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

 

 

 

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

My favorite LT255/85R16?

Check out my current favorites below

Link: Mastercraft CXT and Cooper S/T MAXX

 

I was asked about my favorite 255/85R16 tire these days. Favorite? Just one? Singular? This was a tough assignment for me. All my buddies know it’s impossible for me to have only one set of truck tires in my shop. It depends on the application, but what’s my final answer?

For most of us price is at least somewhat of a consideration, if not a major factor, when choosing tires. I’ll give cost some consideration, though I prefer to buy the rubber I want, and think of the relative value over 40,000 miles or more. Sometimes a little faster rate of wear is a fair tradeoff for performance.

Maxxis Bravo MA-761 and Toyo M55 in 255/85R16

Mostly Muds

While I wish there were more all-terrain or commercial traction treads in the 255/85 size there are only a couple. The Toyo M55 is one commercial traction tire that comes to mind, and the load-range D, 3-ply sidewall Maxxis Bravo MA-761 is a the only stout, low-void tire in this size. The rest are essentially mud-terrain tires.

Regional availability varies and I suggest considering this before a purchase. With few exceptions, most stores will need to order a set of 255/85 tires. In my part of The West, 255/85R16 Toyo M/T, M55, and Maxxis Bighorns can be found at many Les Schwab Tires stores, and if not in stock, will arrive a few days after an order is placed. I’d be willing to bet cash that few (if any) local tire stores stock the BFG Mud-Terrain. However the online tire giant, Tire Rack, has a warehouse nearby, and a short drive any business day would put a set of 255/85 KM2s in my pickup.

LT255/85R16E BFG KM2 treads on a 2006 4Runner

Toyo M/T 

If you’re looking for very heavy-duty construction (and heavy), smooth running on pavement, and a reputation for balancing well, the Toyo M/T is a top choice. Tread wear can be very good, or lousy depending on the rig and the driver. Their tendency to pull, often right, on (my) Toyota 4WDs and many Dodge trucks has made me reconsider my praise for Toyos in recent years where I used to swear by them. Their cost is a little scary too, though the 255/85 size is small enough to be affordable; all tires have become more expensive.

When the stoutest tire is not needed, I don’t like the extremely low pressures needed to make the Toyo M/T ride nice and flex the way I prefer off-pavement. At normal pressures on-highway ride is also firm, this is the price that must be paid for extreme-duty construction, the 3-ply sidewalls, and 7-ply tread. Some dislike the appearance of the Toyo M/T, but I think it’s a sharp looking tire. Noise is moderate for a mud terrain tire.

The previous BFG KM Mud-Terrain and the Toyo M/T in 255/85R16.

BFGoodrich KM2

With enough saddle time above a set of 255/85R16s and 285/75R16s to know how they perform off-highway, the BFG KM2 has impressed me as a load-range E, 3-ply sidewall tire that flexes well when the air pressure is dropped. BFG claims this in their advertising and it’s true. So while I’m not a BFG fan, this flexibility has my respect because I like flexible tires that are tough enough.

BFG also deserves credit for their commitment to the 255/85R16 size, as they made it for many years in the previous Mud Terrain design, for years now in the KM2 pattern, and offer essentially the same 17-inch tire, a 255/80R17. I’ve not had any failures with BFGs, but they’ve also never been my favorite tires, so I never put more than a few thousand miles on a set.

Most seem to be satisfied with how KM2s perform and last, but for years I’ve heard reports of inconsistent balance with BFGs. I experienced this myself with a set of 255/85 KMs (not KM2), which were only slightly worn and started to require more lead to balance after a few thousand miles. BFGoodrich deserves credit for taking chances when designing the KM2 which is a nice, different looking tire that has plenty of sidewall tread. A good price for a set of 255/85 KM2s should be much less than Toyo M/Ts.

Maxxis Bighorn load-range D and BFGoodrich KM2 load-range E LT255/85R16 tires.

Maxxis Bighorn MT-762

When Les Schwab Tires started selling the Bighorn a few years ago, including the 255/85R16 size (blackwalls too!), I was quick to buy a set. At the time they did full-time duty on my built 4Runner and were an exceptional value, about $150 per tire. On many occasions I was thoroughly impressed by the grip the Bighorns delivered. Part of their traction advantage comes from the relatively soft, flexible tread compound, which also results in pretty fast wear. Bighorns are also a little loud, not howling ‘swamper’ loud, but a typical mud tire hum, a bit more to listen to than either the Toyo M/T and KM2, particularly as they wear. As I mature, I’m less tolerant of everyday tire noise, and actually prefer something quieter than all three of my examples here. If you’re not averse to a little mud tire noise, the Bighorns are a great tire. They are still a load-range D 255/85, only a 2-ply sidewall design, though I’ve yet to rip one open. I’d like to see Maxxis update their design and add thicker tread material on the upper sidewalls.

My first set of Bighorns made me a fan of Maxxis light-truck tires, when they balanced with very little weight. This spurred me to purchased a set of Bravo all-terrains, which also required little weight to balance and were great on the road. My second set of 255/85 Bighorns also balanced well, but never saw much use before being traded. A third set of Bighorns, used 285/75R17s, that I acquired for testing a few months ago also balanced very well even though they had some uneven wear. A little noisy and fast wearing they may be, but they are still a decent value if you don’t have to pay full retail, and even better if you’re able to use them mostly off-highway.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Bighorn, little drive

17" TRD Rock Warrior wheel w/o the blig ring.

Mounting the Bighorns on the Tundra and hitting the highway confirmed what the balance machine told us: The Bighorns and 17-inch forged aluminum RW wheels are a good combination and well balanced.

Backing out of my shop I was immediately reminded of how flexible the Bighorns are, at 35 psi the ride was very compliant, almost soft.

Typical 2-ply sidewalls.

Up to 70 mph on the freeway the only thing I could feel was a slight rumble on the rear axle caused by the prior uneven wear. After a few thousand miles on a properly aligned and conservatively driven truck the poor wear patterns should disappear.

Maxxis Bighorns ON, F-C II OFF.

Loud

Perceptions and opinions about tire noise vary, and the truck can make a big difference too, though except when new I’ve found Bighorns to be a little on the loud side. This set didn’t disappoint, and the irregular wear added to the rumble.

Noise aside, the Tundra seemed happy with the Bighorns mounted and they’re a nice addition to the fleet for my upcoming multi-tire fuel economy test.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Mount and Balance, Maxxis Bighorn LT285/70R17D

Almost enough debris inside to weigh!

It was obvious these Bighorns had been stored outside as there was varying amounts of desert grit inside the tires. A thorough cleaning with compressed air prepared them for a trip to the tire shop.

Inside of the bead, this sand was difficult to blow out.

The Bighorns were not going on my nicest set of wheels, but my local Les Schwab Tires still used their nice, new rim-clamp machine to insure damage free mounting.

Rim Clamp tire machine.

New high-pressure valve stems were purchased for the TRD Rock Warrior wheels.

My experiences with Maxxis tires, all LT255/85R16D prior to buying this set of used 285s, have been positive. The Bighorns are a little loud, a softer, nicely gripping tire, and I’m usually impressed with how little weight they require to balance.

Having the correct, small center cone for the balance machine is important.

Hunter Road Force GSP9700 tire balancer.

These 285/70R17s did not disappoint, the Hunter GSP9700 balance machine indicated the tires needed little weight to balance, even with their uneven wear.

Tire #1. Amazingly little weight for a dynamic balance of a 33" mud tire. The final balance required 1 ounce on each side.

Balance Data

On my shop scale these 17-inch Bighorns weighed 55–57 pounds depending on how much rubber remained, and 80 pounds mounted on the very light forged aluminum 17″ TRD Rock Warrior wheels. Although I’ll often use a static, single-plane balance for truck tires, these Bighorns were dynamically balanced.

  1. 1.00/1.00
  2. 2.50/2.00
  3. 2.00/4.75 (The most cupped, unevenly worn tire.)
  4. 3.50/1.50

The lack of wheel weight required to balance these 33-inch mud tires was amazing. Tire #3 needed 6.75 ounces, still very respectable for a new tire, and simply impressive for one that has notable uneven wear.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Tire Wear Analysis: Maxxis Bighorn LT285/70R17D

Rear Maxxis Bighorn with 15/32" of tread remaining.

Careful inspection of the tread confirmed what I’d thought upon initial scrutiny: It’s obvious which pair of tires had been on the rear axle of the turbo-diesel Cummins and which had been on the front. The rears were evenly worn but had about 2/32″ less tread than the fronts, an obvious result of the substantial diesel torque, loading, and type of use they received.

17/32" in the center of a front tire.

The additional tread in the centers of the fronts was nice, however the outer edges were unevenly worn due to poor front-end alignment, driving style, or both.

Front Tire Feathering.

Rounded Outer Lugs, Front Tire, Maxxis Bighorn 285/70R17D.

Below you can see there is 10/32″ of remaining aftermarket siping in the center lugs.

10/32" of remaining siping cut into the center lugs.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Maxxis Bighorn LT285/70R17D

The End Of The Internet

My friend Paul recently referred to Craig’s List (CL) as “the end of the internet”, and I found it both funny and appropriate. Paul says he and his brother Chuck will visit their favorite sites, and then end up on Craig’s List looking for deals. A recent CL find in a nearby town seemed worthy of investigation…

Normal Cruise Speed In Tundra, 65 MPH

“Almost new Maxxis Bighorns, paid $900, only asking $600, still have the nubbies on them”. Since I’ve used and enjoyed Bighorns before, and had a naked set of wheels begging for new rubber, I called and got the skinny. I was told the tires had “about 1,000 miles on them”, from a few trips to the neighboring city, taking kids to school, etc. The guy said he would take $500, sounded genuine, so I decided they were worth a look and made the 1.5 hour drive one morning.

1,000 Miles x 5

Exiting my truck with my tread depth gauge in-hand, the first tire I measured had only 15/32″ tread in the center. I showed the seller, who used to work at a Les Schwab Tire store in Idaho, and he responded with: “Wow, I didn’t realize they were wearing that fast”. New 285/70R17D Maxxis Bighorns come with 19/32″ of tread, and though they can be a fast wearing tire, there was no way they lost 4/32″ in 1,000 miles, even on the rear of a powerful turbo-diesel with a young right foot driving them. During further discussion one trip from Nevada to Idaho and back was mentioned, and from the wear I guessed the tires had logged at least 5,000 miles. The fronts had more tread in the centers but the outer lugs were feathered from poor alignment or driving.

Maxxis Bighorn Tread Closeup

Since I needed more tires like the preverbal hole in head, and wanted to insure I could resell them if the the Tundra or I didn’t like them, I told the seller I didn’t want to offend him, and then offered him $300. He said he wouldn’t go that low, and that there was a much better market for his tires back in Idaho. I increased my offer to $350 (add $50 in gas to that), and said I understood if he didn’t accept, I enjoyed the drive and would be on my way. He and his wife tossed it around for a few minutes, and then accepted my cash.

LT285/70R17D Maxxis Bighorns, Center Lugs Are Siped

Loaded, strapped down, and heading home, I stopped for a cold drink at the local gas station, it was a warm spring day. I took a few pictures of the new toys, had a snack, and watched a tow-truck driver try to perform a lockout on a new, 5th Generation 4Runner for over a half-hour. This reinforced the value of my practice of always carrying two ignition keys, one in each front pocket. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been locked-out of one of my vehicles, more than sixteen years.

It takes effort to accidentally lock the ignition key inside a new car as long as it stays in the switch, or in your pocket. Lay the key on a seat and all bets are off.

While driving home I planned the mount & balance and test-drive with the new to me Bighorns.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan