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Need new tires and want to get a bit more clearance (taller tires): questions

1605 Views 29 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Gabor Latte
Hi. It's soon time to replace my 95 Astro tires. Presently I have the standard issue/recommended tire size of 215 /75 R15 on them. However, I've been desiring a bit more clearance on the van and've heard that taller tires is one way to accomplish this. Even an inch higher would be an appreciated improvement. But I'm wondering if any taller tires will lower the mpg (very important to me), or mess up the odometer accuracy (important too, tho' a bit less so). I also want to get tires that are decent and durable on the many rocky roads on which I take my camper-van to, like, maybe something in the better traction/high performance spectrum? I don't encounter much snow or rain in the landscapes I roam, but yeah, it's often in/out on dirt roads where many rocks abound. Oh, and also, I don't wanna spend a lot of money - my budget is around $100 a tire. Any tips and/or recommendations of size or brand are welcome. Thank you.
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I haven't responded here until now. I'm confused, your avatar pic shows a hightop conversion van.
Is it 2WD or AWD?
This affects your lift possibilities.
2WD will limit you to a body lift and shackle / blocks only, no added lift for the important parts like the oil pans. Larger tires will lift those
with the running boards I don't know for sure but I don't believe massaging the wheel well is a possibility to fit larger tires.

Quoting you quoting Will to answer your question directly,
"Don't have a lot of money, get cheaper tires and pay for it by having less performance and/or having to replace them sooner.
No matter what tires you do end up with, getting a truck tire is my #1 recommendation, passenger tires just weren't made for our vans.
a truck tire vs a passenger car tire typically is heavier because it is thicker, used to be 6 ply compared to 4 ply sidewalls additional plies on the tread surface also allowing for higher air pressures, harder rubber compounds for longevity, better handling and road manners in heavy vehicles. If you can tolerate the harsh buckboard ride you'll see better mileage.
I will play with air pressure until I find a happy medium.
Passenger car tires are most often meant to be run at 30 - 35 lbs made for soft cushy rides and these vans on those tires wallow around corners, braking can be scary, rollovers are not unheard of because they are top heavy. I have seen some good pass car tires but they are not the walmart specials. For vans I always look at the load range of a tire. I wouldn't recommend anything less than a load range of "C" or higher. Many all terrain tires meet this criteria.
I bought a new set of tires last year for my '05 AWD and spent nearly $1,000 for 4 tires.I did buy the best I could find at the best price, I got Cooper AT3 245/70-16. I use the van for work, it's my daily, 2" body lift, always overloaded.Tools equipment and hardware are my daily companions. Without me in it on the scales at the local masonry supply yard it was within 50 lbs of the gross listed on the drivers door.
After a year of driving on them a good investment I think. The load range is up to 2,900 lb each up to 80 psi. With the truck loaded I'm running from 45-50 lbs and get a good ride.
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Ok GL, yeah, 2WD use coil springs in the front so you can't just "crank up the torsion bars" to get lift.
much more complicated,,,
search for posts by "97cargocrawler"
in Jack's posts before 2015 or so you will find how he lifted a '97 safari to the moon. He never really did a single build thread so you will need to do alot of looking.
Good Luck!
All that said, an aggressive tread all terrain tire and a limited slip rear end would be things you should be looking into.
Have you looked at your RPO sticker? is "G80" on it?
also because you have 2WD you need not worry about buying 4 tires all at once. They don't need to be exactly the same size. Both my '93 and '69 vans both run bigs in back, littles in front w/o issues so buying tires in pairs can save you lots. You can find used pairs of tires all over. Facebook, craigslist, local newspapers, here in my area I know of two stores that sell used tires. I have always kept the tires similar in load ratings.
Bigs in the back is an old vanners thing. Uniformity is for AWD and 4WD. Mixed diameter tires need to roll at different speeds to complete 1 revolution, The gears in the transfer case cannot function when in operation.

I've had vans forever but in later years I've run the heavier tires for load carrying ability, my '97 I had a franken-pack of leaves in the rear with dedicated 31x10.5 truck tires so I could carry much too much weight. The astro doesn't have the power for it, to go or to stop.
Here is a picture of my '69, this is just for looks, not carrying.

now with all new rubber-

when I first got her-
Lol, no wisdom at all for the bigs out back on a van, just looks Drag cars found a wider tire would give more traction at launch, taller gave you more wheel speed for the top end and it was a look we all loved back then. Still do.

This kind of loading for short trips was pretty common in my '97, tools, lumber ladders, equipment and even firewood. When I still used a woodstove I always kept a chainsaw in the truck.

This was my spring pack, a 5+1 when I replaced the rear end with a G80. I did the "big brake upgrade" and a few other things but it still had a 4.3.

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