Denis Talks...

Down in the muck..
Volume I --December, 1997

Anyone who dares to defy the evil god of mud on a regular basis knows that no matter how many ponies your rig has and how good of a driver you are, drag slicks just aren't gonna cut it down in the goo. Though this is a bit of an extreme analogy, I would definitely put lots of deep thought into which wheels/tires you toss onto your rig before hitting the bog. Let's start by naming a few things to look at when shopping for tire...

REASONING: Very important here. How much mud do you plan on swimming through? Muddin' JeepIf you only go mudding once in a great while, you will probably do better with an all-terrain tire. If you do a LOT and I mean A LOT of mud-bogging action, you have to weight out gas mileage, tread-life and a few other things out in comparison to how much mud you want to move.

Big Ol' MudderSIZE: Very important with any tire on any vehicle is size. Just because the 35" tires you just stuck on your stock Suzuki Samurai will fit, chances are really good that they will rub (and eventually cause damage) every time you hit a pothole. Sure they look cool but how cool will your Sami look in a few months with no body left from being torn at by the tires? There are many sources on the net for finding vehicle to tire/size ratios to explain which tires will fit with which rims and vehicles. Which brings me to:

M-T 33RIMS: Rims, or wheels, are also a major factor in tire selection. Let's say you have stock 15x6 rims. You CAN NOT fit a 33x16 fun-country tire on this. It just won't happen. The rims are too small. Upgrade to 15x8 or 15x10 rims as these are "standard " sizes for 31"-35" tires and some larger. You will want to choose a rugged rim (preferably steel) for any offroading and mud is no exception. I would go with a racing rim such as the offerings from Weld or American Racing or one of the others.

GAS MILEAGE: Obviously a 33x16" Swamper-Bogger will get poorer gas mileage than a 33"x16" all-terrain. This is due to extremely large tread and the size of the wheel. If you want gas mileage, buy a Geo Metro. If you want to get down and dirty with the mud and muck, you have to get a rig!

Mudder TREAD LIFE: This is one of those factors that really separates the good from the better. All tires, if used correctly, will last 30,000+ miles or more. I have seen street tires last on a street truck 80,000 miles or more. But we're not talking about those tires here. We are talking of the mudrovers, the boggers, etc. Almost all of the brands will last about the same.

Cherokee POWER TO PULL: When you upgrade to a larger tire and rim, typically you will notice a loss in gas mileage, a loss in power, a more comfortable ride and added traction. These can all be good things or bad things. To compensate for lack of power, I have seen everything from bolt-ons (exhaust, air cleaner, etc.) to major work including a new engine or a super/turbo-charger. Or some people just live with the loss and keep on trucking. As for the loss in gas mileage, if you are complaining, get a Geo Metro.

Well, that should be all from me this month at ROCKCRAWLER.COM. Feel free to drop by my own electronic magazine CUSTOM WORLD for more of my writings and to see what my devoted team of auto nuts is cooking up for you this month. Next month, I will delve more into the specifics of mudding and elaborate on these ideas. So until then.. stay dirty.. stay muddy... stay happy!

Denis Baldwin
Custom Creations

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