snailmont5oh Dork
9/18/20 4:15 p.m.

It's about time to really start considering tires for the '71 full-size Ford wagon that I tow the race car with. It currently has 17x8" Bullitt replicas on it, but if 16x8" ROH Snypers would be more suitable, those could go on. I'm thinking that I should have at least an XL rated tire, but I'm open to discussion of width, aspect ratio, and brand/model. I'm looking for longevity, solid dry handling (loaded and empty), and very good wet  traction. The car would only get driven in snow in an extreme case of "really have to go, nothing else available."

Whaddaya think?


Mr_Asa SuperDork
9/18/20 4:24 p.m.

I know its a boat, but there's probably a limit to what size tire it can handle, any idea what it is?

In any case, my best recommendation for all that is the Michelin LTX M/S tires.  May be under M/S2 by now.  I had multiple sets on my truck that went to 80k

L5wolvesf Reader
9/18/20 4:47 p.m.

My first tow wagon was a 69 Pontiac LeMans. I put 15" wheels and some BFG All Terrain TAs on it. Towed nicely and I could take it a bit off road. No snow where I was so I can't comment on that. 

Uncle David (Forum Supporter)
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) New Reader
9/18/20 7:34 p.m.

I'd go with 15" wheels and 235/75/15 load Range C tires. 

snailmont5oh Dork
10/7/20 9:04 a.m.

In reply to Uncle David (Forum Supporter) :

I went to the 17s to get away from the floatiness of the tall-sidewall 15s. I don't want to go back. 

In reply to Mr_Asa: 

It looks like the "best" width for the 8" wide wheel is a 245 or so. The clearance point on the front is the upper ball joint, which is a quarter-inch from the wheel rim with the spacers. I don't think I have any other clearance issues. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/7/20 10:57 a.m.

You shouldn't have any problems finding a sturdy somewhat large 17" tire for that. If you're not planning to do rotations i might pick front and rear tires differently. I have a 73 full size wagon i am going to fix up and my front and rears will definitely be different, but it will probably never get enough miles under my ownership to wear out one set of the kind of rock-hard tires you end up with in these sizes anyway. 

I'd put a LT or SUV all season on it.

I tend to run Sumitomo tires on just about everything so I'd do something like this.


They are rated at 2149 each. 

gumby (Forum Supporter)
gumby (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
10/7/20 3:48 p.m.

I will second Toyman. On my load carrying vehicles with up-sized wheels('04 Branger and 1990 Country Squire, both on 18's), I have found performance oriented CUV/SUV all-seasons work great. Plenty of variety in sizing available for +17" wheels and typically more than enough capacity for my purposes.

I haven't resorted to seeking out an LT. If you go that route, the 16" wheels may net more selection in 27-29" tires.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/7/20 4:25 p.m.

Volume is one of your key factors.  Fortunately those old cars hold a fairly large diameter tire, but the more volume you have, the better.  I towed with a 73 Impala wagon and I went with 255/75-16 balloons.

You're not handling a ton of weight, but you will notice big differences between types of tires.  It's not just weight capacity.  A P235-75-16 with a 107 load rating will behave completely differently than an LT235/75-16 with a 107 load rating.  Same size, same load rating, but the P tire will be squishier.  You'll notice more sway.

LT tires are constructed with the higher truck in mind.  Body roll, center of gravity, and the already-expected rougher ride of a truck mean that an LT tire will typically have stiffer sidewalls.

If you want a vague indicator of sidewall integrity, look at the max psi.  E-range tires for instance typically  have an 80 psi max.  Just remember that the tire and the sidewall don't suspend the vehicle, the air pressure does.  LT tires are also constructed in a manner such that different tire pressures have less effect on the deformation of the tire.  With a P tire, too much air and you ride on the center of the tread, too little you scrub the outsides.  The stiffer, more truck like you get the sidewalls, there is less deformation.  I could run my E-range tires on the F250 as high as 80 or as low as 50 and not notice any difference in treadwear.  Part of this design is so that you can stuff 80 psi in it and be prepared for load all the time, but not have to constantly adjust pressures once you take the load away.  Not so much with P tires.  You'll have to chase optimum psi based on the load you have.

If it were me, I would look for a C-range or at least XL in an LT tire.  You likely have a pretty marshmallow suspension, so it's unlikely you'll notice a difference in ride quality.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/7/20 4:31 p.m.

Lt tires if it was mine.

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
10/7/20 6:37 p.m.

What Curtis 73 said.  LT

I use load range E.  But i'm pulling a trailer every day.

03Panther Dork
10/7/20 7:23 p.m.
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) said:

I'd go with 15" wheels and 235/75/15 load Range C tires. 

I'm just curious as to why? That would be one of my last suggestions.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/7/20 8:04 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I would guess it's to get more volume in the tires.  I think 15 or 16 would be fine.

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