Not happy with nitrogen inflated tyres.

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:12
ThreadID: 95104 Views:5699 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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Picked up a new Jayco van from Mildura, and noticed the green valve caps.

I was told that Jayco now inflate the tyres on their new vans with nitrogen.

The van was towed home empty, and sat in the driveway for a couple of weeks whilst I set it up for a quick trial run. As I was departing home my neighbour came over, and looking at the tyres said that they appeared to be down. The van had the usual collection of unnecessary junk installed, full water tanks & 2 x 9 kg gas bottles, and a bit of tucker and some clobber.

O.K. I had a look and did a quick pressure check, both tyres around 35 PSI, so I cleared out. I got down the road into S.A. and stopped at a rest area to give the dogs a run and on checking the van I saw that the nearside tyre looked like it was going down. So, after a lot of sweating, bashing at flies and knocking skin off my knuckles, I got the spare off, and changed the tyre. When I eased the jack off it too looked deflated. A check reveal a similar reading to that seen previously.

So I got my 12v air pump out and pumped it up to 45 PSI, and did the same with the offside tyre. Since then no problems.

What's the setup with nitrogen inflated tyres. When they get hot, which they did on that day as it was a shocker, does the gas contract or go through some alteration? I don't know as it's a long time since I did science at school.

Anyway, in future I'm going to use the time tested method of keeping the tyres on my vehicles inflated, with air.

And...gees I hate people who feel it obligatory to tighten wheel nuts up to the point that they are almost impossible to ease off. If that person had appeared at the scene I would have strangled him/her.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:24

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:24
I know a few years back Bob Jane tyres were really pushing the Nitrogen and they told me that the main advantage was that the gas does not heat up as much. The tyre expert said this means less heat in the tyre, therefore less friction, less tyre wear. I never really found any difference and did not think it was worth the bother. Maybe if we were on a race track doing a zillion kilometres per hour? Do not understand why it would make much difference in van tyres. Plus the fact in a van you would be travelling and it would be harder to top the gas up. Kevin
AnswerID: 483983

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:46

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:46
Cant coment on the gas.
In regards to getting the tyre off...
I have always carried a breaker bar or now a extendable tyre spanner. Cost $20 from Repco. Will never get caught out.

AnswerID: 483987

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:54

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 08:54

There's a pretty comprehensive report here about the benefits (if any) of using nitrogen in tyres. Personally, I see no significant advantage in doing so in our sort of application - I'll stay with the nitrogen/oxygen mix we can breath.

Nuts - Know what you mean about undoing nuts that have been tightened using power tools. Once upon a time when I was far younger and lacking critical experience I had a 4 ton truck. When I came to remove a wheel I found just how tight those nuts could be. Had to extend the the handle on the tool using a length of water pipe and jump on the extended handle to move those nuts. They were so tight that I even started braking the studs off!

This was before I learned that on one side of the vehicle the wheel nuts were left hand threaded!


J and V
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AnswerID: 483988

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:28

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:28
A good chuckle going on here John

A length of pipe was standard issue for Army truck tool kits. For just the reason that you mentioned.

FollowupID: 759253

Reply By: Roughasguts - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:03

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:03
If you look at a kids Helium baloon it goes flat in less than a day! compared to a balloon filled with Air!

And wait for it Nitrogen is less viscous than Helium so you would think it would go flat quite quickly compared to air!.

So maybe there lies the problem.

AnswerID: 483989

Follow Up By: Yabbo - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:08

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:08
Helium baloons go down because helium is a very small molecule consisting of only one atom (the second smallest atom after hydrogen) and it leaks out through the rubber.
FollowupID: 759255

Reply By: Bill BD - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:05

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:05
Don't know why it deflated... gas expands when heated, never contracts.

Wheel nuts - grrrrrr.
AnswerID: 483990

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:09

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:09
That's why they use nitrogen, it's not supposed to get hot with use.
FollowupID: 759251

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:07

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:07
If you want a bit of light reading reference nitrogen in caravan tyres have a look at Caravaners Forum

With tight wheel nuts, I have a 12v electric 'rattle gun' which makes it easy to undo the nuts. I use a tension wrench to do them up. After a service and before a trip I undo and re-tighten the nuts so I don't get caught out on the road. I do that to both the tug and van.
AnswerID: 483991

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:32

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 09:32
We also carry the 12V "rattle" gun. But we use it to tighten them as well. Stop at the first "rattle" on the last go around. That way we can still use the standard wheel nut lever in the car.

FollowupID: 759254

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:02

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:02
Had a good chuckle at some of the Caravanners Forum comments in the link put up by Rod.
Karl on that forum has nailed it exactly. With racing, and with aviation, using pure nitrogen in tyres has measureable, and often important benefits. Removing an oxygen supply assists with a reduction in fire potential.

For caravans, using nitrogen in tyres is unnecessary and merely sales hype. As Karl says, air is nearly 80% nitrogen anyway, so, a 20% increase in the niitrogen level, for caravan use, has barely-measureable benefit.

I suspect perhaps the tyres the caravan manufacturers are using, may be borderline in load capacity (a common problem) - and by using nitrogen, they're hoping that their marginal tyres will last, until the warranty runs out.

Richard - The alternative to excessively tight nuts is loose ones, and that can be a nasty experience. Been in a car where a wheel fell off because someone never tightened the nuts.
The problem with excessively tight nuts, though, is the potential for wheel stud fracture.

Wheel studs are high tensile, and high tensile fasteners are heat treated and rely on a set amount of stretch created by correct torque application (or "elastic deformation" as the engineers call it), to keep a certain amount of pressure on the item to be retained in position.

Once a high tensile stud is stretched beyond its elastic deformation limits, the stud will fracture. That fracture may not be readily visible, but a fractured wheel stud will break without warning when a load peak is applied, in circumstances such as cornering.
Thus, it's fairly critical to ensure that correct torque is applied to wheel nuts.

I shudder when I see people using rattle guns on wheel nuts, with no final hand torque check - and I always re-check wheel nuts after a tyre shop has done them.

A rattle gun isn't a device that can supply a set torque range, the torque output varies according to rattle gun lube, air pressure to the gun, and the torque setting adjustment screw. They're handy tools, but you never rely on them to set final torques.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 483994

Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 14:38

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 14:38
Someone with a bit of what was known in the Navy as CDF. Well said Ron.
FollowupID: 759638

Reply By: get outmore - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 11:35

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 11:35
Might I suggest your issues were incidental to whatever the tyres were filled with and were probablly low right from the start

i actually doubt you even had nitrogen in the tyres - sounds like salesman BS to me

plenty of people for many years using air in the tyres with good results

i notice airplane tyres state nitrogen only whkich could make sense if its less prone to pressure changes

- but your not looking to take off i gather

Nitrogen has theoretical advantages but im sure in the real world no one would notice a difference to a normal user
AnswerID: 484002

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 13:06

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 13:06
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the feedback, I'm getting my Jayco in a few months. Cant comment on the Nitrogen but I always undo then retighten wheel nuts on all my cars trailers ect. You never know if they are tight enough or not tight enough.

I'd rather be doin it at home in the shed then on the side of the road with kids screaming prob in 40 degrees heat, flies and the bride going off her tree.

I learnt the hard way but it works.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 484014

Reply By: J & Me - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 14:52

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 14:52
I am so glad I have J with me.

The first thing he did after arriving home with our new Jayco was make sure he could remove the wheels then checked the wheel bearings for grease & adjustment.

Running nitrogen when travelling in the bush is not practical.

Hope you have better luck next trip.

AnswerID: 484025

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 23:03

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 23:03
nitrogen aside, what does the van weigh loaded ( don't guess weigh it).
And what do the load V preasure tables say that the tires fitted should be inflated to.

You simply cant trust people to correctly inflate tires for you or to even recommend correct preasures.

As for the wheel nuts......I never trust anybody else to tighten my wheel nuts, as soon as a vehicle comes back from a tyre shop, I loosen and retighten the wheen nuts.....I don't want to get caught.

AnswerID: 484088

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