Thursday, October 18, 2018

Fall Break - Day 7: Tire Blowouts enroute to Colorado

Thursday, Oct 18

Quite the day.

We left Bryce Canyon National Park and through what seems a pretty circuitous route, which included cows on the road, ice and snow at a couple of pass summits, ended up heading east on the I-70 Super Slab.

Icy Summit Road Conditions
photo by Martha

At 1452hrs MTN, we heard a loud bang and repeated banging noises shortly after passing exit 204 on eastbound I-70....the TPMS system alarm went off shortly after the bang and I rapidly pulled over to the shoulder of the highway.

A quick look determined the passenger side, rear inner tire had come apart and shredded parts of itself.  The outer tire seemed OK and had allowed me to pull over in a controller manner.

A call to Good Sam Road Assistance and a dispatch was on the way to help put the spare tire in place of the shredded tire.  (Luckily, no damage to underside of the coach).

As I removed the hubcap, I noticed the air stem hanging loosely for the tire that still held air.  A light pull and the damn thing came off in my hand and the outer rear passenger tire deflated as well!

I called Good Sam Road Assistance back and advised them it was two tires now and that I needed two tires instead of just assistance with putting the spare tire on.

Got a call back from an outfit called TireTransport who arranged for a tech from Green River, UT to come out.  Shortly before 5PM.  the tech arrived, with the new tires and he started to work.

As I watched I realized the futility of even carrying a 5 ton bottle jack with me, no way it would have been up to the task.  Cade, the tech, told me the 20 ton jacks available at NAPA struggle to raise RVs.  Sigh.

Making it look easy, Cade used what looked like a big sledge hammer with an angled tip to break the bead on the old tires, used large tire irons (figure at least five ft in length) to pry the old rubber off and put the new rubber on along with new air stems.  He made it look easy but am sure the sweat I saw him work up even in the cool afternoon air was not fake.

As he was finishing mounting the tires, another tech shows up, this one from Moab and said he was there to help put my spare tire on!  Some kind of SNAFU at Good Sam level I figured.  I think it was caused by my calling the option (I have a spare) for the first call, then choosing (I don't have a spare) for the second call resulted in the double dispatch.

Felt bad for the second guy but he said, no worries, he was already paid by Good Sam.

I kept the old tires, hoping to get some prorated refund as they had a warranty from Les Schwab, as the outer basically suffered a torn air stem, I'm thinking it might make a good spare tire as I rotate the existing spare into production.

So, the cost of two new Michelin tires, and labor to install them later, we were back on the road shortly after 6PM.

We drove the few miles to the Colorado border and setup camp in the Rabbit Valley BLM site I'd used before.  We did manage to catch the last of a nice sunset as I parked the URRV:

So, I guess we got a pretty good spot for the blowouts...not on an icy summit or among a herd of cows!  Good signal to call for help, good weather, and no major issues.

Looks like I'll be replacing the other tires on the URRV soon just to keep everything about the same even though the remaining tires do pass the penny test for now, but barely.

On another plus note, we'd obtained replacement spark plugs for the Honda generator at Green River, UT and the generator is happily working away as I type this.  Still going to buy a new one from Harbor Freight soon as it goes on sale though.

Beer Time.

Friday, OCT 19....we drove home on I-70, under good weather and no issues except for work crap.  

Thanks for following along, I see new tires all around for Uma the URRV and the trailer too.


RichardM said...

Two tires at once! But at least you were able to get to the side of the road safely. Was there any speculation on why the tread separated? Glad to hear that you are both safe! When I saw your premature post title appear yesterday, we were wondering if it was the RV or the Ural.

redlegsrides said...

Yep, RichardM, two tires. The inner one separated (tire guy thinks perhaps I ran over something which caused a slash) and it blew. The outer tire stayed full of air allowing a safe and easy pullover. I then noticed the air stem on the tire that stayed full was hanging loosely....pulled at it and it came off, letting all the air out of the second tire!

So, theoretically, I could have kept that second tire, had a new valve stem instead and reuse it.

The safety oriented part of me decided instead to replace both the tires on the road. Then I replaced all the others and the spare (ten years old) today at the local Les Schwab (great service). Even replaced the trailer tires which were definitely needing replacement. The tire guys said the remaining tires were "not bad" but that didn't seem like a ringing endorsement to me.

Now I have 2018 tires all around. Pricey but I'm still employed for now.

SonjaM said...

Thankfully you could pull over safely. I have once seen a trailer turning upside down just a few cars in front of me due to a tire blow out (happened on a crowded German Autobahn, you can imagine the mayhem...).

The Good Sam service speaks for itself. Better sending two than no-one, eh?

Beautiful final pics, Dom. I thoroughly enjoyed your trip through known-to-me territory. Thanks for the memories.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks SonjaM, we were indeed lucky....I really don’t want to know how that RV would handle had both tires blown at the same time!