Author Topic: Do AT tires make sense if you have a rear-wheel drive only vehicle?  (Read 380 times)

a_scanner_brightly

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I have a camper van conversion.  The base of it is a 2006 Ford Econoline van.  It's rear-wheel drive.

We took it on this mad sketchy dirt road recently in the middle of nowhere that we came awfully close to getting stuck in.  It has normal street tires, currently.

Could I add all terrain tires to this thing, with no other modifications, for meaningful off-road gain?  I notice when people do these conversions they usually also add all-wheel drive.

Thanks for any insight offered!

PrairieBeardstache

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Tires are the most important component when considering grip under power. Second would be drive train layout, third suspension.

Simple advice: buy tires appropriate for the roads you will travel on.

Mostly off road? Buy off road tires. Mostly on road driving in summer months? Buy summer tires. Drive in winter? Buy winter tires.

Stay away from all-seasons, they're bad at everything.

I've always owned and driven RWD vehicles and used to teach RWD performance handling.

As an aside, if you're getting stuck on gravel roads and have appropriate tires then I'd look at one of two things: 1) Driving technique, spinning tires is bad, slow steady application of power to keep tires from spinning; and 2) an old van like that probably has an open diff, if you're really struggling an LSD would be faaaaaar cheaper than an AWD conversion and likely do the job just fine.

a_scanner_brightly

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> Mostly off road? Buy off road tires. Mostly on road driving in summer months? Buy summer tires. Drive in winter? Buy winter tires.

It's mostly long highway drives with sketchy dirt/gravel/possibly mud spotted roads the last 5-15 miles, with no 911 cell reception.

Sounds like this means go with AT tires first and look at swapping in a LSD second?

PrairieBeardstache

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yes - the down side is that it *will* be noisy on the highway. Tires made for off road driving have larger tread blocks and deeper treads, this makes the acoustics on roads quite noisy. Most of the really aggressive ones likely won't fit your van anyway, but you should be able to find some that would. Many are made for larger rims and widths than the typical on-road passenger vehicle runs:

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Dueler+A%2FT+RH-S

a_scanner_brightly

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Thanks, PrairieBeardstache!



Car Jack

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Re: Do AT tires make sense if you have a rear-wheel drive only vehicle?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2018, 07:29:44 AM »
Tires are what make the vehicle go and if you're losing traction with passenger car tires, then sure...upgrading to all terrain tires in the rear will help.  The next step is what the rear differential is doing when a tire starts to slip.  An open diff will send all the power to the spinning tire and you're then stuck.  You can have the diff upgraded to a limited slip diff.  Any auto machine shop will do this for you.  I've done it on pickups and Jeeps in the past.  Expect to pay about $1000 for an OEM type diff change.  You could go the offroad route and do a "locker" which will not only reduce slip but will lock both wheels to rotate at the same speed when one starts slipping.  You'll pay more for that.

AWD will help even more, of course.  I drive a Wrangler and ordered it with the factory limited slip in the rear because I snowplow in the winter.  I want 3 wheels getting me out.  I don't really need all 4 but hard core offroad guys will put lockers in both the front and rear for true 4 wheel drive.  I believe Rubicons have that setup.


Cole

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Re: Do AT tires make sense if you have a rear-wheel drive only vehicle?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2018, 07:48:03 AM »
I have a camper van conversion.  The base of it is a 2006 Ford Econoline van.  It's rear-wheel drive.

We took it on this mad sketchy dirt road recently in the middle of nowhere that we came awfully close to getting stuck in.  It has normal street tires, currently.

Could I add all terrain tires to this thing, with no other modifications, for meaningful off-road gain?  I notice when people do these conversions they usually also add all-wheel drive.

Thanks for any insight offered!

A good set of all terrain tires will increase traction rain, snow, or shine. All season tires are terrible and should not be confused with all terrain tires.

I have had good luck with Yokohama Geolander ATS and BFG KO2. You will definitely see a mpg decrease and a noise increase the more aggressive you go. You can verify that whatever size all terrain you get for your van is cold weather rated to avoid potential winter problems. It sounds like you've been driving normal crappy all seasons year round so it will be a big improvement.