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Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

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  • Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

    Hope this story saves someone from a costly problem. A couple of months ago when I needed two rear tires for my 1999 Explorer 4x4 I tried to buy them from a local shop. They owner insisted I buy four new ones and not just two of a different brand for the back. I knew better so I purchased off the Internet and had them installed, nice agressive tread in anticipation of the coming winter.
    I am in the habit of engaging the 4 wheel high range every couple months for a minute or two while driving slowly just to lube up the moving parts. Recently I got a whining sound and vibration which my mechanic thought was coming from the front differential. Long story short, I took it to a transmission shop he recommended and after a day the owner gave me his findings. Change your tires! He said, I put a "stagger gauge" on them and there is a difference of one inch in diameter between the fronts and rears. He said it was straining the transfer case, and might have done permanent damage. No charge! Well I just had four new tires of the same brand and everything installed, and when I engage, the noise is gone! Lesson learned, but it could have been much worse.

  • #2
    Re: Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

    yes very important to have the same diameter of tires on all wheel drive vehicles,
    and a good idea to have the same size on the driving axel, or if there is a tandem drive axels, very important to have the same on all driving axels.
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    • #3
      Re: Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

      I mistakingly assumed that buying the same "size" 235x75x15" for the back would not be a problem, however like the transmission guy told me
      the truth lies with the stagger guage which measure the true diameter of the tire. He said even if I could find the same brand tires on the Internet it would not guarantee they would measure up properly. He said buy four at once so they are from the same batch. Seemed a bit extreme, but I had to respect his findings and suggestions. I'm one step closer to knowing everything there is to know.

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      • #4
        Re: Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

        Did you let them try the impact?

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        • #5
          Re: Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

          Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
          Hope this story saves someone from a costly problem. A couple of months ago when I needed two rear tires for my 1999 Explorer 4x4 I tried to buy them from a local shop. They owner insisted I buy four new ones and not just two of a different brand for the back. I knew better so I purchased off the Internet and had them installed, nice agressive tread in anticipation of the coming winter.
          I am in the habit of engaging the 4 wheel high range every couple months for a minute or two while driving slowly just to lube up the moving parts. Recently I got a whining sound and vibration which my mechanic thought was coming from the front differential. Long story short, I took it to a transmission shop he recommended and after a day the owner gave me his findings. Change your tires! He said, I put a "stagger gauge" on them and there is a difference of one inch in diameter between the fronts and rears. He said it was straining the transfer case, and might have done permanent damage. No charge! Well I just had four new tires of the same brand and everything installed, and when I engage, the noise is gone! Lesson learned, but it could have been much worse.
          Maybe the stupid tire salesman knew something afterall. Maybe he didn't sleep through all the training videos.

          Its not only a concern when it comes to your front and rear diffs but can affect handling too.

          This is nothing new. I remember this from training I received from Goodyear 40 years ago when working in one of their tire shops just out of HS.
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          • #6
            Re: Buying New Tires for Your 4x4

            Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
            Maybe the stupid tire salesman knew something afterall. Maybe he didn't sleep through all the training videos.

            Its not only a concern when it comes to your front and rear diffs but can affect handling too.

            This is nothing new. I remember this from training I received from Goodyear 40 years ago when working in one of their tire shops just out of HS.
            Bob, it was a transmission guy who clued me in on the tires. The tire salesman knew his stock and so forth but I don't think he understood the mechanics as you described.

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