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Old 05-23-2014, 09:05 AM   #1
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"Air Down" tires on soft ground

I have observed that my 2014 Heartland Wilderness (approx. 5,000 pounds) has more concentrated tire loading than my tow vehicle 2010 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab (about 6,000 pounds). The trailer wheels will sink into soft ground and get stuck before the truck wheels.

One of the "tricks" to avoid getting stuck on soft ground (like driving along the beach) is to "air down". This increases the footprint of the tire and provides more flotation to help avoid getting stuck.

I have been parking my travel trailer on unpaved dirt fill for the base of a driveway I am building. When the rains came, the dirt fill got soft. I aired down the tires on truck and trailer (30 psi for truck tires and 40 psi for trailer tires). It was borderline as to whether or not the wheels were going to sink into the fill dirt, but I got lucky and all wheels stayed mostly on top.

If you go over 20 mph or any long distance in the "air down" mode, you will probably damage your tires beyond repair.

"Air up" as soon as you get on firm ground.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:30 AM   #2
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Low pressure for flotation over soft terrain means SLOW and NO tight turns. Internal tire damage and the possibility of the tire coming off the rim increases.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
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Under inflation will damage tires unless you take the weight off the tires. Do you offer a tire warranty for those that follow your personal opinion?
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:54 AM   #4
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Low pressure for flotation over soft terrain means SLOW and NO tight turns. Internal tire damage and the possibility of the tire coming off the rim increases.
NFlcamper is exactly right. SLOW and NO TIGHT TURNS!
I forgot to include that in my original post.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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Under inflation will damage tires unless you take the weight off the tires. Do you offer a tire warranty for those that follow your personal opinion?
Every rotation of the wheel "damages" the tire. The amount of "damage" is determined by inflation pressure, speed of rotation, load (including side loads from sharp turns, curbs and ruts), surface condition (think potholes) and temperature.

You have to determine the exchange of "life of tire" for staying unstuck.

If you plan on towing your trailer over soft terrain on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to increase the size (and load rating) of wheels and tires. I've done that on my truck. Maybe I should do that on my travel trailer.
Air Down for driving on the beach.

Camping on the beach. I just have to hitch up my travel trailer and watch out for high tide.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:24 AM   #6
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Although not on a trailer, I learned this lesson when my 4x4 Explorer toad sank to the hubs in the sand at the Outer Banks. A friendly fisherman came over seeing we were having trouble. Told me to air them down and handed me a tire gauge. Popped right out of the sand.

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Old 05-23-2014, 11:28 AM   #7
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I have been airing down my jeep tires like that for 20 years, sometimes down to 5 psi, but they are jeep tires and I dont do any freeway driving after I fill them back up, I have popped a tire off its bead before but a quick shot of starting fluid and a stick match pops it right back on the bead
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:20 PM   #8
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Yup, off roaders air down all the time. Off roading. I carry a CO2 tank to air back up when returning to the pavement.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:44 PM   #9
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I have been airing down my jeep tires like that for 20 years, sometimes down to 5 psi, ....
Wow! 5 psi seems a bit radical to me, but so does "explosive inflation" to set the tire bead.

I've never popped a tire off the rim, but my minimum is 25 psi.
Everybody has to decide for themselves what will work with their conditions and their equipment.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:52 PM   #10
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Wow! 5 psi seems a bit radical to me, but so does "explosive inflation" to set the tire bead.

I've never popped a tire off the rim, but my minimum is 25 psi.
Everybody has to decide for themselves what will work with their conditions and their equipment.
yup.

5 pounds, not uncommon when off-roading.
Resetting a tire bead in this manner is doable.
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