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Old 03-22-2006, 09:23 AM   #15
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Rod, I'm not a tire expert and don't pretend to be. You need to look at the max weight ratings on each tire and then have your trailer weighed with axle weight, left and right side weights separately, and then tongue weight and do it with and without the load bars. Then you'll know exactly what your needs are for the new tires. If the tires were marginal, say... near the top end of the tire's load range which would have been OK until you installed your Pergo and Corian. And, both Pergo and Corian are heavy. Maybe you're just really heavy on the curbside. You may not be over the GVWR on the axle, but you may have overloaded the Marathons. In any event, having real-world weights available may help you resolve your problem by buying tires that are properly weight rated.

If you find after weighing your trailer that all is within spec, then there could be a dozen other reasons that the tire failed, and you'll just never know about them. A rubber valve stem failure, for example, that lets the tire run flat at freeway speeds will end up with the same ground up tire result as a blowout and you'll probably never know the difference by looking at what's left over on your rim.


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Old 03-22-2006, 09:41 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rod Pease
We have about 15-17,000 miles on our trailer and except for the first 2 or 3 trips when I didn't know what tire pressure to maintain, (I used 35-40 PSI then) I have been religious at maintaining the recomended 60-65#.
The tires look practically brand new but since I blew one out I am replacing both this weekend.
My question for the forum relates to why the tire failed.
The Bambi tires are very heavily loaded at the onset. The Bambi axle is the highest rated axle Airstream uses and there is a reason for that. The Corean and the Pergo floor don't seem like a good idea to me in a trailer that is already so heavily loaded . Running, even a short distance, at 35-40 psi is murder on such heavily loaded tires and equivalent to many miles at proper pressures. I think you are prudent to change both tires.

I don't think the weight distribution bars had anything to do with the failure although I would recommend lighter bars.

I'm surprised that the sway bar bent. I have had several blowouts pre-Airstream and never had any perceptable trailer swerve. Sounds like you may have the sway bars set up awfully tight in order for them to be bent.

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Old 03-22-2006, 09:56 AM   #17
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Lightbulb Your best investment.......

Single axle travel trailers are at highest risk for damage to the trailer as a result of sudden tire pressure loss/blowout

The best thing you can do is purchase an "E" rated or higher trailer tire and run them no longer than 3 years.....

I prefer bias ply because there is less sidewall flexing......

I have personally towed travel trailers from 1947 thru 1999 and both single and dual axle models. Probably over 100,000 miles total.

I have run over everything from garbage bags to a rear bumper that came off of the car in front of me on the freeway....and I have never had a flat.

But I never exceed 55 m.p.h. while towing as well

I believe a good trailer tire with a weight rating greater than is needed, combined with additional tread & sidewall plies, keeps the flats away.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:07 AM   #18
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Puncture related blow-outs

If your blowout is caused by low air pressure as a result of a puncture-induced air leak, there IS a simple and relatively inexpensive countermeasure. I am not affiliated with this company, but I have their product in every tire that I own and have not had a tire failure since. I have found a nail and a screw in a rear motorcycle tire and never know it until it was time to change it! Never lost any air either. Great stuff!!!!
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:56 PM   #19
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If you put "E" tires on any Airstream product that has torsion axles, you "WILL" in time, cause considerable damage to the shell and frame.

The semi-monocoque design loves and apprciates a "SOFT" ride, as per the engineers.

To stiffen the ride, is very foolish and unwise.

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Old 03-22-2006, 12:58 PM   #20
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I've read on these forums that folks tend to replace their tires after a few seasons use (2 or 3) regardless of mileage. I am not saying I don't agree with that statement, but it is a costly event to replace tire sets at regular intervals as suggested.

That said, trailer tires take a lot more abuse than normal tires and we've all read about the blowouts that happen more often on RVs than cars.

I would say that based on what you've said and the Z71 suspension you have, that if you are using 1000# bars with a Bambi, you may be overhitched. How do I come to this fact? Well, I had a Bambi with the Impala (very soft suspension compared to trucks). I user 1200lb bars and those kept some good flex on the bars and both trailer and car level. I upgraded to a 25' Safari and moved it with the Impala, still using the 1200lb bars. Still good.

I then upgraded to a 2500 Suburban. No flex at all with the 1200lb bars. Then went down to the 750s and got some flex. I have since gone down to the 650s and expect even greater sway control as there should be more flex to the bars and, since I have a stout rear end, I don't need to throw some of the weight to the trailer. I would suspect that with a Z71 (more stiff) suspension, you could in fact get by with 300lb bars if such bars existed.

If I recall correctly, the Marathons are rated at 2360 (don't hold me to that number though). If that is correct, 2 tires could hold about 4700lbs. If what you've added pushes too close to that 4700lbs and the tires are 3-4 seasons old, it could be a recipie for trouble. The only way to know for sure is to load up the Bambi as you normally would and take it to a scale. When I had the Bambi, I tended to pack as light as I could give I had only 2 tires. Though our Safari also has the same Marathons as our Bambi, there are 4, so between all 4 we have about 9400lbs of capacity...however if I get much past 6300lbs, I'll break the axles first.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Rod Pease
My question for the forum relates to why the tire failed.
I have modified the Bambi by putting in Corian counter tops and a Pergo floor so I am carrying a little more weight than typical but I am sure that I am not over the axle rating.
hi rod

happy to read you were using sway control and w/d and that nothing really awful followed the blowout....

like here:

i note that the person starting this thread also was using antisway....

your post reads like a details guy......have you taken the trailer to a cat scale and weighed in........?

deciding if you are over the tire rating, or need lesser w/d bars seems directly related to knowing how much your 3 axles are carrying and what is your tongue wt......right? and what happens when you tighten up the w/d system...

get a weight in......and give the experts the data to answer you better...

and i think using a tire sealant is a great lewster suggests...especially on a single axle unit.....slime and stan's no tubes, also make products that provide a seal for punctures....i'm a stan's no tubes user.....

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Old 03-22-2006, 04:19 PM   #22
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From the experts....

The following were downloaded off the internet at various tire manufacturer & tire manufacturer rep websites....

The load range or ply rating branded on a tire's sidewall helps identify its strength and ability to contain air pressure. While specific load ranges are assigned to passenger tires, load ranges are identified in ascending alphabetical order for light truck tires (the further along the letter is in the alphabet, the stronger the tire and the greater amount of air pressure it can withstand and load it can carry). Before load ranges were adopted, ply ratings were used to identify the relative strength of light truck tires with higher numerical values assigned to tires featuring stronger, heavier duty constructions.

Today's load range/ply ratings do not count the actual number of body ply layers found inside the tire, but indicate an equivalent strength based on early bias ply tires. Most radial passenger tires have one or two body plies, and light truck tires, even those with heavy duty ratings (10-, 12- or 14-ply rated), actually have only two or three fabric body plies, or one steel ply.


From Discount Tires' website:


Long-term fatigue can also weaken a trailer tire. There are a number of factors that accelerate fatigue, but heat buildup from towing at high speeds is one of the main culprits, according to Fry.

"If you trailer nonstop from Phoenix, Arizona, to Las Vegas, in 100-degree temperatures at 65 mph, you use up much of the resources of that tire, and you don't realize it," said Fry.

Fry is not talking about wearing out the tread. It is the tire's construction that is breaking down. As heat builds up, the tire's structure starts to disintegrate and weaken. Over the course of several trips, this load-carrying capacity gradually decreases, according to Fry. Incidentally, all ST tires have a maximum speed rating of 65 mph.

One key to extending tire life on a tandem- or tri-axle trailer is to ensure that the trailer is riding level, thus distributing the load equally among all the tires. If the trailer tongue sits too high, the rear tires may bear the brunt of the load: with the trailer tongue too low, the front tires may be unduly stressed.

THIS statement sums up my personal belief as I do not tow at high speeds:

While radials were frowned upon at one time, today there is wide-spread acceptance of these tires. Which should you use? The decision hinges on your towing style, according to Ray Evans, executive vice president for engineering, marketing and sales of Titan Tire Corp. in Mogadore, Ohio. "While it is true that a bias-ply tire can provide more side-to-side stability than a radial, a bias ply also runs hotter than a radial," said Evans. "If you are pulling a heavy load, and need an extra measure of stability, use a bias ply."

To each his own

Having towed over 100,000 miles w/ no incident, I will continue to use "E'" rated bias ply trailer tires on single axle travel trailers over 3500 pounds and all tandem axle trailers.....

No offense, but I believe other quality concerns with vintage Airstream engineering will cause failure before increasing the tire rating from "D" to "E"

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