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Old 10-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #1
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Lucy's OEM wheels gotta go!

After last weekend's flat tire on Lucy in Tennessee, I'm considering some major wheel/tire changes. I'm am looking for advice on these matters.

I am pretty fed-up with Lucy's OEM wheels. The valve stem on these wheels is very difficult to get at with either a gauge or an air supply chuck. The other night when I had the flat, the gas station's air chuck was of the straight on variety and was not able to be used with my wheels. I had to use my battery powered compressor to put some air in the tire to see where it was leaking.

I also plan to replace Lucy's Maxxis 10 plys after this recent failure. They have 22,000 miles on them and they have been trouble free up until now. My prior experience with the OEM Marathons was three blow-outs on one trip.

I am considering going to 16" wheels to have a better selection of high quality light truck tires in the E load range. On the recent tire failure, I had to purchase a Carlisle trailer 10 ply as it was all I could locate on a Sunday morning. The Maxxis are 225/75R15. If I go to 16's, could I downsize the tire height to 70's to stay close to the current overall size?

I'm not totally set on going to 16" wheels. I would consider staying with 15's if I can find a wheel that has an accessible valve stem. Then they is the matter of the junky trailer tires out there.

I would like to hear the pros and cons of the 15 vs 16 issue. I would also like to hear about sources for these wheels. We pull Lucy about 20,000 miles a year, so I'm looking for durablity.

I have included a couple of pictures of Lucy's OEM wheels so you will know which ones I am talking about.

Thank you for the help, Brian
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:58 PM   #2
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Could this be a matter of the type of valve stems that were used? As opposed to the wheel itself?

If you want to get rid of those wheels, please contact me. I might be interested in takin' 'em off yer hands.

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Old 10-14-2008, 07:02 PM   #3
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Brian,

I am not opposed to the "new" rim idea - Desi has the old rim aluminum degradation issue that you have. Two things about the old rims -

one, you already own them and they are not a cheap item to buy. I have talked with local rim restoration shops and they have said they can restore then to new MUCh cheaper than buy-it-new ones. That's the shine and clearcote and all.

Now - two - the valve stems, there are angled truck high pressure valve stems that can cure your issue and make air fills much more easier.

Put the money into new high quality tires.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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Brian,

You make a good argument for switching to 16" wheels just because of the selection of tires available.

If you want to stay with 15", look at the wheels that are on the Internationals. Here's a picture that partially shows what they look like.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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I bought the Greenball 2000 wheels from Trailer Parts Superstore and have high pressure stems in them. I also have Maxxis D rated 15" tires mounted on them and have had no problem with valve stem access with straight air compressor fittings. While these are supposed to be the same wheels purchased by Airstream from a Chinese manufacturer, it almost looks like your valve stems are further toward the center of the tire than mine. Is it my imagination or what?
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:42 PM   #6
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I have had the problem of accessing my valve stems with my digital tire pressure gauge so I bought one of the old fashioned angled pen styled tire gauge with the slide out register stick thingies (technical term there) and I also bought a right angle chucks to use with my compressor.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:43 PM   #7
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An even cheaper solution is to get a set of 90 degree valve stem extensions. You could buy a whole box of them for less than the cost of one new aluminum wheel.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:03 AM   #8
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:33 AM   #9
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I've been doing some trailer tire research and have found information that is concerning me about tire replacement.

1. ST (trailer) tires are not designed to wear out.

2. The mileage expectation for ST tires is 5,0000 to 12,000 miles.

3. Replacement of ST tires is recommended after 4 to 5 years regardless of mileage.

4. ST tire polyester and steel cords are larger than those in passenger (P) and light truck (LT) tires to meet the additional load requirements of trailer service.

5. All ST tires have a maximum speed rating of 65 mph.

Considering all of these factors, I am now leaning toward changing over to load range E LT tires for several reasons.

1. I usually drive at 65 mph, but do often ease up to 70+.

2. We pull Lucy about 20,000 miles a year. This would have me replacing my ST's two or, possibly, three times a year. The OEM Marathons that I replaced last year after 3 tire failures had 16,000 miles on them.

3. Going to LT tires would save me a bunch of time and money in the long run.

4. As LT tires in the E load range are not available for 15" wheels, I would need to go to 16" wheels. This would also solve my wheel dilemma.

Now I'm looking for tire/wheel combos that would work for Lucy.

Am I on the right track? Will the switch to LT's be the answer? Are the LT's strong enough for the rigors of a tandem axle Airstream?

Brian
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:28 AM   #10
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Hey Brian,
I too am considering switching to 16 inch rims. It is time for me to replace the old painted steel rims and hubcaps with nice shiney aluminum ones. Several members have made the change from 15" to 16". I think Lewster is one of them. Let's keep in touch about this issue-- I will try to do some research too and we can put our heads together.

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Old 10-15-2008, 05:57 PM   #11
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Greg, I will do that. Thanx.

Brian
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:31 PM   #12
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Someone mention my name ??????????

!6" alloy rims from Trailer Tires and Wheels - trailer tires, boat trailer tires, trailer wheels, boat trailer wheels, aluminum trailer wheels and currently using BFG Commercial T/A LRE tires in 225/75-16 size. Over 20K miles on them without a problem!!!!!

When I replace them after 4 years (just my thing), I'll probably use Michelin XPS Rib in the same size and load rating, as I have these on my Sprinter van and feel that they are the best, smoothest riding tire I have ever had on the van (120K on it currently). YMMV
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:00 PM   #13
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Interesting comments. I find the 5k to 12k mile life expectation to be low. My last marathons were o4 vintage(canadian) and no problems or issues with 20k on them. I just replaced them with new 08 marathons and just did over 7k miles with fingers crossed. I have heard the new marathons(chinese) were a problem. In a nutshell this issue with st tires is pitiful indeed. I have said more than once if I had the problems some have written about I would go to a motor-home. So far however, my vote is for marathons and I guess I am lucky. Keep the air pressure up to par and hope they do not blow.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:30 AM   #14
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Hey Lewster,

How about a pic of your wheels and tires? I looked at the site you mentioned and they had only two styles in the 16", zero offset size. Do we really need zero offset?
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