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Old 10-23-2018, 07:01 AM   #1
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Exclamation Why are these China Bombs? Possible reason here

When I inspected my Castle Rock tires (2018 model trailer purchased new in 2017) which were manufactured in 2017, I discovered what appeared to be dry rot cracks on three of the four valve stems. I took the trailer to a tire dealer yesterday to replace all five (included the spare) stems.

The good news is that the dealer only charged me $5 per tire labor, and the stems were free (and the technician suggested I do the spare and he threw it in for nothing).

The technician put in high pressure stems as that is there policy for tires over 50 psi (I run mine at 65 per the trailer data lable). He told me that the stems he removed were standard pressure ones.

Could it be that either at Forest River, or wherever the tires are mounted FOR Forest River, they don't know the difference in the stems? Because I doubt mine are the only non-high pressure stems installed on these tires.

I'm surmising that a possible cause for these "China Bomb" tires failing so frequently and causing so much damage is because they're using the incorrect stems, old (more prone to dry rot) stems, and most importantly, people may NOT be keeping as close an eye on the tire pressures as they could or should. I run a TST 507 Color system and watch those puppies VERY closely.

I'd like to hear what the community thinks about what I've found.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:12 AM   #2
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I've had plenty of experiences with "China bombs" unfortunately on a previous fifth wheel and in every case it was identified as manufacturing problems with the tire - not the valve stem.

Possibly what you encountered is responsible for some of the issue, but I still suspect the primary cause of "China bomb failure" is simply due to cheap construction and manufacturing. And, I further suspect that won't change as long as RV manufacturers continue to equip trailers with the cheapest tires they can find.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:49 AM   #3
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A Microlight with 86 PSI tires?
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:54 AM   #4
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My castle rock "China Bombs" went bad not due to valve stems, but due to tread separation.



Had a blow out, tore up some trim, put it in the shop.

When I picked it up from the shop I drove straight to the tire shop to buy 4 new tires. When I got there, about 6 miles from the RV place, I had another tire separating and about to blow out!

If I had gone home and waited to buy new tires I would have had another blow out and been back in the shop!
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:02 AM   #5
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A Microlight with 86 PSI tires?
Sorry, typo. 65 psi.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kfd82 View Post
My castle rock "China Bombs" went bad not due to valve stems, but due to tread separation.

Had a blow out, tore up some trim, put it in the shop.

When I picked it up from the shop I drove straight to the tire shop to buy 4 new tires. When I got there, about 6 miles from the RV place, I had another tire separating and about to blow out!

If I had gone home and waited to buy new tires I would have had another blow out and been back in the shop!
Wow! I've had no problems so far, other than the valve stems not being high pressure and the dry rot. I'm going to be changing the tires before long. Thanks everyone for your inputs. I've got about 4,000 miles on these, and am going to be VERY cautious now.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marinerjoe View Post
When I inspected my Castle Rock tires (2018 model trailer purchased new in 2017) which were manufactured in 2017, I discovered what appeared to be dry rot cracks on three of the four valve stems. I took the trailer to a tire dealer yesterday to replace all five (included the spare) stems.

The good news is that the dealer only charged me $5 per tire labor, and the stems were free (and the technician suggested I do the spare and he threw it in for nothing).

The technician put in high pressure stems as that is there policy for tires over 50 psi (I run mine at 65 per the trailer data lable). He told me that the stems he removed were standard pressure ones.

Could it be that either at Forest River, or wherever the tires are mounted FOR Forest River, they don't know the difference in the stems? Because I doubt mine are the only non-high pressure stems installed on these tires.

I'm surmising that a possible cause for these "China Bomb" tires failing so frequently and causing so much damage is because they're using the incorrect stems, old (more prone to dry rot) stems, and most importantly, people may NOT be keeping as close an eye on the tire pressures as they could or should. I run a TST 507 Color system and watch those puppies VERY closely.

I'd like to hear what the community thinks about what I've found.
Forrest River, and I doubt that any trailer/5th wheel manufacturer make their own frames/suspensions/running gear. I believe that most are made by Lippert, and a few others. They are the ones who install the wheels/tires. They apparently use rims/tires that just barely meet the weight requirements of the frames as per the info supplied them by the manufacturer of the rv as to what the "approximate" finished weight will be.
If you do a bit of research and finger walking thru google you'll find stories of 8000 lb trailers being built on frames rated for 8000 lbs, thus leaving NO capacity for anything you may carry. The minute you load a can of chili, your over weight. Now, add all your stuff and you can begin to see the problem.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:45 AM   #8
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Of the two blowouts I had neither had anything to do with the valve stems. One was from a large pothole on I-5, the other was a literal *BOOM* blowout going about 45MPH.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:21 PM   #9
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I did not have a blowout on my Rockwood but when i went to put Good Years Marathons on it the Towmax crumble to pieces. Being in Warranty for the second year FR paid $400 as a good will gesture leaving me only $180 out of pocket for 4 tires.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:22 PM   #10
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You received one persons' opinion. I would think that with the thousands of trailers sold with these valve stems that Forest River has a pretty good idea what they are doing.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:25 PM   #11
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Thanks for the observation about the valve stems. Just another item to track and repair as needed. I have always been very vigilant about my tires, but didn't think of the valve stems.

What's the best way to inspect them? Should i wiggle them side to side to look for cracks?
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy0374 View Post
Forrest River, and I doubt that any trailer/5th wheel manufacturer make their own frames/suspensions/running gear. I believe that most are made by Lippert, and a few others. They are the ones who install the wheels/tires. They apparently use rims/tires that just barely meet the weight requirements of the frames as per the info supplied them by the manufacturer of the rv as to what the "approximate" finished weight will be.
If you do a bit of research and finger walking thru google you'll find stories of 8000 lb trailers being built on frames rated for 8000 lbs, thus leaving NO capacity for anything you may carry. The minute you load a can of chili, your over weight. Now, add all your stuff and you can begin to see the problem.
Grumpy
Pretty sure no trailer has ever been delivered which had an empty weight which equaled the maximum gross weight.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:27 PM   #13
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What's the best way to inspect them? Should i wiggle them side to side to look for cracks?
You can wiggle them. However, mine were evident without any manipulation.

If your local tire center will do like mine did (free stems and only $5 per tire to change them), I'd go and get them replaced. ESPECIALLY if they're only "regular" rubber ones and not the high pressure variety if you're running over 50 psi in the tires.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:39 PM   #14
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Pretty sure no trailer has ever been delivered which had an empty weight which equaled the maximum gross weight.
Many people don't realize the axles are not relied on to carry all of the weight. The tongue and tow vehicle carry 10 to 15 percent of the weight. That is why you will see a trailer with a gross weight of 7,000 lbs riding on two 3,500 lb axles. That being said i would sure feel better if the axles were rated for 4K each.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:45 PM   #15
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I think Marinerjoe may be on to something. If the valve stem has minor cracking that allows the pressure in the tire to drop, eventually the tire will fail and no one would suspect the valve stem because it is typically replaced with a new tire.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:48 PM   #16
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Am I the only one that has consistently replaced any rubber stems (regular or high-pressure) with steel stems?

I have -507 sensors on both my trailer's and truck's rims, and discovered the sensor's extra mass out at the end of rubber stems causes undue flexing that eventually cracks the rubber. Fortunately, the TST system alerted me to the problems before any tire damage, and has saved me the cost of the TPMS in saved tires alone!

Steel stems: I don't leave home without them.

A post-script: I also have my tire guy's workers routinely use brush-on "bead sealant" when mounting new tires and/or steel stems.

(I tip his guys well for letting me be such a PIA.)

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Old 10-23-2018, 01:25 PM   #17
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My 2016 Wildcat also had dry rotted valve stems when I picked it up from the dealer. I had metal valve stems installed (so I could use TPMS). I also discarded the brand new TowMax tires and replaced them with Goodyear Endurances. 16,000 miles later and no tire issues. Note: I never tow faster than 65 mph. Opinion: there are a lot questionable practices - Wildcat uses 5/8 inch "pex" flex water hose and secures it with 3/4 pex crimp. Numerous reports of water leaks.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:49 PM   #18
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Pretty sure no trailer has ever been delivered which had an empty weight which equaled the maximum gross weight.
I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Maybe not exact but light enough in rating that it does not leave room for too much cargo/fluid capacity. Take a frame rated at 8000 lbs, build a 6500 lb home on it. Load it up with all your food, water, clothing, kids toys n stuff, dog/cat food n stuff, bikes, grill, lawn chairs, pots/pans, coffee maker, ect., spare tire and carrier, full propane tanks, battery. Guess what...your at gvwr. Put some cheapy imported tires on it, barely adaquate axles, and your an accident looking for a place to happen.
Like the small % of us motor home owners that have our rigs weighed, how many trailer owners have their rigs weighed? Just as many mh owners are, bet alot of trailer owners would be shocked as to the final weight of their rigs loaded ready for a trip.
As far as valve stems, there is a cheap, easy, foolproof way to avoid any problems with the rubber stems.
Go to any reputable tire store and have them install steel valve stems. Cheap, to have done and takes care of the problem for good.
Check ETrailer, rv trailer steel valve stems...$5.39 each. 5-10 bucks each to have installed.
Cheap insurance!!!
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:56 PM   #19
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I've just changed over to new Good Year Endurance 205-75R-14 tires on my 4 year old Flagstaff. I changed the tires a little early because 3 of the Westlake (chinese made) tires were badly worm. In this case I can't blame the tires but I can blame the two torsion type Dexter axels that were tearing away from the sub-frame after 3 years of gentle service. I was only partially reimbursed for this by FR but the frame people should have been held to account because these axels are welded into ⅛ inch thick sub-frame material. The trailer dealer cut that out and replaced it with ľ" thick sub-frame material so I should be good to go now with the new axels and new Canada/US made Good Year Endurances tires...
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Old 10-23-2018, 02:01 PM   #20
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Tires

I wondered why my trailer had C (1730LB.) rated tires on a 7K dry trailer. FR specs them to dry weight, minus tongue weight and before options. In my case it was before a second A/C and power outriggers. Also 2-30 lb. propane filled and 75 lb. battery. Riding on D rated tires now, much more stable and pulls better. Also trailer was 400 lb. heavier than stated weight. Also considering both slide are on 1 side, weight exceeds original tires on that side.
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