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Old 12-07-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Washington State
Posts: 114
'15 Solera - Tire Valve Extensions (JUNK!!)

Three days ago we took delivery of a brand new Solera 24S. We drove it 170 miles to our home where its been parked since. In reviewing all the Sprinter systems, I checked tire pressures to find the inside dually tires would not read on the gauge nor would they accept air. The photo shows the problem. The shaft inside the valve stem extender is so flexible, it cannot actuate the Schrader valve on the tire! It deflects with minimal force. A mobile tire servicer arrived, removed the extenders, read the pressures and inflated the tires to the proper pressure (we asked for 75 lbs). They were at 35 lbs.

It is our belief that the Solera was driven 2,400 miles from the factory to the dealership with under inflated tires. There is no way anyone at the factory could have inflated or checked the tires with these extenders. Perhaps the tires arrived at Forest River already mounted and inflated, however, they should NOT HAVE LEFT the factory with these plastic valve extenders. Tire warranties DO NOT COVER damage resulting from under inflation.

We have good support from the dealership who will replace all the rubber valve stems and plastic extenders with reliable metal ones. This should be a major quality control issue at the factory level. If you own a Solera or are buying one, please check your tire pressure and do NOT accept delivery without reliable metal valve stems and extenders. Your tires are rated for 80 PSI - rubber/plastic stems are OK for car tires at under 40 PSI, not for heavier load range tires!!

NOTE: The little star artifact was added to the photo to show the location of the pin that is supposed to be centered to make contact with the Schrader valve on the tire. It is way off center - which is exactly how it was when removed.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:52 AM   #2
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Location: Elkhart, IN
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Don't get me wrong...but people seem to mock things that are different or things that they don't understand. Are the Air-Flexx extensions perfect, certainly not. But nothing ever is. If you read up on the benefits you'll get a clearer picture of why we went to these.

air-flexx® valve extensions
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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Instead of putting all the blame on forest river you should take a good hard look at your dealer!
They should have checked tire pressures before they delivered it to you!
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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We had these on our hydro bucket trucks for the last ten years , never heard the fleet dept. complain about them, like anything you can get a defective one once in a while.
2014 Forester 3051s
2016 Nissan Pathfinder SL
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:02 PM   #5
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There are different brands and types of extenders. Some of the hoses have actuators as seen in your example and others are holding the tire pressure so there is no actuator issues.
In my experience the biggest problem with extenders is that the outer end is not always locked down hard so there is excessive flex which can cause leaks or early failure. This is my set-up for the past 7 years and 27,409 miles with no failures or leaks. These steel braided hoses are the pressurized type. NOTE this picture does not show my external TPMS.

I also have to comment on the use of rubber valve stems. This is definitely the fault of the company that mounted the tires and if Forest River accepted the tire & wheel assembly with less than the tire max inflation then they are at fault for this unsafe practice. Rubber snap in stems are rated 65 psi MAX and should NEVER have been used in an application that used LR-D or LR-E tires and isn't a good plan even for LR-C tires.
Write a blog on RV tire application 40 years experience as tire design engineer. Freelander 23QB on Chevy chassis is my RV. Giving seminars on RV Tire applications (not selling) in Elkhart May 17-19, Allegan MI June 6-9, & Gillette WY July 18-21 RV Tire Safety Blog
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
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I went to their website and was most impressed. Both extensions on my unit didn't work. The pin inside that should be able to actuate the Schrader valve on the tire could not be aligned properly; it just flopped around inside the tube, unable to maintain contact with the tire valve. The tire technician who came to check it out and pointed out the deflection problem of the internals of the Air-Flexx extensions.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:41 PM   #7
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Several threads about this issue in the Motorhome section - like this one in the Solera section:
Most of us have determined that the center "actuator" in the extensions are marginally too short. Some have replaced the extensions; others (myself included) have trimmed the ends of the extenders to allow the core to extend further and actuate the tire valves. As stated in the other threads, I also tied the extenders to the wheel covers (and the wheel covers to the wheels) with wire ties to keep them from whipping around. 40K+ miles on this arrangement with no further issues.
2012 Solera "S"
Calif SF Bay Area
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:30 AM   #8
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one piece metal tire valve stems"
Originally Posted by Taylorgso
Got them here (here's a link) - Your Tire Shop Supply | Supplies for Tire Shops
You might want to go ahead and give them a call. Speak to Bill Falkenborg
Phone is 800-300-2674
Bill has apparently sold Metal stem sets for several Sprinter Motorhomes. He knew exactly what I was talking about when I called. I got this referral from another post on the forum.

Just a Quick Note, I had Stainless Steel "Extenders" installed on my tires for my first trip in my 2013 Solera 24S to hopefully alleviate any tire problems two months ago. Anyway, I had nothing but problems with the “Airless Extenders” from Orlando-Tucson-Albuquerque-Dallas-Canyon Lake-Orlando. The main problem was the extenders were vibrating off the rubber tire stems in the wheel well and leaking pressure. I ended up loosing an inner tire enroute. They were not one piece tied into the 16" steel tire wheel well. Now they are and I would highly recommend them. You can also install a tire pressure monitor with these at a later date if it meets your needs. Just some "Food for Thought." Good Luck and Happy Travels.

PS: A little old news, but to the point-"GOOD LUCK!"

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