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Old 06-22-2024, 10:20 AM   #1
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Marathons to Hi Run to Tow Master Tires

I was writing a response to the Hi Run Tire post and then timed out while typing, finding dates, several photographs and all the details and problems were lost.

So.....

The 2006 23 foot Safari had 14 inch wheels and 14 inch Goodyear Marathon C Rated Tires. The ONLY Airstream with 14 inch wheels. Our FIRST Travel Trailer. I did not know that the 23 foot had the cheapest tires as standard from the factory.

Marathons lasted from January 2006 to July 2007.

Replaced in Rawlins, Wyoming with 14 inch Hi Run C rated tires. They did not last driving west to Rock Springs, Wyoming with the tread getting distorted, so headed to Salt Lake City, Utah for a major tire dealership. Now on our Second Set of Five C Rated 14 inch tires.

Les Schwab sold me five Tow Master 14 inch tires that lasted until we sold the trailer and went to a 2014 25 foot International.

Airstream owners said I would damage my Airstream with my later taking the 15 inch Marathons off as soon as we towed the trailer home, bought six 16 inch wheels and six Michelin LT225/75/R16 tires that had no problems, did not cause the Airstream to fall apart from the stiffer tires... as was being told.

My 27FBQ 2019 had 15 inch Goodyears, I removed and sold them immediately. Purchased fix 16 inch Sendel Wheels and LT225/75/R16 Cross Climated Michelins and have NO Tire Problems nor Trailer falling apart from paved or unpaved roads.

I include two photographs. One is a Goodyear Marathon 14 inch C rated tire on our FIRST distance trip leaving Colorado.

Stopped in Rawlins, Wyoming and they had only ST Hi Run tires and had five mounted. They lasted to the western Wyoming border when I saw the tread distorting on one tire. Headed to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Les Schwab Tires sold me five Tow Master Tires, C rated... and they lasted until we sold the 23 foot Safari and purchased a 25 foot International. Went to 16 inch Michelins on the 25, and the current 27 foot International.

NO problems with Michelins. NO problem with the Tow Master tires that were still on the 23 foot Safari.

These are ONLY my opinions. Many on the Forum said I would ruin my Airstream with the Stiff Michelins. Then, why are they on the larger more expensive Airstreams?

E Rated Michelin LT225/75/R16 Agilis CrossClimate tires... work for ME. Maybe not you. I still have them on the 27FBQ and they will rot out before coming apart.

(I apologize for some possible grammar errors, but when I posted my well thought out diatribe... I timed out and should have saved text. This is close to what I spend a lot of time with dates and tires and details. Michelin Tires have been the smartest tire choice I have made.)

Also have five Michelin 18 inch E Rated Tires on my F350 Diesel 4x4 without tread coming off or blow outs.
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Old 06-22-2024, 10:35 AM   #2
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This is ONLY My Experience... I am not a Tire Expert

I managed to control my eagerness to attempt to maintain details from experiences for 18 years of memory.

I became tired of Tire Experts telling me what I should be doing. I ignored these experts and debated what I could as a non tire expert. Nor tire PSI expert on how we travel and have used Common Sense and experience since the 14 inch Marathon disasters.

It bothers me when my experiences are said to be poor judgment and bad for my Airstream. My Oliver Elite II came stock with 16 inch wheels and Michelins in 2019. Still on both the Oliver and my 2019 27FBQ.

Tires are important to ME. I go to places most do not. I have never made decisions that would be poor choices in tires, or tire pressures. It has worked for me since the 2006 Airstream.

I am a Neanderthal and question everything and everyone. It is hard to resist the Tire on and on debates. The 16 inch Michelins worked for me since using them. They will ROT out before Wearing Out. I worked for OSHA from 1970 to 1972. Learned a lot about Safety and study options.

I shake my thick skull when reading some material written on this and the Oliver Forums. When I investigated a Fatality at a work site in the Oil Patch... they were not following good judgement. Same with towing a trailer, tires, hitches and tow vehicles. I find it odd as I am odd.

I will shut my spouting like a geyser in Wyoming. Tires make the Travel Trailer safely travel. Want cheap tires? Fine with me, but I am giving my experiences.

....and I am avoiding my choice of Michelin tires for my 2016 F350 Diesel 4x4 as I do not care what others say I need to do... for a comfortable ride in my pickup.
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Old 06-22-2024, 10:45 AM   #3
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Please do not hesitate to comment. I am a Neanderthal. What are your experiences? Have you changed your opinion on tires, hitches or Tow Vehicle, since owning your Airstream?

I sure have. I became 'wiser', not smarter, for being temporarily stupid.

Real stories. Not something written by someone who does not tow a travel trailer or uses a tow vehicle with undersized tires that Do Not compliment their choice in trailer tires.

Sometimes... you have to say what you have experienced over 18 years of Travel Trailering. There is a load of BS to shovel to get things right. It took me some time, and I have shoveled plenty and paid my dues.

I shall, or should... rest my case and will be playing Video Poker at a Casino outside Boulder City, Nevada this afternoon. Ahhhhh. We get our cold beer on tap as soon as the Cockail Waitress sees us sit down. Now that is service.
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Old 06-22-2024, 02:02 PM   #4
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A little additional history Ray. The initial reason for the Michelin tires were desperation and the folks on this forum. Goes back to the early 2000's with the infamous Goodyear Marathons. Many of us with the heavy trailers were having lots of issues with belt separation on our Marathons. It just wasn't Airstreams either because if look go to other trailer forums there were other SOB's having the same experiences. The answers we were getting back from some tire dealers were that we were under inflated, exceeding the 65 mph speed rating of the tires, hot pavements in the southern parts of the country, ozone and sun exposure to the side walls. It seemed that the manufacturer of the tire wasn't to blame, it was us as users.

It kept happening however and here at the Forums a few folks started looking at LT tires as maybe the answer and those early pioneers were changing over to 16" wheels and the Michelin M/S2 tires or Ribs. The results were good. Some of us went after the Marathons themselves as the cause and went to other ST tires. I for one went with the 15" Maxxis 8008 ST E rated tire. That specific tire has even a higher load bearing capacity than the Marathons plus a nylon caps which minimized belt friction. Again some had good results but in my case, my Marathons were replaced after two years of use and my Maxxis ST's failed after the first trip of year 3 with belt issues.

In my case, I took every measure to baby my tire. Never under inflated my tires, trailer was stored indoors out of the sunlight when not in use and when it was parked outside for any reason, the tires had covers on them to block the sunlight. I drove between 55 and 60 and never exceeded the speed ratings.

Airstream in the early 2000's was quite aware of the ST problems and as I was told by some of the long time Airstream executives (who are now long gone), they they were monitoring the tire threads here. They were watching those of us who had gone to 16" wheels and Michelin tires and noting the results. We obviously were the test bed and the influencers that pushed Airstream management that something needed to be done.

After going thru two sets of ST tires from two different manufacturers I realized that I needed to jump ship from the ST tires. What made up my mind was an interesting article written and published on the Discount Tire Direct site. That article is no longer there. The article posted noted that ST tires as they aged, were losing their ability to retain their weight capacity ratings. I now forget how much they said a tire lost after each year of use but it became very apparent to me that by the end of year two or three many of us with the big trailers had tires whose weight rating based on the Discount Tire article, was insufficient to carry the load that they had to support. Discount was advising folks to consider changing out your ST tires more frequently because of the loss of capacity issue. So for me it just wasn't a bad batch of tires from Goodyear, but something else related to ST construction during the year 2000 decade that made me question that tire standard itself.

During that time of upheaval, Airstream started offering a 16" wheel and Michelin LT tire change out as an option on new trailers. And the option was the MS/2 I think. The interesting thing was the swap wasn't done at build time, but was done by the Service Center after the trailer came off the line with Marathons. After that point they moved to a feature that all Classic's would come with the 16" wheels and Michelin tires as standard for that line of trailer. My thoughts are that liability issues may have been a reason for the after build swap was done.

Lots of talk occurred because nobody officially within Michelin had ever sanctioned that use. As a matter of fact in my metropolitan locale, I cannot find any tire dealer who will put an LT tire on my Classic. I've gone as far as show the tire dealer the Airstream brochure noting Michelin LT tires as standard on the Classic, a phone number to Airstream customer service for the tire dealer to call to verify the usage. Nope I've been told, it's corporate policy that we will not put LT tires on your trailer. Even talking to Michelin customer service, unless they have changed in the last year, will tell you that they don't approve their LT tires being used on a travel trailer.

What I found interesting in talking to a friend who owned an RV dealership, took me around his lot and noted how many of his big and heavy 5th wheels were now sporting LT tires from the manufacturers. Not Michelins, but still LT tires. He noted that the manufacturers were now realizing that the ST's were deficient over time with those heavy loads.

I'm on my second set of Michelin's (LT Defenders). The first set were MS2's. The first set lasted 6 seasons without a problem. I changed them out because I didn't want to push my luck. My current set are in their 6th season and will be replaced next year by the Cross Climate (which is was Airstream is using now). Until recently with the introduction of the 33' Classic, my 31' 2003 Slide out used to be Airstream's heaviest trailer on a tandem axle.

So for all intents I don't believe the Michelin is the only LT tire suitable for the Classics. We've come a long ways on ST tires and I believe the Endurance tires are a worth tire to consider. I think LT tires have their place however as worthy tires. The forum here is proof of their quality. I think in the grand experiment Airstream saw us here make the jump, and most of us who did jump weren't willing to trust any other manufacturer, so it wasn't a prestige thing. We were all tired of the ST failures and weren't willing to compromise to a tire that we didn't consider first class. Much less that the tire industry was telling us that we were putting on tires that were not built for RV use.

Airstream considers their trailer worth the higher costs and will continue to use Michelin unless some regulatory agency gets their fingers into this. The name Michelin just reinforces their "quality" image.

So that's the evolution from someone who has been around from the beginning of this forum and knows the reason how Airstream got into Michelin LT side, which was told to me directly by Airstream corporate executives. The reason they made that change is due to those of you who had the faith and made the jump at a time where no one was supplying us any answers or any confirmation that our answer was a good choice. We were the folks who wanted a solution, and time has proven that based on the choices many of us made was a good one. The membership here affected an industry and a manufacturer.

Unfortunately the sad thing is my next set of LT's next year will still force me to remove the wheels and take them to a dealer for changing, rather than bringing the trailer in for that change, based on the tire sales industry who has their head in the sand.

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Old 06-23-2024, 10:24 AM   #5
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Jack... thank you for taking the time for the Michelin LT 16 inch history.

Costco will not mount Michelin LT Tires onto a Travel Trailer. You need to bring in the wheels, select the Michelin tires and they will mount and balance them. You take them home and mount them. There is no way to work on a Travel Trailer at most Tire Shops. They do it outside in their parking lots. I do it myself in the garage, while our Blue Heelers know when to come by and lick the salty sweat off my arms and face...

If you price LT 16 inch tires today... you need to sit down. Get the Road Hazard insurance. You will probably not need it, if you do. Like a Rabbit's Foot... not a lucky bunny, either.

Since changing to LT 16 inch Michelin tires and replacing the 15 inch ST Tires from the Factory we have had no tire failure, no traction concerns, not leaving black tire marks on the pavement from the double axles from normal driving.

Airstream, may have said, if you use LT tires your cabinets will come loose, interior rivets will pop, exterior buck rivets will fail and the trailer will implode, explode or decompose as you tow.

They did before changing over tires. Gremlins? They did it... not covered.

Do other Travel Trailer manufacturer's, Owner Trashing of their new Trailer, with LT or ST tires... even when mounted from the Factory? Or is just LT tires shift the blame?

A blow out on the road will cause more than a rivet popping... I am Video Slot Machine five hand player. I will accept the odds that the LT tire will pay off in the long run. Very long run, as they will rot out before wearing out on a Travel Trailer, used during free time for most owners.

A nickel Video Poker machine now needs $1.50 per play. Inflation for the best odds?

Our Oliver comes from the factory with LT Michelins, just like what are on our Airstream. Leaf Springs, trailer is about 20 feet long, and work out just fine. No pop rivet issues, no buck rivet issues, no cabinets falling of the ceiling, wall or drawers coming loose or other Airstream problems. Because Olivers are made differently.

Over inflated tires cause exterior/interior failures. Under inflated tires cause interior/exterior failures. Stiff sidewall tires cause failures everywhere. Using your trailer causes structural failures.... geeez. Once the warranty period was over... 16 inch tires.

Sendel Wheels with Michelins roll just fine on a Travel Trailer or Vehicle.

Tires are intended to get most Travel Trailers OFF the Dealer's Lot. The sales person waves as you leave. Once at home Buy 16 inch Sendels and Michelin 16 inch LT tires and sell the 15 inch. They will sell FAST. I got smart as I aged... and plan on making the best of our choices. Trailer, tow vehicle and tires.

Oliver's come with Michelin LT Tires out of the Factory. And spare tire... I checked. Sendel Wheels.

If you love your current other brand of tires... not a problem for me. Keep them. You do not like high pressure in your tires... not my problem. You like low tire pressure... ditto. There are many ways to catch a trout, behead, gut, cut off the tail and that 14 inch trout has little left. My fishing experience used in tire choices. What looks good at first, has little 'meat' to work with, once prepared to eat.

I quit fly fishing as a Colorado Resident for old farts for $1. Nancy does not like trout. She is a Costco Salmon fisherwoman... I love that woman. She understands... men. We grunt and fart, but tires are heavy.

I bought our first new 2006 23 foot Airstream Safari with the money saved by NOT fishing. Now I just make up reasons as we go. Experience works with a cheap fly rod or expensive one. It is the... fly on the line. Right fly, you catch trout. Nothing to do with tires, but you and I made it this far.
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Old 06-23-2024, 11:44 AM   #6
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I've never heard of anyone from Airstream try to publicly dissuade the community from putting on LT tires due to cabinet failures, rivet pops, or anything else. Any tire overinflated will cause stress not just LT's.

Keep in mind that ST tires and their rating became an industry standard some time ago where the people were putting all kinds of tires on their trailers. I remember my first travel trailer, a HiLo back in '82 didn't have ST tires when it was delivered new. Not many people were concerned about interply sheer which stresses tires on multi axled trailers. They weren't real concerned about the damage to the sidewalls from right turns that would bounce those tires off curbs and other road side debris. And back in the earlier days of ST, people were not as aware of what Speed ratings were and that ST's were limited to 65 mph. Didn't become an issue till folks started driving with more powerful tow vehicles and Interstate highways with high speed limits which overheated the tires and led to belt failures due to excessive speed, and the heat generated by under inflation.

The corporate Airstream guys I talked to in the early 2000's never expressed any concerns to me regarding LT's. All they talked about was their concerns of the Marathon failures, which were just not an Airstream issue. Rivets have popped on Airstream trailers with ST's for many years. Cabinets have become detached also on Airstreams with ST's.

My local dealer puts Michelins by request on, but since he isn't a tire shop he orders them from a local outlet and then has that outlet mount them on the wheels that he takes to the outlets, and then he puts the wheels back on the trailer.

The only business on the forums who was a naysayer that I remember was Andy who used to own Inland RV. He always talked about Airsteams needing a soft ride and probably was the purveyor of the rivet pop, cabinet falling due to LT tires stories that frequented the forums back when we were looking for a tire to replace the Marathon disaster. In many cases I've attributed most of these issues to poor quality control during the build process and those trailers exhibiting that failure probably would have the same issues even if they had kept their ST tires on.

When it came down to my experiences I realized at the time after two sets of ST tire failures due to belt issues, that to have any confidence in my tires, I'd have to change out the ST's after the end of the second season of use. Economically the LT tires proved their value by giving me 6 seasons of use on each set. Plus the benefit of not having to repair damage to my trailer from blown tires. In my case I never had that problem because I detected the failures when the trailer was stationary. In the case of the Marathon's a belt separated as I was backing the trailer into my driveway. The Maxxis failed somewhere while driving home and I didn't notice till I backed into the driveway and realized that my wheel chocks wouldn't fit between the front axle tires and the rear axle tires. I was very fortunate in both situations.

And even with the LT's I still pay special attention to my tires, making sure that I keep inflation pressures up based on the weight of my trailer, and having inside storage which keeps the sun off the tires during periods of non use.
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Old 06-23-2024, 12:53 PM   #7
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Stuff Falls Off as do Some Tires in Nevada

A stack of used tires in Nevada. A reminder of possibilities.

Anyone following the Forum has heard the PSI and Tire Debates.

I went to work on each of our Airstreams and FIXED to stabilize walls, drawers and cabinets.

Lath Screws, 90 degree brackets and a variety of sheet rock razor sharp hard steel screws.

"It ain't my fault" they say, "It's asphalt". An OSHA Inspector's common heard excuse for bad judgment.

If you use your trailer, of any brand, those parts that will eventually fail off or loosen. Why are RV Dealerships so busy fixing stuff? Because people are upgrading screws and hardware? Or stuff falling off or quit working?

House trailers fall apart and they are sitting on blocks.

Owning Airstreams since 2006, had warranty work done at Jackson Center, Ohio in 2007... That is an expensive trip when added up costs to get there and back.

I learned to pre-fix by doing what I discovered what needed to be fixed, BEFORE and not AFTER it comes apart. Nobody mentioned Front End Compression/Separation was an event and not due to construction. You do what you have to do. My time is wide open for Fun, Travel and Adventure as we said in the US Army in 1969.

Fixed that as well. I like to fix stuff, but not on the road. I do not want tire problems and Michelin solved that as well. Same roads... better experience?
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Old 06-24-2024, 07:24 AM   #8
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As a tire engineer - and someone who was on the sidelines (ie, I didn't own a travel trailer) - I have a slightly different perspective.

Back in the day, I was aware of several travel trailer manufacturers who used tires that were actually too small (meaning load carrying capacity). It appears that Airstreams were marginal. Further, no one was warning owners that ST tires had a speed limitation.

Even further, ST tires suffered from a lack of attention by tire manufacturers and those that chose to manufacture such tires were third tier tire manufacturers and kind of out of the loop with regard to technology. Did I mention that many of these ST tires were made in China, where the tire industry was just taking off and their understanding of what was required for the US market was woefully inadequate. They thought that meeting the DOT minimums would be OK. That's not the case!

Since that time, travel trailer manufacturers have done a much better job of tire sizing, and the tire manufacturers are now producing tires with much higher speed capability.

Where we are today is that there are still a few ST tire failures, and the tire aging thing isn't quite what it ought to be - meaning there still appears to be a reason to use a 5 year limitation for tire replacement.

So I still think travel trailer manufacturers need to take one more step. Physically larger tires and inflated such that there is more load carrying capacity, but the inflation pressure is lower than the smaller tires. That would solve the rough ride problem while at the same time making travel trailers more in line with cars with regard to load carrying capacity.

But that requires a redesign of the trailer - and that not only isn't something that happens overnight, as well as quite expensive, but the pressure to make such a change has been drastically reduced. I actually think this is not going to happen. If anything, the tire manufacturers will make some incremental improvement in design and the tire failure (and age) problem will go away. The only thing that will be left is the rough ride, and the travel trailer manufacturers will likely make incremental improvements in their assembly to render that issue moot
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Old 06-24-2024, 09:14 PM   #9
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Does anyone know when LT and/or ST tires came into existence? My memories of my Airstream goes back to the late 60's. I'm kinda fuzzy about the tires...other than Grandpa telling us that he chose to replace the original split rims on his 1960 Overlander when getting new tires. I suspect this was sometime around 1970. The tires would have been bias-ply. I also suspect that they were "truck" tires...no idea if the LT designation existed back then.

(I just located the receipt for his first replacement tires dated 8/9/1968, he got 2, 700-15 Goodyear 6 ply truck Hi-Miler tires and tubes. I did not find record of the split rims being replaced.)

I don't remember him saying anything about getting flats back in the day, though he did tell my dad that in case of a flat that he would have to unhitch, drop the tongue way down and place the stabilizers in the rear as normal, then jack the trailer up...that would raise the tire off the ground so he could change it. (No official jacking location was designated back in 1960!)

I do remember dad having to change a tire twice over the years when we borrowed grandpa's trailer. Once was for a missing chunk of tread, the other for a low-speed blowout.

In 1983 the trailer changed hands to my parents as grandpa had stopped driving at the age of 89 due to cataracts. In 1985 mom replaced the tires at a Goodyear shop and got 2 700X15 TVTR HM XNW NY TL (whatever all of that stands for)...in a LR C. No one had an idea how much the trailer weighed but guessed that the "C" would be OK since the size was the same. About 6 months later I became aware of this and remember being skeptical that "C's" would be sufficient for our 26-foot-long Overlander with just one axle. My brother, who now worked at that same Goodyear store agreed and spoke to his boss.

His boss reluctantly agreed and in 1986 my parents were given 2 brand new 750X15 Travel Trailer NYTT load range E's at no charge.

ELEVEN YEARS later in 1997 I replaced those still good tires with the new Goodyear Marathon tires. ST 225/75R 15. I don't know how, but I ended up with Load Range D's. They were probably what the dealer had in stock. In 2000 those tires were recalled, and Goodyear installed “new and improved” Marathon “D's”.

By this time, I had taken the trailer to a weigh station to get some inkling of an idea how much the dang thing weighed. It came in at about 4400#, and I had finally found some literature that the dry weight of the trailer was about 3600#. Load range D's should be fine for the weight of the trailer.

But by 2004 it was clear that the “new and improved” Marathons were still not up to the task. Another set of tires.

In 2008 yet another set of tires due to a bad steel belt! Only this time I went with some Chinese brand in a Load Range E (I had remembered the Load Range E's that gave me 11 years of service.)

In 2015, 7½ years later, money was tight. I decided to chance a trip from Iowa to Florida. Two long hard driving days in the summer heat. At a Saturday lunch stop I noticed a bubble in the sidewall. No problem, I have a spare. I figured I would replace the tires while in Florida visiting my parents and at my leisure. What were the chances of having problem with 2 tires in less than 2 days? Wrong decision! Sunday afternoon, just a half hour from our destination I experienced my only trailer blow out. We were on I-75 with the cruise set. All of a sudden, my truck downshifts. I thought how strange, we are on flat ground! I looked in my rear-view mirror to see the trailer listing to one side. Other than that, I would have had no reason to suspect a blowout. Our 26-foot, single axle trailer behaved perfectly. We pulled over and put the tire with the sidewall bubble back on and limped to the nearest exit. We found a Goodyear truck shop open on a Sunday afternoon and got 3 Goodyear Endurance tires, LR E's.

Lesson learned.

Long gone are the days that a set of tires can give you 11 trouble free years! Now they are saying replace after what, 5 years?
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Old 06-25-2024, 05:58 AM   #10
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Scott,

Allow me to try to answer your questions:

Best guess is that LT tires started being identified as such in the mid 1960's. They existed before that, but without the "LT" designation.

Best guess is that ST tires started in the mid 1970's. They did not exist before that.

700X15 TVTR HM XNW NY TL =

700X15 = size 7.00-15. It's a bias ply tire

TVTR = probably an abbreviation for the brand

HM = probably an abbreviation for the tire model - Hi Miler?

XNW = ??

NY = nylon

TL = Tubeless

*************************************

750X15 Travel Trailer NYTT:

750X15 = size 7.50-15 it's a bias tire.

Travel Trailer = probably the brand - might be the same as the above

NY = Nylon

TT = tubetype - which is funny because the above was a tubeless.

***********************

I looked up in NHTSA's database and I couldn't find any reference to a recall on the Goodyear Marathons. Lots of complaints, but no recall.
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Old 06-26-2024, 09:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CapriRacer View Post

I looked up in NHTSA's database and I couldn't find any reference to a recall on the Goodyear Marathons. Lots of complaints, but no recall.
If memory serves me this was more of a "silent" recall vs an official one. If you went to Goodyear and complained, they would replace the tires free of charge. My impression is that GY was desperate to try and avoid a full-blown recall. Or perhaps it was an effort to salvage customer loyalty and good-will.
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