Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Tire Troubles!

After a decent night's sleep at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, CA, we woke up this morning refreshed and ready to do a little exploring of other RV parks in the area before we took off.

Eldy decided to check that rear inside left tire since the tire pressure system kept saying something was wrong with it yesterday...Wouldn't you know, this morning, the manual tire gauge read ZERO psi's. During the night, all the air slowly leaked out it! ARRRRGGGHHHH! So we called Coach Net. We're hoping a stuck valve stem is all it is, because that's when we started having problems with the valve stems--when we installed the Tire Traker tire sensors on all the tires. We're thinking that the valve stem stuck in the "release" position. If somehow we ran over something that caused it to go flat, we're talking 500.00 for ONE new tire for the RV.

Rene is checking the tire for leaks and damage
Coachnet sent out a GREAT tire truck service called Pete's Road Service. They were absolutely wonderful. Rene, the technician, worked on our rear tires for over an hour and a half. It turns out that BOTH inside extended valve stems had chunks of metal worn away into a deep groove and there was a tiny hole worn through in the extended valve stem from the stems rubbing on the metal tire rims on rough roads as we traveled, causing air to leak constantly. It took about 10,000 miles on our motorhome for the wear to occur. Freightliner doesn't put rubber grommets on around the valve stem to prevent rough road friction and rubbing on the extension stems from eventually wearing the metal clean through.
This is a poor design decision, in my opinion. Our tire extensions were on the coach when we bought it, so this is a Freightliner issue. But we think everybody needs to be aware that if you install tire valve stem extensions, which are sold everywhere, you really need to be sure you have good ones, and that they are protected from the metal tire rim wall in some way, like these black rubber grommets will do for us, now that we have them on. It was really amazing to see how they worked on the motorhome, got both tires off and checked them thoroughly for leaks and damage with very little raising of the coach to get the tires off. Look at the damage caused by the valve stems rubbing against the metal tire rim after 10,000 miles on the tires! These are BOTH inside rear tire valve extensions on the motorhome. There's actually a HOLE you can see worn through both extensions!
"v" grooves worn through metal by friction on metal tire rim

Not only did Pete's Road Service replace both tire extensions, but they also put in rubber grommets to protect the stems from wearing and rubbing through the metal in the future. They didn't have the exact model of rubber gasket to put on the tire rims, (there are so many different shapes and sizes) but told us how to get the correct ones from Freightliner.  After  they were finished, we left to go to breakfast, and I got a call from the company. They had found some better fitting ones at the shop. The fellows went back to the fairgrounds at no charge to us, and replaced them and left the extras for spares.....Really professional guys that came out today, Rene and Oraldo, and they were very knowledgeable and friendly. If you need help in southern California with your motorhome, truck, etc., they have nine locations....we highly recommend Pete's Road Service. Again, we called the Tire Traker people--Darryl Lawrence, and he talked me through installing that last sensor on the inside tire. The one thing that concerns us now, is the tire pressure monitoring system does not agree with a manual tire gauge. The tire pressures vary a lot more on the monitoring system than what we show on our tire gauge, by about five pounds or so. The car tire pressures on the monitoring system agree with the Tire Traker system, so we think that maybe extensions are a little more problematic when you install them on motorhome tire extensions. As long as we are within a "normal" variation limit, we think we're ok...time will tell.....

Since we were temporarily incapacitated, we decided to stay another day! Off to the Chamber of Commerce to get information for the area. Indio is the golf mecca for this area, leading you to Palm Springs, Desert Springs and surrounding areas. Prices are high to get on the courses, they are championship courses or private....There is hiking in the area, some bike areas we might explore.....we'll see what Eldo wants to do!   Bye for now......


  1. Glad you are getting your tire thing figured out. Thanks for the kind words on my blog.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I am getting 4 new tires on my duals tomorrow. I will have them check the extenders. Thanks again. You are doing good.

  3. Did you notice the excessive wear when you did the troubleshooting (swapping the positions of the sensors)? Anyway, I'm wondering if the extra mass of the sensor spinning around and outwardly forcing the extension into contact with the rim harder might have caused the wear and leak very quickly, and it's not necessarily a Freightliner-designed, 10,000 mile gradual wear issue?

  4. In reply to MW, it could be the extra mass spinning around, but I think it's still a Freightliner problem, because they put them on there! The Tiffin Phaeton comes with the extensions already on the tires. Thanks for your thoughts on this! (Do you work for Freightliner, lol?)

  5. MW--we just installed the sensors, they've been on one the wear and tear and friction were occuring long before we ever installed the sensors...I missed that in your comment the first time.

  6. Ha ha, no, I don't work for FL (actually I don't work at all any more). I always try to put myself in other folks shoes when I read stories like this, and I was just imagining the conversation I'd be having with FL. I fear that they may try to press the case that you had zero leakage before adding the potentially "unauthorized" equipment, and if you can't prove that there was zero leakage or damage "before" then FL may take the stand that you voided the warranty and caused all the damage "after". It seems way too coincidental that damage that severe had built up so gradually but was leak-free until virtually the next day after the sensor installation. Just saying I've been down the "you voided our warranty by using after-market equipment" road before. Anyway, I wish you well with all of this.