Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ordered new mud terrain tires for the Sidekick; hoping the 'bad vibes' will cease

mud tires, Kumho, Road Venture, KL71, 235/75/15
Just a bit of an update on the bad vibes with the "Teal Terror," aka project '95 Suzuki Sidekick. Just to recap, there's a nasty vibration at 60+ MPH.

Last week we put the trucklet up on the rack at work, and noticed the wheels looked to be a bit out of round. Yes, all four of them (I have steel wheels, FYI). The driveline, however, looked good. What bugs me is that the last place I had the tires balanced (twice) never mentioned, even though I asked about the condition of the wheels/tires, that there were any issues. Frustrating.

So, now that I know that I at least know the vibration is coming from the wheels, I figured I'd head to my local America's Tire. The guy there, Chris, was very helpful. I described the situation and he suggested we go look at the tires. As I'm describing the vibration and such, he says, "These tires are 22 years old." Wait, what? The BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires I bought are more than two decades old?!? I mean, I bought them used, but I didn't think they were old enough to legally purchase alcohol. Yikes. He then says, he'd bet money that even if the wheels were slightly out of round that the vibration is being caused by old, hard, out-of-round tires. However, since the tires are more than 10 years old, due to liability issues, America's Tire can't touch 'em. Well, crap.

Monday I decided to visit America's Tire again. Chris wasn't there, but another dude, Matt, was. Matt was equally helpful. He suggested that we put one of the wheels on their Road Force balancer. However, like Chris, he said that they can't touch the wheels/tires due to their age. But, if I were to come back with the wheel/tire off the vehicle, they could look at it. I asked him if it'd be OK if I just jacked the truck up and took off a wheel in the parking lot, and he agreed.

After taking the wheel/tire off, onto the balancer it went. Sure enough, the wheel was a bit out of round. But Matt said that the tire, which was also out of round, was actually causing most of the vibration. Apparently there is a measurement the balancer takes that will detect tire movement. It will detect movement under 0.02 units (mm? inches? I'm not sure); mine was at 0.06, which is apparently a good amount. I asked Matt if we shod the wheels, bends and all, with new tires would it help? He said it should since most of the movement was in the tire.

Although I had thought about going up to a 30x9.50 tire, I decided to stick with the 235/75/15 instead. I did, however, want mud terrains this time. After looking at a few options (I had also done some my own research), I decided to go with the Kumho Road Venture MT KL71. I've seen these tires in action, too and they clean out pretty well. On top of it the price was pretty darn good.

So we'll see if this helps the "bad vibes" I've been having in the Teal Terror. Hopefully it does, because I really don't want to buy new wheels! Big thumbs up to America's Tire, yet again. I don't know why I ever bother to go to any other local tire place, frankly.

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