Upgrading wheel and tire size

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by BigTap, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. BigTap

    BigTap Active Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Worcester Area, MA
    I have a full set of 14 inch volkswagen snowflake wheels. The polt pattern is 4 x 100 and i believe they will fit on our pop up (91 starcraft meteor). I believe that the factory wheel is a 12 inch. Is there anything i should consider if i plan to swap over to the VW wheels with new tires. My thinking is that the VW wheels and tire combo will last longer and drive better on the highway for longer hauls. I can get a full set of tires so i will have spares as well.

    Thanks everyone
     
  2. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    Centerville, OH
    If it fits, then the question is do you have enough clearance between the top of the tire and the wheel well?
     
  3. myride

    myride Active Member

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    Edmonton, AB
    Also consider "offset/backspace" on the VW rims, they may vary and be outside the limits of your hub causing inside/outside rubbing on frame or fender well.
     
  4. Yak

    Yak Well-Known Member

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    Passenger tires are not designed for campers, you want ST tires for a camper
     
  5. BigTap

    BigTap Active Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Worcester Area, MA
    Thank you for the input. I do need new tires either on the camper or the wheels regardless so i will make sure to get the right kind
     
  6. CampStewart

    CampStewart Member

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    Nov 3, 2017
    Do some research before you just blindly by St trailer tires. If Car or better yet LT tires are available in your size and load range I would not hesitate to go with them. There are scores of threads and articles all over the net with people having better luck with other tires when they have the option. ST tires of all brands are known to have short lives.
     
  7. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    Somewhere in Idaho
    Tires, P or LT, can be used on a trailer and will ride just like ST tires. Those who say they cannot be used are wrong. Many 5th wheels are coming with LT tires and there are people throwing ST tires away and installing P or LT tires all the time.

    I have been running Yokohama tires since 2012 and have never had a problem. The trailer tracks as good as it did with ST tires, I have not had to change a flat since I dumped the ST tires.

    However, I will have to note that before replacing ST tires with P or LT, make sure the tire is rated at or above the load rating of the factory equipped ST tire. That is the only thing ST tires are good for, a higher load rating for a smaller tire.

    A good example of the difference in load ratings:
    Original ST tires on my trailer were 175x80x13; diameter 24" with a load rating of 1360 lbs.
    After the trailer was lifted Goodyear Marathon ST tires were installed 205x75x14; diameter 26" load rating of 1760
    When I tossed the Marathons for Yokohama tires I went with 215x70x15; diameter 27" load rating of 1620 (100 lbs less than the Marathons; however, load rating higher than the original ST tires; however, 260 lbs greater than the original factory ST tires.)
    And I just ordered two Kumho LT215x75x15 tires diameter 27.6" load rating of 2095.

    To obtain the needed load rating of an ST tire you must go with a larger P or LT tire. One problem is with the smaller tires shipped on popups, you will find it impossible or next to impossible to find a tire of the same size that is not a ST tire. So you must go larger to get a non-ST tire.

    So before switching, make sure the new tire is rated at or above the load rating of the tire from the factory.

    Also, you might note that the two tires do not equal the max load of the trailer. Example, my max load of the trailer is rated at about 3100 lbs and yet the factory tires total 2720 lbs the difference is the tongue weight.


    Not only have to worry about load rating, you have to make sure there is enough clearance; not just when not moving, but during travel for the trailer to clear the tires as it is bouncing down the road. How far can the axle go up when bouncing on the roads before the diameter tire you are installing will hit the trailer wheel well. Not just the top, but look for some edges coming down around the top sides. My trailer was lifted with the springs being placed above the axle vs. below the axle, in addition, they are higher rated springs (less flex) and the shackle are longer. All this allowed me to go to a much larger tire with no interference with the trailer.

    The leading and trailer frame clearance as shown are important as well as the distance from the top of the tire to the inside of the wheel well.
    [​IMG]

    So you need to find out the load ratings of the factory size tires and compare to the VW tires you want to use. Check the diameter and do some serious measurements and don't forget the max flex of the axle to the trailer frame/inside wheel well. And don't forget the tread width for clearance to the inside of the wheel well.

    As for the rims, as noted by MYRIDE in a previous post, check the offset/backspace clearance of the rims. Trailer rims are strange. When I shopped for the new rims I could never find an offset for the rims; unlike if shopping for vehicle rims where they all seem to list the offset. But every trailer rim I looked at in the 15" size I needed, never listed an offset. So I assumed they all have a zero offset. I might be wrong, but the rims I purchased were the same offset as the steel rims I was replacing.
     
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  8. CampStewart

    CampStewart Member

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    Nov 3, 2017
    Most trailer wheels are 0 offset. With most trailers they are trying to maximize their usable and advertised width and there is minimal clearance between the tires and trailer. Most small cars have a lot of backspacing and will not work
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Ontario
    In many places using P tires on your trailer will get you a nice fine and potential could get the plates pulled for having an unsafe condition. .. use either ST or LT tires..
     
  10. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    Somewhere in Idaho
    Please define "many" places! Does this apply to Canada only, cause I have done very extensive research on tire laws (US) when I switched and found NO US state having a law about having to use ST tires on a non-commercial trailers. There are some Federal laws and some State laws in regard to COMMERICAL carriers. And a lot of people appear to get these mixed up at times. As for Canada? I would have no idea, nor would I ever care. But if true, it could be good info for Canadian RV'ers.
     
  11. BigTap

    BigTap Active Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Worcester Area, MA
    You guys really are full of knowledge and different perspectives. I uave really learned to ask before doing lately and its paying off. Thank you everyone for the information you are providing. This will get me on the right track and ill let you know how i make out when i get the wheels from storage and see what comes of it.
     

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