Toyo M/T 255/85R16 Part 6

1996 F-350 7.3L Power Stroke/T444E with 255/85R16 Toyo M/T
1996 F-350 7.3L Power Stroke/T444E with 255/85R16 Toyo M/T

It’s time to finish this slow, drawn-out tire review. If you need some background read the previous related post here: Toyo M/T Part 5

After a mere 1,278 miles traveled over twelve days, the measured treadwear on this set of 255/85R16E Toyo M/T tires went from 19/32″ when new, to 18/32″ on the front axle and 17/32″ on the rears.

Front 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 1/32" on 1,278 miles
Front 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 1/32″ after 1,278 miles
Rear 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 2/32" after 1,278 miles
Rear 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 2/32″ after 1,278 miles

It’s well known that diesel torque, weight, towing, and high speeds all contribute to wear, and sometimes tires wear faster initially, then slow to a more palatable rate. However, after removing a set of Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D tires that were hardly wearing, same as when they were mounted on a lighter rig, this Toyo M/T wear was unacceptable. While I’d run sets of Toyo M/Ts before, I’d put them on a lighter Toyota 4Runner and a 2005 Jeep TJ, and hadn’t experienced this kind of wear. The old F-350 T444E/7.3L Power Stroke was not a daily driver—logging few miles per year, though most were working—so the tires could have lasted years if I would have left them on the truck.

We can’t always have new tires, but I prefer deep rubber, tread that not only starts meaty but stays that way for a while. Depth and void are critical components of traction, so shallow tread not only means less longevity, but also potentially less grip, sooner, after fewer miles.

LT255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T
LT255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T

There was another niggle, the extremely common right-pull of the Toyo muds. I had resigned myself to living with this on the F-350, but combined with the fast wear it more than I cared to tolerate.

My solution was to return the tires for a “ride complaint”. Some manufacturers offer customers this resolution for certain issues, sometimes they even advertise this warranty for new patterns, or for lines that have proved exceptionally popular and/or reliable. However, even when this option is available it typically expires after more than 2/32″ of tread are consumed…which was going to occur in less than 2,000 miles! In this situation I’d more than earned this option with one of my local Les Schwab dealers, having purchased many sets of tires for several platforms in recent years. The truck had to wear shoes, but which ones? A few sets of 285/75R16 treads had been squeezed onto the factory 16 x 7-inch forged aluminum Alcoa wheels, though I much prefer the 255/85 size. Same height, look great, less filling. This quickly narrows the options and I needed to buy them from Les Schwab Tires.

Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16D
Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16D

Maxxis Bighorn MT-762

Les Schwab is not the least expensive tire dealer around; in fact they can be comparatively expensive these days since Discount Tire moved into the region.  Yet, through the years I’ve been mostly happy with the service from most dealers, and willing to pay a little extra depending on the products and services. The Toyo M/T has always been a relatively expensive tire, particularly from Les Schwab dealers, while Maxxis Bighorns have been a good value. When I purchased my first set of Bighorns from Les Schwab several years ago they were a deal, and the prices still seem relatively good in 2016. Then and now, similar dollars are needed to buy five LT255/85R16 Bighorns, or four Toyo Open Country muds, so I did.

Mounting Bighorn 255/85R16 on the stock 16 x 7 inch forged luminous OE F-350 wheel
Mounting Bighorn 255/85R16 on the stock 16 x 7 inch forged stock F-350 wheel

The Bighorns are not a zero compromise choice or design. They also wear fast, even on lighter platforms, and by modern standards they are loud. But if tolerating rapid wear was a necessity, I’d prefer a less expensive product. Plus, they have never caused any of my rigs to drift right (Toyota, Jeep, or Ford), have provided excellent traction in most terrain, and are more flexible at a given pressure while offering a more comfortable ride. All tires can be punctured, but I’ve yet to put a hole in a Maxxis tire; though I did have a sidewall split on my first set on the same F-350, which was replaced under (pro-rated) warranty.

Still A Toyo Fan

I’m compelled to share that while this set of Toyos were a disappointment at the time and I decided to dump them, I’m still a fan of the Toyo brand. Toyo makes high quality tires that typically require little weight to balance, and I’ve purchased another set of Toyo truck tires recently. Wear is not always the predominant factor when choosing new rubber, and all tire choices involve compromise.

As critical as I was of the wear at the time, over the past two years I’ve again been driving heavy diesel pickups regularly, have seen similar, rapid tire wear, and with more than one brand. Those details will have to wait….

© 2016 James Langan/RoadTraveler




Toyo M/T 255/85R16 Part 5

Mud terrain tires are happiest off-pavement
Mud terrain tires are happiest off-pavement

It’s time to continue telling this story, too much has passed, time for closure and for a small blog revival. Depending on your point of view, particularly if you are a Toyo Open Country M/T fan, you may consider this a not-so-happy ending. We will get there together…eventually.

Within ten days of ownership these LT255/85R16E Toyos saw many miles of both graded byways and less traveled four-wheel-drive roads, but nothing one would consider extreme four-wheel-drive use or abuse. The on-payment towing miles involved heavy but not maximum loads, or excessively high freeway speeds. The trailer parts run to town and back added some unloaded highway miles, but of course the tires were appropriately inflated for pavement travel.

My hunting partner Charlie has been running the 33.5-inch tall LT295/70R17E Toyo Open Country M/T tires on his 2007 Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel since new. He’s never been thrilled with their longevity, getting about 30,000 miles from each set, and by that mileage they are gone. He doesn’t drive hard or aggressively, but he does use his truck as a truck, and typically not a daily-driver. His rig sees some loads, mostly the occasional pulling of a moderate travel trailer (approximately 6,500 pounds), plus some bed cargo, and recently more highway miles running between Nevada and Oregon. One of his observations and comments regarding the Toyo M/T that I’ve never forgotten was that the tread seems to “almost melt off the casings” when towing. Before we get to the wear, there was another development during this trip I want to share.

255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T. A great, very rugged tire, but not immune to puncture.
255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T. A very rugged tire, but not immune to puncture.

No Tire Is Immune From Damage

Even the most rugged tires are relatively fragile when the conditions are right. They are all just rubber balloons, relatively soft compared to the hard and sometimes sharp and pointy objects we pilot them over. A few years ago while on a very remote section of trail with a large group of backcountry 4WD travelers, I cut a sidewall on one of my Dick Cepek F-C II tires. I received a good ribbing from a few guys for running thin, 2-ply sidewalls. My assessment then was the same as it is today, 3-ply sidewalls are nice and can help, I like and sometimes even prefer them, but they are also sometimes unreasonably worshiped. Again, any tire can be compromised, and I won’t avoid running a particular tire just because it doesn’t have a 3-ply sidewall.

We Have A Leak

Midweek it was apparent that the right-rear tire was lower than the others, all had been lowered for off-highway travel. The first measurement used was my keen eye, followed by a tire pressure gauge; there was obviously a leak. Assuming the tread had been damaged, I pulled out my tools and prepared to repair the tire with a plug. Charlie was excited to watch the procedure, and I started looking for the signs of a puncture and squirting glass cleaner on possible sites.

Spraying and probing several possible holes the location of the leak remained a mystery, which is not surprising for a small, slow leak. I was cautious with the probe, avoiding creating a hole where one didn’t already exist.

Air loss was moderate and we were traveling slowly in the backcountry until heading home, so I decided I’d just keep filling it as needed, and save the spare for if or when things got worse. The leak remained steady and we were able to finish our hunting trip using the F-350 without concern. For the highway drive home I filled the tire a little higher than the others, kept an eye on it, and it was fine. Then I drove to my local Les Schwab Tires for an expert diagnosis.

A hard to find leak showed up immediately once in a tire water tank.
A hard to find leak showed up immediately once in a tire water tank.

Oh No, It’s A Sidewall Puncture

Hard to find slow leaks are easier to locate once a tire and wheel are removed from the truck and submerged in a tank. That was the case here, with telltale bumbles emanating from the outer sidewall. Ouch, a sidewall puncture on an almost new tire! If I’d thought to look for and located the sidewall leak I would have plugged it while in the bush, or pulled and mounted the spare. The tire was very young though wearing quickly on the rear axle, but still had enough tread remaining to qualify for a new, 100% replacement.

Air bubbles in the lower-right corner of the photo.
Air bubbles in the lower-right corner of the photo.


Sidewall puncture air bubbles close up on a LT255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T.
Sidewall puncture air bubbles close up on a 255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T.

Copyright 2015 James Langan/PhotoWrite/RoadTraveler. All rights reserved.