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Al F

Dual Tire Air Balance System. Pros & Cons

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If you are thinking adding a "Dual Tire Air Balance System" or are thinking of adding one, read the link below, info from a retired tire engineer.  Basically he doesn't think it is a good idea.

In case you don't know what the system is, it is a way to tie the both tires of your dually tires together so both tires have the same pressure. 

http://www.rvtiresafety.net/2017/12/quick-post-on-dual-tire-air-balance.html

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With the weights we tow, I can’t see one tire being 200%overloaded. I can see it getting close to it’s rated capacity. The problem I see is with a TPMS on the device, the one tire will start dropping pressure and the device will only let it move a limited amount of air before it stops. How much pressure is the TPMS going to read? Will it read the full tire or the low tire? I don’t know because I don’t have the air device. But most of the article doesn’t apply to RVs because we don’t tow 80,000 lbs.

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You say the author is a retired tire engineer. Has he ever examined the engineering on a "Cat's Eye", "Crossfire" or similar product? Claiming to be a tire engineer doesn't mean that he has any real knowledge about wheels/rims, valve stems, lug nuts or the system that he is writing about here. The commercial industry runs a lot more weight on a set of duals than we do and there are literally tens of thousands of these products out there. Using a system like this is no different than having a flat without the system in place and having transferred a small amount of air to a leaking tire. Either way (with or without) the remaining tire is now holding the entire load.

Quote

Now you are driving down the road with no knowledge you have a flat and a tire at 200% of rated load.

This entire article assumes you have a flat tire and have no knowledge of that fact. It also PRESUMES that your tires were at 100% of their load capacity to start with which is rarely true. It is more likely that your remaining tire would be carrying 150% of it's rated load than 200% as this author claims. I have 6 tires rated at 6000 lbs each on a truck that weighs 18,000 lbs. If we "assume" that weight is evenly distributed from front to back (which it isn't-the engine is the heavy end) and I lost 1 rear tire, the other 3 (x 6000 lbs each) are more than capable of carrying the weight.

These products (and others) can show you visually if you have low pressure before you start driving. If you simply "look" at the indicator on these systems before you drive away, they can alert you to an under inflation issue before you drive which can eliminate a flat while driving.  I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that a single tire carrying the load that a set of tandems should carry is bad. But these systems do not cause that issue. 

I'd be willing to bet there are a lot more stories singing the praises of these devices than there are predicting the sky will fall if you use one. 

Edited by Big5er

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Tireman9 is the author of the blog post above.  Without knowing the credentials of said tireman,  I'm taking said advice for the amount I paid for it.... 

Crossfire has been proven by millions of miles, I'm sure CatsEye has the same background.

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3 hours ago, Big5er said:

You say the author is a retired tire engineer. Has he ever examined the engineering on a "Cat's Eye", "Crossfire" or similar product? Claiming to be a tire engineer doesn't mean that he has any real knowledge about wheels/rims, valve stems, lug nuts or the system that he is writing about here. The commercial industry runs a lot more weight on a set of duals than we do and there are literally tens of thousands of these products out there. Using a system like this is no different than having a flat without the system in place and having transferred a small amount of air to a leaking tire. Either way (with or without) the remaining tire is now holding the entire load.

This entire article assumes you have a flat tire and have no knowledge of that fact. It also PRESUMES that your tires were at 100% of their load capacity to start with which is rarely true. It is more likely that your remaining tire would be carrying 150% of it's rated load than 200% as this author claims. I have 6 tires rated at 6000 lbs each on a truck that weighs 18,000 lbs. If we "assume" that weight is evenly distributed from front to back (which it isn't-the engine is the heavy end) and I lost 1 rear tire, the other 3 (x 6000 lbs each) are more than capable of carrying the weight.

These products (and others) can show you visually if you have low pressure before you start driving. If you simply "look" at the indicator on these systems before you drive away, they can alert you to an under inflation issue before you drive which can eliminate a flat while driving.  I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that a single tire carrying the load that a set of tandems should carry is bad. But these systems do not cause that issue. 

I'd be willing to bet there are a lot more stories singing the praises of these devices than there are predicting the sky will fall if you use one. 

Something you did not mention but is a consideration is that most people don't check the inside as closely or as often as the outside . so the outside not only wears faster but is carrying more of the load all the time.

The crossfires will literally pay for themselves with the first set of tires by keeping the wear even. 

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You can also get Crossfires with provision for a tire pressure monitor on EACH tire feed. That way you know what the pressure is in each, and get an alarm for each.

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We have Crossfires, and it was my decision after a few days of research. 

A side benefit, a bit contrary from Jack's accurate observation that you can retain individual tire PSI TPMS readings - is, that you don't need individual tire PSI readings:)! Which, of course, offsets the cost some...

Tireman9? I've had personal email help from Tireman9, due to some pothole impact caused tire bubbles on my Outside Dual, and Tag. (One was a broken cord, the other was a slipped cord.). 

I personally like his site, and appreciate all he does to promote tire safety. 

Best to all,

Smitty

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19 hours ago, Big5er said:

You say the author is a retired tire engineer. Has he ever examined the engineering on a "Cat's Eye", "Crossfire" or similar product? Claiming to be a tire engineer doesn't mean that he has any real knowledge about wheels/rims, valve stems, lug nuts or the system that he is writing about here. The commercial industry runs a lot more weight on a set of duals than we do and there are literally tens of thousands of these products out there. Using a system like this is no different than having a flat without the system in place and having transferred a small amount of air to a leaking tire. Either way (with or without) the remaining tire is now holding the entire load.

This entire article assumes you have a flat tire and have no knowledge of that fact. It also PRESUMES that your tires were at 100% of their load capacity to start with which is rarely true. It is more likely that your remaining tire would be carrying 150% of it's rated load than 200% as this author claims. I have 6 tires rated at 6000 lbs each on a truck that weighs 18,000 lbs. If we "assume" that weight is evenly distributed from front to back (which it isn't-the engine is the heavy end) and I lost 1 rear tire, the other 3 (x 6000 lbs each) are more than capable of carrying the weight.

These products (and others) can show you visually if you have low pressure before you start driving. If you simply "look" at the indicator on these systems before you drive away, they can alert you to an under inflation issue before you drive which can eliminate a flat while driving.  I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that a single tire carrying the load that a set of tandems should carry is bad. But these systems do not cause that issue. 

I'd be willing to bet there are a lot more stories singing the praises of these devices than there are predicting the sky will fall if you use one. 

My goodness, what a slam against someone you have even bothered to look through the extensive information he provides on his website!!  WOW!

What makes you believe he knows nothing about wheels/rims, valve stems, lug nuts etc.  Try reading through his website before slamming him. 

Why do you seem to assume everyone uses a TPMS?  When you state "you have a flat tire and have no knowledge of that fact" you appear to be assuming that everyone has a TPMS.  How else would you know you had a tire that was loosing air? 

There are quite a few people, and probably the majority of RV'ers who don't have a TPMS.  Personally I think that is foolish, but many people treat their RV tires like they treat their car tires.  They ignore them until they fail. 

The article is discussing the operation of the tire pressure balance devices when they don't have a TPMS.

Your reply certainly would be more productive and informative it you told us a little about ""Cat's Eye", "Crossfire" or similar products".  I am inferring (probably incorrectly) that these devices will not let a significant amount of air out of both tires when one tire has a leak.  They somehow only let the tire going flat loose the air.  Can you give us some insight on how your devices would allow one tire to go flat while still keeping the adjacent tire inflated?   Also I would like to know how these products inform you that you have a tire loosing air pressure while driving if you don't have a TPMS.  

I take serious issue with your statement:  

Quote

It also PRESUMES that your tires were at 100% of their load capacity to start with which is rarely true.

There are lots and lots of RV's out there with a small carrying capacity and then people overload them with passengers and cargo so their tires are overloaded sometimes way overloaded. 

I am driving a Winnebago Class A GVWR of 18,000 pounds right now.  If I had kept the load range G tires on it, they would be right at max capacity with max air pressure.  Instead when I bought it (used) I installed load range H tires on it. 

BTW, FWIW, I don't agree with everything the retired tire engineer writes on his website.  However I do find that the vast majority of what he writes makes good sense. 

Edited by Al F

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1 hour ago, Al F said:

My goodness, what a slam against someone you have even bothered to look through the extensive information he provides on his website!!  WOW! WOW is right. 6 replies disagreeing with your guy and you single my post out. No problem Al, I'll reply to you. And I do not need to research your author. I have acquired sufficient knowledge about tires and rather than blindly taking the word of someone I do not know I have done my own research. I simply disagree (greatly) with his supposed knowledge of this item....and, it seems, so does every one else that has posted so far. 

What makes you believe he knows nothing about wheels/rims, valve stems, lug nuts etc.  Try reading through his website before slamming him.  First, I didn't "slam" anyone. I simply disagreed with his article, and I believe he is incorrect. Second, I never said he doesn't know anything about wheels/rims, etc. YOU gave his credentials as "a retired tire engineer". I simply stated that being a "tire engineer" doesn't mean he knows about the other items. 

Why do you seem to assume everyone uses a TPMS?  When you state "you have a flat tire and have no knowledge of that fact" you appear to be assuming that everyone has a TPMS.  How else would you know you had a tire that was loosing air? I NEVER mentioned a TPMS. I simply stated the FACT that his article assumes you have a flat and no knowledge of it. You really should brush up on your reading comprehension skills, Al. Secondly, a vehicle with a severely under inflated tire handles differently than a vehicle with properly inflated tires. Many people (obviously not you) can "feel" the difference in handling of a vehicle with a flat and most would have the common sense to find out what is causing that difference. His article arrogantly assumes that all drivers are too stupid to recognize the different handling characteristics of their vehicle. 

There are quite a few people, and probably the majority of RV'ers who don't have a TPMS.  Personally I think that is foolish, but many people treat their RV tires like they treat their car tires.  They ignore them until they fail. I never addressed this, and neither did your "engineer" but thank you for pointing this out. 

The article is discussing the operation of the tire pressure balance devices when they don't have a TPMS. You are correct...and my reply was directed at that article.

Your reply certainly would be more productive and informative it you told us a little about ""Cat's Eye", "Crossfire" or similar products".  I am inferring (probably incorrectly) that these devices will not let a significant amount of air out of both tires when one tire has a leak.  They somehow only let the tire going flat loose the air.  Can you give us some insight on how your devices would allow one tire to go flat while still keeping the adjacent tire inflated?   Also I would like to know how these products inform you that you have a tire loosing air pressure while driving if you don't have a TPMS.  Again, you are misreading and/or misstating my comments. Nowhere did I ever say these products would inform you of a tire loosing pressure while driving. You may want to read my post again. Also,  If you had any questions about the items that your "engineer" was talking about then maybe YOU should have done your due diligence and researched the products rather than simply taking his word about how they function. You do not even need the names of the products, an internet search for "dual tire pressure maintenance " will lead you to the web sites for Cat's Eye and Crossfire. You didn't even need to know their names. As I said before, I have a familiarity with these products (as I assume your engineer does) and I disagree with his opinion. Rather than just drinking the kool-aid I prefer to explore both sides and form my own opinion. I value research and opinions, but do not follow blindly simply because "he said it on the internet, so it must be true".

I take serious issue with your statement:  

There are lots and lots of RV's out there with a small carrying capacity and then people overload them with passengers and cargo so their tires are overloaded sometimes way overloaded. And those are probably the same people that check their air pressure semi annually. The same people that might read your posted article, not understand it or care much about it. I still disagree with the authors implication that every tire that is 5 PSI below the MAXIMUM pressure is over loaded and that in the case of a flat, the remaining tire in the set of duals WILL be carrying 200% of it's rated capacity  (he never said may, could or possibly). He makes a lot of assumptions and that sort of writing is irresponsible and designed to cause over reaction from people willing to believe the sky is falling because this supposed "engineer" said so. His entire article is based on worst case scenario yet he claims it is all fact, when in reality it is simply one possibility. Again, his arrogance shines through brightly. According to him, this WILL happen and "I can't understand why some would think that lowering the hot tire pressure (decreasing load capacity) would ever be a good thing to do." Well, I have news for your tire engineer. Many times tires are inflated to the pressure listed on the tire (which is shown on the tire as the MAX pressure, not the required or correct  pressure) which in fact causes them to be over inflated for the load actually carried. That is why tire manufacturers have inflation charts to show the inflation rate for the load. Would you care to take a guess at the number of cars driving around with under inflated tires? Those tires wear out. They do not suddenly have a catastrophic failure. While under inflation IS bad, it is not the end of the world as your engineer would have the people reading his article believe.

I am driving a Winnebago Class A GVWR of 18,000 pounds right now, that if I had kept the load range G tires on it, they would be right at max capacity with max air pressure.  Instead when I bought it (used) I installed load range H tires on it. Maybe I give people credit they do not deserve but obviously you realized a deficiency in your tires and took corrective measures. I would think that the people who are looking at reading this article and trying to form their own opinion about this tire product are apparently concerned with inflation and other aspects of their tires.

You also mention GVWR. Do you have any idea what your Class A actually weighs? Your G rated tires may have been more than capable of hauling the actual weight of your MH and your H rated tires, with the max air pressure, could very well be over inflated. As I stated earlier, my toter has 6 tires rated at 6000 lbs each. That is 36,000 lbs of carrying capacity for the tires yet it only weigh 18,000 lbs. If I filled them to their max pressure rating (105PSI) my tires would be massively over inflated. Contrary to what that article claims, 5 PSI will not kill my tires. For over the road truckers tire inflation is not even a violation until they reach less than 50% of the max allowed tire pressure. Who do you think puts more miles on a tire? An OTR trucker or an RV'er? 

BTW, FWIW, I don't agree with everything the retired tire engineer writes on his website.  However I do find that the vast majority of what he writes makes good sense.. I'm glad you do. If blindly trusting others works for people then more power to them. But that is why I commented. I have a enough knowledge to disagree. If I stepped on your toes by disagreeing with his OPINION I'm sorry but I think, in this case, he missed the mark....badly.  IMHO, he is also presumptuous in his findings and he uses scare tactics to get his point across.

EDIT: I lied...the author said "possibly" in a sentence....refering to a tire that was 25% low "possibly" having a failure.

Edited by Big5er

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And not one word about what I find to be the most significant and simple fact about both the Cats Eye & Crossfire:  They both limit the pressure drop on the remaining good tire to about a 10%-15% decrease in pressure. 

I am always learning new and good things from this forum.  Because of the responses to this topic I looked up the info about CrossFire and Cats Eye, and find that this may be something I will add in the future. 

I believe I would want to a TPMS sensor for each of the dually tires though so I would have an immediate warning about the low pressure on the leaking tire. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Al F said:

I believe I would want to a TPMS sensor for each of the dually tires though so I would have an immediate warning about the low pressure on the leaking tire. 

 

 

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I had an inner blowout with the Crossfire installed and a single Pressure Pro tire monitor on the duals. The Crossfire worked as advertised allowing us to slowly drive to a rest area on the good tire, call road service, and on our way within an hour.

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One thing you must keep in mind when using the Crossfire (and I suspect any other similar product) is do not use rubber valve stems. Use only the steel or brass thread or bolt in type.

due to the centrifugal  force the rubber ones will start to leak. This is stated in the instructions but some may be inclined to not do this. 

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4 hours ago, Ronbo said:

Did your pressure pro tell you that you had a blow our?

Nope. Of course, it did not have to since the blowout sounded like a shotgun blast in the bathroom. No mistaking we had a blowout. This was in an American Eagle.

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