Can ride be improved with better/different tires? [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Can ride be improved with better/different tires?


joe1347
07-10-2004, 11:49 AM
Since it appears that installing lowering springs to improve the ride is somewhat questionable - what about replacing the existing Goodyear tires with something "better" to get a smother ride (e.g., similar to an Accord)? The Yokohama Geolander H/T-S G051 (215/70-16 size) tire has rave reviews on Tirerack and is surprisingly inexpensive. Any recommendations or other suggestions? thx

Temo Vryce
07-10-2004, 02:17 PM
I can't give you a good suggestion on what tires to purchase but I can tell you that tires can change the quality of the ride. The type of tire that you need will depend on the type of driving that you want to use them for. You're not going to use a rock crawler tire for crusing the strip. The right tire for the right application can make all the difference in the world.

joe1347
07-10-2004, 02:33 PM
FYI, I'm assuming that a tradeoff will have to be made in terms of off-road performance. I guess what I'm asking is it possible to make changes to the element to give it a smoother "accord like" ride if you are willing to give up off road peformance? thx

Silk
07-10-2004, 02:47 PM
I don't believe the Element was ever designed with off-road performance in mind. That said, tires can give you a quieter and "smoother" ride. Look at passenger tires and read some posts here regarding tires. I think you will find many tire suggestions including sizing and so forth.

wmas1960
07-10-2004, 02:54 PM
I am sure that changing the tires can make a difference. Be careful though as it could make it worse too. I recall when I took my Element on a test drive I did make a comment on how bouncy it seemed compared to what I am used to. The salesman pointed out that the bounciness was a cheracteristic of the tires that they use which are different than on the CR-V???. Assuming that is true I would imagine you could change the tires. I don't know though if putting tires from an Accord would, alone, make the Element ride more like an Accord. Further I don't think you could get an Accord Ride out of your Element.

I would think that you need to get other tires that are intended for the type of car that the Element is. Maybe Michelins over the Goodyear Wranglers??? Not sure what is the better tire out there but you could look around here. I know I have read some good posts about replacement tires. The original factory tires aren't known for their long life and there are some who are approaching 30,000 miles on their 03s that have been finding some good replacements. Thought there was a tire forum here but don't see one. Maybe check HondaElement.org under PerformanceZone. They discuss tires there also. Remember also, like was mentioned, your choice of tire might also need to reflect your intended type of driving. A tire that you choose with road driving in mind might not do you well if you want to do some off road type of driving.

paulj
07-10-2004, 03:46 PM
How might changing tires change the 'bounciness' of the Element? The tread on the stock tires is not pronounced, especially after 10,000 miles of wear. I doubt if the sidewalls are much stiffer than any other tire. I can see where details of tread can change the road noise. Some makers make a big deal about a continuous center rib to reduce noise. But that is noise, not road roughness and bounce.

You could of course run the tires softer, but at the risk of overheating and damaging the tire. Lower profile tires are supposed to improve cornering (due to less sidewall flex), but will also increase ride harshness. The biggest workable tires, 235/70/16, especially in a performance version, might give enough extra sidewall flex to reduce roughness somewhat.

In a tall car like the Element you have to balance ride smoothness against handling. If you tune the suspension for smoothness, you can get too much lean on corners. The Santa Fe is an SUV turned in this direction. The RAV4 is an example that is turned for even greater stiffness than the Element. The short wheelbase of the Element also makes it bouncy on certain roads, especially those freeways with tilted slabs.

paulj

joeBoxer
07-10-2004, 04:11 PM
i installed bridgestone at revo 235/70/16s for the off road look and a better ride. i also considered michelin cross terrains which would likely mean even a smoother ride but are not as aggressive looking. the geolanders would probably also yield a better ride than the stock tires.

Nat
07-10-2004, 06:35 PM
I keep my tires at about 37-38 psi for gas milage. I have noticed a harsher ride vs. the 32 psi recommendation. Upper level for the Goodyears is 44 psi (says it right on the tires)

johsti
07-11-2004, 02:33 AM
I just replaced the stock tires with a 235/60/16 high perf. all season ( Link - http://www.discounttiredirect.com/direct/findTireDetail.do?sw=false&ar=60&pc=28872&cs=235&rd=16 ). The Goodyears still had a little tread left, but the grip was so bad we had to replace them. First impressions are very positive. The new tires actually make the E a completely different driving experience. There is much more traction, and I expect them to improve as they break in a bit. The wheel gap is a little more pronounced, but hardly noticeable. The ride does feel a little more firm, but the handling is much better. The tire bulges a bit due to the 6.5" wheel. We have a 2wd 5 speed BTW,

I'm going on a road trip with the wife, and we're taking her E, so I'll be able to give a better review as to how they perform when I get back.

Einstein
07-11-2004, 09:48 AM
[quote:cc2053b3fa=" "]I just replaced the stock tires with a 235/60/16 high perf. all season
I'm going on a road trip with the wife, and we're taking her E, so I'll be able to give a better review as to how they perform when I get back.[/quote:cc2053b3fa]

Don't forget your camera, we want pictures! :)

paulj
07-12-2004, 06:35 PM
I stopped by a tire dealer that I'd had good experience with on my other car. In particular I was wondering about the cost of exchanging tires between the two cars. The RAV4's tires are the same size, Mastercraft Courser HTR (i.e. Cooper), that don't show as much wear as the Element's Goodyears.

He estimated the Element tires were at 50% tread life at 15000 miles. The shallow tread pattern on the shoulders can make tires look more worn than they really are. I got the impression that he though the Goodyears were decent tires. He also said that the first 50% of tread tends to wear faster, and that wear slows down as the rubber gets harder and more compacted. Traction suffers though, both because of this hardness, and the loss of siping.

Among alternative tires that we discussed, he described the Bridgestone Revos as 'awesome' . These are available only in the larger 235/70/16 size.

paulj

failuretostop
07-15-2004, 02:45 AM
[quote:769c24c4c7=" "]I keep my tires at about 37-38 psi for gas milage. I have noticed a harsher ride vs. the 32 psi recommendation. Upper level for the Goodyears is 44 psi (says it right on the tires)[/quote:769c24c4c7]

What kind of mileage do you get at 37-38 psi vs. 32 psi?

Nat
07-15-2004, 10:18 AM
"What kind of mileage do you get at 37-38 psi vs. 32 psi?"

I average about 22 mpg. I do about 65-75% hwy driving at 70-80 mph. Also helps pavement traction. Any little bit helps. Only downside is a slightly harsher ride

planetbob
07-20-2004, 03:23 PM
My Element is still a newborn so I'm not in the market for tires yet. That said, I had the same issues with my F150 which had Goodyear Wranglers. After reading lots of boards, I decided on Michelin X-Terrains in a slightly larger size. It made a WORLD of difference - smoother ride, better traction, etc. If you search the net you will find lots of complaints about the Wranglers, which is why I wasn't thrilled when I saw that they were stock on the E.

Nat
07-20-2004, 06:59 PM
PlanetBob writes:
I decided on Michelin X-Terrains in a slightly larger size. It made a WORLD of difference - smoother ride, better traction, etc. If you search the net you will find lots of complaints about the Wranglers, which is why I wasn't thrilled when I saw that they were stock on the E.

Had Michelins on my wife's 98 Accord 5 sp. 2.3. Tire tread never wore down but they suffered from fatal dry rot after a few years. My bud/mechanic told me thats a prob with many michelin tires. Tread lasts but dry rot is what kills em.. Ended up putting on a good 4 pack of Goodyear (V rated). Softer tire with better all weather grip and no sign of dry rot.

MatthewGB
10-09-2004, 10:45 AM
I just purchased a set of The Yokohama Geolander H/T-S G051 (215/70-16 size) and WHAT A DIFFERENCE. I wish I would have done this the day I drove my E off the lot. The ride is much smoother and much more quiet. I don't think I will ever buy those POS Goodyear's again.

paulj
10-09-2004, 01:15 PM
Curiously an earlier poster complained about noise at high speeds with these Geolanders:

http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9710

mjohnston39
10-10-2004, 05:23 AM
Has anyone tried the Falken Ziex S/TZ04? It comes in the OEM size and looks like it might be an interesting alternative to the Goodyears :?:

http://www.falkentire.com/tires_stz04.htm

tom schibler
10-10-2004, 10:02 AM
No matter how few miles you have on the OEM Wrangler HPs, you need new tires. After you switch to something better, you will be amazed at the substandard ride and handling you endured by virtue of a poor tire.

I recently replaced my OEM tires (11,000 miles) with Kumho KH 11 235 60 R 16 100 W (load rating of 100, speed rating of W, good for sustained speeds of 168 MPH--something to shoot for). Treadwar 280, Traction AA, Temperature A. Purchased at Discount tire, Midway Drive, San Diego, CA, for $91 each mounted and balanced. They gave me $15 credit for each of my old tires after measuring the remaining tread depth (6/32 inch on average--10/32 new).


The difference is dramatic. The car carves through turns with confidence instead of wallowing unnervingly as the old tires hunted in vain to take a set. No more embarrassing squeal from the front tires when accelerating briskly from a stop--not even the inside front tire when accelerating and turning. . What amazes me is that in addition to the improved handling, the ride is also better. Where I live, we have a lot of speed dips with sharp approach angles. They seem much more muted now with the new tiresPretty good considering the shorter sidewalls. I wonder how the tire volume compares btwn 215/70/16 and 235/60/16? This may account for some of the simultaneous improvement in ride and handling. It would be interesting to test different tires of identical sizes for the truest comparison. The top of my car is now also 3/10 of an inch lower to the ground which further lowers the cG, in addition to the 1.7 inches lower from the Eibach springs (makes roofrack loading/unloading easier as well).

With tires, every distinct brand and model behaves differently, so I wouldn't generalize about any other tire in the same size or any other tire by the same manufacturer. Seems like every tire manufacturer out there has their share of good and bad tire models. For example, though the original equipment Wrangler HPs were dogs in retrospect, the Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3s on my Porsche 911 are incredible. There are even several "Eagle F1" variants and generations with varying levels of performance.

By the tire size calculator at Miata.net, the difference in speed reading on the speedo is about 2%, so 60 mph indicated is 58.4 mph actual. I was given the name of a good speedo shop in downtown San Diego, so I plan to check that out (term speedo recalibration used loosely-it may even be a software thing.)

paulj
10-10-2004, 12:45 PM
Tirerack's blurb on these Kumho tires starts:

'The ECSTA KH11 is Kumho's Grand Touring Summer tire designed for the drivers of sports coupes and sporty sedans. It was developed to provide a unique blend of ride comfort, noise qualities and responsive handling while providing very good traction on wet and dry roads.'

You have moved away from the SUV all-season occasional-rough-road type of tire that came with the Element, and which most of us would like to retain. It is not surprising that you have found the handling to be better, both in terms of traction (wet and dry) and cornering. Going to the lower profile 60 also helps.

The wear rating is lower than the stock tires (280 v 340). This fits with the high dry traction design (and AA traction rating). However I expect you will replacing these relatively soon, especially if you continue to drive hard.

For San Diego driving they quite likely are a good choice.

paulj

tom schibler
10-12-2004, 11:53 AM
I believe the OEM tires are described by the Tire Rack as Light Truck Highway All Season. It should be noted that the "All Season, M+S (mud and snow) designation is pretty meaningless. It only applies to tires that have at least a certain void ratio in the tread (percentage of open are), has nothing to do with tread design, sipes and tire compounds that affect all season performance.

To me traction is much more important than treadwear. Saving money on tires and sacrificing performance and safety is like saving money on motorcyle helmet.

You are correct, on pavement, these tires work extremely well, but I think with the larger contact patch they will do ok in mild offroad situations as well. For what it is worth, the Porsche Cayenne is one of the most capable offroad vehicles in existence, even with Pirelli P Zero 275/40R/20, (Tire Rack category--Max Performance Summer Tire)

mjohnston39
10-12-2004, 04:42 PM
the Porsche Cayenne is one of the most capable offroad vehicles in existence

Depends what you consider offroad 8)

Mike.

paulj
10-12-2004, 04:58 PM
[quote:70f24349ef=" "] You are correct, on pavement, these tires work extremely well, but I think with the larger contact patch they will do ok in mild offroad situations as well.[/quote:70f24349ef]

Do you know of any good sources that talk about how contact patch varies with tire width? The patch is two dimensional, with a length as well as width. Both will vary with tire pressure and vehicle weight. The length of contact patch, in particular, will vary with the deformation of the tire.

It would seem to me that for a given vehicle weight and tire pressure, a wider tire will have a shorter contact patch, with the total area remaining about the same. There may, of course, be factors that I am not taking into account.

It is also possible that a short wide patch gives better traction than a long narrow one - on certain surfaces.

paulj

hownowcb
10-12-2004, 07:59 PM
tom schibler:
For what it is worth, the Porsche Cayenne is one of the most capable offroad vehicles in existence, even with Pirelli P Zero 275/40R/20, (Tire Rack category--Max Performance Summer Tire)
mjohnston39:
Depends what you consider offroad 8)


"Offroad" in a Porsche Cayenne is when Chip and Buffy jump the curb outside Nordstrom's at the Mall of America in their haste to be first in line for the after-Christmas sale! :wink: Give us a freakin' break with some of these "real world" examples, OK? :lol:

PVR
10-13-2004, 02:21 PM
[quote:5608abe1e3=" "]Offroad" in a Porsche Cayenne is when Chip and Buffy jump the curb outside Nordstrom's at the Mall of America in their haste to be first in line for the after-Christmas sale! :wink: Give us a freakin' break with some of these "real world" examples, OK? :lol:[/quote:5608abe1e3]

:lol:

"Oh, Chip I broke a nail"

"Don't worry my sweet, with our on call satellite system we can get an emergency manicurist dispatched in a few moments"


Sorry, off topic but I couldn't resist - you had to expect this in an Element forum when Porsche is mentioned - it just cries out for levity!

tom schibler
10-14-2004, 11:20 AM
The only production vehicle with more offroad capability than a Porsche Cayenne is the Hummer H1 and only in some situations. The new Ranger Rover and Land Rover LR3 come close.

paulj
10-14-2004, 12:21 PM
I took a quick glance at the Edmunds review of the Cayenne. It appears to have all the 'off-road' goodies money can buy - low range, some degree or other of locking differentials, lots of power, adjustible suspension. In terms of ability they ranked it a bit under the Grand Cherokee (sp) and Land Rover (didn't specify which). No mention as to whether the tires add or detract from its abilities. Wide low profile tires probably don't give the option of airing down.

Off-road capability is not a one-dimensional scale. The H1 may be great a swimming through mud holes, but can't squeeze through rock chutes that a Wrangler can.

mjohnston39
10-14-2004, 12:38 PM
Off-road capability is not a one-dimensional scale. The H1 may be great a swimming through mud holes, but can't squeeze through rock chutes that a Wrangler can.

Hence my point of what you consider offroad...


Mike.

tom schibler
10-14-2004, 08:01 PM
http://www2.porsche.com/english/usa/cayenne/cayenneturbo/experience/movies/default.htm

Check out the movie "Challenges" and you will get some idea of what Porsche considers off and on road performance.

BoiseBoi
10-15-2004, 02:31 PM
It would seem to me that for a given vehicle weight and tire pressure, a wider tire will have a shorter contact patch, with the total area remaining about the same. There may, of course, be factors that I am not taking into account.

I think that's true, at least in the ideal case. Here comes the math:

3500 lbs (Element weight) divided by 35 psi (tire pressure, pounds per square inch) equals 100 square inches total contact patch, or 25 square inches per tire.

Stock tire widths are 215 mm, or 8.5 inches. So each contact patch should be roughly 8.5 inches wide by about 3 inches long, equaling 25 square inches.

I knew those physics classes would come in handy!

tecton
10-18-2004, 04:23 AM
a wider tire will be softer than a thinner tire

a tire with a smaller wheel will be softer than a tire with a larger wheel

if you get a taller tire, you will suffer loss of acceleration, your spedometer wiill no longer be accurate, but your top speed will go up, heh

and generally speaking, an A/T tire will be alot softer than any kind of performance tire

paulj
10-18-2004, 01:15 PM
One time after washing a dirty Element, the dirt left clear images of the contact patches on the pavement. The patches were nearly square, and a bit longer for the front tires (a bit lower pressure, more unloaded weight). I took photos but did not record any measurements.

215 is the section width, tread width is less. I haven't seen tread width numbers of the Goodyear HP tires, but others list values like 6.5", and the HP's, if anything have a narrower than average treadwidth. So a contact patch length of 4" is not surprising.

-------------

Is it possible to talk about 'softeness' of a tire without reference to the tire pressure? I suspect people with low profile performance tires do run them at higher than 'stock' pressures, since that should reduce deformation on corners. Also with a low profile tire, the rim would be subject to more damage from potholes and curbs if the tire is under inflated.

Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'softness' of a tire.

paulj