Toyo M/T LT255/85R16E, Loaded, On-Highway

Just two days after the Toyos were mounted it was time to put them to work. The first part of my testing involved towing our vintage 30-foot Avion travel trailer. I often weigh my outfits before heading out, though I was leaving much later than planned, so I bypassed the local truck scales. For trips like this with 65 gallons of water in the trailer, plenty of food, tools, and warm clothes for a week of hunting and dry camping, the Avion weighs close to 8,000 pounds. The F350’s bed was loaded with 45 gallons of extra water, a generator, cans of gas and diesel, and some tools. From experience I know the gross-combined-weight (GCW) was 16,000 pounds, give or take a few hundred.

ZF-S5 manual tranny runs hot. It's nice to have a gauge, run premium synthetic oil, and change the lube often.

ZF-S5 manual tranny runs hot. It’s nice to have a gauge, run premium synthetic oil, and change the lube often.

Coupled to the truck with a standard weight-distribution hitch using 1,000-pound spring bars and a friction sway control, the F350’s stock suspension handles the load easily. The Toyo M/Ts were pumped to 55 psi in front and 70 psi in the rear, more than enough for the load on each axle.

The old International 7.3L T444E diesel provides plenty of twist, particularly when coupled to the ZF-S5 manual tranny and factory 4.10:1 gearing.

Eastbound And Down, Loaded-Up And Truckin’

Traveling mostly 65 mph, the old Ford logged 10.67 mpg at my first fuel stop in Winnemucca, Nevada, after the first 170 miles. It would be nice to get better fuel economy but the load and speed had everything to do with the results. I don’t mind driving slow sometimes, but I-can’t-drive-55. Almost this entire first segment of freeway hauling was done in 5th/overdrive, but with 4.10:1 ring-and-pinions the old 7.3L International is spinning faster and using more fuel than newer Super Dutys with their taller 3.73:1 gears.

Fueling

Fueling

Onward and upward I traveled into north central Nevada. Still rolling on pavement but now on a rural two-lane highway, it’s not uncommon to be the only rig on the road at night in remote Nevada. At another two-lane junction there was enough light for my camera and mini tripod to capture the old school glow.

The tires tracked well, the 255 width being about perfect for rolling down the road, rarely pulled by ruts or edges like wider tires often are.

After a brief stop at Denio Junction to top the fuel tanks before leaving the pavement, I rolled into camp late; about 9:00 p.m. Thankfully Charlie and I had used the same BLM spot two years prior, so finding my way, even at night wasn’t a problem. I parked on a fairly level 52-ft long section of dirt, everything still hitched, leaving truck, trailer, and camp setup chores for the morning. There is much to be said for just walking through the man-sized door of a travel trailer and going to sleep in an old luxury apartment on wheels.

Pull Dog: 17 years young with his 'older woman', a 35-year-old Avion travel trailer.

Pull Dog: 17 years young with his ‘older woman’, a 35-year-old Avion travel trailer.

Continuing…

Copyright © 2013 James Langan

Odyssey Batteries neglect test.

Continuing with my current, electrical bent, recently I was again reminded to take care of my batteries. In this case, my dead batteries were the result of a different sin; lack of use.

My poor old 1996 F350 needs love and TLC, and has been infrequently started or driven for the past few years. Until now, the dual Odyssey PC1750 batteries have been very tolerant of the lack of charging and occasional starting. While the batteries were too low to fire the big T444E (7.3L) Power Stroke engine, they still turned the motor ever so slowly, until almost grinding to a stop, but there was none of the typical solenoid clicking that one often hears from low batteries.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

7.3L Power Stroke Diesel Tire Q&A

I received the email below asking for input, and with the reader’s permission, decided it would be nice to respond to his question on the blog and share with everyone.

Do you have a question for RoadTraveler.net? When you do, send  an email, maybe RoadTraveler can help.

Question:

I was wondering if I could pick your brain for a minute. I just bought another F350 CC today. 97 Powerstroke with built E4OD. It is going to need rubber soonish, and I have also recently bought a 2700 lb slide in camper. I am looking for a load range E 315-75 R16. All i have found so far is the Toyo MT. I am fine with those, aside from cost vs wear ratio. Any other hats you could throw in the ring?

Much appreciated, Red Thies


Answer:
.

I love the old, first generation 7.3L Power Strokes, sounds like you found a good one. As you know, you have a substantial load with that slide-in camper. I assume you desire a load-range E 315/75R16 because you want the added capacity of over the typical load-range D, and possibly the added stiffness to reduce sidewall flex and heat.

Does the camper weigh 2,700 pounds dry or is that the gross-vehicle-weight-rating (GVWR)? My guess is that with the weight of that camper you will be very close to the maximum capacity of two typical 315/75R16Ds, which is 3,195 pounds each at 50-PSI. Depending on how you set-up the F350, you might have close of 3,000-pounds riding on the rear axle (I do) when you are wet & empty before you install the camper. Using these estimates, you would have about 690-pounds of total rear axle tire payload remaining.

I’m generally a fan of the Toyo M/T because it’s a high-quality, rugged tire that balances well and rolls nicely down the road. However, you raise a very valid point; value. The Toyo M/T is generally pretty expensive, and depending on the application, wear is not always fantastic. I also know a few people who didn’t get great mileage out of their Toyo A/Ts either. As the saying goes, your-mileage-may-vary, there are always others who can share they get great wear out of Toyos. Depends. Do you want a mud-terrain tire? Diesels can be hard on tires, and so can maximum loads, therefore starting with a tire that has a spotty reputation for wear is a big gamble.

The GoodYear DuraTrac LT315/75R16 is a load-range E tire, rated for 3,860-pounds each at 65 psi, a very healthy increase in capacity. But like the Toyo M/T, some seem to get great wear out of the DuraTrac while others receive a very short life. I like the appearance of the tread, but it hasn’t been able to lure me away from the Dick Cepek F-C II.

The Firestone Destination M/T is a load-range E in 315/75, and comes with a whopping 20/32″ of tread. The Firestone Destination A/T is also a load-range E, but is a very conservative 5-rib all-terrain tread design.

What say you?

Toyo M/T LT285/75R16E on 7.3L Power Stroke F350

Copyright © 2012 James Langan