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Best Tire Sizes

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by jrkiszla, September 7, 2019.

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  1. jrkiszla

    jrkiszla New Member

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    I have a 2003 Explorer Sport XLT 4WD. I am looking to change tires for better handling. Currently running 245-75 R 16, but I am thinking that a slightly wider tire (255 70 R 16 or 265 70 R 16) will help. any thoughts?
     
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  3. domct203

    domct203 Pilots The Beast Elite Explorer

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Are you looking for better on-road or off-road handling?

    What is it that you wish to improve on? The wider 265/70/16 will give you a larger contact patch, but it’s also an inch larger in diameter, slightly changing your final drive gearing ratio. Depending on what you are looking for that may or may not be an issue.

    Tread design is extremely important to tire handling, more-so than size. A street/track tire will handle better on dry pavement than an all-season tire of the same size. Same goes for an mud/all-terrain vs an all-season on the trail.
     
  4. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    Ya it's not really the tire size that matters, it's the tire itself. Also be sure your struts are good and also your sway bar bushings.

    Also running higher pressure helps too. I run 40psi. Some LT instead of P tires would take even more PSI thus handle better.

    35psi is the minimum anyone should be running on these vehicles.
     
  5. domct203

    domct203 Pilots The Beast Elite Explorer

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    Over inflation will reduce the contact patch, and will wear the center of the tread quicker. There will be less rolling resistance from less tire touching the road which will give a little better MPG.

    A tire’s proper inflation pressure is predicated on the load range of the tire and the weight of the vehicle. I have 8-ply load range E Mud Terrains with the tires rated for max load at 65psi. On my Explorer, my optimum street tire pressure is 28-30psi, while on the trails I drop down to around 20psi.

    The tire pressures on the door sticker are based off of the OEM spec’ed tires.
     
  6. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    Discount Tire Co said I can use the max pressure printed on the side of the tires, which in my case is 44psi. So to be safe I go with 40psi.
     
  7. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    In the front, I stick with Ford's recommended 35 psi (maybe a pound or two more in the fall, since cooler weather is coming). I find it rides better that way, especially over rough roads/bumps -- even though I installed new upper-quality Monroe struts. Too high pressure causes the front tires to bounce.

    Back is less sensitive, and more load-relative, in my experience. But for a 2wd with all-season or highway tires (as opposed to all-terrain), be careful about over-inflating, since its not impossible to get stuck if you park in the wrong patch of ground/sand/roots/hill/terrain. Of course, you could always climb out and reduce tire pressure in the rear in that case . . . .

    Oh, and after the Firestone/rollover controversy for 2nd gens, I don't think there's much risk of Ford having under-stated the recommended tire pressure on the the 3rd/4th gens.
     
  8. domct203

    domct203 Pilots The Beast Elite Explorer

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    Last edited: September 11, 2019 at 5:18 PM
  9. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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  10. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    TechGuru: Thanks you very much for catching my error -- no wonder my 3rd gen front end has been bouncing! Like yours, my 2002 XLS, 2wd, door tag says 30 PSI COLD for the front tires:
    IMG_20190911_105004.jpg

    As I've mentioned before, I also have a 4th Gen (2010) Explorer XLT, 4wd. It has the exact same tire size and engine (4.0L). The door tag on that 'spolder specifies 35 PSI COLD:
    IMG_20190911_105045.jpg

    I wonder, did they change the front suspension that much between the 3rd and 4th gens? Or does the added weight of the front diff.; transfer case; and front axles cause them to up the front tire pressure for 4wd? Is your truck 2wd or 4wd?
     
  11. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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  12. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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  13. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Yeah, the 4th gen weighs almost 800lbs more than my '02 2wd!
     
  14. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Correction: further investigation shows that GVW is the rated capacity, not the actual “curb weight.” So the 4th gen is rated to haul an extra 500 lbs or so, but only 0-300 lbs heavier, depending on configuration ( per google searches).
     
  15. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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