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Old 10-06-2015, 08:02 AM   #1
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15" rim vs. 16" rim ?

Maybe I missed this discussion, but why do folks change their AS's rims from 15" to 16"? Is it a ground clearance issue, better weight carrying capacity or better choice in tires? I've seen a few sets of tires/rims that folks have taken off their newer AS's and are selling. I would like to upgrade both the tires and rims on my 1989 Excella but not sure if I should go to 16" rims or buy newer style 15" rims. Any thoughts?

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James
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:37 AM   #2
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It's so they can use LT (light truck) tires rather than the ST tires that come on new trailers.
I've always wondered why not just replace the Goodyear Marathons with a higher quality/rated tire and keep the 15 inchers. Maybe someone can educate us both.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:00 AM   #3
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Bob,

If you mean a higher quality/rated ST tire, some people do just that on the assumption that it is at least better than using the Marathons that have such a bad reputation

I did that initially.

But then, after hearing so many recommendations of LT tires I decided I would go that route.

For our particular trailer (30' Classic") there was no LT tire available that had the necessary load capacity - at least as far as I aware - so I had to switch to the 16" wheels in order to get an LT tire with the appropriate capacity.

As well as the reported better performance of LT vs. ST, the LT tires are not limited to 65mph as I think all ST tires are.

I don't generally drive much faster than that but probably wind up in the 70-75mph range when driving the long straight interstate across Texas and similar.


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Old 10-06-2015, 09:09 AM   #4
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Here is a link to a real, honest to goodness TIRE ENGINEER website specializing in RV tires
RV Tire Safety

I am running 15" Goodyear LT tires and am very pleased.

When I am ready to replace the wheels, I will upgrade to 16" as that gets you into higher tire loading capacities and speed ratings.

I do not drive over 65 MPH. There are a couple times I had to run 70 to "merge" safely or I was watching scenery more than the throttle....and no issues.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:19 AM   #5
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I used Yokohama LT tires on my 15" wheels. They are rated at over 2,000 lbs each.

So far so good.


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Old 10-06-2015, 10:25 AM   #6
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Greater tire selection however with 16 inch wheels. More manufacturers are switching to 16's anyways. And there are infact 16 inch ST tires too, so you can't just claim it's to only run LT's. Although that's what most here on this forum do.

16 inch Trailer Tires - Bias Ply and Radial ST Trailer Tires
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:20 AM   #7
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I have the Michelin 235/75x15 on my 2008 Classic 25fb. If I switched to 16" rims the distance between the two tires would be at least 1" less. I'm not sure I could put 2 Lynx blocks on the ground with one on top of them between the two 16" tires. This is my typical Lynx block configuration for leveling. I'd probably have to switch to the Anderson leveling system.

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Old 10-06-2015, 11:48 AM   #8
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I like to keep an eye on what Airstream company is doing. They introduced 16" Michelin tires/Sendel wheels on the low production Eddie Bauer model a few years ago. Then it was offered as an upgrade at the Service Center. On 2015 Classics is became the standard tire/wheel.

There's different ways to read it but I think they have been uncomfortable with the reliability of 15" GY Marathons, gave the Michelins a production test on the Eddie Bauer, and now standard on their premium trailer. You can now order them as an option on any 25' Airstream and up.

They no longer have full confidence in the 15" Marathons so why should we. You can "get by" with the Marathons or other ST tires but an upgrade to 16" Michelins/Sendel wheels is not outrageously expensive compared to the cost of damaged railer repairs (TPMS may or may not save you). We followed Airstream's lead on this one.

There may be a downside. The 16" Michelin LTX tires at the Airstream recommended 80 psi may ride rougher than the 16" Marathons at 65 psi, causing slow long term damage to the Airstream. Watch for it.

We have decided to mitigate this issue by running our Michelins at 65 psi but there are plenty of arguments against that as well. Mostly "inter-ply shear" while making sharp turns from a tire engineer who frequents this forum. I have not heard of an Airstream tire failure on account of it though. Another is increased sway tendency; we haven't felt that through our ProPride hitch either.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #9
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I changed my to the 16", things I looked at was load, heat rating (live in AZ), and speed.

Michelin 225/75 16, made in Canada, the Marathon were made in China, had problems w/ two them.

I did get free replacement for them, but still replace/16".

Will put others up for sell, they are good tires, I have always like the Michelin tires
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easyrider06 View Post
Maybe I missed this discussion, but why do folks change their AS's rims from 15" to 16"? Is it a ground clearance issue, better weight carrying capacity or better choice in tires? I've seen a few sets of tires/rims that folks have taken off their newer AS's and are selling. I would like to upgrade both the tires and rims on my 1989 Excella but not sure if I should go to 16" rims or buy newer style 15" rims. Any thoughts?

Regards,
James
You named 2 of the reasons in your post- better weight carrying capacity and better choice in tires.
Only 1/2" ground clearance is gained, so it is not really noticeable.
I have never been able to get more than 3 or 4 years from ST tires before a tread separation. LT truck tires will surely last longer.
2 bad experiences with ST tires is enough. I decided I didn't want a third bad experience.
Also, ST tires are limited to 65 mph.
I may never exceed 65 mph, but I can if I want to with 16' wheels and LT truck tires.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
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For those of us less sophisticated on the definitions and specs of LT vs ST I Googled up Tire Tech at tirerack.com for an excellent explanation.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:41 PM   #12
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And they look a whole heckuva lot better too. Doug/dkottum, you should bump your tire pressure up to 70psi. 80 PSI on the Michelins is a bit bouncy. IMHO, 65 is not enough. I had smooth sailing with mine at 70psi all the way out to Phoenix & back w/o issue. Numerous tows of under 300 miles since then, is very comfortable @ that PSI. Best addition I ever made to my TT. Love to see the Michelin man waving at me on all 8 tires. Best rubber on the road.
Before & after photos.
Keep its head up!
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:04 PM   #13
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Any recommendations or experiences with upgraded tires and rims for a 2014 Bambi 16'?
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by FishinHatteras View Post
Love to see the Michelin man waving at me on all 8 tires. Best rubber on the road.
Before & after photos.
Keep its head up!
Gavin
What do you use to level your Airstream with the 16" tires?

Kelvin
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