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From: (small-list-digest)
Subject: small-list-digest V4 #23
Precedence: bulk

small-list-digest Monday, January 24 2000 Volume 04 : Number 023

Ford Truck Enthusiasts - Ranger, Explorer, Bronco 2 and Aerostar
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In this issue:

FTE Small - Our tire discussion, & Tom's Aerostar



Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:58:56 -0800
Subject: FTE Small - Our tire discussion, & Tom's Aerostar

Tom Ucen wrote -----------------------
The factory Michelins - I don't know what type, all I know is they were
Season" - on my extended body Aerostar were 215/75 14. That's the only
that is displayed on the decal tag. The weight capacity is 98 although
would suffice. Unfortunately, our laws are very strict regarding motor
vehicles. The tire size is noted in the car papers and it's illegal to
modify your vehicle without official inspection and approvement. I tried
change to 205/60-15 tires (very common in Europe), but TUV (technical
inspection authority) wanted to see official paperwork from Ford with
about handling, brake tests etc. And, of course, the rims would also
have to
be approved. So I had to go out and get the 215/75-14 tires again.

My reply -----------------------------------------------------------

I see. I'm sorry Ford didn't give you the "normal" rendition. I forgot
if your Aerostar is normal or long length.

Ford recommends against putting oversized tires/wheels on the Aerostar,
and I'm not surprised that the Gov't won't let you put 15" wheels on it.
I confess that I'm partial to 15s myself, but wouldn't try the switch
here where it isn't against the law without assurance that there would
be no problem. BTW: I did see an Aerostar with 15" wheels/tires last
year in a parking lot, so I assume that it can be done (would anybody
here reply if they have used 15s on an Aerostar).

? I don't
>ant to know what I'll do should I need to replace a tire in Italy, Spain >or the former East Block.....

This would concern me, too.

Tom again --------------------------------------------
I bought them at a shop in Munich that specializes
in US-car tires. I've been their customer for many years and usually, I
bought "General" tires from them and I was quite satisfied. But even
had a hard time with this weird size. The only tires they could come up
were the Cooper snow tires (P-tires). They have a very nice ride plus
they're very good in snow.

Me --------------------------------------------------

Here's my idea for you:
You might have better luck convincing the Gov't to let you go down to
the Aerostar's "True Believer" size of 215/70-14. After all, if I
understand right, the long Aerostar is identical to the normal length
except for a longer body and more room for the spare tire to mount
sanely. Same suspension, etc. And I'd say that at least half of the
extended Aerostars ride on the 70s right from the factory. You could
print out a list off an internet tire shop of all the 70s listed for the
Aerostars, get some people to send you pictures of their Aerostar door
plates, etc. Perhaps this would convince the authorities. Maybe an old
Consumer Reports test report would list the tire size. Etc.

Mind you, the 215/70-14 is still a somewhat unusual tire size, being
kinda big on a 14" rim, but note that Michelin alone offers four
different models in their standard brand alone, plus at least one in the
"club tire," and another in BF Goodrich (I couldn't get any info about
this one). The size is also offered in other brands, including the
Japanese companies, and it has been used on a few other vehicles, but I
don't know which ones. Even my local Costco has three different house
models in this size. However, Pirelli doesn't make anything close for
passenger cars.

The tires that the previous owner put on my '92 normal-length Aerostar
are 225/60-14. As I mentioned before, the handling is fairly decent,
with a little "trucklike" wandering, but the ride is backbreaking. What
was your logic for wanting the 205/60-15? Does this tire have the same
radius as your present tires, but on a 15" rim?

I know that our Manic Mechanic is down on Michelins because they are
very hard to mount. As a consumer, I've liked them in genersl. You
might want to check into the X-One that I've been impressed with. And I
think that you could choose from a range of other offerings, even in
Europe. From talking with Michelin a few times and reviewing
descriptions and specs, I got the sense that the X-One would handle
better than the stock tires due to more horizontal rigidity, a wider
belt, and the new rubber compound. And offer better ride cushioning due
to less vertical stiffness. I may be wrong, but that was my impression
after the study I did.

What do you think?

I've been meaning to ask you how you happened to buy an Aerostar in the
first place. And how you make out regarding repairs in Germany. And how
do your Coopers handle?


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