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Old 11-06-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
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Unusual Tire Wear Toad Vehicle

Our Toad is a 2014 Rubicon with BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires. They are LT 255/75 R17.
The Jeep and Tires have approximately 18K miles on them. We put 8k on the tires this last summer towing her around the country.

Now the issue. When we returned to Vegas after our summer trip and started driving the Jeep around town we noticed a little more rumble with the Mud all terrain tires coming from the front wheels. Mud Terrain tires make noise as is but this got louder and had a different feel to the vehicle. After closer inspection I found the tire knobs or tread to have some obvious weird wear.
Some of the knobs have been worn down below the other knobs. Running your hand over the tread you feel the high knobs. Tread depth is still very good but you have high and low knobs throughout both front tires causing this rough ride and louder rumble than normal.
I am taking a guess here and thinking maybe towing the Jeep down the road for 8k miles caused this. Rear tires look and feel brand new.
The tires call for 50 PSI Max COLD. While towing we ran approximately 47 PSI all the way around.
If towing is causing this, the first question is why?
Has anyone else had this problem?
Any solution to correct this?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:40 PM   #2
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Have you ever rotated the tires?

I rotate my car tires every 5,000 miles.
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:42 PM   #3
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Jim, I had the same problem with my Jeep Liberty. I had to rotate the tires every 1,000 mile of towing just hear the radio. I finally switched to highway tires, Walmart gave me a 100% refund and that solved the problem.

The mudders didn't do well on my Jeep at all for towing.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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If I recall there was a lengthy discussion on another forum regarding this subject and I think ( key word is THINK ) Cruzer had some input so maybe he will see this and chime in.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:07 PM   #5
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Thanks Chuck and Arch

I will take it down forrotation this next week. Just wondering why it has such an unusual wearpattern. I thought maybe it was slow turns dragging the jeep that could becausing it.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:08 PM   #6
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If I recall there was a lengthy discussion on another forum regarding this subject and I think ( key word is THINK ) Cruzer had some input so maybe he will see this and chime in.
Thanks Hayman
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:08 PM   #7
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You might also have the front end alignment checked while you're at it
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:25 PM   #8
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You might also have the front end alignment checked while you're at it
''
I had my front end aligned then checked again when I had the front struts replaced. This was all in the first 18,000 miles of towing. The only thing that worked on mine was changing the tire type.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:47 PM   #9
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You might also have the front end alignment checked while you're at it
I will definitely have the Alignment done. Just weird how they have knobs lower right in the middle of higher knobs. has to be the towing. maybe too much tire pressure.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:55 PM   #10
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I have the same problem with my 2006 Mazda tribute .Mine also warps the front rotors . I put new Good years on last JAN. I replaced the rotors at the same time . By the time I got to Phoenix The rotors were warped and tires were cupped . I think it has some thing to do with the front wheel toe setting it either has to be set to max to out ,or in I cant remember which way that goes .Basicly the wheels start to wobble because it is being towed .Instead of towing .
I am a 45 years auto mechanic so I think I know a little bit about this . But this was not my major area of expertise. I plan on taking this to my buddy that is a front alignment guy and getting it checked out . I would have done it by now but have been to busy restoring my flooded basement .
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:33 PM   #11
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I have the same problem with my 2006 Mazda tribute .Mine also warps the front rotors . I put new Good years on last JAN. I replaced the rotors at the same time . By the time I got to Phoenix The rotors were warped and tires were cupped . I think it has some thing to do with the front wheel toe setting it either has to be set to max to out ,or in I cant remember which way that goes .Basicly the wheels start to wobble because it is being towed .Instead of towing .
I am a 45 years auto mechanic so I think I know a little bit about this . But this was not my major area of expertise. I plan on taking this to my buddy that is a front alignment guy and getting it checked out . I would have done it by now but have been to busy restoring my flooded basement .

WOW, Sorry to hear about your Basement. That has to be troubling.

So you think the tire is not staying flush on the pavement thus it is wobbling as we travel down the road.

I heard dragging on a slow left turn once as I had the toll window open. I thought it was the Jeep and not the Tag as I had dumped the air in the Tag. That made me think it is scrubbing on turns and possibly causing some of the unusual wear. I wasn't sure if the steering wheel was making the appropriate turns or otherwise it may not be turning with the Coach. Guess I am going to have to force DW to sit in the Jeep as I drive the neighborhood.
Your idea makes sense. I will rotate the tires and have the front alignment done as Chuck and others recommend for now. Hate to have to buy new tires every 10k miles of towing.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:55 PM   #12
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Yep, went through that on our Wrangler Unlimited Rubicons. Exact same tires, basically the same chassis and vehicle.

Most four wheel drive vehicles with heavy lug tires, like those OEM BFG Mud Terrains, tend to wear. The biggest reason is that you have those tall blocks of tread that aren't really tied or ribbed together. After all, they're designed for traction so you don't want that. However, these small towers of rubber flex. When you brake all four tires lean a bit. Eventually the tops of these towers get worn at an angle. When you accelerate they wear in the opposite direction so that tends to even things out. However, you normally accelerate in two wheel drive on pavement so only the rear tires get evened out. That's one of the biggest reasons the front tires wear all choppy compared to the rear tires. The other is the cornering but there's nothing you can do to prevent that.

The solution is to rotate your tires frequently, like every 4-5,000 miles. Obviously this is impractical when you are travelling, especially as a toad, so you have to bite the bullet a bit and accept some wear. Ideally you would rotate before a trip and after if it was a long enough trip.

The second item is your tire pressure. Jeeps are no different than motor homes. You want to have a nice flat tire patch on the ground for the best traction. Running excess air pressure tends to bow the tire in the middle and you wont' get even wear. You'll also get poor traction and a rougher ride. The tires that come on the Rubicons have a high load rating but it's not because they are heavy or carry heavy loads. It's because the heavier sidewall is a good safety feature when you go off-roading in the rocks. After all, you bought a Rubicon to do that, rather than be a mall cruiser.

I ran my tires around 35 PSI. You won't find tire charts stating what pressure to run per your actual weight because they don't make them like they do for motorhomes but a bit of trial and error brought me to find 35 PSI as a sweet spot.

Lastly, those aren't the best tires. When mine wore out I replaced them with Goodyear DuraTracs, which are very popular with Jeepers. They hold up better and have much better traction in rain light snow or ice. The BFGs were way to slippery in those conditions. In heavy snow or mud the Duratracs and BFGs are equal. My Rubicon is a daily driver most of the time. City driving in Wisconsin winters, lots of 75 MPH freeways driving, plenty of towed miles behind our coaches, and it has a fair amount of time climbing the mountains around Ouray, Colorado or the canyons of Moab. I find the Duratacs to be an excellent all-around choice. You can go to 33s or 35s as well if you want but if you do you'll need to get some aftermarket rims because the offset of the stock rims isn't enough to prevent wider rubber from contacting the frame on turns.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:05 PM   #13
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Generally if you get the death wobble it's either a bad steering stabilizer damper or else a lack of enough caster. Toe-in affects wear but unless extreme it shouldn't cause a wobble. A little bit of caster being off will give you a significant wobble. Whenever you add a tow bar and baseplate it's a good idea to have the vehicle aligned. The extra weight on the front end can give you zero caster or even negative caster. I like to see 1.5 to 3 degrees of positive caster, regardless of what the factory specs say. After all, they didn't think of towing when they wrote those specs.

Our Rubicon has 1.5 degrees right now and it is rock solid stable when towing. I can even back the thing up behind the motorhome for about 30' as long as I start out fairly straight. I just aim the rear camera down to the hitch view and keep any eye on the towbar. If it starts to go to one side I correct and can actually back it in a slight arc if need be. If it goes too far to one side and is unrecoverable I just pull ahead a few feet to straighten it out and start over but generally it stays straight. I had to back up 100' once at a toll booth when the clown ahead of me pulled into the EzPass-only lane but didn't have one and the gate wouldn't go up. I could never have done that with my older two door TJ Jeep.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:49 PM   #14
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I tow a 2012 Jeep Rubicon JK with a 2.5 inch lift kit. The Jeep has 35,000 mi on the odometer and has been towed for almost 40,000 additional miles. When I first got the Jeep I was stupid and got 35x17" Nitto Terrain Grapplers on. They were great. Made in the USA, computer formed, but they weighed 85lbs apiece and progressively got noisier and rougher. A new tire came to market the past 12 mos and I threw away my old tires despite having half the tread left. My new tires are 35x17 BFG KO2 tires. Fantastic tire. Zero noise, great ride, no thumping, no out of round issues. The factory Jeep tire is a BFB KO Mud/Terrain, which is actually pretty chunky and noisy. The new KO2s are sweet no matter what size you buy. They have a reinforced sidewall which is great for a 4x4 or a toad vehicle. As others said I rotate my tires religiously every 5000 rolling miles despite what the odometer says. I recently developed a "loosy or flighty" front end and after crawling underneath found my trackbar had a loose end. Replaced trackbar. I should've watched it more closely. Now I'm back to a nice drive. Rotate often, check your trackbar and bolts vs the white torque markings every oil change (also <5000 mi). Avoid dragging the toad over curbs and such. Align the Jeep every time you change tires.
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