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Old 09-07-2009, 09:32 PM   #155
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Tire Failure

Now, go the NHTSA web site and file a complaint.

Home | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) | U.S. Department of Transportation

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Old 09-07-2009, 10:40 PM   #156
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....With that said Airstream Manufacturing is looking for a softer ride than that of most trailers. This is to keep the contents together and reduce stress on the shell which is designed to carry some load. So to accomplish this end the factory will recommend a lower tire pressure to give a softer ride....

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Really? I'll give J/C a call tomorrow to confirm. I would hate to run the wrong tire pressure and cause needless damage to our Sovereign.

I understand that the owner's manual is 30 years old and, as such, info is outdated. I still run bias ply tires on our horse trailer, which tracks straight as an arrow, so maybe I'll try them on the Airstream and see how I like the ride. I know bias ply tires run hotter than radials, but I don't ever go over 60MPH, whether I'm towing or not. I keep the cruise on 2000RPM, which is 60MPH in the King Ranch.

I'll post results of my conversation with A/S tomorrow.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:42 AM   #157
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An Up Date

If you refer to post #9 of this thread

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f438...usa-55401.html

Goodyear is now claiming the tires are made in the USA

However there are still China tires in the pipe line so look at anything you buy for the country of manufacture.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:07 AM   #158
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HowieE is correct, there are still Chinese made Marathons out there. When I was looking to replace mine in July, I found some at a local Goodyear dealer. For some reason, he said he couldn't get any new Marathons. I would suspect he merely wanted to move his dated inventory first. I moved on to another dealer who had two US made Marathons overnighted, If I recall, they were dated in the first quarter of this year.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:11 AM   #159
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Tom, I am very sorry to hear of your mishap, and the body damage that it caused.

When Lucy had her Marathon blowouts (also at 12,000) the body damage was confined to the wheel well and the eyebrow trim. We were very fortunate as our OEM Marathons had three separate catastrophic failures. I'm still amazed that Lucy didn't sustain any significant body damage.

We went with the Maxxis E's (10 ply) and never looked back. We run our Maxxis at 72 psi. I know that some say that these ten ply tires ride too hard and tear the trailer apart. We have not found that to be the case. We have now put about 40,000 miles on Lucy with the Maxxis E's, and Lucy has not experienced any such damage..

I feel that these tires run cooler and are, therefore, less inclined to catastrophic failure. Lucy is on her second set of Maxxis E's.

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Old 09-08-2009, 05:02 PM   #160
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I just spoke to Jim, from Customer Service, at Airstream. This is his official response, per my question to him:

Q: Does Airstream recommend running the tires on Airstream coaches 5 psi lower, in order to achieve a smoother ride?

A: Airstream does not, nor has it ever, advocate lowering the tire pressure 5 psi. Follow the tire sidewall instructions, in order to inflate the tires to their proper pressure. If a customer wishes to run at a lower pressure, he/she should have their Airstream weighed and then call Goodyear (or whichever manufacturer tire they have) and consult them for the proper tire pressure. Running trailer tires at a lower pressure than what is recommended may result in an overheated tire, which could result in tire separation or blowout. If you have Load Range C, then inflate your tires to 50 psi. If you have Load Range D, inflate the tires to 65 psi.

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Old 09-08-2009, 06:09 PM   #161
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I appreciate the tips on dealing with the damage our Goodyear Marathon tread separation caused.
The costly issue will be the scratched side panel. AS indicates that what might be readily buffed and painted on a car for example, can't be done on aluminum. Panel replacement alone will run about $4500. The other damage about $1500 to $2000.
Hope I can convince the Ins. adjuster.
I'll be going with the Maxxis E series when this is all over. Likely a pressure monitor as well.
What a nightmare!!

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Old 09-08-2009, 09:22 PM   #162
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Tom,

I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune. I feel for you man. I hope you can get it all fixed up OK and quick.

Stingray,

As the other guys have said, the manual is old and you need to look to newer sources for info. Now, the guys in Jackson Center are going to cover their backsides and tell you to run the highest pressure recommended on the side of the tire. Since we almost never wear out the treads on our trailer tires before they dry rot the sidewalls out from old age, there's really no reason not to run the max pressure, unless the ride is too harsh.

Now, in your particular case, that is something to be concerned about. A '71 Sovereign is a 31 footer, just like my '77 Excella 500 was. And being a '71, it will have the shallow height frame (they didn't deepen them until '85). So, the frames on these trailers are pretty much like an old school fiber glass fishing rod. They are super flexible. And, they are prone to "sag" and "separation". My '77 had both. So, you want to be kind to your frame.

What I would recommend you do is go and weigh your trailer. Load her up to the gills and fill the freshwater tank. Put everything in it that you would ever want to haul. Then go get it weighed and find out how much you're putting on the tires. Let's just say, for example, that at this loading you are putting 1900 pounds on each of the front two and 2100 pounds on each of the rear two. OK, so you know that your design load is 2100 pounds per tire. I would then bump that up by some amount for added assurance; say, 300 lbs.

OK, I would then get the pressure vs. load rating chart from my tire manufacturer and figure out what pressure I needed for 2400 lbs load capacity. Whatever it says, that's where I'd start.

The real test, though, is as others have mentioned on here. Look at the tire's foot print. Make sure it's not too small and not too big. Adjust to where you get it to what you think is right. Get yourself one of those infrared thermometers, and take her out on the highway. Run it at 60mph for ten miles, pull off quickly, and measure the temps. You don't want them really warm. I'd shoot for less than 130 degrees. See what you get. If you're at 100 degrees with them. Try running her up to 70mph for ten miles and see what you get. If it's no hotter, run it at 70mph for 20-30 minute and check. If it's OK, and the ride is OK (not shaking stuff up too badly inside), then you're good. If it's riding too harshly, step it down 5 psi and repeat the test sequence.

It's kind of a pain, but that's how you'll really know. And it will change with the loading conditions. But, I'd do it for the max loaded condition and forget about it. Unless you really tow a lot, you'll probably still have plenty of tread left on your tires when it's time to replace them due to age.

If you don't want to buy one of those infrared thermometers, you can do the hand laying trick like I do. It's not nearly as accurate, but if it's too hot to comfortably lay your hand on the tire, it's too hot.

Low pressure will kill a tire faster than anything. But the older, long Airstreams are very sensitive to harsh ride. You want to be nice to them. Get your tire pressure high enough to be safe, but don't run granite when medium hard rubber will do.

Oh, I meant the "Tire Dealership" I went to when I got the tires for my trailer. It wasn't an RV dealership. I did stop at the Camping World in Knoxville which had just opened up like the day before....they had Marathons but no mounting machine. After reading all the horror stories on here, I didn't want Marathons, and they couldn't mount them anyway, plus they were like $167 each when I got my UE-168's for about $100 each. I got lucky.

Anyway, hope all this helps you some. Inland Andy has posted a bunch on here about the frames and the shells coming off them due to harsh rides, so you do want to try and get this pretty close.

take care,
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:03 PM   #163
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Frame

Jim
What do you mean they changed the frames in 1985?
What did they do, change the dimentions of the frame tubing?
If so from wha to what?
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:27 AM   #164
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I've often wondered why so little clearance in the wheel well. It's even difficult to change tires.

Yes I know we want to be true to the 1930's design, and yes Airstream owners are very design conscious. But we all take trips and run the risk of a catastrophic tire failure. Isn't a bad blowout enough without the added risk of expensive damage?

It would not take much engineering and thought to increase the clearances. But then both seem lacking in some aspects of airstream design.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:14 AM   #165
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Jim, if I were to fully load my trailer and weigh in at 1900 on each of the front tires and 2100 on each of the rear tires, I would exceed my GVWR and probably cause the frame to sag and separate.

I've already taken the trailer to a weigh station completely empty, and I weigh in at 5200lbs. If I add 50 gal water...400lbs. Bedding, towels...20lbs. Food, both perishable and non-perishable...100lbs. Clothes and shoes...80lbs. Dishes, cups, cookware, silverware...60lbs. Books...40lbs. Toiletries...10lbs. TV/DVD combo and DVDs...30lbs. Big patio mat...20lbs. Smokey Joe BBQ...10lbs.

So I'm sitting at about 770lbs worth of extra stuff that I'm carrying, bringing my total trailer weight to around 6000lbs, still well under my GVWR of 7200lbs. My Carlisle 225/75 ST 15 Load Range C tires are rated at 2150lbs max load capacity, x4=8600lbs. At 50 psi, I've never experienced anything getting knocked around inside the trailer, and I've used the hand method before and was able to keep my hand on the tires...the horse trailer bias plys I could feel were a bit warmer than the Sovereign's radials, so I'm good there.

I'll keep following the sidewall recommendations and should be okay.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:58 AM   #166
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Stingray,

Sounds to me like you're in good shape on the tires. Tons of reserve capacity, running cool, good ride, sounds ready to rock.

Beginner, my '77 had a 4" deep frame. I measured it as such. Main frame is two rails of 4" deep section. In 1985, they deepened them by 1". But, adding 1" makes it about double the stiffness. So the newer ones really do have a much stronger frame.

I wound up selling my Excella. I now have an '87 Avion. Avion uses a triple beam frame that is 6" deep for the entire length of the coach, but the suspension frame is 8" deep. So where the area of maximum stress is, the Avion has a 14" thick frame, but then is still 6" thick and three rails instead of two beyond the middle part. Avions don't sag or separate. But you pay a price in weight; they're heavier.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:21 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post

Beginner, my '77 had a 4" deep frame. I measured it as such. Main frame is two rails of 4" deep section. In 1985, they deepened them by 1". But, adding 1" makes it about double the stiffness. So the newer ones really do have a much stronger frame.
Interesting, as my 73 has a 5" frame.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #168
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Not sure if it makes much of a difference, but do you measure inside the C Channel or outside, for frame depth? I'm curious now what mine is.
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