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Old 06-13-2019, 05:36 PM   #1
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Default Best tires

So, tomorrow I pick up my new (to me) 1983 16 foot funlite. Looking at the original specs from the brochure, I see that it originally came with B-78-13 STC tires which are now a 175/80-13. The dry weight is 2K Lbs (can't find the GVW anywhere).

The previous owner (or the one prior to him) has replaced the tires with 14" wheels (believe they are 205/75/14's).

So ... I'm thinking that I'll probably need to replace the tires anyway as though they looked okay, they are getting up in age (PO didn't replace so they are over 5 years old) and I'm wondering if I should go back to the original size?

Also, I've seen the debates RE: Radial vs. Bias Ply and want to hear your ideas about that debate since you'll know what works best with the HI-LO.

While I do that I'll have a chance to go through the brakes (only have to tow it home ~30 miles and using back roads).

Finally, I know some have put in spacers to give more clearance but was wondering if anyone has upgraded the axle as well? It seems odd that they would build a 2000 Lb dry rig with only an axle rated at 1805! If I could find the right length, putting in a 3500 lb axle doesn't look like too much of an issue.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:12 PM   #2
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I'd replace the tires with radials, not bias ply. And, if the new sized tires and wheels are not having clearance problems, I'd stick with that size.

You might consider the new Goodyear Endurance tires. They have a speed rating of 87 mph instead of the standard 65 mph rating of other trailer tires, and, they have a higher load rating too.

I was told by Dexter Axle that a higher rated axle would not fit on my trailer. I didn't feel up to getting one to see if I could make it work. But, I'm one of the ones that had spacers put in so that I could use larger tires and wheels.

- Jack
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:24 AM   #3
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Thanks Jack (a pair of Jack's, we can open) Is the issue for you that you have dual axles? It appears that the only difference is the axle diameter and possibly the spring mounting points ... at least with a single axle. It just seems to me to be a "weak link" in the design of the rig and I would like to have a margin of safety. I noticed on another thread that someone discovered they had overloaded their 1983 16 ftr to 3300 LBS and I don't want to make the same mistake (I know, just don't carry so much stuff in the camper!). But with a beefier axle it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
Also, If I were to do the swap (eventually) are there any other issues that may cause? I.E. handling, etc?
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:07 AM   #4
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Hi Jack (there's a cliche I won't repeat here) - I have a single axle trailer. At the time, I was so new to trailering that I didn't really know what questions to ask, and, I'm not sure the person I was talking to knew the answers anyway. She said something about clearances inside the wheel wells. I was told though, that there's a margin of safety built in to the axle - How much? Don't know. I know I don't have the equipment to do an axle swap myself, so I was not motivated to buy a higher rated one.

If you were to put a higher rated axle on the trailer, it should not have any effect on the handling of the trailer under tow. It MIGHT raise the trailer a bit, which would cause you to raise your hitch ball to compensate. WDH's make this easy.

BTW, my axle is a torsion spring axle. I think yours may be a solid one mounted on leaf springs attached to the frame from what you said in your last post. I don't know that this means anything, but torsion spring seems to be the more modern suspension.

For my trailer, though, the weak link was the OEM Load Range C tires. They failed due to chord separation within the first 5000 miles. I've had no further problems with Load Range D tires.

- Jack
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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"I think yours may be a solid one mounted on leaf springs attached to the frame from what you said in your last post. I don't know that this means anything, but torsion spring seems to be the more modern suspension."

That's correct and probably why the 14" wheels/tires fit. With the leaf springs, there is much more clearance.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:22 PM   #6
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Got her home today without any issues. Seems like the right brake/turn signal light is intermittent. I'll have to go chase that down. Also, the upper right amber running light is also out. Do those lenses just snap into place or are they accessed in some other way?

I plan on replacing all of the bulbs with LED's as well as all of the interior lights.

There is plenty of clearance on the tires BTW, so I'll definitely stick with the 14's. The tires are 3 years old, so I've got some time to take her on a couple short trips to shake things out

Also, now that I have ALL of the paperwork, I've discovered that the axle is rated 2600# and the units GVW is 2800#. I'll have to double check the dry weight once I get the lights sorted ... manual says that the dry weight is 2000, but the registration says 1750. In order to get registered, the previous owner had to have it inspected as it was out of state without a title, so I am inclined to think that this is a correct dry weight. Only way to tell is to weigh the thing!
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Old 06-14-2019, 11:07 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that the tongue carries some of the weight of the trailer (transferring it to the hitch ball on your tow vehicle) making the weight on the trailer axle less.

- Jack
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:11 PM   #8
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Yep, got that in mind. Looks like I'll be into a set of tires after all. Though they replaced the tires 3 years ago, manufacture date on the tires is for 2012, so I'll be looking at Goodyears ... a bit steep at $115 a piece, but better safe than sorry!
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:38 PM   #9
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I don't mind spending a premium for trailer tires. A blowout while underway can be very dicey and can do significant damage to the trailer too.

I've posted a thread about the TireMinder tire pressure and temperature monitoring system too, which I've installed. Here's a link to their website: https://www.minderresearch.com/tireminder/ They offer excellent customer support if you ever have questions as I had.

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Old 06-16-2019, 12:51 PM   #10
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Yeah, it's only money ... after all, funeral suits don't have pockets! I'll look into the tire minder as well ... may opt for the smart phone bluetooth option since I have a spare smartphone that I could use for it. Eventually, I'm thinking of a rear-view camera as well. Don't like the clip on towing mirrors and don't want to use something I need to drill into the TV to install. (TV is a Chevy Traverse 2LT).
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