Why get mud tyres that are bigger than those your vehicle came with?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:38
ThreadID: 107293 Views:3789 Replies:12 FollowUps:29
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I'm getting ready to buy off road tyres for my Land Cruiser 200. I'm putting them on new steel rims and will keep a set of road tyres on the alloy rims.

Mud tyres don't come in the 285/65/R17 size that the 200 specs say to use. I notice that instead of using the 265/70/R17 size that is closest, many people are going up one size to the 285/70/R17.

Can someone tell me the advantages in this? I need to make my decision quickly, before our trip to The Kimberley in a couple of weeks.

I also have a second question. People are saying that if you move to the larger tyre you lose 2-3l/100km in fuel economy. I can see that the car's computer might show this, as it doesn't know the tyre is bigger and you are actually going further than 100km. Does anyone know if you ACTUALLY lose this fuel economy or if it is just what the misinformed trip computer thinks?

Thanks for your help!

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:54

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:54
There have been many studies on tyre traction on different surfaces. Although there are some that claim conflicting results on the effect of tyre width, they all agree that larger diameter tyres provide more traction.

Larger volume tyres provide greater weight carrying capacity.

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:09

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:09
Thanks for that. Sometimes you just need someone to point out what should be obvious to you.

I can see now that it's the same reason you lower your tyre pressure....to get a bigger footprint. Bigger diameter means even bigger footprint.

OzBadDude
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:10

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:10
You don't know the answer to the fuel economy question do you?
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:33

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:33
Not sure about the fuel economy issue as I find that roof racks and other junk hanging off the vehicle make more difference.

Did you check out the blog link I posted as well as the link in the blog. There is a lot of good information there. Tyre info link
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 15:43

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 15:43
Size increase aside, the coarser tread mud tyres do use more fuel than a finer road tyre and they wear out faster as well.
BUT...............they look the best which is all that matters in the end LOL
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Follow Up By: Kyle H - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 12:39

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 12:39
Not so sure about the wear comment, my factory Dunlops had to be replaced at a little under 50,000K with Mickey Thompson 4 ribs which I recently changed at 80,000K fer the new Mickey Thompson P3's.

Dunlops were 32" where the Mickey Thompsons were 33" tyres or 285.70R/17
Fuel consumption was definitely affected arounf 2 litres per 100K
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 12:53

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 12:53
I am on my fourth set of MT MTZ's and 50k is about all I get from them. They could legally run for more but there offroad capability dimishes when teh tread gets lowish
They are my daily driver in CBD and get at least two good offroad trips plus the usual weekends away.
Not complaining though as I am happy with their on and offroad performance
The 4 ribs may perform better but are not a true mud tyre.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:25

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:25
Ozbaddude, I have a 200. I use 265/70 17 AT's for touring and general use and 285/70 17 muds on steel rims for the High Country and regularly swap them over.

I can confirm that the fuel difference is real and not an a fictitious figure given by the trip computer as measured by filling up. There is a 1.5" difference in diameter and it does seem to have an adverse effect on that vehicle. I believe it's mostly due to the torque converter lock up not coming in as easily in 5th and 6th.

I would definitely go with the 265 / 70 17's and will do that for my muds when it comes time to replace them. Strangely my Mickey Thompson 265/70 17s have a slightly wider tread width than the OE 285's.

I also got a lock up switch from Wholesale automatics and that helps claw back most of the economy difference. Great add on that saves about 1 - 2 l/100km, especially when towing.

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:08

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:08
Thanks Boobook,

Interestingly, Toyota suggests the BFG T/A KO 285/70/R17 tyre for their "off-road setup" for the 200. This tyre is the same size as the Mickey Thompson 285/70/R17 that you are using in the high country.

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:34

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:34
We purchased some Cooper STT's for the car just before the Kimberley trip. In all the trips that we have done since then there has not been one occasion that I needed mud tyres. Including Cape York both OTL and a wet Frenchmans. Note that we go to the high country in all types of weather snow, hail rain and even clay tracks. and even drove across the Balfour Track with muddy water lapping the windscreen.

So when we got new tyres we kept the AT's on a second set for town and highway trips to Sydney and put ST Maxxs on the other set. I would call the ST Maxxs one to two steps up from Ats'. Definitely not full mud tyres.

I wouldn't go to full or even partial muds again.

On the fuel usage. We went from 265's to 285's and yes we use a little more fuel if you aren't extremely careful with the foot.

Phil

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:37

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:37
A very wet and muddy Balfour Track in Tassie. Full muds not needed there either.

But I believe the wider tyres did.



Phil
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Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:09

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:09
Gotta agree with you Phil.
Generally true muddies are overkill for most travellers' needs.
Wear quicker, noisier, more prone to punctures through tread area.
But gee I have to admit that they look good!
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:25

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:25
A bit like this???

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:28

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:28
Awesome video Phil!!!

I so want to do the Balfour track!

Thanks for your thoughts on getting muddies too.

Half my reason for wanting them is how cool they look. :)

Especially since we will have another set for the bitumen.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:35

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:35
How's this for showing off a muddy.

Number two son got in a pickle on the OTL. The muddies did make a difference this time. He just went back a smidgin, left hand down and drove up. We reckon he just wanted to show the tyres off. They were STT's.

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:24

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:24
Looks like fun!
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:39

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 13:39
33" 285/70/17 aren't to big BadDude but tyres need careful consideration as they are probably the thing you can change that has the most effect on a cars performance.

You may even be better with the mud tyres on alloy rims - its a balance and all should be considered together.

Yesterday we fitted some real tyres, 37" crawlers for the fun weekend ahead, and tyres like this can go much further in rocky muddy conditions but are a noiser pain mostly.

I believe that muddies are not the best tyre for most of our applications anymore as we have things like Cooper ST Maxx and equivalents available now.
These tyres are seriously strong and tougher than most muddies and don't leave big gaps between lugs that allow stakes in, and kept down noise increase.

Tyres have an effect on fuel consumption and power and gearing to, but this may be positive as well as negative.

Leaving aside gearing for a second, contact patch area and weight of tyre/wheel are what determines those factors.

Generally when you go to bigger tyres they weigh more and this weight has to be accelerated up and down all the time and this cost fuel and power - gearing can make it worse again. (as a rule of thumb the effective increase in weight is about 2.5 times the actual increase)

Consider this , if you went from 32 to 33 inch tyres which add 2kg per wheel then used alloy wheels instead of steel which saves 3kg per wheel then you would be better off by 1kg and provided the air pressure was adjusted as it should be for same contact patch area then no more fuel would be used at same speed.

Gearing also needs to be considered and can again make things worse or better.

For example my car comes with 31" tyres and I have a set of smaller width 34 " tyres.

So not far from 10% change in gearing - in fact gearing change is so much that I can run the car in 4th instead of 5th gear.
This means that I can for around the same engine revs use 4th which is both stronger and a direct drive gear (not overdrive) which is again more efficent.

There are a few car dependant second order issues (I've kept the above simple) , but in your situation I'd consider the new breed of crossover mud/at tyres of larger diameter , keep pressures up when touring and consider matching them with alloys provided rims are not exposed, and enjoy the advantages of more ground clearance.















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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:35

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:35
Great insights Robin.

There are issues in your reply that I hadn't thought of at all.

I'm thinking of going with the Mickey Thompson Baja MT. This is rated by them as 40% road and 60% dirt/mud. Rather than go with one of the 80% mud tyres.

I'll do this while I have separate tyres/wheels for road and off-road. When my road tyres wear out, I will probably just use the MTs until they wear out, then go with a more balanced crossover tyre.

Everyone should have really tough looking tyres at least once, right? :)

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:42

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 14:42
I put those larger tyres on my previous 200 Series.

It corrects the 4% speedo error so now your speedo will be accurate.

If you buy a Scangauge 2 and set it to show Transmission Fluid Temperature you can then choose the best gear to drive in, whether towing or not, simply by watching the slight change in revs and the significant drop in TFT when the torque converter locks up.

And that will result in an improvement, that's right, in your fuel consumption.

If you want the TC to lock up use S5 (not towing) and S4 (towing). It will lock up, not towing, over 100kph using S6, but the Scangauge will confirm that S5 is actually better for transmission temps and fuel consumption.

All this flies in the face of the long held belief that tall gears and low revs are best, but low TFTs are actually best, despite slightly higher revs in a lower gear.


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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:36

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:36
Very interesting. My wife will roll her eyes. :)

Girls don't understand why guys love that kind of minute information.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:52

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:52
Yeah, it's certainly a bloke thing.

However, buy that Scangauge 2, make sure it's the Scangauge Two, otherwise you will have programming difficulties.

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Follow Up By: Member - CloudedGenie - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014 at 11:54

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014 at 11:54
It is most definitely not a "bloke thing"!

I keep my eye on the TFT on the ScanGuage all the time... I changed the way I drive since we installed it, and will switch to low range on the 200-series a lot sooner that I normally would, simply to lower the transmission temperature.

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Reply By: Kerry W (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 18:57

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 18:57
Hi BadDude
Can only add the following from my experiences.
1/Bigger tyre will give you an extra 1/2 inch or more of ground clearance. Big Advantage.
2/Muddies do have a bit of extra drag for some reason and will use a bit more fuel although on the highway put a bit of extra pressure in them and it does help them roll better and the fuel difference is much reduced. (Except when it rains - do not run higher pressures- slightly lower pressure gives better grip in the wet - I won't be specific here cause it depends on quite a few factors but just use common sense and be safe).
BTW I use my gps to help calculate my fuel consumption and have kept detailed records for many years.
3/ In wet weather M/Ts have issues on bitumen - Muddies rate very low on the traction scale in the wet so drive slower and brake earlier. (pretend you are carting eggs or something to keep you cautious) Have tested most muddies (at considerable expense over the years) in the wet - so far the BFG KM2s seem to have the best stopping traction on wet bitumen. A lot depends on the pliability of the rubber used. The KM2s and a few other brands have a softer but durable compound that grips OK for the limitation of the tread pattern. (Some new hybrid tyres out recently I have no experience with so cannot comment).
Other tyres that wear slow and have a hard compound are simply dangerous in the wet I would not travel long distance on bitumen with them on the vehicle. (personal choice).
Ill mention this cautiouly but...I always safely conduct a skid/brake test if im on Muddies on an unfamiliar road and its raining just to be sure I know my vehicles stopping ability. Some bitumen surfaces can be dangerous in the wet even for highway tyres - especially some old twisty mountain roads with eucalyptus oil feathering down onto them
4/ Muddies will give you an undisputed advantage in MUD over less aggressive tread patterns. I cannot count the number of times I have been the last vehicle still moving in adverse muddy (or sandy) conditions especially in hilly terrain. If you have difflocks etc then it is pointless having a non aggressive tread pattern.
5/ Steel rims are a good choice for your M/Ts. Steel rims are more reliable in remote,corrugated and rocky terrain. (They can be repaired)
6/ Good idea to have 2 sets of tyres.
7/ Enjoy! - but gain experience gradually. Hopefully you do not unintentionally exceed the vehicles or the tyres' limitations. Fear is a good indicator that you are exceeding your own or the vehicles limitations - trust it and be safe :-)

Hope this helps

Please note all the above comments relate to strictly M/T tyres - Not hybrids crossovers or anything else - just to be clear.

Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:44

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 20:44
Awesome points Kerry!

Thank you for great input. I am now very happy to make my decision and will get my new tyres this week.

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 21:44

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 21:44
Gday OzBaDude,
For the Kimberley you don't need muddies. It will cost you a lot in extra fuel by the time you return from the Kimberley and you will return with half worn muddies.
Muddies are a tyre you buy for weekend warrior duties of like you say, for the looks.

On every trip where I've had muddies, the other vehicles I travel with all do just as well with A/Ts on muddy bush tracks.

On the 200series, the 285/70R17 is a great size - it corrects the speedo to perfect, adds clearance and gives you a slightly bigger footprint and exposes you to a better choice of AT tyres. I was happy to upsize. The Bridgestone D697 have been good for their limited offroad duties so far and I got them after doing a 100,000k of rough tracks with the similar D694. But there's other good A/T tyres out there - you don't always get what you pay for. Some brands spend a heap on advertising and it is the customer that pays for that.

As far as fuel goes, you'll do 1L/100k worse with A/T's over the Grandtreks, and you'll do twice as bad with Muddies. The reason the fuel consumption gets worse is because of the greater "rolling resistance".
More traction = more fuel.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 23:47

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 at 23:47
Thanks Phil,
I appreciate the perspective of experience. I have decided to go with the 40%road/60%dirt-mud tyre instead of the 20/80%. Sounds like you would suggest going even further toward AT. I guess next time I will be buying from the perspective of experience too!

I'm especially glad to hear your positive experience of the 285/70R17 size.

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Penchy - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 08:07

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 08:07
Which ever way you go, be sure to get the white writing on the outside. For some reason it gives some old people the bleep s, and I love stirring up old people over little things.
AnswerID: 530664

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:25

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:25
Yes, I haven't made that decision yet. I take the 200 in today for the tyres to be fitted so I guess I have to decide soon!

I like it both ways. The white letters look tough too me, but the black sides look cool. :)
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Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 08:43

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 08:43
Seriously I don't really understand why most people go to mud terrain tyres and think they are the bees knees for every type of driving.

I use to run aggressive mud terrains including the last set on the 200 series (Mickey Thompson MTZ - terrible tyre) but for the last 20,000k have been using the Copper ST Maxx and love them..... Been running them at 40psi in most terrain except soft soft sand and the have performed past my expectations with no chipping or damage.

Mud terrain tyres are noisy, offer bad handling and are prone to more punctures plus they kill fuel economy but I suppose for the possess who have to have every thing every advertised in a 4wd magazine there is no second choice even if there 4 wheel drive is only used on the black top.

For 98% of my driving including slippery/sticky wet clay the Copper ST Maxx kills a mud terrain hands down in nearly everything except rare big mud holes (something that doesn't excite me anyway).

There are a few very good aggressive all terrain tyres but they don't have the look at meeee...look at me factor.

If you want REAL tough mud style tyres that's very good at everything get the Toyo Open Country mud terrains, but not available here to suit a 200 series. These tyres are near bullet proof and are great for real serious off roading.

So why does every one use mud terrains if it's going to be worse for 98% and in most cases 100% of there driving and only shows it's real benefits on the rare occasion!

I don't think I will be going back to a mud terrain tyre.
AnswerID: 530665

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 11:51

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 11:51
Another consideration....
Don't make the mistake of confusing tread pattern with compound.

As a general rule, harder compounds wear better on the black top, but can chip badly on SOME gravel road types, especially at higher cruise speeds.
20/80% tyres are likely to have softer compounds which will resist chipping well, but wear (much) faster on the black top.

I run highway tyres on the OKA. They are totally adequate 99% of the time and give excellent life on most surfaces. Occasionally they will suffer badly on some gravel surfaces and if I don't slow down I pay the price. It is a choice.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 530675

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 21:48

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 21:48
There is a certain part of the 4WD community that are very pro mud tyre and very pro big tyre.

There are a hell of a lot that are less vocal and less visable running standard sized tyres in all terain and going everywhere they want to go.....and not attracting attention to themselves while they do it.

for most of us the increase in tyre size and weight ( don't forget the weight) will yeild more disadvantegs than advantages.

People thing that because thay have 2 inch bigger tyres that it will give them 1 inch extra ground clearance...it may not work out that way...by the time the weight is on the tyre and the tyres are aired down off road...there may be very little difference.

As for bigger tyres having a higher load rating...in theory that is true.....but many people change from one family of tyres to another.....flotation tyres that is the family like 31x10.5R15 carry less weight than the more conventional light truck families of tyre.


If ya changing from one tyre to somethung that is close..it will make bugger all difference to anything.

the difference between the 265/70R17 and the 285/70R17 will be about 20mm in overall width ( not necessarily tread width) and about 14 mm in overall diameter......with the wheel off the ground....halve that difference and put the weight of the vehicle on the tyre and it will be bugger all.

don't get bent out of shape over it.

cheers
AnswerID: 530716

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 21:53

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 21:53
OH..if you want a semsible discussion about tyre size...do it in metric.

Imperial tyre sizing is irregular, inaccurate and misleading.

a 31x10.5R15 tyre is not 31 inches tall...same with that whole series of tyres..none of them are as tall as the stamp says they are.

If you want good figures beg borrow or buy a coppy of the Austrailan tyre standards manual ( every tyre shop should have one).

That has a lot of reliable information about tyre size.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 22:32

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 at 22:32
On a 200series (that is the only vehicle we're talking about on this thread), a bigger diameter tyre is the ONLY way you'll get more clearance under the rear diff and is the only way you'll get more clearance under the (IFS) front without increasing the angles on the CVs. Also that rear spare tyre can turn into an anchor if you don't have extra clearance.
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 00:04

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 00:04
So with the much vaunted LC 200, you fit bigger wheel/tyre combinations to try to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Or is it just wunk fuctur??


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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 06:35

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 06:35
Bantam when you add weight and air down the standard size tyre the net result is even less ground clearance
Being part of a club with identical vehicles I can tell you that increased tyre size and more aggressive tread patterns WILL improve a vehicles capability, I have witness it on several occasions
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:33

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:33
Thanks guys,

All helpful comments. I go this arvo to get the tyres fitted.

Mickey Thompson 285/70R17 Baja MT.

The feedback here has been awesome.

OzBadDude
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Follow Up By: Kerry W (WA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 00:06

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 00:06
Bantam, I have to say, personally, I don't find your above reply accurate or even useful for that matter


- just saying...
Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
-Helen Keller

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:00

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:00
Well come on...what in particular.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:24

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:24
So which way did you go?

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:08

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:08
I went with 40% road, 60% dirt/mud.

Mickey Thompson 285/70R17 Baja MT.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:15

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:15
Excellent. Personally we have a competitors and are very happy with them. There really isn't much between them.

I never worry about mileage as it's the grip that I am more interested in. After all "your tyres are the last link with sanity" so they say.

Enjoy

Phil
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