View Full Version : Gar-Aero Tundra Tires
10-07-2002, 12:21 AM
The Gar-Aero tundra tires are still available, and I have talked to pilots that are quite pleased with them.
Can anybody that have used them give me the pros and cons?
I have been offered a set of 29"x11"10":s Gar-Aeros and do not care to spend Cdn$ 5000 on a set of Bushwheels.
I have a set with all of the tread ground down so they are smooth. Also some of the plys were left out during construction so that they are softer. I'd have to look again at the tire but think the sidewall markings say 3-4 ply. Some are 10 ply. I can run them down to 4.5psi without any problems. I have scott brakes with double pucks. With the low psi I generally just roll out with little braking. These tires are tough and for most applications are just fine. If you are real bushy then you probably need the larger tire. The Gar-Aero will give you the prop clearance you need for the longer prop. Overall I like them. My ideal setup would be to run these most of the time and have a set of streaks mounted and ready to go when I needed the bigger, softer tire. I don't really work my plane in the rough stuff too much though.pak
10-08-2002, 07:43 PM
I ran Gar-Aeros on my PA-12 for a couple years, and here's what I found when I switched to Bushwheels...
For obvious reasons (the rims on the GarAeros are so big, they leave very little tire surface/thickness for the purpose of absorption) GarAeros stress the gear more, and in addition, the valve stem on the GarAeros, unfortunately pokes thru the rim, so if you have too much tire rotation on the rim (due to excessive braking, etc) it will shear the stem off, leaving you in a bit of a bind.
I was unable to follow my buddies into many places back then, I just didn't like the stress the GAs put on the mains. Gotta say, when I switched to Streaks then Bushwheels my world surely got much larger and noticeably softer! Yeah, they are way too expensive, but that's the beauty of Capitalism, and if thats what it takes, well I think they're worth it.
Just my three pennies...
10-09-2002, 02:13 AM
I've been running the Gar's successfully for many years. Still on the original set of 3 plys. As long as I don't land on any rocks bigger than loves of bread, they work fine. It keeps me out of trouble. They are as good an any on soft surfaces.
They are very durable. I have never been able to damage them and the adhesive has never let go. If looks mean anything, (not much probably) they do look good.
Minimum air pressure is 6 pounds or the tubes will creep and pull out the stems.
A friend of mine had a set of 30" Air Streaks and we weighed both and the 29" Gars were one pound lighter.
10-09-2002, 11:43 AM
Another happy Gar-aero owner...who doesn't own Airstreaks.
The "real" TUNDRA tire guys will probably give you a bit more feedback regarding the Airstreaks and Bushwheels, but...The Gar-aero's are pretty good in soft stuff like sand or peagravel.
I limit the big cobbley rock to large grapefruit-size. The distance from the ground to the rim adapter can be squashed-out pretty easily when running low pressures (less than 8 PSI)
They're great for off-camber beaches, because I don't have to worry about rolling them off the rim-adapter when running at 8 PSI. As far as foot-print, I think the Gar-aero's may have as much contact patch as either of the "real" tundra tires. Those adapters are wide, and really spread the tire out, changing the profile and adding width to the contact patch.
If you're going into super-cobbley rock or hummocky tundra, you will want the biggest and softest tires you can get, and Gar-aero's aren't it.
As far as impact absorption, (rolling over, and soaking up, large stones) the high and soft sidewall of the Airstreaks is the winner here, with the Bushwheel coming in a bit behind it. Gar-aero's aren't in this part of the race. Gar -aero 29 X 11-10's are tall, and will roll over some stuff, but you can't expect them to deform and soak up big rocks like the Streaks will do.
If you don't intend to do SOFT virgin tundra that you don't know how soft it is, or large cobbled stones, the Gar-aero's will work great.
Beware of too low pressures, and own a new-style digital low pressure tire gauge. Too low and you'll spin the tire on the rim and maybe shear a valve stem.
Don't buy a set of 29 X 11-10's that are 10 ply. They're much heavier in weight AND construction, and are very stiff, carcass-wise. I don't want to start a whole new fight here, but as far as I'm concerned, the 26 inch Goodyear "tundra" tire is much too heavy construction-wise as well. I don't think it any better than an 8.50 X 6.00 size-wise. You can still get 4 ply 8.50's, but the 26 Goodyear isn't much taller, and you have to haul around a stiff and heavier 6 ply. Yeah, they look OK, but they're really a tire for a 180/185, when you consider the construction.
If you're worried about the toughness of the Gar-aero's, don't be. As long as you don't run them in large rocks (over grapefruit-size) at very low pressures they're fine.
Also, I've got numerous customers running them on 180/185's and 206's.
The only broken ones I've seen came off a heavily-loaded 185 running too low pressures on too large of rock size. Plenty of Cessna's are mounted up on these things.
OK, let the 26-er's unite, and throw some grapefruit size somethin' or other at me.
10-09-2002, 04:14 PM
Great Post Dave!
I tried them on my cubs in Alaska and mega ditto's on all you said! My personal opinion is If you have the money the Bushwheels are best for a "cub", the Gar's are great on a heavy bird like my 185 or 206!
The facts are most cub wrecks are when folks get a little to cocky with there "soft tundra tires".
I used to glue and screw the beads of the Gar's and I never slipped a tube after that!
10-10-2002, 12:29 AM
Thank you all for the great advice. :)
I might get a set of GarAero 29" tires for my Super 22 Bushmaster - it has PA 18 HD gear.
10-10-2002, 12:54 AM
My old hunting partner has a pair and I have 30" Airstreaks. He really envies my tires. Every year he says he is going to upgrade to Bushwheels. I have a line on a set of 29" Bushwheels (brand new, never used) I could get you for $2,750.00 including STC, or I could line you up with him for the Gar Aeros. Crash
10-10-2002, 03:08 PM
I haven't slipped any tubes using 8 PSI...yet.
NEWS FLASH....I just got home with a set of used 30" Airstreaks.
I'll be sure to remember your advice, Tim, about getting cocky with the 'soft' tundra tires.
Crash, are those 29" Bushwheels in a certain yellowish houses' garage on the South end of a certain "hilltop" strip in Chugiak?
I met the nicest people today when I picked up those Airstreaks. You know 'em?
PS I talked to a guy who used to run 30" Airstreaks in the D-ham area years ago. He's got a fresh CC top-Cub now. When I asked him the size rocks he would take on with the 30", and used the "breadloaf size" description, he said ...'way bigger, like halfway to the knees'. He says that his worries in tundra weren't about softness, but about the rocking that gets going late in landing roll-out. FYI
10-10-2002, 03:17 PM
I here everyone is nice at hilltop since I left? Sure miss the ski flying off that strip in the winter? Does that Doc that bought my house/hanger make good use of it?
Weather is good here today, 65-70 and not a chance of Snow! Shucks
Enjoy the streaks!
10-10-2002, 03:47 PM
Yeah, Tim, the sun always shines there, and the dust never blows out of Knik either, since you left.
I don't know anyone out of there, 'til now.
Looks like I have someone to bother with questions of blacktail hunting on Montague and Green now, too.
I got confirmation that the "problem" bears get one-way tickets to Montague. So, Green Island on floats sounds good, for another few days. I missed the weather window over the last 2 days. It just moved back in.
10-10-2002, 07:30 PM
Dave, just check the ferry schedule before you leave so if the weather gets to bad you can circle around it and follow it home?
10-11-2002, 11:50 AM
Feds are people, too, TJ. I'm glad that they vary. I've been lucky to always deal with the ones varying toward the reasonable. I honestly don't recall having any unreasonable problems over the years. Just lucky?
Thanks, Tim, on the ferry schedule advice. Sounds like you've been doing a little ferry chasing yourself?
Just found another set of 30" streaks and a used set of I think 31" Bushwheels.
Anyone want somma this bounty?
10-11-2002, 11:55 AM
PS When I generate a form 337 for an STC, I always state that I installed in accordance with drawing number _____ and installation instructions number ____ dated ____ revision____, etc.
This could make the 29 X11-10 thing kindof sticky, especially since the fed probably won't even speak to me about the 337 that I drop at the FSDO.
Interesting point TJ, Thanks for ruining our naive bliss.
10-11-2002, 07:28 PM
In response to Super 22's question: I have run the Gar Aero for 10 years on my cub, using the 29s on 3ply. Like everything in aviation, they are a compromise. I got them because an old bush pilot told me they would do 85 percent of what an Airstreak would do, and he had cubs with both. The advantage was they were cheaper and lasted longer, especially for a guy like me who until this year parked on pavement. I suspect they handle pavement better than Airstreaks or Bushwheels, but I have no experience on either. The downside of the Gar Aero tire is the 15% of Alaska landings that are not within the range of the Gar Aero. As stated above, those typically will be shale and rocks of grapefruit size or more (or tidal area grass hiding logs of similar size or more) along with very, very soft tundra. My experience has been this is generally encountered during hunting trips. I have watched friends land on Airstreaks, both from the air and on the ground, and they just have better absorbtion. You can of course lower the Gar Aero to 6 to 8 PSI to compensate, but it is not the same and you give up take off performance and some safety as you can sheer valves and find the limits of what you can roll over. But for gravel bars and beaches, they're fine. For unimproved strips, they're fine, too as I have never found one that Gar Aeros tires were a factor in the go, no-go decision. Bushwheels and Airstreeks are probably better overall, it just gets down to use and cost.
10-11-2002, 07:45 PM
Absolutely right slowgo.
As we all know and complain about chronically, the Bushwheels cost wayyy too much, and Streaks are a pain in the ass cause unless they have been approved on your bird before, it is nigh impossible to get them approved. (at least in my experience) Cost is certainly an issue, and if you really don't need to go to those 15-20% style strips, stick with GarAero. Just don't push it....of course if money is an issue, one could always pick up a set of those Goodyears:)
10-11-2002, 08:16 PM
Something that has not been really discussed I might bring up?
Most would agree that we vary the air pressure for 'each' flight depending upon the expected conditions? I have even on occassion, overflew my place of choice to land and then gone back to a better spot and either add or let out air!
For anyone new to tundra tires, I consider it a must to have a good low pressure gauge and most important is that both tires are inflated evenly. They can really get squirrelly if they are unequal., Also I keep in my tool bag a couple of valve cores, a can of flat fix and valve caps with some silicone, (if the core starts to leak you can silicone a cap on and it will seal also the flatfix will seal a leaky valve core (just have to remember to replace it when you get home)
I have also (of late) purchased a 12volt airpump (the kind you use for an air mattress) Adding air can make the difference of getting out of a tight strip or not, cause I have seen a lot of wrecks (or near ones) were a guy lands with real soft tires and then attempted to get them rolling on take off? (By the way the new Radial 29's roll considerably easier then the Bias ones with the same inflation!
Hope this helps someone?
10-11-2002, 08:43 PM
Thanks to the guys who helped out with info on my thorny B-Wheel. (It's still holding).
I carry a little dual action bicycle tire pump in my back woods tool kit. It weighs nothing, and can inflate any tire without electricity. Spare valve stems and cores, patch kits (tubeless and tubed), can of fixaflat, along with the useual duct tape and wire, should repair just about anything I do to a tire.
I could not imagine life without my big soft tires. People ask where I land with those big tires. My obvious answer is, "Any f#!*ing place I want to".
10-11-2002, 08:51 PM
"Any f#!*ing place I want to". Has to be the quote of the day Mark. I drug my a$$ in here from putting a battery under the front seat and pulling those header tanks out and read that and laughed out load. It's been a nice night to work. Nobody coming around wanting to shot the ****.
10-11-2002, 09:39 PM
I know exactly how you feel. Hope someday our Cubs are parked around the same fire, and we can talk shop.
10-12-2002, 07:43 AM
Sounds like a plan. I have a friend from your neck of the woods, Tom Brown who has built some nice antique airplanes. He did the Pazped Skylark at OSH this year. He used to work at a Diary plant. When he first started re-building airplanes full time a bunch of guys came out to his shop and were shotting the ****. He turned around and said "Where were you guys when I worked third shift at the diary plant and wanted someone to talk to." I thought that was great. I want to buy some land a little north of town here and build a hanger/apt. Hell I might get lonely though. Not!
ps Plan to make New Holstein next year. I think ya'll made a showed Murph a great time.
12-03-2002, 03:59 AM
I ran mine with the stem broke off. I didn't even know that they were flat. It is a tough heavy tire.
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