Let's Talk Tire Construction - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Let's Talk Tire Construction

So I'm currently involved in a deep conversation with a couple buddies about tires and I'd like to the opinion of my esteemed Xterra colleagues on the subject.

Buddy #1 drives a 2018 4Runner off-road trim Toyota whatever... [eye roll emoji] He's in deep on researching the best tire. He recently blew out a set of P-metric, Falcon Wildpeaks I think; he ripped the sidewall on a trail. Now he's trying to convince us that E-rated tires are too much for our rigs and off-roading and C-rated tires are better. He's hung up on the load ratings and how rigid they are. He is well read and stubborn. I think it all stems from his previous rig, a Subaru Outback with 2" lift (3300# car) and D-rated BFG AT KO2. He hated the KO2s on that rig; he said they were too stiff. We think they were too much tire for the Outback. Also, I've wheeled with him a couple times and he does not air down, but he was running p-metrics...

Buddy #2 drives a 2007 GX470 (essentially a Land Cruiser Prado). He's running a set of E-rated BGF AT KO2's and they are perfect for the size rigs we drive. He is easily convinced/persuaded by advertising and a trusted opinion. He argues that a light truck tire is appropriate and E-rated might be overkill in some situations. He suggests that D-rated tires might be adequate for some rigs (he's thinking about another friends Taco) and are probably more comfortable around town. He argues that strength for load equates to durability and puncture resistance as an artifact of materials used to gain that load strength, and that ply-rating is kind of a hold-over from days gone by. Today, load ratings sort of equate to ply-equivalents... I can buy into this line of thinking.

Then there's me. 2012 P4X and E-rated KOs. Why even discuss it. Just get solid E-rated, 10 ply tires, 3-ply sidewalls. BFG KO2s or similar. Set it and forget it man! Air down to 20-24 psi when on the trail and never worry about your tires. Airing down and back up gives everyone (well the kids really) a chance to get out of the truck and pee. Who cares if the driving around town feels like your driving a truck, the X is one.

To preface, we are all driving comparable tracks like Fins and Things, and multi-day trips like Elephant Hill and the Maze.

Anyway, what are your opinions on tire ratings for off-roading?

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Last edited by scoyoc; 02-21-2019 at 01:41 AM. Reason: Correction on GX470's arguments
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoyoc View Post
So I'm currently involved in a deep conversation with a couple buddies about tires and I'd like to the opinion of my esteemed Xterra colleagues on the subject.

Buddy #1 drives a 2018 4Runner off-road trim Toyota whatever... [eye roll emoji] He's in deep on researching the best tire. He recently blew out a set of P-metric, Falcon Wildpeaks I think; he ripped the sidewall on a trail. Now he's trying to convince us that E-rated tires are too much for our rigs and off-roading and C-rated tires are better. He's hung up on the load ratings and how rigid they are. He is well read and stubborn. I think it all stems from his previous rig, a Subaru Outback with 2" lift (3300# car) and D-rated BFG AT KO2. He hated the KO2s on that rig; he said they were too stiff. We think they were too much tire for the Outback. Also, I've wheeled with him a couple times and he does not air down, but he was running p-metrics...

Buddy #2 drives a 2007 GX470 (essentially a Land Cruiser Prado). He's running a set of E-rated BGF AT KO2's and they are perfect for the size rigs we drive. He is easily convinced/persuaded by advertising and a trusted opinion. He argues that a light truck tire is appropriate and E-rated might be overkill in some situations. He suggests that D-rated tires might be adequate for some rigs (he's thinking about another friends Taco) and are probably more comfortable around town. He argues that strength for load equates to durability and puncture resistance as an artifact of materials used to gain that load strength, and that ply-rating is kind of a hold-over from days gone by. Today, load ratings sort of equate to ply-equivalents... I can buy into this line of thinking.

Then there's me. 2012 P4X and E-rated KOs. Why even discuss it. Just get solid E-rated, 10 ply tires, 3-ply sidewalls. BFG KO2s or similar. Set it and forget it man! Air down to 20-24 psi when on the trail and never worry about your tires. Airing down and back up gives everyone (well the kids really) a chance to get out of the truck and pee. Who cares if the driving around town feels like your driving a truck, the X is one.

To preface, we are all driving comparable tracks like Fins and Things, and multi-day trips like Elephant Hill and the Maze.

Anyway, what are your opinions on tire ratings for off-roading?
Buddy #1 lost all credibility on his argument simply because he doesn't air down when offroad. E-rated tires ride like pillows when aired down. While they are stiffer, you should be doing a chalk test to see what psi they should be at while driving on paved roads. You'd be surprised how much it makes a difference. My KO2's in 315/75R16 are set at 32-33psi around town. My Kumho MT's needed to be at 40-44 psi (awful tire by the way). Why is this? Because the KO2's are stiffer and don't need as much air to make the necessary contact with the road. And to be honest they don't feel any worse on the road. And that's the thing, people just fill up to a generic psi regardless of tire, if you do it that way not only will the ride be variable (stiffer with E rated for example), but you will also wear the tires in a bad way reducing their lifespan.

Buddy#2 is right in the sense that you don't need an E-rated tire if you don't offroad and about the ply ratings. If you do offroad, the E-rated tires will have better puncture resistance and will ride just as nice aired down. You'd only feel it being slightly stiffer on the road (after corrected for psi). Whether or not this important is personal taste.

As for yourself you have the right idea. I would air down as you do for a gravel road, but something more trail like (rocks, larger pot holes etc) I air down to 12-15 psi.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 11:08 AM
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Buddy one is deeply steeped into his Toyota ways. Let me guess he has an Overland bound badges strategically placed on the TURD and has a death spork?

Buddy 2 prob is tired of buddy 1, but I would argue that his line of thought is mine.



I was going to go into a big thing about "Tires get their strength (load capacity) from their side walls" and all that but I think the argument will be lost on Fud 1.

The higher the load rating the thicker and more plys on the side wall (generally speaking) so personally where I live an E tire is a must for me, I use my side walls a lot (prob why I blow tire rods constantly) and all the shale and volcanic rock is really hard on tires so I like Es, I also air down to 15-10 PSI just about every time.


Mrs Unseen has a very mildly built rig and she's running load Es, they are way to much for the weight of her X and also what she primarily uses it for, a fun trail once in a while and mostly highway, so I think well go down to a C for the next set, lighter tire, but still a good side wall for durability off road
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 12:03 PM
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In an ideal world and for how we use ours, I would love an LT255/85R16 all terrain tire in LR D or even C. But that combo doesn't seem to exist. So I settled on LT285/75R16 in LR E and that one works well for me.

Keep it simple, LT tire and air down as needed. If someone else wants to run something else, no sense in wasting a lot of time trying to argue with them. But be sure to mock your friend if they tear up their P rated tires.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 12:38 PM
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for offroad, 3 ply is the most important part imo.

For on road comfortableness on relatively stock weight, buddy 1 is right, C is best matched, but i can't stand how sloshy most P and C rated tires are. I much prefer E load

oh, you can comfortably air down much lower than you are too. Try 15 sometime, huge difference.

I typically air my 35's down to 10-12 depending on the conditions.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 01:16 PM
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One thing that's always confused me is... I went to C rated tires from the original P rated tire. The C rated tire has same ply rating, are the same size but have LOWER load rating than the P rated original tire. I am to believe that the C rated tire is more suitable for off road (and I obviously believe that cuz I bought them) but by all specifications I read, I can't see how they are different other than in the reduced load rating. You would think there would be a specification that would have to be met before calling a tire a certain class (IE. P, C, D or E rating) . If there is such a spec, it is not readily available to the consumer and apparently we just have to take the manufacturers' word for the different rating.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 07:39 PM
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P have more load carrying capability than Cs. Not sure if C's have more plies. I think they do which would make them stronger for off road.
I think the D's are perfect, but not very many tires come in D.
E's are the toughest in ever respect but are also heavy. If it comes to real sidewall tearing/cutting situation you won't get much more protection with an E.

Currently I have 2 different sets of P's, both snow tires, though one set I use for summer/offroad. Never had an issue.

In generally I think: no offroad get P. Offroad, get D if available, otherwise E.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhullD View Post
Buddy #1 lost all credibility on his argument simply because he doesn't air down when offroad.
In his defense, he was running p-metrics on the trail. But, he was running p-metrics on the TRAIL! So... yeah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhullD View Post
I air down to 12-15 psi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsexton View Post
I typically air my 35's down to 10-12 depending on the conditions.
Wow! I'm inspired. When all the snow finally melt out here I'll drop to 15.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don View Post
You would think there would be a specification that would have to be met before calling a tire a certain class (IE. P, C, D or E rating) . If there is such a spec, it is not readily available to the consumer and apparently we just have to take the manufacturers' word for the different rating.
This is at the heart of our disagreement. There isn't any data or specs available for real off-road use. From what I understand, tire manufactures test for and release data for on-pavement applications. Even if they design a tire for off-road use, they cannot release data or test results when tires are used "improperly" (e.g., they can't recommend airing down to specific psi when wheeling, or give specs for tires at lower pressures than they would be use on the street). A guy I've had a couple 4WD training's with told me that BFG designed the KO2 to be able to run at pressures below 20 psi at 60 mph (or something like that), but the lawyers won't let them release those data to the public.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 09:24 PM
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Let's Talk Tire Construction

The only thing I would add pertains to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by scoyoc View Post
Just get solid E-rated, 10 ply tires, 3-ply sidewalls.

10-ply doesn't mean 10 plies. It used to. 10-ply means it is of equivalent to what used to be a 10-ply tire. Most "10-ply" are just 6-ply tires made of nicer material.

The sidewall is usually what it says it is, but sometimes 3-ply means a 2-ply made of stretched steel.

C rated if you're confident in your wheeling abilities, want some extra cush, and don't play in roots, sticks, and shale (ie. If you only wheel Moab and sandstone).
Skip the D rateds
E rated if you like to send it or you wheel in pokey, sharp terrain.
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Last edited by GDPearson; 02-21-2019 at 09:26 PM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 10:34 PM
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Ok I should have added that I did eventually read somewhere that the exact same P tire had to have a reduced load rating as soon as it was called an LT tire. I think it because of the expected more severe use it was to see as an LT tire (or some similar silly reason I don't remember right now) . That all fine and almost acceptable but the different P, vs C, D vs E stuff seems pretty random to me.

So ply "rating" is not the same as ply "construction". Lots of tires have a higher ply rating than what the tire actually is constructed of (IE 6 ply construction but 8 ply rating) . However in my above example, both tires were of the same 3 ply CONSTRUCTION but some how the LT tire has a C load rating but of lower load carrying capacity than the P tire!
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