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Old 05-03-2018, 10:31 PM   #1
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Q for Roger about airing down

What do you think about the practice of airing down tires for traction on trails and beach? A large group of us go to a place in Mexico where the roads are washboard dirt and the beaches are deep with soft sand and sand dunes. Some of us air down to soften the ride on the wash boards and to keep afloat on the sand.
This last trip I aired my new Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires on my unloaded (except camper shell and camping gear) F-350 down from 60 PSI to 30 PSI and drove about 15 miles at speeds below 15 MPH. At 30 PSI you could just see a very slight bulge at the base of the tire. I dared not go any lower. I did leave them at the 30 PSI for 4 days, mostly parked in the sand.

I see a lot of 4 wheelers go much, much lower than that. After researching all of this tire info I am wondering about the effects of tire life after running lower pressures at low speeds. I am guessing it would weaken the belt structure in the side wall from the flexing.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:55 AM   #2
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Q for Roger about airing down

After getting stuck in a sand road in South Australia with a Nissan XTrail I learned the value of airing down under 15psi. The tires looked damn near flat but I was able to get out and stay unstuck. Made for a long sloooooow drive back to a servo to air back up
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:32 AM   #3
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Standard practice for 4 wheelers. With our Jeep I would air down to about 15 psi, this a happy medium for providing a softer ride and better traction without having to spend too much time airing back up with the limited output onboard Vair system when getting back on the pavement. Many people go much lower but you start to run the risk of the bead coming off the rim if not bead lock wheels.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:39 AM   #4
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Thanks but having been around the off road community all of my life I am well aware of all of this, the question was about doing long term damage to the tires which is why I was hoping for a reply from Roger, or CapriRacer. I think any of us who air down would benefit from this knowledge.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:45 PM   #5
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I guess this statement I found in Roger's blog under "Damage" pretty much sums up his advice on the matter...

"NEVER drive on a tire that has lost 20% or more of its air. Structural damage will be done. Such damage is cumulative and this damage does not repair itself."
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:45 PM   #6
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Just found the post. A PM would have caught my attentonearlier.

There are tables on how much you can increase the load by reducing the speed for some special tires (crain service etc.)

No data but my feel is that Jeeps and the like are probably running light loads on big tires to start with. Also they expect shorter life due to rough service.

Yes I know some folks think it is OK to lower pressure and speed for use on sand. I can't find any official info just stuff on jeep forums.

15 mph on rough roads is good but I'm not comfortable with suggesting any inflation lower than the lowest inflation shown in the load inflation tables for any condition.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:01 PM   #7
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Thanks, like you I discovered information is very scarce on this subject. I see what you are saying, one would need all the tire specs and to know the variables regarding speed, load and pressure. I did find this interesting pdf from Cooper of Australia. (starts on the 3rd page "TYRE PRESSURE GUIDE FOR
DIFFERENT TERRAIN" )
https://www.coopertires.com.au/media...-pressures.pdf
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