Baby’s new shoes

Trailer tires usually need to be replaced on a time, not mileage, basis. Most people don’t put a huge number of miles on their trailers. They tend to sit more than not. 5 years of age is the general consensus to replace trailer tires whether you think they need them or not.

We purchased our trailer in Jan of 2013 and were told that it was on the lot for 6 months prior to that. There is 3 years of tire life right there. Additionally we put on over 12000 miles in our first 2 years. After I got my new truck I had some issues in getting the load equalization just right. The last trip (Casini) I noticed that the front of the trailer was riding a bit high and I also was running a bit under pressure on the tires. This turned out to be a bad combination. I could see pretty bad tire wear on the back tires, the ones that were carrying more weight since the front was higher. Time to do some research.

Here is a picture of the old tires/wheels. Look at the right two and you can see the bad wear pattern. It looked even worse up close.

2015-08-19 07.11.03

Trailer tires are under the ST designation which means they have stiffer sidewalls to handle the stress during sharp turning maneuvers. A couple of years ago other Airstreamers started researching using light truck (LTX) tires instead of trailer tires. There was, and may still be, a rash of tire failures with Goodyear Marathons (one of the most popular trailer tires). Airstream continued to use Marathons until just recently. Marathons used 15″ wheels to handle the load ranges. But with the LTX tires it requires an upgrade of the wheels also to 16″ wheels. This is the new combination Airstream is using.

I settled on getting the Sendel T03-66655T wheels and Michelin LTX M/S 2 tires. I know what I want so time to find them. I could go mail order but local is always preferable. A new tire store (America’s Tire) had just opened in town. This is a very large national chain and known as Discount Tire is some locations. This is a huge plus. They obviously had the Michelin’s in stock but had to order the wheels which took about 3 weeks. Their price was a very reasonable $100/wheel which included shipping. The total for 4 wheels, tires, mounting, balancing was $1300. Additionally by using their 9 months interest free financing I received $130 in Visa gift cards.

Installation was easy also. I took the trailer to the tire store and ‘convinced’ them to let me use my Trailer Aide to change the tires one by one instead of their jacks. 30 minutes later we were done. Before and after:

2015-08-16 19.50.25

2015-08-18 08.33.43

Since they are now 16″ wheels the trailer now sits just a tad higher. Time to adjust my equalization again!

Two more items to worry about are UV protection and cat spray! Tires should be protected from UV exposure especially when they are just sitting, as ours does a lot at home (unfortunately). One thing I have always done is to park the tires on plywood that sits on our concrete pad (you can see this below). I have heard that this will avoid the leaching qualities of concrete. Might be true, might not, but it doesn’t hurt. I wanted to protect these new tires from these two problems and I had purchased those tire covers from Camping World. However their quality is not very good and I cut my hands from exposed screws in the wheel well.

Here is my solution:


Just some simple pieces of plywood that sit in front of the tires and are tall enough to be above the top trim of the wheel well. Easy to remove and install, especially with the finger holes. I will just have to paint them now.

I am pretty sure I will be very happy with these tires and wheels.

A change in the breezes

When we purchased our Airstream it came with the 50 amp upgrade option. This means it has an extra Air Conditioner (making 2) for the bedroom. We have never had that before so it is kind of odd. If you are hooked up to a 30 amp connection you can only run one air conditioner. Previously that was not a problem in our old trailer as there was only one A/C. Hence the need for a 50 amp connection. You need 50 amps to run both A/C’s at the same time.

This has been kind of nice in the hotter locations where we really needed to run them. There are two drawbacks. The first is the power cord. To handle the potential higher amperage the wires need to be really thick so they don’t overheat. This was very evident the very first night. It was cold and that power cord was like a stiff Anaconda! Now I don’t hook up the 50 amp cord unless I think I will need both A/C’s.

The second drawback is what this post is about. When a second A/C was added, it was placed in the location where the second Fantastic Fan (FF) would be located. Two Fantastic Fans are great as they will create great airflow when used together. I really miss that. There is a FF in the front but now none in the rear. What to do? Put one in! Where?

I looked at the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Our old trailer had a round one that you would pop up and the turn on. It would sometimes squeal like a banshee! This version is a square one with a teeny little fan that doesn’t look like it could move any amount of air:

Vent01 Vent02


The FF that Airstream put in the front only exhausted the air. The other, higher-end, FF’s will push air both directions. I purchased an extra FF to put in the front and had plans to replace the anemic bathroom fan with the original FF.

The first thing to do was to remove the old fan and its’ old caulking:




One of the hardest things was getting off the old caulking. My fingernail worked really good but that would take forever. I turned to AirForums to see what there might be for a solution. I found one:



Cow hooves. A treat for dogs. I tried the hoof part but the edge was not quite sharp enough. When I tried the edge where they cut it off it worked wonderfully. It took off about 98% of the old caulking in about 20 minutes. Perfect. I did a test fit on the new vent and it fit without any modifications! I was then ready to put in the new/old vent (while I was running out of light):



I got it all functional but still needed to put in the trim piece inside and mount the vent cover.

The interior hole needed quite a bit of trimming of the aluminum around the hole but steady work got it to fit. I finally did get it all complete and here it is:



We now have two fans to pull air through the trailer. This is great for cooling off the interior once we get to a site. An additional benefit is that we can exhaust any odors from the bathroom quickly!