important are your tires?
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.
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
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?
on the "Cross Trainer"
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 tread up close. The large voids
help to clear the lugs for better traction
Type 50 aluminum wheels look great. We chose the 15x8 inch
with 3.75" of backspacing
(understanding what you have)
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
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.
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.
33x12.50 tires measured just over 10.5 inches wide when
the tires measured roughly 32.5 inches tall. This is typical
of a mud terrain tire.
on for Real World Testing --->>>
Goodyear Dunlop Tires N.A., LTD
PO Box 1109
Buffalo, NY 14240
6300 Valley View Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (740) 994-1111
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