Steeltex on my 2000 24' TIOGA - should I replace?

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mdfuller

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I have been looking at the tires on our new (to us) motorhome and I am wondering if I should just bite the bullet and buy new ones even though the ones on the MH look ok.  I do not know if they are the original tires or not - I know if they are they should be changed on age alone anyway.  All the nightmare stories on the "other" forum has me a little scared frankly.  I also want the long valve stems (not extensions after reading all the info on those).  I got a quote for the Michelin XPS Rib and the Firestone Transforce HT.  I am thinking about the Transforce tires because they are closer to my budget.  Any opinions on these tires?  Any opinions on the Steeltex tires?
 

Ned

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What is the date code on the tires?  If they're 5+ years old and don't look good, replace them.  If they're 7 years old, replace them, period.  See here for how to read the DOT code.

The long valve stems are really solid extensions.  They come in different lengths so you can size them for your wheels.  They're only needed on the inside duals.
 

mdfuller

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Well since I cannot find the four digit number I am thinking these might be the original tires.  I am getting new Firestone Transforce HT's put on Sat morning before we leave.  I also ordered Tire-Man's dually valve stem kit so I can actually put air in my tires.  I was looking to hire a contortionist to take on the road to check tire pressure and/or put air in the tires when needed.  The wife didn't like this idea as we only have a 24' motorhome.
 

Ned

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The DOT code is often on the inside side wall of the tire and very hard to read without a rack or crawling underneath.  Good decision on replacing them if in doubt.

With a solid extender on the inside dual and a solid angled extender on the outside, filling and checking the tires is very easy.  Also consider a tire pressure monitoring system.  You'll find several discussions here on these.
 

mdfuller

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Well that might explain it.  Why would someone put that info on the inside of the tire?  Am I missing something here?
 

Ned

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So you can't read it? ;)  I think only one of my tires has the DOT code on the outside where I can see it.

Make sure you read the date code on the new tires before they mount them and see that they are all the same date and no more than 3 months old.  Insist on it.
 

mdfuller

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I found the DOT on the tires and 3 ovals after it.  Problem is none of them make any sense following the "tire age guide" I have read.  The first oval says 'VD11X1' the second one says '170' and the third says '008130'.  On another tire the numbers are the same except for the middle one is '070' instead of '170'.  Any ideas?
 

Ned

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The last 3 or 4 digits of the DOT number are the date code.  They are not in "ovals" but are a single line of letters/numbers preceeded by the letters "DOT".
 

kalmary

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Good Morning, We also have a new(to us)Tioga, 24 D 1999 Ford 6.8L Triton 10.  It has 28,000 miles and the Firestone SteelTex tires are the originals---going to replace them as they look worn.  Don't know what tires to get.  Going back to Alaska SE Alaska next year from Florida---about !5-20,000 miles on all kind of roads and weather. Been looking at MichelinLTX M/S(mud/snow) but have read reviews pro and con about traction in slippery condtions.  Also looking at Firestone Transforce HT BL. The set of Michelins is about $500 more for tires and installation,ect.  Our primary concern is safety, but know that paying more is not a guarantee.  Any suggestions appreciated.  Thanks, Kal & Mary
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Your tires definitely need to be replaced - they are dead of old age and failure is imminent.

As for the brand of replacement, I see no benefit to Michelins that warrant their high prices.  I'm assuming your Tioga has 16" wheels and that gives you a wide selection of tires at reasonable prices. Buy any good quality LT (light truck) tire in the proper load (weight capacity) range.  Goodyear has some good ones, but so do all of the major brands. Just avoid the low end bargain tires and get a solid mid-high end model.  Don't worry about high mileage guaruntees - look for tires that have sturdy sidewalls, firm control  and run cool. Those that advertise a cushiony ride probably are not for you.

I would not get a Mud & Snow tire, but would look for a tread design that is grooved to handle water well (a "rain" tire).  We've been al over Alaska in our 35 foot motorhome, including off paved roads, and never saw any need for an aggressive tire tread. The soil is essentially gravel just about everywhere you can drive a rig and the weight of your motorhome provides enough traction
 

joester

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have had our Tioga class C 27' for nearly 9 years - had a new set of Michelins XPS RIB put on when we bought.
last year, I needed to replace them, but wanted to get a fishing trip in first - bad mistake.
ended up buying a set of Commanche tires (best I could find in small town) and HATED them!
very noisy, and vibration was very noticeable.
bit the bullet this spring, and bought a full set (7) of new Michelin XPS RIB tires again - VERY satisfied with the quiet ride and lack of vibration.
for my money, the Michelin is the smoothest, quietest tire out there.
I have heard some good things about the Goodyear tires, but decided to stick with what I knew was quiet.
good luck
 

joester

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I forgot to mention one other aspect - I went from load range D - to a load range E.
gives me a few extra pounds of carrying capacity, and the max pressure cold is now 80lbs, whereas the load range D max was 65 lbs.
I also seem to like the ride better - maybe stiffer sidewalls, or the higher presure, but the ride is really smooth and quiet.
As to cost, I have never been disappointed when I bought the very best, which I believe for my vehicle, the Michelin XPS RIB is the best. just my experience.
 

JRickey

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I am curious to see the literature on the failure rate of tires older that seven years?  Does anyone have a link?
 

Shayne

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Sorry  don't have a link  but have experienced tire failure in the past and it's no picnic when one blows.  On the side of caution and possible life saving 5 years and start checking for new ones.  Been there, Done that, want no more.
 

Bob Buchanan

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mdfuller said:
Any opinions on these tires?  Any opinions on the Steeltex tires?

I traded a '98 29' Tioga earlier this year and now drive a 34' Class A. I bought the Tioga used -- and at the time had around 14,000 miles on it. I guess I had it for 4 or 5 years. It had the original Firestone's Steeltex tires when I bought it -- and they looked great. However, comma . . .  :(

Altogether, I had 5 rear wheel blowouts -- all on long, lonesome highways. 3 of them I was able to limp to the next town on the remaining good tires on each rear side -- the other two needed help from tow trucks "many" miles and bucks away. Also, on those last two, the builders of the Tioga decided to place electric and propane lines in the rear wheel wells. On both occasions, the tread came off the tire ripping all propane lines out on that side of the rig all the way forward to the tank, plus all electric going through that area (under the frig). Not a fun day sitting half way between Needles and Barstow,CA on the 40 looking at my major propane line lying on the ground along side of a number of electric lines -- with only a single signal blip on my cell phone. :(

I won't bore you with all the grief I had -- or the times I was forced to buy an odd brand tire due to location -- and the problems those replacements caused. But did want to mention that the first replacements of Firestone's with same size and rated Firestone's -- I noticed the tread was wider. When I took the rig back to the dealer, he explained that they had widened the tread because tests showed they were not wide enough for the GVWR of the Tioga. So to be on the safe side, I purchased 2 more of the wider versions.

Anyway, when another of the "other than Firestone" versions blew (this time ripping propane and electric out again), I bought new Firestone's again. I noticed though that the Firestone dealer in Las Vegas sold me tires with a different name -- Transforce HT's sounds familiar. He explained that the earlier (tho wider tread) upgrades were "still" not up to the load of a 29' Tioga. Finally, after having 4 of the latest Firestone's on the rear -- I never had another problem, and the ride was substantially improved -- and that included 1 1/2 trips from NCal to Austin, TX.

The Tioga's mentioned here are shorter than the one I had -- plus mine was on a 450 chassis. However, that chassis and the position of the rear axle was just "not" a good design -- and even tho I was never over the GVWR, didn't have adequate tires until I was ready to trade. Also, I would not buy anything other than the latest Firestone's for a Tioga. Reason being that other manufacturers have not had the extensive testing experience with the Tioga that Firestone has had with Tons of unhappy campers such as myself.
 
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