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Old 07-11-2020, 06:18 PM   #1
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Question 16 inch tire Questions

My 2012 Airstream 27 ft flying cloud came with trailer tires.
Considering changing to 16 inch truck tires & rims
Any problems fitting a 16 inch truck tire in the Airstream spare holder? Considering steel 6x16 inch zero offset steel wheels; is this correct?
Considering Michelin LTX 215/85R 16EMS (defender) tires, correct?
Any recommendations for this service near San Diego CA?
Any comments are appreciated
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:44 PM   #2
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I have the defenders in 225 75R 16 which works out to be a little wider and a little shorter that the numbers you listed. I bought my tires at the factory in Jackson Center last year after I had the axles replaced (long story).

In either case the spare carrier will need a small modification as the two vertical rods are too close for the new tire. I had to slightly bend the rods to get the spare to fit. A couple of well placed hits with a hand sledge will get the job done.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:59 PM   #3
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Goodyear also has a 16" Endurance ST tire that would work very well.
Very pleased with our E rated.

Bob
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:26 PM   #4
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To answer the OP's question, "it depends". Some have reported that 16" tires fit in the spare carrier with no problem. Others have discovered that they did not fit without modification. In most cases I have read about, as in mine and Richard's above, all that was necessary was to bend the upturned legs a little and the 16" tire fits.
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:16 PM   #5
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With several excellent trailer tires available it is difficult for me to understand why today one would put a truck tire on a trailer, can someone explain the in logical and technical terms why this makes sense? If you cannot doesn't that give you cause to refrain from it? As an engineer and physicist I can't come up with any rationale to do so.
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Old 07-12-2020, 05:39 AM   #6
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As one who upgraded the wheels and put Michelin truck tires on my trailer before I even drove the first mile, I would answer by saying that then I had no confidence in any trailer tires. Although we are supposedly past the ST tire blowout debacle, the cynic in me has me sticking with truck tires. Given the acceptable performance with LT tires and the much wider variety of choices, why not run LT tires? I run my LT's near the 80#'s, stuff does not bounce around in my trailer since I installed Centramatics, and I see no evidence of beating the trailer to death. I am currently on my second year with Yoko's because I would trust the Agilis. It was too new in the US and no track record to review.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:37 AM   #7
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16 inch tire Questions

My spare tire fit in the carrier without modification.

LT tires are speed rated which is good to know when you’re crossing Wyoming at 80 mph (and still being passed by the semis).

(Now that I’m retired though I have the luxury of taking my time though.)
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
With several excellent trailer tires available it is difficult for me to understand why today one would put a truck tire on a trailer, can someone explain the in logical and technical terms why this makes sense? If you cannot doesn't that give you cause to refrain from it? As an engineer and physicist I can't come up with any rationale to do so.
Well...I swallowed the pill and spent the big bucks on 16' wheels and LT tires.
Now I can't rationalize doing the rational thing.


NOT...I have always used ST tires on 'Cloudsplitter'... 12 GYM's and 5 GYE's.
One GYM failure...brain fart curb rash.🥴

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Old 07-12-2020, 07:39 AM   #9
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We run 16 Michelins on Sendel wheels for the ride and to avoid blowout damage. As you can theoretically tow with 3 wheels we just kept the 15 as a spare with the assumption that if it is used it would only be for a short period until a replacement is installed. Knock on wood we've not needed it yet. - Brad
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:58 AM   #10
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Greeting from the Florida Panhandle

You are absolutely correct in going to 16" wheels and LT tires for your airstream. This is especially true if your Airstream is heavily used. We have been avid Airstreamers for quite a while, 14+ years to be exact. We have spent over 2,100 nights of Airstream camping, and have towed our Airstreams over 180,000 miles all over the United States and Canada.

Our first Airstream was a new 2005 Safari 25FB. It came with Goodyear ST 15" tires. Within the first year of Airstreaming, Old Lucy suffered three catastrophic tire failures (blow outs) while on the road traveling. We decided at that point that the Goodyear Marathons were junk tires. Old Lucy's next tires were Maxxis ST 10 ply. These performed much better than the Marathons, but at about 20,000 miles they started to develop tread separation. We got another set of Maxxis, but these did not do as well as the first set. The were suffering tread separation at 12,000 miles.

This was the point at which we decided that all ST tires were junk. We got Old Lucy a set of 16" wheels and a set of Michelin LTS M/S 2's. We continued towing Old Lucy for another 66,000 miles without a single tire issue. These tires were still on Old Lucy when we traded her in, and they still had some life left in them.

When we bought New Lucy in 2014, we immediately ordered a set of five 16" Michelins already mounted on 16" wheels. We mounted the tires and wheels ourselves one at a time using leggos to lift the wheels. Fitting the 16" spare to the rack was no problem. We simply bent the prongs on the rack out slightly using a piece of PVC for leverage, and it fit perfectly.

We traveled extensively over the next five years, putting 62,000 miles on New Lucy. After our Alaska trip last summer, we noticed that Lucy's Michelins were starting to show some tread wear. Since the tries were coming up on the six year mark, we decided to get her new tires before her next great adventure. The Michelin LT's that we had been using no longer came in the size that we wanted. We had been using LT 225 16's for these last twelve years.

We studied all the options and decided to go with the Michelin XPS RIB's. This is the most expensive and best LT tire that Michelin makes. We decided that Lucy was well worth the extra expense. We ordered a set of four RIB's and they were installed on Lucy last Tuesday. We kept our old Michelin spare. We are confident that these RIB's will perform as well, if not better than the former Michelins.

The bottom line of this whole 16" LT tire debate is that if you are really going to use your Airstream, getting LT tires is something that you probably want to do. On the other hand, if your Airstream is primarily used as "Yard Art", the ST trailer tires are just fine.

Brian
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:27 AM   #11
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We have not changed our 15's but since we are only running 2 wheels, a better safety margin would be the way to go.

On our Camplite, I put some new 13" Carlisle ST tires on (I was surprised how inexpensive they were) took it on a trip and found that the sidewall flex was so dramatic that it affected the handling of the rig. I researched sizes and wound up with some BFG 17" extra load tires. This made me feel better and with the improved load range and sidewall stiffness, the trailer handled very well. It was like night and day!

What size in the 16's are you able to find currently?

What sort of choices are there for compatible wheels?
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:30 AM   #12
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All new Classic Airstreams come standard with 16" Michelin Defenders. I replaced my 16" Michelins at the factory this past summer.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:45 AM   #13
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Fwiw

Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
With several excellent trailer tires available it is difficult for me to understand why today one would put a truck tire on a trailer, can someone explain the in logical and technical terms why this makes sense? If you cannot doesn't that give you cause to refrain from it? As an engineer and physicist I can't come up with any rationale to do so.
When the ATX 16” that came on my trailer started to wear out after 2-3 years (sidewall issues known as “ozone cracking”), I called Michelin customer support. After inspection, they offered me $600 credit for the premature failure of the tires. “OK, I said... I hear chatter about truck tire warranty issues with use in trailer applications... what tire do you recommend for a twin axle trailer weighing up to 7,200 lbs?” Their answer “XPS RIBs”. Those are not truck tires... they are full steel belted 18 wheeler trailer tires. That’s what I spent my $600 Michelin-bucks on. They cost about $20 more per tire than the ATX. They improved my gas mileage, can be recapped (I doubt I’ll ever do that) and give me confidence on the road.

I don’t know if I made a good decision, but I’m happy with it... and it was what Michelin recommended for my application in my size.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:07 AM   #14
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The answer to this issue comes from a conversation that I had with a tire dealer. He explained that, in his experienced opinion, the main difference between ST and LT tires, other than construction differences, is that LT tire safety issues are monitored by government safety agencies. There can be tens of thousands of blowouts and subsequent accidents caused by ST tires and no action is taken. Anyone old enough to remember the issue with Firestone 721 tires blowing out under Ford Explorers will remember the government mandated recall of the tires. Large number of RVers had faith in Goodyear Marathon ST tires, and history tells that story. The fact that many, if not most RV manufactures now equip their heavier coaches with LT tires where weight and safety are a priority. Our 30 Classic and our DRV Mobile Suite are examples.
All things being equal, I will defer to the side of a tire whose safety and performance is monitored by a safety agency who has access to more information than I ever will.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:12 AM   #15
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According to the load range of 115, these 16" Michelin XPS Ribbed tires are rated for 2,679 lbs.

The 15" Goodyear Endurance ST appears to have a load range of 117 or 2,830 lbs.

The Michelin Defender T+H seem to be in a range of about 91 to 100 depending on the actual size. which puts them at between 1,356 lbs to 1,764 lbs.

On paper this can be a bit confusing.

What sort of margins would be best in determining the proper load range?

For example: if I took my GTW of 4,500 lbs and applied half to each tire, I would be looking at 2,250 lbs and my load range tire is rated at 2,830 so I have about a 20% margin.

If I took took a number of say 7,000 lbs (not too sure what the GTW is) for a double axle trailer and used the XPS Ribbed. I would be looking at a potential margin of 35%.

So why do we need to use ST rated tires if there are better, safer (usually more expensive) options out there?
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:14 AM   #16
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(snip)

The bottom line of this whole 16" LT tire debate is that if you are really going to use your Airstream, getting LT tires is something that you probably want to do. On the other hand, if your Airstream is primarily used as "Yard Art", the ST trailer tires are just fine.

Brian

I get that back in 2004 the standard Goodyear Marathons had lower speed ratings and lower load ranges. They were not defective or poor quality, simply put many owners ran them at speeds and with loads that were excessive for the tire. If one overheats or overstresses a tire, it will fail and back then many did. Looking back, I would venture to bet 98% or more of those past failures where due to failure to follow good tire practices per the design.

I also get that once bitten twice shy, but this is an emotional explanation for avoiding high quality ST tires. I don't see any good technical argument thus far. There are many threads here describing Michelin LT tire failure as well, and they include reminders that the manufacture specifically recommends against using their LT tires on trailers.

Fast forward to today, There are excellent 14, 15, and 16 inch trailer tires with sufficiently high load ratings and speed ratings (the maximum trailer towing speed in the US is 70 mph) to more provide a perfect tire experience.

Edit: DOT and Highway Traffic Safety monitor all highway tires including ST
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:28 AM   #17
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(the maximum trailer towing speed in the US is 70 mph)
Most places allow trailers to travel at the same speed limits as cars and trucks. California has a lower speed limit for trailers, but in Texas you can tow up to 85 on Hwy 130.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:39 AM   #18
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85 mph? At this speed, efficiencies are thrown out the window. I might be able to get 2 mpg.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:55 AM   #19
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fairly recent article

http://maze.airstreamlife.com/2015/0...ut-everything/
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:57 AM   #20
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I agree Goodyear Endurance is fantastic, zero problems........
good call Bob
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