Oh, the Calamity!

No, seriously.

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What happened? I suffered a blowout on the Right Inner Rear tire at ~60 mph headed south on US85 about a mile north of Castle Rock. Good Sam Roadside Service to the rescue. Sort of. They covered the dispatch, but I still had to buy the new tire, and pay for the mounting. Total cost: $812 + $15 for the roadside pizza delivery from Anthony’s Pizza. 5 hours.

Why did it happen? Man, I hate for this to be Yet Another “The Dealer” Post, and I’m looking forward to just having the RV and being able to own whatever issues it has, but in the end, that’s what this post is. The Dealer told us that the tires were from 2012. And by “told us”, I don’t mean “They said they don’t deliver any RV on tires older than 7 years and we took them at their word”. I mean “They said they don’t deliver any RV on tires older than 7 years, and during the inspection/demo/walkaround, I specifically asked the tech to check each tire where I could not find/read the DOT code myself, and I watched him crawl under the RV to do it, and he told me they were all from 2012″.
Turns out, they were not all from 2012. One (the RF, which I found the DOT code on my own, incidentally) was from 2012. The rest, with one exception, were put on at the Workhorse factory, and are from either the 12th or 19th week of 2004, except the Left Inner Rear, which is from the spring of 2007.

So. Let’s start with 10 year old tires that have seen an average of 4000 mi/year. Inflate to the maximum pressure found on the sidewall. Drive.

Boom.

How do I avoid this?

  • Know how to read a DOT Date Code.
  • Inspect the tires on a new-to-you coach personally.
  • Insist on doing whatever it takes to get your own eyeballs (or camera) on that 4 digit code on each tire.
  • Do not trust anyone else with this.
  • Use your smartphone to look up the correct tire pressures from the tire manufacturer’s website for your new-to-you coach at both the stated empty weight and at the GVWR.
  • Use this knowledge to have the tire pressures set someplace in the ballpark of ‘correct’ – with a little too much being better than ‘maybe not enough’.

The tires were set to 95 in the rear and 110 out front. Since I had PLENTY of time to do the research while waiting for the tire guy, I learned that our smallish 30′ coach with a GVWR of 18,000 pounds would have been just fine with 75 pounds all around, and even that would have given us at 5-10 PSI cushion at our approximate weight of 16,000 pounds. The coach was delivered with the tires about 30 PSI overinflated in the front, and about 20-25 PSI overinflated in the back. Not surprised that one went off like a gunshot. The Tire Guy set them all to 75, and the improvement in ride quality and steering feel was…well, it didn’t feel like riding in a Conestoga Wagon on the Oregon Trail anymore.

What happens next? I called our sales guy this afternoon and told him what happened. He was profusely apologetic, did not understand how the shop could have missed this, apologized again, and they are setting us up to get replacements for the 4 vintage 2004/2007 tires, are setting up reimbursement for the cost of the roadside replacement (I might turn right around and use that money to replace the 2012 and new Bridgestone R250F tire, so I have a matched set all the way around), and are going to check/replace the sensors on the black and grey tanks – On Saturday morning, the black tank read 100% full after I emptied it, and the grey tank read 0% full before I emptied it.

A couple of commenters suggested that bitching about having the dealer fix a couple minor issues on a 10 year old RV wasn’t very interesting, and that they were waiting for some calamity, or tips on how to avoid calamity, or something similar…

Ask, and ye shall receive, gents! =)

The rest of the weekend was good – though dealing with the tire was so stressful, I wound up sleeping all day on Saturday, and I missed out on the 20th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races. Damn. Even when I lived there, I missed them. It seems like a festival (along with Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days) that are a damn good time.