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Old 7 Apr 2010
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Michelin XPC 7.50-16 on Land Rover 300 tdi Defender in Sand

Does anyone have experience with running Michelin XPC in (Saharan) dune sand at low pressures (less than 1 bar)?

The choice I have is XPCs or XS. XS are proven at low pressures in sand, but not great on wet tar. XPCs are currently on the vehicle.
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Old 8 Apr 2010
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I drive a Nissan Patrol 4800 out here in Qatar in the dunes. I bought a second set of rims fitted with sand tyres, went out to the desert to compare and contrast, I reckon they might be 10% better than road tyres on the sand and 100% worse than road tyres on the black stuff!. I normally run my road tyres at 15-18 psi on sand, did the same with the sand tyres, but could have gone lower as they are fitted with tubes. All in all, I reckon sand tyres are over-rated, not much better on sand and they handle like a pig on wet grass on tarmac. That said the Nissan Patrol is very different to a 300 tdi, probably twice the power, so cruises quite happily at 160 kph, not a speed I'd go near on 'balloons'!
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Old 9 Apr 2010
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Thanks for the details QR. What sand tyres did you use? Any idea on how the side walls of XPCs behave at low pressures?
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Old 12 Apr 2010
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Hi Richard, I just checked my sand tyres, they are Dunlop S5 or D16 (not sure which is the type) size is 255/90 (17s I think)

I saw some interesting calculations on the size of the contact patch for road and sand tyres on the Internet (cant remember the site) the example showed a huge increase in the contact area of deflated sand tyres, which got me all excited about buying them. The reality was different, so I can only conclude that either contact area dosent make that much difference, or that the contact area of a stationary tyre, as in the calculation, is different to the contact area of a rolling tyre, as when you're traveling at speed. I'm not saying the sand tyres are not better on the sand, they are, I'm just saying that for me, in a pretty powerful 4x4, the balance of the 'pig on wet grass' handling on the road v. the marginal improvement in the sand meant that I took them off, stored them under a hut, and there they remain!
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