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Old 07-27-2013, 03:30 PM   #1
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GoodYear Marathon ST Tires and NHTSA

I've been doing a lot of reading regarding tires as I need to replace the ST205/75R14's that are on my 1998 25B Airstream. From what I've read, the Marathon's appear to be a real problem so I decided to look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's web site Home | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see what complaints have been filed.

Here on the Air Forums there appear to be hundreds of post regarding Marathon failures but there are only 14 complaints that have been filed with the NHTSA and only one by an Airstream owner.

You can look at these complaints at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchTires

You'd think that with only the failures mentioned on this site that there would be loads of complaints filed but there are not.

Would some of you that have had Marathon failures consider filing a report? The Marathon used to be a good tire and if enough reports are filed then maybe Goodyear will correct the problems the current tire has.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #2
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not trying to start an argument but i am sure most AS or for that matter SOB owner would not take the time to file a complaint with NHTSA on a "lame" tire..

I know i have had an issue with pepboy tires which are made by cooper tires. they would not stay balanced, even after the tire shop told me the factory wheels were warped.. I got new wheels and still had same issues.. after reading some forums i got a clue copper tire suck so i changed manf of tire.

I just did what every one eles does and shop with my feet. I change over to bridgestone and Michelin tires and have no issues with tires now but i would not go to ntsb to report the tires..

most owners in the know would come to a forum like this to ask about tire issues as you can see by all the threads about GYM tires.. they would figure out after reading about tire after tire failure some iwth little to no miles and see what other are going to and how they are holding up..

I am not a RV, AS or other wise, owner at this time but i can tell you just in what I am reading here when i do get a AS it will not have for very long GYM tires on it..

this is just my 2 centsj worth but i feel there is alot of other owners that agree with that..
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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If tire failures aren't reported to NHTSA, don't be surprised that they don't react.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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The problem is two fold. I wouldn't doubt that cause for failure is pretty hard to prove. Goodyear will note excessive speed, overload, and insufficient tire pressures are the cause of failures. Hard to prove a defect when all you have left is a shredded tire. The second problem is the majority of travel trailers OEM with Goodyear's. I dare say that while the number of failed tires are formable, you probably wold find that the % of failed non Goodyear ST tires is probably comparable to Goodyears. The problem comes down to ST tire construction and when used on heavy trailers and higher summer road temps, these tires just don't hold up. After two different brands of ST tires on my Classic, I'm convinced it's an ST issue.

Personally I chose to move past the hassle of attempting to prove my tires were defective and went with LT's. Only when the customers either refuse to buy trailers with ST's (hard to believe this will ever happen), or manufacturers of trailers learn that customers want tire options (like Airstream), will we see a turn around in OEM tires.

The issues we bring forth here are echoed on other RV forums. This isn't just an Airstream/ST problem.

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Old 07-28-2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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Problem is if enough complaints are logged with the NHTSA then an investigation will be launched into the GYM. If everyone has the attitude that it is not worth the time to file the complaint then there are going to be many more trailers damaged be it airstream or SOB. If I had a problem with the GYM and I knew that it was not from my own stupidity then I would gladly file a complaint.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:37 PM   #6
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As I said among other things in a PM to the OP, personally I don't care if they "solve" the problems with defectively built ST tires.

Part of the reason I will not buy ANY ST tire is this bogus cheap azz nonsense of a tire only being good for 65 mph and 3 to 5 years.
For just a few dollars more I can buy a LT that does not carry those handicaps.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Some of us have benefitted from reading on the forum about the negative GYM ST tire experiences that have happened to these posters. Thus, I replaced my GYM ST tires as soon as I got the unit home from the dealership.

I do not know what CostCo did with the takeoff GYM tires with under 500 miles on them, but I hope they were sent to the tire shredder.

Having installed five of the Michelin LTX (P) 235/75R15 XL tires, I will miss out on the opportunity(?) to have the side of my trailer wiped out by an ST tire.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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Utility, horse, boat and travel trailers all have experienced GYM failures. Then, the owners switched to another brand of ST tires; and some of those failed. So, over time, trailer owners accepted the fact that all brands of ST tires are just going to blowout sometimes. Those that had so many failures that they got tired of wasting money prematurely replacing ST tires and repairing trailer damage, looked for and found better LT tires; and they switched.

The number of ST tire users is so small compared to passenger cars and light trucks, that ST tire failures just don't show up on anyone's RADAR, except the individual changing one on the side of the road.

NHTSA would take notice if people were killed when tires failed, like with Firestone tires on Ford Explorers a few years ago. Alternately, if trailers burned and/or exploded, that might also get people's attention because of the exciting video clips on the evening news. However, since ST tires are only used on trailers (which don't carry passengers); and the trailers rarely explode or burn, this problem will probably never catch anyone's' attention except the few organized user forums like this one; and those groups are so comparatively small that they don't have any traction in initiating changes.

So, the only alternative that might eventually work will be to vote with our feet, as Carl2591 suggests above. When enough people switch to LT tires, the money will stop; and ST tire manufacturers will be financially forced to take a look at where their customers went, and why. (Just my opinion, but this won't happen soon, if at all.)

I, for one, voted a couple of years ago -- No more ST tires for me!
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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I also got dizzy trying to decipher which ST tires to trust, so I went with a LT Nexan tire. So far so good, but we have only had them for a few months. We are about to do a big trip out to Yellowstone but tires is not one of my worries. lack of heat...
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
As I said among other things in a PM to the OP, personally I don't care if they "solve" the problems with defectively built ST tires.

Part of the reason I will not buy ANY ST tire is this bogus cheap azz nonsense of a tire only being good for 65 mph and 3 to 5 years.
For just a few dollars more I can buy a LT that does not carry those handicaps.
I can't understand why anyone would want to tow a trailer faster than 65 mph.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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So, the only alternative that might eventually work will be to vote with our feet, as Carl2591 suggests above. When enough people switch to LT tires, the money will stop; and ST tire manufacturers will be financially forced to take a look at where their customers went, and why. (Just my opinion, but this won't happen soon, if at all.)

I, for one, voted a couple of years ago -- No more ST tires for me!
I suspect you are correct that "this won't happen soon if at all".

I think there are three things in play here. First the OE rv manufacturers will continue to go with the low price supplier, and in the case of tires, that will continue to be chinese ST. Second, there are still a lot folks out here in the market even after years of this nonsense that still buy into what I think ( opinion only ) is this myth that ST tires really are specially designed for trailers, and by extension of that logic, "everything else" in incorrect on a trailer.
We see this repeated on this and other forums all the time. So those buyers will defend to the death continuing to purchase these tires, and make all sorts of excuses to justify the riculous 65 mph speed limit and the fact the tire has to be trashed in three to five years. Fine with me.....let the buy them.....hey, it keeps the guys in the local tire store busy mounting and balancing something.
And three, there are always, always,always a certain segment of the buying population that buy products based on the cheapest out the door price. Even if it does not make sense over a period of several years of use, that kind of buyer will do whatever it takes to save $5 at the point of sale.
And again, I have no problem with that. It's a case of buyer beware. The good news is there is plenty of information out there if folks just look, so nobody should be surprised by the outcome of modern purchases.
My opinion....so it honestly ain't worth a whole lot I suppose !
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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I did not file a report with NHTSA. I did file a claim with Goodyear and upon return of the failed tire GY paid $7k in repairs to the side of my trailer. So I did not have a beef with GY. Did I put a new set of GYM's on.....NO!!!!! I went with what has been good to me for decades and put on five Michelin LTX P235/75R15 tires. Sure... got all of the comments of how the Michelin tire is not a ST tire and I was pushing the limits on the tire rating. BUT...they are within the weight I run my trailer and two years later I have had NO issues with my Michelins. Eventually, I will go with a 16 inch Michelin. Just didn't have time to do it at the time and stayed with the 15's. Wish you best of luck in your search.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I can't understand why anyone would want to tow a trailer faster than 65 mph.
While I wouldn't want to tow faster then 65mph under normal circumstances I can understand why people would not want to drive at or near the max limit of the tires.

With so many advising a 20% safety cushion for weight rating wouldn't a 20% safety cushion for speed rating make sense to? That would make 53mph the max speed for a tire rated for 65mph which wouldn't feel safe on some roads with the other traffic.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:34 PM   #14
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I can't understand why anyone would want to tow a trailer faster than 65 mph.
As Wazbro says, at normal highway speeds, a ST tire very near it's limit. I think a corrolary would be like running your engine constantly near it's "limit" ( redline ). Does anyone think that idea that would be a "best practice" scenario ?
Again, as Wazbro points out, having a safety margin makes sense.
Also as I stated, I think the 3 to 5 year replacement recco is also based on the fact that tire company knows it's a compromised design. If I remember correct, GoodYear states on their care guide for Marathon that after three years either the load or speed should be reduced by some amount. I can't remember the details, but it's in their documentation on the web.
For what it's worth, Michelen states a ten year lifespan on their passenger and LT tires. Substantially better than "three to five" I would say.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:52 PM   #15
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A few thoughts...

When ST tires were developed, the national speed limits was 55 mph. If you towed your trailer at the speed limit, there's an 18 or so percent speed cushion. When the speed limit was raised, the tires had been in service for quite a while, and change is slow (if at all).

There are several states with 70+ mph speed limits, towing at 60-65 would be asking to get run over. When we lived out West, I learned quickly to adjust my towing speed upwards, especially when all there is in some states is miles and miles of miles and miles.

Persons towing fifth wheel trailers regularly blow by use doing 75+ when we're on the road. As long as you can write the checks for the fuel bills...
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:10 PM   #16
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A few yrs ago I had a Casita. Read the forums and bought Kumo radials the only radial that fit the rim (2009). 4000 miles to the first blowout. Would the st have blown?? Who knows. Drive sanely and you'll be ok.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #17
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Some things to keep in mind about trailer tires:

When you make sharp turns with your trailer there is a lot of stress on the sidewalls of your tires. The wheels on your trailer are trying to go straight.

This can cause loss of air pressure as well as belt damage to your tires.

Tire air pressure of more than 50psi requires high pressure valve stems.

It's not uncommon for tire stores to put standard valve stems in trailer tire rims. This has happened to me before. The tire store employee told me they were out of the correct valve stems. I had also asked them to inflate the tire to 60psi. I checked the pressure when I got home and found the tire was inflated to 30psi.

My neighbor was getting ready for a camping trip with his Artic Fox trailer. It came from the factory with Goodyear Marathon tires. He had checked the air pressure the day before and noticed before leaving that one of the tires appeared to be low on air. The tires had the wrong valve stems from the factory and one tire was losing air at the valve stem.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:17 PM   #18
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We cruise at 55-60 in Arizona, where the speed limits on Interstate highways are often 75 mph. You'd think everyone drives 75-80 here, and some do. However, at 55-60, we find that many who pass us are only going a couple of mph faster than we are, probably around 65. Some of the long haul truckers have governors set at 62-63, so it's not as bad as one might think, even here on long, straight, open highways.

I have towed our 19-foot Bambi at speeds as high as 75 mph. However, at 55-60, besides the safety advantages of slower cruising speeds, gas mileage is markedly improved by as much as 20%. See comments previously posted in other threads, below:

==========

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1203666

"Our current TV is a 2008 Tundra CrewMax, 2WD, with 5.7L V8; and we get about 13.5 mpg towing, on average. Our best towing mileage has been 16.5 mpg in the Rockies where speed limits were 35-45 mph; and the grades didn't seem to negatively affect mpg's. Our worst was 11-12 mpg while cruising on Interstates at 75 mph; and we don't do that anymore (one quick trip to a funeral after switching to 16-inch wheels and LT tires)."
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #19
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As a point of interest, the speed limit on I-10 east bound from El Paso to San Antonio eventually is posted as 80mph. At 65mph on the Honda GoldWing, I could see 35 mpg, but at 80 I saw 25 to 27mpg.

Drag is the issue here and some engineering rules such as to double the speed takes the cube of the power.

Running at 55 to 60 on day long drive, those that passed me at 80 have stopped extra times for gas and we stay in the same motel that night. Guess who was more rested at the end of the day?

Since there is no speed limit annotated on the Michelin tire, I feel safe if I have to go 65 mph as I am not pressing the limits of the tire.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:41 AM   #20
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A couple of responses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
......For just a few dollars more I can buy a LT that does not carry those handicaps.
Ah, ...... Mmmmmm....... This isn't exactly correct.

Ya' see, part of what makes an ST tire an ST tire is that the tire trades off speed for load carrying capacity. Use a larger tire and the speed capability would increase. This holds true for LT tires as well.

Yes, yes, this isn't listed as part of the labeling on the tire or part of published standards, but it's there.

{QUOTE=Phoenix;1332812]......NHTSA would take notice if ......[/quote]

I would add to that list: "Where the number of tire failures rises to the top."

First, NHTSA requires tire manufacturers and distributors to report all tire failures to them on a quarterly basis. When I last looked, passenger car tires were hardly present in the list and LT tires were dropping rapidly.

That means that anyone manufacturing ST tires would notice that these tires would rise to the top of the list. To get on that list, you have to at least file a warranty claim with the tire manufacturer - or better yet, file a "Property Damage Claim" if your trailer was damaged.

Problem: There is an exemption for the tire manufacturer if less than 15,000 tires a year are manufactured of any particular combination of size and load range. I suspect Goodyear and Maxxis exceed that, but other manufacturers, probably not.

I note with interest that the obvious way to get around this exemption is to change brand names on a regular basis - and it appears that this is being done with tires made in China. Ever hear of Mission brand?

The way to make this exemption disappear is to report failures to NHTSA. If they continue to get these reports, they will figure out what is going on (if they haven't figured it out by now, but it isn't at a level where they can act).

{QUOTE=Phoenix;1332812]......So, the only alternative that might eventually work will be to vote with our feet, as Carl2591 suggests above. When enough people switch to LT tires, the money will stop; and ST tire manufacturers will be financially forced to take a look at where their customers went, and why. (Just my opinion, but this won't happen soon, if at all.)....[/QUOTE]

First, trailer manufacturers are part of the problem. They will continue to buy these tires in HUGE quantities. I'll bet they buy more than the number sold in the replacement market (if you factor in the multitude of brands).

Then if you factor in that in spite of all the complaining at web sites like this, the failure rate is still a small number. That means that only Goodyear and Maxxis are likely to feel the pressure - partially because they are the only ones who have a system to monitor the failure rates.

Trailer manufacturers are also part of the load vs speed problem. They could design their trailers to have reserve capacity so speed and load couldn't possibly be an issue.

Bottomline: If the tire failure isn't reported, then it's like it never happened. While refusing to buy ST tires seems like a good tactic, in reality, it would take so long for the affect to be noticed and the numbers would be so small that I doubt it would work at all.
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