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Old 02-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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Tires for airstream interstate ??

Can anyone recommend best tires for Airstream Interstate? Ride comfort, Fuel milage, etc.

We live in the south so not really concerned about winter driving. Also had to replace 2 front tires already since previous owner never rotated them and then we rotated rear set to front and put new ones on passenger rear, but not overly happy with them.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:00 PM   #2
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Could you please indicate the tire size you are looking for (e.g., 190/70x15, 205/65x15, etc.)? --Thanks.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:30 AM   #3
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Late-model Interstates take LT215/85 R16, Speed range Q on all six tires, and operate at an inflation pressure of 61 psi.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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Our original tires were Michelins.

We replaced at about 70,000 miles, with Firestones, and just replaced with Firestones again.

Doug says they are basically truck tires, with an E rating.

We have been very happy with them, have them rotated and balanced regularly, no problems whatsoever.


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Old 02-06-2013, 06:57 AM   #5
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I have a 2011 and noticed that mine are wearing on the edges. I think it is because I drive it like a race car, sharp turns etc. The dealer recommended that, when I replace, that I replace with sturdier tires....whatever that means. Let us know what you buy and how they ride!
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brentsouth View Post
I have a 2011 and noticed that mine are wearing on the edges. I think it is because I drive it like a race car, sharp turns etc. The dealer recommended that, when I replace, that I replace with sturdier tires....whatever that means. Let us know what you buy and how they ride!
Both edges, outer edges, or inner edges? Also, front tires only, or front and rear? Also, uniform wear around the entire circumference, or more wear in some spots than in others?

I ask because, if it's both edges that's usually an indication of chronic underinflation. On my Interstate, when I air up to 61psi, within a week or two it has bled down to about 55psi, and thereafter it stays around 55psi no matter how long it sits. I don't think my tires like being at 61psi, but they like 55psi just fine. It's weird. If I'm not conscientious about tire inflation, my tires would exhibit this kind of wear.

If it's front tires only, and wearing on only one edge— outer edges on both front tires or inner edges on both— that's usually an indication of requiring a front end alignment.

If it's not uniform wear around the whole edge, that's usually an indication that the tires need to be rebalanced.

And if it's the rear tires, and the ones on one side are wearing on the inside edge, but the ones on the other side are wearing on the outside edge, that means your rear axle isn't exactly perpendicular to the direction of travel, and you need to get the rear axle aligned. This one happens most often after an accident when there is minor bending of the frame, but it can also happen on cars that weren't in an accident, if the rear axle is attached to the rear leaf springs slightly crooked.

Sturdier tires will probably mean a higher load range, which translates to stiffer sidewalls and/or more belts. Which also means a rougher ride, but you can't have everything.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:25 PM   #7
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Could you please indicate the tire size you are looking for (e.g., 190/70x15, 205/65x15, etc.)? --Thanks.
I have to check the sizes and makes that are on it now
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:28 PM   #8
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I have a 2011 and noticed that mine are wearing on the edges. !
That's the reason I has to replace the 2 front tires. They wore on the outsides. Probably due to cornering but also according to sprinter service center, sprinters tend to have a camber issue (toe in) I think it's called.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:06 AM   #9
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Read reviews on this link, then you can decide which you think are the best at the price you can afford. We usually do research on TireRack.com and then buy at Costco Tire Center or local Discount Tire store, which matches the best price you can find.

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:56 AM   #10
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This may get me flamed, but personally I don't think it is worth rotating tires on a dually where it cost up to $150 to have them knocked down and remounted and balanced. Especially not since I've never liked the factory Conti's. I would rather replace the fronts at much shorter intervals and the rears slightly shorter than if they had been rotated.

I am religious about inflation pressure though. When setting pressure I check them in the morning in the driveway before the sun has touched them and I set them two psi over the 61 psi spec. By the time I check them again in a month or so (sooner if I am headed out on a trip) they are typically sitting right at or below the 61psi spec. If it is the fall and the ambient temps are set to drop, or I am headed someplace colder than my departure point, I'll set them a couple of psi higher (on average, 10 degrees outside temp will drop you tire pressure 1 psi).

I'm actually headed out the door right now to have my van aligned and two new fronts mounted. At 15k, the outer edges of both fronts are pretty worn, the centers are below half tread and we have several trips coming up. I sprung for a pair of Michelin LTX MS2's from TireRack ($475 delivered). I drive the Airstream like a miata (so says my wife) so I'm sure my cornering has not helped the wear, but my mechanic and I both agree that the wear also indicates too much toe-in. We'll see in an hour or so when we get it on the alignment rack. We will definitely set it to the most toed-out end of the factory spec (they give you a narrow range to hit, a good patient tech can tweak it to the edge of the range based on your preference ... most just get it to where the green light on their alignment rack stays on indicating that it is in the range and ship it out the door no questions asked). I'll report back in a few thousand miles based on my experience. This is tireracks top rated highway all season tire in our size and I am confident that based on its reviews it will handle better and last longer (even under my neglect and abuse) than the conti's. We'll see if I am right.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:25 AM   #11
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"Michelin LTX MS2"

X2

Have always had good luck with Michelin tires.

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Old 02-13-2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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I figure no more miles than I put on mine yearly, the tires will require replacement due to age long before they wear out.

I agree on the rotation argument. Especially in my case.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:07 AM   #13
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My Interstate just ticked over 9800 miles, and I'm getting two messages on the dashboard display: "Service due in 200 miles"; and "Check DEF."

I plan to add more DEF myself rather than letting Mercedes do it. They use DEF imported from Germany, and charge by the liter. I bought a two-gallon container of the same stuff at Walmart for considerably less.

When they do the remainder of the 10,000-mile service, one thing they have to do, checking the brake pads, requires that they dismount the wheels, so they'll probably do a tire rotation whether I tell them or not. Which is fine, as long as they remember to move my valve extensions (and don't lose any of them).
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:30 AM   #14
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Our tire people rotate for free.


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Old 02-13-2013, 12:00 PM   #15
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Free rotation makes all the difference!

In fact since I just found out that Discount Tire offers free rotation, even on a dually where you have to dismount and rebalance all six tires to accomplish it, I may have just jumped on the rotation bandwagon. The were willing to mount my tires ($44) even though I purchased them from Tirerack, but they also pointed out for future reference that they will meet or beat their price on the tires (of course I don't pay tire rack our 8.375% sales tax that I will have to pay discount, but that's the price of doing business). When I replace the four on the back in about 5k miles, I'll goto them to purchase the tires and install and have them move the new fronts I just put on to the rear and continue rotation from there.

In the mean time, I would like to report back on the alignment. It was in spec but there was some allowance to adjust it to less toe-in while still staying in range. The before specs were .44 degrees total toe which equates to about 3/16" toe in. The tech tweaked it for me down to the minimum factory specification, .23 degrees total toe (1/8" is .29 degrees, so it's slightly less than that). A small change, but I think it was worth doing.

As a previous poster mentioned, the vans do have something else going against them that can contribute to outer edge wear. The factory spec is for .4 to 1.5 degrees POSITIVE camber ... this means that in a static state the tire is actually leaning out, putting a bit more weight on the outside edge of the tire. Mine was right at the minimum spec on the left side and close to it on the right so we left it alone. If I continue to have the outer edge wear with the new and, I hope, improved rubber, I will consider adjusting the camber outside of factory specs to correct the wear issue by setting the camber at or near zero. As a sports car guy, I'm used to running at least .5 to 1.5 degrees of negative camber on my street cars and up to 3.5 degrees negative on my road race cars. The idea of a modern vehicle having positive camber seems arcane to me but I do have some hesitation going outside of factory spec. The van tracks nice and straight as it is and I don't want to mess that up (taking some of the toe-in out of it may have already hurt it, so I want to live with that for a while before considering changing any other settings).
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:48 PM   #16
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For future reference, I think most Discount Tire stores also fix flats for free, even if you didn't buy the tire from them. I have used this service several times, and the tire techs wouldn't even accept a tip.

Now, the only time I buy tires elsewhere is when Costco has a cheaper price; and even then, Discount usually price matches. It's hard to beat Discount Tire, at least here in Arizona.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
My Interstate just ticked over 9800 miles, and I'm getting two messages on the dashboard display: "Service due in 200 miles"; and "Check DEF."

I plan to add more DEF myself rather than letting Mercedes do it. They use DEF imported from Germany, and charge by the liter. I bought a two-gallon container of the same stuff at Walmart for considerably less.
Don't delay filling after the messages as after a certain number (sorry can't remember what it is) of warnings, you only get 25 more starts and then it locks down.

Quote:
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Free rotation makes all the difference!

In fact since I just found out that Discount Tire offers free rotation, even on a dually where you have to dismount and rebalance all six tires to accomplish it, I may have just jumped on the rotation bandwagon. The were willing to mount my tires ($44) even though I purchased them from Tirerack, but they also pointed out for future reference that they will meet or beat their price on the tires (of course I don't pay tire rack our 8.375% sales tax that I will have to pay discount, but that's the price of doing business). When I replace the four on the back in about 5k miles, I'll goto them to purchase the tires and install and have them move the new fronts I just put on to the rear and continue rotation from there.

In the mean time, I would like to report back on the alignment. It was in spec but there was some allowance to adjust it to less toe-in while still staying in range. The before specs were .44 degrees total toe which equates to about 3/16" toe in. The tech tweaked it for me down to the minimum factory specification, .23 degrees total toe (1/8" is .29 degrees, so it's slightly less than that). A small change, but I think it was worth doing.

As a previous poster mentioned, the vans do have something else going against them that can contribute to outer edge wear. The factory spec is for .4 to 1.5 degrees POSITIVE camber ... this means that in a static state the tire is actually leaning out, putting a bit more weight on the outside edge of the tire. Mine was right at the minimum spec on the left side and close to it on the right so we left it alone. If I continue to have the outer edge wear with the new and, I hope, improved rubber, I will consider adjusting the camber outside of factory specs to correct the wear issue by setting the camber at or near zero. As a sports car guy, I'm used to running at least .5 to 1.5 degrees of negative camber on my street cars and up to 3.5 degrees negative on my road race cars. The idea of a modern vehicle having positive camber seems arcane to me but I do have some hesitation going outside of factory spec. The van tracks nice and straight as it is and I don't want to mess that up (taking some of the toe-in out of it may have already hurt it, so I want to live with that for a while before considering changing any other settings).
Since you mentioned racing alignment, you're probably aware of the reason for positive camber which I think has to do w/ the camber change that occurs during turns. I know it's different for different vehicles as have noticed some vehicles display a lot of negative camber at full lock. Also camber changes on most vehicles thruout the range of suspension travel.

3/16" toe-in seems like a lot to me based upon what most of my other vehicles have. Usually 1/16" to 1/8" is normally what I expect. But maybe w/ a one ton chassis, you need more. Don't know about that.

Was surprised to hear that anyone will dismount, mount, balance, and rotate for free six tires. Will definitely check that out when the time comes.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:48 AM   #18
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Was surprised to hear that anyone will dismount, mount, balance, and rotate for free six tires.
Me too! Of course it's only if you buy your tires from them. They said that they do it all the time on the dually pickups so it is SOP for them. I suppose that since they have to deal with the treadwear warranty's that it is better for them in the long run to suck it up and do the rotations than deal with the upset customers and warranty claims. Still, that's a lot of work for "free".

With regards to the alignment and camber change in motion, yes you typically get way more negative camber as the wheels are turned due the caster setting, though the sprinter chassis has a relatively small amount of caster and there is not an adjustment provision. My caster was actually less than the factory spec, (mine was 3.5 degrees with the factory range of 4.3 to 5.3 degrees) but since there is not a way to easily adjust this I am not going to worry about it. Typically, as the suspension compresses the geometry is designed to provide more negative camber so as the body rolls onto the outside tire the negative camber offsets some of the body roll to keep the tire flat on the ground and not overwhelm the outside edge of the tire ... which is why sporting vehicles run more negative camber and why since our vans are top heavy and I tend to exercise mine in corners more than most I may consider deviating from the factory spec and setting it to zero or negative camber instead of the factory positive specs in an attempt to eliminate excessive outside edge wear. So far the reduction in toe-in does not seem to have effected the directional stability but I've only driven it about 20 miles. Need to get it out on the highway with some of our Oklahoma crosswinds to see if I can tell a difference.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:33 AM   #19
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We just always get our tires at home, and deal with rotations when we are there.

We have not had outer wear issues, although also have only 4 tires. We are on our third set at 130,000 miles.

We have never had a flat, but have a couple of times picked up a nail or bolt that created a leak. We look for the first tire place in whatever town we come to, and have had those fixed for $6-$8. People are always willing to help those who are travlin' thru.

We also service at Peterbilt locally and have found them completely reliable and dependable. Those ongoing relationships mean everything. They have answered questions over the phone and fixed simple, small things at no charge. Love them.


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Old 02-18-2013, 05:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
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"Michelin LTX MS2"

X2

Have always had good luck with Michelin tires.

Bob
So is everyone in agreement? Michelin LTX ms2?

I know my size is 215/85r16

What about going with a lower profile? Say an 80, 75 or even 70?

Would this reduce 'bounce' in rear? Or stuck with factory size?

Performance is #1 but a tire has to 'look' good as well
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