Tire Inflation

by Fred Stoermer

For 185 R 14 Reinforced _radials_ ('68 - '79 vehicles) the factory lists 30psi in front and 40psi in back, except for "Delivery Van and Station Wagon from April 1972". For these last they call for 30psi in front and 44psi in back. These specs are for "Fully loaded" conditions.

I've found that the factory stickers on individual buses sometimes specify 30 frt. and 42 rr., 28 frt. and 40 rr., or even 32 frt. and 44 rr., but 30 and 40 seem to be about right.

A great many people, not just Type 2 owners, look at the max. inflation pressure on their tire sidewalls and assume incorrectly that that is the proper running pressure. All the tire manufacturers publish suggested inflation pressures for various vehicles, tire sizes, etc., but they always refer to the vehicle manufacturer's specs for the definitive settings.

In my experience the vast majority of Type 2 owners are running passenger tires on their buses. They find them mushy and squirrely, so they jack the tire pressures way up in an attempt to obtain some stability in handling, etc. Some who should know better, including some "VW mechanics", suggest higher inflations in front to make steering easier.

I know of one of these latter who ran 50psi on all 4 corners of his Riviera camper for several years. He's now recovering from major orthopedic surgery following a terrible crash which might have been avoided if his bus had handled normally during an evasive maneuver. The Riviera was totaled.....

Passenger tires are not rated for inflation pressures much over 30 or 35 psi, so overinflating them is dangerous -- contributing to tread separation, blowouts, and rapid wearout.

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