60K in 32K: How to chew through tread on a daily driver.

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Long time, friends. I hate to come in here and just drop a situation, as I have such fond memories of hanging out on the old site with everyone, keeping (most of) my problems to myself.

That said, I've come to get my lashings in exchange for your 2 cents. Here it goes;
Jan 2011: Bought a set of 4 BF Goodrich Long Trails (60k warranty) at a place with lifetime rotation/balancing/etc.
June 2011: Picked up a nasty screw on the highway, blew out one of the tires. They replaced it, rotated the tires, and sent me on my way.
April 2012: Rotation.​

Today, I took them in to get an inspection/rotation, and the same guy who installed them in 2011, said he can't do a front to back rotation because of how worn they are. I was confused, but sort of aware that the tires looked a little smooth. The guy showed me his tread measurements and how they were below the safe parameters. Offered to give me roughly 50% credit toward a new set if I acted soon.

However, I have a hunch that something more than poor rotation/inflation maintenance is responsible for chewing through a decently rated 60k tire in 32k...

My suspicions are:
A) Tires - I should have rotated/ maintained their inflation more attentively.
B) Alignment - I've never had an alignment, because I never felt like the truck pulled to either side.
C) Brakes - Haven't touched the brakes since I bought the vehicle at 79k (now at 142k). :eek:
D) Suspension - No secret, the OEM shocks are shot. Not seized, but quite afloat. I'm sold on getting the Bilstein HDs.
E) Driving habits. I plead the fifth. :lipsrsealed:
* I don't tow anything, and I drive about 240 miles a week, >75% highway @ 65-70 mph.

I've recently made the financial decision to do whatever it takes to keep my TB for as long as I can. I have no car payments, very little other debt, and would like to keep it that way. Therefore, throwing a couple grand at catching up on maintenance is most viable. Engine is running well and tranny hasn't made a peep. *knock on wood*

Two questions:
Am I overlooking any other action items?
I think I should remedy the items in the following order; 1) Brakes, 2)Shocks/Coils, 3) Tires, 4) Alignment to wrap it all up, 5) Maybe relaxing a bit. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance, I'll take my lashings now. :redface:

-Alex
 

Answer069

Member
Dec 4, 2011
84
Rotation, rotation, rotation. Rotating your tires s one of the most important things you can to to extend the life of the tire. Maintaining proper pressures is key too. You may find that depending on the vehicle that the tires will wear better at pressures different from the sticker in the door. My Chevy malibu was rated by Chevy at 30 PSI in all tires. I found that the tires actually wore better with 36 in the fronts and 34 in the rear. The reason for my doing that was that the set of tires that I had on the car when bought it wore out on the edges as if the tires were underinflated. I did keep them well maintained and rotated. I wouldn't worry about Alignment unless you're getting uneven wear patterns on the tires. Just my :twocents:
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Answer069 said:
Rotation, rotation, rotation. Rotating your tires s one of the most important things you can to to extend the life of the tire. Maintaining proper pressures is key too. You may find that depending on the vehicle that the tires will wear better at pressures different from the sticker in the door. My Chevy malibu was rated by Chevy at 30 PSI in all tires. I found that the tires actually wore better with 36 in the fronts and 34 in the rear. The reason for my doing that was that the set of tires that I had on the car when bought it wore out on the edges as if the tires were underinflated. I did keep them well maintained and rotated. I wouldn't worry about Alignment unless you're getting uneven wear patterns on the tires. Just my :twocents:

Definitely a lesson learned. The previous set lasted 4-5 years and I checked/maintained tire pressure every 2 weeks, and I also kept them at a little higher than what the door sticker said. 32 PSI and the tires looked under-inflated when hot.

The wear pattern definitely shows something is off; pretty good difference on the LF (2,3,5) vs RF (3,4,5), so an alignment may definitely be in my future.

Thanks for your two cents.
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
Answer069 said:
Rotation, rotation, rotation. Rotating your tires s one of the most important things you can to to extend the life of the tire. Maintaining proper pressures is key too. You may find that depending on the vehicle that the tires will wear better at pressures different from the sticker in the door. My Chevy malibu was rated by Chevy at 30 PSI in all tires. I found that the tires actually wore better with 36 in the fronts and 34 in the rear. The reason for my doing that was that the set of tires that I had on the car when bought it wore out on the edges as if the tires were underinflated. I did keep them well maintained and rotated. I wouldn't worry about Alignment unless you're getting uneven wear patterns on the tires. Just my :twocents:

I saw something similar with our mini-van due to rotation. The back tires were practically new and the front tires were worn quite a bit. On my TB though they seem to wear rather evenly. I seem to always have a trailer or something in the back, maybe that balances out the front weighing a bit more.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Tire rotation and alignment. If you have enough toe in or out but even on both sides the truck won't pull but it will scrub the tread right off those front tires.

I've only rotated my tires every 12-14k which is technically too long of intervals, but I've still gotten 54k out of my 50k rated tires (Firestone Destination AT) and they still have 5/32+ tread left. Rotation is important but I suspect you have something else like alignment issues that is grinding them down faster than longer rotation intervals would cause.

I drive the same 75%+ highway and I put around 24k per year on the truck (although I now have a summer car which will reduce that).
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Sparky said:
Tire rotation and alignment. If you have enough toe in or out but even on both sides the truck won't pull but it will scrub the tread right off those front tires.

I've only rotated my tires every 12-14k which is technically too long of intervals, but I've still gotten 54k out of my 50k rated tires (Firestone Destination AT) and they still have 5/32+ tread left. Rotation is important but I suspect you have something else like alignment issues that is grinding them down faster than longer rotation intervals would cause.

I drive the same 75%+ highway and I put around 24k per year on the truck (although I now have a summer car which will reduce that).

This makes a lot of sense, and might be exactly what's been going on. Thanks.

New shoes and an alignment, it is, then.


Mods: I came in focused on brakes/suspension worries, but this probably should be moved to the Tires section...
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
at nine years and 145k miles, my oem shocks were shot. I then found out that driving with shot shocks will eat your tires.

my fronts were cupped/scallopped on the inside. and after an il-advised rotation, the rears match. :smile:

so make sure you get some functioning struts and shocks and go for an alignment before you spend more good money on new tires.

free advice, it's worth the price
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
:iagree:

You were planning on Bilsteins anyway which is good, just do them before the new tires.
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
meerschm said:
at nine years and 145k miles, my oem shocks were shot. I then found out that driving with shot shocks will eat your tires.

my fronts were cupped/scallopped on the inside. and after an il-advised rotation, the rears match. :smile:

so make sure you get some functioning struts and shocks and go for an alignment before you spend more good money on new tires.

free advice, it's worth the price

Thanks, but won't I have to get another alignment once the new tires are on? I don't want to get multiple alignments.

Sparky said:
:iagree:

You were planning on Bilsteins anyway which is good, just do them before the new tires.

It's been a long time coming.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
ShadowClutch said:
Thanks, but won't I have to get another alignment once the new tires are on? I don't want to get multiple alignments.



It's been a long time coming.

No, you don't need an alignment after new tires.
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Taking the advice received here. Just ordered the Bilstein HD's... Hoping I won't have to do the coil springs up front, though. Going to be an interesting weekend.

To follow this, I will be getting a set of Cooper Discoverer HTPs for about $226, installed with warranty, lifetime rotations, and certificates of repair.

Thanks for the responses in here. I'll follow up when I'm done.

PS. Wasn't there a how-to on installing shocks on the OS? I can't seem to find one on either site.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I used this as a general guideline

Strut and Shock Install - Truck Test Digest

Although you'll want new upper mounts if they've never been done before (probably worn by now). You'll need to do one of two things, either rent a spring compressor and swap the springs to the new front shocks yourself, or take the old assemblies and the new shocks to a shop and have them swap the springs over for you (shouldn't cost much).

Oh and one other note, if you use the pickle fork to pop the lower mount free from the control arm, tap it into place like they show but then hit the stud it presses on to with the hammer (with the nut still on the very end of the stud so you don't damage the threads). Or use a pitman arm puller. Whacking on just the pickle fork did NOT make it pop off "without any fuss" like they said it should.

You also don't need to mark any alignment of the mount and spring as it only fully seats one way (it's obvious when you look at it) and they aren't directional when you mount them.

Not sure where you're at but if you were close by I'd swing over and help you out.
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Sparky said:
I used this as a general guideline

Strut and Shock Install - Truck Test Digest

Although you'll want new upper mounts if they've never been done before (probably worn by now). You'll need to do one of two things, either rent a spring compressor and swap the springs to the new front shocks yourself, or take the old assemblies and the new shocks to a shop and have them swap the springs over for you (shouldn't cost much).

Oh and one other note, if you use the pickle fork to pop the lower mount free from the control arm, tap it into place like they show but then hit the stud it presses on to with the hammer (with the nut still on the very end of the stud so you don't damage the threads). Or use a pitman arm puller. Whacking on just the pickle fork did NOT make it pop off "without any fuss" like they said it should.

You also don't need to mark any alignment of the mount and spring as it only fully seats one way (it's obvious when you look at it) and they aren't directional when you mount them.

Not sure where you're at but if you were close by I'd swing over and help you out.

:hail: Thanks for the info/ advice you've already given, and the offer to lend a hand, but I'm in South Carolina.

That article is great, and I recall seeing it a few years ago. I am confident a neighbor and I can handle the rear, and might need to re-read some older threads about compressing that spring if I want to avoid taking it to a shop. Will follow up soon.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
ShadowClutch said:
B) Alignment - I've never had an alignment, because I never felt like the truck pulled to either side.

The truck may not pull and you could still have the alignment off.

Always have the alignment checked when you install new tires, some shops do it for free, some charge a small fee.

The cost of an alignment is usually less than the price of 1 tire, but affects the livelihood of all 4, and your wallet.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
ShadowClutch said:
:hail: Thanks for the info/ advice you've already given, and the offer to lend a hand, but I'm in South Carolina.

That article is great, and I recall seeing it a few years ago. I am confident a neighbor and I can handle the rear, and might need to re-read some older threads about compressing that spring if I want to avoid taking it to a shop. Will follow up soon.

No problem.

The rears are a piece of cake. If you have ever changed a tire you can change the rear shocks, it's really that simple of a job. Only 2 more bolts beyond taking the wheel off :smile:
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
rhlg7t.jpg

The Bilstein HD's are on. I'm REALLY glad I decided to do them with the support of a friend, rather than pay someone to do it. It took a long time, but it was two evenings after work, when I would otherwise be doing something of little value.

Now, it's time for the next step: tires and alignment

I'm thinking I want to go a size bigger, either 255/70/16 or 245/76/16 to fill the wheel well a little bit more, but worried about the effects of increased wheel weight and/or increased tread width. Will have to do some thinking.

the-thinker.jpg



gmcman and Sparky - You both have different ideas about getting an alignment before/after new tires. Care to elaborate?
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
ShadowClutch said:
gmcman and Sparky - You both have different ideas about getting an alignment before/after new tires. Care to elaborate?


Well, you went through a 60K tire in half the time, that makes the tires about $300 each if you don't fix the wear problem.

You cannot see a tire out of alignment, if you can then it's way off. The tires are set to a certain angle and that's measured in tenths of a degree. The rears while are generally straight, need to follow the fronts, that's the thrust angle. The front needs to be within spec to avoid from wearing a portion of the tire in which case is likely what happened to you. I'm actually surprised they offered a discount since you didn't have them aligned, I would take that and run with it.

An alignment check is about $30 give or take, if it's out then that is normally applied to the alignment. How much is a tire, or tires? Not to mention fuel savings if the tires are scrubbing.

IMO, the tires aren't worth chancing, at least have it checked. The $99 alignment you didn't get just may have cost you 2 tires.
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Good point, gmcman. Thanks.

I guess I'll get the tires after work one day, and try to get the alignment whenever they can get me in/out one morning. I'm hoping an alignment goes well and I don't get any "you need new this or that". The tie rod boots are dusty, but no tears or wiggle.

Now, about that sizing up idea... Any input? My search says clearance will be fine for what I want, but some sources throw around a "3.5% loss of torque for every inch of diameter added" figure and that doesn't sound appealing. Not to mention "increased hydroplaning and decreased deceleration".
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
Also note, ,your inflation pressures and rotation is as equally as important as an alignment
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
gmcman said:
Also note, ,your inflation pressures and rotation is as equally as important as an alignment

My next garage toy will be an air compresor for air tools and for keeping the inflation in check. Something about paying $0.75 for 2 minutes of Air from a machine with an unreliable pressure gauge was just not doing it for me.
 

ShadowClutch

Original poster
Member
Sep 5, 2012
88
Got an alignment this morning and discovered something I should have caught when I lubed up the suspension.

The guy calls me over to say I have a bad ball joint... He shows me the, you guessed it, left front wheel (while the front end was lifted up on the alignment rack). He pushed on the tire and the ball joint moved up and down (as if it were bad). I was blown away because I didn't think I was too tough on these to warrant any type of gaps in the sockets, so I wiggled the upper control arm a bit and the collar around the ball joint yoke was loose. :eek: After I pointed that out, the guy was as surprised as I was. He tightened it up a bit and there was zero movement.

Not sure how it got loose, or for how long it was, but I've learned a few valuable lessons here. Alignment went smoothly (I forgot to ask for a printout, and he said most people don't care, so he doesn't print unless they ask, but he said it was really off, but it wouldn't have been pulling.)

So since starting this thread, I've installed Bilstein HD's ($229), Moog upper shock mounts ($67), got a set of General Grabber HTS ($250) and had an alignment ($55). Feels like a pretty new truck, only complaint now is the body roll, but it's pretty minimal. I'm setting rotation reminders in my calendars, so there's no way out of it.

Thanks again for everyone's input here.
 

tricguy007

Member
Dec 7, 2011
131
It won't hurt if u rotate every oil change if u get a lifetime rotate with purchase of tires
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
tricguy007 said:
It won't hurt if u rotate every oil change if u get a lifetime rotate with purchase of tires

:iagree: Or rotate them yourself, easy enough to do.

I rotate mine every oil change and currently have 56k miles on my 50k mile rated tires (Firestone Destination AT) and still have about 5/32" tread left :thumbsup:
 

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