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 255/85R16E Purchase

My friend Sean needed tires soon but didn’t want to spend the money to purchase my Dick Cepek F-C II treads I’d offered, until he suddenly needed tires now. A freeway road-hazard punctured one of his old and very worn Toyo A/T 265/75R16E treads. His wife Shelly was driving their 2002 F350 crew-cab, 7.3L Power Stroke, pulling their loaded 36-foot triple-axle toy-hauler with all the family on-board…at 70 miles-per-hour. Obviously in-synch with the rig, ten seconds prior to the impending blowout, Shelly commented, “Wow, this wind is really bad…” as she felt the instability of the low psi tire on the right rear of the pickup.

LT265/75R16E Toyo A/T with a washer in the tread.
All tires are relatively fragile, and the tread is tougher than the sidewalls.

The puncture lead to a loss of air, an overheated tire, and ultimately a blow out. We should all take note that Shelly was piloting a large diesel pickup and pulling a huge fifth-wheel trailer when she had the blowout…yet the Ford didn’t roll-over? She just calmly guided the outfit over to the right shoulder. Nothing else happened. Why? Certainly it was because of Newton’s first law of motion (paraphrased): an object will stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. The force of a simple blowout was not enough to roll the Ford F350, nor most Ford Explorers, however if the driver inputs excessive amounts of steering and/or braking, or there are other forces involved…maybe.

A classic tread separation blowout and an example of why under-inflation and/or overloaded tires are so dangerous. This can be the result.

Sean changed his mind and decided he’d buy my Dick Cepek F-C II treads, I had a used set of BFG A/T tires to trade-in, and with $200 more from my billfold and I was able to buy a new set of Toyo M/Ts in 255/85R16E for the old F350, immediately before a deer hunting trip.

Toyo M/T 255/85R16E took the place of the much loved Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D treads. Was this a good decision?

Next, mount & balance.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Favorite LT255/85R16 Part Two

Edit- Check out my new favorite(s) 255/8x tread(s), link below

Link- Mastercraft CXT (with Cooper S/T MAXX comparisons.

 

Favorite 255/85 Part 2

Over that past several weeks I’ve found myself seriously considering a new set of 255/85R16 tires for my old F350 (Pull Dog), which was recently put back in-service after an embarrassingly long hiatus. Maxxis Bighorns or Toyo M/Ts are the only treads I’ve been considering, both readily available from Les Schwab Tires where I do much business.

Toyo M/T & Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16

The reason for the 255/85 tire shopping is not because I need tires; the Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16 currently mounted on the Ford have plenty of tread remaining. In fact the fronts are essentially new, two years old but with less than 1,000 miles on them, and the spare and rears have 17/32” of tread, literally tens of thousands of miles ahead if I continued to drive on them (new 285/75R16 F-C II come with 20/32”!).

20/32″ of tread depth on a new Dick Cepek F-C II

As much as I love the F-C II tread pattern, the 285s are squeezed on the OE 7-inch wide wheels, and technically 285s shouldn’t be on a wheels less than 7.5-inches wide. It’s not the worst match ever and lots of people do this, but it’s not ideal, particularly when airing down. When running low pressures (20-ish) with this combination on such a heavy truck off-highway, the rim abnormally squeezes and folds the sidewall of the tire under the rim, worse on the front, making the sidewall and shoulder of the tire abnormally vulnerable. The larger sidewall budge is even more of a concern with normal-duty tires like the F-C II which has reasonably rugged sidewall tread, but not the massive sidewall lugs we’ve come to expect on modern, aggressive mud-terrain tires. Regardless of the tire or sidewall design it’s ideal to drive on the tread, not the sidewalls, as all sidewalls are inherently vulnerable, even those with lugs and tread.

I’ve considered new 16×8-inch wheels, 17×8-inch wheels (good for the 17-inch future and some 17” tires I already have on another rig) but I’m not certain having a different set of wheels for the old Ford is a good plan. The original 16×7-inch forged aluminum wheels made by Alcoa are very strong, very light, and are about perfect for this truck except for running a wider, 285 tire. Before repairing Pull Dog’s major coolant leak recently, I sold two sets of used 255s last year (LT255/85R16 Tire Delivery Part 1), including one set of serviceable Maxxis Bighorns that were on the F350. Since my fleet inventory contains plenty of 285 treads in the 16 and 17 inch flavors, 8-inch wide wheels make lots of sense for the F350 even though I don’t like tires & wheels that extend beyond the fenders.

LT285/75R16E Toyo M/T on the OE 7″ F350 wheel at 15 psi, shoved into a hillside

Of course buying new 16×8 wheels would fit the current F-C II 285s perfectly, and would also happily accept 255s in the future. However, wider wheels—even with the same positive backspacing as the OE wheels if I could find any I like—will not be as tucked and tight to the body, and will stick out on the front axle. After studying the offset and backspacing on several sets of wheels, it looks like the best case would be 8-inch wide wheels with zero offset. These would push the tires & wheels 3/4-inch outboard compared to the stock, positive offset 7-inch wheels. Of course there are other advantages to running a 255/85 over a 285 tire, including potentially better fuel economy, better tracking on/off-highway, they typically cost and weigh less, etc.

Width matters. Toyo M/T: 265/75R16, 255/85R16, 285/75R16

Will the best 255/85R16 please roll-up and kiss me

Maxxis Bighorns are still a load-range D tire, which I prefer for the ride on a firmly-sprung 1-ton truck. There are pros and cons to running different load ranges, for more on this see this post: Dick Cepek and Mickey Thompson Change Load Range D For E.

The Toyo M/T is a load-range E, a stiff load-range E (not all are created equal), with thick 3-ply sidewalls and a 7-ply tread. Toyos have a well deserved reputation as a very rugged tire both on-highway and off. Toyo M/Ts are also relatively expensive, but in the moderate 255/85R16 size they can be found for under $300 each, not bad these days for a top quality heavy-duty light-truck tire. Maxxis Bighorns are less expensive, but not nearly as enticing as they were a few years ago when they could be purchased for a mere $150 each, but all tires are notably more expensive than just a few years ago.

If new Toyo M/T treads didn’t cost $1,200 my old F350 would be sportin’ a new set of 255/85s right now…I’d like to have them before a rapidly approaching hunting trip. To help push myself over-the-edge I offered a few friends my set of five Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D tires, which would take a big bite out of a Toyo M/T bill. One guy wants them but he doesn’t have cash. Money talks and…

255/85R16E Toyo M/T & Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R176D

And after all this, I’m not completely convinced I should make the swap even if I can sell my F-C IIs. The F-C IIs have plenty of capacity (3,305# per tire @ 65 psi) ride much better (softer) than Toyo M/Ts when unloaded and at moderate speeds off-highway, are already mounted & balanced, track well on the Ford, have tons of tread remaining, and are flexible (good traction). The only cons are that the F-C II are not as rugged and they’re squeezed on narrow rims.

New Treads, Alignment, and Wear

If I mount new Toyos on Pull Dog will I need an alignment? If not needed I probably should have the alignment checked, it’s been years… I suggest getting the alignment whenever one mounts new or different tires, it’s foolish to jeopardize new, expensive tread with sloppy front-end maintenance. While I’m a very enthusiastic fan of the Dick Cepek F-C II tread design, I’ve been running them on my lighter 4Runner and second generation Tundra, and it would be nice to see how they perform for me on a heavier truck with low gears, a manual transmission, and serious diesel torque. Will they last as long? Compared to the Toyo M/T tires, I have no doubt the F-C II will wear much longer, and their winter traction will be superior. The only areas where the F-C II can’t compete with the Toyo M/T is ruggedness and serious slop traction, and I’m not sure I need those features 99 percent of the time, though they would be nice while traveling in the backcountry. Oh yeah, and the perfect fit of a 255/85 on the OE 7-inch wheels on a 1996 F350.

A 255/85 fits and works perfectly on the old Ford F350

One thing is for sure, when it comes to putting down my credit card for a new set of tries for the 1996 F350 I’ve moved the Toyo M/T to the top, thus it’s my (current) favorite LT255/85R16 for this truck. There, I said it.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

MPG, Fuel Economy, Tire Width, and Treads No. 1

Newer, detailed article, click here: Tread Matters

 

Will The Most Efficient Tires Please Drive Forward

It’s often stated that narrower, lighter, less aggressive tires are more efficient and will yield better fuel economy, but how much better? To properly compare apples and pears one must take care to reduce the variables that are always present during real-world tests. In this case I used the same vehicle, same gas pump, during similar weather conditions and time of day, calculated the odometer error, and used the same section of freeway. The GPS-confirmed road speed was 64-MPH and was maintained by cruise control. The tires were inflated to 35-PSI in all but the last test with the Dick Cepek F-C II treads where I goofed and only used 32-PSI. The F-C II tires performed so well I doubt they could have provided better economy with an extra 3-PSI.

Cooper S/T 255/85R16D on Toyota 4Runner, @ 15 PSI.

If you think the fuel economy numbers listed below are too high you are partly correct, the tests involved almost zero city driving. The variables of in-town driving are not repeatable and won’t yield consistent data. What these tests do show is the fuel economy potential of this vehicle and establishes a baseline against which other tests can be measured. For each test the modified 2006 4.7L V8 4Runner was fueled and then driven a few blocks to the same freeway onramp, onward to a specific exit, and then the route was reversed and terminated at the same gas pump where the engine was promptly turned off.

Dean SXT Mud Terrain & Cooper S/T, both 255/85R16. Two of the narrowest 255/85 tires made.

All the tires used were close to the same diameter, about 33-inches, and they were all mounted on Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD 16 x 7.5-inch aluminum wheels. Because of the slight differences I tire height, one corrected odometer reading of 56.76-miles was used for all the tests. Listed below with the figures are the weights of each tire/wheel combination.

Results:

Cooper S/T LT255/85R16D: 75-lb  3.027-gal. = 18.75 MPG

Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16D: 82-lb  3.017-gal. = 18.81 MPG

TreadWright Guard Dog LT285/75R16E: 87-lb  3.331-gal. = 17.04 MPG

Dick Cepek F-C II LT285/75R16D: 83-lb  3.121-gal. = 18.18 MPG

Maxxis Bighorn 255/85R16D, TreadWright Guard Dog 285/75R16E, Cooper S/T 255/85R16D

Commentary

I was a little surprised that the very narrow and light Coopers consumed more fuel than the heavier, more aggressive Maxxis Bighorns. Though when filling-up after the Cooper test the gas-pump didn’t stop normally and a little gas spit from the filler, possibly contributing to the lower reading. Longer distance tests would likely be more accurate, but this type of testing is very time consuming and expensive.

It was expected that the heavier, wider TreadWright Guard Dogs with their aggressive lug tread would use more fuel. The Cepek F-C II tires impressed me by splitting the difference and topping eighteen MPG!

Cooper S/T 255/85R16D, Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D

Surely tread design, width, and weight all make a difference. My theory is that width and tread design have a larger impact on fuel economy than tire weight, at least when there is only a few pounds difference. There is five pounds separating the Maxxis Bighorn 255/85R16 and TreadWright 285/75R16, but I don’t think those additional few pounds account for the 1.77 mile-per-gallon difference. There is a seven pound difference between the Maxxis Bighorns and Cooper S/Ts, but the results for these two 255s were so close you could call it a tie.

Your mileage will vary.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Dick Cepek F-C II Review No. 1

This blog will not always be so tire centric, but it seems a popular topic so I’ll continue in this vein for now.

Dick Cepek F-C II

This is a review about one set of Dick Cepek F-C II tires I have been tracking. Longevity is only one consideration when choosing a tread, and needs to be balanced with other criteria, but everyone always asks about wear. Some might argue that long wear is the most important characteristic, however that really depends on how you want your tires to perform. Some off-highway enthusiasts care much more about traction or noise.

Hummer H2 with 38" Dick Cepek F-C II

A few years ago this Hummer H2 was lifted several inches, and at the same time these 38×15.50R20LT Dick Cepek F-C II tires were mounted. I’m aquatinted with the owner and he’s not a conservative driver, or maybe he is now but he didn’t used to be. Admittedly this H2 is a street queen, though it has traveled a few fire roads when goin’ fishin’. The tires were rotated with each oil change, about every 5,000 miles.

When doing the photo shoot the owner knew the tires had logged several thousands miles, though not exactly how many. After he confirmed the date and mileage of the installation, I had the data I needed for this story.

Dick Cepek F-C II 38x15.50R20 with 20/32" tread depth.

The F-C II is no longer offered in this size, but came with 20/32″ of tread, as seen here on the still new spare.

Dick Cepek F-C II after 40,000 miles, with 10/32" of tread remaining.

Slow Wearing Tread Design

After 40,000 miles of driving, the rate of wear was nothing less than exceptional. Four thousand miles per 1/32″ of tread wear on a heavy, modified utility wagon running a fairly aggressive traction tire is outstanding.

Still plenty of tread and siping after 40,000 miles on a 38" F-C II.

Without prompting, the owner shared that the F-C II is a great winter tire, which is a common accolade. While not a dedicated winter design, the shape and density of tread sipes, combined with the layout of the center tread blocks helps make the F-C II an outstanding winter performer. This tire does well many places, that’s why Dick Cepek Tires calls it an any-terrain radial.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Tire Pull Diagnosis

Looking For The Offending Tire 

Conventional wisdom regarding radial tire pull says that if a tire is the source of the pulling problem it can be diagnosed by using a specific procedure.

-Rotate the front tires side-to-side. If the vehicle goes in the opposite direction, it’s one of the front tires. If the vehicle goes in the same direction the pulling is from one of the rear tires, or is not a tire-related problem. There are more steps, but you can read them on The TireRack’s Pulling Tire Diagnosis PDF.

Though I have been through this procedure a few times before, I printed the PDF to insure I was following the steps exactly and made notes during the process. Guess what? The Tundra still pulled to the right, so I jumbled the position of the tires again and adjusted the tire pressure. Regardless of the position of the tires or PSI, the truck still drifted to the right rather quickly. So is there a chassis or alignment problem if there isn’t a tire problem?

Based on my experiences with my 4Runner I was quite confident that my alignment settings were fine, and not the source of the pulling problem, at least not directly. After numerous alignment adjustments attempting to redirect tire pull on the 4Runner (mostly cross-caster adjustments) some tires would still pull right while others would not. In fact depending on the tire and/or tread pattern, some tires required relatively high cross-caster while others needed very little. Using OE wheels, and in the case of the Tundra, OE sized tires, removes another variable that can make tire pull diagnosis difficult on modified vehicles. Are my modified chassis bent or broken, or are there simply compatibility issues with some tires and platforms?

Toyo M55 and Toyo M/T. Two tires that have caused tire pull on my 4Runner, but not on other trucks.

The Toyo M/T is known to cause a pull or drift on Dodge trucks, are these trucks broken too? My point is that even though the standard and accepted tire-pull diagnosis procedure might indicate the problem is not with the tires, that doesn’t mean there is a problem with the chassis. Having a second set of mounted and balanced tires has helped me confirm this a couple times. The tires may not be defective, but they may still cause a pulling problem on your truck and that doesn’t necessarily mean your truck is damaged or out of adjustment.

My favorite all-around tire remains the Dick Cepek F-C II. The Tundra’s alignment settings were working reasonably well with the F-C II and I was not willing to make changes that might improve the pulling with the S/T MAXXs at the cost of hurting drivability with the F-C IIs. Having two sets of tires isn’t practical if you need different alignment settings for each set.

What Next?

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

LT255/85R16 Tire Delivery Part 1

Stranger Danger Online

The world may be full of dangerous people, and jokes about meeting people “on the internet” can ring true when you hear a horror story or two. However, there are lots of very honest, honorable, and friendly people in the world, and many of them are online—just like the rest of us.

Is Mr. 255/85 Selling His 255s?

I received a note from a guy named Brian asking specific questions about the LT255/85R16 tire size. After a few emails I decided he was a nice family man and agreed to sell him two sets tires, which I’d been contemplating selling for a while. These sets, one of Maxxis Bighorns and another the Cooper S/T, were used but still had about 14/32 of tread remaining.

I’ve been a user and advocate of the 255/85 size since purchasing my first set in 1998, but I have been using more 285s, mostly because there are many more tread choices. There just are not that many 255s made these days, and some of the better, tougher, and longer wearing designs don’t track well on my 4Runner, further limiting my options. The 255/85 is still a great size, I’ll likely never stop singing the praises of this 33×10″ tire, they’re still what I prefer running on my F350.

Cooper S/T 255/85R16D, Cooper S/T MAXX 275/70R18E, Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D

By rural western standards Brian lived nearby, about 80 miles, but had a very busy work schedule that was going to prevent us from meeting for several weeks. I offered to deliver the tires if he paid for my fuel.

Tire Swap Fest

The Maxxis Bighorn 255/85 tires I sold were still mounted and being used on my F350. The Cooper S/T treads were mounted on a spare set of TRD FJ Cruiser wheels for the Mall Crawler. Selling these required lots of tire changing and even some tire purchases but it will take me a few posts to share the whole story. Imagine that, James buying and testing tires. Though buying and swappin’ tires is much easier and less expensive than swappin’ women—just sayin’.

Pulling the Maxxis Bighorns from the F350’s OE forged aluminum wheels meant I needed to fit something else. I robbed the set of Dick Cepek F-C II in LT285/75R16D from the Mall Crawlin’ 4Runner and ordered replacements…

Stuff is missin'

Copyright © 2012 James Langan