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Old 03-23-2013, 09:28 AM   #463
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While we were on the road last month - in the Four Corners area of the US southwest, I rode around in the AS for about an hour to get a "feel" for the ride in the back.

My wife driving, me riding in the trailer, communicating with our walkie-talkies - its amazing how things really are "rocking and rolling."

We agreed to keep the speed below 45mph and only drove on secondary roads - we keep off the interstates most of the time anyway. Except for the mid-bath pocket door banging around, sound levels were fairly low.

Not surprisingly, the suspension "felt" stiff - we're running 16" Michelin LRE RIBs (70psi), new horizontal shocks, ceramic disk balancers, and new 3500# axles.

The tanks were empty but we were carrying our standard equipment load-out for extended road time. My weight in this configuration is right at 5900#.

All considered, it was an interesting experience. I'll try it again later this year with a slightly heavier load.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #464
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Originally Posted by CapriRacer View Post
I had a college professor who used to say: "Over-Design, Under-Utilize!"
- which is a short way of saying that responsible engineers should design components stronger than they need to be - AND - then select components stronger than they need to be. The net effect is that there are 2 jumps in strength.

This is one of the lessons from the Ford/Firestone thing a few years back. Remember all that talk about inflation pressure? That was really about load carrying capacity.

If you look at successful vehicle designs (from the tire failure perspective), the thing that stands out is that these vehicles have relatively large tires (compared to what is needed.) Over the years I have become aware that many trailer manufacturers don't do a good job of sizing the tires. In essence, this is the same problem as the Ford Explorer's inflation pressure.

So I am advocating using a larger tire - and in this case, moving from a 15" to a 16" increases the load carrying capacity by 6%. Plus, it moves from ST tires to LT tires.

OK, the ST tire problem: I see 2 issues here. The first is that these tires are produced by - oh, let's call them 3rd tier manufacturers - with the one exception and in that case I would characterize these tires as being built with 3rd tier equipment. Maybe a better way of saying this would be that they aren't benefitting from cutting edge technology - unlike LT tires.

I could say the same thing about LT tires coming from 3rd tier tire manufacturers, but getting evidence to support this is difficult. Failure rates aren't published - and even hints at the rate are especially hard to find for obscure tires - and pretty much all ST tires qualify as obscure.

The second problem I see with ST tires is that they are speed limited - something that isn't understood by the novice RV'er - and because of that, they are allowed a more intense loading.

Combine these 2 things, and it is understandable that the failure rates would be higher.

So that's what is underlying my recommendation.
CapriRacer, thank you. That is as straight forward and clear as I have ever seen the ST / LT tire issue explained.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:34 AM   #465
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Thank you, CapriRacer, for your thoughtful advice. I've been flip-flopping whether to switch to a 16-inch tire, and now feel reassured to make the change. This is my first time being an RV-er (just bought an Airstream 25-footer), and relying on more experienced folks for advice. Am finding Airforums a great place for valuable info, and yours made the difference. Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:56 PM   #466
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You've got to figure that the ST tire folks know that even if they do have a problem, it's not a "life threatening" situation, since their tires are on a trailer that's not supposed to have a human inside. They have "no worries" if it's only a matter of a little mechanical/body damage due to a flaw in their product. The LT tires on the other hand, demand a much higher QC or big law suits will follow. Stands to reason the LT's, even if more money to start, are a better investment in the long run, not to mention the safety factor.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:04 AM   #467
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Your reference to the Ford Explorer tire situation brought back some memory of that time.

This is one of the lessons from the Ford/Firestone thing a few years back. Remember all that talk about inflation pressure? That was really about load carrying capacity.

It actually was not a load capacity issue as those Explorers came with the same size tire as a 1/2 ton suburban and were 1200 pounds lighter with a lot less room for loading stuff in. They were just bad tires combined with a vehicle with a tall centre of gravity, soft springs weak worn out shocks and narrow suspension stance.

Interestingly we had a large number of customers that towed with those vehicles but when we set them up for towing we removed the P235/75R x 15" tires and installed 215/75R x 15" LT tires to tighten up the handling. As well we changed them to a very heavy duty gas charged shock absorber. As a result none of our customers ever had a problem with blown tires or instablilty.

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Old 03-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #468
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Quote:
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I try not to exceed 65 with the trailer.....try.
Me too.

Capri, you have stated it very clearly. For safety, good, even great tires, are more important than just about anything. That was a big motivator to change to 16" Michelins.

I'm unsure the Explorer (a neighbor with one calls it the "Exploder") compares to the trailer. When that model first came out, it was criticized for not really being much good off road. I thought it was a bigger station wagon suitable for using around town and not much else. Changing shocks and tires, as Andrew says, sounds like a good fix.

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:06 PM   #469
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The above reasons are exactly why I went with the Continental Vanco 2 tires. These tires were made to haul people in small buses (talk about liability). Also are a tad wider and less than 1/2" shorter for a good foot print. All at a lower PSI (65 compared to 80) for a better ride. Anyone who says the ride is just as smooth with either 65 or 80 PSI are just kidding themselves. Try putting 15 more psi in your vehicle and driving around for a short time. You will feel every small bump in the road. JMHO
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:37 PM   #470
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....... Anyone who says the ride is just as smooth with either 65 or 80 PSI are just kidding themselves. Try putting 15 more psi in your vehicle and driving around for a short time. You will feel every small bump in the road. JMHO
The comparison gets the point across however not exactly accurate.

Using a 80PSI max tire and adding the extra 15PSI to the limit if the tire is an increase of 18 to 19 percent in tire pressure. It will be felt just not like a passenger car tire that has a max of 44 PSI.

Using the passenger car tire with a max of 44PSI and adding 15PSI from 29PSI is a huge swing of 34%. That will be felt much more so than the heavier rated tires. And really isn't a comparison in almost doubling the increase in pressure.

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:53 PM   #471
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I don't mean to be critical, but increasing pressure from 65 to 80 psi is a 23% increase in pressure (80/65=1.23). And, an increase from 29 psi to 44 is approximately 52% (44/29=1.517), which is a much more significant increase. Also, a tire inflated to 29 psi is soft, and one with 65 psi in it is already pretty hard. Personally, I could tell no difference in the ride of our 19-foot Bambi between 65 and 80 psi.

Many of the people posting in this thread have multiple axles. Our Bambi has only one, and the load on each tire is significantly higher than with many of the larger Airstreams. This may be why I perceived no difference in ride with our model. Also, in my opinion, the suspension affects ride much more than a few pounds of air.

Even if one can feel every little pebble at 80 psi (which I cannot on our Bambi), I suspect that this is not what causes long-term damage to Airstreams. My guess is that this damage is the result of constant cyclical vibration from the imbalance of rotating, unsprung tire/wheel/brake parts and worn axles/shocks, aggravated by heavy tire loads (not necessarily overloading).

For lower tire loads, satisfactory results may be achieved with decreased pressures, especially in areas where summer temperatures are moderate. However, in the southwest desert where daytime temperatures may exceed 105-110 degrees (F), and road temperatures are even higher, under inflation is the primary cause of tire failures. Also, our Bambi has only one tire per side; and the "per tire" load is higher than with many larger Airstreams. When we have a blowout or tread separation, we are riding on the rims since there is no second or third tire to carry the load. Therefore, I feel justified in running 80 psi, if only to reduce heat buildup and increase the margin of safety.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:01 PM   #472
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Blame Firestone, not Ford.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
Your reference to the Ford Explorer tire situation brought back some memory of that time.

This is one of the lessons from the Ford/Firestone thing a few years back. Remember all that talk about inflation pressure? That was really about load carrying capacity.

It actually was not a load capacity issue as those Explorers came with the same size tire as a 1/2 ton suburban and were 1200 pounds lighter with a lot less room for loading stuff in. They were just bad tires combined with a vehicle with a tall centre of gravity, soft springs weak worn out shocks and narrow suspension stance.

Interestingly we had a large number of customers that towed with those vehicles but when we set them up for towing we removed the P235/75R x 15" tires and installed 215/75R x 15" LT tires to tighten up the handling. As well we changed them to a very heavy duty gas charged shock absorber. As a result none of our customers ever had a problem with blown tires or instablilty.

Andrew T
Hi, I worked at a Ford dealer at this time and bought a brand new Ford Explorer Sport. [1996] Mine came with Goodyear tires, in-which, didn't have any problems. The problems were limited to the Firestone tires. When it was time for new tires, I went up in size to P-265's. [re-calibrated speedometer to match] I also replaced the single leaf rear springs with the earlier multi-leaf springs, Lowered the front end slightly lower than the rear by adjusting the front torsion bar springs. I also had the alignment done at this stance. My Explorer drove and handled much better than stock. But because of it's size and a tow rating of 5,000 lbs, we chose to replace my Explorer with a Lincoln Navigator. And lived happily ever after.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:45 AM   #473
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Your reference to the Ford Explorer tire situation.........It actually was not a load capacity issue as those Explorers came with the same size tire as a 1/2 ton suburban and were 1200 pounds lighter with a lot less room for loading stuff in........
Interestingly, the difference in the inflation pressures results in about a 1200# difference in load carrying capacity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
.......Interestingly we had a large number of customers that towed with those vehicles but when we set them up for towing we removed the P235/75R x 15" tires and installed 215/75R x 15" LT tires to tighten up the handling........
More interestingly, an LT215/75R15 has the same load carrying capacity as a P235/75R15 does at the pressure specified by Ford.

- BUT -

There's no question that the tires weren't up to par - and I make that clear here:

Barry's Tire Tech
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:23 PM   #474
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Has any one made the switch from the 15x6" wheel to the 16x7" wheel?

If you did, how did that work out?
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #475
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Nope. My 16" wheels are labeled 16 x 6-5.5. These are the same wheels that are used on the Eddie Bauer edition trailers. Tire size is LT225/75 R16. for my 30' Classic.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:11 PM   #476
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Mine are 16X7, bought them at Shadow Trailers on line out of California....low bidder. They fit my trailer fine.
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