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Old 06-15-2018, 05:22 PM   #1
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16 ply vs 18 ply

Wanting opinions on 16 ply vs 18 ply. We need to replace our motor home tires. They're 22.5 tires. Right now we have 16 ply tires. I was probably going to upgrade to 18 ply tires but I'm not sure if it would be beneficial or worth it. Would going to an 18 ply tire make our ride rougher? More road noise? Also, if this factors in, we will occasionally Boondock about 20% of the time on gravel or rocky roads. Thanks for any advice because tire dealers have been making it somewhat confusing. By the way I don't need brand information I'm only curious about 16 ply vs 18 ply.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:31 PM   #2
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Wanting opinions on 16 ply vs 18 ply. We need to replace our motor home tires. They're 22.5 tires. Right now we have 16 ply tires. I was probably going to upgrade to 18 ply tires but I'm not sure if it would be beneficial or worth it. Would going to an 18 ply tire make our ride rougher? More road noise? Also, if this factors in, we will occasionally Boondock about 20% of the time on gravel or rocky roads. Thanks for any advice because tire dealers have been making it somewhat confusing. By the way I don't need brand information I'm only curious about 16 ply vs 18 ply.
How close to the maximum weight are your tires carrying? If they are not at their max, why do you want to go to 18 ply? A stiffer sidewall will give a firmer ride, as you would have to carry close to the same pressure.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
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You need to look at the weight load of the tire for your specific weight

Yes, 18ply will probably ride rougher but it may also be too much tire for your needs
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:38 PM   #4
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None of current day tires have that many plies. Usually two in the sidewall and maybe 4 in the tread belt.

Plies comes from the days when cotton was used for the belting and in fact had that many plies as that was the only way to get more strength.

With modern synthetics and steel belts, only a few physical plies are needed, the strength being added in the belting material.

So plies is the leftover rating for tires. The current standard is Load Range A - J. To be certain, the manufacturers tables, if available, will give the actual tire load rating. If available because many Chinese and other imported tires do have have tire load tables.

So to your question, the 18 ply tire will be physically the same as the 16 ply with maybe a higher tire load rating. There are many brand tires offering supposed higher tire load ratings. For example in the 215/75R17.5" trailer tire, typically a Load Range H, Michelon has a J rated tire with the exact same tire load capacity.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:55 AM   #5
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X2 on the ^^^^. Unless you are at the max pressure for your “16ply” (probably a H) you are not gaining anything going to a J rated tire...a higher psi rated tire.
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Old 06-16-2018, 08:32 AM   #6
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Interesting thoughts. As far as weight, we are close to max capacity on the drive tires. However part of that could be the fact we're towing a flatbed that totals 5400 pounds. Our GCVWR with the trailer still puts us under though. Would that sway you to get 18 (J rated)? Like I said I have 16 ply and they seem to work fine and I'm of the school of thought to not change what the manufacturer did. I guess my thinking is why not upgrade? Of course if 16 ply, H rated tires are going to hold up, and benefit from a nicer ride, I may stay with that.

Also I want to avoid a debate about brands, but one dealer is offering a less expensive 18 ply tire, and a different dealer is offering a "better" 16 ply tire for about the same price, actually a couple hundred more for all 6 tires. Thoughts on that scenario?
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Old 06-16-2018, 08:50 AM   #7
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A lot of people drive their rigs in the summer on hot pavement in the SW. Not so much in a class A, but in many cases there is a tendency to drive a bit fast on those open roads.

As a result, there is a lot of rubber scrap along these highways where the tire is coming apart and shedding.

For this reason, we tend to purchase tires with a significantly higher speed rating than we will really drive. The thought is that the speed rating is all about tolerance and design to deal with heat.

Not an expert, that is just my simplified logic.

I will say that I don't like the price of higher end tires, but I like the quiet ride and balance. The few times that I purchased more mid range tires, I was not happy with the result and changed them within a year.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:43 AM   #8
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Interesting thoughts. As far as weight, we are close to max capacity on the drive tires. However part of that could be the fact we're towing a flatbed that totals 5400 pounds. Our GCVWR with the trailer still puts us under though. Would that sway you to get 18 (J rated)? Like I said I have 16 ply and they seem to work fine and I'm of the school of thought to not change what the manufacturer did. I guess my thinking is why not upgrade? Of course if 16 ply, H rated tires are going to hold up, and benefit from a nicer ride, I may stay with that.

Also I want to avoid a debate about brands, but one dealer is offering a less expensive 18 ply tire, and a different dealer is offering a "better" 16 ply tire for about the same price, actually a couple hundred more for all 6 tires. Thoughts on that scenario?
When I was towing a 12,000# trailer with a 1200# tongue weight, I used a Load Leveling hitch, even though I had a 15,000# hitch. I also have a tag axle, so weight on the rear was not a problem, however, with the LL hitch It felt more stable and the dips in the road were unnoticeable. In your case, a LL hitch might transfer some weight off the drive and onto the steer and trailer wheels.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:00 AM   #9
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Your 275/70/22.5 H tires are rated 6395 @ 125 dual so assuming you are running 120 psi, you are almost 5,000 lbs over your rear axle rating. 90 psi would be enough if you are at 20,000 lbs on your rear axle. Something does not add up here...more info???
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:06 AM   #10
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" we are close to max capacity on the drive tires." Your 275/70/22.5 H tires are good for 6395 @ 125 and assuming you are running 120 psi (intrested in J rated tires) you are 5,000 lbs over your rear axle rating of 20,000 lbs. Assuming you are actually close to 20,000 lbs all you need in your rear tires is 90 psi. Something is not adding up here and you do not need a J rated tire.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:57 AM   #11
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Agree with the others - there is little chance you need a load range J (18 ply rating) tire. The trailer and GCWR have nothing to do with it - it's strictly the weight carried on each axle.


Forget the plies and focus on the axle load 20,000 lbs on your '13 Expedition) and the weight carrying capacity of the tire size you use ( 275/70R 22.5 LRH was OEM). The standard tire can easily carry the full rated load on your rear axle (see ivylog's post) even with inflating to the 125 psi max, so no way do you need an LRJ tire. Nor is there any benefit in upgrading to them.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:54 PM   #12
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Another caution with the "J" load range tires is their design. A lot of them are European designed and will have a 62 MPH speed letter, also a "J".
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:42 AM   #13
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Just an update. We decided to go work with the better 16 ply. The michelin dealer sold me some Yokohama which is probably one of the better foreign tires. Good dates on the tires, so not worrying about age issues. And I trust the dealer enough when he says that he rarely has issues from customers and certainly less than the michelins. They ride Soooo much better than my Goodyears. I can update within the next year but I'm happy for now. Btw, I decided these over the "lesser" 18 ply Hankook. The more I discussed with others, the more it made sense to stay with the 16 ply.
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