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Dunlop Radial Mud Rover Tires
Ultra Wheels Type 50 Rims

By Cole Ford

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Dunlop Tires Dunlop Mud RoverHow important are your tires?
As a performance driving coach of seven years, with an extensive history in many forms of racing, I have come to believe one thing; you can build a great car and put a great driver in it, but at some point it all boils down to those four little rubber patches of tire in contact with the ground.

Tires are one of the most important things you can put on a vehicle. They determine how well you can turn, stop and accelerate with your vehicle. When most four wheelers think of tires we only think of a few things, like how much traction will they have on the trail, and will they drive "OK "on the street? Some guys buy tires just because they have heard of the brand, without knowing anything about the tire itself. They just know that some guy they know has a set and they look cool. Of course, we don't want our rigs to look stupid, but we really should consider function before fashion.

In our quest to find the right tires for Project Cross Trainer, we were able to get our hands on a set of Dunlop Mud Rovers and put them to the test. Are these tires rock-worthy? Street-worthy? Or do they just look cool?

VIDEOS *

Mud Rovers on the "Cross Trainer"
As most of you know the concept driving the Cross Trainer is to blend the best off-road abilities with the best on-road manners possible. Since this Jeep is subjected to a wide variety of uses, the "mud terrain" tire seemed more useful than an "all terrain" tire. I have used Dunlop tires for years on many of my race cars and race motorcycles and was eager to find out if I would find the same world-class performance on the Jeep. The tires will undergo off-road tests and also long-term on-road testing to determine how well they last.

We chose to go with a 33x12.50R15 tires for the project. The 33s are big enough to get you most places off-road and still civil enough for a daily driver. This also required us to choose the perfect wheel to make them perform. We choose to go with the Ultra Wheel Type 50 wheels with a polished finish. The15x8 wheel with 3.75" of backspacing was chosen to make them fit and drive right. Theses have proven to be very durable wheels in the rocks while still keeping the nice look for the street. We have a bit of "Rock Rash" on all 5 of them but the rocks that created the rash would surely have destroyed a steel rim.

 

Dunlop Radial Mud Rover
The Dunlop Radial Mud Rover tread up close. The large voids help to clear the lugs for better traction
Dunlop Radial Mud Rover and Ultra Wheel Type 50 Rim
The Type 50 aluminum wheels look great. We chose the 15x8 inch with 3.75" of backspacing

First Impressions (understanding what you have)
The first thing I noticed was the soft sticky rubber that reminded me of why I liked Dunlops on my race bikes. Soft rubber makes for a nice sticky tire, which means traction. Unfortunately, this usually means that the tire is not going to last very long either. But, to date we have put almost 40,000 miles on the tires, with terrain ranging from trails, ice racing, test track time, and daily driving, and they are wearing pretty well (rotating all 5). At the time of writing, we had about 7/32" tread depth left.

Tread
To be able to determine if a tread pattern is going to work for your purpose, you first need to understand a few things about the purpose of tread. The only reason any tire has tread at all is to displace water and debris. The more rubber you can get in contact with the ground the better grip you will have. On a dry, flat surface this means a slick race tire would be best. For a passenger car that will encounter rain and snow you need some channels to get rid of that.

For serious four wheeling you need a tire that will get down to the traction-giving ground through much larger amounts of debris, water, and mud. A good off-road tire can also flex around an object and/or use the vertical tread surfaces to gain traction. The Dunlops have great big blocks of tread with equally big open spaces (voids) in between. This means that they should shed away debris quickly and let us get down to the stuff that gives us control on and off the trail. This also means that the large open lug pattern creates quite a bit of noise on the street. We can definitely feel the lugs on the tires at slow speeds, but this is to be expected with aggressive tread patterns.

Dunlop Radial Mud Rover
Our 33x12.50 tires measured just over 10.5 inches wide when unmounted.
Dunlop Radial Mud Rover and Ultra Wheel Type 50 Rim
Unmounted, the tires measured roughly 32.5 inches tall. This is typical of a mud terrain tire.

Read on for Real World Testing --->>>

 

RESOURCES
Goodyear Dunlop Tires N.A., LTD
PO Box 1109
Buffalo, NY 14240
(800) 548-4714

www.dunloptire.com
Ultra Wheel Company
6300 Valley View Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (740) 994-1111
www.ultrawheel.com

 

* Videos are in QuickTime format. If you have trouble viewing, right click on each link and Save As. Save the file to your computer and open it to view.