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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-13-2007
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Lets talk about trailer tires!

I never hear anything about trailer tire reviews! I'm looking for a new set for my boat's dual axle trailer (36' trailer, 8500-9500#) and I'm stumped.

I was getting some sway over 45 mph so I thought it is time to replace the tires before the sidewalls fail (previous season was solid, no sway). They were pretty hot after 5 minutes of towing, although the pressure is fine.

I have only seen very few reviews on the web about various tires like Goodyear and Carlisle, and these were scary to say the least! Are trailer tires really that bad from these two companies, or (here is what I think) is it just owners ignoring the tires and not maintaining the pressures, load conditions, max speeds and not replacing them every couple of years?

Anyhow, I'm confused.

I take care of my equipment; I'm not going to cheap-ass out on my trailer tires with a $155,000 boat and trailer hanging on the fate of a $100.00 tire.

Are there "good" tires and "bad" tires? I'm loading up 225/75R15's with only about 75% of the rated capacity. Where should I look for help with selecting a good reliable tire, and not just receive a $7.00 per hour employees opinion? Nothing would anger me more than have a kid give me a "commission" answer (the "best tire" is the one that is making him the most money) or a rice-racer "buy a z rated radial and some dubs for that sucka" answer.

I understand load ratings, Max pressure loading, heat index, and other things about the tires, I just need to find out what receives the best user reviews, regardless of cost or other influences that should be set aside when considering the value of items we might haul IN or ON the trailer.

I have searched the wild web without a single positive review on any tire!

(Remember that commercial that said, "it's not your brand [or something] tires, but what rides on it." That's my deal.
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Old 08-13-2007
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Lancer-

Are you sure it is the tires? Sway could easily be caused by improper balance of the trailer. How much does the trailer weigh when fully loaded? How much tongue weight do you have? It should be about 10-15% IIRC.

BTW, did you stow the gear on the boat differently or add any equipment to the boat between last season, when it worked fine and now. Try shifting some of the contents of the boat forward in the boat, and see if that affects the swaying. If it does, then the issue is more likely a trailer balance issue than a tire issue. Even the addition of a single battery for your house bank, in the stern of the boat could shift the balance enough to alter the tongue weight drastically, since it is at the end of a relatively long lever arm...

Trailer tires have to function under fairly extreme conditions, and if ignored, they tend to fail rather dramatically. They're generally narrow, small diameter tires inflated to much higher pressures than car tires are. Given the small diameters, they have to rotate much faster to go the same speed as a larger diameter car tire, so bearing condition and tire pressure are more critical to maintaining their ability to do their job.

A tire from any of the manufacturers that meets the size and pressure requirements of your trailer should work relatively well. I would look at Consumer Reports, BoatUS's Trailering Magazine, or one of the trailer boat specific magazines, as one of them probably has done some tire reviews.
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Old 08-13-2007
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I had my 9000 lb rig for 14 years. Never changed the tires even though they showed a lot of checking. I probably should have but I didn't. Don't remember the brand except that they were not a common brand. I doubt it is the tires, I would look at possible changes in load distribution or perhaps axles. Did you change tow vehicle?
Tandem or triple?
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i've moved the CG toward front this time to see if it would reduce the sway, which it didn't. We stopped and moved some things around, and it still didn't change! I've also switched from pulling it on a long bed ford to a hummer, same reaction.

After a few calls around to the trailer dealers, they seem to think the tires are the next probable option.

The biggest question is how in the heck to figure out which tire to get?

Carlisle tires sound like total junk, so then I looked at goodyear and firestone, which had horrid ratings from customers too. That leaves the shipshape trailer tires in a radial (I think).
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I've also tried loading the actual boat on the trailer further forward as well as aft too... I'm stumped.
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If you've actually shifted the boat forward, and the thing still sways...it ain't the trailer balance... Have you gone over the trailer, and made sure the leaf springs and all the bolts are properly tightened down? I just think that tires would be the last cause... since you didn't change the tires... Also, what pressure are the tires at???
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I have to agree with most above, tires just don't start swaying. Of course anybody that sells them is going to say it will. If the tread and sidewalls are in good shape, there's no need to replace them. Have you double checked your tire gage to be sure the presure is accurated? Swaying and getting hot are two distinctive signs of under inflation. You mentioned moving the boat forward. Maybe it needed to be moved aft. You might have to go to a truck scale and see what the tongue weight is. I'm sure Trailer Boats Mag has done some tests in the past, but not sure how you could access them
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I would recommend getting as many ply tires as available in your size. i used to be able to get four ply in my size, but they are no longer offered, by anybody.

Depending on the tires you have, you will find the inflation pressure is significantly higher than your truck tires. Mine are on a small trailer, with light load-1100lbs, and run at 50 psig. Inflate to maximium sidewall rating, less will sway.

Too much weight on the tongue will cause sway. Some trailer and towing packages require a form of sway bar running from the trailer tongue to the side of the truck hitch. This is a trailer sway bar, not the one on your truck.

The next possible cause, aside from excessive speed, is that you've changed towing vehicles. Short wheelbase vehicles, like a Blazer, are hell for towing. For a short distance at low speed, ok. But if you are going to tow any distance, and at highway speed, you'll want a longer wheelbase vehicle, like a full size truck.

If the tires are properly inflated, I would rule them out as causing sway. For an objective opinion peddle the rig on over to your local R/V dealer. He deals with towing issues all the time, is not in the tire business, and can discuss all factors with you. He'll also have some strong opinions on trailer tires. In fact, wandering over and looking at the biggest, most expensive fifth wheel on the lot may tell you something about what rubber the manufacturer trusts. Tell him your friend Camaraderie is looking for something in the way of a 60' chick magnet R/V, in stainless steel, that will accept his Raytheon wheel pilot. That should break the ice. (g)
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Old 08-13-2007
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Trailer tires are much different than any other tire design. Mainly because the side walls have the same number of plys as the tread section of the tire. This gives it more stability and therefore less sway characteristics. Here is a link to some technical info. Also the home page is a very good place to get your tires.
http://www.easternmarine.com/em_show...tech_info.html
Wayne
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Neither the long-bed Ford or the Hummer would probably be considered a short-wheel base vehicle.

Generally, too much tongue weight will cause the tow vehicle to have problems with steering, since the trailer's weight will cause the truck's suspension to load up in the rear, and reduce the weight on the front tires. Trailer sway is generally caused by too little tongue weight, not too much IIRC.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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