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    Tire Selection for Expedition Travel: The impact of tire width on traction

    booth9c1ss
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    Post by booth9c1ss on Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:28 pm

    http://www.expeditionswest.com/research/white_papers/tire_selection_rev1.html

    By: Scott Brady, Expedition's West
    Date: 3/28/2005 (revised 4/17)

    All rights reserved by Expeditions West, LLC
    Portions of this article can be used if properly sited: Scott Brady, www.expeditionswest.com

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Understanding Off-highway Tire Performance:

    Important note: For the sake of the following details, assume that the test vehicle is 5,000 lbs., and a narrow tire would be considered a 33x10.5 R15, and a wide tire would be considered a 33x12.5 R15, both run at 15psi for trail use.

    The benefits of a narrow tire:

    The Argument: A tall, narrow tire is a better choice for all off-highway surface conditions with the exception of soft sand, snow and soft mud that's depth exceeds 110% of the vehicles minimum ground clearance. Here is the explanation....
    MtnClimber
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    Post by MtnClimber on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:00 pm

    Whoa, I'll need a calculator and a measuring stick every time I go out in the snow, sand, or mud Laughing 
    All joking aside, good find Booth.

    But it sounds like my 33x10.5x15 KM2's are perfect for my 4080lb DC Tacoma.



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    REDrum
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    Post by REDrum on Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:28 pm

    booth9c1ss wrote: A tall, narrow tire is a better choice for all off-highway surface conditions with the exception of soft sand, snow and soft mud
    While tire performance in any given condition is a very subjective, I do not share the same experience as above with snow and soft mud. The only condition I prefer a wide tire (>10") is for floating on top of sand or packed snow.
    Mr. Mike
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    Post by Mr. Mike on Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:51 pm

    I can throw in my experience as well, I have offroaded 2 different XJ's, both with about the same curb weight (4300~lbs) one had TSL radials in a 32/10.5 the other Mickey MTZ's in a 33/12.5.


    Keeping in mind these two tires are wildly different I'll focus on the width aspect.

    The TSL's I found were very easy to use in situations that required low to no speed turning even at 10~psi. +1 for narrow tires
    They did however not do well in the deep snow. I had to really abuse the truck to make them work or they would just dig straight down and leave me winching. -1 for narrow tires
    In the mud, well they are a TSL, they killed it in the mud, didn't really matter the depth, consistency, etc. I put almost 15,000 miles on them and damn near wore them out before I felt I needed a locker. +1 narrow tires.
    Fitment, narrower tires just plain fit better in the wheel well, allow stock back spacing on the rims, etc. +1 narrow tires.

    The MTZ's I did not get as much snow wheeling with as I would have liked, but they seemed to do really well the little bit I did. +1 wide tires.
    Slow to no speed turning, not so much, the larger contact patch really made the power steering struggle at times, requiring me to turn as I moved often. -1 wide tires.
    Mud, they did ok, but I felt that the wider foot print didn't afford me a really solid bite on the ground and had to use more throttle than desired to get through stuff. -1 wide tires.
    Fitment, well, they are wide, and that means different offset rims/wheel spacers fender flares to cover them for road use, added stress on wheel bearings/ball joints with the tire leveraging them in a different way from stock. -1 wide tires.

    So, I guess I could say that while wide tires look cool, in most applications they probably are not needed.
    mike ZJ
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    Post by mike ZJ on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:39 pm

    So many pros and cons to both. I prefer the stability and the handling of the wide tire. I like the wide better on rocks especially in off camber situations. Wide is way better in sand. I prefer narrow in mud and snow and especially on slushy roads. A 12.5 tire is a handful in slush Laughing Biggest downfall to 12.5 is the added stress on driveline, suspension, and steering. For me the biggest downfall to narrow tires is availability especially in a 35
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    Post by REDrum on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:24 am

    Wide meats can offer a lot protection and floatation, but I'm partial to tall and skinny: both looks and performance. I run 235/85/16 on my series land rovers, 255/85/16 on my '94 LC 80, and 36/12.5/16 TSLs on my '96 LC80 (which are 9" wide); all pretty much "Pizza Cutters". .

    I've driven 315/75/16 and 255/85/16 BFG KM2s in same set up trucks (LC80) on the same muddy trails and found significantly better performance with the 255/85s. The BFGs are are really great except in snow, thankful both sets I own are down south now so no worries. I also find slightly less road noise and better milage with a skinny tire. Like many people have noted in tire threads, "everyone thinks their tire set up is the best", I guess I'm no different Smile

    Barrows
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    Post by Barrows on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:45 am

    I really want the SSR in a 35x10 but don't want to pay the $325 a tire. I currently run 32x11.5 and really enjoy them, however I would love to go taller without going wider, my perfect size would be something in a 34 inches by 11 in a KM2 or truxxus. I know the tsl's come in this size but they end up being really narrow. Maybe a q78 would be perfect?
    Mr. Mike
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    Post by Mr. Mike on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:08 am

    Q78's are huge.
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    Post by Barrows on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:15 am

    They should measure as shown below, not crazy big. Plus they look awesome. I just wish they came in a radial.

    TSL Q78-16LT
    35.5 x 10.8, 66lbs, skid depth 27/32

    SSR 35x10.5R16
    35 x 11.6, 70lbs, skid depth 21/32


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    MtnClimber
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    Post by MtnClimber on Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:22 am

    Here's a similar good read for a tire selection for what we do:

    http://dirtroadtrip.com/blog/trucks/cooper-stt-pro-the-offroad-test/


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