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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
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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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Old 07-11-2007, 08:38 AM   #15
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RossFam05BH

Did you use an inflation chart to set the pressure in the tires or just the max as stated on the tires.

I have spent the last 2 weeks looking for a set of tires for my trailer . I have been using Tow Masters but they are now made in China. I have seen the Goodyear Marithons do the tread seperation thing, on a friends trailer, and have great reservations about them. The Cooper Customes, that I had considered, are on a 3 week back order which leads me to think they are still on the boat

I had hoped to leave next week for Newfoundland but not sure if I will have tires by then.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:22 AM   #16
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HowieE,

Since the trailer weighs in at 8400# fully loaded, I felt it was always best to keep the pressure up at 65 psi on all four tires to avoid overheating/separation issues. Maybe I was wrong? I always check tire pressure the day before leaving on trips, and have never experienced a significant loss (i.e., more than 2 psi) on multiweek expeditions. The ballooned tire currently shows 65 psi, so tread separation has not yet compromised the ability of the tire to hold air. The roadside rear tire, which exhibits less ballooning, still shows 65 psi. I hope this contributes to the discussion.

Paul
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:42 AM   #17
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Paul
Michelin has an RV information packet they send out on request. Email them and ask for it.
My opinion was that the problem was the rubber compounds used in the ST class tire would not stand the heat, so along with Bob Thomson I went with the Commercial T/A.
I am in agreement with Andy of Inland RV in that high pressure tires will damage/beat up the trailers, that was another reason I went with the Load Range D tire. May I recommend that you decrease the pressure in the XCA Rib LRE to reflect the load on it as shown in the charts from Michelin. After all the speed rating of the Michelin is indicitive of rubber compounds that will maintain their integrity at higher temperatures.
The actual axle loading can readily be obtained from a CAT scale.
I'm carrying 3200 lbs per axle as per the CAT scale measurement.
I reduced cold pressure to 60 LBS from 65 LBS and there was a noticable difference inside the trailer upon arrival at our last outing.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:22 AM   #18
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Hi Beginner,

We plan to mount Michelin XPS Rib tires on our trailer, size LT225/75R16 LRE

What follows is the inflation pressure table for this tire and can be found at Michelin North America RV Load & Inflation Tables

PSI
40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80

LBS
1650 1790 1940 2060 2190 2335 2440 2560 2680

I plan to run the tires at 65 psi. This amount of pressure should be adequate given the weight of our fully loaded trailer. Not to much, not to little, and hopefully just right?

Paul
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
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.
Hi peegreen,

We lost two tires on the NEU Caravan (first blow out damaged the second tire, it blew within 60 miles of travel after we replaced the first one). But they were 6 years old and had spent much time in hot, dry, AZ so we figure we really should have replaced them before we started on the trip. We have replaced all the old tires now, with Marathon tires. We *will* be purchasing a tire monitoring system that monitors both inflation and heat. We don't want to risk any damage to us or our Airstream in the future due to tire problems.
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:04 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by myboyburt
Hi peegreen,

We lost two tires on the NEU Caravan (first blow out damaged the second tire, it blew within 60 miles of travel after we replaced the first one). But they were 6 years old and had spent much time in hot, dry, AZ so we figure we really should have replaced them before we started on the trip. We have replaced all the old tires now, with Marathon tires. We *will* be purchasing a tire monitoring system that monitors both inflation and heat. We don't want to risk any damage to us or our Airstream in the future due to tire problems.
Nice pic. RICKO provided me with ALL the details.
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