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View Full Version : Tires - how aggressive do I need to go?



skiroc
01-07-2012, 03:01 AM
I've got a 2006 Tundra 4x4, and am looking to put a Four Wheel Camper on it. Everyone seems to recommended E rated tires, so I've started looking at these. Most of my mileage is highway, and then some desert roads and Sierra east side forest service roads. Some are 4x4 rated roads but I'm often by myself and so don't I don't go on very difficult trails. In the past I've had pretty aggressive tires, but don't know that I ever really needed them. I could care less about looks - I just want whatever will meet my functional need. My question is - how aggressive of a tire should I go with? Can I get away with a M/S tire for better mpg, low noise, etc. Something like this Michelin LTX M/S2? If you think this is not aggressive enough, what would the next step be?

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=LTX+M%2FS2&partnum=475R6LTXMS2OWL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes

phsycle
01-07-2012, 03:22 AM
I bet for 95% of the time, those all-seasons would do you just fine. I've got all-terrain's (BFG KO), but don't really need that aggressive of a tread. For the most part. But when I need it, I NEED it. I'd say go with an all-terrain tire (BFG KO, Good Year Duratrac, Michelin AT2, Bridgestone REVO, etc.). Better tread of off-road and stronger sidewalls. Good things to have, especially if you're by yourself.

slus
01-07-2012, 03:42 AM
I'd go with BFG AT or similar, as said above. All my Toyotas have come with various all seasons, and I have found them lacking just about everywhere except pavement, all have balled up with mud and become nearly useless on muddy roads. On the other hand, I have also ran BFG MT, MT/Rs and Toyo MTs at different times. The street manners never bothered me much, but they are expensive and I don't do the kind of wheeling that requires them. I run BFG ATs on one rig and BFG MTs on the other till they wear out, never had the ATs hold me back. In addition, the ATs are better on snowy roads, I had my MTs siped and they still are not as good as "out of the box" BFG ATs on snowy and icy roads. In my experience, both the BFG MTs and ATs have about the same lifespan, but MTs did take away 1-2 MPGs.

Moody
01-07-2012, 03:45 AM
The Michelin LTX AT2 is my #2 choice in LT tire. I love them. I had a set of the old LTX AT's on a Toyota pickup that wore amazingly well, and worked as well as any other AT tire I have used.

keezer37
01-07-2012, 04:01 AM
Well, are you more concerned with trying to stop on snow/ice or trying to get out of mud/sand? For me it's stopping on snow/ice. I'm done with aggressive A/T tires. Like All Season, they are mediocre at everything, just with an off-road skew. And before I forget, Bridgestone Revo 2 sucks. At 20k they are wearing fast and I am really limiting my winter driving as their stopping ability on snow/ice is abysmal. I will probably be going with Michelin for my next purchase if I don't get dedicated winter tires. I've always trusted Michelin.
After having E rated tires on previous vehicles, I've had only P rated on this truck. I just don't see the need. I've done plenty of off-roading in SoCal on them and hauled plenty of weight. They are cheaper and the ride is generally better on the highway. Don't know about your camper weight. I suppose if I was hauling in excess of 1k for hundreds of miles, I'd go with E rated tires.
As far as traction goes in mud/snow, this is 90% driver ability, 10% tire. If you grew up driving in snow, you know what I mean.
Bottom line is, are you going to buy tires with the mindset of planning for that one apocalyptic event or for the other 99% of your life?

upcountry
01-07-2012, 04:29 AM
I have Wild Country All Terrain Sport tires and love em. Their quiet and have worn well. Have 20k on them and still hardly worn. Pljs their cheaper than BFGs.

Off topic but Keezer 37 I have been meaning to ask and i know you all are wondering too....what the heck is that in your user name pic? A guy giving thumbs up? But their is something about that pic that intruiges me.

downhill
01-07-2012, 05:00 AM
I have not found super aggresive tires to be that big of a help in most offroad situations. In mud they all pack up. I've seen swampers packed so high the fenderwell was shaving of the mud. On icey roads they can be a big liability. You do need some lug tread to provide gripping edges on rock and other surfaces. These days I stick to medium treads like the BFG A/T. My current tires are these, and they have been outstanding:

http://simpletire.com/dean-lt235-85r16-05266-tires?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shop&utm_campaign=feed

They have seen thousands of miles on highway, lots of ice, snow and mud. I've done some driving over rock but less than the other conditions. Really a great tire. I prefer E rated tires too. In the taller profiles they seem to track better. They resist rock cuts better from miles on crushed rock roads. My truck weighs just over 5,000 pounds and they ride great.

frobuster
01-07-2012, 06:08 AM
High heat, high payload, highway and safety; Michelin. You can get stuck or blow a sidewall on anything, but you wont be doing 70mph when it happens.

DirectDrive
01-07-2012, 02:12 PM
I'm in construction and drive on crushed rock a lot of the time.
I also like to wheel into remote fishing areas.
I'm on highway more than anything else.

I need a tire that will shed small stones and I also need some lug/shoulder in case I have to run chains.
Street tread is out and so are heavy lugs.

These are getting good reviews and I just took delivery of some.
They look like they will meet expectations.
http://discounttires.com/product_detail.php?c=OTlkODJjMmZlZjdkZjMyMWRlMWIwZ jJlNTNlMTZjMWE=&prodID=9837
Be sure to check spelling or you will end up at their (more expensive) competitor.
These shipped fast and shipping was very reasonable.

The E-rated tires are 3/4T-1T tires and have stiff sidewalls to live up to their rating.
Even though you are 1/2T, the E-rating might be a good idea with your camper. I used to run a huge FSC camper and stiff sidewalls help to counter that "swimming" motion that a rig like that can produce.
The sidewalls are also tougher than C's or P's.

The trade-offs with E's would be:
Stiffer unloaded ride
Heavier....less fuel economy
More expensive to purchase

Here's another one that is getting good reviews and was on my short list :
http://tirecrawler.com/shop/detail_tire.php?product_id=10788

Mountainhound
01-07-2012, 02:50 PM
Well, are you more concerned with trying to stop on snow/ice or trying to get out of mud/sand? For me it's stopping on snow/ice. I'm done with aggressive A/T tires. Like All Season, they are mediocre at everything, just with an off-road skew. And before I forget, Bridgestone Revo 2 sucks. At 20k they are wearing fast and I am really limiting my winter driving as their stopping ability on snow/ice is abysmal. I will probably be going with Michelin for my next purchase if I don't get dedicated winter tires. I've always trusted Michelin.
After having E rated tires on previous vehicles, I've had only P rated on this truck. I just don't see the need. I've done plenty of off-roading in SoCal on them and hauled plenty of weight. They are cheaper and the ride is generally better on the highway. Don't know about your camper weight. I suppose if I was hauling in excess of 1k for hundreds of miles, I'd go with E rated tires.
As far as traction goes in mud/snow, this is 90% driver ability, 10% tire. If you grew up driving in snow, you know what I mean.
Bottom line is, are you going to buy tires with the mindset of planning for that one apocalyptic event or for the other 99% of your life?

Not true at all. I've lived my whole life (48) in snow areas and I can say without a doubt that statement is wrong. I have had everything from stock to aggressive tires and for past 6 years I have a second set of tires and wheels just for winter. Until you run a true winter tire you have no idea what you are missing. The soft compound and sipping realy makes a huge differance and I mean huge on snow and ice covered roads. I will never again not run snows in the winter.

DirectDrive
01-07-2012, 03:13 PM
Not true at all. I've lived my whole life (48) in snow areas and I can say without a doubt that statement is wrong. I have had everything from stock to aggressive tires and for past 6 years I have a second set of tires and wheels just for winter. Until you run a true winter tire you have no idea what you are missing. The soft compound and sipping realy makes a huge differance and I mean huge on snow and ice covered roads. I will never again not run snows in the winter.
Yes, it's amazing how the new compounds get "stickier" as they get colder.

Ran Revo's on the Grand when they first came out.....not impressed with that tire for the price at all.
Switched to Dueler 693's and that Grand was like on tracks in the snow. Very impressed with that one.

downhill
01-07-2012, 04:07 PM
I do alot of ice/snow driving too, sometimes with a trailer in tow. I would agree that if you do alot of that you need to think about tire choice. I always get a M/S rubber compound and I also pay for machine siping. Tire width is also a big factor. Wide tires are bad news no matter what the tread or rubber compound, unless you have studs. That being said, some people can't seem to drive on ice with snow tires, studs, AND chains. For them I would recommend tracks :sombrero:

As far as harsh ride from E rated tires, I've never felt that. It's just a matter of proper inflation. E rated tires don't have a higher rating because the sidewalls are stiffer. They have the higher rating because they can run at higher pressures. They are a sturdier tire, but the extra stiffness from the added cords and rubber is a drop in the bucket with the weight of a truck on it. It's the pressure that makes it stiff,..or not. The added weight of the tire can produce a harsher ride if you are running stock shocks. The more unsprung weight you have, the more shock capacity you need. In theory a heavier tire should hurt gas mileage. On identical tires I'm sure it would. I haven't seen that though with E rated tires. Maybe they have less rolling resistance, or maybe I've been lucky, I don't know, but that's how it has worked out for me. I've run Es in both narrow truck tires and wider Swampers with good results.

Downhill

DirectDrive
01-07-2012, 05:06 PM
As far as harsh ride from E rated tires, I've never felt that. It's just a matter of proper inflation. E rated tires don't have a higher rating because the sidewalls are stiffer. They have the higher rating because they can run at higher pressures. They are a sturdier tire, but the extra stiffness from the added cords and rubber is a drop in the bucket with the weight of a truck on it. It's the pressure that makes it stiff,..or not. The added weight of the tire can produce a harsher ride if you are running stock shocks. The more unsprung weight you have, the more shock capacity you need. In theory a heavier tire should hurt gas mileage. On identical tires I'm sure it would. I haven't seen that though with E rated tires. Maybe they have less rolling resistance, or maybe I've been lucky, I don't know, but that's how it has worked out for me. I've run Es in both narrow truck tires and wider Swampers with good results.
Downhill
Yes, the E rating is achieved through higher pressures but the tire also has be to more robust to take those pressures, including a more rigid sidewall and tough bead.
You cannot safely air down an E enough to run like a C or P. They are different tire classes.

If you have a rig like the OP's 1/2T, you would be able to tell the difference in ride with E's coming from P's and possibly from C's, but less likely.

Been running E's since the days of the 7.50 x 16 split rims, and I love E's, but they're not the end-all do-all in light truck tires.

Scott Brady
01-07-2012, 05:17 PM
Given your application, I would favor an AT style tire with sufficient load capacity. An agressive MT tire is quite useful in technical rock (the lugs grab the irregularities of the rock) and in mud (as expected). For the most part, we have stopped using mud tires unless we are purposefully going to a muddy region, like Central America.

The ride comfort, improved tread life, reduced noise and vibration and improved fuel economy just makes an AT the better choice for most exploration/travel/camping needs.

Redline
01-07-2012, 06:35 PM
Given your application, I would favor an AT style tire with sufficient load capacity. An agressive MT tire is quite useful in technical rock (the lugs grab the irregularities of the rock) and in mud (as expected). For the most part, we have stopped using mud tires unless we are purposefully going to a muddy region, like Central America.

The ride comfort, improved tread life, reduced noise and vibration and improved fuel economy just makes an AT the better choice for most exploration/travel/camping needs.

Amen!

This discussion is very timely, as earlier this week I wrote a long introduction for a tire article that will start on my blog next week, and address many of these points.

GSRON
01-08-2012, 01:54 AM
Having spent the first 6 months of owning my 2011 FJ wrapped up in the euphoria of new car ownership and the next 3 months, still enamored with it, but pissed about the junk tires (Dunflop AT 20's) it came with. I decide to do something about them. As a result of this decision I have researched tires to the ends of the internet and back........

I have come to the conclussion that tires, like motor oil and roof racks, is and will be a much debated topic and no two people will agree on the "best tire". I finally decided, and I quote myself. "I'd rather lose 2mpg and listen to the hum of an aggressive tire every day on the way to work than listen to the sound of my footsteps in the forest on Sat when "the tire" I settled for, let me down....." Last Sunday was the clincher. I needed 4wd to move the rig on damp, perfectly flat grass.....

That being said I'm getting 5 Toyo MTs installed next Sat. Yes they're expensive, heavy and aggressive. They are also very rugged, highly rated and (for they're tread pattern) very quiet.....

YMMV RON

Redline
01-08-2012, 06:00 AM
Yes, the E rating is achieved through higher pressures but the tire also has be to more robust to take those pressures, including a more rigid sidewall and tough bead.
You cannot safely air down an E enough to run like a C or P. They are different tire classes.

If you have a rig like the OP's 1/2T, you would be able to tell the difference in ride with E's coming from P's and possibly from C's, but less likely. snip...

Yes, exactly.

Each vehicle and a person's perception will make a difference but there most certainly is a difference in ride between firmer load-range-E and lighter, load-range-P, C, or D tires. Most people sensitive to their vehicle will notice the change from a P rated to a C rate tire, or from a C to an E rated tire, all run at the same exact PSI. Sometimes this difference very unpleasant.

In addition, there are many variables from one tire to the next. Some load-range-E tires are relatively soft and flexible while some load-range-D tires are firmer. Some LR D have a 3-ply sidewall. Sidewall plies, tread plies, and ply ratings are different things, though all will make some difference in how a tire feels and works.

Again, all at the same PSI, regardless of the maximum PSI rating of the tire.

BobA
01-08-2012, 11:49 AM
I'm running Goodyear Duratrac's on my jeep. Not sure what the rating is. So far it's been a great all around tire. the tread's not to aggressive,does great in rain,snow,mud,rocks,and highway. Just did a 2000 mile highway trip and no vibes and quiet,Of course I cant hear much with my noisey soft top.

DirectDrive
01-08-2012, 01:33 PM
I'm running Goodyear Duratrac's on my jeep. Not sure what the rating is. So far it's been a great all around tire. the tread's not to aggressive,does great in rain,snow,mud,rocks,and highway. Just did a 2000 mile highway trip and no vibes and quiet,Of course I cant hear much with my noisey soft top.
The Duratrac is fast becoming a very popular tire.
If it keeps turning in the good field reports and has long service life it will be a classic.

ReconH3
01-08-2012, 01:56 PM
I have Duratracs on my JK in Europe. I have driven all over Europe with them in all kinds of conditions and I have to say I'm very impressed. 95% of my driving is highway and roads. The few times I have to go Offroad to set up targets on the ranges, they also did well. Even on muddy days. I was a true BF A/T guy till I tried these. If they made them in larger sizes I would get them for the Hummer too. What really impressed me is how well they grip on asphalt and on snow. In snow I have to say they are even better than the A/Ts. The only thing the A/Ts may have an advantage is on duration, but since I haven't worn my Duratracs yet, I can't say for sure. The one weak point for the A/Ts was the side walls. They tear very easily so if you did go Offroad you had to be very careful. The Duratracs in this aspect gets top marks. I would say they are a good bet.




"Ex Umbris Venimus"

Sent from my iPhone

Redline
01-08-2012, 04:51 PM
The Duratrac is fast becoming a very popular tire.
If it keeps turning in the good field reports and has long service life it will be a classic.

Agree, really looks and seems like a great tire.

Although I personally know one user who received very few miles from a set of LR E DuraTracs on a heavily laden truck. A manager at one of my local tire shops confirmed this, saying DuraTrac wear can be very application/user specific, and that heavier commercial trucks may get less wear out of the DuraTrac. He has had customers with the same short wear. As always, the driver and truck make a huge difference, and it seems for many (most?) the DuraTrac has much to offer.

DirectDrive
01-08-2012, 09:05 PM
Another one that came on the LT tire scene with rave reviews a few years back was the Nitto Terra Grappler.
It still has a huge following and service life reports are anywhere from 30K to 60K.

I like to get 50K and seem to be able to do that with my tire choices these days. My crappy, issued, GranTrek AT20's on the Taco are about done at 46K with 5K rotations.

JCMatthews
01-08-2012, 09:16 PM
Yes, the E rating is achieved through higher pressures but the tire also has be to more robust to take those pressures, including a more rigid sidewall and tough bead.
You cannot safely air down an E enough to run like a C or P. They are different tire classes.

If you have a rig like the OP's 1/2T, you would be able to tell the difference in ride with E's coming from P's and possibly from C's, but less likely.

Been running E's since the days of the 7.50 x 16 split rims, and I love E's, but they're not the end-all do-all in light truck tires.

I DD an '05 Tundra. I also run 265X70R17 BFG AT KO. I had my choice between the D or E rated tire. I chose the E rated because I wanted a stronger tire. On my 1/2 ton truck, I can't tell a difference over the P rated bannana slicks that were on it when I bought it, except in exceptionally better traction. I love BFG ATs and that would be my recommendation for you.

downhill
01-09-2012, 04:25 AM
I've been running Es for about 15 years now on a number of vehicles. I currently have them on an 07 Tacoma. In every case the ride has been excellent. I usually run high profile tires like 85s, and the E rated tires track and handle far better in those sizes. I drive my Tacoma around 25,000 miles a year, sometimes putting in 13-14 hour days. I have yet to see a single case where a properly inflated E rated tire has caused a harsh ride on my rig or anyone I have known. I've seen lots of cases of harsh ride on tires running at 60+ psi. People assume that because the tire can accomodate more pressure, that it needs more pressure. In fact, they will typically run very close to the pressure you would run in a P or C rated tire. That's because the heavier sidewall is contributing next to nothing to supporting the weight of the vehicle. If the sidewalls were stiff enough to produce a harsh ride, then they would be also be supporting some of the weight. My Tacoma weighs 5,350 full of gas and with 2 passengers. The front and rear axle weights are within 50 pounds of each other. I run 36 psi in the tires, and I determined that by chalking and confirmed by pyrometer.

Really, the debate means nothing to me. I have first hand experience to base my choice on, so I'll stick with what works for me. The sad thing is that these tires have alot to offer for the overland crowd, but alot of people get scared off because of things they read. The tread on mine have 5 plies and so far I've not lost an E tire to rock cuts in the tread. Never had a blowout either. I've had 3 on C rated tires and many rock punctures. I log alot of gravel miles. The tires have proven bulletproof. I really enjoy the better tracking and cornering too.

keezer37
01-09-2012, 01:09 PM
I will probably be going with Michelin for my next purchase if I don't get dedicated winter tires.

As far as traction goes in mud/snow, this is 90% driver ability, 10% tire. If you grew up driving in snow, you know what I mean.



Not true at all. I've lived my whole life (48) in snow areas and I can say without a doubt that statement is wrong. I have had everything from stock to aggressive tires and for past 6 years I have a second set of tires and wheels just for winter. Until you run a true winter tire you have no idea what you are missing. The soft compound and sipping realy makes a huge differance and I mean huge on snow and ice covered roads. I will never again not run snows in the winter.


I'm referring to deep snow, not riding atop compacted snow/ice. Specifically, the mountains of lake effect snow. And my statement comes from the numerous times I've told friends or my sister, or my sister, or my sister how to get unstuck or to properly plow through.

I have not run a true (modern) winter tire yet, but I'm getting there. I read a bit about the compounds used. Holding me back so far has been my understanding that the good sticky stuff is only the top half of the tread, after which??? How fast do they wear when you have weather like we are having so far this winter and they are more often, not on snow.
If I was to drop the coin on dedicated winter tires, I'd probably go with Hakkapeliittas. From their website, they seem obsessed with ice. Nokian Tyres (http://http://www.nokiantyres.com/products)

Upcountry, That is Richardson. He worked for Farnum at the Grand Central Hotel in Deadwood.

Mattm94
01-09-2012, 01:27 PM
For dedicated winter use, NOTHING compares to a true winter tire, and ANY mud terrain is the worst you could have. Driver skill be damned.

Back to the original question.

A mud terrain is going to be great in the mud, good in the rocks, and suck at everything else, especially MPGs, sand, snow, or ICE.

An LT like the LTX M/S is going to be GREAT on the highway, and surprisingly good off road. We took our 98 4Runner MANY places with stock size LTX M/S tires. They were fantastic in the snow and on wet pavement, noticeably better on both and gave 1-3 mpg better than BFG AT (same vehicle). Best of all they were QUIET and smooth on the highway.

BFG AT is a GREAT all around tire, hence its AT moniker. It's acceptably good but not really the best at everything. Road noise is tolerable, mileage is tolerable, wet performance, snow, ice, sand, 1-2 MPGs better than MT, etc.....

It's up to you. Most who run the BFG AT would be a lot better served by the LTX MS2.... and I'd NEVER again run a BFG MT on a vehicle which saw DD use or significant time on anything other than mud and solid rock. The pucker factor on packed snow and ice was more than enough to educate me...

skiroc
01-09-2012, 03:29 PM
Mattm94 - sounds like you've used the M/S off-road? How'd that work? I'm mainly FS and BLM gravel roads, with only a few real 4x4 trails. I would like to go with M/S if I can get away with it.

downhill
01-09-2012, 03:39 PM
Just as a side note...... some manufacturers call certain tire models "mud terrain" when they really aren't. Mine are mud terrains but the tread more closely resembles an AT tread. It's the large open lugs that distinguish the true MT tread pattern. I haven't found MTs to be much, if any better than ATs in mud either. Not at the low speeds I'm typically running. If I'm going pedal to the floor through a bog they do clean better, but short of that they pack up just like everything else. If the tire carries the M&S (mud and snow) designation it indicates that the tire uses a softer rubber compound for cold weather use. Most if not all of the off road tires carry that designation. There is another even softer rubber used on dedicated winter tires, or the so called "studless" tire. Those really do work better on ice, but they wear like mad in the summer. On a hot day of driving they will actually feel sticky. They need to be swapped for summer tires if you run them.

Mattm94
01-09-2012, 11:26 PM
I wouldn't even consider an AT for the type of use you're describing. Get the MS/2, enjoy the quiet, smooth ride, the MPGs, and the decent offroad performance, and don't look back.

Owyhee H
01-10-2012, 02:20 PM
I wouldn't even consider an AT for the type of use you're describing. Get the MS/2, enjoy the quiet, smooth ride, the MPGs, and the decent offroad performance, and don't look back.

I second this. I am a big fan of the BFG AT KO but am currently using Michelin LTX AT2 and couldnt be happier. I have the E load range and the ride is smooth and quiet. Dont expect them to act like a mud terrain tire but for 99.99% of the time these are much better for my uses.

skiroc
01-10-2012, 03:27 PM
I checked on Tire Rack for the Original Equip installed by Toyota for both Tacoma and Tundra 4x4's. They are all All Season, no AT's. So, the first 4 years of owning my 4x4 Tacoma, without even being aware of my tires, I could do everything I wanted to do. Every tire has a limit - if I got AT, there would be things they couldn't do. And the driver generally reaches the limit of their skills long before their vehicle. Thanks for the dialog here, I think All Seasons will meet my need. The Michelin LTX M/S2 gets excellent reviews.

BillTex
01-10-2012, 04:32 PM
I put on BFG Commercial TA Traction this summer prior to a cross country trip...we run heavy...carrying a TC also.

These are a fairly aggressive tire, snow rated, but also supposed to give good mileage (time will tell).

This is a fleet tire...what you might find on UPS trucks in the winter.

So far I am very pleased with the handling while under a load.
We have not had any snow yet this winter in New England :( , so I cannot yet comment on winter handling.

These are E Rated at 3415#. Cost was less than Michelins...I paid ~ $180/ea.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=Commercial+T%2FA+Traction

Bill