Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Advice on the right rolling stock for your 4WD
Thomas S
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Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Thomas S » December 29th, 2015, 12:14 pm

Hi Folks,

A few months ago I took delivery of my new Defender 90. Truly a great vehicle and something I always wanted – so far it lives up to form just fine.
The only fly in the ointment are the Conti Cross Contact rubbers which came with the vehicle. They collect tonnes of small stones on gravel roads which makes for an unpleasant (and very noisy) ride on gravel roads (not to mention the 'bullets' coming off the tyres when you hit the hard stuff again). I have tried to get the tyres changed via the dealer, but no luck, so decided to invest in a new set.

Reading reviews on the net makes one's head spin (rather unhealthily.....) and everyone seems to have a different opinion. I would therefore be very grateful if members have some suggestions on appropriate tyre choice. My driving is about 70% on road and the rest a mix of gravel roads, a few bush track and beach/sand.

Some "contenders" are listed below, but this is merely a rather theoretical selection from trawling the net.
Michelin LTX A/T 2
http://www.michelin.com.au/AU/en/tires/ ... a-t-2.html

BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A K02
http://www.bfgoodrich.com.au/product-ra ... in-ta-ko2/

Bridgestone Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697
https://www.bridgestonetyres.com.au/dueler-at-d697

Muddies (as a somewhat non-sensible choice given noise issues mentioned in some posts; others reckon though it is not much of an issue…)
Bridgestone Dueler M/T 674
https://www.bridgestonetyres.com.au/dueler-mt-d674

Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
http://www.bfgoodrich.com.au/product-ra ... rrain-km2/

Peter Aawen
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Peter Aawen » December 29th, 2015, 3:00 pm

Before you lash out on a new set of tyres, have you tried varying your tyre pressure a up or down a bit? What pressure do you usually run on the road, & what do you drop them to when you leave the bitumen? Tyre pressure can play a far greater role in this sort of thing than you'd expect. ;)

I recently did about 5,000 km on a set of those Continental ContiCrossContact AT's (admittedly fitted to a Musso tho) & they were quite impressive, especially on loose gravel roads..... :confused: Altho I believe that besides the reasonably aggressive AT version from Continental, you can also get an LX (pretty much a Highway Mud & Snow Tyre for medium to heavy 4WD's) or a UHP (Ultra High Performance asymmetric 'on road' tyre for expensive & fast 4WD's)
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

Thomas S
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Thomas S » December 29th, 2015, 3:19 pm

Thanks Peter for the reply. I am running the tyres at between 35 and 40 psi. Would you think one gets less stone retention with higher or lower pressure?

Peter Aawen
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Peter Aawen » December 29th, 2015, 3:47 pm

Yep, I'd be dropping those pressures both on & off road (unless maybe you are carrying a fair bit of weight ALL the time!!) Generally, leaving the bitumen for any real distance should warrant dropping up to 20% off your road pressures! More if you are heading for a loose or low traction surface. What does the tyre placard say about the tyres - size & pressure (I still work in PSI)? The last time I drove a Landy 90 we ran the tyres at 34 psi with the vehicle fully loaded (weeeellll, maybe just a little over-loaded :o ) dropping them to 25 off the blacktop, & going right down to 15 for most of a High-country trip, but it was pretty wet & slippery out there so we needed the footprint & grip. I use 'The 4PSI Rule' to work out what pressures to run on & off road, & as a result I rarely get punctures or less than 100,000km out of a tyre! ;)

Lower pressures generally lets the tyre tread (& carcass) flex a bit more & by doing so, works to avoid picking up those small stones that get caught in the tread better, & ejecting them quicker if you do. You'll also soften the ride a little (less harsh & uncomfortable); make the tyres less likely to puncture on sharp stones or chip the tread blocks; increase the contact patch a little (better traction); & increase the temp increase rate & ultimate compound temperature (good for a harder compound tyre like most of the Continentals) so unless you go too low, you will probably get better ride AND grip, but you might lose a little 'directness' in the steering (usually more than made up for by the better grip) Running pressures too high generally gives you the sort of stuff you describe, along with faster tyre wear in the centre of the tread, a greater likelihood of puncture & tread block chipping, a tendency to oversteer &/or 'tramline', and a much harsher ride....

So it might pay you to check out the threads on the 4PSI Rule &/or see how you feel things go by dropping tyre pressure in stages of say, 2psi. But do check out what the tyre placard says, & please post it up here - if might even help to read/post the Max Load/Pressure details printed on the sidewall of the tyre & maybe even get your (loaded for normal driving) vehicle weighed at your nearest garden centre or public weigh bridge - the info from all those can be very helpful when discussing tyre pressures ;)
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

Thomas S
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Joined: December 29th, 2015, 12:07 pm

Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Thomas S » December 29th, 2015, 4:01 pm

Thanks Peter - most helpful and clearly spoke with authority.

The placard states for normal loads: 30 psi (front) and 38 psi (rear). For heavy loads and/or towing: 30 psi (front) and 48 psi (rear).

Since I rarely have very heavy loads, I might start out experimenting with a cold starting pressure of 28 psi front and 36 psi rear and then adjust according to the 4 psi rule.

Ciao,
Thomas

Peter Aawen
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Peter Aawen » December 29th, 2015, 4:24 pm

Sounds like a good start, altho unless you are carrying significant weight in the rear of your 90, I can't really see any benefit from running the rear tyres quite that high? Your 90 is a Full-Time 4WD like a Rangie's, isn't it? In that case, you'll probably get more benefit from running all the tyres at similar pressures than otherwise, & dropping the rears down to a pressure closer to the fronts (which are after all, carrying most of the engine load....) might even reduce the slight tendency the 90 back ends have of unaccountably & suddenly breaking away while 'cornering spiritedly' on the loose stuff (ie, sudden oversteer) You might hafta suck it & see with a few changes, until you settle on something that works for you, but that's what it's all about, isn't it?! :thumb:

Please post up how you go. ;)
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

4wd Hobbit
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by 4wd Hobbit » December 29th, 2015, 5:00 pm

People I know who have bought new 90s, the vehicles came with Goodyear Wrangler MTRs and they report they seemed to work well.

Peter Aawen
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by Peter Aawen » December 29th, 2015, 10:27 pm

The Continental ContiCrossContact AT's came with one of the optional packages on the 90's.
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

GBC
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Re: Tyre Choice for Defender 90 - any advice appreciated

Unread post by GBC » December 30th, 2015, 6:05 am

I read a comparison recently between the 90, fjcruiser and wrangler. It was noted that off-road the 90's rear wheel arches are extremely loud from rocks flicking up as they aren't insulated.
Maybe some spray on deadened in the rear tubs might assist along with an internal liner or carpet.
As a general rule, the more aggressive the tread, the bigger the rocks they will pick up and throw. Mts might pick up slightly less, but when they do you know about it.

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