Coopers Tyres & Lokka Diff Lock - feedback on Tyre Damage & Lokka Performance

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:27
ThreadID: 67830 Views:4134 Replies:7 FollowUps:14
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I have Just completed a weekend of rough work for the car and can give some helpful feedback on how I damaged my Cooper St's and how the Lokka Front diff lock performed.

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Above is Typical of what you can expect to negotiate over a 7hr period of Low ratio 4 x 4 driving from Jowabinna to Maytown.

Lokkas. Performed exceptionally well and we were able to negotiate obstacle after obstacle with ease. As for steering I found I was able to turn sharp hairpins with ease as well. The only thing you have to get use too is the steering always wants to return to the straight line. With power steering this is barely noticeable.

Coopers. I have had these for 22k and done central Australian conditions and had no problems. The first part of our trek I was able to tackle the rock bars with little wheel spin. At the end of the first day a bit of chipping on outside lugs but no lugs lost. During the second day rock bar climbs we hit a couple of areas that we could not jump over first shot. As we had to hit them with a few more revs, the wheels shot into the air and the tires came into rock contact at high rpms. This is when lug damage occured. No full lugs lost as yet but there are cracks at the base of some outside tread lugs. No centre lugs or inside tread lugs damaged. So from my point of view this is when you are likely to get Cooper Tyre damage. The less you can spin the wheels in rocky country I guess the less likely you will be to get tyre damage.

Next step is to try a different brand and do the Maytown trip again after i have done 22k on them. :-).

Hope this helps someone & I will post a treck for this trip. only if no one else has. Cheers Tony

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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:31

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:31
Tony,

What tyre pressures were you using??

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:34

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:34
Kev. Yes good question and may be relative. I was still on 36psi all round. I stayed at this pressure because with the camper on and full load of fuel and water we are at GVM. I was thinking I should have tried around 26psi. Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:39

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:39
Kev. As there is a lot of areas first up where you are at bad side inclines, even at 36psi the tyre was squashing to the rim and rolling away from the rim. At a lower pressure I may have rolled them off??

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:44

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 16:44
When the Cooper St's on Darkie fell apart at the Pyrenees I was down to 15PSI in the rear and 18PSI in the front. The tracks in your pics look similar to those at the Pyrenees. I had vertually no load in Darkie when travelling at the Pyrenees.
I think they are just not designed for use in rocky country whether it is solid or loose rock.

Cheers Kev
Russell Coight:
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:25

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:25
Kev. Looks like you must be right. Were you getting a lot of wheel spin on that trip? I was able to keep that to a minimum with the Lokka's. Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:43

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:43
Tony,

There was a small amount of wheel spin, I was following John R and Robyn Miller (both with Maxxis Bighorns) and at one stage I had to divert to the chicken track due to the track conditions (wet and cut up). Both front and rear tyres suffered from lugs thrown and a heap of torn lugs as well.

The BFG At I had on the Triton the year before didn't have the same issues I had with the Cooper ST's. Not sure if the weight difference between the 2 different vehicles had anything to do with it, but a heap of people with a wide range of vehicles are suffereing the same fate with the Cooper ST's.

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 19:23

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 19:23
Hi Tony, I have the same Lokka in the MU and at 25 psi I tore a block clean off on my STs. One thing to remember when you have a front Lokka is to take it as easy as possible other wise you may do damage to a CV joint. But don't they make a difference, next put a set of MTs MTZs on and see the difference lol
Cheers Bruce
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 20:00

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 20:00
Bruce. Yes a big difference they make! As you have said " is to take it as easy as possible" Thats the way I like to drive, so hopefully the damage will not happen. I might just try those tyres as well :-) Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:29

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:29
Tony

Yep tyres pumped too hard. This is why you has to 'jump' ledges with lokkas. Below 20 would have been OK. You wouldn't have rolled them off the rim unless you were doing really hard sideways movements.
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:03

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:03
Willem. Ta for that. Must stop being lazy and do it as matter or course. After all that is why you buy your "you Beaut tyre pump" :-). There were a couple of places that the lean was a bit more than one would like. But we were able to ease down over these. Below 20 seems low, but giving it some thought it seems like you would roll/wrap your tire over the rocks better, 20 I would go in Sand but I was thinking for rocks more around the 25psi. Would the more jagged rocks punch through to the rim at 20? I do mainly Sand and mud and rocks are a new thing and as we get older I am sure we will leave them alone much more, to slow and tedious :-).

Advice appreciated. Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:29

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:29
Gidday

I feel I have to say something here regarding the continuous debate on which brand is better than another, and all the other stuff.

Here’s my slant on tyres after 55 years of driving in the bush:

If you’re a roo shooter or mustering, use cross plies.

However, most people choose radials for a wide variety of uses ranging from AT’s to things that resemble a chaff cutter.

If you take a radial into hard country up north, then you can expect a fair bit of misery in recently burnt out areas, accross country or sharp stone. They are'nt made for that.

This is no fault of the tyre, but rather a poor decision in tyre preference to handle the conditions.

In the high country, an unreasonable amount of torque and spinning applied to the wheels will obviously damage a soft radial (whatever the brand) on rough stone. Better to back off, drop the pressure and find an easier line.

Then we get to tyre pressures. There are the fellas who drive across Gibba at 45 PSI on radials and wonder why they turn turtle bleep and finish upside down.

So what I’m trying to say is choose your tyre for the use, and take it easy.

If your a first timer heading into remote areas, don't have an expectation that your radials will be in stock at the next town if something go's wrong..

Regards

Kim
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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:35

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 17:35
Thanks for the report Tony. Factual, straight forward and impartial. Wish they were all like that.

I damaged my ST's on the Navara in The Pilbara in similar circumstances loosing several lugs on one tyre. Again very steep and rocky and towing a fully laden camper trailer. Tyre pressures were still in early 30's. I don't think the agressive square edge has done the tyres any fovours in that regard. In comparison tyres like the BFG and Cooper A/T have that tapered (can't think of the right word) edge meaning there is nothing to be damaged by rocks. I wonder how the stiffer compound ST's (chip resistant) would have gone.

Cheers and thanks again for the report.

Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:08

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:08
Ta Mick. Hopefully someone will report on those Coopers. My current set of St's will be lucky to do 30k, so I will try another brand for my next lot. Thought over the next few years we will give a few different brands a go and see if any are better than others, or if your driving style would give you the same result for all brands.

Maybe Cooper may read some threads and do a design modification? :-). Can only hope. Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Member -Ted - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:07

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:07
I have a Nissan Patrol and had a full set of Cooper ST's after going to Cape York and partially home the tyres had lost quite a number of lugs. My set of tyres had had a recall due to a class action in the USA and were replaced free of charge for a new set, I chose the STT's this time and ran them for around 30K, they chipped badly and I finally replaced them with Bridgestone Muddy's and have not had a problem since. I really think the Coopers are over rated with lots of advertising hype. I personally would never buy them again.
AnswerID: 359542

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:13

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 18:13
Ted. Yes that Cape rd (PDR) can be hard on tyres, in the past the worst part was around the Laura area. Lots of large river rock was used in the maintenance of the road. Times are a changing and it will be nearly bitumen all the way from Lakeland to Laura soon. If other tyres are not chipping lugs in any circumstances, then what you say would be quite correct. Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Member - Ingo57 (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 19:50

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 19:50
G'day Tony,

I am not a big fan of Coopers however 36psi seems a bit high for the pics you have shown. I usually run between 24 - 28 for that kind of rocky terrain to allow the tyres to flex more than usual.
Glad to see the locka is working out well for you.

Cheers
Ingo
AnswerID: 359560

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 20:05

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 20:05
Ingo. I do agree with the pressure being too high. It is a lazy thing - a habit to get out of. You get to the 4 x 4 place poke a bit into it and all is fine so you keep going and think "I should get out and do those tyres"! Would have been a lot easier on the suspension as well.
That is a habit that is, well, time to change :-) Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Sea-Dog - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 11:04

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 11:04
G'Day Tony B,

Was your locker an "auto locker" or air locker?

I run ARB air lockers front and rear and while I am not 100% satisfied with the quality having the lockers having them on the front and rear takes that wheel spin away as all 4 wheels travel at the same rate regardless if you have popped one up in the air or not...

I run BFG mud terrains and have found that the twin lockers have "saved" heaps of damage by not letting the tyres spin unless all 4 are spinning and to be honest I have only had one situation where this has happened and only because one side fell fully into a washout so it was still basically only 2 wheels trying to drive the car but both on the one side.

Must admit thought that a bit of air out of the tyres makes all the difference as the footprint around the rock out crops is improved considerably.
AnswerID: 359657

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:29

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:29
Sea-Dog - The Lokka is an Auto Diff Lock. First time I have tried them and so far see no reason why I would not use them again. Others may have another story, but like tyres you must take driving style into consideration. Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Member -Signman - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:51

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:51
I trust you'll be taking the Coopers back to the dealer- just don't tell them you've been off the blacktop- and always in the metropolitan areas....

AnswerID: 359690

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:34

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:34
:-) No I damaged them well and truly off the black stuff - so I can wear that. I also brought them after reading many a thread on the subject so knew it could happen, just did not know how!
So the only thing I would like to see more of, is when a post about tyres is submitted, also give the circumstances under which the tyre failed or excelled. We could then make a choice based on more facts rather than feelings. Cheers Tony
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