Towing a caravan with 33 inch tyres?

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 04, 2020 at 22:13
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Gday all. Im doing a trip next year to Far North Qld, towing a full offroad caravan with my 2013 Ford Ranger PX XLT. The van weighs 2.5-3 tonne. Im about to add a 2 inch lift to my Ranger. The big question is – if I go up to 33 inch tyres, realistically how much power and fuel consumption do I stand to lose pushing the bigger tyres whilst towing that weight? Will it be significant or not too bad? Any experience or recommendations for a different tyre diameter would be great. The trip is 50/50 dirt and tarmac taking in such tracks as the Oodnadatta and Birdsville, hence the need for some better tyres. Cheers.
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 07:47

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 07:47
Gene

You quote

“ The trip is 50/50 dirt and tarmac taking in such tracks as the Oodnadatta and Birdsville, hence the need for some better tyres” . Even the Cape road is a good quality road, with even better corrugations than the two above good roads.

What gives you the idea these tyres are better on these tracks?

Any good quality AT/LT tyre on those roads is all you need and I have no idea why people think bigger is better?

If that was the case, station working vehicles would ditch their cheese cutter split rims and skinny tyres for them.

Sounds like you only want a tyre for looks over tyres that are practical for our outback roads.
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Follow Up By: Crusader - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 08:25

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 08:25
Stephen, that response from you comes across as negative and failed to address the posters query.
This forum is usually a great resource but replies like yours drag it down to an unpleasant level.
Try being helpful......it's a great experience.
Hopefully someone who can and wants to answer the questions will be along shortly.

Try and have a great day

Cheers
Crusader
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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 10:49

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 10:49
Crusader......

Please read my reply again.......

The tracks that they want to travel on are very good outback roads and then they will only be doing 50/50 dirt / bitumen driving, so on that scenario, the 33 tyres are a complete overkill.

My Toyo AT2 LT tyres usually do 80/20......and the 80% is dirt and they are fantastic and have driven on many of Australia’s unique outback roads and not one puncture.

So I feel by saying I have not answers the question, shows you are the one that has brought it down to “ an unpleasant level “

Next question to you, have you had any experience with the Oodnadatta Track, Birdsville Track or the tracks in the Cape?

I stand by what I have said, a good quality AT/LT tyre will do those tracks in its stride.
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Follow Up By: Crusader - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:21

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:21
Stephen,
Ok - I've re-read your reply and perhaps I should have been more specific.

Your suggestion was that:
"Sounds like you only want a tyre for looks over tyres that are practical for our outback roads "

This was ,I felt, a bit judgmental of Genes intentions and that can be discouraging for posters asking questions about matters that they are seeking guidance on - perhaps simply saying those size tires aren't necessarily the best for your needs could be considered more friendly.

The question pertained to fuel economy and gearing - perhaps that's where the answer could best be directed. Most often your posts and answers are full of useful knowledge and experience and are considered by many to be valuable contributions to this great forum ....

I also run Toyo Open Country AT2 LT tyres and 100% agree they are a great all round tyre for wear, traction and price. And I totally agree with you that "a good quality AT/LT tyre will do those tracks in its stride."

As far as my experience goes I'm not wanting to enter a p*****g contest but .... ( I will)..... I have lived and worked in FNQ, The Western Gulf Country and Cape York for only 38 years now. I am familiar with both the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks having traveled widely through Northern, Central and North Western Australia for both leisure and work in that time.....I consider myself an amateur in remote area travel and living by some standards and bow to the superior knowledge of others.

I will admit that I'm very short of knowledge of the Victorian High Country and Tasmania as well as South Western Australia but I do hope that the opportunity presents itself to visit these areas at some stage.

Cheers

Crusader
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 17:18

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 17:18
.
Crusader, I'm coming out swinging on Stephen's defence here. He delivered it straight. The truth may be a bit painful but a wrong decision by Gene may be even more-so.

Stephen is not given to offering nambly-pamby responses. He has successfully pushed his vehicles over most of Australia including the very worst tracks, sometime towing. He has never come to serious grief because of his experience and commonsense. If he passes that knowledge on to others without wrapping it in cottonwool, then the recipient is the better for it.

Although you criticise Stephen for not addressing Gene's specific question, I notice that neither did you.
Nor did I completely...... because it did not warrant a specific answer. Who among us can really answer the question "Will it be significant or not too bad?" There is no specific answer unless you have tried the proposal with the same vehicle and the same load and drove it in the same way and with the same expectations.

Perhaps it was a blunt answer to Gene but it was the answer that he really needs.
And even if you did not "want enter a p*****g contest", you started one.

The real answer is, yes it will be too bad. In fact it will be stupid and pointless.
Unless Gene wants a rig that others of like mind will admire. Then go for it mate!



Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Crusader - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:10

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:10
Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently Allan.

We are all entitled to our opinions and how we share them and I respect that.

I didn't respond to Genes questions because I don't have the knowledge to answer it accurately and luckily for him as I said there are plenty of people on this forum who can and did ....

Like Stephen, you have plenty of wisdom and experience and have shared it on this forum too many people's benefit for which they are undoubtedly grateful .

I will standby my view that it is better to educate in a positive and respectful manner.

Best regards
Crusader
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 15:24

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 15:24
.
Crusader, I quote you.... "it is better to educate in a positive and respectful manner'.

Permit me to relate an anecdote from a lecture I once attended.........

The lecturer began with "A farmer was having great trouble with a stubborn mule and eventually engaged a professional mule trainer. The mule trainer arrived, peered into the mule's eyes, gave it a couple of firm pokes, then went to his truck and returned with a baseball bat. He hauled off and gave the beast an almighty whack right across the eyes.
"Hey" yelled the farmer, "I hired you to train it, not kill it"........ "I understand that" said the trainer, "but first I must gain its attention".

Clearly Crusader,.... Stephen gained your attention in a "positive manner".... and hopefully Gene's also.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Crusader - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 16:57

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 16:57
Allan,
Like the donkey in your story, my post clearly got your attention and it would seem from your post , also like the donkey , you didn't enjoy it either ??
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Follow Up By: Crusader - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 17:01

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 17:01
Also Allan are we to assume you are inferring Gene is like a stubborn donkey that required a whack across the eyes for asking a simple question ? If so it certainly doesn't encourage members to ask questions or seek advice.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 17:12

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 17:12
Crusader, your post got my attention because you addressed it to me.
But now I withdraw from your p*****g contest.

As to your second FU....... yes.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 18:43

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 18:43
Silly old farts at 10 paces - typical of this forum.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 20:03

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 20:03
.
Your'e right Mr Cruiser, or may I call you Ozzie? I should not have got dragged into a p*****g contest.
I should have just left the provocations lie (or is it 'lay'?) where they fell.
Ah well, it is so boring in these Covid days!
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 20:52

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 20:52
Sir will suffice :-)
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 23:22

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 23:22
And this is why so many good people have left the forum, everyone thinks they can pi$$ further than the next guy.

Once upon a time you could spend hours finding out good info here, and now you can visit the site once a fortnight and catch up.

As for the OPs question. I have found that if you up your tyre size diameter to match your speedo, usually 1 size. You can get the best of both worlds.

I choose to use Wrangler Duratrac's on my 200 series, both the wife and I only needed to go up one size on the Colorado and 200 to achieve this. We have done some serious work with these tyres and find they stand up to the tough stuff. And yes I understand that the OP didn't ask for what brand, just offering some advise.

Regards
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Reply By: Mark C9 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 10:16

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 10:16
Totally agree with the 2” lift
But I'm not sure why you need to go up in tyre size. Are you planning to unhitch the van and do a lot of off-roading?
If not, the current tyres will be fine for those tracks you mentioned
From my experience, 33” are for really tough hills, rocks etc.
I'm sure a qualified engineer would be able to answer your question fully re power loss and additional fuel consumption
PS the tracks arent in FNQ

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Reply By: pmk03 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 11:53

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 11:53
Years back I went up a couple of tyre sizes on a petrol pajero. At the time we were towing a Jayco Eagle.
To say the least economy & power suffered to the point we sold that car after returning from that trip.
It was due for replacement anyway but the over standard tyres size made a significant difference in my experience. I learnt then not to mess with the standard tyre size for our sort of trips.
These days I try to stay as close as possible to stock tyre sizes, usually a Light Truck all terrain, and a lift for a little extra clearance would be a good idea.
Hope this helps
Paul
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Reply By: Kenell - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:01

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:01
Gene V - I haven't done the exercise of measuring the fuel use difference but from what I have read I gather it would be something like 10%. I also understand it is likely to be a consistent percentage whether you are towing a 2.5 - 3.0t weight or not. When towing on unsealed roads I like to vary my pressures to suit the condition of the road and naturally the lower I go the more fuel I use but the driving comfort, tyre heat/wear, and damage are the offset. You will also be going slower than you would on a sealed highway so depending how slow that is there is a likely fuel saving there. If you are set on the larger tyres in addition to a suspension lift I doubt the extra fuel will be a major concern. Personally I would only consider the bigger tyres if I was likely to be doing serious tracks ie Vic high country or CREB track in FNQ etc. Obviously without the van!! The Birdsville Track and others you have mentioned could pretty well be done straight out of the showroom now.
Good luck with your tyre choice and your travels.
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Reply By: Dusta - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:18

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:18
i'd be more concerned towing a nearly 3 tonne van with a ranger. But in answer to your question once you go bigger you will suffer worse fuel economy and also added stress on the driveline. Stick to the stock tyre size and do your lift . Just get a good at tyre and be done with it
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Follow Up By: Member - rocco2010 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:47

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 12:47
My thoughts too on towing.

And as for lifts and big tyres thousands of people travel those roads every year with what are essentially stock vehicles and never have a problem.

Safe travels
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Follow Up By: Mark C9 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 21:11

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 21:11
I had a bt50 (ie ranger) and it could legally carry/tow much more than my new 200 series.
It towed my 3.5t van with ease
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 13:03

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 13:03
.
Gene,

I would think that the car manufacturer would have a fair idea of 'best performance' when designing a car and specifying drive train and tyre sizes. Basic physics tells me that increasing your tyre diameter will reduce torque and move you into a less-than-optimum power range which is likely to reduce fuel economy.

Lifting a vehicle, either by chassis/suspension or by tyre diameter really affords little benefit other than raising the body which may benefit the flotation issue when fording swollen creeks. Other than that it has only negative effects on body roll, transmission and suspension/steering. But it can "look good" to some...... at a price.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 09:33

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 09:33
Alan

It amazes’ me what travellers think they need & have to do to their vehicles to travel, & I think how would have they Copied/travelled & made it when having a good set of bar treads was a statement (I crossed west to east mid-seventies on Bar treads) In the sixties & seventies Cape York & Crossing the Jardine meant you carried a hand winch, if you were lucky someone had a PTO/capstan, No snorkels, No one had a locker yet we all dove over dunes/beach’s etc. & all on cheese cutters, Power steering meant bigger arm mussels, power brakes meant putting both hands on the underside of the steering wheel & standing up on the brake pedal, getting hot in the cab meant your thongs melted to the floor & this was in my newish 1972 no synchro 3 speed Landcrusier ute & that was such an upgrade to the ex-war 4wd I had before that & most of the tracks/were a lot tougher/remote than they are now & there are a lot more fuel/convenient stores about these days. Most 4wd brands stock standard will get you there & back with a good operator no problems but I will say it is a more comfortable & easier way to travel now with a few nice extras & I certainly glad of the better fuel economy, but it’s make a lot of travellers go further & remoter than they have the capability & has cost a few life’s sadly

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Reply By: wooly0005 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:26

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:26
Hi Gene,

I have done a bit of outback touring over the years, some towing and some not.

At the end of the day, an increase in tyre size will cost you economy and power, no 2 ways about it.

I do believe however that this effect is miniscule and I am happy to have always had a 2 inch lift and 33 inch tyres on all of my vehicles.

In my opinion, that is the perfect combination for touring anywhere in Australia.

Just say you decide to park the van at Bramwell for a couple of days or so and head up the tele track or Frenchmans or similar, you might be gratefull for the tyres and lift?

Just my opinion
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Follow Up By: Gene V - Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:28

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:28
Thanks for your reply mate. How do you find towing heavy loads with the 33s.. noticeable loss of power or not?
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Follow Up By: wooly0005 - Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 21:32

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 21:32
Definitely no noticeable loss of power as far as I could tell.

The car felt the same to me power wise with standard tyres or 33's even when towing our 2600kg van.

The only real difference as far as I could see is that the speedo in the car is now exactly the same as the gps.

Personally, I just feel more comfortable with a little more clearance under the diffs.
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Reply By: Member - silkwood - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:45

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:45
Gene, I have 33's on my Ranger. I think they may have added a little more security on (very) rough tracks (talking about rock crawling, not rough like the Development road can be in places!). They also add a (smidgen) more height above the diffs. They are Kuhmo MT51's and I've been pretty happy with them. However, when they run out (40,000 on them and still reasonable tread) I'll be moving down to 32's.

The larger you go the greater the hit on economy and towing. It's not huge, going up a tyre size from stock, but going from stock to 33's does make a difference. That and the fact I don't believe they add a significant amount of difference to off road performance leads me to downsize (slightly)- compromise, you might say.

Add the fact they are not a legal option (my vehicle is certified for them- a cost I am now certain was not justified) and I'd have to ask- why? I can see very little benefit and a few deficits on the tracks you are suggesting.

Cheers,
Mark
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Follow Up By: Gene V - Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:30

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:30
Thanks mate. So do you notice a significant power loss when towing heavy loads on 33s?
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:55

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 18:55
My opinion, the 2" lift is fine and I would only go up a maximum of one tyre size from my experience. For example, a 265/65/17 to a 265/70/17, however, I don't know what's standard size for a Ranger. You can be sure it's legal and power will only suffer a little, not a lot by keeping the increase to one profile step.
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Reply By: Keith B2 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 21:30

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 at 21:30
You won't lose any power, just increase the gearing. The 33s will have a rolling radius anoud 6% more than standard. This will make your odometer read 6% less kilometres than you have actually travelled and make your fuel consumption seem 6% higher, which it isn't.

The more aggressive the tyre tread, the more rolling resistance you will have, which will also eat into your fuel. A 2 inch lift will increase your wind resistance, but not enough to notice with a van on the back. A roof rack will do the same.

I think the top two gears on your Ranger are overdrives, so it might be worthwhile staying in a lower gear while towing. I'd take some advice on that one. Toyota says to stay in 4th (1:1) on its six speed 200 Series box while towing, even though there's oodles of power in the higher gears. Overdrive gears don't like heavy loads.

I think the 33s will give you more room to air down and a far better grip on Australia. Just make sure you put the white letters on the inside, so you don't look like a dickhead like I did.

Keith

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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 09:41

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 09:41
Lots of good answers. This is just from my experience. 2 x inch lift on your car is a good idea giving more ground clearance.
As for the larger tyres on the caravan. I once built my first off road camper and thought what a great idea to run the same tyres all round. Well half way through the Kimberleys off road I found those larger tyres smashed my bearings. Being larger they have much more concentric force meaning on the trailer if you have any tail end swing those larger tyres put massive load sideways on the hub bearings. I fixed this by upgrading to full landcruiser hubs on the camper at a cost. So in summary, no to larger tyres just keep good size lt tyres.

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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 22:12

Friday, Nov 06, 2020 at 22:12
G'day Gene

After reading all the replies in this thread, it might be a bit off topic but when I fitted 33 inch tyres to my 2012 XLT Ranger I lost about 100 kilometres a tank with city driving and about 60 kilometres with open road driving depending on how I drive at the time. Having said that - I have a 2 inch lift, roof rack, mounted awning, roller drawers filled with necessities, steel bull bar etc etc etc - all of which would add to extra fuel consumption !

No real noticeable loss of power with the 33's but a vast improvement over stock tyres as far as on road handling, stability and off road ability along with slightly more ground clearance.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Gazz

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Follow Up By: Gene V - Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:33

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 at 18:33
Cheers mate. How do you find towing with the 33s. Any significant power loss?
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Saturday, Nov 07, 2020 at 14:00

Saturday, Nov 07, 2020 at 14:00
On our Patrol I have a 2" lift, but have only ever needed it on the less used, more gnarly tracks we've taken. The major outback tracks like the Birdsville & Oodnadatta & many others don't need the lift. No harm in having it though.

I resisted the urge to go to 285's & stuck with 265's (265/75R16) = approx 31". More than adequate as others have said.

The chance of taking on extreme Vic High Country type 4wd tracks whilst touring is very slim, unless you specifically go looking for them, & you wont be doping that whilst towing a large heavy van.
See 'My Profile' (below) for link to our Aussie travel blog, now in it's 4th year

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