LT235/85R16 -- maybe I am missing something ?? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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LT235/85R16 -- maybe I am missing something ??

I am almost (parts in the mail and on order) done my minor mods. Soon I will have my WP153's and I will twist and lift etc.

After much though, I am considering 235/85/16 instead of 265/75/16 that seems so popular on the Explorers.

Now the size I am writing about converts to 32" (31.7) and only about 9.5" wide. Won't this tire be more weight and fit appropriate for the Explorer Sport and still get the height. OR am I totally missing something.

Moderators and other experts please advise ... and thank you in advance for your advice.

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The part you might be totally missing is that "other" very important item. Two things are needed to successfully conquer an obstacle on the trail: the lift to clear it, and the traction to carry you through it.

I want all the contact patch I can get to grip traction on loose/wet/etc ground, and a 265 has a heckuva lot more than a 235.

I understand about how it is more weight and fit appropriate. The wider a tire is, the more the vehicle weight is dispersed umongst the tire surface, leaving less pressure/force/weight per square inch of tire on the ground. With the Sport already being light, it could be a disadvantage in the veiw of some to put wider tires on. The wider tire would mostly effect road driving, with less weight per square inch of tire, the less the vehicle is able to "stick" to the ground, especially in wet/snowy conditions. When you have more concentrated vehicle weight, the better you are on the road, of course, when most people build a "Street Vehicle" they usually end up putting wider tires on (not sure why, maybe just looks). Wider tires are better offroad because they give you a bigger footprint and extend your vehicles traction. Instead of cutting through the mud with a thin tire, you can ride more on top of it. This is the concensus I have come up with between wide and thin tires. It's up to you what tires you get, I don't think it would be a big difference in whatever size you choose.

Great dimension

235/85-16 is a VERY popular tire size in Europe for off roading. This is what our Defender 110 come with and what they recommend for the Mercedes G-Wagon. If my Explorer would have had 16" wheels, this is the dimension I would have gone with. Gerald is partly correct, but ... Also off road are situations, like on snow, where high pressure per square inch gives you more traction than a wide contact patch. Have you seen the Camel Trophy Discoverys? They all have tall but skinny wheels (7.50R16).

Adding to this, on the road, your car will not follow grooves in the pavement so much, it will be better for your fuel economy (wide wheels cost fuel), and risk of hydroplaining is even smaller. On the downside, you will have a little less traction in curves, when accelerating and when breaking.

Weight-wise, I have no idea how much the difference will be.

It's actually two philosophies colliding here; some like it wide, some, like me, prefer narrow tires for the serious stuff. Your choice now!

GJarrett:"265 has a heckuva lot more than a 235."
Actually, it is one inch narower (9.3 vs. 10.4) and 1/10" taller.

DonkeyBoy: I agree with the EC those rallies are the true test of of-road machinery.

And, while on this thought and thread: I go to the mud races in Everglades City, Florida (about 90 miles west of me) and they mostly use tall thin tires ...

Anymore thoughts are appreciated, I just look at the equation and think that the thinner may not look as cool but the fit in the wheel-well better, won't rub, and perform better, perhaps??

Originally posted by WellsLaw
GJarrett:"265 has a heckuva lot more than a 235."
Actually, it is one inch narower (9.3 vs. 10.4) and 1/10" taller.

I am very confused. Dead Link Removed
265mm is wider than 235mm no matter what ruler you use. To say it's thinner is like saying 265 inches wide is thinner than 235 inches wide. I believe 265 = 10.4 and 235 = 9.3, not the other way around. I've been wrong before though.

And Michael is right; whether to go wide or thin can depend on the terrain you like to wheel on. For me, I need the wide contact patch.

Yes, Gerald, I meant that the 235=9+ and the 265=10+ ... I assumed you realized that I was thinking about buying a thinner (yet slightly taller) tire: the 235/85/16.

Sorry for the confusion, have a good evening.

By the way, tahnk you for all the times you have advised me in the past, Gerald. And you have a great looking Explorer. And I will probably not decide this matter until I pull into the tire shop ... BUT NEED $$ FIRST.

it = the 235 tire


Originally posted by WellsLaw

Yes, I prefer Amateur Nouns, myself. Dead Link Removed

While it is true that a wider tire of the same diameter will have fewer pounds per squar inch, it is also true that the wider tire will have more square inches of contact surface to balance out. The only time that a wider tire will be at a disadvantage is on surfaces that a larger floatation area is not desired (mud & snow). Also, the argument that a wider tire has less traction on the street is only true of a solid, smooth surface piece of rubber with no imperfections on a perfectly smooth surface like glass. As it stands, a tire conforms to the irregularities of the road creating much more traction than smooth rubber on glass. The more surface area of the tire that is available to conform to asphalt, the more grip you will have. Lbs. per square inch is only one factor in the equation.

Based on that data and 1)the fact that my Explorer came with 255mm tires and I wasn't about to go any narrower, 2) except for the last week, I haven't seen mud for over a year in Phoenix, and 3)the last time Phoenix got a measurable snowfall, the automobile hadn't been invented yet I decided to go with the 265mm tires. For mud-bogging or deep snow driving I might have given the 235mm tires more consideration. For most situations though, the wider tires will provide more traction.

Originally posted by Robert
... Also, the argument that a wider tire has less traction on the street is only true of a solid, smooth surface

I probably wasn't very clear either; I ment wider tires do have better traction on the street :D Imagine all these NASCAR car with thin wheels!! LOL

[Edited by donkey boy on 10-26-2000 at 09:16 AM]

Wider tires are better on DRY streets. Any other condition, wider may prove to not be better. This is the reason that Toyota 4Runners are notoriously bad in snow (When doing anything but going straight), they are a light vehicle, coupled with the fact that they come equiped with a wide tire (275's I believe).

good tire but heavy

I've run these tires on a 3/4 ton ford alot. The only problem I see is most are 10ply or load range E. They are made to carry a lot of weight. We often go to a 255/85-16 to gain a little size over stock but in mud a tall thin tire is superior.


1) Note that for a given vehicle weight and tire pressure, tire contact area / pressure will be the same for narrow or wide tires - the length of the contact patch will change.

2) Saab automobiles have a reputation for good snow performance. Yet the owner's manual for my (85 900 Turbo, factory with wide tires vs classic non-turbo ordinary narrow-ish tires) says, in effect, "Don't expect much traction in the snow".

I run 235/85 R16 on my x it works for me

check tire weight

Yep, I am attracted to tall skinny tires, too, since I want the height but not the drag of going wider at the same time. I got discouraged because all the examples I found were Load Rating "E" and weight about 50 lb - around 20% more than my current tires. I found that noticably harder to spool up on a different vehicle and want to avoid it this time around.

cheers, gopher