17" or 18" rims for travel to South America

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Everyone,

I am currently running 17" rims with 285/75R17's, which are 33.8" tall. I am going to be doing some work on my truck and will have to change rims. So my question is should I stay with the 17" size or move to the 18" rim as I can move up to a 285/75R18, which is right at 35" tall. The nice thing about the 18" tire is a 4080lb load rating whereas my current 17's are 3195lb rated. I have no intention of needing that extra capacity, but it is a bonus.
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Essentially, I know that finding tires for an 18" rim is going to be harder (impossible?) to find south of the border versus while I don't expect to find my current size, I think I would have an easier time finding a tire for the 17" rim.
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What does everyone else think?
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Jack
 

JLee

Adventurer
TireRack shows only two tires in 285/75R18. You're running 285/75R17's now, not 285/70R17? 285/75's are common in 16" but not so much 17".
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
From what I've read, 17's are easier to find than 18's, but since your truck will fit 16's, they're your best bet for finding tires in SA. And the more sidewall, the better for rough roads...

Wait, are you heading to South America soon??? Just so you know, Baja is still technically North America... It's just south of the border... :)

I did Baja with 17's and a 16" spare. Figured having two rim sizes greatly improved my chances of finding a tire that would work. :)
 

sg1

Adventurer
There are online tire dealers in practically every South American country. On their websites you can easily check which size they have in stock and whether they have several brands in that size. That is how I checked which size to choose for my truck.
Stefan
 

Theoretician

Adventurer
There are online tire dealers in practically every South American country. On their websites you can easily check which size they have in stock and whether they have several brands in that size. That is how I checked which size to choose for my truck.
Stefan
What size did you end up going with? What were the other options that you considered viable?
 

SwamperAK

New member
While I have no experience sourcing tires in South America, I do have experience with your proposed tire size. I am on my third set of 285/75 18's, and have been absolutely blown away with the durability. First was a set of five Toyo MT's, then a set of four Goodyear MTR's, and I'm currently 5k miles into a set of four Nitto Trail Grappler MT's, all on a 1999 diesel F350. Two flats from nails or screws, and one sliced sidewall from a razor sharp piece of sheetmetal that fell off a semi. Total miles on the three sets is around 90,000. A lot of sharp, nasty gravel, rocks, deep mud, and of course deep snow. I'm not easy on my tires, and I don't baby them. I expect them to do everything I want them to do with out failure. And after all those miles, I believe that the heavier weight rating of that specific size has made a world of difference for me.

For what it's worth, I've been most impressed by the Nittos, followed closely by the toyos. I wasn't displeased with the Goodyears, ut would not buy again for an all around rig.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
TireRack shows only two tires in 285/75R18. You're running 285/75R17's now, not 285/70R17? 285/75's are common in 16" but not so much 17".
They are not that common yet and yes on the 285/75R17's. First was Nitto TG's and now Cooper ST Maxx's.

From what I've read, 17's are easier to find than 18's, but since your truck will fit 16's, they're your best bet for finding tires in SA. And the more sidewall, the better for rough roads...

Wait, are you heading to South America soon??? Just so you know, Baja is still technically North America... It's just south of the border... :)

I did Baja with 17's and a 16" spare. Figured having two rim sizes greatly improved my chances of finding a tire that would work. :)
I have read the same thing, which is why I asked the question, not sure which way to go. While it seemed as if 17's were going to be the size to go with, it's starting to look like the manufactures are going straight to 18"+ in all of their trucks and of course the tire makers are following suit.
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Yeah, we are looking at a 2-3 year departure. Gotta get some stuff finished up and our goal is the tip of SA. We've been to Prudhoe Bay, AK, now we want to hit the southern tip. One of the modifications is putting a 2007 F350 SD front axle under the truck, which will no longer fit 16's so those are out. 17's are as small of a rim size as you can fit on those axles, hence the change. I have the metal cut, just need to weld everything up for the conversion and get the axle rebuilt/ready. Using the same kit/system as Krazytoy is using on Falkor.

There are online tire dealers in practically every South American country. On their websites you can easily check which size they have in stock and whether they have several brands in that size. That is how I checked which size to choose for my truck.
Stefan
I did look around on their websites, but maybe I didn't know what I was doing as I had trouble navigating their sites. I"ll look again. What size did you end up going with?

While I have no experience sourcing tires in South America, I do have experience with your proposed tire size. I am on my third set of 285/75 18's, and have been absolutely blown away with the durability. First was a set of five Toyo MT's, then a set of four Goodyear MTR's, and I'm currently 5k miles into a set of four Nitto Trail Grappler MT's, all on a 1999 diesel F350. Two flats from nails or screws, and one sliced sidewall from a razor sharp piece of sheetmetal that fell off a semi. Total miles on the three sets is around 90,000. A lot of sharp, nasty gravel, rocks, deep mud, and of course deep snow. I'm not easy on my tires, and I don't baby them. I expect them to do everything I want them to do with out failure. And after all those miles, I believe that the heavier weight rating of that specific size has made a world of difference for me.

For what it's worth, I've been most impressed by the Nittos, followed closely by the toyos. I wasn't displeased with the Goodyears, ut would not buy again for an all around rig.
I have a buddy with a LC100 (about 8k loaded) and he swears by that size and he has been through a few different sizes. Like you he has had really good luck with them and that is what got me thinking about that size. A true 35" tall, but narrow tire with a phenomenal load rating. He is currently running the Cooper ST Maxx.
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Jack
 

sg1

Adventurer
I have a Ford Transit 4x4 and ended up with 225/75R16. They are very easy to get anywhere but would not fit your truck. When travelling in Latin America I saw many F 150 and a few other half ton trucks. South of Mexico I saw practically no modern 3/4 or 1 ton trucks.
Stefan
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I have a Ford Transit 4x4 and ended up with 225/75R16. They are very easy to get anywhere but would not fit your truck. When travelling in Latin America I saw many F 150 and a few other half ton trucks. South of Mexico I saw practically no modern 3/4 or 1 ton trucks.
Stefan
I don't expect to see too many other BATs (big American trucks), once I'm south of Mexico and especially in SA, but I'm not worried about the truck itself, just more about having to source tires if I wear them out or damage them.
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Jack
 

Darwin

Explorer
I can get over 40,000 miles out of a set 295/70/18 inch tires with my camper on the truck 99% of the time and rotating them every 5,000 miles. If you start with brand new tires, I don't forsee you wearing them out. Make sure you have a full size spare though on a rim, after that you could take another spare without the wheel. That seems like it would cover any accidents that might happen, though you could be fine with just one full size spare.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I can get over 40,000 miles out of a set 295/70/18 inch tires with my camper on the truck 99% of the time and rotating them every 5,000 miles. If you start with brand new tires, I don't forsee you wearing them out. Make sure you have a full size spare though on a rim, after that you could take another spare without the wheel. That seems like it would cover any accidents that might happen, though you could be fine with just one full size spare.
Good to hear on the mileage. My ST Maxx's are still relatively new ~10k miles and while they don't appear to be wearing, I've had tires start out slow and then wear pretty fast, so time will tell with the Coopers.
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Thank you,
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Jack
 

rruff

Explorer
Essentially, I know that finding tires for an 18" rim is going to be harder (impossible?) to find south of the border versus while I don't expect to find my current size, I think I would have an easier time finding a tire for the 17" rim.
This is a good source for options in a 35" tire: https://tiresize.com/tiresizes/35-inch-tires/

I'd go with 16" rims if I could. 315/75r16 is a common size. Tires are cheaper than 17s and much cheaper than 18s. Unfortunately my truck's brake calipers require that 18s be used with a couple rare 17" exceptions.
 

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
Jack,
How's your shoulder? Have you had the rebuilder work on it yet? After reinjuring my rotator cuff 2 months ago, ( the hangover from rolling my Jeep on the Little Sluice 10 years ago) I went to the shoulder specialist and he said I'm not in enough pain to warrant an OP. It would be 8-12 weeks in an immobilizer, and 12 months of rehabilitation before you can put your shoulder to the load.
About the tire size decisions: Especially for Overlanding: every time I would go with the heaviest load rated tire. It's not traction you are looking for, it's survivability. Since 16's are out of the picture, I would go directly to 18's as they have the highest load rated tires available, as you have found out. The next question is wheels. I would not take any alloy wheels to Terra Del Fuego. Even with the moderate load of a pop up, being over built is a good idea when you are far from home. I 'should have' (as in woulda;coulda;shoulda) gone to 18's when I did my drive train upgrade last year. As a some time dedicated sand dunner with a 10K pound truck camper, I wanted to retain the tall sidewalls, not knowing my custom made 16" x 10" Stockton Wheels (the so called "Power Wagon" model with 1/2" plate center hubs) would not quite clear the front brake calipers. So, I have 16x10" with 4-1/2" backspaced wheels only on the rear, and stock H.D. steel wheels on the front. The 16x10's with a 6.25" B.S. Stockton Wheels are languishing in my garage ready for a buyer with drum brakes. Stockton wheel also makes custom 18" steel wheels with any back spacing you want with a 3/8" solid steel center hub and in 8,9,10,12" widths. Probably still over kill for your rig.
As far as flats are concerned, I would just carry a 20 pound CO2 tank or highest quality compressor and the all important ingredient: Safety Seal plug set. It saved me over and over doing hard core 4wheeling, with up to 17 little worms to plug a sidewall that worked fine for the rest of the trip.

I'm on my second set of 50 plugs, which can all be installed with the wheel on the truck. You literally can make anything hold air....for a while. It just looks bad. Besides, from what I've read, there just isn't a lot of 'off-roading' in C. and S. America unless you go looking for it.
As an update to my 315x75R16 Cooper AT/3, 35" tires: I chose these for overlanding because they seem to have the longest mileage profile and are tough. @ 46 pounds ea. they are heavy. They get slightly better mileage than the 'mud' or aggressive 'AT' tire by Cooper. After a grueling 6-day trip through the backcountry of Death Valley at 28 pounds pressure I could not find no wear and nary a cut or divit.
The bottom line here for me is I do nothing for "THE LOOK". It's all function; no falderal. Good luck in your quest. Your trip is one that I sincerely contemplated when I was your age.
jefe
 
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