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Old 10-02-2008, 11:42 AM   #1
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donreitz
Mission Tire Story

Iíve never had much problem with tires. This is probably due to a combination of good luck and being conscientious about keeping them properly inflated. Although Iíve read posts here and elsewhere complaining about Mission tires, I didnít pay them much attention even though my 2499 had four of them.

That changed on our last trip. We went north to spend a few days in our favorite place in Michigan, Traverse City. To get there requires us to take I-94 along one of the most heavily traveled and beat-up stretches of road in the federal highway system. As we were negotiating the heaves and potholes, I began to hear a faint flopping noise and then someone passing in the left lane pointed to the trailer. I hadnít felt anything untoward but I pulled over and found that one of the tires on the street side had demolished itself and left nothing but a little rubber around the rim. I hadnít felt a thing. Thank goodness for double axles.

We were able to creep to a tire shop for help. This was late Friday afternoon and we were lucky enough to find a place willing to stay open for us. We were having the tire replaced when the guy told us one of the other tires looked bad. He showed us how its tread was rounded as if the tire was overinflated while the tread on the new tire was flat and flush with the ground. He invoked the specter of tread separation and recommended changing that one too. We did.

A lot poorer and several hours late, we set out for Traverse City. A couple hours up the road somewhere north of Grand Rapids we stopped for dinner. Doing my usual walk-around before heading into the restaurant, I foundóanother demolished Mission tire. This one was on the curb side. Weíd been traveling a highway speeds and hadnít noticed a thing. As this was Friday night about nine oíclock, there was nothing to do but carefully make it to the campground. The next day we had the privilege of paying top dollar to have the tire replaced at our camp site. Even after all the traveling on a bad tire, the rim was in perfect shape and a new tire slipped right on.

Of course, you know what happened next. The tire guy looked at the remaining Mission tire (weíd replaced three so far) and he showed us how the tread had bulges in it. The tread wasnít uniformly rounded like the one we replaced earlier, but this one had bulges here and there so when the tire was rotated it looked out of round. Going for broke, we had that tire replaced as well.

With four new tires our trip home was uneventful.

Our Mission tires had worked reliably for three years. But something caused two of them to fail spectacularly (they didnít just deflate, they fell apart) and the other two to look just about ready to do the same. We kept them inflated properly and never subjected them to abuse. There was plenty of tread left on all of them. Something beyond accidental punctures or normal wear and tear were at work here. I havenít the faintest idea whether or not this situation is common, but given my experience and othersí comments, Iíd say if you have Mission tires you might think about getting rid of them before long.

Note: Because the two tires that failed were attached to the same axle, the suggestion was made that there might be a problem with axle misalignment causing the two tires to scrub and fail. On our trip home (300 miles) we monitored the condition of the new tires and found nothing to suggest that any of the tires were subject to scrubbing or excessive wear of any kind.
Don
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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I know a lot of people on here have never really been to Michigan before, but believe me, our roads are nothing to get excited about. I've gotten quite used to traveling a different stretch of 94, and every mile of it contains some sort of pot hole, bump, or other imperfection. It is a very heavily-truck-traveled road, so that does have a lot to do with it.

However, Don, I suspect you took 131 north, right? It's been a long time since I was on most of that stretch of road, but the part that I have been on around and north of Cadillac is a very nice road, not traveled much and some of it is quite new, especially the bypass around Cadillac. Nothing like 94, probably MI's closest thing to an Ohio road .

Don, where did you stay in TC and who did you have come out to do the repair?

Jon
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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Jon:
Right. I-69 to I-94 to 131 to M115 to 37 to 31. North of Grand Rapids 131 is a fine road with great scenery. In Traverse City we stay at the Holiday Park campground. It's a nice place south of town on Silver Lake owned and operated by a group of Airstream owners. You have to own an Airstream to purchase a site in the campground, but anyone can rent a spot. Off season prices are reasonable. We paid $33/day for a lake site.

I don't recall the name of the tire store, but it's located in Traverse City and offers 24 hour service. The guy was very expensive, but he was friendly and knew his stuff.

Traverse City is a tremendous place with lots to do. Actually the whole northwest portion of the state (TC, Charlevoix, Petoskey) is a great place to spend time. We visit the UP when we want to rough it and spend time in TC when we want to take it easy.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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I've never stayed at Holiday Park, but I've been by a few times, and it certainly looks like an Airstream museum in there! I like all the trees it has though...it's hard to find campgrounds that have tall, shady ones these days. I was just by there Labor Day weekend on the way to a kayaking trip.

The area does have a lot to do. We've been around there for seven years now and still haven't done anywhere near everything. We've gotten to the point where you just find something that you really like doing (going on the boat onto the Chain O Lakes in our case) and just keep doing that all the time.

If you haven't been, it's well worth the trip, though it probably is about 45 mins from Holiday Park:



Our dog, when he was alive, really enjoyed it out there too. I came across this pic while looking for the other one. For those of you who know the story, the lump (and it was about 2-3 days old at this point) can be seen on the right side of the pic, or left side of his face, and is 1/3 the size of what it became:



I do have a couple short movies I took out there, but they won't play on the new 'puter for some reason.

Jon
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:12 PM   #5
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Jon, you're understating the case. Some Michigan roads are horrible! The first time I drove around Detroit I just couldn't believe how bad the roads are. If I wanted to go into business there I would open a front end/ alignment shop. I suspect that I would retire very wealthy! Massachusetts and New Jersey are tied for 2nd place!

Don, this incident is pretty disturbing for anyone having Mission tires on their Sunline. I was going through Mass. on I95 last week and lightly scrubbed the lower 2.5 inches of the door side tires on a very poorly marked road repair project (Massachusetts has a talent for that). The scrubbing was light but after hearing about your unfortunate incident, I have to consider replacing all the Mission tires on the Sunline. Unfortunately, tires don't give any warning when they decide to go and, as you found out, it is usually at a bad time. I'm glad that you and your family is OK and that the Sunline suffered no ill effects. What tires did you get for replacements?
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:10 AM   #6
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donreitz
The replacements are two Goodyear Marathons and two Carlisle trailer tires. Speaking of bad Michigan roads, we used to joke that the reason Michiganders drove so fast on I-69 through Indiana was that it was one of the few chances they had to drive on a smooth road. To be fair, while the bad sections of Michigan roads are almost cosmically bad, most of the roads are in decent shape. Unfortunately, the bad sections are the ones most heavily traveled so everyone knows about them.

As to whether or not to replace your Mission tires, all I can say is I'm a lot poorer for the experience, but getting rid of the Mission tire junk is worth it to me. What I did learn was to appreciate the value of double axles. We were able to (carefully) travel even with a demolished tire which saved the day for us. With neither blowout did I every notice anything amiss. No swerve, no sway, no nothing. Having this problem with a single axle trailer would have been a disaster. Anyone with Mission tires on a single axle trailer should replace them immediately.
Don
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:05 PM   #7
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Don,

Absolutely right about the Michigan roads. I've been on some that were pure heaven for smoothness but the horrific sections of some of the heavily traveled Interstates are what one really remembers!

I mentioned your problems to my wife because she was also concerned about the tires. After hearing about what happened she said: "Just get new tires"! I'm looking for replacements!
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:41 PM   #8
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I do not think that poor roads had anything to do with the destruction of your Mission tires. I also had the misfortune of having to replace two Mission tires on the road. While driving south on I75 near Knoxville, I noticed a severe vibration. After pulling off the highway and cheking the tires, I found a bulge on each of the tires on the left side of the trailer.
Upon returning home, I called the tire distributor and relayed my experience to them. Within five days, a new set of four tires were on my doorstep. after examining the returned tires, the company also reimbursed me for the tires that I had to purchase on the road. This tells me that the company is aware of quality issues with Mission. BTW the tires were about a year old and had eleven thousand miles on them.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:05 PM   #9
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donreitz, like you I just had a similar thing happen to my Missions tires. Like you I checked inspected the tires before each trip for cracks and bulges. I also checked the tire pressure before I moved the trailer each day. About mid September we backed our trailer into a campsite after about a 4 hour trip. As it turned out where we had the trailer on site we could not open out awning. As a result I pulled the trailer forward about 2 1/2 feet the campsite so the awning would clear a tee. I then went to chock the tires and notice a belt had shifted one of the tires. Had I not move the trailer forward this belt would have been on the bottom of the tire and I never would have seen it and would have driven away a couple of days later and experienced the same demolition of the tire on the road as you did. When I spotted the slipped belt I decided to buy four new tires and replace them all at one. Part of the reason was that the tires were manufactured 4 1/2 years prior and I had approx 12,000 miles on them. I had remember reading somewhere that trailer tires had about a 5 year life and I had planned on replacing all of them next year.

What I find interesting about your story and mine is the trip before the one where the belt slipped was all on Michigan highways. I was on I69 and I75 up to Machinaw City and back. The roads were pretty bad and I ouldn't help thinking that I hope the roads don't damage the tires.
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for sharing your experience Don--glad the only pain was in your wallet, but sure not a nice way to start a holiday. Others' experiences like this add to our collective knowledge that makes it worthwhile belonging to a group like this.

When a tt tire looks like shredded spaghetti it's hard to tell what the original cause of failure was. It could have been a simple puncture and miles of driving that totally shredded the tire. The tandem axles completely mask this gradual failure, or a blowout too, unless we hear it go. I have no idea how far one has to drive to shred a tire, but they have no strength without air in them. Any manufacturers' tt tire will appear to have had a catastrophic failure after a couple of miles at 65 mph.

While the tandem axles hide a tire failure from us they have another equally serious effect. In a gradual or sudden failure the full weight of that side is picked up by the partner tire. Tt tires don't have any reserve singly, but they are adequate in pairs. My axle weight is just under 5000 lb. with 1000 lb. on the tongue. So each ST205 is carrying 1250 lb., well under its rated load of 1820. If one of my tires fails, the other is immediately carrying 2500 lb. and is seriously overloaded. If my trailer is at it's 7000 lb. maximum with 1000 lb. tw, the surviving tire is dangerously overloaded at 3000 lb. This is LT245 territory and that's at 80 psi. Imagine the sidewall flex and heat buildup in our ST205 at only 50 psi.

So we now have one shredded tire and one that looks perfectly normal and we buy one new one. A couple of trips later the stressed out partner tire fails, we don't notice right away and similarly toast the brand new tire we just bought. I'd hate to do it too, but believe the only solution is to always replace both tires... and if they're 4 yr old Missions I'd bite the bullet and replace all 4.

Although Mission tires do make me uneasy, there's one other thing to keep in mind. Sunline used Mission tires, most of us with newer trailers have them, many are 4 yr old now, and so when they fail we're going to hear about it. If you check around the Internet there are also folks plenty unhappy with Goodyear and Carlisle--apparently both made in China now too. I installed a TPMS for added security, but have never checked the tires as often and as closely as I should except when greasing bearings.

Henry
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:49 PM   #11
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Mission Tires

Henry,

I agree wholeheartidly that when a tire goes on one side, the other tandem tire takes up all the weight on that side. I had a similiar experience earlier this year. I was towing on US101 in CA when a motorcyclist passed me and pointed to my trailer. When I pulled over I discovered that the driver side front tandem tire was shredded so much that there was only the bead and some radial threads left. Not only that but when the tread left the tire, it damaged the inner fender so much that I had to have it repaired later. After replacing the tire, I drove on for about one hour when the driver side rear tandem tire blew with such a loud noise that I knew right away what happened. I suspect that I had driven for some time on that original flat tire and stressed out the other.
I decided to replace all the tires when I returned home.

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Old 10-04-2008, 05:17 PM   #12
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Henry and Joe:
Your comments make sense and are worth keeping in mind. My point about having double axles is a simple one: it allowed me to lose two tires without having any stability or other safety problems. This would not have been the case with a single axle unit. For example, after the first blowout I was able to get off the interstate safely and find a repair shop which wouldn't have been the case if I had one axle. You're right about the consequences of traveling on a single tire with a dual axle setup, but these are minor (in my mind anyway) and easily fixable compared to the potentially serious problems that would arise from a tire blowout on a unit having only one axle.

As far as the Mission tire situation goes, you are certainly correct that not all Mission tires are bad. However, my participation over the years in the various RV forums leaves me with the impression that Mission tires have a higher rate of customer dissatisfaction than other brands. This doesn't mean that other brands are fault-free, but, in fact, buying a major brand of tire from a reliable supplier will almost always result in a trouble free purchase. I'm not so sure that this is the case with Mission tires.

I appreciate the discussion.
Don
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:01 PM   #13
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MAXXIS Tire Reliability

After reading these reports regarding the Mission tires, and other sources of tire related sad results, it made me question the tires on my trailer. So, after Church this morning, I went out to check on my tires. We are leaving on a trip from Indy to Myrtle Beach next week so considering the total miles to be driven, I have become concerned about my tires. They look brand new, however, as stated, looks can be deceiving. Two of my tires were made in April of 2003, and the other two were mounted with the code on the inside, so I will have to slide in under the trailer to get those codes. My tires are MAXXIS and I was always impressed with how well they have stood up so far. Only one flat with a roofing nail since new. I might add that my tires were made in China for what that's worth.

-I would question however, what is the impact of a trailer sitting in one static position for the time between trips and during winter storage?

-Any indicators that might make one suspect future tire failure (other than bulging)?

One has to be concerned in this area as tire failure at highway speeds can really result in serious and costly damage to the trailer. I saw one camper pull in next to us over Labor Day weekend that just had had a tire come apart just before arriving. The tread in this case went up through the wheel well cover and took out his water lines and electrical wiring and spewed tread pieces througout the inside of the trailer. Needles to say, he had to go back home and forego the weekend trip. Sadly, I'm sure that there are a lot more stories like this out there.

My bottom line question is: Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with the MAXXIS brand of tires?

Jim
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:15 PM   #14
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Richard
What distribitor did you contact I had the same problem with my trailer I would like to contact them.

Nick
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