I've decided to stick with the stock tire size on my 96 2500 4x4 auto CTD (245-75-16). That means I can keep the stock wheels and only buy 4 tires (2 of my existing tires can serve well as spares), which makes the cost more reasonable.
My truck has an Alaskan camper loaded on the back (about 2000 lbs dry). I have the "camper package" on the truck (2 additional springs and sway bar on the back) so weight capacity is not an issue with this camper. The tires I will get will be E rated obviously.
Though the truck will be driven mainly on highway, I do intend on taking it "off the beaten path" sometimes (gravel or dirt roads), and also intend on driving it to Labrador and up the Alaska and Dempster highways (which are mainly gravel). For this reason I want a tire that is very tough so I don't have to worry about sidewall damages or other issues on the remote gravel roads.
My choices have narrowed to these:
1. Toyo M55 (cost and road noise are the two main negative marks I see in reviews and testimonies).
2. Toyo Open Country HT Tuff Duty (more of a highway tire so I don't know how well it would handle 100's of miles of gravel roads)
3. Cooper Discoverer AT3 (newer tire so not much track record on it, though its predecessor ATR seemed to be well rated)
If not for the potential noise issue of the M55, it could probably be the perfect tire for me. Some people say noise is an issue, some say it isn't. My CTD is not totally quiet, but I'm concerned about a persistent noise that could drive me nuts after a while.
I realize that my needs being rather varied, I may have to find the best compromise in my choice, in the end.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.