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Old 03-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Fall City , Washington
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Informed decision or, not re 15 vs 16 tires

I have been following all the dialogue I could regarding the subject of Airstream trailer tires.
I am convinced; (1) you cannot depend on Goodyear Marathons - seems too many people have experienced failures which may be disastrous. (2) even if you have marathons and have had no problems you are courting fate (3) the 16" sendel/michelin route is apparently a good cure even if the tire industry will not openly endorse it. (4)I have had a marathon failure on a previous brand of RV.
Having said all that I am however still not convinced that for my 2010 25' Flying Cloud with 7300 GVRW that the 15" Michelin LTX M/S2 isn't a sufficient fix using oem wheels.
How many folks have gone with the 15" Michelins, for how many miles and has it not worked out for any of you?
I discovered that my 2010 trailer has US manufactured Marathons built in March of 2009 thus are in their last year of life for me. I've towed it 16,000 miles, watch my pressure closely and try to take care of them but I would rather have a better tire.
I believe in the five year rule.
Been very interesting following all the posts to this subject.

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Old 03-03-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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I know this flys in the face of "Internet lore" but there is nothing wrong with current production Marathon tires.
I understand that Goodyear had their issues with this line when they began production overseas but the issue has been corrected. The service department of the largest Airstream dealer in this country says that they have zero issues these days.
My Marathons have 8000 miles on them today and I am keeping them!

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Old 03-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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I put 15" Michelin's on my 1978 28 footer. Didn't see the need to spend more on wheels and I like my stock wheels. No problems. The axles (new) are rated at 3500 lbs I believe so with each tire rated over 2000 lbs I feel I am fine with 15" tires.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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As you are buying tires anyway and your plan is to keep the trailer for a long time, the Sendel/16" Michelin combo is a pretty small price to pay for assurance you have the most reliable setup, and something more likely to be readily available when you need replacement.

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Old 03-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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I had less than 500 miles on our new 25fb after bringing it home from the dealership. I switched to 15" Michelins after reading the negative press on the Marathons. It was only three weeks since the trailer was parked and I checked and the Marathons were down over 5psi.

Made three trips to the tire store to get all five tires switched putting the spare on each side as a safety while going to the tire store with two tires at a time. They are about 0.3" taller than the Marathons they replaced. The 16" Michelin tire is another 0.3" taller than the 15" Michelin and that extra height could be problematic for some installations.

After three months of storage, the Michelins were still the same pressure.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Fall City , Washington
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15 vs 16

When I originally posted this I neglected to say that while I have 16,000 mi on my marathons without a problem they do lose air pressure. During our towing year, which this year had no winter shut down to speak of, I add air at l east once monthly.

thanks for the input so far.

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Old 03-04-2013, 03:33 AM   #7
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If you do a little research on this forum you will find many good choices of 15" tires suitable for your needs. Of the several hundred Airstreams using 15" Michelins, I have yet to read of a failure. I have over 8000 miles on mine and I have had to adjust the air pressure only due to ambiant temperature changes.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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You're going to find two rabid camps on this subject. Think that the deciding factor for you might be economics. I did dump my brand new 15" wheels/tires for 16" wheels/tires after reading every single post on AirForums. After 4,000 miles on my rig, I am very satisfied with the change. Could I have been fine with the original set-up? Probably. But, for me the major issue was safety and load/speed rating. NOT that I drive over 65, but I can (and have had to a couple of times). I do think there are enough questions on the overall quality rating of the GYM's to be unsettling.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Red Hound View Post
I discovered that my 2010 trailer has US manufactured Marathons built in March of 2009 thus are in their last year of life for me. I've towed it 16,000 miles, watch my pressure closely and try to take care of them but I would rather have a better tire.
I believe in the five year rule.
Been very interesting following all the posts to this subject.
Your money, your trailer.

Just out of curiosity, do you spend that kind of money on other safety maintenance items -- brake controller, brake maintenance, hitch, etc.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #10
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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.

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Old 03-05-2013, 03:21 PM   #11
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Outofcontrol: Your point is well-taken that anecdote != data (just distilling it down to its essence there.) However, a search outside AIRForums yields lots of sites with posts about GYM failures. Still not a controlled study, of course, but it takes it farther afield than the "Airstream site and Airstream uses GYM except for the Eddie Bauer" selection bias.

Then I searched for Maxxis M8008 failure and most of the entries I found were on the order of "My GYMs blew and I need a new tire, what does everyone think about the Maxxis M8008" and "Has anyone heard of the Maxxis M8008 failing like GYMs do?" Again, there are uncontrolled variables, such as the number of each type of tire in the field, the types of trailers those tires are installed on, etc. etc.

I wouldn't throw away brand new GYMs if they came on a trailer I bought... I have friends with lots of miles on GYMs and the only failure was a cut from something in the road, I don't believe they're evil demon tires, but given better alternatives I'll choose the alternatives just in case.

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Old 03-05-2013, 03:26 PM   #12
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I agree with both sides of this issue. If you go with the 15" Michelin option you will have some trouble getting tire dealers to sell them and install them as they aren't rated for trailers. BUT, if you are one that travels at high speeds regularly, I really believe the GYM ST (or any ST) tire is not right for you. We went with the GYM as we don't put thousands of miles on ours (short weekend trips every couple of weeks), and we don't ever go more than 60 mph.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:13 AM   #13
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For the benefit of any who choose or need to notice, especially for the poster above not wanting to change wheels, another 15" tire with reasonable weight ratings (and a smaller hit on the wallet) is available. These tires are designed for heavier vehicles (vans). I have a set on my flatbed trailer after having a GYM blow out. I went to 16" Michelins from Jackson Center on my Airstream pre-blow out. No issues 10k miles later.

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Old 03-06-2013, 02:53 AM   #14
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Do your own research, then decide for yourself.


Goodyear Marathon

5 star: (0)
4 star: (0)
3 star: (0)
2 star: (0)
1 star: (0)

Note: Ratings removed from's site at some time in the past due to very poor reviews.

Sample review: "Blew out 3 of 5 Goodyear Marathon trailer tires on my fifth-wheel enroute from Auburn, AL to Pensacola, FL Memorial Day weekend. These tires were properly inflated and cared for & less than 4 years old. Goodyear Marathons are DANGEROUS and should be taken off the market. Chinese made junk = DO NOT BUY!!"

More reviews: Goodyear Marathon Radial Trailer Utility Tire Reviews. Buying Guides & Consumer Product Reviews -


Michelin LTX M/S

5 star: (1539)
4 star: (467)
3 star: (84)
2 star: (16)
1 star: (4)

Sample review: "I'm not normally a fan of the Michelin value equation (expensive vs others with same or better performance) but the LTX is truly one of the most impressive tires I've ever owned - and I've bought a ton of different tires. Wear and all around performance (including snow and light off road use) have been simply outstanding...At 32,000 miles still have 7.5/32nds of tread and have worn perfectly even ... Worth the high price in this case as there seems to be little to no down side, even as they age."


Michelin LTX M/S2

5 star: (429)
4 star: (55)
3 star: (10)
2 star: (3)
1 star: (0)

Sample reviews:

"I cannot say enough good about these tires. If I were to buy a new truck today, I would replace whatever tires came on it with this tire before it ever left the dealership."

"After 43,000 mostly highway miles, these tires look almost new - at least 60%+ tread remains. I am a very discerning consumer and these tires are the best that I've ever purchased ... I highly recommend these tires. They are worth the price!"


Michelin XPS Rib

5 star: (21)
4 star: (4)
3 star: (1)
2 star: (0)
1 star: (0)

Sample reviews:

"Third set of XPS Rib, and still very pleased with the cost per mile. The XPS has to be the mileage champion, and toughest tire for commercial use. Mileage on truck is 757,000 miles. I have never had a flat, or any problems with the XPS. They are the energizer bunny of tires. 200,000 miles is very attainable, and managed 234,000 on one set. The XPS is not M/S rated, but can get thru light snow on a 4X4. Great stability when towing, and very even tire wear."

"These tires are used on a triple axle fifth wheel that weighs approx 17500 lbs. Don't have many miles yet but they show no wear at all. We stayed in one location for 6 mos and when we went to leave checked the tire pressure. Pressure dropped only 1 lb in each tire. Past tires would drop up to 10 lbs. You just can't go wrong with Michelin on any application!!"

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