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Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Steering and Suspensions Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Steering and Suspensions and related components.

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  #1  
Old 11-05-2008
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ridgefield
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Default When in doubt -- replace 'em...

When I left on my current trip, the end of July, I inspected my tires. All tires seemed in reasonably good condition, but I noted that both tag axle tires showed some cupping, especially the street side tire. This is caused by the sideways dragging endured by the tag axle tires, especially in tight maneuvering. However, the tires seemed to have a decent amount of tread.

I had gotten a bid for just under $1,000 from a local truck tire shop for two Sumitomo tires mounted and balanced. (I was thinking of putting them on the steer axle and moving the steer tires to the tag, so installation would have cost a bit more.)

A couple of days ago, while making a right turn (following a sharp left curve on the exit ramp) from I-20, my street-side tag axle tire had a blow out. (Wow ... what that did to the tire!!) I ended up paying about $800 for a replacement tire, installed on the side of the road. Good Sam ERS picked up the cost of the service call and gave me the "national preferred rate" on a Goodyear tire.

With 20-20 hindsight, it would clearly have been more cost effective to have replaced this tire (along with the other tag axle tire) before starting this trip. (I write this to share the lesson....)

However, the even bigger surprise was the very substantial improvement in the ride after the new tire was installed. Inspecting the blown out carcass, the cupping on the old tire was much more severe than it appeared during inspection. Since the tire showed some cupping when I purchased the coach, I had assumed that the ride was about what I would get ... however, what I didn't realize was that the cupped tire was actually causing a very substantial degradation of the rode. With the new tire, it felt like a new coach. Vibration (and noise from all the rattling bits inside) have been reduced very significantly. So, the lesson here is, if you have tires showing signs of poor wear, it may be seriously affecting your ride (if not the handling) of your coach.

Since I didn't have any particular basis of comparison, I didn't know how degraded that tire was causing the ride of the coach. I now wish I'd replaced it two and a half years ago when I got my coach!

====

On the road at Lockhart, TX
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Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
aeonix1@me.com
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2008
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Rob Robinson Rob Robinson is offline
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Pete how old was the tag tire?
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Victoria, British Columbia
1999 LXi
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2008
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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The previous owner replaced all 8 tires in August 2004. The "DOT date" on the removed tire was "2404" --- so, when installed, the tires were reasonably fresh. (I've checked all the visible DOT numbers in the past, so I'm comfortable that the tires are still less than 5 years old.)

(An out-of-alignment situation, corrected at Henderson's Line-up in Grants Pass OR, caused me to replace the street side front (steer) tire in 5/07.)
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Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
aeonix1@me.com
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2008
davidmbrady
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Pete,

Does your tag air pressure gauge fluctuate when on straight and level roadways. If so you may need shocks on the tag axle.

David Brady
'02 LXi, NC
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2008
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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Shocks on all wheels were inspected when I was at Henderson's Line-up last year. No problems were noted. The tag air pressure does not seem to fluctuate while running down the freeway -- but I can't say that I've watched it for any length of time -- when aired up, the gauge seems to settle at about 65-70 psi and then stays there. I'll give it a look.

I do know the tag tires scuff (sometimes significantly) in tight turns -- I've seen the rubber left behind. The "solution" is to dump the tag axle suspension air (which I've done many times), but then I'm at greater risk of a rear-end strike if I hit a deep dip, etc. (having ruined a drop-receiver that way, I'm now less inclined to dump the tag axle air...) I note that the 42/43' PTs have more rear overhang than the 40' PTs.

The "steerable" and "lifting" tag axles on some coaches are other means to solve the problem. This is one area where the SP vehicles have an advantage over the PT type.
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Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
aeonix1@me.com
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2008
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Bumpersbird Bumpersbird is offline
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Location: Fayetteville
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Cool

Pete,

Give this a try next time your parked.

Drop the coach , release all air in the air bags, of course the stabilizing jacks are up and ready to travel.

Then just air up the steer and drive axles. Leave the tags in dump position. After your sure the front and drive are aired up go look at your tag. If your coach is like mine the tag axle will be off the ground by several inches. If it works you now have manually operated lift tag axles.

This isn’t as convenient as a liftable axle but it works in a pinch. It’s worked for me several times. I’ve done it while driving, you just stop, turn on the hazard lights, dump all air and then just air up the front and drive axles and do whatever maneuver you need to do.

You must come to a full stop to air up the tag, or you will flat spot the tire when they hit the road if moving.

One problem with just dumping the air in the tags is with much reduced weight on the tires if you hit the brakes they will stop turning and you can create flat spots.

Kurt Horvath
95 PT 42
10AC
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