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Tire and Wheel Sizes and Load Requirements

Model Year 1996-2001 Rialta Tire Sizes:

 

Front Axle

Rear Axle

Series

"Contrans"

"VANCO" or "Contrans"
Tire Size 195/70R15C

215/70R15C

Tread plies 5 Total (2 polyester, 2 steel, 1 nylon) 6 Total (2 polyester, 2 steel, 2 nylon)
Sidewall plies 2 polyester 2 polyester
Load Index 104 109
Wheel size 15x6J 15x6J

 

Model Year 2002-2005 Rialta Tire Sizes:

  Front Axle Rear Axle
Series

"VANCO"

"VANCO"
Tire Size 195/65R16C (Commercial)

215/65R16C (Commercial)

Tread plies 6 Total (2 polyester, 2 steel, 2 nylon) 6 Total (2 polyester, 2 steel, 2 nylon)
Sidewall plies 2 polyester 2 polyester
Load Index 104 109
Wheel size 16x6J 16x6J

The above data are taken from the Winnebago Chassis Spec Sheet and the Winnebago GVWR/GAWR sticker.

The letter C after the rim diameter in the "tire size" as shown above is the European designation for a "Commercial Light Truck or Van" tire. The Load Index numbers are the European Load Index similar to the US designation of "Load Range D". The letter R is the European speed design rating of the tire. Additionally, the Continental tires may have markings on the tires themselves that are slightly different than the limits given by Winnebago as shown in the table above. For example, on the model year 2002 Rialta, the rear tires are actually marked with a load index of  "109/107R". The Maximum Load ratings are marked on the tires as 1,984# at 70 PSI for the front tires and 2,271# at 70 PSI on the rear. Specific values of various load indexes are shown in the "Load Index Chart".

Continental Tire Product Guide 2005 (Complete Line, 47 pages, 5.96 megs) PDF

Continental Vanco Series Tire Guide 2005 PDF

Continental Vanco-8 Tire Datasheet 2006 PDF

 

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Tire Inflation Recommendations:

Winnebago recommends a tire inflation of 60 PSI on all four tires. In all cases, the Vehicle Certification Label is located on the sidewall to the left of the steering wheel, or on the driver's door. The label gives the exact tire size and pressure required for your vehicle. There have been no notices of changes from either VW or Winnebago relating to required sizes or tire pressures.

The SPARE tire is the smaller size made for the FRONT axle. You can use it on the REAR axle temporarily provided it is inflated to 65 PSI.

 

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Tire Rotation:

Do NOT follow the rotation pattern given in the VW EuroVan Operator's Manual if you are still using the original size tires as equipped from Winnebago. The reason is that unlike the EuroVan, the Rialta has two different size tires and the different sizes should not be inter-mixed on the axle. On the other hand, if you have replaced your front tires with the same size and load rating as used on the rear tire, then a conventional rotation pattern as shown in the EuroVan Operator's Manual may be used.

Ideally radial ply tires are usually rotated on the vehicle so that they continue to turn in the same direction as they go down the road. However, since the Rialta uses two different sizes of tires such rotations can not be accomplished without having a complete separate set of tires. It is for this reason that there is no recommended method of rotating tires on the Rialta without the use of another complete set of matching tires.

An alternative method of rotating tires involves simply moving them from side to side. Most users have reported no adverse effects when rotating the tires from the left side to the right side. Because this causes the tire to rotate in the opposite direction, theoretically there is the possibility of adverse ply flexure occurring. However, I have rotated my own tires from side-to-side and felt no obvious effects. I expect my original "Contrans" tires to provide up to 60,000 miles of use. But I check my inflation pressures religiously.

If you rotate your tires in this side-to-side manner and immediately feel any noticeable vibrations or changes in handling, it is suggested that you immediately return the tires to their original positions. Your tires apparently will function just fine as long as you keep the rotational direction the same.

If and when you are ready to replace the tires, it is recommended that you use the original spare tire as one of the front tires assuming that it has seen only minimal service. This prevents the rubber compounds for eventually breaking down over the years and making the tire ultimately un-useable.

 

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Tire Load Index Chart:

What this means is that two tires of the correct Load Index rating should hold up to the maximum axle weight allowed for the vehicle. For example, the rear axle of the Rialta has a Gross Axle Weight Limit of 3,968. Since the axle uses two tires, then each tire must be capable of holding up 50% of the weight, or 1,984 pounds. If you look at the chart, you'll see that 1,984 pounds indicate a Load Index of 104. The specified OEM Continental tire for the Rialta has a Load Index of 109 so it more than meets the requirement and there is some margin of safety in case of an overload.

 

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Tire DOT Code (Manufacturers) Disclosures:

If you are confused by or doubt the claims by a tire salesman as to the true manufacturer of a 3rd party or "branded" tire, just read the "DOT" code on the side and compare to this list. For example, you'll find that many of Big-O tires are made by Kelly-Springfield even though the salesman may have verbally told you they were made by Michelin.

You may wish to use the search or find function of your browser. With Internet Explorer, it is under the EDIT Menu / .(FIND (on This Page)...Or hit CTRL-F and then type in the two letter code that you wish to locate. View the list sorted by either the DOT Code or by the manufacturer's name:

  •  Sorted by DOT CODE
     
  •  Sorted by Manufacturer's Name
  •  

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    Replacement Tires

    First, left me dispel some false ideas that others have about finding suitable tires. "Ply ratings" are totally meaningless. They are not regulated by the DOT so therefore they are merely one manufacturer's advertising and marketing gimmick when they talk about ply ratings. Is an eight-ply tire stronger than a four-ply tire? One can't answer the question because once again "ply ratings" are meaningless. To be specific, what are the plies made of and how strong have the plies been tested (they haven't because they are not directly regulated)? In my example, the eight-ply tire could be all eight plies of cotton while the four-ply tire could all be all steel-reinforced nylon which would probably make the four-ply tire stronger than the eight-ply tire. If you want to rate the strength of a tire in regards to how much load it can handle, you MUST compare the LOAD INDEX RATING of the tire.

    Replacement tires are available from a variety of sources such as Sears, Wal-Mart, and any tire store than sells Continental, Goodyear, Nokian, Maxxis and a few other brands which make tires capable of handling the load requirements of a Rialta. Expect to pay about $125-$150 per tire but other bargains are out there. Also, when comparing prices, try to compare the price which represents your final, total cost which would include not only the tire, but extras such as mounting, valves, freight, balancing, and old tire disposal fees. Many people think they find bargain prices at the TireRack.com but have not taken into consideration any of these factors.

    The original Continental Contrans tire suffered from premature tire deterioration and was the subject of a recall on 1995 through 1998 models (see the NHTSA Recalls page). The tires showed marked evidence of separation of the tire tread from the sidewall body as shown on this photo. The recall or the deterioration did not affect the Continental Vanco series of tires which has proven to be a very reliable and sturdy tire.

    I have put together what I think is a list of available tires including different brands other than Continental. Because the late model Rialtas changed from 15 inch tires to 16 inch beginning in 2002, there are two separate charts. Each chart also includes what I consider an acceptable substitute by upsizing the tire by one or two increments, i.e. 195-70 can safely use 215-70. We know this works because many Rialta owners are using all four tires of the larger size normally found on the rear axle. The larger 215-70 fits within the wheel well of the front axle and does not bind against the suspension parts or the inner fender. The only reason that a smaller size was used up front is because that is what VW supplied on the incomplete EuroVan chassis. After Winnebago fitted the rear coach area, they had to use a larger tire to support the weight and they ordered the tires direct from Continental and not VW.  Please note that I make no guarantee that any size other than the factory original size will be a proper fit.

    Any prices shown are merely an estimation and for comparison purposes only as of June 2005. In order to make any type of price comparison fair, I am showing what would be considered an "out-the-door" price which includes the tire, tax, freight if applicable, and mounting. If you order tires online such as from the TireRack.com, be advised that you will pay additionally for freight, sales tax, installation, balancing, and old tire disposal. A good rule-of-thumb is to add $15-$25 per tire to the on-line price in order to compare it to a brick-and-mortar price. Other downsides of on-line purchases are the lack of free repairs for flat tires, and warranty hassles in which you will have to pay for replacement tire shipping and mounting.

    The Nokian and Maxxis tire brands have very limited retail outlets, especially the Maxxis brand, whose manufacturer is actually the Cheng-Shin Rubber Company of China, and a company whose previous experience was limited mostly to motorcycle and ATV tires. Their venture into automotive tires is relatively new in the US and their sales territory is mostly limited to the southeast portion of the United States with their corporate headquarters located in Georgia.

    I would appreciate anybody notifying me of any corrections or if they have another tire brand that should be added. Please be sure to include the COMPLETE tire brand and model, i.e. instead of just "MAXXIS",  it should be something like "Maxxis UE-168 Bravo". I would also like to find any current pricing information.

    Rialta Model Year 1996-2001

    Size

    Load Index
    Single Tire Axle

    Est. Price
    2006

    FRONT AXLE OEM SIZE:

    195 / 70 - 15"

    104

     
    • Continental VANCO-8 (OEM)
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 99.00
    • Continental VANCO 4 Season
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 114.00
    • Continental VANCO WINTER
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 ?
    • Goodyear Cargo G-26
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 154.00
    • Goodyear Vector
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 171.00 
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 ?
    • Nokian NRC2
    195 / 70 - 15" 104 125.00
    substitutes using REAR AXLE OEM size:      
    • Continental VANCO-8
    215 / 70 - 15" 109 116.00
    • Maxxis UE-168 Bravo
    215 / 70 - 15" 109 ?
    ***1 - See Special Notes below      

    REAR AXLE OEM SIZE:

    215 / 70 - 15"

    109

     
    • Continental VANCO-8 (OEM)
    215 / 70 - 15" 109 116.00
    • Maxxis UE-168 Bravo
    215 / 70 - 15" 109 ?
    substitutes using slightly larger size:      
    • Continental VANCO 4 Season
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 139.00
    • Continental VANCO WINTER
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 ?
    • Goodyear Cargo G-26
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 139.00
    • Goodyear Cargo Vector
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 143.00
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 ?
    • Nokian NRC2
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 130.00
    • Maxxis UE-168 Bravo
    225 / 70 - 15" 112 ?

     

    Rialta Model Year 2001-2005

    Size

    Load Index
    Single Tire Axle

    Est. Price

    FRONT AXLE OEM SIZE:

    195 / 65 - 16"

    104

     
    • Continental VANCO-8 (OEM)
    195 / 65 - 16" 104 113.00
    • Yokohama TY088
    195 / 65 - 16" 106 152.00
    substitutes using slightly larger size:      
    • Continental VANCO 4 Season
    205 / 65 - 16" 107 151.00
    • Continental VANCO WINTER
    205 / 65 - 16" 107 ?
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CQ (Winter)
    205 / 65 - 16" 107 ?
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS (Summer)
    205 / 65 - 16" 107 ?
    substitutes using REAR AXLE OEM size:      
    • Continental VANCO-8
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 137.00
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CQ (Winter)
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 ?
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS (Summer)
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 132.00-151.00
    • Nokian NRC2
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 ?
           

    REAR AXLE OEM SIZE:

    215 / 65 - 16"

    109

     
    • Continental VANCO-8 (OEM)
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 137.00
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CQ (Winter)
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 ?
    • Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS (Summer)
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 132.00-151.00
    • Nokian NRC2
    215 / 65 - 16" 109 ?
    no suitable substitutes found ***2      

     

         

    *** Special Notes:

    1. For those with 15" wheels, we all know that the rear 215/70 size can also be used up front. Some others report using a 225/70 size Goodyear tire on the rear. So the next question is, will the 225/70 size tire also fit up front with no interference to the suspension or wheel well? This is a tire that is about 6% larger in diameter than the original, or about 1-3/16" larger in radius. Anybody tried it?
       

    2. For those with 16" wheels, I'm wondering if any of the front axle substitutes with a size of 205/65-16" instead of the OEM size 215/65-16" also work for the rear axle? The 205/65 tire is about 1/2" narrower but it meets load requirements.

     

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    Rear Wheel Bearing

    A Winnebago Rialta engineer has confirmed the correct torque value of 148 ft. lbs. for the rear wheel center bolt. He also stated that in the case of many Rialtas they probably loosen because of repeated heating and cooling of the bolt and associated parts which causes shrinkage of the metal. There is no positive locking mechanism such as a castellated nut and cotter key in the system, only a nut with a serrated surface that digs into the back of the brake and wheel assembly. Some can be tightened just by turning the bolt from the front. Others may just turn round and round and you may have to hold the nut from turning on the back with an additional wrench. I would caution everyone to periodically check the tightness of these wheel and bearing retaining bolts just to be sure that a rear wheel does not come off.

    I would also advise the use of Loctite® or a similar thread holding compound around the threads of the nut on the inside before you begin to tighten. The Loctite® will serve as the only means which will keep the bolt and nut from becoming loose again.

     
    This photo shows which nut is to be turned in order to set the proper load on the wheel bearing.   This photo shows a replacement wheel bearing, nut, retaining screw, and circlip.

     

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    Wheel Covers

    There was a recall on the wheel covers of the 2002 Rialta caused by a cheaper cover being used which did not grip the wheel with sufficient force causing the cover to rotate and potentially cut the valve stem (details on the NHTSA Recalls page). Otherwise, many other owners of Rialtas have been somewhat dissatisfied with the covers as supplied by Winnebago.

    If you lost one of the original covers, you may be able to purchase a replacement from the Winnebago Surplus store in Forest City, Iowa but most people find it cheaper to visit their local Wal-Mart or other auto parts store and buy a full new set of 4 covers at a cost of well under $50 total.

    Part of the reason with dissatisfaction comes from the fact that the original plastic Taiwanese covers came with a paint that had a tendency to peel off even under the pressure of a garden hose as shown on this picture. With a little bit of fine sanding, such covers can be repainted but unless you repaint all four, the color will never match the original.

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    Page Updated: 30 March 2013