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Old 10-15-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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Thoughts on wear pattern/tire life?

We have Towmax ST225/75R LRE tires on our Classic 30, they were put on at Jackson centre in Feb 2011 and since then we have put only about 14,000 miles on them.

No real problem with them, except that I noticed the curb side tires seemed to be showing a lot more wear than I thought they should for just a couple of years use - I had hoped to keep them for five years but it looks like that won't happen!

Today I went out to the trailer in storage and measured tread depth in the four tread grooves on each tire and here is what found: (figures in mm of depth)

left front.....................................right front

4 5 6 5......................................1 3 3 1


left rear........................................right rear

3 5 4 3.......................................1 2 2 1


By comparison, when I measured the spare tire - still new, it showed
that new tread depth was about 7 mm in each of the four tread grooves.

I suppose That what I am seeing on the left/road side might not be an unreasonable amount or wear for 14,000 miles, but the right/curb side surely seems high.

I don't know a whole lot about analyzing tire wear, but given that on all four tires, the heavier wear in on both inner and outer edges rather than the centre might seem to indicate that perhaps I should be using more pressure on these tires.

I do have a TPMS and have always been running these tires at very close to 60psi cold

But then there is the question as to why the curb side tires show the same general pattern but a considerably higher degree of wear than the road side tires.

Would it be normal for curb side tires to show higher wear due to the normal road camber throwing more load to the curb side? This much of a difference?!

Perhaps I have a weight imbalance with the trailer, although it is pretty much as it came from the factory and we don't load a whole lot of stuff in it - guess maybe I should take it it to some scales and check.

Any thoughts or advice? I don't know what typical mileage I should expect out of trailer tires, but I would have guessed 2 or 3 times what I have gotten from these!

I will try to swap the tires left to right and get one more trip out of them and hope to pick up a new set in Az this winter.

I've been considering the LT tires, but not sure I con justify the cost - an maybe we've just been lucky but never had bad luck yet with ST tires (touch wood!)

I'd like to try a set of Maxxis tires from what I have read here but cannot get them in Canada it seems.

Any thoughts or comments on the life I have gotten from these tires and the wear pattern I am seeing? From what (little!) I know, I wouldn't think it to be indicative of axle alignment problems.
.
Thanks ........... Brian
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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I am using the Towmax tires also. Mine are wearing evenly, being rotated annually, though I have not measured. I run 60 PSI in my tires, but my trailer is at least a ton lighter than yours.

Based on your measurement, I come to similar conclusions as you:

Assuming roughly 40,000 miles would be normal life for those tires, wear should roughly be at 1/3 the original tread depth at 14,000 miles.

I will guess your tires were under inflated, since the outside edges are wearing faster than the center.

I will guess your right side wheels/axle are out of alignment, since that side is wearing faster than the left. (that's the side that catches the curb so often in a right turn)

I will guess the tires have never been rotated.

If it were me, I would rotate them now and increase cold pressure to the maximum rating the wheel/tire will allow. I would only go camping if it is not a long trip. 1mm depth on the outside groove is actually worn to the point of being illegal to use on the road. I would get the alignment check in any case when replacing the tires next time.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
I am using the Towmax tires also. Mine are wearing evenly, being rotated annually, though I have not measured. I run 60 PSI in my tires, but my trailer is at least a ton lighter than yours.

Based on your measurement, I come to similar conclusions as you:

Assuming roughly 40,000 miles would be normal life for those tires, wear should roughly be at 1/3 the original tread depth at 14,000 miles.

I will guess your tires were under inflated, since the outside edges are wearing faster than the center.

I will guess your right side wheels/axle are out of alignment, since that side is wearing faster than the left. (that's the side that catches the curb so often in a right turn)

I will guess the tires have never been rotated.

If it were me, I would rotate them now and increase cold pressure to the maximum rating the wheel/tire will allow. I would only go camping if it is not a long trip. 1mm depth on the outside groove is actually worn to the point of being illegal to use on the road. I would get the alignment check in any case when replacing the tires next time.




Thanks for the comments Alan, I will likely bump up the inflation pressures to 70 or maybe 75 psi.

If I recall, I think I picked 60 psi because load/inflation charts I had seen for those tires indicated that was about right for my trailer (loaded wt would be around 8000# I think).

I do know that the right side tires were at teh same 60psi as the left as I have a TPMS installed.

Some folk say to inflate the tires to the maximum pressure noted on the tire (80psi If I recall correctly) but I didn't want to give the trailer any rougher ride than necessary.

I did wonder if the axles might be misaligned on the curb side (I bought this trailer used) but if there were misalignment, I would have expected to see excessive wear on either the inside or outside of the tire, not on both sides. Am I wrong in thinking that?

I'm not sure if the average tire shop who would be set up to check alignment on a travel trailer.

Also, if there were to be a problem, I don't believe there is any provision for adjustment other than bending the axle - if possible - probably not something they would do. Perhaps an RV shop would?

Maybe I should try to drop in to Jackson Centre with it on our way South this winter.

I do plan to swap the wheels left to right before we leave home, but we don't have a great choice of trailer tires where I leave so I planned on buying them in the US.

Not thrilled about driving with that amount of wear but I'll keep a close eye on them.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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Lay a straight edge horizontally across the center side of both tires. It should touch in all 4 places. Or just miss touching on the fronts of each tire, if they are toed in a little. Both sides should be the same.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #5
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Lay a straight edge horizontally across the center side of both tires. It should touch in all 4 places. Or just miss touching on the fronts of each tire, if they are toed in a little. Both sides should be the same.
Good idea! Thanks!

In the meanwhile I checked the website of a AS dealer about an hour ndf a half from me - the website says they are set up to do proper alignment checks, so Maybe I'll give them a ring tomorrow and see about taking it down there.

Could perhaps get new tires while I'm there too, depending on what that have - I don't think I would buy GYM's after everything I have heard.

We did have them on a previous trailer (non-AS) and experienced tread separation. I can't blame that on the tires though as they were ten years old! I don't do that any more!

Possibly the local AS dealer may have the Michelin LT / Sendel wheel package that JC offer and if so I'll see what that costs.

I'm thinking though that it may be more than I would want to spend as I'm not sure how many more years we will keep this trailer, and I don't expect I'd get much of the $$ back spent on the upgrade.

Brian.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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Question and comment

What inflation is shown on the RV certification label (placard)?
Yes you need to learn the actual load on each tire not just total on all 4 or even the total for each axle an many trailers have been confirmed to be out of balance by 5% or more.

Check alignment. I do not think that RV manufacturers check alignment at the end of the assembly line like Ford or GM or other car manufacturers do so just because it is new doesn't necessarily mean it is in spec.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Good idea! Thanks!

In the meanwhile I checked the website of a AS dealer about an hour ndf a half from me - the website says they are set up to do proper alignment checks, so Maybe I'll give them a ring tomorrow and see about taking it down there.

Could perhaps get new tires while I'm there too, depending on what that have - I don't think I would buy GYM's after everything I have heard.

Brian.
Wondering if you had the alignment checked at the dealer? And was it out?

If not, you are only 5-6 hours north of Jackson Center. It's not far out of your way if you are heading south anyway. One comfortable days drive. Cheap to stay in the Terra Port, if not free. If you get an appointment, I would bet they can do the work one afternoon and you can be on your way next morning. They have the tires. They can do the alignment. Last time I was there I remember seeing Power King TowMax, GYM, and Michelins.

We had our first freezing temps this morning. If I could get my DW motivated, we would start our trek south right now. I doubt I can get her headed that way until after our end of November/Thanksgiving family get together! Looks like I'll have to endure the cold until December.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tireman9 View Post
Question and comment

What inflation is shown on the RV certification label (placard)?
Yes you need to learn the actual load on each tire not just total on all 4 or even the total for each axle an many trailers have been confirmed to be out of balance by 5% or more.

Check alignment. I do not think that RV manufacturers check alignment at the end of the assembly line like Ford or GM or other car manufacturers do so just because it is new doesn't necessarily mean it is in spec.

Hi Tireman9,

The label on my trailer suggests 65psi, but if I recall, the folks at JC when I bought my last set of LRE ST tires suggested a higher figure.

I'm not sure how valid the info on the placard would be anyway because during
the 2005 production year of my model they changed to heavier axles and increased the GVW from 8700# (as shown on my trailer) up to 10,000#.

I suspected my trailer in fact had the heavier axles (I found the number 5000 marked on the axle beams).

When I was at JC, i asked if they could verify what I had. They said indeed they were 5000# axles and produced a new placard for my trailer showing a 10,000#GVW. (even though the wheels that acme with the trailer were only rated 2200 each!)

As far as alignment, after consulting with the folks at CanAm Airstream in London Ont. I decided against getting it done at this time. All my tires were showing the same wear pattern, - much heavier wear on both sides of all tires - and the opinion seemed to be that this was the result of underiflation and not misalignment. They didn't seem to feel an alignment check was warranted, though I guess it wouldn't hurt.

I suspect that in my misguided wisdom I brought about the early demise of the tires by running them at too low a pressure. For the first year I ran them around 55 psi thinking it might contribute to a softer ride for the AS. After I started seeing wear I bumped them up to 60psi and ran them that way since.

I am now thinking that tire pressure has relatively little impact of the ride that the trailer receives anyway.


I have seen a number of references that say ST tires should be inflated to the maximum rating stated on the tire.

This one for example.................

Trailer Tire Facts - Discount Tire Direct


I have just had the 16" wheels and Michelin LT tires installed. I had the tire dealer initially air them up to 75psi. The trailer is now back in storage and I think maybe I should increase to 80psi before we take our first trip south with the new tires this winter.

I'll be interested to watch how these tires wear!


Brian.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
Wondering if you had the alignment checked at the dealer? And was it out?

If not, you are only 5-6 hours north of Jackson Center. It's not far out of your way if you are heading south anyway. One comfortable days drive. Cheap to stay in the Terra Port, if not free. If you get an appointment, I would bet they can do the work one afternoon and you can be on your way next morning. They have the tires. They can do the alignment. Last time I was there I remember seeing Power King TowMax, GYM, and Michelins.

We had our first freezing temps this morning. If I could get my DW motivated, we would start our trek south right now. I doubt I can get her headed that way until after our end of November/Thanksgiving family get together! Looks like I'll have to endure the cold until December.
Hi Alan,

No, I never did get alignment checked.

I did talk to an Airstream shop up here who are equipped to check alignment and was prepared to take the trailer to them for a check, but when i described the type of wear I had, they too felt that from the wear pattern I described, under-inflation had been the issue rather than misalignment and that an alignment check was probably not needed.

Good suggestion about JC though. We have been there a couple of times and stayed at Terraport overnight (last time in the snow!)

In fact we bought the Towmax ST tires at JC.

I was thinking to return to JC this winter to get the 16" wheels and Michelin LT's put on and got a price from them. In the end, I got them locally - more convenient and a considerably lower price! They are on the trailer now and seem to fit just fine.

I will be running them at a higher pressure and hopefully get better life from them!

Brian.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:42 AM   #10
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Hi Brian,
I have experimented around with my 30' Classic, as well as minded the expert tire folks' posts. I have between 7400 and 7800 pounds on the axles on any given trip. I have run at 70, 75, and 80 psi, and though this is more seat of the pants, I have settled in at 75psi. 80 seemed a little harsh....found things moved around inside, although not bad. 70 seemed a little soft and a bit too close to weight vs. charts vs. advice about under-rating ( although debatable with LTs). I "feel" 75psi is just right for me. Just my somewhat educated opinion in the fog of these discussions.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:07 AM   #11
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First thing is the KNOW the weight of your trailer as set up to travel from a Cat Scale. Set your tire pressure as per an inflation chart using that weight.
Use this chart as all tires are made to the same standards by regulations.
http://www.goodyearrvtires.com/pdfs/rv_inflation.pdf

You can check the wheel alignment by setting a straight edge, I use an 8 ft. florescent bulb, by placing it along the center line of the wheels and noting any offset at the edge of each tire.

Do not take an alignment problem to JC. They do not have the equipment to align axles. If your axles need work, and your description tells me they do, find a Truck Axle Shop for the work.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:04 PM   #12
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Do not take an alignment problem to JC. They do not have the equipment to align axles. If your axles need work, and your description tells me they do, find a Truck Axle Shop for the work.
I did not know that! Learned something new today.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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First thing is the KNOW the weight of your trailer as set up to travel from a Cat Scale. Set your tire pressure as per an inflation chart using that weight.
Use this chart as all tires are made to the same standards by regulations.
http://www.goodyearrvtires.com/pdfs/rv_inflation.pdf

You can check the wheel alignment by setting a straight edge, I use an 8 ft. florescent bulb, by placing it along the center line of the wheels and noting any offset at the edge of each tire.

Do not take an alignment problem to JC. They do not have the equipment to align axles. If your axles need work, and your description tells me they do, find a Truck Axle Shop for the work.



Thanks for the info - especially about Jackson Centre!

I am rather surprised to hear that JC would not be equipped to properly check alignment. The large AS dealer in Ontario - CanAm - say that they have the necessary equipment.

I'm not sure the light bulb test would be that conclusive - I suppose if carefully done, it could give an idea of toe in / toe out, but is camber not also an issue?

Could you maybe elaborate as to why my comments indicate that an alignment problem exists on my trailer svp? Not disputing it, just curious! If that is so, I guess I should get the alignment checked.

But all the websites I checked showing different tire wear patterns appeared to indicate that my problem had been caused by running the tires at too low a pressure as opposed to misalignment.

When I called Can-Am to talk about bringing my trailer to them to verify alignment (Their website indicates that they do have the equipment to do it), they felt it was not necessary and also felt that based on my description of the wear that my problem was caused by insufficient tire pressure.

I had used load / pressure charts to select the pressure - although I will say that I had not had the trailer scaled and so wheel loads were a bit of a guess on my part and could have been on the light side.

But I have since seen websites that say that in the case of trailer tires, they should be inflated to the max tire pressure shown on the tire.

All a bit confusing!


Brian.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:25 AM   #14
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Yes in looking back at you ware patterns I have to agree that is most likely not an alignment issue. Alinement issue generally tend to show on 2 tires, The misaligned one and to a lesser degree one on the opposite side of the trailer.

To ware tires to that extent in 14,000 miles there is a problem somewhere. I would think you would see, as you walk past them, tires that where that much under inflation and would assume they would have exploded from heat build up long ago. Do you check the tires with a mechanical gauge or intentionally drop the pressure in a tire to test the TPMS ever?

I would find it hard to believe that 3 brakes could be dragging but given the ware and low mileage could they be dragging?
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