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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks -- I've got very few posts here, since we just got the E a few weeks ago under the "clunker" deal. (Traded a 98 GMC Yukon; got a PMM EX AWD).

I had read in this forum that most people weren't crazy about the OEM Wrangler HPs, though they seemed to last 30-40K. With a thousand miles on the car I can begin to understand why: the ride is degraded from what it could be.

So -- one of the tires on my short list is the Bridgestone Dueler HL Alenza, which the local dealer will price-match against tirerack.com. I'll also do a +0 shift making them 225/70-16s. That's 10 mm wider, 7mm higher, revolutions per mile go from 750 to 739, or 1.5%, and the new tires weigh 7# more apiece than the Wranglers. (Did my homework -- see? :) )

So the issue becomes one of how cheaply can I make this happen. I don't know if the Bridgestone dealer will give me anything for the Wranglers. I haven't seen a lot in the Trading Post -- people complain about the Wranglers a lot, but seem to keep them. What should I expect from the dealer, and what should I expect from the sales forum here, for tires with 1,000 miles on them?

Thanks in advance for all your comments. I'm limiting my upgrade focus to just this particular tire at present because I've had such good service from this dealer in the past. I generally expect the net upgrade price, including mounting, balancing, sales tax to run in the neighborhood of $500-600 for a fair bargain. Beyond that, we might try to survive a couple winters on the Wranglers, since it would mean we're not getting anything for the OEMs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hmm ... no comments?

OK, I went by the Bridgestone place at lunch. My great contact there was fired a few months ago, and the new manager isn't giving anything for the Wranglers. Net price installed about $800. -- they don't even try to match tirerack.com any more. :(

My next stop (it was going to be my last for the day) was at a Goodyear place, and they'll do the "Fortera Triple-Tred" in an exact size match, matching tirerack's price, but charging mounting + balancing. $660 + tax and I get to keep the old tires.

That looks like the best way to go, so in the next day or two I'll be putting my OEM Wrangler HP pulls up in the trading post. Total mileage on all 4 is 1,315 miles (estimating the drive to the dealer tomorrow) and they'll have the balance of the full new tire warranty from Goodyear... based on the date code imprinted on the sidewall or the date I received the car, I guess.

I think the Triple-Tred has a nice aggressive pattern that hopefully won't be too loud at highway speeds, although I've seen a couple negative noise comments.

Oh, FWiW, I found out that the OEM Wrangler HPs are priced new at tirerack almost as high as the Fortera TTs. (Obviously I'll be happy for quite a bit less than that.)

I also found that both Bridgestone and Goodyear are NOT recommending any kind of tire oversizing. If the car comes with 215/70-16s, that's what they will sell you, or else you have to sign all kinds of paperwork absolving them for your decision to do plus sizing. (Even the slightly wider 225/70s! Apparently there was a lawsuit in NJ sometime in the last year where a customer who deliberately bought "custom" tires had them cause an accident, and so his lawyer went after the party with deep pockets. So your best bet to change rubber in the future may well be with tirerack.
 

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I would not consider the Bridgestones or Goodyears upgrades. Maybe slightly better in some areas than OEM, but overall just a tire (if you don't get one that is out of round, hard to balance, delams, etc).

I would recommend Michelin LTX's if you want a great ride, great quality and low noise levels. $20 more per tire than what you are considering but likely to last longer.

Search this forum for people's thoughts on the Michelin. Almost not a bad word spoken...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would not consider the Bridgestones or Goodyears upgrades. Maybe slightly better in some areas than OEM, but overall just a tire (if you don't get one that is out of round, hard to balance, delams, etc).

I would recommend Michelin LTX's if you want a great ride, great quality and low noise levels. $20 more per tire than what you are considering but likely to last longer..
Well, one way to cut down on manufacturer defects is to deal direct with a tire company's store. We've bought at tirerack before (1x) and realize that if one of the 4 had been bad, it would have been the installer, the tire company, and tirerack all pointing fingers at each other. So tirerack is good for pricing, for learning about tires, and for making sure you're not getting scalded at a tire store. They're a great online resource. But they're at the mercy of outside factors.

Funny you should mention Michelins though. We have a set of 4 245/45-17s in the basement that were a warranty replacement for the MXV4s that came as OEM on my wife's 2009 Acura TL. They had flatspotted severely enough that Michelin gave us 4 new tires for free, but we had already gone and bought Pilot PS/2s for that car. I offered the unused tires in an owner's forum (acurazine.com) with no takers. So the idea was to get 3+ years out of the better Michelin Pilots PS/2s we paid for, then maybe put the MXV4s on the car before trading it in. (If you're going with a crappy tire, better to use it at the car's end of life than in the first couple years when you'll enjoy driving the most.)

We had the same tire (Michelin MXV4) on her previous generation TL. They lasted a good amount of time, 60K, but were always hard / slippery / noisy. In fact it was our direct experience with Michelins on Acuras that led us to the idea of upgrading early, rather than late. (The Bridgestone RE960 A/S Pole Positions on her 3rd gen TL transformed it into a car I actually enjoyed driving. In contrast, Bridgestone Turanza EL42s, which were an OEM on that car, were bald for most users at around 17K. All tire companies make good tires and crappy ones, it seems ... and the crappiest are always the OEMs.)

I've gone back in the trading post listings for a few months, and only see one single Wrangler HP with 9K on it being offered ... for twenty bucks. For that money, I'd keep the set I'm taking off tomorrow in our basement for a couple years. :) Seems like if someone wants a warrantied set that'll last 30K+ and doesn't mind the Wrangler HP feel, they'll be chasing down my TP listing in the next day or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Have you considered the Nokian WRG2 SUV's?
Yes. The problem I have with tire brands that are second-or third tier is that you've got the issue of single-sourcing. There are way too many B-movies I've seen where the whole plot premise is that someone gets stuck out in East Podunk and is waiting for ... car parts. Then the sun goes down, and the whole town starts gettin' freaky on ya. :)

Also, you're probably dealing through a distributor, instead of directly to a manufacturer rep.

I've seen quite a few positive comments on Nokians here, though, and might try them for the next purchase.

My personal emphasis is wet traction, and need aggressive tread to avoid hydroplaning, especially with a non-streamlined vehicle like the E. Whatever the tire company marketing team dreams up -- I think Goodyear calls them "Aquachutes", which is about as ugly a term as you can get -- that thick diagonal siping on the Fortera TT is guaranteed to work. (Same basic design on the Michelin Pilot PS/2, which is a "Z-rated" tire we have on our TL.)
 

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Yes. The problem I have with tire brands that are second-or third tier is that you've got the issue of single-sourcing. There are way too many B-movies I've seen where the whole plot premise is that someone gets stuck out in East Podunk and is waiting for ... car parts. Then the sun goes down, and the whole town starts gettin' freaky on ya. :)

Also, you're probably dealing through a distributor, instead of directly to a manufacturer rep.

I've seen quite a few positive comments on Nokians here, though, and might try them for the next purchase.

My personal emphasis is wet traction, and need aggressive tread to avoid hydroplaning, especially with a non-streamlined vehicle like the E. Whatever the tire company marketing team dreams up -- I think Goodyear calls them "Aquachutes", which is about as ugly a term as you can get -- that thick diagonal siping on the Fortera TT is guaranteed to work. (Same basic design on the Michelin Pilot PS/2, which is a "Z-rated" tire we have on our TL.)
I got my Nokians from a local family-owned tire shop. They didn't have them in stock in the size I wanted but were able to get them in a couple of days. When it comes to tires and being stuck in 'East Podunk', I personally wouldn't worry about availability when another tire in the correct size would get me home. While Nokian isn't a common brand, I wouldn't consider them 2nd or 3rd tier.

As Twighlightzero mentioned, the WRG2 SUV's have excellent wet traction with their siping design.

 

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Yes. The problem I have with tire brands that are second-or third tier is that you've got the issue of single-sourcing.
Uh, Nokian is not a second tier tire.
There are way too many B-movies I've seen where the whole plot premise is that someone gets stuck out in East Podunk and is waiting for ... car parts. Then the sun goes down, and the whole town starts gettin' freaky on ya.
There are professional people who can help with irrational fears such as this.
 

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I'm currently running on 235/60 16 on my stock rims. Right now I have a set of Yoko Avid TRZs and they've handle my driving fairly well and I drive pretty aggressively when I get the chance (I've been known to chirp tires straight into 3rd gear and go around corners faster than someone in a box should). My only issue with them is that they are so smooth that when it rains I'm afraid I won't know when it's going to hydroplane (keep in mind I've never had that problem with these to date). I still have tread atleast 2/32 to 3/32 to the wear bars, but the way I drive it's time to change them. I just ordered a set of Assurance (not the Fortera) Triple treads from Goodyear because I'm mostly on the street, don't tow anything, and have never had much of a problem playing offroad on trails. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm currently running on 235/60 16 on my stock rims. Right now I have a set of Yoko Avid TRZs and they've handle my driving fairly well and I drive pretty aggressively when I get the chance :cool:
I'm absolutely in favor of +0 sizing -- making tires wider, and usually reducing the height ratio to keep the geometry fairly consistent. The wider contact patch is not as good on snow (as a narrow, long one) but going only one or two sizes means (from 215 stock) a 5% or 10% difference. The wider shoulders will be the big difference in feel, though many drivers can sense a height difference as little as a quarter inch (6-7mm) too.

It's often an economical tweak, too -- depending on tire brand, going +10mm wider (if they offer the size on a particular tire) is going to cost maybe $20 for 4 tires, for maybe 10% more rubber mass (weight) in your tires. (Racers like to minimize unsprung weight but an average driver, especially in an E, wants different attributes. So if you're talking in terms of a 10% bigger tire for only a 2-3% cost increase, and the speedometer is still close to what it should be, you could have a very nice tradeoff.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nokians ...have black silica grit embedded for added ice traction.
Oh, that's neat! The giant mainstream companies like Bridgestone have also been adding more silica constantly, for the wearing qualities, and some claim to infuse more "carbon black" in the treadwall to keep the tires looking newer. But this is the first I heard of grit -- like lava pumice, or beach sand? -- being embedded specifically for the cold weather traction.

If you go into a tire showroom, the top-of-the line models may feel more like plastic than rubber nowadays because of all the additives. It's not like the old days when bias-ply was a step up from 4-ply nylon corded, and almost no one could afford radials.

If I lived north of NYC I'd be choosing very different tire geometries. I grew up in Rochester NY (with bias-ply on my 73 Nova) and have some comfort level with cold weather (big snow!) driving. But down here on the Jersey shore, some winters you don't get any solid precip at all. (The weather changes about 3-10 miles in from the coast, roughly the boundary line drawn by the GS Parkway).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tires depreciate like yesterday's newspaper. Drive a new car from the dealer to a tire dealer and he may give you $20 each for the new tires.
1500 miles is about the outside I would ever consider for pulls -- they have to be spanking fresh new, and then I'd want to be sure to have them Hunter balanced on installation, and rotated every (or every other) oil change.

But you might be surprised shopping for tires this week, since Washington just slapped those huge tariffs on Chinese imports. There's a lot of tires in the channel which won't be affected, but come springtime when the warehouses have emptied, some tires could be costing 50% more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just a followup to some of the things that were discussed here...

I went and did the tire swap, Wrangler HPs to Fortera Triple Treds. Half the people at the tire store said I was changing to a better tire ... the other half said that they still sell a lot of Wrangler HPs, at $170 each. (So the guy in the Trading Post who bought my pulls w/ 1300 miles on them at $50 each got a very good deal.)

Now, in driving these FTT tires for the first couple hundred miles, I'd have to say they feel almost exactly the same as OEMs on dry pavement. (They should; they're the same size, same weight and speed ratings.) I haven't heard different tire noises; I still feel a section of washboard-y road the same. I can imagine there's a difference in the tirewall thickness and the way the tire "sets" going around curves, but it hasn't come into play yet.

So -- was it worth a net extra cost of $500?

The new Goodyears weigh 5# more apiece and have a treadwear warranty of 60K, as opposed to the new-car truck tire warranty of 6 years. I'm thinking that the main difference, though, is going to be in the bad weather. A couple drives in the rain will answer this. And it's not so much for me -- anything within reason I can do to make it safer / easier for my wife's driving is to the good.

If I lived in upstate NY, I'd definitely recommend the more aggressive FTT tread design for lake-effect snowstorms. I would certainly look at the Nokias, but make sure I could get them easily.

But if I lived anywhere south of here (mid-NJ) I'd suggest going with a passenger tire instead for the quietness and reduced rolling resistance. Max payload you can put in an E is supposed to be 750 pounds, so regardless of what other people want to call it based on the outside looks, you're essentially in a car, not a truck.

Hope this thread helps!
 

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I found the paperwork so I have the real numbers now. We took the OEM Wranglers off at 35,700 with plenty of tread left---they had gotten awfully noisy. We put Michelin LTX Pilots on and they now have 37,000 miles on them. They started very quiet when new, but have progressively gotten noisier with wear to the point it now sounds like a 4WD monster truck and they still have half the tread left.

Thursday, we are going to have a set of Kuhmos put on and check the alignment. I'll let you know what they behave like.;-)
 

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