After about 6.5 years from date of manufacturer and covering 6325 miles, one of the original Mission tires blew out. Even though they have been stored inside and out of the sun for most of the last four years, they were outside full time before that. None of them showed any signs of weathering, and the only bumps in the sidewalls were the ones that were there from the very beginning. I always kept them properly filled at 65 PSI. In fact, I just walked around and checked the pressures in all four before I left that morning, and all were at 65. The street side rear was maybe a pound or two less, but I didn't worry about that, and it isn't the one that blew anyway.
I was about two hours into a four hour trip and I decided to stop for a quick break to get out and stretch as well as remove my camera from the mount on the back window since I filmed a trailer view of about the first hour and a half of the trip before the memory filled up. I pulled into the rest area and happened to shoot a couple quick pics. It started out rainy in the morning, so it all got dirty, but about an hour into the trip, it cleared up and everything dried up. Temps quickly climbed toward the mid 80s that day, and were probably 79-80 at the time the tire blew.
About six to seven miles after getting back on after the rest area (which wasn't a hard stop when getting off for either), I'm cruising comfortably about 65-68 when a car pulls up next to me with the passenger waving his hands around and pointing toward the trailer. I immediately looked in the rear view, noticed the trailer striping no longer nicely aligned with the tailgate of the truck, and quickly got off to the side of the road. I'm pretty sure they either saw it happen or saw it shortly after and got me alerted right away. This was at about 110.8 miles into the trip.
Once I got to the side, I inspected the tire. Fortunately I found no bearing issues, just a flat tire. The tire hadn't even shredded or had a tread separation, and it had perfectly flattened to protect the rim from ever hitting the ground. At that point, even though it was a door side tire, my jack is stored in a compartment on the road side, and with 80+ mph traffic passing by, I didn't really want to deal with that. It was only a two lane (each way) highway there, so quite a few people couldn't get over as they had traffic passing. I made the decision, since the tire was fully protecting the rim, to try to nurse it up to the next exit (about 2.5 miles ahead). I figured the tire was a lost cause anyway because even if it would hold air, I'd never trust it again. I safely made it up to the exit ramp, with two stops along the way to check the condition of the tire to make sure the rim still was above ground. I went no faster than 5 mph on the shoulder with the four ways on. People have asked me if I ever felt anything when it blew. The answer is no, not a thing. I think the big dually is why. Had it been the Excursion, I'm sure I would have felt something. Since the Sunline is dry right now, the truck weighs more than it does.
The tire change went relatively smooth. Since I still had about the same distance to go yet, I was concerned that the other tire on that side might blow. I was lucky that it didn't, and I made it back safe and sound. I'm also very thankful for those people who alerted me because I think that early warning saved the tire from breaking apart, damaging the trailer itself (particularly that fender skirt) and probably damaging the rim. The rim just has some rubber marks along the edge now.
So that's the story. I knew I would have to get at least one new tire before taking it anywhere else, so I started looking around.
Ever since I started thinking about replacement tires (which was shortly after I bought it), I thought about getting replacement rims with them so that I could keep the factory ones nice with the factory tires. Not that I'd ever use the tires again, but as you guys know, I like to keep all the original things in original condition. I saw some rims once that I really liked, so even though I didn't want to spend the money, I knew that it would cost me less in the long run to do it now and this would make more sense than any time to do it.
Long story short, I got my new 15x6 7-spoke aluminum rims and new Goodyear Marathon ST225/75/R15D tires from Tredit Tire and Wheel. They have a handful of locations around the country, with the York, PA warehouse originally supplying Sunline with new wheel/tire combos for the trailers. I went down to the Elkhart, IN warehouse to pick up mine. They mounted the tires on the wheels for me, and cost wise at that point was within just pocket change of a difference compared to me just buying tires alone at a local tire store here, without even getting them mounted yet! They have the facilities to fully balance there, even though it was just slightly more, but I thought it was worth it. They stuck a whole bunch of tiny stick on weights inside all the wheels, so they must be terribly out of balance otherwise. The center caps for the wheels were also extra, as well as I opted for new capped lug nuts that cover the stud and are chrome since they will be fully exposed now. The new nuts are 3/4 vs. the factory ones being 13/16, but they fit fine, actually better than the factory ones I had. The taper on the end of the nut matches up much better with these wheels compared to how a factory nut would, so I'm glad I went that route.
They have a very nice warehouse down at Tredit, and it's very clean and kept up.
I decided to mount them after driving back from Elkhart because every day this week is supposed to be really hot, and it wasn't that evening, so I got it done. Since I went ahead and got a new spare too, I now have a stack of four 'good' tires in the garage that I could carry one of as a second spare for a long trip.
The date codes on the tires were all either 1312 or 1412, so they are all really fresh tires, as I would expect from a wholesale warehouse. And to think that the premium Marathon accounts for such a small percentage of new trailers built, I can only imagine when the cheap brands were made. Oh, the center caps on the center caps do pull off for accessing the grease zirk back there. I didn't pull one off, so I don't know how close it is, but it didn't touch that I could tell.
Specs for the combo:
Wheel: Rated for 2830# at 65 PSI
Tire: Rated for 2540# at 65 PSI
The guys in the warehouse said it is a very common combination for them to put together. The wheel is available in other sizes too. Unlike some car wheels that should be strong enough for the torque on them but it's hard to say, these are used on new trailers and have been for a few years now. 5 lug wheels wouldn't concern me too much, but these 6-lug ones have to hold some weight.
Link to Tredit Tire & Wheel: http://www.tredittire.com/Products-C13.aspx
And yes, they do look awfully similar to the ones on the '08 Sunline, but that wasn't why I got these wheels: