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Old 07-10-2007, 07:32 PM   #1
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Goodyear Marathon tread separation ... and our solution

Hi all,

We’ve read here of others’ problems with the Marathon tires, and the strategies that have been used to fix the problem. We thought we’d add our own experience here, in hopes that it may provide more fodder for others to make up their own minds.

We have a 2005 Safari 30’ Bunkhouse LS, which weighs ~8400 lbs fully loaded. We tow it with a 2004 GMC 2500 HD diesel crew cab truck using a Hensley. When towing, we always keep it to 65 mph, and religiously check the tires whenever we stop at rest areas. Our towing is usually of the long-distance type – we’ve gone cross-country twice, and from our NC home to Florida and back twice.

Of the 5 total Goodyear Marathon tires that came with the Airstream, 3 have failed within the past year. When the first one failed, we replaced it with the spare. Now that one has failed (with less than 2500 miles on it), as well as another one. All of the failures have been in the rear tire position on either side of the trailer. All of the failures have been due to separation of the tire tread from the underlying belts (not a puncture/deflation – none of the tires have shredded). The separation causes the tire to balloon out, as you can see in the following photos:
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Here you can see that the separated tire, on the left, is larger in diameter than the normal tire (on the right). The normal tire measures 28.25” in diameter, while the separated tire measures 30.5” in diameter.
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This picture gives you a close-up of the tread, which isn’t really worn much at all. So it’s not an issue of abnormal tire wear, it seems to be rather that the manufacturing process defective, resulting in the treads separating and the tire ballooning to an absurd degree. The separated tire was still holding pressure (65 psi).

So, what to do? We agonized over this for a while, and read the threads in this forum. We ultimately decided to follow the route advocated by Bob Thompson in his “Tires...tires...tires” thread, and jettison the Marathons altogether. We are in the process of replacing the existing 15” rims with 16” ones, which will then allow us to use the Michelin XPS Rib tires. We have had nothing but good luck with Michelins on our passenger cars and trucks, and are using the XPS Ribs on a utility trailer that is used to carry a tractor and logs. No problems there, either. A check of the web revealed that these tires are highly rated by folks who tow horse trailers, exemplified by this quote:
“These tires are on a very large living quarters horse trailer and they have performed beautifully. We haul all over the US and Canada and we wouldn’t trust the safety of our horses to any other product!”
(from TireRack.com Tire Reviews at The Tire Rack.)

Additionally, Michelin itself recommends these tires for trailer use. Here is a quote from their RV tire applications brochure:
“Michelin XPS Rib tires are the best value per mile in the Michelin commercial tire lineup and a smart choice for commercial trailers because of low rolling resistance (for efficient fuel economy), a long-wear rib tread design and retreadability.”
(Downloadable from http://www.michelinrvtires.com/asset...V_Brochure.pdf)

For rims, we searched on the web for suitable products, and found the offerings had changed a bit since Bob Thompson posted which models he went with. We settled on the American Eagle Alloy Series 055 16x7, part number 0550-7766. These had the best weight rating of any of the aluminum alloy wheels we looked at, 3040 lbs. This particular model of wheel is being discontinued, so we’ve ordered them while we can!

We will post pictures when the new rims/tires come in, and will update on how they perform during our upcoming trip to the Florida Keys.

Cheers,
Paul and Miriam
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:12 PM   #2
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hi paul

are both these tires ON rims?

not to dispute your conclusions but,

the tire on the right has about 4/32nds or less tread left...

the one on the left is closer to 9-10/32nds remaining....

of course i can't measure your actual tires but i'll bet this is close...

and enough to cause a visible difference in tire diameter/height...

just went through this also, on 1 tire...

i'll post pics later of exactly this observation in another thread...

IF you really wanna check for separation, remove the tire and cut through the body/belts/tread...

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:18 PM   #3
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2air , he's talken over 2 inch in diameter difference , it's got to more than tread wear .
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ticki2
it's got to more than tread wear .
agree 2 inches would sure seem to be more than treadwear...

i'm just pointing out that right tire is nearly spent, can you see the wear bar area?

and i'm not suggesting something isn't strange here...

it is.

but does this look like ANY separation photo you've seen?

i'll post a very similar photo taken 2 weeks ago on mine...

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:39 PM   #5
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Hi 2air,

Both tires are still on rims and inflated to 65 psi. I unbolted the tires from our airstream in the background minutes before taking the picture. The "ballooned" tire is almost new with 9/32" of tread remaining, while the other tire has 7/32" of tread remaining. The roadside rear tire has "ballooned" to 29.75", midway between a normal tire (28.25") and and the curbside rear (30.5") shown in the picture. Pretty scary!!

Paul
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:39 PM   #6
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I tried sticking a dime into those treads to see where FDR's head ended up. Or do you use a nickel and Tom Jeff's head (but now they have those new nickels and the head is at the very edge - I'm confused as you can see) but the really thick glass on my old 17" CRT style monitor wouldn't budge. I bet a flexible LCD monitor might work. LOL. My eyeball micrometer doesn't measure to the 1/32". You guys are good. I'll be watching this thread as new tires are in the near future. Heard of a lot of tire failures and blow outs during recent trips this season. Maybe a monitoring system would be a good addition.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:44 PM   #7
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Have to confess I've never seen a tire increase in diameter like that , almost looks like two different size tires . With that much expansion I wouldn't think it would be round anymore . Be nice to see a side view.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:08 PM   #8
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Question

Just curious, but where were they manufactured. I put a set on my boat trailer last and they were made in New Zealand.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:09 PM   #9
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If you look carefully at the top photo posted by Paul and Miriam, you can see exactly what they mean about the separation from the belts. The tread area on the left tire is round in cross-section rather than flat. It is that bulging up of the center of the tread that is giving the diameter difference.

While the switch to Michelins is very understandable, I hope Goodyear has had the "pleasure" of seeing those photos and the accompanying description. NHTSA might also be very interested.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:33 PM   #10
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Hi ticki2,

The "balloned" tire is completely round. At no place around the circumference of the tire is the tread surface flat, as with the normal tire. The sidewalls show no damage, just the usual seam bulge that you see on Marathons. A couple of years ago a Marathon separated on a 10000# utility trailer we own. In that case, the tire did not balloon, but instead showed a distinct bubble the size of a fist rising from the center of the tread. Again, I was lucky to have caught the problem before the tire disintegrated (knock on wood for the fourth time). The tire on the utility trailer had only around 2000 miles of use. The utility trailer also has Dexter torsion bar axles (6000# each), and I think the failed tire was on the curbside rear.

Paul
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:35 PM   #11
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I too am interested in the "Made in ***" status of the tires in question.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:36 PM   #12
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hi paul thanks for the added info...

the suspect tires SHOULD be cut up...

and i agree with tim,

the round profile of the left tire is odd..

cheers
2air'

Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
My eyeball micrometer doesn't measure to the 1/32". You guys are good....
well these new mac computers are pretty fancy!
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:00 PM   #13
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Paul , I think you'll be happy with Michelins . Good luck
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:09 PM   #14
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Hi 63air and Silvertwinkie,

The ballooned tire was made in Canada, and has an identification code of T302243 BW 1GKH. The other 3 tires were also made in Canada.

Paul
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