have freezing and thawing here. I've driven the route dozens of times and the road conditions from points A and B are ideal.

While I wanted to ask the rep if she was in the passenger seat with me on the trip and I just didn't notice her I kept my mouth shut. No sense being a smart aleck if I might need her to do something for me later. She did say she'd need to see the tire removed from the trailer for inspection to know for sure and said they'd be able to do some warranty something-or-other for me if it was defective. A very reasonable statement.

But her first inclination to assume it was a road hazard or owner negligence tells me I'd have a tough time with them. I don't have the tire knowledge to counter whatever argument they'd give me.

The rep at my local Ma & Pa tire shop that has been in business for years and has consistent 4.75 star ratings out of 5 made a face when I showed him the picture. He worked for Goodyear several years ago and he was polite and professional about it but still said he'd not put a Marathon on it. Nor would he take a trip with it looking the way it does. He said it was likely the beginning of separation occurring.

Perhaps I could continue for a while with the GYMs but when I'm headed out in the Airstream it's all about fun and relaxation. I genuinely value the input from CapriRacer but as a solo traveler I don't want to start a trip with "halfway to excessive" in the back of my mind. My confidence is shaken with the GYMs and if it costs me $600 out the door for a new set of Kumho 857s with a D load rating and 99 MPH speed rating it will be money well spent. . . for me.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:35 AM   #11
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Thumbs up

Remember Ma & Pa sell tires, questions are free, answers cost money,
right answers cost even more.

Bob
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #12
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After reading more tire threads than I care to count, my impression is that it is likely that CapriRacer knows more and is more objective than the dealer/indie shop would be. Clearly it is your money and peace of mind and decision but I would give a lot of credence to what CapriRacer has to say.

Good luck,

John S.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonanea View Post
I saw a slight bulge in the sidewall of one of my 14" GYMs. From what I've read in the gazillion other threads on GYMs this could be the prelude to a blowout.
You're worried for no reason.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:59 AM   #14
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If it helps. We have been using the BFG TA's on some 23' Airstream's and many other units with 14" wheels for several years and we have had zero problems with them. One customer tows 8000 miles per year and has been running them for 4 years now. We don't load them over 5500 pounds. Before that we used the same size in a Michelin.

I have one set of Kumo's being tested at the moment so far not a problem.

Your wheel wells are the same size as Airstream's with 15 & 16" rims and you can change to 15" rims if you like. You need an aftermarket wheel such as an American racing. You can do a slick combination of a 16" rim with a 235/60 tire on a 23'. It doesn not work any better than the 15 but it looks cool. This is a picture of a set on a 34"

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