Found on 5th wheel tire this weekend

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These tires are on my parents 5th wheel camper. This bubble was noticed luckily before something bad happened. I don't know much about the tires except they are LT's, about 2-3 years old (original equipment for the 5th wheel), have <15k miles, and I think pretty good tread remaining. The bubble is on the inside of the tire and I'm just posting this to remind everyone that tows trailers to remember to check the inside of tires, not just the outside. It hadn't really occurred to me before this but will for sure check in the future. Tire was changed and vacation continued.
 
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Same type of bulge came up one of my Michelins. Michelin finally agreed to pay 1/2 the retail price for a new tire.
 
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I had that happen once on a nearly-new Cooper CS4. The dealer swapped it out immediately.
 
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Always pays to give tires a quick once over before a trip. My buddy's Sprinter van had a similar sized bubble on the sidewall in the rear tire that I pointed out. He didn't address it until the following week when it popped, thankfully, in the parking lot.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Also, don't use Chinese tires on heavy 5th wheels. Or anything for that matter.
+1
 
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Typical Chinese Maypop found on trailers. Be grateful for, and you are lucky to have gotten 15k out of them. There really aren't any stellar ST tires in the marketplace, you'll always find several stories about any of the common brands. I like Hercules tires for replacements. They seem to be a bit better than most. Some folks have subbed LT tires for the ST with good results. Either way the advice about checking each time you tow is excellent!
 

Nate1979

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Originally Posted By: SVTCobra
Those are ST tires not LT.
You are correct, thanks for the catch. They are load range E ST's.
 
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That bulge is a lower sidewall separation. There are a number of possible causes, but the most likely cause is the turn up separating between the turn up and the inner continuous ply. I guess I need to describe what a turn up is. A tire is built up in a series of layers on a drum, from the inside out, from a series of hoop like layers. The first layer is the innerliner - the air retaining layer of rubber that goes from bead to bead. It serves the same function as a tube and, in fact, is made of the same material, typically butyl rubber. On top of that layer are the plies - layers of fabric completely impregnated with rubber, like cloth. The fabric in the ply are parallel cords and the rubber is pressed into the cord to form a sheet. Those plies are applied to the drum, again forming a hoop. Those layers are turndown around the edges of a drum and a bead is pressed against the edge of the drum. The bead is a hoop of rubber impregnated wire wrapped many times into a hoop. The ply is then "turned up" around the bead and the ends of that ply are pressed against the previously applied ply layer. That edge is called a turnup as is the process to make it. The separation is occurring between those 2 layers. It starts at the end of the turnup and grows downward, forming the bulge. If you cut open the bulge, you will find crumbly rubber between those 2 layer. (Crumbly? How's that for a technical term!) Those crumbs are caused by the rubber abraiding off the cords. It can be the result of operating the tire overloaded (or underinflated - the same thing from a tire engineer's perspective), but at not enough speed to generate enough heat to cause the belt edge to fail (which is the much more common failure of a steel belted radial tire. I did a quick internet search for a video of a tire being built. Here's what one I think works: Tire building The beads are applied at 13 seconds into the video and the turn up sequence occurs at 16 seconds.
 

CKN

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ST tires are some of the most abused tires. It's not uncommon for those who tow to exceed the maximum speeding rating of 65mph. It's not uncommon to jump curbs, hit curbs, twist the sidewalls in tight turns and to run on low inflation after sitting in storage. Being of Chinese manufacturer has usually little to do with it. Another BITOG misinformation statement.
 
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Yeah. Any brand tire will have a defect here and there. And it's true trailer tires take a serious beating. Often sit a lot, and then do some curb hopping and nail all the potholes. Worked at a tire shop for years when I was younger and saw a lot of sidewall bubbles on normal vehicles with all different brands and types of tires from people hitting curbs and potholes.
 
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Originally Posted By: CKN
ST tires are some of the most abused tires. It's not uncommon for those who tow to exceed the maximum speeding rating of 65mph. It's not uncommon to jump curbs, hit curbs, twist the sidewalls in tight turns and to run on low inflation after sitting in storage. Being of Chinese manufacturer has usually little to do with it. Another BITOG misinformation statement.
Agreed.
 
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No, actually, trailer tires being junk is reality. Quality is dismal, QC is poor to nonexistent. Add to that the fact that the DOT testing for them is much looser and that they often run right at their weight limit (which is HIGHER than an equivilant LT in the same size)...yeah, "China bombs" are an accurate description! My uncle has an Airstream...he WANTED better tires for it than the no-name ST's, but there is just nothing else available in the size/load capacity!
 
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Originally Posted By: CKN
ST tires are some of the most abused tires. It's not uncommon for those who tow to exceed the maximum speeding rating of 65mph. It's not uncommon to jump curbs, hit curbs, twist the sidewalls in tight turns and to run on low inflation after sitting in storage. Being of Chinese manufacturer has usually little to do with it. Another BITOG misinformation statement.
Not quite, check out the travel trailer forums, even guys are having problems with goodyear marathons now that they are made in china.
 

CKN

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Originally Posted By: Jarlaxle
No, actually, trailer tires being junk is reality. Quality is dismal, QC is poor to nonexistent. Add to that the fact that the DOT testing for them is much looser and that they often run right at their weight limit (which is HIGHER than an equivilant LT in the same size)...yeah, "China bombs" are an accurate description! My uncle has an Airstream...he WANTED better tires for it than the no-name ST's, but there is just nothing else available in the size/load capacity!
They are usually describe as "China bombs" by those that do one or more of the above items I described above. It should be noted that the RVers on certain forums call certain tires by certain manufacturers "China Bombs" even tho those tires have not been manufactured for several years. I chalk this "misunderstanding" to the average age of said RVers.
 
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My trailer has 13 inch wheels , no room for a larger wheel. No LT tires available in that size. The best tire in that size in the st class seems to be Maxxis. I run maxxis 8008's so far no problems and no threads of problems from other TT owners. They used to be made in the usa but are Thailand now. I'm not sure if there is an american st tire maker( not in 13 anyway).
 
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Originally Posted By: Jarlaxle
No, actually, trailer tires being junk is reality. Quality is dismal, QC is poor to nonexistent. Add to that the fact that the DOT testing for them is much looser and that they often run right at their weight limit (which is HIGHER than an equivilant LT in the same size)...yeah, "China bombs" are an accurate description! My uncle has an Airstream...he WANTED better tires for it than the no-name ST's, but there is just nothing else available in the size/load capacity!
The biggest thing that tends to help is to go up a load range whenever possible. A lot of small horse trailers run ST205/75R15 load range C from the factory. When a friend had tires done on hers, I got her to swap up to D range tires. Now they've got a good bit more headroom on the load rating and aren't at risk of failure from being 1 psi below max, so even the off-brand ST tires will probably hold up fine under the reduced stress. Also, for trailers with ST235/80R16s like the OP, if the load capacity matches up, LT215/85R16s are the same diameter and could be swapped in.
 
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I'm sure a load range E would suffice for an ST.. Like the above post substituting an LT215/85r16 in a load range E would probably work just fine and there are a ton of quality options there. Edit: Okay, there is still a pretty significant load capacity between a ST235/80r16 D and LT215/85r16 E. ST235/80r16 D: 3000lbs ST235/80r16 E: 3420lbs LT215/85r16 E: 2680lbs LT245/75r16 E: 3042lbs (as another option that would fit that rim)
 
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