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First trailer tire blowout


jeffw

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On the way home from Watkins Glen (NY), we had our first trailer tire blowout. Our trailer is a tri-axle 3-car hauler. It's around 24,000 pounds. The trailer is new to us, and this is only our 2nd long tow with it loaded.

 

The driver's side front axle tire blew. A few minutes before the blowout the tire was at 130PSI (started at 115 PSI) and was about 105 degF (ambient was 90). The tire was a Bridgestone R184 (215/75R17.5) that was less than 2 years old (I need to check the date code to get a real age on it).

 

The front axle tires seem to gain more PSI (3-4 PSI) as they heat up, and run a little warmer than the back axle. I can't really shift weight around as the car positions and storage cabinets are fixed.

 

I've got no idea what caused the blowout....the tread was gone, leaving only the belts.

 

-j

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Jeff,

 

I'm running the Goodyear G114s on my trailer and I routinely see temps rise to 110-112 as measured by my TST monitors on a hot day. Also see pressures rise sometimes up to 10-15% over known inflation pressures. I realize tire pressure/temperature monitors are trend monitors, not absolute readings. I also have spoken to Goodyears engineers at their testing facilities and they aren't even the least concerned until the tire temps get into the 150's and you will see on the TST monitors the MINIMUM alarm temp is I believe 157. Bridgestone makes a good tire and find it surprising. Best bet is to get an individual tire weight and then you will know if you are unduly loading that tire position. Sorry for the mishap and hopefully no trailer damage.

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We have a 3 axle car hauler also but have 15" diameter wheels so limited in our tire selection. We have had many blowouts over the 100000 miles we have put on our trailer but not as many in recent years.

 

Have you had individual tire weights done? If not that tire or axle could be overloaded. If the axle is overloaded, you could try raising your hitch to transfer more weight to the other axles.

 

What speed were you running? With ambient temps at 90 degrees we find we have to slow down from our normal 65mph to keep the tire temps down. Also, how long had you been driving as longer times like over 2 hours at a stretch with out stopping to allow tires to cool can cause us to have blowouts. You need to stop for longer than 15 minute potty break too as you will actually see tire temps increase in that time. Slowing down seems to do better for cooling tires.

 

Also it is possible that the axle needs aligning, we had an axle out on ours (rear) and we saw unusual wear issues with the rear tires.

 

I carry two spares with us due to the number of flats we have had.

 

Dave

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I agree get each wheel position weighed (loaded) and make sure the inflation of each tire is for the weight being carried.

 

My trailer originally had "E" rated tires. They were running at about 95% of their capacity. At about 10k~12k miles on the tires they too would start to see a rise in pressure before failing. As the pressure increased you could see the center of the tire tread expand/crown as the tire was falling apart internally. Once this starts happening the tire is done. I also found that when this started happening to one tire another one was not far behind.

 

On "E" rated tires I was putting new tires on the trailer every year. I always knew that I would replace the original "E" tires with a set of "G" rated tires. Of course when the originals gave it up, I was in Idaho on a Sunday. Try finding tires on a Sunday in Idaho. That is why I would up with a 2nd set of "E" rated tires, otherwise I would have had to wait for the tires I wanted.

 

Once I switched to a higher rated tire, my tire problems went away. I got around 70k miles over 6 years. The tires were still good and no problems but near the end of their life using the 7 year rule from the mfg date and I was putting new wheels on the trailer. So I put new tires on with the new wheels this summer. I suspect I will change trailers before I change to change tires again.

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We do carry a spare tire/wheel and another tire (unmounted). I think I need to find another spare wheel so I can have 2 spares.

Dave: I was happy that with the 17.5 tires I had a good selection of non-chinese tires in that size. The trailer tire situation with 15" tires is pretty sad.

I think I could raise the front one 'click' on the 5th wheel. Right now the hitch is as short as it can go. The trailer has rollers in the rear, so if it catches I should be ok.

I forgot to add there's a generator at the driver's side front, and a 30 gallon diesel tank in the landing gear area, so the trailer has to be nose heavy.

 

(edited to remove the doubling...i'm on a flight to Austin and the internet went away when I tried to post)

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Most likely a weight issue. Until you get wheel position weights you might move those heavy items to the rear.

At 115 psi COLD those tires can carry 4495 lbs per tire (in single configuration) Inflation tables

You could go ahead and inflate them to the max of 125 until you can get wheel position weights. This would enable each tire to carry 4805 lbs.

 

Also, you need to know that these tires are good tires BUT are speed rated to 65 mph which means that you were going a bit too fast. Cruise speed should not exceed 65 mph.

Many of these trailer ONLY tires are designed for low boy or flat bed trailers and the speed rating is important to heed.

 

It could be they are older - Trailer tires do have generally shorter life spans.

 

Finally it could be an alignment issue.

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What's the trailer suspension? I strongly doubt you can influence per-axle weights with hitch height or positioning; most trailer suspensions have some sort of teeter-totter arm between axle springs, or they're air with common air pressure from a leveling valve.

 

I know what you're saying and that's definitely the principle applied with most equalizer type suspensions. However, if your statement were true, then weight would already be distributed equally between the three axles.

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What's the trailer suspension? I strongly doubt you can influence per-axle weights with hitch height or positioning; most trailer suspensions have some sort of teeter-totter arm between axle springs, or they're air with common air pressure from a leveling valve.

From the pic it seems the trailer has torsion axles. As mentioned get the axles weighed. I can say that every

tire I have blown, was after hours of high speed towing. I drive from L.A. to Hutch often, it is really

hard to keep the speed down(for me personally) when traffic is running 70+ I only buy tires rated at 75 MPH

now.

 

Steve

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What's the trailer suspension? I strongly doubt you can influence per-axle weights with hitch height or positioning; most trailer suspensions have some sort of teeter-totter arm between axle springs, or they're air with common air pressure from a leveling valve.

It's Torsion....

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"The tire was a Bridgestone R184 (215/75R17.5) that was less than 2 years old (I need to check the date code to get a real age on it)."

 

Don't be afraid to contact a Bridgestone rep and discover why the tire came apart... make sure it isn't some goofy batch construction issue that could affect your other tires...they might chip in a few $$ to a replacement...

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  • 3 weeks later...

A followup on this...

 

The trailer seller had told us that all the tires were less than 2 or 3 years old. Some of the tires had the date code mounted on the inside, so it was hard to verify. The actual fact is the tire that blew was dated 3911. The right side of the same axle (front) has the same Bridgestone R184 with the same 3911 date code on it (we just pulled it to verify).

 

We've extended the 5th wheel assembly one 'hole' to try to shift some weight to the back. I'll see if I can get axle weights at the NH weigh station on Friday.

 

We replaced the tire that blew with a Continental HTL2. It's rated for 75MPH. The other old R184 will be replaced as well...

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Torsion axels are very sensitive to weight. The trailer needs to be as level as possible. They are also very load sensitive also. A friend of mine with a 1 ton truck and a gooseneck trailer loaded with a medium sized Bobcat was held at a scale for a long time because he could not get the weight on the axels equal. As soon as he moved the Bobcat forward to get enough weight on the front axel he over loaded the truck. He finally had to reduce the tire pressure in the back tires to get enough weight on the front axel. And yes after he was released from the scale he aired up the back tires. Torsion suspension does not "share" the load like a spring suspension will. For many horse trailers that have tire problems it is usually the back tires as they carry the greater share of the load mostly because of the trailer not being level.

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Torsion axels are very sensitive to weight. The trailer needs to be as level as possible. They are also very load sensitive also. A friend of mine with a 1 ton truck and a gooseneck trailer loaded with a medium sized Bobcat was held at a scale for a long time because he could not get the weight on the axels equal. As soon as he moved the Bobcat forward to get enough weight on the front axel he over loaded the truck. He finally had to reduce the tire pressure in the back tires to get enough weight on the front axel. And yes after he was released from the scale he aired up the back tires. Torsion suspension does not "share" the load like a spring suspension will. For many horse trailers that have tire problems it is usually the back tires as they carry the greater share of the load mostly because of the trailer not being level.

Agreed, that is my experience as well, particularly on a tri-axle. Each axle is mounted independently, and has a very limited travel. On our race trailer if it was off level very far you could read it in the temperatures on the tire monitors. When you are fully loaded, run it through the truck stop scales. You will have to go through a few times to isolate each axle and do a little math, but they only charge a buck for each reweigh, so no big deal.

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