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Getting tires for the '97


James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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XLT 4x4 & B3000
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4.0 V6
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31x10.5-15 K02's on the Ranger, 235/75R15 on Mazda
My credo
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Decided on the K02's, 31x10.5x15. OEM size is 265/75R15 so I shouldn't have any problems with rubbing, those tires differ hardly in diameter and cross section. Not the cheapest but they get a good rep, and for the amount I drive they'd probably rot out before wearing out.
They're more aggressive than the Cooper 235/75R15's on there and have the sidewall tread and will raise the truck a bit and look better. Shouldn't be horribly noisy on the road.
Also I had the existing tires looked at as to would they pass inspection and the answer was "probably" which doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. So it's time, I've talked about tires on here and that's the choice I came up with.

The only thing I haven't decided is whether to bead balance or not. I know for sure the rims look cleaner with no weights on them. So it's really cosmetic. Then the other part is, does bead balancing work and I hear different things, like, not below about 35 but you don't feel unbalance under 35 anyway. That they rebalance each time when you drive at highway speed. One guy said if you jackrabbit start they'll clump in the wrong places and will be bad at speed.
Regular weights, we know that works, at any speed. Can a tire get unbalanced as it wears, I don't know, seems like it would, so if beads rebalance that would be an advantage to them.
If beads (really a powder) suck you can have the tires dismounted and they vacuum them out then put regular balance. Which would of course be an added cost.
Beads cost 60 more than weights (15 per tire). But it's already over a grand so that part of it isn't really significant.
Assuming tires come in Monday I have to make up my mind and just 50/50 on it now but part of me says, you know what, I've never tried bead balancing, why not do it, you know they'll look better and easier to wash, and then if it's really sucky you can always pay to put weights on them, and consider the added cost as the cost of finding out. If I did have to change them.
I wonder about the wheels alone, are they manufactured so they are perfectly balanced of themselves?
 


Blmpkn

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2.3
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2.5"
Tire Size
285/75/18
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Its probably better to be self deprecating than self defecating.
Meh. Just have em balanced the old fashioned way.
 

Ranger850

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are they manufactured so they are perfectly balanced of themselves?
IDK if they're supposed to be, but they are not. There should be a dot or sticker on the outer wall of the tire that supposed to line up with the valve stem. Doing this is supposed to get the tire close to balanced. I've had to rotate tires 90* and 180* to get them within specs and then add weights.
 

ericbphoto

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1993
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Ford Ranger
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6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
The tires will rarely be perfectly balanced. I tire is manufactured by building up layers of rubber and other materials around a form. Then they go into a mold to be "cured" by steam heat and pressure. As each layer of rubber material is wrapped around the form, the ends of the strip of material overlap a little bit. An operator is usually required to align the ends and press them together to make the joint in that layer. These joints cause small have spots. Higher quality manufacturers will stagger these joints around the tire in an attempt to even out their weight and maximize the natural balance of the tire. But getting it perfect is nearly impossible. The outer layer, which forms the tread, is usually a thick layer. So, being thick and also at the extreme outside diameter of the tire, it's joint is the heaviest. That usually determines where the "dot" is painted that helps the installer mount the tire in the best position.

I would recommend trying normal balancing with weights. If, for some reason, the tire requires a large amount of weights, then maybe use beads instead. BFG is owned by Michelin and I would assume that Michelin's quality practices should have bled over and your BFGs should balance pretty nicely.
 

sgtsandman

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31X10.5R15/265/65R17
If you want to compromise, get the stick on weights and have them stuck to the inside of the rim. You'll have the no wheel weight look and no worry about how and when the wheels will be balanced.
 

Danno1985

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stock
I had these tires in 235/75r15 on my last Ranger. Great tires! I'm tempted to get them in 215/75r15 for my next set even though this truck is a stock 2wd. Honestly feel like they rode as nice, handled better in the rain, and wore more evenly than the popular Hankook highway tires I have on my current rig. I also ran the KO2s (31x10.5X15) on my old 1st-gen Tacoma, and in both cases, never had any issues balancing them. It's a halo tire for the brand, so it seems like they've got the quality control locked down.
 
Last edited:

James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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XLT 4x4 & B3000
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0L in XLT, 3.0L in B3000
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31x10.5-15 K02's on the Ranger, 235/75R15 on Mazda
My credo
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Yeah I asked about date codes, first guy I talked to said they send them back if date not good, guy I talked to yesterday said no I can't send them back, but, this is a really popular tire so the chance they would be old is like about zero. I guess I hope for the best, also could ask before they mount them.
Thanks for all the help.
 

Danno1985

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stock
Yeah I asked about date codes, first guy I talked to said they send them back if date not good, guy I talked to yesterday said no I can't send them back, but, this is a really popular tire so the chance they would be old is like about zero. I guess I hope for the best, also could ask before they mount them.
Thanks for all the help.
Yeah, you're right. I doubt a set would sit around long enough in a warehouse for date of mfg to be an issue. Good luck, post a pic when you get 'em installed and let us know how you like them!
 

sgtsandman

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Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
When I got mine, the shop had to order them. They were so new, they stunk for a good while. They certainly weren't sitting anywhere long.
 

James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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4WD
Tire Size
31x10.5-15 K02's on the Ranger, 235/75R15 on Mazda
My credo
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
I saw my new tires, the K02's in 31x10.5-15, date code is 0423 so made in Jan 2023 (first 2 digits are week#). That's plenty new.
They said they can put the weights that would go on the outside on the inside because of the shape of the wheel is such there isn't much difference. Thanks to @sgtsandman for telling me about that. That's the only reason I was looking at bead balancing was for cosmetic so rather than go with a more expensive and untried/unknown method I decided to stick with weights.

I took the wheels over in the Mazda so, sure am glad I never sold it and how nice to have 2 trucks. Besides the fact I don't have to worry about them messing with the Ranger, it means I didn't have to wait around, of course I have to make another trip to get them.
 

James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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4WD
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31x10.5-15 K02's on the Ranger, 235/75R15 on Mazda
My credo
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
What pressure should I run for road use? I think my original spec for oem 265/75R15's was 30 lbs (no door jamb sticker but pretty sure that's what it was). When I asked what they fill them they said 35 lbs so just wondering should I go with that or is 30 better?
I realize off-road I can air down if I want, just wondering what people like for regular inflation.
BTW with tires off I can see at the driver side rear it'll be easy to run the rear diff vent up/over to the fuel fill inlet that is, I think, plenty high. If water is up that high I'm probably in some other kind of trouble. Front vents are a little harder to get to but I'm going to do them too.
I never found a really good way to get jack stands in the front, the front wheels of my floor jack interfere with where the jack stand wants to be, meaning, I jack on the big nut and the jack stand should go next to it but I have to put it behind under the other part (not sure what it's called) which isn't really great as it's not really horizontal. Then I put another stand further back under the frame on each side. However - - in the front I have 2 floor jacks and I leave it jacked just a little above the stands and they apparently don't leak because it didn't go down over night. I was checking it every few hours yesterday and didn't see it move, so it never actually gets to the stands. To get the jack stands in correctly I'd have to have a different kind of jack it looks like. No doubt at some point if I have to get under there I'll want it on stands. Just depends, for lots of stuff you can just scooch under there but for some things you'd definitely want the stands in there securely. I'm talking about the jacking and jack stand points eric showed in this post Quick jacking question | The Ranger Station.
 

gaz

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@James Morse ,
For a mid size truck/SUV/passenger car I use 32psi.
 

Blmpkn

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2.5"
Tire Size
285/75/18
My credo
Its probably better to be self deprecating than self defecating.
The chalk test is pretty much the only proper way to guage what psi you should be running.
 

ericbphoto

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4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
You van run 35. But that's pretty high, in my opinion. The Ranger is light, especially in the back. You'll get a nicer ride if you drop it down. Maybe try 30 in front and 28 in the rear.
 

don4331

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How much do you want to mess with adjusting pressures? How often do you check?? How often do you carry loads??? How fast do you drive????

Ford recommendations are conservative - refer to Explorer issues with Firestones. So, they recommendations higher pressures than ideal. For most people who ignore their tires until they need to be changed, it is the safe answer.

Add to that 31x10.5R15s are a pretty large tire for Ranger. Dad's '82 F-150 4wd came with 235/75R15s and they were much larger than the 8.15-15s on the old '68 F-100 4wd. Those were both working farm trucks. As a result, you don't need to fill tires to the max.

The chalk or water puddle method will tell you how the tire is loaded- ideally, you want load all the way across the tread. If your tracks after driving through a puddle only shows the tread center, your tire is overinflated, if the center is light it is under inflated. If you get the whole width of tire, you're more/less ideal.

A little over inflated is better than under, especially if you drive at speed e.g. 75mph in Texas.

But if you're going for ideal, you need to check regularly as leaks will take you to under inflated which is bad.

As the Ranger is a truck, if you are running "ideal", before you load it up with 1k lbs of dirt, you need to increase pressure. Then deflate again after.

All the adjustment/getting wheel alignments will get you the max life out of your tires. If you're paying a grand for tires, it should be worth a few moments time to do a little maintenance.

And yes, the balance of your tires changes slightly over their life. e.g. a panic stop will leave a flat spot that is lighter; the bump where the manufacturing joint wears faster, etc, etc. Is it worth rebalancing? Probably not on Ranger, but it wouldn't hurt to have them rebalanced at 1/2 life either.
 

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