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Old 11-22-2013, 03:02 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Ariz-Pacer's Avatar
1958 17' Pacer
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 43
Tires Don't Last Forever?

He was going down the mountain doing 65 an hour
when suddenly there was a scream
something is wrong with the Airstream
the steering was really gittin mean

He heard a big THUMP and a bang
the truck began to swerve
the sound of metal wrenching
coming to a curve

As he tried breaking, there was a lean
stopping this monster was getting mean
finally off to the side of the road
Did a tap dance and slowed down the load

What he found when he looked to see
was the shell of a tire that used to be
steel belts sticking up in the air
held together with what seemed like hope and maybe air

Anyway enough of that tomfoolery. I took the Airstream out with my Brand new tow vehicle (2013 F-150, 300 miles) and as you may have surmised from the above I had. a tire disintegrate at speed, while going down the mountain

That's when I found out that the RV dealer that had service my bearings last, had put the tires back on with about 2000 pounds of torque. Even with a 24 inch cross wrench it was damn near impossible to get the tire off. I had two of my nephews along and even they had difficulty removing the damaged tire.

In addition to the above difficulties I realized that my spare was at least 15 years old, was a 700/15 six ply truck tire and was mounted on the original split rim. It looked a lot better than the tire that was on the Airstream so we put it on and limped on in to our camp at 55 miles an hour the rest of the way.

The next day I had to take the other tire and rim off to make 107 mile round-trip and buy a new set of tires. Imagine my surprise when the tire guy looked at the shredded tire in the back of my truck and said these tires are from 2004. I thought they were a couple years old obviously time slips by when you're having fun.

The tire did some pretty severe damage to the underside of the Airstream as evidenced by the pictures below. You can see it even bent the steel cross brace behind the wheel, tore off quite a bit of the belly pan so that you can even see the insulation under the bed.

While the damage is bad enough it could have been a lot worse, so I'm thankful that I got away with the minimal damage occurred.

I guess the moral of the story is I should've been more diligent in checking the condition of my tires before I left on the trip.


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Old 11-22-2013, 03:51 AM   #2
4 Rivet Member
2005 28' Safari
saline , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 407
I can appreciate that story an am happy to hear it didn't end worse. I have also had that experience with overly torked lug nuts. I now have a lengthly and boring discussion with the mechanic who works on my tires, lecturing them on the few occaissons I couldn't get them off. I then insists he must tighten the lug nuts by hand, or else foever lose my business.

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Old 11-22-2013, 05:08 AM   #3

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10,802
Images: 1
Red face

Sorry to hear....

We had a similar experience years ago with our single axle Safari. Although it wasn't a tire failure, the damage being caused by a loose wheel/lug failure.
My bad, lesson learned.......create a pre-flight and stick to it.

Your picture prompts a question....Did you purchase the tire/wheel as a mounted combo? It appears exactly like the wheel-tire that I recently purchased as the spare for our boat trailer. The wheel is sold on-line with many different tire options.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:38 AM   #4
retired USA/USAF

2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,024
Several weeks ago I was in the process of removing a set of 15" GYM's off our Airstream and install a set of 16" Michelins. The GYM's were only 3 years old and looked great. I monitor pressure and heat regularly while traveling and we put quite a few miles on them these past 2 years that we've had the trailer. When I took them off 3 were still in nice condition and I put them on my son's flatbed utility trailer. One has a longitudinal split along the inside of the tire where the tread joins the sidewall and clearly was at risk of a catastrophic separation. So I got lucky this time and they were on 3 year old tires made in Canada. So I can't even blame it on China.

Could have been a lot worse. A little sheet metal work and you'll be back on the road.
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

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Old 11-22-2013, 07:59 AM   #5
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,269
Hopefully the incidence of mechanics putting on lug nuts with excessive torque should be diminishing these days as so called "Torque sticks" are commonly available.

These look like simple 1/2" drive extension bars but are designed to limit the torque that an impact wrench can apply. Easy to use and permit the speed of using an impact wrench. They are available individually or as colour coded sets of different torque values.

I bought a 90 ft-lb one and have checked it against manual torque wrenches and it seems to result in pretty accurate torque settings.

The torque sticks are only useable with impact wrenches and don't work with manual wrenches.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,888
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 2
A trace of oil or grease or anti-seize compound on threads and the lug getting torqued at 'dry' specs will seemingly try to friction weld them in place... beware of Joe Somewhen's better ideas...

I found similar skirts damage, tore/shredded the panel apart nearly up to the refrigerator vent. (looked like a perfect fuel/air mix propane explosion) that someone had covered over the damaged sheet leaving it to be discovered years down the road...


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