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Old 06-15-2011, 05:58 PM   #183
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At this point the number of people who have switched to 16" wheels seems to be increasing fast. Maybe Airstream will start putting them on as original equipment someday.

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Old 06-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #184
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At this point the number of people who have switched to 16" wheels seems to be increasing fast. Maybe Airstream will start putting them on as original equipment someday.

Gene
And give up all that extra money they're making? I also upgraded to the 16" Michelin's/EB wheels during the Alumapaloser. Feel much better now when towing - which is often since I'm fulltime and move a lot.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:01 PM   #185
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At this point the number of people who have switched to 16" wheels seems to be increasing fast. Maybe Airstream will start putting them on as original equipment someday.

Gene
I actually suggested that during the product feedback session at Alumapalooza. The panel (Justin Humphreys, VP of sales, I believe) asked the crowd who was a Michelin fan and probably 60% raised their hand. Then he asked who was a Goodyear fan and probably 2 or 3 men raised their hand.

Bottom line, they know most aren't happy with the Marathons. Whether they actually do anything about it is a completely different question.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:24 PM   #186
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And give up all that extra money they're making? I also upgraded to the 16" Michelin's/EB wheels during the Alumapaloser. Feel much better now when towing - which is often since I'm fulltime and move a lot.
I don't understand why they're making a penny. The wheels are SenDel T03 and are available online. Michelin tires are certainly available lots of places. Why get them at Jackson Center at all?

I can think of many reasons I would want to go there. The three front cap panels that have heavy hail damage jump to mind. Wheels and tires, not so much.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:09 PM   #187
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[QUOTE=vswingfield;1005959]I don't understand why they're making a penny. The wheels are SenDel T03 and are available online. Michelin tires are certainly available lots of places. Why get them at Jackson Center at all?

Perhaps you don't have a good understanding of how a business works. They sell things to make money. When you buy a trailer they're making money on the wheels/tires on the trailer. Then when you upgrade they make even more money on the 16" Michelin's/wheels. As to why I got them at JC:

1. I was there for another reason and it was very convenient.

2. I was able to sell the tires/wheels off my new trailer to another person who was there at the same time I was which cut down my cost a bit. Since I fulltime there is no room to carry 5 extra tires/wheels around and had I not been able to do that I would not have upgraded at all since I had a brand new trailer and was not going to walk off and leave the almost new tires and wheels at Airstream.

3. I wanted to.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:09 PM   #188
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Perhaps you don't have a good understanding of how a business works. They sell things to make money.
Oh I get that, no need to be insulting.
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When you buy a trailer they're making money on the wheels/tires on the trailer. Then when you upgrade they make even more money on the 16"
Understand that too.
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Michelin's/wheels. As to why I got them at JC:

1. I was there for another reason and it was very convenient.

2. I was able to sell the tires/wheels off my new trailer to another person who was there at the same time I was which cut down my cost a bit. Since I fulltime there is no room to carry 5 extra tires/wheels around and had I not been able to do that I would not have upgraded at all since I had a brand new trailer and was not going to walk off and leave the almost new tires and wheels at Airstream.

3. I wanted to.
I even get the rest of it, as you were there. Makes sense in your circumstances.

What I meant is that under ordinary circumstances (being at JC is not ordinary for most), there is little reason for buying wheels and tires from Airstream.

Besides, you were the one that implied that they were making a killing on 16" upgrades.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:46 PM   #189
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We got Lucy's 16" wheels and Michelin tires at Jackson Center last November. The reasons we decided to have Lucy done there were:

1. We priced the tires and wheels every which way, and it turns out that Airstream's price of $329 per wheel/tire was competitive with anyone else. I looked at all kinds of on-line prices. They all sounded good, but you had to cart tires over to Pensacola to have them mounted. Then you had to have someone who knew nothing about jacking an Airstream do the work, or do it yourself.

2. When you got to JC, it's done right. This has been our experience in three trips there. We have been to other Airstream dealers. It is scary when you realize that they know less about working on an Airstream than you do.

We now have 11,000 miles on the 16" Michelins. So far, so good.

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Old 06-16-2011, 06:52 AM   #190
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I called JC, they said their recommendation is still ST tires, they did not spec out the Eddie Bauer tires.

They insist the ST still have a stiffer side wall and are better, all new units continue with them.

As far as 16" wheels that does sound like a better idea as stated in this thread.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:44 AM   #191
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We have 5k miles on our 16" Michelins and are extremely happy with the towing experience, and particularly the peace of mind in having tires that are weight rated higher than the carried load.

We purchased our AS with the factory wheels and the unit was towed to the dealer with the new tires transported inside the unit. The new tires were installed and we sold the factory GYM's to another customer through the dealer. My total cost for the upgrade: about 500.00......well worth the results.

We also employ a TPM system.....(Truck Monitor System)...and this system helps abbreviate the daily/ morning departure check list....all I do is inspect the monitor in the TV to check the cold tire pressures in the morning. The reassurance while traveling is "priceless"!
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:02 AM   #192
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I called JC, they said their recommendation is still ST tires, they did not spec out the Eddie Bauer tires.

They insist the ST still have a stiffer side wall and are better, all new units continue with them.

As far as 16" wheels that does sound like a better idea as stated in this thread.
Bob, I would think that are are quoting the "company line" as mandated by their attorneys. If they really knew that ST tires were the best, they wouldn't be offering their 16" tire/wheel packages. They know that ST's are junk just as well as we do. They assume that the majority of Airstreams will never really go anywhere and could do just as well with square tires made of wood.

Brian

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:36 AM   #193
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We are very pleased with our 16" Michelin XPS tires which we put on before our trip to Top Sail, FL in May -- peace of mind is well worth the price. We ordered our 16" wheels over the internet, and ordered the Michelins from "NTB" here in Ohio. When they came in we took in the wheels and they mounted them. We put the new wheels/tires on when we replaced the axles -- which is another thing we did which we are so pleased about. If you watch, Michelin runs a sale of around a $70 or so rebate for four tires every so many months (I think three months), and then NTB also offers a AAA discount -- those are some great savings!

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Old 06-16-2011, 12:19 PM   #194
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Bob, I would think that are are quoting the "company line" as mandated by their attorneys. If they really knew that ST tires were the best, they wouldn't be offering their 16" tire/wheel packages. They know that ST's are junk just as well as we do. They assume that the majority of Airstreams will never really go anywhere and could do just as well with square tires made of wood.

Brian

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Yup - called the service dept at JC and talked to a tech. Asked about the conversion and asked if there was any downside other than cost. The answer was "No". I also don't think the "ST tires are better" answer was driven by legal liability, because Airstream is selling the EB trailer and is liable regardless of who spec'ed it. My guess is they are just trying to sell off the 15" stock they have.

Many of the 5th wheels come with LT tires from the factory, so I really doubt there is a problem.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:43 AM   #195
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Yup - called the service dept at JC and talked to a tech. Asked about the conversion and asked if there was any downside other than cost. The answer was "No". I also don't think the "ST tires are better" answer was driven by legal liability, because Airstream is selling the EB trailer and is liable regardless of who spec'ed it. My guess is they are just trying to sell off the 15" stock they have.

Many of the 5th wheels come with LT tires from the factory, so I really doubt there is a problem.
We owned a fifth wheel before we "saw the light" and purchased an AS. The OEM on the fiver was the ST GYM "E" rated and had the reputation of repeated failures. I experienced tire stem failures on all four tires on the same day!!! So we changed to the LT GY 114 "H" rated tires---a lot of tire for the unit but safer.

I believe that most fiver manufacturers use the "E" rated ST tires probably because of cost and availability. As more of us move to the LT tires, the paradigm will shift, but how many will suffer tire failures and vehicle damage in the meantime.....?
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:51 AM   #196
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Since there is a tire marketed specifically for trailers, a manufacturer feels safer for liability reasons putting those ST tires on their product. A lawyer representing someone who has a claim because of an LT tire problem when the LT tire was installed by the manufacturer may say ST tires are the proper tire. That claim can be rebutted by an expert who can show an LT tire is as good or better and ST tires has a bad record. It becomes a battle of the experts. This is an expensive process. There are many threads on this Forum about whether or not LT or ST tires are the safest. Good arguments may be made on either side, but after reading more than I wanted to know, I decided LT was the best alternative. Maybe I'm wrong, but I made the best decision I could based on available information and then discussed it with my wife. A decision made by a lawyer/historian and a microbiologist may not be the best one about tires.

The dilemma for a manufacturer is to decide what is the best tire for their product, what are the relative costs, and what is the liability exposure. After all, if they continue with ST tires and a lawyer claims after a horrendous accident that ST tires are clearly inferior, that lawyer also has a good argument. Aside from legal issues, the moral issue is: what is best for the customer? Cost of Michelins is somewhat more than GYM's, also a factor to cost cutters.

Airstream straddles the liability issue. OEM tires are generally ST's, but one trim line has LT's standard and you can order LT's as an option. I suspect cost, caché and response to customer demand are the reasons.

No one in government is pressuring tire companies to reassess and redesign ST tires. I believe that is how ST tires came about a generation ago. RV tires used to be bias ply and the ST radials were, at the time, an improvement. While tires have improved greatly since, ST tires have not kept up. But people are voting with their money and ordering LT's when they buy, or replacing the OEM's as soon as they can. Airstream noticed and the special trim line that comes with them is probably the first step toward a total changeover in OEM tires. They started offering Goodyear 16" LT's, but noticed the demand was for Michelins. When I made a deal to replace my bad looking OEM wheels, they wanted to put Goodyear Rugged Trails on and I refused; I picked up Michelins in Dayton at Discount Tire (better prices than at Airstream for them) and brought them to the Service Center where they mounted them. Others started doing the same thing. They did something similar with lighting—a couple of years ago they started selling LED's at the JC store, now they are installing them as standard equipment. They tested different brands about 3 years ago and sent me one to check out (it sucked). They can be slow to change, but there are changes.

I have been one to complain about Airstream being stuck in the past, but it is not always so. They should get credit for the good things they do even if they are slow.

Gene
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