Tyre deflation issue on Gunbarrel - advice

Submitted: Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 08:47
ThreadID: 130867 Views:3198 Replies:17 FollowUps:14
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I recently returned from a 4 week trip on the ABH, CS and Gunbarrel highways.

I didn't have any issues until the last section on the Gunbarrel where I got 2 punctures on the camper. Can anyone help me explain why I was getting these punctures.

They were all on the camper and MT ATZ 4 Rib.
All were on the side wall and very slow leaks.
I could only see the small hole on the sidewall after close inspection ( using soapy water)
There was no sign of a leak till I stopped at the end of the day then within minutes the TPMS would alert. Even stopping for lunch didn't show up a leak.

The tyres are about 6 years old and have been on the camper for the last 3 years. I use the camper about every 3 - 4 months.

It "looked" like the punctures were very small cracks on the outside.

I repaired one with a patch and one with plugs to get home. They still leaked slowly, especially when stopped.

Were my tyres too old and damaged by sitting on the one spot when the camper was parked up?

Any idea why I got 2 punctures that had exactly the same symptoms.


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Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 09:26

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 09:26
I know nothing about tyres, other than you need them to get some where, but from what you have said "tyres are 6 years old" and "looked like the punctures were very small cracks" i would say the tyres are starting to perish.
baz
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:05

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:05
Classis symptoms of tyres too old and past their use-by date. Í think I've read somewhere that after 4 years you should consider disposal. You did well to get 6.

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Follow Up By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 11:00

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 11:00
I wonder whether the 4, 5 or 6 year age thing is the tyre dealers way of making sales.
Some time ago I read on the BFG US website that 10 years is the recommended age limit.
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Follow Up By: Member - WBS - Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 at 23:15

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 at 23:15
That's good to know Ross. I had a set of BFG AT/KO's on my 4WD for 8 years and around 60,000km when I sold the vehicle. There was still had plenty tread left when sold. I never got one puncture ever and it wasn't all highway driving either. I was very careful with the right tyre pressure for the road surface I was traveling on.

My theory is that if a tyre sits for a long time (even under cover) without use they can go off but if they keep rolling they won't perish as quickly? Just my theory though.

WBS
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Reply By: garri - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:29

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:29
Hi Boobook
i travell in the area.
On the gunbarrell east of Carnegie i drove over some very sharp shale almost like broken tiles,i wast was only a few feet of this.i immediately got a pucture,and while changing it i noticed the other tyre was hissing.2 punctures at the same time is unusual.
could have been this,especially as when its been graded it can be worse.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 11:00

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 11:00
Thanks I did forget to mention that the punctures were 2 days apart. And could not find anything in the holes. Could be this though.
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 12:40

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 12:40
Tyre will deteriorate with age. They become brittle and crack. This is especially if you live in a hot climate like I do in the top end. I do not expect to get more then 5 years out of a tyre. When you buy a tyre check the date of manufacture. Sometimes they may be stored with the dealer and the 5 years is from the date of manufacture, not date of purchase.
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 13:41

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 13:41
Agree with the Above 592625.
Also some type of silicon is also used in the tyre and this also deteriates after time so for most of us 5 years is about the safe limit to use them.
If you buy new tyres they can be stored in a shed in the dark to help season them ready for use after about 6 months, this lets the rubber harden to some extent and adds some extra k's of use when used on the daily driver.
However the above is not so for cross ply or rag tyres as they are known.

I change My van tyres every 5 years regardless of how much tread is left.
Rather pay for new tyres than the resultant mess from a blowout.

This is what I have read and have practised for years without problem.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 14:17

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 14:17
You sound a bit bewildered as to why it happened well having low km on them is irrelevant you could buy a new set leave them in the shed for 6 yrs or so then fit them and they will be at a high risk of getting punctured etc because they are perishing with age. So it's just one of those expenses you have to live with if you want to increase your chances of get back safely when travelling off road.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 14:56

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 14:56
I've had the same thing happen twice before following multiple trips on the Gunbarrel and Anne Beadell highways. Took one to a tyre dealer back home and they couldn't find any source for the leak inside the casing, so simply put a tube in it. That tyre was a D694, about 6 years old and had done about 70,000k but still had plenty of tread. Second example was an MTR which subsequently developed a slight bulge so it was assumed to have delaminated, so was scrapped after 45000k.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:01

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:01
Thi Boobook

Just off topic.....how did you find those charming corrugations north of Neale Junction on the CS.?

I can not believe how bad they have become within 4 years and I now believe worse that the ones east of Emu on the Anne Beadel.



Cheers




Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:17

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:17
Yes there were parts that were great and many others where the corrugations were awful. Thank god for the side tracks that have been made in many areas.

Strange, it is ok for 20km then really bad for 10km, then ok again etc.No speed or tyre pressure seemed to help much. Just grin and bear it.

I had a couple of minor issues in this section including the cable to my fridge jamming it's self under a bracket and shorting. Took me 2 days to find as I replaced the fuse and all was good till the next days driving. I thought it was the corrugations breaking the fuse first time. It was definitely punishing to everything.

They kind of put a bit of a dampener on the CS which we enjoyed otherwise.

My favorite bits of our trip were definitely Kingoonya to Watson, a fantastic drive with beautiful camp spots, Maralinga, the trip to Emu and into Aboriginal SH, the whole AB, then through the APY lands, what an underused and absolutely stunning area, I'd go back there in a heartbeat if I am ever lucky enough to get a permit again. A cop told me that we were about the 8th genuine tourist group he had seen in over a year!

Have you heard about the changes wrt Robin at Maralinga btw?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 19:45

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 19:45
Hi Boobook

Great to hear that you had a great trip. What part of the APY Lands did you travel through. We were through there years ago the full length from the Stuart Highway all the way to Giles. I still contacts up there and we did not have a Tourist Permit, but as it was call.... "A Family Visit Permit"....lol

My contact at Ceduna has told me that there was or will be a new Manager appointed for Maralinga and Robin will be only doing the Tourist venture.

Is my contact correct , as I have I left dozens of phone messages and emails and have never herd back from Robin.



Cheers


Stephen

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 20:00

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 20:00
Yes, the new manager has been chosen and starts about now I think.

I understand Robin is doing the tours and has to move out of the hospital.

I would get in quick if I wanted to get an interesting tour. I am not sure how long it will last.
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Reply By: Injected - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:21

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:21
Hi Boobook
Could it have been from stone impact? I had a similar issue where the tow rig was throwing up stones and they were impacting on the face of the tyre on trailer.
I had this on the Oodnadatta track when I didn't have adequate stone protection.
This can also account for why your rear tyres get more punctures than fronts. Front tyres can be succeptable to flats as they are the first to run over things.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 16:12

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 16:12
Sure as hell sounds like general carcase deterioration. It might just be that the reasonable service life for those particular MT's is up. As an example, I'm doing annual hub maintenance on my van at present.....the 265 x 16 BFG AT tires would have to have been manufactured 7 years back, minimum - they've done about 65k (maybe 10k on gravel). On the first wheel I just took off and cleaned thoroughly, the tyre overall shows no rubber deterioration at all...just tread loss. I'm paying close attention, because some Cooper AT's that I took off my 100 series a few years back (6 years service) had 30% tread remaining, but small cracks were appearing all over the place (and chipping badly too). Probably a bit of a lottery - I went Cooper ST for my second set on the car and they were great. Even with BFG, they have two different manufacturing plants....maybe that matters. And while softer tyres grip better, but wear sooner, harder tyres last but crack and chip sooner (I'm told). Seems Mickey is owned / made by Coopers anyway.....and Cooper have lots of manufacturing plants worldwide......Michelin own BFG (tires only) too.....sigh.
AnswerID: 592636

Reply By: RobAck - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 18:35

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 18:35
Across the tyre industry there is a general rule that tyre from 5 years onwards are not for sale and should be scrapped. This is simply as previously described tyres get old and fracture. The comment about putting tyres in the shed for curing is not correct with regard to modern rubbery and composite compounds. Modern tyres actually don't have a lot of what folk would call "rubber" in them these days. They are a chemical cocktail with composite fibres and stainless steel wires and glues moulded together to form the tyre. This link explains the issues https://www.jaxtyres.com.au/tyre-age.

The matter of tyre age is particularly important when considering spare tyres which are rarely rotated and so never get any use so prematurely expire. Hence it is a good idea to rotate all five tyres

Rob
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 21:35

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 21:35
What speed / pressure / loads were the tyres subjected to?
Could well be sidewall break down from excessive heat due to too high a speed/too low a pressure. This can wreck any tyre in very quick time.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 07:17

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 07:17
Yep should have mentioned the pressures. Good point.

I generally had between 20 and 28 PSI in the trailer, depending on the track which varied a lot. Our speed was between 25 and 60 - 70 kmph on these sections most of the time. I doubt this was the issue, I have done quite a bit of desert driving, have a TPMS and constantly check the pressures. Also we weren't in a hurry, doing 40 - 150km per day. Every time I stop I also check the tyre and Shocker temps with an IR thermometer. The tyres never got above about 55 and the shockers never got over about 85 degrees.

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Reply By: 671 - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 23:50

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 23:50
Boobook
I had the same thoughts as Peter, what speed were you traveling at? I think that is more often than not the cause of many punctures, not tyre age.

I drove over that section of the Gunbarrell two years ago on tyres that were eight years old without any problems. I still have them and they will be back in the bush again tomorrow. We were driving at very low speeds though. I have spent many a day on steep and very rough rock covered mountain tracks at not much more than walking speed. You don't have any choice in those conditions but I can do it all day on desert tracks as well if I have to. It all depends on the conditions.

I have heard many people say it is harder to burst a deflated balloon with a pin than it is to burst a fully inflated one. This is usually given as the main reason for deflating tyres on Outback roads or tracks. That may be true but try puncturing a tyre with a pointed rifle bullet by holding the bullet and stabbing the tyre by hand. You would have no hope but the bullet would pass through easily if you fired it out of a gun. The only difference is it is traveling much faster. I think the same applies to driving over sharp rocks at high speeds.

I have only destroyed old tyres once and that was on a trailer. I built a motorcycle trailer in WA in 1973 with second hand Mini wheels and tyres. I towed it back to Sydney over a then unsealed 400 or so kilometre section of the Eyre Hwy.

I then added a bolt on 6x4 steel box and used it regularly. I blew both tyres with the trailer overloaded on the Hume Hwy near Bowral south of Sydney in 1989. The tyres may have been close to twenty years old.

The now ten year old tyres on my 4x4 are standard size 205 x16 LT. The pressures listed in the owner's hand book are so low that I do not deflate them no matter where I go. If I had a bigger car like a Cruiser or Patrol, I would be using a 7.50 x16 and would use them the same way. These tyres have the added advantage of missing a lot of rocks or pieces of wood that would penetrate the sidewall of many of the popular wider tyres.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 07:19

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 07:19
Please see my follow up above, I ruled out this as a cause due tot he care I took in pressures and speeds.
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 01:12

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 01:12
Boobook - You fail to state your tyre pressures at the time. If you were running low pressures to reduce shock and damage to the camper, it's likely that the tyre sidewalls are bulging excessively, and sharp flinty rocks or pieces of bush timber have almost, but not quite, totally penetrated the sidewall.

Wood from bushes and trees in the interior is very hard, almost like steel, when sun-dried. Pieces of broken wood get pulled into the road formation with graders, and you can get tyre stakes from this wood, particularly after grading.

On roads and tracks that are rarely graded, sticks from trees and bushes at the track edge that are hit by passing vehicles, leave hardened pieces of wood on the wheel tracks, that make good tyre stakes.
These broken sticks flick up when the vehicle passes over them, and the camper or trailer tyres meet a sharp projection that is angled towards the tyre, and a tyre stake is the result.

All tyre manufacturers have recommended minimum inflation pressures, and they should not be disregarded - despite many 4WD'ers saying you must deflate tyres to low pressures on corrugated roads, to improve the ride.

I'd have to say the rock or stake damage has been enough to tear the rubber, but not fully penetrate the tyre, resulting in a tiny hole that is now leaking.

Despite tyre manufacturers recommending 6 yrs as the life of modern tyres, most tyres will perform satisfactorily for 10 and even 12 years, provided they are not in the harsh sun constantly.

Manufacturers have to set a limit on tyre life - and of course, they are going to err on the lower age limit side, simply because they want you to scrap perfectly good tyres and buy new ones!

They have no way of knowing the conditions the tyres are used under, so they have to adopt "worst-case scenarios" (i.e. - in the hot sun constantly, regularly run at wrong pressures, overloaded and generally abused), to set the tyres recommended life.
I have even seen tyre dealers telling people that they needed to scrap low-age tyres that had 30% tread left, as the tyres no longer had the same grip as new ones!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 07:58

Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 07:58
Best reply out of the lot. After 25 years in the tyre industry , one thing I would say to buyers was , the wrong stick,rock,nail will put a hole in any tyre old,new,expensive or cheap.
Cheers
Robbo
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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 03:00

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 03:00
Have to agree, the most elusive and baffling slow leaks in a tyres sidewall are, from my experience, from splintered hard wood fragments.
My first thought when I read the post.
Kerry W (Qld)
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Reply By: Member - Ian T6 - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 01:12

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 01:12
This has caused me distress since I have just realized my caravan tyres must m
Be 10 years old.
Never thought about this, guess I should get some new ones.

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 10:31

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 10:31
I don't believe Michelin place any age restrictions on their tyres.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:42

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:42
Peter, in the article linked below, the recommended tyre age limit for Michelin is 10 years - in line with all other brands.

I have 8.25x16 Michelins on a 5 tonne truck that are somewhere around 23 years old, and they are still performing quite satisfactorily - however, they are developing fine surface cracking from age.

Back in the days when truck tyres were regularly recapped, and with Bandag recaps in particular - the local retreaders (Bell Bros) would buff off one letter in the Michelin name, every time a tyre was Bandag recapped.

It wasn't unusual to see multiple-recapped Michelin truck tyres where only the "M" or "MI" was left in the name protrusion on the truck tyre - thus indicating the tyre had been recapped up to 6 or 7 times.

This would also indicate that the recapped truck tyre was quite likely to have been up to 15-20 years old.

Do tyres age, and when should they be replaced?

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 10:04

Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 10:04
I wonder why I have never seen that in any Michelin document directly?
They publish data on every other possible subject concerning tyres.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 08:57

Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 at 08:57
Hmm, It seems by the range of answers my problems were definitely caused by old age or not, or wrong speed or not, or wrong tyre pressure or not, or normal punctures or not.

Oh well.

Given identical failures and symptoms on different days with tine holes and absolutely no sign of something having been in the tyres, I am running with the old age theory.

Thanks everybody.

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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 03:13

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 03:13
Have had similar symptoms as yours and the tyre is not deflating noticeably until the vehicle is stationary. Often caused by small fragments of splintered wood or sticks. Usually the tyre will only deflate when a certain part of the tyre is touching the ground slightly opening the puncture. Minimal air is lost while the tyre is rotating.
It is possible that the damage occurred long before it is noticed.
Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
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Reply By: Malcom M - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:49

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:49
Ok, so now we are all going to chuck our tyres after 5 yeras.

Have you looked up your tyre manufacturers data?
Coopers are good to around 10 years age when they recommend you scrap them. I think 10 years is pretty standard and 5 years would limit sales a bit.
http://us.coopertire.com/Tire-Safety/Replacement-Tire-Guide/Tire-Service-Life.aspx

Obviously the replacement age depends on a lot of variables but arbitrarily tossing them at 5 years seems a bit silly.
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