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Old 07-06-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
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On our coach with 30,000 miles, our Toyo front tires are showing an unusual (for me) wear pattern. Both front tires have wear on both inside and outside edges, that is what I would call a "step-down" wear. There is a step-type ridge between the center ribs and the outside edge, on both the inside and outside edges on both tires.

I have always kept the front tires inflated to 120 psi - cold, per all the Toyo directions and the WRV placard, so they're not underinflated. The fact they're wearing on both inside and outside edges doesn't seem to indicate an alignment issue.

We have Koni shocks, with about 10,000 miles on them since replacing the Bilsteins at 20,000 miles, so I don't think it's a Koni issue.

I called Les Schwab in Yakima,who installed the SmartTire system when it was new, and they said it was typical of bigger coaches that don't have a tag axle, and the only solution was to rotate the tires with the rear outside duals, which I plan to do, so I can get a little more wear out of them.

Perhaps others have seen this - any ideas?
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:48 PM   #2
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On our coach with 30,000 miles, our Toyo front tires are showing an unusual (for me) wear pattern. Both front tires have wear on both inside and outside edges, that is what I would call a "step-down" wear. There is a step-type ridge between the center ribs and the outside edge, on both the inside and outside edges on both tires.

I have always kept the front tires inflated to 120 psi - cold, per all the Toyo directions and the WRV placard, so they're not underinflated. The fact they're wearing on both inside and outside edges doesn't seem to indicate an alignment issue.

We have Koni shocks, with about 10,000 miles on them since replacing the Bilsteins at 20,000 miles, so I don't think it's a Koni issue.

I called Les Schwab in Yakima,who installed the SmartTire system when it was new, and they said it was typical of bigger coaches that don't have a tag axle, and the only solution was to rotate the tires with the rear outside duals, which I plan to do, so I can get a little more wear out of them.

Perhaps others have seen this - any ideas?
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:52 PM   #3
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Mine are wearing exactly the same. I'm at 46K miles now. Since the wear is even on both sides I just assumed it had to do with turns and cornering and was unavoidable. There are a couple tire dealers/distributors on this forum, maybe we'll hear from them.

I'm not in a panic over it right now as I'm saving for a new set, due to age. I just noticed a couple little checks at the last washing. Time to go!
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:59 PM   #4
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I had the same problems on our 2003 38' Alpine. I discovered that one bearing was loose on the front axle. Over a period of several years The bearing required more and more tightening. What I believe was that the bearing cup had not been properly bottomed out when originally installed in the wheel hub. After that had been resolved I had the Front End Guy in Union Gap at Franks Tire check my alignment. He had done the first 70 for WRV. I replaced the front Toyo's with GY 670's. He checked the alignment and thought it had not been properly done AT WRV. He did the coach and tipped the axle back. It sure drives nice and no sign of wear so far. ie 5k miles last winter. I have posted this comment before. Iron Mike, North Pole Alaska.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:26 PM   #5
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Old Forrester,
I had mine rotated and the front end alignment done at about 27,000 miles. The tech who did the alignment said that you gotta rotate to keep the front ones right.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:08 PM   #6
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I'd like to hear how the Koni's compare to the Bilsiens, espcially when there is porposing. By the way I have the same tire problems up front.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:48 PM   #7
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This wear you are describing sounds like what the industry calls "River Wear". Usually caused by straight line running. This wear is normal in most cases. As Hugh says, you need to rotate the tires.

Another cause of this could be overinflation, causing the tires to not have constant pressure across the tire footprint.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">It sure drives nice and no sign of wear so far. ie 5k miles last winter. I have posted this comment before. Iron Mike, North Pole Alaska. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wait a minute Mike, where do you go in the winter time at the North Pole
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:12 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses. I was intrigued by Tom and Patty's comment on "River Wear" from a lot of straight line running. The coach has had a lot of that in the two years and 30,000 miles we have owned it. That's probably the major contributor.

As far as inflation, 120 psi in the front has been well established by Toyo as mandatory for their tires, so I'm honoring it in case there is a tread separation issue down the road.

I thought the only good solution is rotating the tires, and you have all confirmed that, which I am going to do this weekend or next at Les Schwab in Union Gap. I am looking for a convenient time and place to align the coach; have a lot of good ideas and input from many of you on where to do that, but I just have to find a good time since I'm also in the process of building a new house.

As far as the Koni's vs. Bilsteins, I think they do help porpoising. They seem to help keep the coach a little more stable. I haven't found them to be helpful on reducing impact of pavement cracks in the freeway because they feel stiffer to me than the Bilsteins. My overall evaluation is better control, less pitch and yaw, but a firmer ride than the Bilsteins. I think they are a better shock but on a good / better / best comparison, I would probably say Bilsteins are good, Konis are good+ to better-, and Road King are best (but also very expensive). If my Bilsteins were getting a little worn, I would replace them with Konis, but I wouldn't take a new set of Bilsteins and replace them with Konis, based on 20,000 miles on the Bilsteins and 10,000 on the Konis.

Thanks again for all the input; it helped a lot.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:44 PM   #10
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Tom and Patty...We come to the lower 48 for the winter months. It cost us somewhere around $1400.00 in fuel one way so we have left our coach at my brothers in Selah, Wa. and flown back to North Pole, AK just outside of Fairbanks.For half the price of fuel and only 5 hours it took us to get home.

Old Forester. Les Schuab is the best for tires but their alignment facility is makeshift on one of the concrete pads. I went to Franks Truck close to the corner of Autanum and South first street I believe. The guy that does the alignments has been there for many years. My brother checked his credentials out by where he had done alignment work around yakima. We grew up on South first and I left but my Brother has lived there and done business only with the good ones, So says my Brother. See you some time...Iron Mike Ellsworth
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:21 AM   #11
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I recently switched to Koni's from the original Bilsteins. Previously the porpoising made me feel like I had no control of the coach as it came up from the bottom of a dip and unweighted but the Konis seem to have eliminated that problem. I was surprised the difference was so great.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:30 AM   #12
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Iron Mike,

I will check with Franks for alignment. I didn't plan on having Les Schwab align it, just rotate tires and hopefully not break a SmartTire band.

Thanks for the input on Franks.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:04 PM   #13
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The best known and incredibly good alignment shop in Yakima is the "White Front" shop @ 332 So 1st St (farther north, toward city center). White Front is a "blacksmith" and can make/fix anything. Another great shop I've used for years for my truck fleet is B&B Frame & Alignment @ 606 Fruitvale Blvd.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:57 PM   #14
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Thought I would provide an update on the the tire wear issue. We spent the day in Yakima today getting our coach serviced at Cummins and our tires rotated at Les Schwab. First time at Cummins Yakima, but it's a great place with great people, and we would highly recommend it to those who haven't used them.

In the tire wear area, the same person who installed our SmartTire system when we picked up the coach new in 2006 also rotated our tires and looked at the tire wear. He has lots of experience with coach tires, and had several interesting comments on this wear:

1) He said the reason the front tires were wearing in a step-down pattern on both the outside edges of both front tires was due to the fact they were a lower load rating tire from Toyo and they were overloaded.

2) He said this type of wear on coaches comes from only two sources - underinflation or overloading, and since I've kept the front tires at 120 psi since I bought the coach, it's not underinflation. It's not alignment (no need for a new alignment, but thanks Frank Rouse for your input on alignment shops), since it's on both edges and uniform on both tires.

3) He said Toyo did make several levels of tires, but WRV used a Toyo with a lower load rating, and the reason Toyo insisted on the 120 psi front/110 psi rear rating was because they had some tread separation issues from underinflation, because the tires were loaded too close to the design max when the coach came from the factory, before all the goodies we add increase the weight. He said Toyo wanted these tires inflated to the maximum to keep as much weight off the shoulders as possible and reduce the potential for tread separation.

4) He also said that it's a good thing we were driving a 36" because the 40's, with their 3000 lb additional weight were really overloaded, and especially on the front tires.

5) He said it's critical to keep the Toyos rotated for just this issue, and that while I have 30,000 miles on these tires, by rotating them I should get 45,000 to 60,000 if I want to, but I am running with a tire that's really near it's design max, and he still sells Toyo tires. He said other brands of coaches with their tag axles don't have nearly the problem, because the front tires don't get as heavily loaded and unloaded, especially with the porpoising effect that occurs in our weight of coach without a tag axle.

6) He said both the Goodyear G670's that were installed later by WRV and many of the readers have on their coaches, and the Bridgestone R260/280s (I believe I got it right) were a much better tire for our coaches, and handle the weight as well as the loading/unloading issue a lot better. The Goodyears were made for motorhomes and have a high load rating, as we all know. The Bridgestones were made more for highway trucks and buses, and have a long casing life and a little more tread depth for longer wear. Most motorhomes don't get the mileage, but need replaced because of time, and Goodyear traded the weight off for tread wear, while Bridgestone went for wear and casing life, with a relatively close weight rating.

So that's my summary of the discussion today on this strange "step-down" tread wear. The Les Schwaub supervisor with whom I talked has seen a lot of Alpine coaches and a lot of this tread wear issue, and said they're pretty much unique to Toyos from his experience, unless the other brands weren't properly inflated. And he also inflates the Goodyears and Bridgestones he installs to 120 psi in the front, 110 in the rear, just like Toyo's recommendation. He said -- do everything you can to keep the tires, especially the fronts -- from being overloaded or underinflated, and on the other brands you shouldn't see this type of step-down tread wear.

For what it's worth; I know this guy sell tires, but he wasn't trying to sell me a new set, just recommending I switch brands when the Toyos get some more wear and I'm ready to replace them, and keep them inflated to the max and rotated in the meantime.
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