Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

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Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby stcyrwm » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:19 am

I am starting a camper build by tearing down a 1979 Pop Up Camper which comes with 10" wheels. I am trying to decide whether it would be better to go with larger wheels or not. I am not planning on doing any real offroad camping but some of my favorite camping spots are miles down washboard ridden and bumpy dirt roads and I wonder how much this will be an issue with a camper? I could increase to 13" wheels with the 4 bolt pattern that I have, if I also reposition the axle to under the springs. Clearance on trailer now is 12" which is about same as TV so I am unclear, having never had a camper, whether it would help or not? Any guidance based on your experince would be appreciated!

Thanks, Bill
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby tony.latham » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:27 am

Small tires ride rougher on rough roads. They drop farther into washboards and other divots. It's a matter of geometry.

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:frightened:

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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby TimC » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:00 am

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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:02 am

Larger diameter tires will rotate at fewer RPM than smaller tires at a given speed so easier on the bearings. The downside is larger wheel wells if the cabin is wider than the tires.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Squigie » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:23 am

tony.latham wrote:Small tires ride rougher on rough roads. They drop farther into washboards and other divots. It's a matter of geometry.

That ^^

Bigger tires bridge bigger gaps, smooth out bumps by changing the angle of incidence, smooth out bumps by having more sidewall (assuming reasonable wheel diameter), and reduced rotational speed at the hub/spindle/brakes.

Two downsides are:
-More unsprung weight and more rotational mass. This can be harder on the suspension and brakes.
-You need bigger fenders or wheel wells. For some designs, that means intruding upon cabin space.


I've been stuck in materials and set-back hell for two years on my own plans. But some of what I do have ready to go are 4 "all weather" radials (Cooper Cobra) that are balanced and of decent size. They're 215-70R14s, IIRC. On Oldsmobile 442 wheels, of all things. -- Actually, the tires and wheels off of the Nova in my avatar.

In my case, I am combining that with Timbren axleless suspension. My trailer is intended for off road use. Not extreme use, like rock crawling trailers. But plenty of rough roads, and sometimes miles and miles deep into the back country. My two favorite places to go require 25 and 38 miles of "jeep trail" after you get off of the "main" dirt roads, respectively. Small tired trailers have a hard time on those roads, especially with straight axles under them. But with larger diameter, more sidewall, and no axle beam, it should be a much better life for the trailer.

Most of the miles will be on the highway, where lower bearing rotation speed will be nice. But all of the destinations are off road. Or, at the very least, miles down rough dirt roads.
Bigger tires = smoother ride and a happier trailer.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby PCO6 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:14 am

My tow vehicles are Jeeps and I use Jeep wheels on my trailers. Not always but most of the time I don't bother with a spare wheel for the trailers. I rely on the TV spare if needed. Even better, I've never had a flat!
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Shadow Catcher » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:57 pm

14" is about the minimum in finding a tire that is road worthy, and consider speed ratings.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby saywhatthat » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:28 am

What the hell smaller tires are made to run fine at freeway speeds The rest is just crap About smaller tires make bearing run hot just crap. sound good on the web late 70 and 80. 12''and 13'' tires is what foreign cars came with. That where heavier than any trailer here. Beam load spring pad to hub can bend if to big of tire weight. Heavier wheels and tires can mess up bearings.That why many go to the 3500 lbs axle for the bigger bearing. I wish people would stop telling the web lie about small tires . Before some fool believe this lie buts bigger wheels and tires and kills someone. Tent trailers run 8,, 10 '' fine .stop with the BS lie
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Toytaco2 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:39 am

I've fought the mental battle over tire size for years and posted questions more than once about the small 12 inch tires on my TD. In my mind, the bigger tires make sense, but, my experience hasn’t shown the smaller tires to be a huge problem. My current 12 inch tires have an 81mph rating. Back in the 80's, before internet wisdom was established, I pulled a tent camper with 12 inch tires many miles over highway, dirt roads, and deer lease “would be” roads with no problems or internet created worries. I guess I just I didn’t know it was a problem.

OTH, the bigger tires do continue to make sense, especially if you want brakes or travel Rocky Mountain “Jeep Roads”. I’ll probably never stop worrying about the smaller tires now.


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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Tom&Shelly » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:51 am

Toytaco2 wrote:I've fought the mental battle over tire size for years and posted questions more than once about the small 12 inch tires on my TD. In my mind, the bigger tires make sense, but, my experience hasn’t shown the smaller tires to be a huge problem. My current 12 inch tires have an 81mph rating. Back in the 80's, before internet wisdom was established, I pulled a tent camper with 12 inch tires many miles over highway, dirt roads, and deer lease “would be” roads with no problems or internet created worries. I guess I just I didn’t know it was a problem.

OTH, the bigger tires do continue to make sense, especially if you want brakes or travel Rocky Mountain “Jeep Roads”. I’ll probably never stop worrying about the smaller tires now.


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We used our Harbor Fright utility trailer (for local hauling) with under inflated 8 inch Chinese made tires that are 14 years old! Had no idea tires only last 7 years until we read it on this forum. Now, we're scared enough we'll replace the tires before using it again, but without the interwebs, we'd've never known. :oops:

BTW, repacked the bearings myself when I first put the trailer together and haven't touched them since. Well, actually I did touch them after every use, and they were always cool (one more than the other--consistently). Just wish I could remember how I knew how to pack them!

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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby stcyrwm » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:34 pm

Love this. So many problems we didn't know were problems :lol: :lol: :lol:

Appreciate you sharing your actual experience..

Bill


Toytaco2 wrote:I've fought the mental battle over tire size for years and posted questions more than once about the small 12 inch tires on my TD. In my mind, the bigger tires make sense, but, my experience hasn’t shown the smaller tires to be a huge problem. My current 12 inch tires have an 81mph rating. Back in the 80's, before internet wisdom was established, I pulled a tent camper with 12 inch tires many miles over highway, dirt roads, and deer lease “would be” roads with no problems or internet created worries. I guess I just I didn’t know it was a problem.

OTH, the bigger tires do continue to make sense, especially if you want brakes or travel Rocky Mountain “Jeep Roads”. I’ll probably never stop worrying about the smaller tires now.


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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Squigie » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:26 pm

saywhatthat wrote:What the hell smaller tires are made to run fine at freeway speeds The rest is just crap About smaller tires make bearing run hot just crap. sound good on the web late 70 and 80. 12''and 13'' tires is what foreign cars came with. That where heavier than any trailer here. Beam load spring pad to hub can bend if to big of tire weight. Heavier wheels and tires can mess up bearings.That why many go to the 3500 lbs axle for the bigger bearing. I wish people would stop telling the web lie about small tires . Before some fool believe this lie buts bigger wheels and tires and kills someone. Tent trailers run 8,, 10 '' fine .stop with the BS lie

Yea, Tent trailers run little tires just fine - bouncing down the road like a buckboard on a lava flow. :ok:

They do fantastically on roads with foot-deep ruts, as well - the axle takes the load, giving the little tires a short break, while scraping everything in the center and pushing the debris into the ruts, slightly decreasing the required ground clearance for the return trip. :ok:

Just fine...
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Socal Tom » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:50 pm

Cons of bigger tire:
They cost more
They raise the trailer higher, so counters etc may not be at optimal height
They weigh more, so it will have some negative impact on gas mileage


Pros of bigger tire:
The are designed to carry more weight, so there you have a bigger "safety margin"
They will ride smoother, if they are properly inflated
If you match the TV tire size, you don't need a spare
if you go big enough you can get radials, which will ride even smoother
They are more likely to be available "off the rack" at a tire store, vs tiny trailer tires which can be special order
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby stcyrwm » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:16 pm

Hey All,

Just wanted to thank you for the feedback. It helps to hear different perspectives and get educated in different ways. I am going to start with doing and over under kit to lower the axle and then probably going to go with 13" tires. Don't really have the cash for new axle and 5 lug larger tire anyway so this seems like a reasonable comnpromise. I may also do the lift and then take it out a couple times on the 10" wheels and see how it is for myself before I get the new tires...

Thanks again - especially those that shared their own experinces!
Bill
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Re: Pros and Cons of Bigger Tires?

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:53 am

stcyrwm wrote:Hey All,

Just wanted to thank you for the feedback. It helps to hear different perspectives and get educated in different ways. I am going to start with doing and over under kit to lower the axle and then probably going to go with 13" tires. Don't really have the cash for new axle and 5 lug larger tire anyway so this seems like a reasonable comnpromise. I may also do the lift and then take it out a couple times on the 10" wheels and see how it is for myself before I get the new tires...

Thanks again - especially those that shared their own experinces!
Bill

fFWIW I originally intednded to up size my 13 inch tires, after moving the springs above the axles, I found I had the same ground clearance as my Jeep. I’ve hauled it a lot of places that was with 13 inch tires just fine.
An example. https://youtu.be/mRjktdd2CTw
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