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Old 11-03-2019, 10:54 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
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Tires

I’m looking at buying a bus, actually I was ready to buy the bus. I asked for the date stamp several times and seller tried to avoid it. He finally gave them to me, and they’re 10-11yrs old. 2008 on front and 2010 on back. The bus is a 2001 with only 111,500 miles on it. We plan to travel quite a lot, probably 9000 miles, next summer. I know about vehicle and camper tires, but only know the cost of bus tires. Please help.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:10 AM   #2
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Many of the members here will suggest replacing tires due to age. Personally, if I didn't see any deterioration, I'd drive on 'em myself, but I'm also prepared for a roadside tire failure and I tend to check things often when I travel.


As far as tires go, you get what you pay for. Some folks have had reasonably good luck with Chinese El Cheapo tires, others will avoid them entirely. You can spend as much as you want on tires but I'd look for moderate price range tires myself. Believe it or not, truck stops often have very competitive prices on tires, but it pays to shop around if you want to save money. Steer tires are generally similar designs, drive tires can be either "street" treads, or something a bit more aggressive. On a single rear axle I prefer more aggressive open-shoulder treads, on tandem rears the closed-shoulder treads will get less wear on the tread edges (the shoulder). Your choice here should reflect the driving you intend to do. Planning on highway only, never any dirt or grass? Street tires will ride smooth and quiet but may leave you stuck on wet grass. Otherwise get something a little more aggressive.



Most shops will want to replace valve stems with the tires. Let 'em, because the rubber seal and internal seals deteriorate with age and will eventually begin to leak (this is the reason most will give, and they're not wrong.)
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:07 AM   #3
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Brad pretty much nailed it.. I dont go by age I look for the beginning of weather cracks in tires..



if tire sidewalls have been "curbed" alot they will crack much faster than someone who takes care of their tires and doesnt scrape curbs.. a lot of RV owners put covers over their tires to keep the sun off of them while parked, if the bus you are looking at was stored in a lot where it was either under a roof or parked in an area where the sun didnt get to the tires they can easily outlast the date ...


if you buy tires have the tire shop install extended valve stems on the rears and 'J' shaped ones on the outer dual so you have easy access without crawling between the tires to check the air.. checking the air regularly is important.. low tires are one of the easiest ways to blow a tire or have a less than desirable driveability in a heavy vehicle..
-Christopher
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:27 PM   #4
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Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12V Mechanical/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: Blue-Bird says 72 pass.
I am also looking at tires. I knew when I bought it that the tires on my bus were too good to be true and would turn out to be past the best before date. But I fell in love with that bus so much that I didn't look at the date codes on the tires before I bought it. I was hoping that I could buy a new pair of steer tires and get by with the rear tires that are on there. After all they're Bridgestones, all apparently made in the US except one front from Thailand, and they have no visible cracks on the sidewalls that I can see, plus the tread grooves on the rears are about an inch deep.

When I finally looked at the codes I found that the front tires are slightly newer than the rear, they're only 14 years old, whereas the rear tires that I can read the codes on easily are pushing 16. In one way this is good news, because it suggests the odometer reading of just over 90,000 is probably accurate. But in another way it's not good news at all. I have to move this thing in a few months, and my cash flow is already tapped to the max, so spending 2000 on tires soon is not really possible.

I will have money for tires next year, but not this year. So, I am now leaning back to my idea of just replacing the 2 in the front as soon as I can, and keeping the 4 in the rear for a few months of limited, local use, no freeways.

But I don't know if this will work in the real world. For example, maybe I will have trouble finding someone who will install new front tires without looking at the back tires closely enough to see the 16-year-old date codes. Another concern is that my bus will get impounded or something. I have no idea how vigorously these date codes are enforced. So I thought I should run my dilemma by people here on the forum and see what people have to say. Thanks in advance


[Edit] Some questions about tire sizes: There's a Bluebird tag with axle and tire specs. Bluebird says 275/80R 22.5, but what's on the bus now are all 290/75R 22.5.

So my first question is which one of these is bigger and does anyone know how much that will affect the accuracy of the speedometer? My second question is what would the rationale be for choosing between these 2 sizes? Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:48 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I plan on being on all kinds of terrain; mountains, beaches, desert,etc. The bus was sitting out in the sun on the mans land, undriven for quite a while. In fact, the bus hasn’t been registered in 3yrs so I’d guess he hasn’t really driven it. He also never changed the title to his name, so I’d be stuck paying back fees for it not being transferred over. I’m 9-10hrs away so I can only guess from the pics what the tires actually look like.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:57 PM   #6
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Rated Cap: Blue-Bird says 72 pass.
Well, it sounds like you're going to get a chance to find out how badly he wants to sell it, by offering him quite a bit less than he is asking. And hopefully you will find out what else he's hiding.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:53 PM   #7
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See if the mileage can be verified. Normally a low mileage bus is an indication that the speedo has been replaced, a VERY common failure on buses. Typically a bus see's 10k miles a year, an 01 would be close to 180K. It is a common issue that is seldom revealed at time of sale. The 05 I just picked up was very well maintained and has 175K.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gs1949 View Post
.... I will have money for tires next year, but not this year. So, I am now leaning back to my idea of just replacing the 2 in the front as soon as I can, and keeping the 4 in the rear for a few months of limited, local use, no freeways.

But I don't know if this will work in the real world. For example, maybe I will have trouble finding someone who will install new front tires without looking at the back tires closely enough to see the 16-year-old date codes. Another concern is that my bus will get impounded or something. I have no idea how vigorously these date codes are enforced. So I thought I should run my dilemma by people here on the forum and see what people have to say. Thanks in advance


[Edit] Some questions about tire sizes: There's a Bluebird tag with axle and tire specs. Bluebird says 275/80R 22.5, but what's on the bus now are all 290/75R 22.5.

So my first question is which one of these is bigger and does anyone know how much that will affect the accuracy of the speedometer? My second question is what would the rationale be for choosing between these 2 sizes? Thanks.

If all you're going to do is drive it home, then just stay in town with it, then I'd just run on the existing tires. Wouldn't even bother with the steer tires as long as they have plenty of tread and no visible problems.


I have *NEVER* had anyone except a tire dealer check date codes (and that was mostly to determine if they could be recapped), most cops only check to see if the tires have tread and look safe to drive on. There's no laws regarding age (that I am aware of), mostly just guidelines.


As for your tire sizes, those are both "Lo-Pro" (Low Profile) 22.5's and are very close in diameter; the tread being a little wider on the 290's. I doubt that would affect the speedometer accuracy in any measurable way. The rationale between choice? Most likely whatever was available or 'on sale' when it last needed tires.


EDIT: Tire size is Tread-width in MM/Aspect Ratio (%-age)(R denotes Radial) Wheel Diameter in Inches. As such, 275mm Tread Width, Tire Aspect ("height" from rim to tread) 80% (of 275 mm, which is 220 mm) on a 22.5" rim. Converting 440 mm (remember, there's 220 mm on both the top and bottom of the rim, so double this) to inches we get 17.32, add the 22.5 wheel size for an overall height of ~39.82" (typically 40").


2nd Edit - Apparently according to Toyo Tires, the 275/80R22.5 is a European size designation, and according to their chart it is only ever so slightly larger than the 10R22.5 (but with a wider width, has a higher weight capacity).


https://www.toyotires.ca/sites/defau...ison_Pg_25.pdf
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:07 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I’m not going to just drive it home. I’ll be traveling about 9000 miles, stated above, as soon as the build is done, so I need tires that I don’t have to worry about. My dad used to work for firestone for many years. He said he wouldn’t pay that price with tires that old on it. Especially since I’ll be traveling quite a lot. I’ll be traveling 4 full months of every year. If I was just going to live it in one place I wouldn’t have asked.
I’d also be driving it 10hrs home.
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:50 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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I'm not saying to drive on those tires indefinitely, but I personally would be willing to make the trip home on them, if they looked OK. Now if I saw enough deterioration, then yeah, off they come, even decent used ones would suffice in the interim if budget is a concern.
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:53 PM   #11
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I just drove these 2700 miles, didn't think they looked thid short before I left, maybe they weren't. Looks like I'll be dealing that extra set of tires on this bus sale.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:11 PM   #12
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I already drove home on mine, but that was 3 hours not 10, and I certainly wish you luck on that.

After my drive home I can still see no obvious deterioriation, so I'll have a better look just to be sure and then I'll do what I have to do. And get 6 new tires before I go very far.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Most shops will want to replace valve stems with the tires. Let 'em, because the rubber seal and internal seals deteriorate with age and will eventually begin to leak (this is the reason most will give, and they're not wrong.)
Absolutely get your valve stems changed with every tire change. I've had to replace several bus tires at my work recently because of bad valve stems. Last week alone I found 4 tires with bad valve stems completely flat, one of which had clearly been just replaced on the road after the last one came apart. Rather be safe than sorry on the side of the road.
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