Airstream Tire Torque

We are lucky our friend Rich knows so much about Airstreams. He taught us some very important things about our trailer this week. Over dinner one night I told Rich about Riveted Blog losing one of their tires. Rich said that it also happened to him and he explained why. My interpretation of what he said is basically Airstream tires should not be tightened with a impact wrench. He explained that over-torquing weakens the lug stud which might cause them to fall off while you’re driving!

Page D-15 in the Airstream Manual:

[pullquote type=”3″]Use a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts. Tightening by hand or with an impact wrench is not recommended.[/pullquote]

To me, “not recommended” is not strong enough language. The manual should say in bold “if you use an impact wrench to torque your tire it will probably fall off while driving.”

Another interesting factoid that Rich told us, that is also in the manual: if you have to replace a tire on an Airstream, you need to check the torque every 10, 25 and then 50 miles. The manual doesn’t say why, but it’s because they apparently will keep loosening at first. After that it should be ok.

Rich wrote a book called Newbies Guide To Airstreaming, which is now included with every new Airstream. I think that buyers should get their copy as soon as they order their trailer. It had some stuff we forgot and could have used a refresher on for our first tow. Brian and I admittedly have only skimmed the book. Rich said that real newbies read the book from cover to cover, while people with some Airstream experience don’t read it as closely. It looks like we should, there’s a toilet paper test I want to try.

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  • Reply Rich Frye April 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I kinda think “there’s a toilet paper test I want to try” deserves a little clarification, si…?

  • Reply Diane Bailey April 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I lost a wheel from over torque on a single axle. So, I bought a torque wrench. Then I found out Discount Tire has a tester for their wrenches. I asked them to test mine and it was 10ft pounds off. I decided on my florida trip (with new tires that wore out) to throw away spare, air compressor, floor jack, air gauges, torque wrench, tire pressure monitoring system, so forth. I’ll take my chances with GoodSam Assist.

  • Reply Lisa Mehallick April 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    George said the re-torque immediately after a new wheel install (10, 25, 50 miles) applies to all new installs, not just on Airstreams, and is because you need to allow for the wheel heating-up under use.

    • Reply Leigh April 23, 2012 at 7:40 am

      You’re lucky to have a professional in the family!

  • Reply Lisa Mehallick April 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Yes indeed 🙂

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