Hi Laurie, we run Maxxis & love them!
Upon the recommendation of the AS restorer who did our PPI in 2012 who has owned & restored 100's of AS & other vintage kin "Silver Twinkies" - we've been running Maxxis 15" E rated on our 1960
Avion T20 (20'-6" L) single axle since July 2012, & will replace them with the Maxxis again in mid-2017, because they ride well, get great wear & little bounce on the trailer. Our Avion is about the same length, but a bit lighter than your "modern" AS, cuz they were all built with lighter but more expensive materials back in the day, than are the current AS line-up since about the 1990s.
The change-out for us will be due to age - any TT tire should be changed out every 5 years per the date code on their sidewalls - & some say regardless of how long they've actually been installed on your trailer, so make sure you get a recent dated set of tires - & not some old stock sitting on the shelves for a year or two or more!
The Maxxis STs are excellent tires .... period!
We like them so well, that I got a set of 5 of their LT tires for our 88 VW Westfalia camper van, since the OEM Michelins rated for it (8 PR, C or D Load) have been NLA for many years. They're a HUGE improvement over all of the other XL tires we've tried over the years!
So now for a few things in the above & in other threads which I'll challenge here though, which I'm sure will "bring the bats out of the belfry"!
- 15" or 16" tires will have NOTHING whatsoever to do with popping rivets at all, that's just urban myth. The tire/wheel size has nothing to do with the rivets popping, unless they are shortening the profile/sidewall height as noted below - & even then it's probably not the tires as the primary cause, as discussed in the 2nd section.
If anything, since the upsized tires/wheels generally would need to use lower profile tires with shorter sidewall heights in order to keep the same overall diameter as the "stock" wheel/tire combo in order to fit into the wheel wells properly + allow you to change them on the road - the 16" or any larger wheel/tires will offer LESS cushioning to the ride due to less sidewall height available to flex, than the OEM 15" in your case (this is not applicable if the tires are same profile - e.g.: 205/75R15 > 205/75R16, etc. since the sidewall heights are roughly the same).
Vehicles are designed with the tires as an integrral part of the suspension system & ride comfort, which is why cars/suvs/trucks with the big ole "wagon wheel" 20-22"+ wheels with ultra-low profile tires ride so rough - there jsut is not enough cushion there!
IMHO the primary reason people move to bigger tire sizes is for looks & tire availability (since tire mfgrs. follow the current car/truck styling trends for ever bigger wheels), whether in a trailer or powered vehicle.
But why go to the added expense of 3 new wheels (incl. spare) in addition to the tires in the first place!?
You'd be far better off to spend the extra money on fixing your rivet problem discussed below instead!
- Regarding popped rivets - I'm sorry to say that you guys with new ASs that are popping rivets is either due to too much time on rough roads or off-road - or else it's just the lower quality control seen in the modern ASs in many areas, as obvious from all of the other posts on here about failures of stuff on their new AS trailers.
For those folks with rivets popping on old vintage kin - well the Silver Twinkie design is a semi-monocoque aircraft inspired design where the skin takes some of the stress/strain & adds to the stability of the structure of the trailer, while minimizing the required weight of the framing structure. So those skins & rivets are constantly moving ever so slightly as the skin & frame move & resist movement, & eventually the holes in the skins/frame & the rivets themselves just plain wear out & pop out.
So if you have popped rivets in either case - new, vintage or in between, either have AS fix the rivets if it's still under warranty, or go to a trailer repair shop to have them do it for you, or else go get yourself a rivet gun & the proper type of blind rivets for the interior, exterior or belly pan installation & do the work yourself.
Vintage Trailer Supply (see ads on here & click) sells them all, including a riveting kit with the drill-mounted Olympic rivet shaving tool to make the Olympic rounded top blind pop rivets look very close to the OE buck type rivets (that require access to both sides of the riveting, vs. blind or pop rivets - read their explanations at VTS website for more on rivets). Their exterior rivets are round-top or acorn like those on mast AS & kin, belly pan rivets have a larger flat head for the higher vibration area of the belly skins, & a smaller flat rivet as used on most aluminum skinned interior panels (they also have aluminum washers for where the rivet holes are enlarged a bit).
I got mine on sale before the holidays, & will be tackling our Avion's belly pan's missing rivets when I have time & dry weather before the next vintage trailer rally outing in March!
- The difference in design between ST trailer tires & LT light truck tires, is that the STs are designed to reduce rolling resistance to make towing easier, with better TV mpg, stiffer sidewall design to resist side-to-side movement in sway control + to minimize heat built-up in the tires from flexing, & to carry the loads of trailers specifically.
Whereas LT tires are designed to do much of the opposite on a powered light truck van/pick-up/suv vehicle & TVs, where they need traction to put power to the road - not minimum rolling resistance, they want flexible sidewalls so that the tread patch is maintained in turns, & are designed to carry the loads + power application - but then since they flex more than STs they'll create more heat from flexing as they're designed to do.
This going to LT debate is IMHO mostly driven by folks using the cheaper ST tires on their trailers & having blowouts or other tire failures - rather than the ST just being a poorly designed tire itself - they're purpose engineered for trailers - LTs are not. It's also partly due to buyers wanting more tire options or a particular brand (e.g.: Firerock/Bridgerock, Badyear, Bubbleguy/Michi, etc. to use Fred Flintstone names to protect the innocent
Also, there are far more factors involved in over stressing tires than the maker or if they're ST - since heat is the enemy to tires & cause most blowouts. Here are a few:
If under-inflated, they'll flex too much & build up too much heat, risking blow-outs, tread separation or other tire failures.
Likewise if you're driving through the desert in 90-100+ heat, with pavement temps in the 150-200+ degrees - which is not good for tires, as evidenced by all the "Gators" on the Interstates from even heavier duty HT 18-wheeler tires!
There are also DOT formulas for down-rating tires' load ratings in certain cases, so you have to check that & make sure that it's rated for more than the rated axle weight - less the down-rate % - if this applies to your situation & trailer &/or TV tires.
Moreover, if you look at ST tires, they are rated for 65 mph - so if you're exceeding that speed consistently, then you're tempting fate. Auto XL & LT tires are rated for higher speeds, but NOT in a trailer application, so ditto there - they are NOT a "magic bullet" to tow at 70-80 mph!
Many states like CA limit cars/pick-ups/suv's to 55 mph while towing a trailer, while others allow 60 or 65 mph anyway - due to the many concerns & complications resulting at higher towing speeds. Such as much more tire & sidewall heat generated at higher speeds, much increased braking distances for a combined rig & those growing almost exponentially with speed, as well as increased sway & other handling problems, concerns with road debris, potholes, rough pavement & irregularities, etc., etc.
I've read at least a couple of the LT tire gurus whose ST problems were due to the above heat &/or speed issues, & it's only a matter of time before they also have them with their vaunted LT tires too - barring a change in the driving habits & checking equipment.
This latter is the most important thing you can do for tire safety & longevity. Check & fill your tire pressures to spec before every trip, & every 500-1000 miles or so on long trips. Also carefully check your tires sidewalls & treads for wear, cracking & other signs of impending doom before every trip & at every stop (EVERY), & if they're getting too hot on trips (hand to sidewall, but be prepared to pull away quickly if hot) - then plan an extended stop to let them cool down if it's a hot day, &/or slow down if you've been running at 75 mph + recheck the tire pressures, & by checking out the L & R side mirrors at those trailer tires to see if anything is amiss while towing (& this applies to the TV tires too).
Do not assume that your TPS system (tire pressure sensors) will tell you when you need air - they're only a fail-safe warning for impending doom on a towing trip, or in any driving. Prevent the problem with regular, often & pre-trip tire pressure checks on any & all vehicles - powered or not.
For me, I'd prefer to stick with a purpose built ST tire, follow proper tire safety procedures, & speed limits - & yes I do find my speed creeping up since we got the Hensley Cub which eliminates sway & vastly improves both trailer & TV handling, but I catch myself & slow it down.
This ST vs. LT debate is ongoing, with hardliners on both sides - but ultimately you have to do what you're comfortable with, & live with it, learn from it, then make the next decision based on your own experience, needs, preferences & budget.
Good Luck & Happy Trailering!