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Old 04-18-2005, 12:17 PM   #1
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Need help with wheel upgrade

This is my first posting, but I must admit that Ive been following this forum for a number of months. I cant thank this community enough for the invaluable information Ive been able to glean from the archives as well as the daily postings.

My wife and I own a 1992 21 Sovereign. 1992 was the first year that Airstream built this particular model and there are a number of characteristics that are unique to this model year. For example, my tandem axles have 5-lug, 14-inch wheels. As far as I can tell, all subsequent model years were equipped with 6-lug, 15-inch wheels. Since the black water pipe is dangerously low to the ground on this model, I am considering upgrading to 5-lug 15-inch wheels in order to gain the addional -1 inch of ground clearance (wheel + tire combination). Low Cost Trailer Supplies sells the replacement aluminum trailer wheels that Im considering buying. Can anyone tell me if there are any reasons why this would not be a good idea? Also, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has purchased modular aluminum wheels from Low Cost Trailer Supply.

Thanks,

-Mark
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mookie
This is my first posting, but I must admit that Ive been following this forum for a number of months. I cant thank this community enough for the invaluable information Ive been able to glean from the archives as well as the daily postings.

My wife and I own a 1992 21 Sovereign. 1992 was the first year that Airstream built this particular model and there are a number of characteristics that are unique to this model year. For example, my tandem axles have 5-lug, 14-inch wheels. As far as I can tell, all subsequent model years were equipped with 6-lug, 15-inch wheels. Since the black water pipe is dangerously low to the ground on this model, I am considering upgrading to 5-lug 15-inch wheels in order to gain the addional -1 inch of ground clearance (wheel + tire combination). Low Cost Trailer Supplies sells the replacement aluminum trailer wheels that Im considering buying. Can anyone tell me if there are any reasons why this would not be a good idea? -Mark
First, welcome to the Forums, Mark!
Airstream still manufactures trailers with the 5 lug, 14 inch wheels, although they are somewhat rare. I can think of one big reason why you may not be able to use the 15" wheels and tires on your coach, and that is getting the wheel/tire assemblies to fit in the wheel wells, and not having them hit or rub up inside them.
Have you considered getting 14" tires a size or two larger, or are you already using the largest 14" trailer tire available? If you have ST195/75R14 tires, you may be able to go with ST215/75R14's. They are considerably larger in diameter, without the added expense of buying wheels as well.
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:55 PM   #3
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Hi, Terry. I currently have 205/75R14 Marathon's and I hadn't considered moving up a size to gain additional clearance. Thanks for the suggestion.

-Mark
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Old 05-14-2005, 05:17 PM   #4
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Low Cost Trailer Supplies testimonial

My husband and I have only had great experiences buying from Low Cost Trailer Supplies. And if you have any questions (about wheels, or anything else trailer-related for that matter) don't hesitate to write their customer service guy, Kenny, an email. He's seems to be an expert on everything trailer. Good luck with your wheel issue.


Ruth
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Old 05-14-2005, 08:05 PM   #5
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I also have a 21 foot Sovereign, 1993 vintage. 14 inch wheels were standard equipment on mine as well. Like you I had considered changing to 15 inch wheels. I called Airstream and asked them if I could encounter any problems. They suggested that I stay with the 14's. The tech rep indicated that the axles are designed to work with the 14 inch wheels. 15's are not recommended. BTW, the new 22 foot Internatrionals also have 14 inch wheels.Good luck! Juergen
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Old 05-14-2005, 09:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhart657
I also have a 21 foot Sovereign, 1993 vintage. 14 inch wheels were standard equipment on mine as well. Like you I had considered changing to 15 inch wheels. I called Airstream and asked them if I could encounter any problems. They suggested that I stay with the 14's. The tech rep indicated that the axles are designed to work with the 14 inch wheels. 15's are not recommended. BTW, the new 22 foot Internatrionals also have 14 inch wheels.Good luck! Juergen
You can also upgrade a size on your tires without a problem. Still 14", but one size larger.
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Old 05-14-2005, 09:23 PM   #7
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I don't think going up a size within the 14" size will help, there is only .2" difference in the loaded radius.

Here's a size chart. http://www.goodyear.com/rv/products/..._marathon.html

Maybe you could switch to bias ply tires?
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Old 05-15-2005, 02:47 AM   #8
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Backspace check!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mookie
I am considering upgrading to 5-lug 15-inch wheels in order to gain the addional -1 inch of ground clearance (wheel + tire combination). Low Cost Trailer Supplies sells the replacement aluminum trailer wheels that Im considering buying. Can anyone tell me if there are any reasons why this would not be a good idea? Also, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has purchased modular aluminum wheels from Low Cost Trailer Supply.

Thanks,

-Mark
Mark,


Just a word of caution, whenever wheels are changed, be sure to get the same backspace dimension on the new rim as was on the old. If you lay a straight edge across the backside of your old rim (rim only, not tire) and use a tape measure to reach the rim area that bolts to the hub this is the backspace dimension. Backspace dimensions that are different will move the tire either closer or further from the axle hub, this could cause rubbing.



Regards,

Henry
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Old 05-15-2005, 06:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I don't think going up a size within the 14" size will help, there is only .2" difference in the loaded radius.

Here's a size chart. http://www.goodyear.com/rv/products/..._marathon.html

Maybe you could switch to bias ply tires?
Don, I checked the chart, the next size up would give him .6" increase, from a 205 75R14 to a 215 75R14.
I used to have 7.00/14 tires on a Toyota truck, if he could find them they should be taller.
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Old 05-15-2005, 06:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axleman
Mark,


Just a word of caution, whenever wheels are changed, be sure to get the same backspace dimension on the new rim as was on the old. If you lay a straight edge across the backside of your old rim (rim only, not tire) and use a tape measure to reach the rim area that bolts to the hub this is the backspace dimension. Backspace dimensions that are different will move the tire either closer or further from the axle hub, this could cause rubbing.



Regards,

Henry
Henry, in the automotive world, that backspace is called offset. Most of the newer Airstreams have a zero offset, but I am not so sure if his particular coach does or not. The only way to tell for sure is to do as you described.
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Old 05-15-2005, 07:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by argosy20
Don, I checked the chart, the next size up would give him .6" increase, from a 205 75R14 to a 215 75R14.
Terry,

You're looking at the diameter. The Static Loaded Radius is what tells how much more ground clearance he would obtain.
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Old 05-15-2005, 10:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Terry,

You're looking at the diameter. The Static Loaded Radius is what tells how much more ground clearance he would obtain.
You're right, my bad...
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Old 05-15-2005, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argosy20
Henry, in the automotive world, that backspace is called offset. Most of the newer Airstreams have a zero offset, but I am not so sure if his particular coach does or not. The only way to tell for sure is to do as you described.


Terry,



You are correct! I think offset is the proper term.



However offset could refer to front or rear offset. I was trying to provide the most straightforward description that I could. I have attached a link to the folks at Wheel Vintiques that should remove any questions. http://www.wheelvintiques.com/measure.html



Regards,

Henry

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Old 05-15-2005, 03:52 PM   #14
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Backspace sure is easier to understand.

I understand 'offset', but can never remember which side is positive and which is negative. What a bother!

They should sell wheels with backspace instead of offset.
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