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Old 06-23-2009, 01:23 PM   #1
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Tire advice

We're off on a long trip to Alaska next month. I plan to carry an extra trailer tire.

I have 19 ft 2006 Bambi. So far no problems with tires--Marathons. But I do have a few questions.

1. What does a flat on the Bambi feel like? Is it obvious since these are single axle trailers?

2. I have Marathons, so far so good. On this trip I plan to carry an extra tire, not on rim, just in case. If I were to switch brands (Michelin probably)for the extra tire could I run it for short periods with a Marathon? I plan to change all the tires next year (five years) the Michelin spare will be a head start.

I do have some concern with the Marathons history of sudden failures.

Paul
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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Tire Advise

The best thing you can do is get a tire pressure monitor system because the ST tires don't just explode, they start loosing air. A tire inflated to 60 PSI and monitored will set off your alarm somewhere around 55-52 PSI.
thats plenty of time to pull over and watch the tire continue to go flat.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:38 PM   #3
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If yo blow a tire,it feels like a brake is being applied to the trailer.You`ll look in the mirror and see pieces of rubber and sometimes some smoke.The sooner you can get it slowed down and off the road the less collateral damage will be done (wheel well,trim and rim) just don`t try to stop it too quick. Good luck on your trip,from what I have read ,with the age of your tires and the highway conditions ,I think I would carry 2 complete spares.Dave
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagoff View Post
... On this trip I plan to carry an extra tire, not on rim, just in case. . . Paul
Hi Paul:

I'm not clear on just what your plans are. Is the extra tire in addition to your spare wheel and tire? If not, and if you get a flat somewhere other than a service station parking lot, how are your going to remove the flat (and often damaged) tire from the rim and put the the new unmounted tire on the rim without a tire changing machine?
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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I just had a tire malfunction (not quite flat), and serious problems were averted by the tire pressure monitor. It turned out to be a cracked valve stem. The tire lost pressure very quickly down to about 36 PSI, and then gradually down to about 27 PSI after I got it off. Because I pulled over at 36 PSI, I didn't feel the effects of a flat, but I imagine it would have certainly come apart soon if not picked up by the monitor. You may want to consider one. A few years ago, one of the members of my WBCCI unit had a blowout on his 2004 Bambi. It resulted to over $500 in damage to his wheel well. It was the final nudge for me to get the pressure monitor

Have a safe trip. A good friend just got back from a trip to deliver an Airstream from New Jersey to Anchorage, Alaska. She said it was a unforgettable trip, but most of the roads in Alaska were pretty rough.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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pagoff....After getting a flat tire in my truck on a long trip and trying to get a replacement, I now carry a second spare tire and wheel for my truck and my Airstream in the back of my pickup. I have the Pressure Pro monitoring system on my truck and the Airstream and would not go on the road without it. I got enough of a warning when my truck tire started losing air that I was able to find a good spot to pull over with the trailer and get the tire changed. The last time I checked with Michelin they did not have a line of Special Trailer (ST) designated tires. Are you planning to change from ST to another designation of tire when switching to Michelin?
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:02 PM   #7
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We had a Marathon blowout last year on our 2005, 19-foot Bambi. We were running 65 psi in the trailer tires (checked cold) and had been on the road about two hours before the blowout. Checked the tires before we left, and they were fine. It was summer, northern Arizona, outside temp = 105 degrees.

We heard a muffled boom, then felt a slight wiggle in our tow vehicle, kind of like driving over concrete that has the grooves cut in it that run straight down the road in the direction of travel.

Looked in the side mirror and saw lots of smoke and small chunks of rubber blowing out the side of the trailer, followed by the complete tread (belts intact) shooting out of the wheel well and running along-side the trailer for a couple of hundred feet.

Speed was 60 mph, smooth pavement, no road hazards. No previous air leaks or cosmetic bulges in tread or sidewall. Upon inspection, the other Marathon tire that didn't blow had shifted belts that had begun to creep. A few more miles/minutes and it would have separated too.

That's the last Marathons I'll own. -- It's kind of like smoking: Some people can do it and have no problems, but why take the risk when common sense tells you it's just a problem waiting to happen.

I am running Maxxis Load Range E tires now, at 80 psi. (225/75R15). I'd run Michelin XPS Ribs (all steel) if I could get them in my wheel wells.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I'm looking into a pressure monitor.

Just started looking into the Maxxis tires. Not sure what I'll get.

I understand the risk of carrying a tire without another rim but that's probably what I'll do. Alaska will not be a high speed, high temperature situation. I think that may lessen the chances of problems!?

Paul
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:15 AM   #9
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It doesn't make much sense to carry a spare tire without a rim, actually traveling at low speed on rough roads increases the chance that you might not notice a flat and demolish your rim.

You can buy a new steel rim at Discount Tire for $50-$60, and probably a used-but-not-abused one for a fraction of that. Cheap insurance if you're traveling in the middle of nowhere. I carry two trailer spares when I travel in Mexico, I'd do the same if I were going to Alaska. Don't forget a good jack, and you might just want to practice using it too.

You have a valuable piece of aluminum, the last thing you want to do is to have to leave it behind when you go looking for someone to change a tire.

Just my opinion.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:20 AM   #10
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I'm not sure the diameter, but looking at the tire/wheels on my '04 CCD they are definitely larger than a car, and maybe a truck tire.

So my question is: Can a regular tire shop (chain or not) mount new tires on the wheels when replacement is needed, or do you need to go to a specialty truck tire place?

Logistically, how would you go about changing out tires on a trailer? Do you just tow trailer to tire place and they remove one wheel, mount and reinstall, and then do the other side?

We have a single axle Bambi.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:22 AM   #11
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And one other ???

When jacking up tthe trailer for tire removal, should the trailer be hitched up or not. And I suppose chock the remaining wheel really well.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:58 AM   #12
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Jonathan, I had one changed recently by a towing/tire service company via my emergency road service. Right or wrong... they left it hitched, and no chock.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:18 AM   #13
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Paul, there are places, primarily in Yukon Territory, where you go well over a hundred miles without any sort of garage to mount a wheel on a tire. Distances between towns in the north country are very long, much more than even most of us in the west are used to.

If you are concerned enough to take an extra tire, I think it would be a good idea to get an extra wheel.

If you stay on the main roads, they are almost always paved. Because of the freeze/thaw cycle and extreme temps, the pavement breaks up and there will be short sections (usually a few feet) where the road is gravel. Generally they are well marked with red flags and signs. This is most likely where there is permafrost, especially at the edge of the permafrost area. Because roads need frequent repair, they use chip seal since it's quick and cheap to fix. Roads are usually better in Canada than Alaska. For the most part the roads are fine and this is not the Alaska Highway of 50 years ago.

There are places where there are gravel/dirt roads and it's your choice whether to take them. Some have reputation for shale outcroppings and that is the worst for tires. The road from Chicken to Eagle, Alaska, has that reputation, though I don't know if it is still true. The Dempster Hwy in Yukon and NWT also has that reputation, but we saw no shale in 2006, so they had fixed it. Get the Milepost for everything about the highways in Canada and Alaska including road conditions. We have been on most of the Dalton Hwy (to the North Slope), the Cassier in BC, and the highway to Manley Hot Springs in 2002 and they were well maintained dirt and gravel. Ask locally about any highway you have concerns about. There are plenty of places for tourists to ask questions.

Both times we were in northern Canada and Alaska we had new tires. I think flats are less likely with new tires because there's more tread to protect the tire.

I believe the tires you're using on the trailer should be the same age and brand so that they all act the same. That can mean discarding a perfectly good looking spare—that feels wasteful, but it's safer. When it comes time to replace tires, I don't know what I'll do other than not buy Marathons. We always buy Michelins, but they don't make a trailer tire and after reading countless posts on tires, I can't make sense of whether an LT tire is better or worse than an ST tire.

Enjoy your trip—a trip to Alaska is always memorable. Bring a shotgun for the mosquitos.

Gene
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:01 AM   #14
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Gene thanks for your timely and informative note. I've decided because of your advice and others to buy new tires--Maxxis E load factor, if I can get them here and carry an extra spare on a wheel.

It's a little unnerving to have tires (Marathons) that you have questions about. I've been watching the innumerable tire threads and while I have had no problems I do have real concerns. There appears no real concensus whether LT or ST tires work better and some have raised questions about the LT ride.

Paul
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