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4x4 Tire Myth?

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Old 10-25-2007, 12:29 PM   #1
ma96782
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4x4 Tire Myth?

I was talking with my neighbor about local tire shops and the subject came up about tires for a 4x4.

My neighbor said, that since I have a stock 4x4 Explorer.......IF I change tires......I'll have to change all four tires at the same time.

I have heard the same thing about changing all four tires to the same size.......makes sense to me. IF, you're going to change size.
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But, what if I only need one tire. Should I just get the same mfn same size and change one. (Not to mention, that the spare tire is a different mfn though the same size.)

And, what if I only needed two tires. Should I just change two (on the same axle).........again using the same mfn and size.
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IF $$$ was no object.........I can see that changing all four would be nice.........but, living in the real world........I want to know?

Bottom line........is it TRUE? That 4x4s need to have all 4 tires changed at the same time for the sake of the 4x4 parts.......OR is it a MYTH?

Aloha, Mark

BTW........this is my 2nd 4x4 I've owned.....and never bought tires for either of them.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:38 PM   #2
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it doesn't really matter that much as long as the tire sizes match. different brands are gonna probably have different wear properties, but as long as you aren't driving around town in 4wd with a 31 on one side and a 33 on the other side, you're fine.




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Old 10-25-2007, 01:00 PM   #3
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He may be talking about how different brand tires, of the same listed size can be different sizes.

i.e. my 33x12.50 BFG At KO's were actually 32.5" tall. My interco trxus MT 33x12.50 are really 33" tall.

~Mark




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Old 10-25-2007, 01:34 PM   #4
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He may be thinking of AWD where tires size is much more impprtant.
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:41 PM   #5
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technically if the size is enough off the Auto 4x4 could get messed up and think it need to switch into 4x4 mod, but that would be an extreme case, and the small tire would need to be on the rear to make the computer think the tire is slipping. Just a theory not sure it it would really happen.

Other than that, like Techie said AWD has some issues with different tire sizes, and you could possibly burn up your TC but again that is an extreme case.




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Old 10-25-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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I think his thoughts revolve around the issues of driving a vehicle with different diameter tires from having one new and one very used tire on the same axle. Wreaks havoc on the drivetrain to some cars, but I can't speak to the X...




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Old 10-25-2007, 01:46 PM   #7
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well he has the first gen explorer so get one of the same manufacuturer for tire continutity (if u can) but so long as it is the same size it shouldnt matter




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Old 10-25-2007, 01:47 PM   #8
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^^^ yeah x2




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Old 10-27-2007, 05:38 PM   #9
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I don't know that I've ever seen a "specification" for how different tires can be. Here's my experience (in a little more detail than the discussion that got started over at FSC):

On my BII (13-50 t-case, so it had the same kind of basic part time 4wd system as on the your Explorer), the front two Good years that I had wore out, but there was still some wear left on the back two (I hadn't kept them rotated), so I bought a used set of Michelins for the front. All four were 235/75R15. If current tire specs are similar to those that I had, there could have been a difference of .2-.3 inches in the diameter between the two manufacturers (~1%). The binding/popping was definitely real. My experience is only one anecdote; I don't know what others experiences have been, but it suggests to me that a difference in diameter of as little as 1% is enough to cause problems.

I've never tried to run a pair of old and new tires of the same make/style, but it wouldn't be hard to get a similar size difference. My MT's had about 0.5 inch tread depth new. 1/2 worn, they would have about 0.25 inch tread depth. This would result in ~0.25 inch difference in overall diameter between a pair of half worn tires and a pair of new tires. If my previous experience is indicative of how much "tolerance" there can be between front and rear, this would be enough to cause problems. Looking at the specs, many tires have reported tread depth of ~ .5 inch (12-18/32). So half worn tires can be different enough from a new tire to cause problems.

I don't know exactly when "needing to replace one tire" means "replacing all four, no matter how much is left on the other three" It appears there would be some point beyond which it wouldn't pay to just replace one.

I would be interested in others experiences if they've been in similar situations.




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Old 10-27-2007, 05:48 PM   #10
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Dk Exp Tire Size Matters

I have a 99 Mecury Mountaineer AWD and believe me, size does matter with the AWD! One slightly worn tire on drivers side was havoc on mine, binding, poping, etc. I replaced with 4 new tires and drives/steers great.
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Old 10-27-2007, 06:21 PM   #11
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A half inch wear will change the circumferenece of a 30" tire by slightly over 1.5", which means that with each wheel revolution, the smaller tire will drag by 1.5", which adds up pretty quickly and will definitely bind when in 4wd on hard surfaces. In 2wd, you won't notice the difference at all. On slippery surfaces, you probably won't notice too much.

You could always buy 1 new tire and try it out. If it gives you problems, buy the rest.




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Old 10-27-2007, 07:25 PM   #12
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One of my coworkers bought a 94 Suburban, and a 96(?) Tahoe. Both vehicles had a single mismatched tire. Both vehicles had strange driveline noises. On one of them, the noise came from the location of the odd tire.

After switching to a fully matched sets, the strange driveline noises disappeared on both.
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