Side wall damage

Submitted: Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:31
ThreadID: 99926 Views:3034 Replies:4 FollowUps:13
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Hi folks,

My Maxxis 751 Bravo's have done about 15,000 kms and I ma just starting to see a bit of minor sidewall damage becoming apparent. I have attached a couple of pics here. Is this just par for the course or is there something I can do to stop this from getting worse (aside from not driving on narrow rocky terrain!). Some rubber cement perhaps?

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Reply By: Member - Rob K (VIC) - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 14:17

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 14:17
Hi Cruiser,

I'd say the side wall damage is par for course when driving through rocky terrain.

A few things I noted from the pictures:

1. From your profile photo it looks like you're running radials on your rig. Suggest to change the tyres to light truck (LT) tyres if you do a lot of rocky terrain 4WDing, they have stronger side wall construction and provide better side wall support when you let the tyres down. The tyre doesn't balloon out anywhere near as much as radial tyres do and hence less bruising of the side walls by rocks and ledges;

2. With the radial tyres, don't let out as much air to keep the sidewalls more vertical. It's the balance between bigger footprint for traction and ride vs possible tyre damage in rocky terrain. Try a few different pressures to see what works best.

3. Finally, the damage in the photos might look superficial but the real issue could be inside the tyre and whether or not the steel and/or nylon belting has been damaged by driving over the rocky terrain? Something to be mindful of into the future. I've seen plenty of flat tyres that look OK from the outside but when you get them of the rim you find the belting has broken and the tyre is condemned by the tyre technician.


Rob K
AnswerID: 502252

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:19

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:19
Hi Rob,

Thanks for your advice, went out and checked the tyres and they are definitely the light truck type. 265/75 R16 LT. I presume that means light truck?!

The last time we went away we hit some very rough terrain that came out of nowhere after about 20kms of corrugations. Very rocky steep inclines and declines. I was already runnning my tyres around 25 pounds for the corrugations and let them down again to about 20 when it got really rocky. I was very aware of the sidewall bulge and it didn't seem to be too bad at those pressures but maybe I should have just left them at 25. Was worried they were too hard and was risking a puncture.

Thanks again!
FollowupID: 778681

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:50

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:50
Yes, the Maxxis AT type tyres are generally LT grade, and from my experience quite up to the task of a good AT tyre.
I'm running AT700's

Can I ask how much tread is left on this tyre (ie has it had a pretty good run to sustain that superficial damage), and how may k's have you got out of them so far (if known) ?

I just running standard 235 75 15's, and look to be on target to get about 46k to 48k out of them.
Have done a lot of low pressure beach work with them, as well as Flinders Ranges type terrain on rock (including sharp stuff), with no such damage visible.
FollowupID: 778683

Follow Up By: Off-track - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:05

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:05
I'd be more worried about punctures with low tyre pressure rather than higher. A balance on steep inclines because lower pressures generally provide better traction but expose sidewalls.

Dakar time again, take a look at their pressures; whilst much higher than what general offroading would require, mainly because of the speed, the teams certainly dont want to risk a puncture. By some peoples logic they should be running lower pressures. Interesting how this is 180 degrees from expert logic.

dakar tyres
FollowupID: 778736

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:59

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:59
Besides the extended footprint, lower pressures do allow a tyre to meld better over sharp rocks etc.
Generally higher pressures are responsible for punctures in rough tracks, gibber roads, sticks & rocks etc, though of course there are exceptions to the general rule.

Lower pressures (for sand 18 to . . . well flat if needed, rock say around 22psi) are usually ok when turn slow and steady etc, unless you are using very low pressures often and go to the trouble of bead locking them.
You just need to watch the more exposed sidewalls as you negotiate sharp protruding rocky terrain, sharp root protrusions, and the like.

I'd dare say Dakar tyres used by race teams would have the latest in bead locks, but the speeds require higher pressure ?
That is an interesting comment in that link article though . . . 'The stony tracks oblige them to use high pressures (3 bars) to protect the tyres against damage and limit the risk of punctures.'
FollowupID: 778755

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:53

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:53
Hi Les,

I have had the Cruiser about 9 months now and they were new on when I bought it. I have clocked up just under 15,000 kms so obviously the tyres have done the same. I have attached a pic below of the current tread depth of the Maxxis. I am very happy with them so far as I have thrown everything at them since I have had the truck and they have stood up really well. I should mention as well that the sidewall damage shown is only evident on the rear passenger side tyres, there is not a mark on the others and I know exactly when it happened. I just took the wrong line on a particularly bad rut and the back side of the car slipped in to it. Live and learn I guess!

For what's classified as a "budget" offroad tyre I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with these. They are also surprisingly quiet on the black stuff. They're no Mickey Thompson's but for the money they are extremely reliable.

Those Dakar guys must be running some pretty state of the art gear on those cars. Who knows what their engineers come up with (and keep secret) so they can go as fast as possible with minimum down time for repairs. I'd say they know a lot that we don't!

Thanks again Les
FollowupID: 778763

Follow Up By: Off-track - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:53

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:53
Yep, same when I used to ride and race dirt bikes; higher pressures for rocky tracks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:02

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:02
When I first got into 4WDing an old farmer I got chatting to while letting air out of my tyres gave a good analogy. He said imagine a balloon full of air rolling along a thorn bush and then imagine a balloon half full of air rolling along a thorn bush. WHich one is going to pop as soon as it hits a thorn? Ever since then I have always ran lower pressures on rocks and corrugations. Seems to have worked for me so far!
FollowupID: 778768

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:45

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:45
Ah, cheers cruiser74, looks like around 6.5mm left there, but without knowing k's when fittied can't judge total k's they will do.

It's likely they've done a good 45 - 50k total depending on size too.

I reckon tread depth would be similar if not the same as my 750s when new, that is 10mm.

Yep, have always heard lower pressures on roads of gibber, light rock etc even at (sensible) speed, say drop 5 or 6 psi from normal blacktop pressures . . . for slower track / off road rock drinving, drop to low 20's.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:57

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 14:57
Sorry, meant it's likely they'll DO a good 45 - 50k total !
FollowupID: 778773

Follow Up By: Off-track - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:59

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:59
The balloon analogy is not an accurate one. The balloon stretches greatly when inflated and the wall thickness decreases to become very thin and highly stressed.

This does not happen with a tyre.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 13:48

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 13:48
yes the baloon analagy is flawed - a baloon is thin all over.

a tyre has imense strength in the tread and is very weak in the sidewall.
All of my 0000s of punctures have been through the sidewall.

anything you can do to keep the sidewalls away from harms way (ie higher pressures) will help

I only drop pressures for sand. i learnt that lesson the expensive way
FollowupID: 778984

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 17:15

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 17:15
I ran Maxxis Bravo’s on our cruiser when we did the Kimberley and I noticed similar scuff marks. I had let the pressure down as we were doing a lot of rough rocky roads. On the way to the Mitchell Falls I had to drive to the side of the track at one stage, due to fast oncoming cars, and hit a large rock. That put a big bruise in the side wall of the front passenger tyre. It was only good for a spare until we got home. (Had two spares) Another tyre copped a split in the middle, able to be repaired at Drysdale Station, but not real good. The repairer said it was probably caused by a sharp rock, but he said I was doing the right thing by running at a lower pressure, just the quality of the tyre. So now I have gone to dueler LT’s. Kevin
AnswerID: 502275

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:58

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:58
Thanks Kevin,

I think a lot of it comes down to luck! As I said in my above post there are definitely better tyres and once these Maxxis are done with I will probably try something else out but I haven't had a problem with these in 15,000kms. I know that's not much where tyres are concerned but considering how much of that 15k has been offroad and the sort of terrain they have been traversing I would rate them pretty highly. A better quality and more expensive tyre would probably be able to handle those unforseen beatings (such as you experienced) a bit better though but boy do you need to open your wallet!

FollowupID: 778767

Reply By: Member - RockyOne - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:06

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 22:06
On our Duncans Gulf (7500ks) adventure with Andrew (used to stones/tree roots as he comes from Cobar area) after five rear side wall flats in one day on dirt & gravel tracks just inside NT border from Qld, he correctly stated those who had the problem all showed signs of driving for the front tires, not the rear. Once they absorbed that, no more flats. Three on a Patrol, one on a Prado, one on a Padero. None of us more experienced bush enlightened drivers had a flat. They do not make drivers in factories, only tires.
AnswerID: 502304

Reply By: get outmore - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 01:12

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 01:12
yoube biffed the sidewalls a bit - theve stood up well its no issue
AnswerID: 502312

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:45

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:45
That's what you get for having the white walls on the outside.
FollowupID: 778749

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