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Old 04-17-2017, 01:33 PM   #1
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Tire ply --6, 8, or 10 ply Help

I recently purchased (3 weeks ago) a 2017 GMC Z71 Sierra 1500 4WD w 5.3 engine, trailer package, 8 speed trans. A bit of xtra weight with Sunroof, auto closing bed cover, running boards. Gas power.
I also purchased 2 weeks ago a 2016 Airstream 28 International Signature.
After reading the posts regarding tires my head hurts. Does it really have to be so complicated? I am a newbie....so
My truck has Goodyear tiers P275/55R20. The tires have 2000 miles on them. I have been told these tires are either 4 or 6ply AND I should have 8 or 10 ply tires for safety etc.
So could you knowledgeable travelers suggest the type of tire I need to replace my current with? Brand, specific detail for size, ply, etc.
What are the pro and con of the change? safety, ride comfort, gas mileage, etc. Please keep it simple,,,and thanks. The AS forum is a great place!!
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:46 PM   #2
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I am 90% positive those are the same Goodyear Wrangler SR-As that come stock on most 1/2 pickups. They aren't good for towing at all and only have 4 ply. At least that is what my Ram had, 4 ply, in P275/60R20. You need a LT tire. Depending on your trailer and weight, you want either D load range (8 ply) or E (10 ply). The LT will hold up to the stresses of towing much better, and ultimately what you select should be based on your axle weights when hitched to your trailer.

I have this same problem and just bought BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2s in LT275/60R20. They are D load range tires, so 8 ply, and at full 65 psi their load rating is 3000 pounds, vs the 2600 pounds of the Goodyears I replaced.

That may not sound like much, but the 8 ply tire is much better in overall towing performance. It holds up to the stresses better. The sideway is also stiffer, I think these have 3 ply sidewalls, which also holds up better.

Truck manufacturers really should never put passenger tires on any full-size truck.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:59 PM   #3
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One option that might be a pain in the petoot, but be a better option would be to buy some 18" rims and mount a true LT towing tire. The 18" rim will allow you to mount a taller tire for comfort and yet keep the payload you need.

You could sell the 20's you have now, or keep them for day to day driving and only mount the 18's when you were towing. IMHO the 18" rims and LT tires are a better towing choice; cheaper by a large margin too.

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Old 04-17-2017, 05:06 PM   #4
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What is the load rating on the side of the tire? FWIW, when using p metric tires on a pickup, you are supposed to reduce that rating by 9%.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:45 PM   #5
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Those 20" with hard sidewalls your thinking about will make your teeth rattle. Like others have said a 18" is a better choice and will give you better tire options for towing and a much better ride.

Just curious...what rear drive ratio did you get with the tow package? Looks like they only offer a 3.23 or 3.42
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cabinetmaker View Post
Those 20" with hard sidewalls your thinking about will make your teeth rattle. Like others have said a 18" is a better choice and will give you better tire options for towing and a much better ride.

Considering I have had 20s on three different trucks in a row, two Titans and now a 2016 Ram, I don't agree with this at all. Sure 18s are cheaper, and you have more options, but the ride between that and 20s is not that different. It certainly won't make your teeth rattle.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:55 PM   #7
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Unfortunately it is complicated.

Your truck (tow vehicle) has passenger tires. That is what the "P" in front of the tire size indicated.

Ply rating isn't exactly a way to size tire load to the load. As asked above the load rating is a far better way to do that.

Also stated above the passenger car tire designation on a trailer needs to have the load rating de-rated to be able to handle the loads on a trailer.

So with that stated - weigh the tow vehicle (and add for passengers) when connected to the trailer and weigh the trailer loaded as in full towing mode or add weight for things not in the trailer when weighed. (Like liquids and gear) With that number multiply by 110% to 120% to get a safety margin.

Then match the tires to the load. You may have the load rating for the tires on the vehicle. Or have a tire professional make recommendations based on your scale weights. However in my opinion tire professionals don't always understand trailers. Especially travel trailers.

BTW - to make comparisons of your combination to some one else's combination and then make a tire choice from that, can leads to results that may be good and may be not. The question you have to ask is do you like may be?

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Old 04-17-2017, 06:09 PM   #8
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The tires that come with the new truck should exceed the axle load ratings of the truck, if they are not adequate then neither are your axles. It is important to use a quality, properly set up weight distribution hitch to ensure those truck axles are not overloaded. And then take the loaded truck to a CAT scale to verify axle weights when you get it set up.

The tire sidewall maximum pressure setting will give you the highest load carrying ability of the tire. Check the tire load rating written on the tire sidewall and compare it to the axle ratings (GAWR) of the truck written on a sticker on the drivers door.

We have had the factory P275/60R20 Goodyear Wranglers on our last two Ram 1500 pickups and they are excellent for towing our Airstream because of the stability provided by the low-profile sidewalls, very little sidewall flex from side-to-side helps steady sway inputs from the trailer. And they ride decently as well.

When the first set of Goodyears went out of round at about 40,000 miles we replaced them with higher quality Michelins of the same size.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:19 PM   #9
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We have Michelin Defender LTX LT 265/60 r 20, E, and find them smooth and stable on our 2016 Tundra after 22,000 miles. I wouldn't shy away from E rated tires.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:30 PM   #10
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We have Michelin Defender LTX LT 265/60 r 20, E, and find them smooth and stable on our 2016 Tundra after 22,000 miles. I wouldn't shy away from E rated tires.

Yep, these are good tires as well. I was really close to getting those, but the new KO2 has a really great look and still has good road manners.

I have also run a similar size 20" Nitto Crosstek on one of my Titans and it is an excellent tire as well. Great on dry pavement, rain, and even snow.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:33 PM   #11
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All good information so far. I have the 2013 version of your truck.

A word of caution to you, the tow package you mention is the limited version, don't confuse it with the max tow, that would change the suspension and eliminate the Z71. The caution is that the Z71 is for a softer suspension, for off road use, thus it will be more susceptible to induced sway, so you will want to go with stronger sidewall tires to compensate for it and the suspension will eat up the roughness.

Mine has the max tow, Z82 suspension, rides somewhat stiffer so I went with some Goodyear Eagle Sport V rated XL tires (over 2500 lbs each derated) (it's not really a winter truck) both our trucks have a GVWR of 7000 or 7600, so any of the recommendations you've been given are strong enough to carry the load, but the Defender "E" tires are probably your best bet.

But definitely get rid of the Goodyear's it comes with, they are complete crap for towing.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:43 PM   #12
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P is a speed rating - 93 mph. "L" actually has a lower speed rating
Check out rating information on tire rack or discount tires for better information

I do think that yourtruck load rating is based on the factory installed tires
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:37 PM   #13
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. . . But definitely get rid of the Goodyear's it comes with, they are complete crap for towing.
Randy, would you explain why they are crap, and have you ever towed with them?

As explained my my post above, they have worked very well for towing, two sets, two new Ram 1500's, extensive long-range cross-country towing. We have a preference for Michelin so that was the replacement tire when the originals became unserviceable, but we still used the same size and rating. The o.p. has a new truck with these new tires, why should he discard them?
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Old 04-17-2017, 10:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RamRider View Post
P is a speed rating - 93 mph. "L" actually has a lower speed rating
Check out rating information on tire rack or discount tires for better information

I do think that yourtruck load rating is based on the factory installed tires
I believe that P is for "passenger"....The speed rating letter follows the size numbers.
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