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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Got my recall notice from Ford today.
Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 03:08:37 -0400

Andrew Eckman wrote:

> Recall on my 2000 Class A chassis.  They sent me stickers that basically
> said I'm going to blow up when I inflate my tires.  I have to inflate while
> standing 20 some feet from the tire.  Yeah, right!

I do.  Call me silly or call me experienced, having seen a truck
tire blow up (inside the safety cage, fortunately).  All ya gotta do
is get a Milton locking chuck and install it on your Milton combo
fill/pressure gauge.  Then stand to the side and fill away.  No
trouble at all and you don't have to strain the knees kneeling there
holding the chuck on the valve for several minutes.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Got my recall notice from Ford today.
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 04:27:19 -0400

Joe Lorek wrote:

> Where does one get a "Milton combo fill/pressure gauge," and how expensive might
> it be?  Please reply via email. Thanks.
> Joe

Milton's the standard brand name for compressed air stuff.  Most any
auto parts place, Northern Tools, Harbor Freight, etc stock 'em.
Fill/pressure gauge is probably $20.  Locking chuck is probably
$3-5.  Toss in another oh, $10 for some extension hose between the
gauge and chuck and you're set.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Got my recall notice from Ford today.
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 04:37:05 -0400

Andrew Eckman wrote:

> Is what you saw a "split rim" blow up?  I can understand that, but they
> don't put split rims on tese chassis.
> The morning before I got my recall, I brought my motorhome to Camping World
> to get stainless steal valve stems installed to make it easier to check and
> add air.  I kinda wondered if I should have done that when I got the recall.
> So, I called a friend of mine that works at Ford in a related department and
> they said Ford is looking at all tire issues very seriously after the
> Wilderness AT problems.  He said its more of a "legal" thing.

Yes, I saw a clincher rim wheel explode.  But consider all the other
possibilities.  There's 100 lbs for every square inch of inner
surface area at 100 PSI.  All that force is being retained by that
one little bead wire, a wire that might just have been crimped or
broken by the tire monkey when he mounted it.  Or maybe its time is
just up.  And the tire goes on a wheel that may have hidden impact
damage, fatigue cracks, failing spot welds, casting porosities and
who knows what?  A defect might not be stressed enough to fail until
you happen to stop with that part of the wheel in the wrong position
the very time you decide to put air in..

Whatever the reason, if you look around most busy truck tire stores,
the safety cage that they ALWAYS use to inflate tires after mounting
almost always shows impact damage, bending, bulging, etc. Clincher
rims have been out for what? 20 years or so?  SOMETHING is causing
an occasional tire explosion, even on 1 piece rims.

Weighing the trivial cost of a locking chuck against all the
different ways a tire/wheel combo can fail, this old boy is going to
ALWAYS stand aside while inflating a high pressure tire.  Just isn't
worth the risk.  The fellow who mans Ryder's mobile tire repair
truck in this area follows my procedure.  I figure that if it's good
enough for him, it's good enough for me!


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Factory hitch vs. add on
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 13:50:06 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 17 Sep 2006 09:27:36 -0400, HD in NY
<> wrote:

>Hunter wrote:
>>>Rick Onanian wrote:
>>>>I'll never understand why I see car drivers riding along next to a big
>>>>rig for extended distances.
>> Funny, today I was coming down I-95 and the sun was beating in my left
>> window.  Then an 18 wheeler pulled up next to me and I was in the
>> shade and thought about how nice it was.
>> Of course he pulled ahead of me, but I would have enjoyed staying next
>> to him.
>> Hunter
>Not if he had a tire on your side blow. I don't stay next to any big
>truck for long, have too much respect for the damage road gaters can
>cause. Besides, if the tire blows right next to you, it may be the
>last thing you hear and feel. The force could be enough to knock you
>off the road.

I watched something similar happen just yesterday.  I was sitting in a
truck stop taking a break and watching a tire buster change a trailer
tire. (If you want to see someone REALLY work for his wages, watch a
tire buster.  He changed the 18 wheeler tire with the rim on the hub
using a sledge hammer and tire irons!)

He had his pickup truck parked perhaps 15 feet away, convenient to
reach into the tool box for tools.  He and the trucker were standing
on the other side of the trailer as the tire inflated.  Smart dudes!
Suddenly the tire blew up.  After I shook out my drawers :-) I went
over to take a look.  The sidewall had failed (new tire, mfr defect).
No rubber came off but the blast wave caved in the door of the truck
and rocked it sharply, almost lifting the blast-side wheels.

Now imagine a ditzy blonde in her toy truck and metal tube on wheels
cruising "in the shade" next to that tire when it blows.  It wouldn't
be pretty.

People who cruise beside me are probably THE most annoying drivers out
there.  I have to think that it is simple ignorance.  The tire risk is
one thing.  The other is that the ONLY option I have to get away from
a blind spot cruiser is to slow down, a very expensive move for a big
truck.  On the interstate I'm either against the governor or nearly so
or up against gravity, running wide open.  I can't speed up to get
around the prick so I either sit there (little risk to me other than
the time wasted as the cop makes the report and they scrap up the
remains after a tire blows) or slow.  When fully loaded with nearly
80,000 lbs like I am now, it may take a mile or more to get back up to

I generally compromise, letting the idiot sit there for a mile or two
and then reluctantly, backing off a little.  It's amazing how often
the idiot will likewise back off, as if she wants to stay right there
beside that potential bomb, er, tire.  At that point I usually just
flip the cruise back on at 65, lean back and relax.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: The Mileage Miracle
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 2008 23:31:00 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 10:04:47 -0400, "Dan Listermann" <>

>Our first RV was a Toyota Dolphin.  At 110 HP, hills could be challenging.
>I got into the habit of shadowing a fast truck and when a hill approached, I
>would draft the truck.  It was enough power that I did not have to shift
>into third and become a road hazard.  Thirty feet was enough to do the job.
>More than that was very rough and closer gave me the willies.

Have you ever been behind a truck that shed a recap or blew a tire?  Thirty
feet is about a second at 60 mph.  Do you think that you can detect the
birthing of a road Gator and make an intelligent decision on how to avoid the
slithering hunk of rubber and steel in that second?

I saw a little Honda get literally blown off the interstate by a blowout on
the rear tandem of the truck ahead of me.  The little prick had been sitting
in the left lane right beside the truck's trailer tires for miles.  The driver
had done everything short of pulling off on the shoulder to shed the little
pest.  This guy must have had a death wish.

The last I saw of the guy he was rolling sideways in the median.  No idea if
he lived or died and I don't really care.   Whatever, he had it coming.

I shed 5 or 6 trailer tire recaps in my year of driving.  I had many more
tread separations that I got to the shop before they blew.  In all but one
case I had no idea.  Nothing at all felt in the cab.  My first indication
would be a holler from another trucker on the CB.  In that one instance I
happened to be looking in my right mirror.  I watched the alligator literally
rip up a mile marker post.

With fuel costs eating into the bottom line, trucking companies are trying to
do more with less.  That includes running tires to their very ends.  Drivers
are pressed with tighter schedules and so they tend to ignore time-consuming
trailer tire checks.

Even 2 years ago before the BIG fuel price run-up, my company had started
really pushing schedules.  The result was that probably 2 out of every 3
trailers that I hooked to had low tire pressures.  "Let the next driver worry
about it" was the prevailing attitude.  I was out there to enjoy the ride
rather than to make the last dollar and so I took my time and inflated the
tires properly, figuring that taking a few minutes doing that was more fun
than waiting on the side of the road for the tire man to show up.

Many times the damage was already done.  If I got a fully loaded trailer that
had tires with 40 or 50 psi in 'em (110 was the company standard for trailer
tires), I could put money on a tread separation sometime in the next 1000
miles.  Many times my run wouldn't be that long so I got by.  I'd send in a
maintenance-needed report on the Qualcomm (in-cab satellite computer) but the
company's attitude seemed to also be "run 'er til she blows."

Keep all that in mind the next time you draft 1 second behind a semi.  For
that matter, think about the dead deer or steel I-beam in the middle of the
road that the semi straddles with no problem.  Can you?

As a truck driver, I could not care less what you do behind me.  Ride my dock
bar if you like.  When road debris or my 'Gator takes you out, I'll be long
gone and probably won't even know anything happened.  I'm simply pointing out
a few things to think about for your own self-preservation.


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