Friday, April 5, 2013

Tires Should be Simple

When we bought the Scamp, it had the factory original ST205/75R14 tires. These tires were rated for 1760 lb load. Our Scamp operational weight resulted in the tire being loaded to about 85% of the rated load.

In spite of the trailer being delivered to the original owner in April, 2010, the tires were built in mid-2008. (The first two digits are week, the second two digits are the year of manufacture.)

A number of people running the stock tires have experienced tires failures that seem to be related to age and/or tire loading.

In November, 2010 we upgraded the tires on the Scamp axle to increase the tire weight rating. After reviewing the limited options, we elected to install a pair of Maxxis UE-168 Bravo 205R14C truck tires. (These tires are designed for European light trucks and are rated for 2,271 pounds.) Seemingly, our tire decision was final.

A couple weeks ago, I tried to get a matching Maxxis tire to replace the original lesser rated and aged spare tire. All the info that I was able to find points to this Maxxis tire no longer being available from warehouses or dealers, even those that show it "in stock" on their websites. BTW, here's where I should include a rant about tire manufacturer websites - many of them won't provide adequate information unless the tire is in stock at a local store!

My Discount Tire dealer tells me that Goodyear makes a bias ply tire specifically for U-Haul that would match in size and has a "D" load range, but it seems to be impossible to find any information about the tire on the Goodyear (or other) websites. 'Sides that, I'd have to change out all three to switch from radial to bias ply.

As near as I can determine, the Kumho Radial 857 is now the only tire available to match the dimensions and load rating of the Maxxis. Michelin still shows the Agilis on their website but it seems to be the same status as the Maxxis - listed but not available.

On the factory site, this tire is described for light truck service. On another tire site, it's listed as an ST trailer tire but there is no indication of that on the tire sidewall.

At least we have a fresh tire.

With a metal valve stem

all hidden under the stock cover. One more thing off the list in preparation for the trip.


  1. Weird. Upon our arrival back home from
    Quartzite I decided to replace the two UE-168 Bravo 205R14C tires on our Casita. Stopped by my local Maxxis dealer and told him what I needed. He picked up the phone and called someone, hung up and told me there were some in Shreveport, LA, and he would have them in two days. Three days later they were on the Casita. It seems to be just luck of the draw on availability or maybe it's just how hard the local guys want to hunt for them. I ran Kumho's before the Maxxis. Was well pleased with them.

    1. I knew you'd found some but all the factory would do is point us to their local dealers who only stock their mudders and wouldn't bother to search. Meanwhile, every online source said they could no longer get them! :-(

      I'd like to go to 15" but I only have 1/2" clearance on the garage door now.

  2. John, are you taking an extra tire (besides the spare) on your upcoming trip? We don't really want to but saw that it was recommended on some sites.

    1. No, we're not taking extras. The spares for both the truck and trailer are fresh. I am planning to keep the speed down but no other precautions. I'm also not avoiding gravel but don't expect to run the trailer any further north than Coldfoot.

  3. Hi Guys, We did three summer long trips to AK. since 2000. Personally, I can't imagine a better set-up than you have for this adventure. A couple of observations from paging through your blog. On the tire question, you are correct, a spare tire for each is plenty. The mud flap is an interesting addition. I have seen them done well, and others that can really cause damage. There are a lot of them on motorhomes, and they can really trash a towed car in that application. The issue is that there are a lot of frost dips in the road. If the flap is installed too low to the ground, and the tail overhang is long enough, the flap will brush the gravel, at speed, and spray the car (or scamp) with debris. I doubt that this would be an issue in your case, but be sure that it doesn't show any sign of abrasion when you start hitting the construction zones. We found that it's best to overload the vehicles with any supplies possible before you depart the states. Canadian prices are higher, and selection can be limited. On our first trip we stumbled across the border into BC. without a clue, and an empty pantry. We got a quick education in what Wal-Mart means with their "low prices" marketing in the lower 48, when we were in a general store, in the BC. wilderness, buying a gallon of milk for $8. It's real easy to control some of the costs on this adventure. I'm a huge fan of gravel pit camping, and there are tons of spots where you can pull over for the night and have the same view, and a better experience than the folks stuffed into the $50/night "resort" a mile away. I ended up doing most of my own oil changes with oil and filters I bought in big towns, like Fairbanks of Anchorage. Your truck is easy to work on in the parking lot, and it's a great way to save $40.
    We have done a good stretch of the Dalton, and many jeep trails in AK & YT, but by far the worst road I ever drove on was the latest return trip down the AK. highway. The section from Beaver Creek to Destruction bay was almost too nasty to comprehend. It was five hours to crawl 120 miles, in the dusky hours from nine until two in the morning. It was literally, stop.... scout out a line through the holes, troughs ,and ridges........ crawl through.....repeat. The crazy part of it all is that it was in great shape two months prior, and it may be wonderful this summer. Given that it's basically impossible to build a permanent road on permafrost, it sure makes for an interesting trip. Don't hesitate to travel the Cassier Highway on one leg of your trip. We have had some wonderful times hanging with the locals in Hyder. The same goes for Dawson city. Have a great trip.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! Sounds like we have similar thoughts on selecting campsites. I'm looking forward to visiting Hyder on the southbound leg.