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Old 03-06-2013, 04:14 PM   #29
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It's also not fair to assume that because something is made in China that it's crap.

If the US company that orders the manufacturing says "make it as cheap as possible" it's going to be crap. China also makes some of the most sophisticated and excellent products in the world. There are bicycle factories in china that make Wal-Mart bikes and High-end $10,000 frames in the same production floor. It all depends on the tolerances specified by the (usually USA) company.

It's like saying "Americans are all fat". Gross over-generalization.


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Old 03-06-2013, 04:27 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by outofcontrol View Post
..........It's like saying "Americans are all fat". Gross over-generalization.

I cant speak for all Americans but I am betting fat on this vacation!

Barely getting by, towing our 16' Bambi with our Ram 2500 CTD "Moby"!
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:39 PM   #31
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OK, so now China is unfairly accused of make cheap stuff. This thread has jumped the shark. The last time I was in Mexico I was walking past a street vendor and he says to me "this is good stuff, made in Mexico, not China!" I had to laugh and tell him that was a great line. He agreed.

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:45 PM   #32
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Put me in the "Marathons are BS Camp" as well. I had 3 blow outs in 1,000 miles on 2 year old dated Marathons. There's a big difference in ST tires on a 16' Bambi and the same 15" ST tire on a 2 axle 30' Classic especially with a slide out. I also have a 16' utility trailer with 2 axles and have no problem using Marathons on that trailer. What made me do a "double-take" was that both my 30' Classic and my 16' utility trailer had THE EXACT SAME TIRES and that's when I decided to make the switch to 16" Michelin LTX-MS-2's and have never looked back. I run the same tire only 18" on my F-250 and you almost can't wear them out. I run my truck over many miles 4 wheel drive on pipeline right of ways and then 70-75 mph on the highway (not towing my AS). I am not a fan of anything French, but I bow to the Michelin tire company.

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Old 03-06-2013, 05:46 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by outofcontrol View Post
There's also a good article on why you should use ST tires on a trailer:
Tire Tech Information - Trailer Tires vs. Passenger Vehicle Tires
It's not exactly about ST vs. LT, but good information.

Well from this link.
Also consider that Special Trailer (ST), as well as Light Truck (LT) tires are fully rated for trailer applications. This means ST- and LT-sized tires can carry the full weight rating branded on the sidewalls when used on a trailer.
Doesn't sound like an argument against LT tires on a trailer to me.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:02 AM   #34
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Internet tire reviews and anecdotal accounts on this and several other RV Web sites are what I used to make my tire/wheel size buying decision. The accuracy of this "data" is known to be biased, and in some cases, probably inaccurate. However, that's all that is available.

My own personal experience with tires on my 19-foot Bambi are:

Two of the three original Goodyear Marathons that came on my Airstream failed (#3 was the spare). Tire pressure = 65 psi. One blew out and caused several hundred dollars of damage to the wheel well; the other had tread separation and was about to come apart. All three ST tires were made in China -- GYM = 67% failure rate.

These two GYMs were replace with two Maxxis, load range E tires; and a year or so later, the tread on one of them started to separate. Tire pressure = 80 psi. These two ST tires were made in China -- Maxxis = 50% failure rate.

I switched to 16-inch wheels and Michelin XPS Ribs about 2.5 years and 15,000 miles ago. These load range E, LT tires have steel sidewall and steel radial plies, and they were made in Germany. To date, these have had absolutely no problems; and all I have done is adjust the tire pressure seasonally, due to wide ambient temperature differences. Tire pressure = 80 psi. -- XPS Ribs = 0% failure rate (to date).

Before I switched to XPS Ribs, my buying decisions were based on anecdotal Internet reviews. After three ST tire failures, and no problems with LT tires, my future buying decisions will be based on personal experience.

I respect the opinions of those who continue buying Goodyear Marathons and/or wish to play the devil's advocate. That's your decision; and I wish you luck. However, with XPS Ribs, I no longer worry about catastrophic tire failures, damaged wheel wells (or worse), and being stranded for hours, hundreds of miles from a town large enough to have a tow truck and tire store.

My tire worries are now limited to running over nails and such, the same as with my tow vehicle.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:52 AM   #35
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I have been crossing the scales with my new TV with every change I have made to the vehicle that added weight. It has been interesting to see how a known component's weight gets distributed between front and rear axles. I have one more relatively heavy component and two more supplemental filter systems to add the to the truck. I am projecting that the truck alone will end up with with at least a 600 pound margin on the front axle rating and a 2,600 pound margin on the rear axle rating before the trailer is attached.

Crossing the scales with the trailer and Hensley hitch with "stuff" on board and no water in the tanks and then with full potable water and 5 gallons of slosh water in each of the gray and black water tanks, the rear axle load appears to be at least 1,500 pounds below maximum rating and the front axle lost 100 pounds of weight to 4,720 pounds. Seem to still have steering capability. The very conservative factory GVW is 1,910 pounds lower than the total of the axle ratings.

The Michelin truck LT265/70R17E tires have a maximum pressure rating of 80 psi but are currently carrying the factory suggested 60 psi on the front and 50 psi on the rear based upon the current axle loading.

The two 3,600 pound rated trailer axles per the scales at this moment are supporting 5,900 pounds. The four 15" Michelins [LTX (P) 235/75R15 XL] are rated 2,183 pounds each per the sidewall and per 49 CFR 571.110 must be derated to a 1,985 pound load. The four derated tires can support 7,940 pounds or 8,732 pounds per the sidewall. Even when the total trailer weight is maxed out, the truck carries close to 1,200 of the 7,300 pound GVW trailer rating. Thus the 15" tires have over a 25% safety margin even at the derated capacity.

For my 25FB Airstream, I do not seed the need for the 16" Michelin tire.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:57 AM   #36
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switz, have you isolated the weights, tire-by-tire? That's the acid test. Don't forget being parked with guests aboard.

As to size, LT is hard to find in a 15" any more. Thus the change to 16".

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Old 03-09-2013, 01:03 PM   #37
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smart guy!

Originally Posted by outofcontrol View Post
This Goodyear Marathon ST (GYM) tire thing is an amazing study in modern sociology and also skewed statistics.

Do all Airstreams come with GYM ST tires?

You have to step back and think about how these forums work. I've seen it dozens of times on all sorts of forums. If 100% of all airstreams come with GYM tires a certain percent are going to fail. Let's imagine for a moment that number is the same for all tire manufacturers. But our sample here is probably 99% on GYM tires.

So, if you have a blowout, you're going to say something about it here. And if you never have a blowout, you're probably never going to visit the "tires" section.

I'm pretty sure if Airstreams all came with Maxxis M8008 ST tires, you'd hear the same "horror" stories over and over. Because most people don't say anything about them if they just sit on the trailer and go roundy round.

I'm also willing to guess that those who switch to a 16" LT tire have had a blowout. And they are naturally better equipped now on how to maintain and prevent a blowout. Sun, loading, storage, tow speeds, etc. So because of that experience, they naturally will have a lower future blowout rate than the inexperienced.

I just have a little skepticism with people claiming that a certain tire, that Airstream continues to put on our trailers, is a ticking time bomb.

If you enter "goodyear marathon blowout" in the search function here, guess what? you're going to find a whole list of horror stories about blowouts with GYM tires.

The OP is asking for "Informed Decision" and I read that as a request for "empirical data". Unfortunately, you're going to have to go outside an AS forum to find a good sampling of all tires compared. Not just all Airstreams with original equipment GYM tires.

I believe every word.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:28 PM   #38
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My GYM horror story. Came new on my 2010 28ft Flying Cloud. Towed 41k miles on every kind of road imaginable including a zillion dirt miles in Canada and blistering interstates in the southwest starting in Oct 2009. Never had a problem or even a flat, checked air pressure each towing day, usually added air when at high altitude on cold mornings. Replaced them with 16 inch Dunlop RVXT load range E May 2012. Have 21k miles on the Dunlops with no issues. GYM worked well for me, I just wanted better looking wheels and a higher tire load factor of safety cause that's the way I am....if a little is good, more is better, and too much is just right. No GYM gripes here.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:07 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
Apparently, Goodyear began having problems with the Marathon when production first switched to China sometime 5 or 6 years ago. My understanding is that they then switched back to US production of the tire for a period of time while they investigated the cause of the failing tires coming from China. Once the problem was identified and corrected tire production was returned to China again. Bruce
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:15 AM   #40
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There is no single excuse for all the negativity about the Special Trailer tires (ST) and their failure reports.

There are two ST manufacturers that are prolific providers of Original Equipment tires (OE) for the RV trailer community. Carlisle and Goodyear. Both have numerous failure reports in almost all ST tire sizes.

It has been my observation that most first time RV trailer owners do not know the difference between ST tires and their passenger or truck tires. The safe operating envelope for the ST tire differs significantly from those of the P & LT designs.

The ST tire is designed to age-out in three to five years. Carlisle once said that they degrade as much as 3% per year. The bias tires have been advertised to serve no longer than 5000 - 12000 miles and the radial may last as long as 20000 miles. All ST tires are speed restricted to 65 MPH. Carlisle once had 60 MPH in their warranty but has changed it to 65 MPH with their newest design. St tires are designed to be aired to the maximum allowed on their sidewall. Manipulation of tire pressures with the ST design is just like asking for the dreaded tread separation.

The ST tire sidewall stiffness is somewhere in between that of the P and LT tireís and is designed to be lower in the profile to help prevent sway. The shallow tread area is designed to dissipate heat build-up in the carcass.

When the ST tire is maintained correctly and operated within its design parameters it will be successful during its designed lifespan.

There have been zero recalls for ST tires.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:21 AM   #41
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Ignore the experience of actual users at your own peril.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:54 AM   #42
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I'm migrating from the Casita camp to the Airstream camp and there is just as much controversy about GYM on the Casita forums as in this forum. I purchased a preowned 2009 Casita in November 2010 with GYM. The GYMs are not balanced at the Casita factory and there is an included document from GY stating why they don't need balancing.
On our trip to Glacier Natl Park I found one tire wearing funny and had to get the spare put on. Luckily no issues coming back home. Switched to Maxxis 8008 tires and had them balanced. I now have about 5k on them and they don't show any abnormal wear.

Do the GYMs from AS come balanced?


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