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Trailer tire tread wear
|Author||Topic: Trailer tire tread wear|
posted 10-12-2004 12:57 PM ET (US)
I have a 2004 170 Montauk, purchased in January of this year. It sits on the Keravan trailer that came with the deal from Whaler. My question is this: after approximately 5,000 miles of towing, both of the trailer tires are exhibiting significant tread wear, but ONLY on one single line of tread. Looking at the trailer tire, there are 5 or 6 lines or rows of tread on the tire. Only the 2nd row from the outside is showing any wear, and this tread line is almost bald. It is a good 3/8 inch "shorter" than the other tread lines on the tire. I have checked air pressure: it's OK. I have checked the alignment the best I can: with a tape measure to insure axle is square with trailer hitch - looks OK.
Obviously something is wrong. I am going to replace the tires, but fear the new ones may also exhibit uneven wear unless I fix the true problem. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance,
By the way, can anyone tell me what the internet abbreviation "YMMV" means?
posted 10-12-2004 01:08 PM ET (US)
You said you checked the "alignment", What about "toe in"?
posted 10-12-2004 01:37 PM ET (US)
A second thought, might not be "toe in" are you sure there isn't some sort of "fastener" such as is located on the fender that might be cutting the tread in that spot? It is odd that both tires are wearing on only one groove and in the same orientation (mirror image) on both tires. I spent 40 years in the tire bussiness, I would look for some sort of "sharp object" in a fender assembly that only contacts on a hard "bump". This is based on your description which sounds more on the line of a "groove" not a "toe-in" wear problem.
Just a thought
posted 10-12-2004 09:29 PM ET (US)
I re-checked the trailer fender wells for anything that could be rubbing the tires; nothing found. I measured again as a check for alignment. This time I measured the distance from the rear of the trailer frame to the center of the axle hub. One side is 56.5 inches; the other side id 57 inches. Maybe I do have an alignment problem after all.
I guess I just need to jack up the trailer frame, and re-adjust the axle on the frame rails. Sounds pretty simple. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. Won't get to fish again until April, so it's not like there's any hurry, sad to say.
posted 10-12-2004 09:38 PM ET (US)
Check rear of trailer frame to the spring carrier. Then check
spring carrier to spring bolts (VERY unlikely to be off).
Then check where the spring is mounted to the axle relative to
the spring bolts. You need to find the real problem.
Also, measure the frame diagonals. Port rail at forward
You need to find the real problem, not just a bandaid that
posted 10-12-2004 09:39 PM ET (US)
If both tires have wear, and on the same treadline, the 2nd from the outside, I think a misalignment would have wear on different treadlines. If it were at a slight offset, you'd probably have one tire wear on the outer side and one on the inner side.
My best guess, just a guess, is over inflation. My logic is that under-inflation leads to the outer edges rubbing the pavement. The more you inflate, the more you raise the outer (and inner) edges up and away from the pavement, leading to the middle of the tire getting most contact.
Maybe just over-inflating a little causes the outer edge, the 1st treadline to raise up and have the next treadline, the 2nd row, have contact and is wearing.
Remember, as you drive, the air in the tire heats up and expands, increasing the pressure. Also the centrifugal force of the rotation causes the tire to throw momentum to the center. So, while you may inspect the tire when the vehicle is parked at cold tire pressure and it looks normal, this may not reflect what's happening while driving.
posted 10-13-2004 04:34 PM ET (US)
YMMV: Your milage may vary.
posted 10-13-2004 05:16 PM ET (US)
After thinking about the problem, I am inclined to think it is a combination of "alignment" both "toe-in" and camber, in conjuction with tire inflation. If the measurments you took were on the tires at 9:00 and 3:00 (oclock) facing the tire (front being the smaller of the dimensions) that is one heck of a toe-in! Most cars are around 1/8 inch for similar size wheels and tires.
My suggestion, since the fishing season is over, find a good "frame" shop (not a chain, but a "mom & pop" operation) and have them put your boat and trailer on the "rack" and see what is really going on.
Just a thought!
posted 10-13-2004 05:44 PM ET (US)
Call your Boston Whaler dealer. He may fix it for free.
posted 10-13-2004 09:22 PM ET (US)
WFSTEFFENS, that's not toe. If measured correctly,
it's an axle that's not perpendicular to the frame. That's what
he describes, and the numbers are way too low for a toe
measurement at three and nine. On the trailer for my 16' 7"
the toe measurements would be AT LEAST 70", depending on
where on the tire they were made (left/right).
And if the toe measurements were someplace other than
And toe problems eat up the outer row of tread.
posted 10-13-2004 10:17 PM ET (US)
Toe in or out, IMHO would show feathering on your tires in either direction.....
posted 10-13-2004 11:01 PM ET (US)
A word of caution. I have a 2004 170 purchased in February with the same setup. My rig had less than 500 miles on it when a tire completely came apart riding on I-95 at about 50 mph. I mean it shredded apart, crushed the wheel, broke the fender, and was sitting on the axle.
This is part of the story that I was going to tell under a different thread thanking the BW factory and my dealer. The good thing is I wasn't driving the rig. Someone from the BW factory was. They were bringing it back to me after doing some fiberglass/gelcoat damage repair to a factory defect that was discovered on the boat. (part of what I was thanking them for in my thread)
No one ever did find out what caused the failure. However, they did put on 2 new matched tires and wheels (taken off of the dealers inventory) as well as replace the fender and completely "service" the trailer. Thank goodness no damage was done to the boat. The dealer and factory reacted exceptionally well to the incident. It was not something that they could have foreseen. They made me more than whole and I couldn't have asked for better treatment all things being considered.
* So back to the original point. If the tires are questionable I would be very careful driving that rig.
I have some pictures I took of the tire and wheel, or what was left of it, after the failure that I will try to post a link to tomorrow.
Oh, btw, this all happened on my birthday when I was supposed to have the boat back by 9 AM to go diving with friends.
posted 10-13-2004 11:47 PM ET (US)
If it is out of "square" why is the wear pattern the same on both tires? It isn't out of square. I worked in a frame shop part time for 30 years! Crawl around on all fours for a day on a frame rack and line up "pin" gages in Janurary for a frame pull, and you will get a "grip"! I think you are off base. It's a combination of toe-in and camber with tire inflation as a factor.
posted 10-14-2004 09:37 AM ET (US)
I'm just going by A) what he described he did, and B)
the numbers he came up with. You said the measurements he
took were toe measurements ("If the measurments you took were
on the tires at 9:00 and 3:00 ...") That didn't fit because
of A and B above.
I agree it's a strange pattern and it will be interesting
Also, I had an error: measuring the diagonals will tell you
Marsh: You said tire pressure was "OK". How many PSI is that?
posted 10-14-2004 11:45 AM ET (US)
I had the same problem as Chet describes on my trailer (15' Super Sport), and CFCAJUN has it right -- at least in my case.
I believe I have 13" wheels -- they're not the small type. I had to replace a set of tires because one of the lines of tread was bald and the rest of the tire looked practically untouched. I was inflating the tires to 60 PSI, on a recommendation of a friend, to avoid the tires overheating. However, I subsequently dropped the pressure to 40 PSI on the new tires, and the tires now wear evenly. They are standard trailer tires that have a maximum load capacity at 80 PSI. But I guess if you don't have enough weight, you have to lower the air pressure to avoid uneven tread wear.
posted 10-14-2004 12:02 PM ET (US)
Ok you had a similar problem. I think your observations are correct. However I would still put the boat and trailer on a "rack" and check it before risking a new set of tires. The tires are reletively inexpensive, the hassle factor is much more.
Trib: I wasn't trying to "kick" you around. If I offended you please accept my apology!
Gentlemen, lets just try to solve the problem.
posted 10-14-2004 09:42 PM ET (US)
Here's a link to a pic of my trailer tire, inflated to 45 lbs.
I failed in my attempts to get a photo of the other tire, but it's a mirror image of the wear pattern on the one pictured. This tire has approximately 3,000 total miles on it. One of the tread ribs in completely worn away already.
I measured the distance from hub center to rear of trailer, and both sides were the same. I also measured distance from hub center to trailer tongue - both sides were the same. Mounting points for trailer springs are welded to the frame. I measured distance from mounting point to bub center - both sides were the same.
Since I cannot find any other explanation,I have concluded that the trailer tires are defective, and need to be replaced. My dealer is 500 miles away, and I will not bother him with this.
Thanks for any advice,
posted 10-15-2004 01:08 PM ET (US)
Look at the last pic on my site. See what you think of the tire damage and what may have caused it.
posted 10-15-2004 01:36 PM ET (US)
Are these Radial tires?
Also, what brand are these tires?
I just recently replaced my original biased tires on my trailer. They were showing the same type of wear pattern an your photos. I talked to several "tire" people and they told me that some tire brands will wear this way. And, especially biased tires on a trailer after so many years.
I don't pretend to know everything about tires, but a large tire dealer told me to inflate the tires to MAX pressure. In this case, 50 pounds Max pressure is stated on the side of the tire. They mentioned this because the tires are not being used in a passenger vehicle where comfort is an exchange for lower tire pressures. They also mentioned I could raise it up to 60 pounds of pressure if I wanted. It would not harm the tire nor create over inflation problems.
In my case, I purchased 115R75x14 ST Karrier Radial tires. I had heard a lot of info about the Goodyear Marathon and was going to purchase these but they assured me that the Karrier were just as good if not better. The Karrier is made by Kenda and they said they have not had any problems with this brand but they have had a few problems with the Goodyear Marathon. This particular dealer sells any and all brands so I don't believe they were trying to sell me what they had on hand. In fact, they had to get them from the warehouse. This is also my local tire dealer and I prefer dealing locally when I can. Time will tell. My local dealer will also stand behind everything they sell.
My trailer now rides much smoother with these new tires. The trailer used to shake and bounce but now is smooth riding. I am running 50 pounds of pressure in these radial tires and I can't believe the difference in handling.
Good Luck and let us know the outcome.
posted 10-15-2004 01:40 PM ET (US)
I've lost two or three trailer tires that had quite low mileage on them in such a way that, without hitting anything or evidence of picking anything up in the tread like a piece of metal, etc., the sidewalls just shredded, leaving the tread belt more or less intact. I concluded it was caused by inadvertant low pressure, and inadvertant overbalanced weight distribution due to the trailer ball being too high. Tandem trailer, so I still had one tire left on that side each time a tire blew, and consequently no loss of control or damage to the trailer.
In your case, and this is nothing more than the opinion of a Monday morning quarterback, I find it hard to believe that the damage I saw to the rim in your photos was caused by hitting the pavement or being hit by the trailer after the tire blew. My money would be on the possibility that something had been hit earlier causing damage to the rim, and the rim seal finally let go and the tire was shredded before you were able to come to a stop, or you hit something in the road that bent the rim at the same time the tire went. I just can't comprehend how the rim could have been bent like that except by hitting an object (like a rock or a curb, etc.) while travelling at city driving speed or more.
posted 10-15-2004 01:49 PM ET (US)
I've seen the rim get damaged after the tire has blown, while everything is still rolling and coming off of the pavement onto the shoulder. Just an old two lane road with unimproved bumpy shoulder will tear the heck out of things. Jim
posted 10-15-2004 01:55 PM ET (US)
Typo on my part:
Should be 215R75x14 not 115.......
posted 10-15-2004 02:35 PM ET (US)
Did you look at those photos, though? I've seen rims get scraped up and dinged from rolling/skidding to a stop after the tire blew, but this rim really had a wow in it. Have you seen them damaged that badly after the fact, without hitting some kind of stationary object?
posted 10-15-2004 02:39 PM ET (US)
Kingfish, I've seen them where they are unusable, but probably not as bad as in the photo. Something would have been hit on the way over to the side I guess. Jim
posted 10-15-2004 02:56 PM ET (US)
Marsh, in the original post, your said "second row from the
outside". I'd call what I see in your picture "second row
from the INSIDE".
posted 10-15-2004 03:24 PM ET (US)
What Chuck said-
Additionally, although it's hard to get good depth perception from the photograph, it looks as if the tread line opposite the line that is bald (first full line in from the outside) is wearing too, but maybe irregularly. In fact, all the tread looks a little worn for 5000 miles...I would wonder about some under-inflation. Those little trailer tires are really turning when you're at highway speeds, and are subject to heat which will break the tread and tire down even more quickly. It's been my experience that you're usually better off to err (if at all)towards higher pressure than lower pressure, because the tire will wear much more quickly if under-inflated due to heat and flexing.
posted 10-15-2004 04:41 PM ET (US)
Inside/outside...I get confused sometimes, sorry.
Any other votes for radial tires vs. bias-ply?
For what it's worth, my local tire guy says it is very common to see trailer tire tread wear like mine, just not after only 5,000 miles. Apparently, boat trailers are rarely "square", and consequently, wierd wear patterns often develop. Combined with a bit of under-inflation, and extended towing at speeds of over 80 mph, and you get tread wear.
Oh, well. At least I caught it before a catastrophic blow-out.
posted 10-15-2004 04:46 PM ET (US)
BTW, these tires are the original equipment on my Keravan trailer that came with my 2004 Montauk 170, bought new in January 2004. The tires are Carlisle, and (I'm away from home right now) I believe are size 185 x something x 13.
Thanks again everyone,
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