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Old 05-26-2012, 09:29 AM   #1
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first flat...WHY?

Well it happened. 18 months into my Airstream ownership I had my first flat tire. All I have learned on the Forums sprang into action. I had the good tire up on the blocks, the old one off, the spare tire on, pressure checked, lug nuts tourqued, and I'm ready to go. I had done all the right stuff, checking pressure before each trip, etc. Because of all I've read on the Forum I think about my tires alot. The tires on all my other cars and trucks get almost no attention and essentially never give me trouble. I am hard pressed to recall the last flat I had. Is the stress on an Airstreams tires so much greater, that failure is inevitable. Or is it just that we worry more about our prized Airstreams so much
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
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All man made products are imperfect. Stuff happens. In the last 6 years I have had 5 or 6 flats on my cars. Prior to that it had been at least 10 years from my last one. Easy enough to tell what caused the flat, screw, nail, glass, side wall cut from hitting curb, etc.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:19 AM   #3
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No way to tell the internet why your tire went flat. You probably need to take it in and get it dismounted and checked. There is indication that ST tires commonly used on trailers are more often defective than tires meant for cars and trucks. I switched to LT tires on my 25' and feel better about the tires.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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The only thing that can be told from your post about why your tire failed is that is might because they are not good tires. Fear of Marathons has led many of us to switch to 16" wheels and light truck (LT) tires, often Michelins. We switched several years ago and have had no problems other than a screw in one that caused a slow leak. Can't blame the tire on screws and nails.

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Old 05-27-2012, 01:38 AM   #5
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Would appreciate your input on the Airstream Tire Failure Poll:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f438...oll-76867.html

If you have Goodyear Marathons, you are lucky your first flat wasn't a blowout.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:27 AM   #6
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Flats happen

Could have been something extremely ordinary and common such as a nail or screw that penetrated the tire. Flats are just normal occurrences that happen now and then. We get them in our trucks, cars, and trailers. Sometimes you are on the road and sometimes you just go into the garage in the morning to go to work and a tire is flat from something you picked up earlier. (my personal experiences) If you have not already discovered something obvious you will find out what really happened when you get it looked at and repaired.

I think the important thing here is how well you were prepared for the problem. Well done, many of us could learn from that. You had the tools, knew the process and "Your Spare had Air!"
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:46 AM   #7
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If it makes you feel any better, I had a flat tire yesterday on the flatbed I was towing. Lucky for me, I found it in my pre-trip and took care of it before I pulled out. Turned out to be a bad valve stem that sliced where it went through the rim. Couple of $$ at the local tire store and I was on the road.

A little trick I found over the years is to keep one of those infrared thermometers in my tow vehicel and take quick tire temps at rest stops. Quicker than taking pressures and will quickly show if you have somthing that needs a closer look.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
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It would help if the OP came back with further information about his tires, such as make, mileage on tires and road conditions, what caused the "flat" and maybe a bit about his driving style (actual towing speeds, etc.). Until then all is just speculation and leads to possible unnecessary specific brand bashing.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:58 AM   #9
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I have been driving for 28 years and the only flat I ever had was slamming into a curb to avoid a rear end accident. I guess I'm due. Hope it's not on the AS. Although last year I replaced the spare tire that was probably 20+ years old. Though it still held air. I check the tires on the TV and AS before every trip.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:08 AM   #10
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We have gone from a single axle Airstream to a double axle model. One thing I have noticed on the tires is when backing and turning the trailer there is a great deal of side pressure on the tires as they turn, each on a side in opposite direction. Stop and look during the turn and you can see it. The sharper the turn, the greater the deflection. The better traction on the surface, the greater the deflection.

I wonder if single axle trailers have fewer failures than double (or triple) axle trailers.

Could these maneuvers lead to early tire failure, perhaps contribute to belt separation? If so, would there be a way of reducing the surface grip?

doug k
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:45 AM   #11
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I believe ST tires were originally designed to reduce the problems Doug refers to—they had stiffer sidewalls. But problems with tread separation appear to be greater with ST's.

Like Doug I wonder about tandem axles causing more pressure on the sidewalls—maybe triple axles are the worst? It seems there should be more pressure on the tires with more than one axles because tires on a single axle should pivot more easily. One thing to try is to not back a trailer at extreme angles, but that is not always possible when backing into tight spaces from narrow access roads.

I don't know either and this question has been debated on tire threads with no conclusive answers. Some LT tires (Michelin Ribs) have reinforced sidewalls, but our experience with LTX's has been good.

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Old 05-27-2012, 02:02 PM   #12
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Another theory I heard is that with tandem and triple axle trailers with the tires so close together when the front tire runs over something (nail, ect...) it can be kicked up and not have time to settle before the next tire runs it over.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:48 PM   #13
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Tire-scrubbing on dual and triple axle trailers might contribute to some tread-wear, but are pretty minor compared to the dynamic loads when the rig is in motion. I think a lot of the disaster stories told here are the result of not knowing when a tire is going flat... there can be very little feedback from a tandem axle if one tires goes down... with the style of suspension on Airstreams, the other axle takes the load and it can be just minutes for a tire to deform, heat up and blow.

All you can do is inspect your tires frequently or invest in a pressure monitor. One cheaper option are the valve-stem caps that will pop out with a red indicator if they go below a preset level... useful for quick walk-arounds at the rest-stop.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:00 PM   #14
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We have a triple axle boat trailer that weighs upwards of 9-10,000 pounds when the boat is fully loaded. Our driveway has black skid marks from the tires dragging sideways every time we take it out and back it into our backyard. Our single axle Bambi leaves no skid marks, and the tires follow with absolutely no side resistance or sliding when turning.

Note: The approach to our driveway involves a 90 degree turn onto or off of the street, which causes the skidding.

To reduce tire skidding and rollover, I sprinkle a little sand in the tire tracks when pulling out. However, don't overdo it; because if traction is reduced too much, the entire trailer can skid and slide into your gate, wall or house.
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