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Old 03-07-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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Nitrogen filled tires

I have been reading some posts nere that talk about the tires on RV and the pros/cons of servicing them with nitrogen instead of good old plain air.

Most posts seem to be be mixed about the pros/cons of using nitrogen.

In my experience, I can only say that my new 2012 Silverback 29RK was delivered with nitrogen filled Trail Express tires. On our second trip out, the left rear tire went flat while parked in Brenham,Texas. I have a service contract and had the spare installed. We were on our way to Port Aransas, Texas so I called around after getting there trying to find a place to get the flat repaired. When I called and asked if they had nitrogen, no one did, so I finally had a Goodyear store repair the tire and they put plain old air in it. The tire was reinstalled and I have not had any problems with it since.

Some posters don't believe that nitrogen is any better than air for tire inflation and I tend to agree with them. Most all posters say that maintaining proper tire pressure is the single most important thing you can do to keep your tires roadworthy and again I agree with them.

One bit of information - In 1987 the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (similar to an auto recall, but manadorty by law) that required all Transport Category aircraft ( these are your big Boeings, McDonnell Douglas types) to have their tires serviced with nitrigen instead of air. The reason as stated in the AD is "... to elimate the possibility of a chemical reaction between atmospheric oxygen and volatile gases from the tire inner liner producing a tire explosion."
So the FAA was more concerned with preventing tire explosions and fires( mostly from overheated brakes due to the magnesium wheels)than anything else.

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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I just put 20 pounds of O2 in each of the 4 Nitrogen tires on my trailer. I've had the Trail Express on mine now for 2 years, and whilst knocking firmly on wood, have had no issues with them. But I do check them before I leave out anywhere.

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:44 PM   #3
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The air we breath is 78+% Nitrogen, almost 21% oxygen, almost 1% argon, and the rest of the mixture of elements is almost too small to deal with.

The problem with the 21%+or- of oxygen is it is very easily saturated with H20. This H20 is where the corrosion you mentioned comes from.

We use pure nitrogen in our race car tires because it does not change pressure as easily with temperature fluxuations. Gives us a more consistant set up for each round of racing. For your everyday vehicle, regular air is fine, just keep an eye on proper pressure/inflation as you mentioned. The places that charge for Nitrogen filled tires are playing on the everyday, regular folk, not understanding what the air we breath is made up of!!! And cash it on it..

I don't know aircraft stuff, but I suspect that the reason it is required by the FAA is the fact that it doesn't change with air temp as drastically, (it's pretty dang cold at 30K ft above sea level. An aircraft with properly inflated tires at sea level is drastically under inflated at 8k ft. with regular air. So an aircraft with properly inflated tires in Denver, would be highly over inflated at sea level!) and the absence of oxygen reduces the likelyhood of corrosion. But I am a simple countryboy drag racer. So I don't know for sure.

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Old 03-07-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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THE reason they charge for nitrogen is because it cost as little as 3000 dollars for a nitrogen machine . they have to reclaim there money somehow .
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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If you're splitting hairs, or really reliant upon performance, then yes the nitrogen fill is better. For most humans on planet Earth, it doesn't matter much. As has already been mentioned, atmospheric gas (air) is already close to 79% nitrogen.

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Old 03-07-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
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"An aircraft with properly inflated tires at sea level is drastically under inflated at 8k ft. with regular air."
Actually, you have it backwards.
And nitrogen in camper tires is a waste of money and effort.
My new Dodge Ram came with nitrogen in the tires. Both rear tires have been patched, so there is nothing but plain old air in those, and I don't notice any difference in the pressure change in the winter between the ones with nitrogen and the ones with plain air.
Save your money, use air, it is free.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:26 PM   #7
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I have thought about the nitrogen service, where do you find a unit to fill your tires? I worked in aircraft maint. for 27 years. We used to fill the tires with air and our accumulators, then they switch to nitrogen. We had a cart....still haven't seen a sign that says....nitrogen fill here out here in the real world.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:29 PM   #8
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Tee - the primary reason for the FAA AD was to prevent explosions and the resultant fires from overheated brakes burning the magnesium wheels. There was a rash of them prior to the AD being written.

I agree with you and the others here that making sure the tires are properly inflated is the most important thing you can do to keep the tires roadworthy.

The decal on my Silverback 29RK shows the cold PSI is 80.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:35 PM   #9
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M&L - as I stated in my post and as you must know about AD's, this AD is applicable to Transport Cateragory (sp) aircraft and the AD became effective June of 1987.

I was not able to locate any tire store that had nitrogen available - I was told by someone that they thought Discount Tire has it, but I cannot verify that.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:14 AM   #10
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Even with the nitro fill, you are not getting a tire with only nitrogen in it. When mounted, there is atmosphere air in the tire before it is inflated. Nitro fill is nothing more than a gimmick to make money from the common folks.
It may make a difference in an f1 car with extreme speeds and insane temp cycles, but in your daily driver and travel trailer, it is 99.5% useless. Very similar to a late night infomercial in the way it is advertised and sold and uses the same tactics to get you to spend the $4 per tire.

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