• Just back from a trip to Dorset which saw us taking on a number of byways and a lengthy ford. Some of the byways were muddy, well carved, and saw us making full use of the suspension.

    I’m now in a better (but not final) position to give an evaluation of the 14 inch tyre conversion.

    Pros

    1. They give a much smoother ride on tarmac than the standard 12 inch G188s. The infamous LD wobble is greatly reduced to the point of being genuinely negligible

    2. They are quieter

    3. They serve well to improve suspension compliance, even before being aired down. They roll through potholes and rough surfaces really well, they are less inclined to ‘crash’ through potholes than the standard 12s

    4. They allow us to keep up with trucks at 56mph without thrashing the engine! At one point it was to our advantage to press on past a joining slip road on the M5 and we saw a genuine (sat nav verified) 60mph

    5. Traction is very good on loose surfaces (but we haven’t yet been into any extreme scenarios)

    6. They ‘float’ over soft surfaces much more readily than 12s. We far more effectively made use of a few soft verges that would have seen the 12s very easily break the surface and dig in. Undoubtedly, the greatly enlarged contact patch effectively spreads the mass much more effectively

    7. More ground clearance (about 60mm)

    Cons

    1. A slight modification to the trailing edge of the front mudguard is necessary to avoid fouling when on steering lock and with the front suspension under compression (pic)

    2. On a couple of long hills that before I could have carried in top gear, I've needed to change down to 4th. This was entirely expected though as part of the whole exercise was to raise overall gearing. This doesn't bother me one bit, but if it ever does it could fairly easily be compensated for by a tweak of the fuel pump to increase power by 10-20bhp or so. The Cummins will easily take this

    3. It raises the overall height of the truck by about 60mm and this can make itself known when stepping up to the cab etc

    4. No room for snowchains

    Some general observations

    1. I took great care in assembly making sure the tyres, liners and rims were caked in tyre soap. This helps the tyres slide up on to the beads and seat properly under inflation. If assembled dry, the tyres can fail to seat properly and lead to an out-of-round scenario

    2. At 7.5 tons, 60psi seems – at this stage – to work really well for general use. The sidewalls are not bulged at this pressure and there is no build up of heat even after extensive motorway use

    3. I anticipate, when aired down to about 30psi, the traction and ride over really rough stuff will be much improved

    4. The pulse setting of the standard VDO speedo needs to be reset to 7400 for accurate speedo readings

    5. It actually feels ‘right’ when pottering through 30mph speed limits to be required to shift into 4th gear rather than just go absolutely everywhere in top!

    6. Time will tell if the extra strain has any consequences on any of the drivetrain components but given the over-engineered nature of the T244, plus the fact we run at 7.5t, I’m reasonably confident we’ll be OK

    That’s about it for now. We haven’t yet fully pushed the envelope but early indications are very favourable. This is by no means a full evaluation but I consider this a genuinely transformational modification for overland camper use. The thing just feels (and looks) like it was meant to be this way from the off.

Tweaks and fixes are an ongoing part of the project. This series of pages form a blog - of sorts - and is intended to give a flavour of the day-to-day realities of living with the truck as issues crop up and tweaks and fixes progress. Many of the posts eventually end up getting written up properly and included in the main body of the Trip Truck site; so if you think you have read any of the older posts somewhere else, you almost certainly have.

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