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Old 08-15-2017, 05:56 PM   #1
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1997 34' Bounder - What Tires?

Hi,

We just purchased a 1997 Bounder 34' Class A on the Ford F53 Chassis -No TAG. The manufacturers tag shows the factory tires are LT235/85/16E. I have searched through the forum threads for it seems like days and there is a lot of good information, but not what I am looking for. I am trying to replace the old tires that are currently on the RV. They are a Chapparal Highway E rated tire. We live in Alaska and use this mainly as a weekend cabin traveling different parts of the state with our young kids.

Here is what I am looking at:
1. I know the Michelin Ribs are a great tire but they are summer only and aren't supposed to be used in freezing temps. We like to see the northern lights and we do have 4-wheelers and snowmachines, so we will use this in the winter so we need an all season tire. Dont plan on plowing thru a foot of snow but don't want to be in the ditch due to 1/2" of snow or a heavy frost. Also no one has them in Alaska, they are all 2-6 weeks out.
2. Michelin Defender LTX M/S - These have great reviews but are not steel cased. These are available locally here in a week or so, local suppliers are currently out. Seems like the ideal tire.
3. Cooper Discoverer AT/3 - These seem a little aggressive but have good reviews and are somehow quiet with long life. Still not steel cased, but readily available.
4. Bridgestone Duravis 238/250 - These are steel cased, but the 238 is a highway summer only and the 250 is an all season but takes about 3 weeks to get. Neither seem to have that great of reviews.

I just wonder if I really need the steel cased tire or if a regular LT will work. My GVWR is 17,000 lbs. The current tires are in good shape, not steel cased, but are from 2001, so they need to go. Any suggestions for those who use your RV in snowy icy conditions? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-15-2017, 06:59 PM   #2
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Got a Sams Club nearby?

https://www.samsclub.com/sams/lt235-...prod8970209.ip
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:21 PM   #3
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I recently replaced the tires on my '97 F53 (with tag). I had purchased Gladiator 10ply tires and dynabeads. The local tire shop was extremely reluctant to install anything but full steel belted tires. I ended up buying a set of Hercules tires which they had in stock. Probably a better setup since they are 14ply tires. Cost wasn't terrible at $1400 for all 8 installed.
My rig is probably far heavier than yours (17,100lbs curb weight), but I'd recommend at least run full steels on the front.
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:40 PM   #4
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I have a 96 36 ft Bounder on F53 with tag axle . I've been pleased with my Firestone Transforce tires
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:53 AM   #5
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Suggestions

Thanks for the reply's.

We have Sams and Costco, but they won't ship Goodyear tires to Alaska and Hawaii.

We don't have a Hercules dealer in Alaska. Their website shows a few tires that could work.

One of the tire shops recommended the Firestone Transforce AT2. Not steel cased but looks like it could work.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:39 PM   #6
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Mine are Trans Force HT
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:01 PM   #7
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Michelin does make the SPX traction in your size. Same specs. as the RIB.
You will get less side wall flex if you stay with an all steel carcass tire. I tried fabric cord tires on my 95 F53 and got the dealer to take them back. Too much side wall flex. I believe Michelin and Bridgestone offer the only all steel cord tires for our coaches.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:22 PM   #8
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A couple of years ago I installed Falken R52 tires in the 235x85r16 size on my mom in laws 35' Pace Arrow. I like them every bit as well as the Michelin ribs they replaced. They are all season and holding up great. They have been across the US and back. Might consider them.
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Old 08-25-2017, 11:53 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info

Thanks for the info.

Does anyone run the BFG Commercial TA Traction or AS2 tires? They seem to be much heavier than the others (47lbs/tire), except the steel cased ones. I just wonder how squishy the poly sidewalls are. Lots of mountains and curves in Alaska.
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:48 PM   #10
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Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Has anyone run the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #11
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Has anyone run the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?

Has anyone run the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arctic-Moose View Post
Thanks for the info.

Does anyone run the BFG Commercial TA Traction or AS2 tires? They seem to be much heavier than the others (47lbs/tire), except the steel cased ones. I just wonder how squishy the poly sidewalls are. Lots of mountains and curves in Alaska.
I had a 1995 Pace Arrow with a 17,000 load limit and ran BFG Commercial Highway ribs on the front and BFG All-Terrains KOs on the rear. That coach saw a lot of time in the desert crossing sand and gravel and the tires worked well. If fuel economy is not a huge deciding factor, I would look at the new BFG KO2s. I run those on my dually pickup and we've done some serious offroad work with them on Jeeps and buggies. In a truck size they should support your weight well.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:20 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info

Thanks for the info John.

A shop did recommend the BFG AT KO2's for all 6. They make a good tire and I have them on my 3/4 ton Suburban (diff size) but I would think they are too much flex for the Class A.

A tire shop had the BFG Commercial traction, but they didn't want to install them due to the soft compound. They said they wouldn't last, but we will probably only put 1500 miles on it in a year or so. Still debating on these vs the Michelin Defender LTX M/S.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Arctic-Moose View Post
Thanks for the info John.

A shop did recommend the BFG AT KO2's for all 6. They make a good tire and I have them on my 3/4 ton Suburban (diff size) but I would think they are too much flex for the Class A.

A tire shop had the BFG Commercial traction, but they didn't want to install them due to the soft compound. They said they wouldn't last, but we will probably only put 1500 miles on it in a year or so. Still debating on these vs the Michelin Defender LTX M/S.
I'm not sure about this "flex" that you're concerned about unless you've had open shoulder tires in the past which could tend to roll a little in turns and cornering. In running the A/T KO tires on the rear of my 35 footer I never felt they were squishy or less than adequate in keeping the coach firmly on the road. They did have a very pronounced block shoulder that didn't tend to move. I could see this as a problem if you got the wrong size or load rating but in this size there is really only one way to go. I ran Commercial T/A highway ribs on the front with a closed shoulder and never had an issue.

All that being said, the "feel" of the tire is enhanced in our applications if it has a closed shoulder and multiple ribs. The Commercial Traction is an open shoulder design and that may be wear the "flex" piece of this comes in. TireRack reviews indicate some issues with the traction tire if loaded so finding a highway rib closed shoulder might be the best choice. Have you looked at the Michelin XPS? Try the Tire Rack online and do a search for your size. Drill it down to Highway All Season and Highway Rib and you'll find the right tire.
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