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Radial Vs Bias ply tires

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  • Radial Vs Bias ply tires

    Probably a day old question, but thought I'd fish for some opinions on here.

    Tire on one side of my boat trailer is bald on the outside edge, and has some cupping. Obviously it needs replaced. I visited my local tire dealer, he can only find me Radial tires.

    1. will it hurt to run the original bias ply on one side, radial on the other? why?

    2. lets hear from folks that are running radial tires, are you happy with them? mixed opinions of course all throughout the web.

    Single axle trailer, 20 foot boat if that matters at all.

  • #2
    Radials have flexible sidewalls, provide a great ride and good traction because of that. They need to be run in pairs though. Bias vs. radial trailer tire handling is something most won't notice, though an experienced driver may feel the trailer moving around a little more on radials.

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    • #3
      Thanks. Had a feeling this was going to be the case. Now will it be ok for me to tow a short distance to the river and back (20 miles max) before I replace the other bias ply tire so it matches?

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      • #4
        Fairly confident I'm running radials now on my current trailer - honestly hadn't looked. I know for a spare I picked up a BIAS ply tire as my thought process was: (1) cheaper, by a decent margin, (2) it was temporary to get me to a spot where I could either replace the tire or replace both tires to have a matched set, and (3) it'll get replaced when I need to replace the trailer tires in a couple years - I replace all the trailer tires including the spare so I have matched sets.

        I wouldn't mix/match across an axle for an extended period of time but for a short trip like I mentioned I doubt I'd have issues. Only suggestion I'd have is make sure your load ratings are the same.

        Check online as any number of retailers carry both radial and bias ply tires. Nominal fee to have them mounted to your existing rims or spring for new rims as well.
        2017 Chaparral 19 H2O Ski & Fish w./4.3L 180HP Merc Alpha
        2005 Four Winns 200Le x/5.0L Volvo SX-M (270HP - FI) - ordered new, traded in on Chaparral
        1999 Bayliner Capri 1800LS w/2000 Honda 115HP - ordered new, traded in on Four Winns
        1956 MFG 15' w/matching Evinrude Big Twin 30HP - presumed to be a sandbox somewhere


        Tow Vehicle:
        2017 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium 4x4

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        • #5
          Originally posted by briangcc View Post
          Fairly confident I'm running radials now on my current trailer - honestly hadn't looked. I know for a spare I picked up a BIAS ply tire as my thought process was: (1) cheaper, by a decent margin, (2) it was temporary to get me to a spot where I could either replace the tire or replace both tires to have a matched set, and (3) it'll get replaced when I need to replace the trailer tires in a couple years - I replace all the trailer tires including the spare so I have matched sets.

          I wouldn't mix/match across an axle for an extended period of time but for a short trip like I mentioned I doubt I'd have issues. Only suggestion I'd have is make sure your load ratings are the same.

          Check online as any number of retailers carry both radial and bias ply tires. Nominal fee to have them mounted to your existing rims or spring for new rims as well.
          Thanks for the info, I'll plan to replace the other tire next week. Replacing 1 tire this weekend, just don't want to spring for another tire this payday.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rbhawes View Post
            Thanks. Had a feeling this was going to be the case. Now will it be ok for me to tow a short distance to the river and back (20 miles max) before I replace the other bias ply tire so it matches?
            I think you'll be just fine.
            1980 Sylvan Aluminum 18' Sportster I/O - Mercruiser 140, Honda 7.5 Kicker, Bennett M120 Tabs
            1974 Glastron V-179, Mercruiser 140
            1984 16.5ft. Alumarine Sealark side console with 82 Merc 50
            Manitoba, Canada

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            • #7
              I have run both on my trailer - I do a couple 1000+ mile trips a year plus lots of 2-hour round trips - and I much prefer radials. Trailer seems to pull and corner more smoothly. My spares are bias ply and I wouldn't hesitate to run them mixed for a week as you describe.
              Location: West Central Illinois, USA 1997 Larson 186 SEi Bowrider I/O Mercruiser 350 #0F747565 Mag Alpha One Gen II #1A270120 Transom and Deck Restoration Project on my '97 Larson Bowrider

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              • #8
                I have run singles and tandems. The radials I bought have never held up well. Once I had BOTH (fully inflated, no visible dry rot, etc.) radials blow up on a vacation trip. They were only 4 years old based on the tire dates. I have NEVER had a bias cause me any trouble, except maybe 30 years ago when the Taiwan junk tire sidewalls cracked in one season.

                If bias is available that's all I would buy. Personally, on under 3000 pound rigs I never perceived a difference in handling.

                The best trailer tires I ever had were CAR tires that were OEM from the factory on a brand new tandem TeeNee. At that time, the manufacturer only put STs on if the Ps didn't have the required weight capacity.
                2017 Boston Whaler 150 Montauk & Mercury 60 ELPT Command Thrust & Merc 3.5 Kicker
                2015 Yamaha FX Cruiser HO
                1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140 & Evinrude 9.9 Kicker
                1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
                1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
                1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
                68 Outboards: 1919-2017, representing 11 manufacturers
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

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                • #9
                  I think that the technology needed for making a steel belted radial is more demanding than that to make a bias ply tire. Given that most trailer tires are made in parts of the world where quality control is not the best, it might be better to stick to the easier/simpler to build bias ply tire. I have used Kenda Load Star bias tires for years and never had a problem with them.
                  1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
                  4.3 OMC Cobra

                  98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
                  07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

                  "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"

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                  • #10
                    Depends on how many axles. If you're running a single axle, radials are fine. If two or more axles, radials are prone to sidewall failure IF the trailer is subjected to lots of tight turns- like a boat trailer U-turning at the top and/or bottom of launch ramps, every time the boat is used...

                    Bias tires are very stiff, and during U-turns, the tire scrub will wear off and even peel off the tread rubber...



                    Radial tires are very pliable, and during U-turns, the tire scrub twists the tires so badly the sidewall and tread cords can stretch and tear...



                    --the tire on top was the worst of the 4 original Goodyear Workhorse bias tires on our Chap when we bought it in 2011, they were 8 years old with over 20k miles on them, and had many 100+ Bullfrog launchramp U-turns on them- some good parts of rubber peeled off, but notice bottom of the tread groove is still below the lowest part of the missing rubber, and the sidewalls are still brutally strong, not flexing a bit. This tire is in no danger of blowing out...

                    --the tire on the bottom is the left front of the 3 axles under our Party Cruiser. Almost every U-turn this trailer made was a left turn, and this tire got the worst of the scrub. The tires are 20 years old, but- they have less than 5000 miles on them, and this boat's been parked for 12 years, save for one 60 mile trip to the canvas place and back. That tire blew while the boat was PARKED at the marina. Thankfully!

                    With bias tires, you can see the rubber wearing. And they're not perfect either, I have had tread cords slip in bias tires, but you can see them too, "S" shaped tread is the giveaway. But radials hide the damage, and you never know it until the blowout happens...
                    1988 SkipperLiner 53x14 - - - 2002 Regal 2860 Commodore

                    1995 SunTracker 32' Party Cruiser - - -1987 Sea Ray 21' Seaville Midcabin

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                    • #11
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                      Makes no difference which tire type you're considering/talking about, 99% of tire blow outs are caused by 1 of 2 things. Old age is the first, but FAR more common is underinflation.....

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