Post new topic   Reply to topic    Bushtracker Forum Forum Index -> Tips on SAFETY WHEN TOWING
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 5051
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:00 pm    Post subject: PERILS AND POSITIVES OF MUD TERRAINS Reply with quote

In my Archives I have a large collection of safety issues that people in general need to be aware of. It has become apparent that I take for granted some of the experience that I have, and it might be a good idea to pass more of it on.. This is a typical situation, sent in to me, name concealed to protect privacy, but a lesson to be learned..

"We have had a Surburban for about 3 years (bought it in preparation for towing the BT) but it has not had much of a work out with my working overseas. Last Feb, while towing a reasonably loaded single axle (but unbraked) trailer, I approached a round-about on a slight downhill grade on a wet road. While traveling at less than 60 kph, under brakes the trailer pushed me significantly past the point of where I had expected to stop. The same happened later in the year but this time without any trailer in tow.
The tyres still have about 10% tread left. With the same loaded trailer but on a dry road, I was unable to duplicate the braking problem.

I am obviously hoping that a set of new, probably on-road pattern tread tyres will make a difference. However, if the Surburban ABS braking under load on a wet road is going to be questionable, then we will need to sell the Burb and get something else (if only that larger Toyota ended up coming to Oz!!).

Any information / opinion you can give will be greatly appreciated.

If it is determined that simply new rubber is going to make the difference, I am probably going to shod the rims with Coopers.

Thanks in anticipation of a response and for any help you can give." End quote..

Hello xxxxxxxxx,

I know these vehicles, and Tracy's experience with the Suburban for about four years towing to the Shows in all weather conditions. In a nutshell, your problem is probably not Suburban in nature. Your problem is physical but not Suburban related, most likely is one of two things:

1) Without seeing the vehicle it is hard to pinpoint the problem, but it could be brake fade in the wet due to excessive wear on the Suburban brakes which are not all that brilliant anyway (same problem with Landcruiser, I am not picking on any vehicle), or the type of brake pads. This is common.. But the probability is fairly low compared to the next issue:
2) Three important things: Tyres, tyres, and tyres. I am running Mud Terrains, and they do not grip as well in the wet as do All Terrains. I however like the performance in the dirt and mud, so I just slow down a bit in wet conditions. I suspect the highest likelihood. If I had to bet, it is that your tyres are just old and the rubber has gone a bit hard. They harden up and after a few years this is a common issue.

I suspect you have a mechanical problem with one of these two conditions, and would say about a 30% probability of #1 and a 70% probability of #2. Maybe a little more than that hedged in favor of #2. But I would BET that this has NOTHING to do with Suburban, and is either maintenance of brakes or tyres, and if you have well worn and old off-road tyres, they just do not grip as well on wet greasy roads. When it is dry my BFGoodrich Mud Terrains are great on the road. When it is wet and greasy, I even have to take off from the lights a bit easy or I just sit there spinning tyres. You have to adjust your driving habits accordingly if you want to run off-road traction tyres on wet bitumen and remember to leave a longer distance and such. However, I will always be willing to do that for the extreme performance on muddy tracks where All Terrains would just gum up and go hopeless.

My Son, driving my F-250, in panic mode taking off from the lights "Dad something is wrong!!! We are not going!!!!" I say: "Let off the accelerator a little!!!" Oh, COOOOL!! He says... He had been using the torque to spin the tyres.. Anyways, that is the effect, and the same condition when braking, the aggressive pattern is slick in the wet so you have to modify your driving a little. OK?

You can also have the same effect and if you were pushing way too hard with silly driving, and break it loose on a curve. But you would have to be driving irresponsibly, stupidly, and I would just say slow down a bit when in the wet and do not push it. I myself like the Muddies, as that is what the 4x4 is Four by far, and am willing to change my driving a little with the weather.


Most of you, just want a high grade touring van that can occasionally get off the road, and travel along well on corrugated dirt tracks that would destroy a normal van, and last and hold its value. But a smaller group of you Boggers talk about desires for expeditions to extreme locations that require advanced gear on the tow vehicles. And I think many of you will go on to do some advanced exploration with your 4x4's. I am amazed at some 4 x 4's that are bristling with toys and gizmos and electronics, back up cameras, and radios, and CD changers, and stereos, and Ipods, and all kind nice toys. But without what I would consider to be some of the basic gear that is necessary. With all due respect, it is for those that I am spending my time to write some of the extreme 4x4 tips for..

People have GPS, automated map directories, rear back up cameras, fancy driving lights, fancy boxes and trays, tonne of toys on board; and they are running on near street tread tyres !! Now for those of you that just wanted the best Touring van, and are not going to get too carried away in true off-road exploration down riverbeds and cattle tracks on remote Stations: You are in the Majority, and the mainstream of Bushtracker van Owners that just want the best Touring Van in Australia with occasional off-road work, and the top resale.. That is fine, nothing wrong with that; it is no less of an ambition.

EXCEPTION: If you have the interests of that smaller group of fossickers, intrepid adventurers, fishermen, explorers, and the like; you need to have a look at your tyres. It is not just the aggressiveness of the tread to get more initial bite that I am going to tell you about, but it relates to a HIDDEN DANGER. If you get a bit of spin up as you travel along, the more aggressive the tread, the more the spin throws out the heavy weighted clumps of mud between the lugs and allows the tire to keep on with the better traction. Centrifugal force is the engineering word, as the large clumps of mud have enough mass (weight) to be thrown clear on each rotation.. The smaller gaps of street tyres or even All Terrains just will not clear their own tread because the little clumps do not have enough mass to be flung clear at low speeds.. If you are going on an expedition way out back, I have two words- Mud Terrains.. The value of Mud Terrain tyres, is that the real 4x4 work comes into play when it has rained for six hours on back tracks, when the street tyres gum up to become greased drag slicks! Ha! Yes, the Mud Terrain tyres howl a tiny bit on the highway, but after a while most would not hear it. I would not think of going up the Cape, or the Gulf through Hellsgate to Roper River or up the west side of the Cape, or along other NT or Qld rivers, or gem or fossicking fields, or many places Outback without a set of Mud Terrains on.

NOTE THAT I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT CUTTING UP ROADS, I AM TALKING ABOUT REAL OFF ROAD WORK, CATTLE TRACKS AND THE LIKE, Private Station work, exploring or fossicking, real off road. There are times when you are off the road a bit, and if it rains all night the ONLY way you are going to get out is with Mud Terrains.. I keep them on my old Sahara full time, and on my 100 Series full time, my F-250 full time, and even have a spare set for my Mack 4x4 horse truck in case I go on expedition. I have been caught near the beginning of the rainy season and had four rooster tails throwing mud all over, just to get out of a remote spot before I got rained in for who knows how long. If you get caught off the road 100's of kms like I have, with unseasonable weather just before the big wet season, you either get out NOW, or YOU MIGHT NOT GET OUT AT ALL.. In the beginning of the wet season, you could be in for a very long stay waiting for it to dry out. Ha! I have had the weather set in, and debated half the night to realize that I if I did not get out at dawn, I might not get out at all for an extended period.. The Mud Terrains will allow that muddy but graceful exit.. And for those water crossings and occasional big BOGS, there is nothing better. A bit messy, but at least you do get out.

NOW THE DANGER IS BACK ON THE BITUMEN AROUND TOWN. In that on the road in the wet, zooming around on wet bitumen or unloaded, and the Muddies just do not grip quite as well so you need to slow down and take that into consideration. Braking as well is no doubt affected. On the note up rubber, these tyres do get harder for the first two or three years, the rubber compound actually does get harder. Tyres with a bit of age on them ARE far more hard and do not grip as well, especially on wet bitumen. Also for some noise is a factor, mind you not for me, what little bit of hum there is I can live with.. The truth is I do not even think it is a factor and do not notice it at all.. Turn the stereo up a bit. I am eyeing the Cooper STT with new heavy sidewall layer and ribs down the sidewall like Baja Claw tyres. As soon as I can wear out my BFG Muddies they are in the cards.

Muddies ARE better off-road. Just be careful as they come with a hidden danger for the unwary on wet bitumen. OK?

Regards, Ranger,
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Bushtracker Forum Forum Index -> Tips on SAFETY WHEN TOWING All times are GMT + 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum