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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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Old 04-07-2009, 11:18 PM
diesel_73 diesel_73 is offline
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96 E150 Hightop/Tires opinion

Hey whats up!
Ive been reading about tires on here, and it seems that the P235/75/15XL's are the tire of choice. My van came with 255/70/15's....it even has that on the driver door sticker, which im thinking the van was ordered with those. I was at discount tire the other day and asked the guy there about the best tires for this hightop van without mentioning anything that ive read or what i have. He said that the best tire for the hightop was the 255/70/15's because they were slightly taller and wider which makes for better handling, especially with a little wind blowing. Any opinions??

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by diesel_73 View Post
Hey whats up!
Ive been reading about tires on here, and it seems that the P235/75/15XL's are the tire of choice. My van came with 255/70/15's....it even has that on the driver door sticker, which im thinking the van was ordered with those. I was at discount tire the other day and asked the guy there about the best tires for this hightop van without mentioning anything that ive read or what i have. He said that the best tire for the hightop was the 255/70/15's because they were slightly taller and wider which makes for better handling, especially with a little wind blowing. Any opinions??

Thanks,
Mike
Hi Mike:
I've had vans and trucks for over 30 years now, and the 255/70 has always been the standard "hotrod" replacement for the 235/75. The 255's are almost an inch wider but are virtually the same diameter as the 235's. I have put the 255/70's on four or five of these trucks or vans, actually.

If your door sticker says 255/70, this was likely put on by the conversion company--the factory never put 255/70's on the big vans.

Now the handling thing is not a clear answer. The tread on the 255 is definitely wider, which would theoretically have more grip....BUT, if you have the standard 7" wide wheels, the 255's will also tend to "flop" around from side to side more than the 235's--which can be a problem in side winds and the like. If you have 8" wide wheels, the 255's would be less likely to move side to side. The stock Ford wheels will be 7" wide.

Another thing I've found is that I generally have lost about 1-1.5 mpg moving to the 255's.

The newer 235/75's that Ford uses are the "XL" load rating and take higher tire pressures than the older 235's, and I might be most likely to use a 235 XL tire (like the Michelin LTX M/S's I have on my '02 E150--these came stock and I replaced them with the same). The XL's will take 41-44 lbs of air, and are stiffer than the old 35 lb max 235/75 tires. I prefer the looks of the 255/70, but with gas costing what it does, I stuck with the Michelin LTX M/S which are a REALLY good tire--Discount Tire carries these and they are reasonably priced in the 235/75 XL size--snd they will last a LOT of miles. (Bigger sizes of the LTX get pricey.)

Alternatively, moving to a 235/75 "LT" tire would give you even more stiffness because they are a truck tire (with a 50 lb air pressure capacity in most cases), but you WILL lose ride quality.

Good luck,
George
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:01 PM
diesel_73 diesel_73 is offline
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Hey George - Great Info!.......well, im thinking that the conversion company DID put these tires on like you said, because its got the trim package also, and the van has alot of extra's, its done by LA West. So, what i will do is use these 255's until they get worn, then probably go to the 235 XL's. It does seem like the ride isnt as firm as i would like when i roll over bumps, it seems like the rearend isnt real stable, Ive read on here how some have put a leaf kit on, or a rear sway bar, or both. Do you have any thoughts on that George?...or anyone else?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:56 AM
YoGeorge YoGeorge is online now
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Originally Posted by diesel_73 View Post
Hey George - Great Info!.......well, im thinking that the conversion company DID put these tires on like you said, because its got the trim package also, and the van has alot of extra's, its done by LA West. So, what i will do is use these 255's until they get worn, then probably go to the 235 XL's. It does seem like the ride isnt as firm as i would like when i roll over bumps, it seems like the rearend isnt real stable, Ive read on here how some have put a leaf kit on, or a rear sway bar, or both. Do you have any thoughts on that George?...or anyone else?

Thanks,
Mike
I'd make sure the tires have some decent pressure in them (40 lbs if that's within the max pressure of the tire) for starters. How many miles on the van--might the shocks be getting tired? Finally, a rear anti sway bar would probably be helpful with a high top van. Or stiffen the rear springs if you carry a lot of weight or passengers a lot of the time.

Mine is an '02 E150 low top and still has the original shocks on it at 71k miles...I'm thinking of changing them out. I'm thinking of something like the KYB gas a-justs as a cheap alternative to the Bilsteins I'd really want. These would both be firmer than factory shocks. And with a high top van, you just have to accept that it's got a high center of gravity and the wind resistance of a barn

George
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:33 AM
diesel_73 diesel_73 is offline
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Hi George - Thanks for the info.....Ive heard a few different opinions on what should be done to tighten up the ride....i started a new thread about it, feel free to reply.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:33 AM
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