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  #1  
Old 31 May 2003
T&H T&H is offline
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5 or 6 Tyres?

We're planning an overland trip across Africa, much of which we hope to spent in and around the Sahara.
We're trying to keep things simple and light (cheap too) and wonder about the extra weight, bulk and cost of a sixth wheel and tyre.
We will do as much off-roading as poss but not being v. experienced, we won't go for anything too challenging. I hear many tales of people who just have a couple of punctures on complete overland journeys...
Any comments?
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  #2  
Old 31 May 2003
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‘How-many-tyres’ is a question often asked.
What use is a spare tyre if you have no puncture…
What use is a punctured car with no spare?
My midway solution is to carry:
One ready-made extra spare (that is two spares and four road wheels)
One unmounted tyre, outer cover
Two or three spare tubes
Valves and valve caps,
Set of BIG tyre levers
Puncture repair kit
Sidewall patches (now illegal in Europe)

The weight of the spare wheel is moderate, of the remainder it is negligible.
In several long desert trips across rock, sand, scrub and camel thorn, I have been puncture-free – but luck, not skill, probably played a part.
Desert taxis and locals run their tyres down to the canvas – amazing - and are always on the lookout for good outer covers.
Take as many old covers as you can carry – someone will be please to trade some service for them en-route.
If you are really weight-watching (and you should be), leave out the spare wheel, just take the additional tyre. Practice doing a wheel-change and puncture repair before you leave – it is a lot easier to perfect the technique at home, than to wrestle with unfamiliar tools and unpractised skills in the heat of the desert.
Bon Voyage…

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Kitmax - Traveller
Desert Pictures at
http://www.kitmax.com/kitmax/kit03ph...velgallery.htm
homepage http://www.kitmax.com
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  #3  
Old 31 May 2003
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Hi T&H,

I have done the overland thing and spent nearly 3 years in Africa - I would not leave home without 2 spares - just my humble opinion.
Good luck with your trip and feel free to email me for any info.

Cheers

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ChrisC
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  #4  
Old 31 May 2003
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If you use Michelin XZY or XS tyres then you can get by with one spare. These have 14 ply side walls and are very tough. With any other tyre I would definitely take two spares.

When we travelled through Africa we had quite a few punctures till we purchased XZY Michelin tyres. With the Michelin's we have never! had a puncture. All the other overlanders we met running Michelin tyres had next to no tyre problems whilst those without had continual tyre problems.

The Michelin tyres cost more but they are really worth it. As per an AMEX card add here in Australia says - don't leave home without them.

Geoff
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  #5  
Old 31 May 2003
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... and a compressor to fill the tires back up after repair. Search this forum for more info on this subject.

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A.B.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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  #6  
Old 3 Jun 2003
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"All the other overlanders we met running Michelin tyres had next to no tyre problems whilst those without had continual tyre problems. "

Hmmm... One trip (Moroc) - BFG tyres - no punctures; another trip (Algeria) - Michelin XS - two punctures. Bugger! I must be doing something wrong ....

Rgds,
Roman (UK)
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  #7  
Old 3 Jun 2003
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Good year Wrangler RTS, 3 years no punctures, then 3 punctures in one day 2 of them beyond repair...
I think there's a big element of luck here and also the way you drive and pick your tracks. I'd say in any case follow the advice mentioned above and you’ll be fine; especially the advice about getting your technique down at HOME.

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OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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  #8  
Old 4 Jun 2003
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More data:

2 trips to Morocco and 1 trip to Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal = not a single puncture.

All trips done with Michelin tyres (All-Terrain and even the newer Synchrone)

José
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  #9  
Old 19 Jun 2003
T&H T&H is offline
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Thanks a bunch for the replies, sorry we didn't answer earlier but we've been away.
Kingsmill, we were also thinking that 5 Michelin XZY would do or 6 other branded tyres (which would give the peace of mind of having an extra spare in case of a split).
We have been recomended by our mechanic (an experienced African traveller) and read in various forums (although with some contradictions) that BFG Trac Edge are one of the best compromise for overland (tear & wear / go everywhere profile). Any suggestions on that?
We have also read that BFG/AT, although very good in the sand, do not take rocky pistes too well and start degrading quite rapidly. People have described them as similiarly performing/lasting (which worries us a bit).
Does anybody know if they use a harder compound on the Trac Edges?
If we go for that option, we will defenetly take 6 tyres with us.
Thanks again.
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  #10  
Old 19 Jun 2003
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Very intresting ...

I always thought the AT would be more robust because it has better side wall protection.

Some experience from the field might proof different though.

Last year I used AT's on our trip to Algeria. We had no problems. On close inspection you can see some scars etc. in the rubber. I cannot compare this with other tires though.

cu,

Rob

[This message has been edited by Robbert (edited 19 June 2003).]
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  #11  
Old 20 Jun 2003
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T&H,

Don't worry too much about tyres. What matters more than rubber compound is, IMHO, the size. If you stick to 7.50x16 (235/85/16) you can always get a replacement locally, even if you run out of spares. At the end of the day, it is just as much a matter of luck as brand name. And always retighten the wheel nuts yourself after having a tyre changed by a local mechanic.
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  #12  
Old 20 Jun 2003
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Heard the arguement many times before on sticking with 7.50x16 (235/85/16)due to availablility which is very true. However in the end, moved away from it to a BFG MT 265/75/16. Primariliy wanted a broader tyre due to the load / height of the modified 110. With roll cage, roof rack, roof tent, etc, the vehicle sits much better on the larger tyres. Have also found that MTs are a much better "all terrain" than the all terrains which I previously ran. We had six wheels trans africa which we definitely needed, personally wouldn't go with 5 regardless of how strong a compound they are. Found the MT's very good in the Sand as well as on the other terrains. Would only go for the larger tyre if you are carrying alot of weight / vehicle is sitting higher. If its running as a stock standard 90 then I would stick with the standard size and get the benefits of greater availability.
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  #13  
Old 20 Jun 2003
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And what when traveling with a Disco? I'm running 225/75 which I think is a nice size for the Disco.
7.5's get a bit tall/ heavy on the transmition I guess. And for weight/space reasons I prefer to take 5 instead of 6 tires and keep the weight of the car low to reduce wear and risk of punctures etc.

And then take it easy off course.
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Old 20 Jun 2003
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We have a Landcruiser HZJ75 and we'll try to keep the weight to a minimum. We've thought about wider tyres (for stability) as the LC trac is very narrow and looks a bit like a tall wobbly tower but we'll stick to the 7.5x16 for availability's sake.
We've also been advised against trac widdeners to avoid excessive strain on wheel bearings(?). So it looks like we'll have to keep a standard configuration.
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Old 23 Jun 2003
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You dont mention whether you are a single vehicle or part of a larger group. If you are part of a larger group it would make sense to put similar tyres on all your vehicles and carry five wheels each and perhaps a spare tyre. The weight of a sixth tyre should be avoided if possible.

If you go for tubeless tyres ie 235/R16 BFG Trac Edge or AT for example, though excellent and extremely durable tyres, they are a bitch to reseat unless you run them with inner tubes (even if you carry a conmpressor) and are less available than standard 7.5 x R16 tyres in North Africa.

You may therefore want to consider going for standard landrover rims with Michelin XZY or XS tyres and appropriate inner tubes. These also have exceptional tread patterns and whilst perhaps being made from a slightly softer compound will be easier to repair and or replace en route.

Be warned that a lot of this comes down to personal preference!
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