Tyre Life on Campers and Off-road Vans - Curious

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 at 22:01
ThreadID: 135239 Views:2720 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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Dear All

There have been many discussions on tyres. Nearly all revolve around wear, tear and life on the Tug. I am curious as to whether tyre performance on your towed rig has much influence over your tyre choice.

We have a Prado running 697's that have done 30,000kms and are probably at 50% life. We tow a Kimberley Karavan(2100kgs) that has done 55,000kms on BFG k01. They Also are probably 50%. For both vehicles dirt to bitumen would be in the order of 60:40. Tyre and rim sizes are identical.

Big difference is one set of tyres steers and drive and the other set just rolls along. However the load on the van tyres is around 1100kg and much less at 700kg for the Prado.

My thoughts are that when it's time to change the KK tyres I will probably buy exactly the same tyres(Make,model type) as what I choose for the Prado. Even though they have different roles.

All comments on what drives your tyre choice decisions with regard to tug and camper/van combinations would be appreciated.


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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 at 22:11

Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 at 22:11
My new tyre go on the steer, the old steers go to the rear and the rears go to the trailer.
AnswerID: 612457

Reply By: gbc - Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 09:40

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 09:40
Unless you run Track Trailer MC2 style suspension, standard trailing arm independent suspension will lean on the outside edge of your tyres as the body of the van rolls because the suspension stays in line with the van, not the road. Low C of G stuff like our camper trailer isn't affected so much as the taller ones. Some may experience premature wear due to this, and get through tyres pretty quickly. Every setup/load configuration is different in this respect. Some can get pretty harsh though. We are lucky and have a great trailing arm setup. At 55 k.m. it sounds like your setup is kind on tyres too. If you run the same offset wheel as the car there is the benefit of having an extra spare if everything matches.
AnswerID: 612463

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:19

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:19
The wear of the tires on the TT MC2 is not much better, and in some cases may be worse;
main reason is that you cannot adjust the vertical angle of the tire
Nothing to do with toe in adjustment (which you can do). With MC2 the wheel is vertical at optimum design lad, but lighter means it runs higher on the springs and leans in, and heavier means lower on the springs so it leans out (on the vertical)
FollowupID: 882698

Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:54

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:54
Like an independent front end - comes in and out of alignment as it goes up and down? Everything is a compromise eh.
FollowupID: 882703

Reply By: CSeaJay - Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 14:21

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 at 14:21

I choose the tires that suit the car first and foremost, then just use that same tire on the van. At least have the same tire and rim size on the van, but better still have the same wheels as well so you can interchange between car and van in an emergency.

We have a big difference in tire pressures though. Because the van carries 1200 kg+ per wheel (compared to around 750kg per wheel on the car) and the van having more of a 'lean' on the road, we run 10psi more in the van than on the rear of the car when on road. We eliminate edge scrubbing that way.

Off road is different, we inflate to the pressures as needed for the terrain and the van then has similar pressures to the car.

On higher speed dirt roads, we deflate the van so the tire helps with the absorption of the shakes on corrugated roads. Not the best for tire wear, not the best for edge scrubbing, but I prefer to have the tire take some of the punishment of the corrugations rather than the shocks doing the work. Better for the van as a whole.



AnswerID: 612466

Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:06

Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:06
Thanks CJ

We generally follow the same process as you do. Wheels are interchangeable between the van and car although the rims are different ( steel vs alloy) but have same offsets.

You raise the point on the big difference between the loads on the tyres which impacts on the tyre of choice load ratings. In our case the BFG's on the van have an LR of 120 (1400kg) whilst the 697's on the car are 117(1200kgs).

When I bought the 697's for the car I didn't think too carefully about LR when interchanging tyres and the price for the 697's at the time of $250 each was attractive.

So if the existing 697's were put on the van they would be running at 92% of their load rating compared to the BFG's at 78%. No problem in an emergency but I am not sure I would run them as a full time solution.

Cheers John
FollowupID: 882719

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:48

Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:48
Hi John,

Kimberley have some opinions on sidewall stiffness for Karavan tyres and how that affects suspension and shocks. I don't know anything about 697s and what Kimberley thinks of them, but I do know that they approve of BFG KO and BFG KO2. Just FYI.


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FollowupID: 882720

Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Friday, Jul 14, 2017 at 12:18

Friday, Jul 14, 2017 at 12:18
Hi Frank

Many thanks for the info.

It makes sense that tyre side wall flexibility is one of the variables in suspension performance. After thinking more carefully about the loads on the tyres between the car and the van I have decided to be more selective when choosing replacement tyres. It may be that van always runs higher load rated tyres than the car and I treat the units separately when it comes to buying tyres.

I am happy with the way the 697's have performed on the car although they won't last as long as I had hoped. The BFG's have been faultless on the van in terms of life, wear and tear but who would know how they ride and perform on the car. They have a tread pattern that to me looks "noisy". I might try them on the rear of the car for a couple of weeks.


FollowupID: 882749

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