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MasterTech last won the day on November 12 2020

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About MasterTech

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  1. Hey there folks... For those of us with 2014+ Connects (mine 2020, so newbie here), you are probably faced with so-called "tire pros" telling you, "your Transit Connect takes a special tire"... Just for the record, I've owned nine automotive service companies and shops; managed several more, and that includes racing and off-road performance shops that SOLD TIRES. I had to engineer tire solutions for passenger vehicles, Baja 500/1000 pre-runners, Super Stock, Pro-Stock, Slalom, and the list goes on and on since 1980. So, myself... I get a little bent out of shape when these kids try and "tell me" what I NEED to be putting on my vehicle after I walk in with a hand full of printouts from two straight weeks of research. Anyway... YES, you can fit up to 215-65R-16 tires on the vehicle with no changes whatsoever, except your mileage and speedo (if not re-programmed) will be affected. A new friend and fellow member here has 215-65R-16 General Grabber AT2's on his rig and loves them. I am in a place where I can't get them without a two-plus-month wait. As such, I had to go on a quest for what was available on the island of Puerto Rico. I am on a smaller island called Vieques. After two days of "no joy" on any tire of 215-65R-16 with an "aggressive" tread, I was blessed to find a perfect jewel of a tire in size 215-60R-16. For those who do not know tires, the 215-55R-16 that comes on your Connect is 25.32 inches tall. My new 215-60R-16 are 26.34 inches tall, and about three-eighths of an inch thinner across. I won't bog you down with Tire Ratios (55R-60R-65R) as there are basically only three of these you can use in 215 "rubber length" to play with. You can go 205 but you are down-sizing if you do that and I don't recommend that unless you are doing it for some kind of special "look". Anyway, the 215-65R-16 are 27 inches tall, and yet another 1/4 - 3/8 inch thinner. Width difference is not really noticeable unless you put the tire up against one another, but you ARE sacrificing a little rubber on the road if you opt for more ground clearance. At first I was going for the ground clearance as I have a ton of dirt drives and roads here to deal with. But my bigger issue was loss of traction, and I have been sliding down PAVED roads (hills) when we get heavy rains that send mud onto the surface. The Continental tires that came with the van absolutely would not hold on a vertical climb in such conditions, and my last slide managed to get partially sideways. Anyway, two days of physical searching forced a compromise with the discovery of ONE set of tires that would actually fit the van that had "aggressive enough" (for my purposes) tread. The BF Goodrich Advantage T/A Sport radial. The tire was designed for sport and racing. Rally type racing, on dirt roads - many times WET dirt tracks. Before making the final purchase, I sat in the back of the store and ran searches on the tire. Read ratings and reviews. At this point I have to say I agree with the rating and reviews I read on the tires. Bought them, brought them back, and after mounting, ran all over for my own series of tests. Reviews spot-on. Not having the other tires to play with in the comparison testing I read, all I can say about that is, "I believe they are accurate". I now own a mountain goat, where I once had a billy goat. At least as much as one can say for a rear-loaded front wheel drive van trying to climb a muddy-wet steep street, where it used to actually slide backwards! The tires make some noise, but nothing like the Grabber would do. They ARE firm, as the review says, so I went from "cushy car" to about what it feels like to drive my friend's Toyota Tundra, miniaturized. Feels like a truck now, where it felt like "driving a Fusion" before. The firmness changes the dynamics of handling in corners a bit, so there was about an hour re-training myself not to "push it" around the longer higher-speed turns (we have just two of those good for about 45 MPH). I'm sure unloaded, I could push it again, but the extra firmness of these sidewalls will shift the load before the tires "absorb" the weight shift. In the end, to heck with that particular compromise, I have to say over-all "I love these tires". So, keep in mind, IF you are fortunate enough to find tires in 215-55R-16, you keep the same low road clearance, have no adjusting to do on programming and doubtful much if any change in mileage. You also have more tread width on the road. But beware, sidewall design "can" change handling. With 215-60R-16 you have a tad less rubber contact to the road, a squinch more under-body road clearance, a tad less mileage loss, and maybe so little speed difference you may consider not re-programming (provided you are not in a "no tolerance" state like a lot of Texas is). With 215-65R-16 tires you get the max STOCK suspension road clearance possible, no rubbing on anything, and a tad less rubber on the road than my 60R tires. Mileage will definitely be affected if you have a rack on top due to added drag of height and more vortex passing under the vehicle. Be safe out there! BTW, the goofy red stripe on my hubcaps are reflective. Here we have many roads with no lighting, so it gets really dark. We also have blind drives and intersections out in nowhere land, and drunks. So if you want a little added visibility for the "other guy", this was just a simple motorcycle striping kit I bought off of Amazon for $9...
  2. MasterTech

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    I "had" been doing the same thing with my Astro, as I am the ONLY Master Tech here. Fortunate for these folks I have seven Master certs in different areas, so that van had to cover them all. This one just won't quite make it room wise, so the wife has let me re-populate the spare room with tools and equipment (she's Puerto Rican, so was against that before - LOL). Max speed on the island is 45 in only a couple of places, so the rack is only affecting my 20.2 MPG average down to 20.0 since putting it together. That whole thing, like you said, cost me less than $60. I now have BF Goodrich Advantage T/A Sport radials, 215-60R-16. Every tire on the main island of 215-65R-16 did not have aggressive "enough" tread. These are not mud and snow like yours (for some reason they say AT2 is not for "severe snow" - and read where someone hated them for that), but are good enough for where I'd have clearance to go. They are Rally racing tires. Mine are 95V, but I've seen they come in 98T. Preferred the 95 in hopes they'd "squish" a little and give me better traction on odd surfaces, but at 35 PSI they're still tall and hard. "Firm", as one of the reviews put it. Now I realize, even at 98H, the Conti's were "cushy". Went from a CAR to a TRUCK - LOL... My hill climb problem solved, they now go up with ease, where I slid down "with ease" (LOL). Tried them in really driving rain there, as we have a tropical storm on one side and a new one forming on the other side of us, so here is the same as any tropical storm, but lasting much longer. LOVE these tires. Not as noisy as yours would be, so a tiny benefit. The slight shift in height has my front bumper no longer scraping the street backing into my driveway, which I can't believe it took such a small change to correct. Have yet to re-program for size, but may not as average driving is 35 mph here, and I don't have to worry about Texas State Troopers! LOL... Ignore my red hub cap stripes... LOL... Very dark roads here at night; blind driveways and drunks. Those stripes are reflective, and from a motorcycle striping kit.
  3. MasterTech

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    Been slammed busy so had no time to get on here and see all the great info added... jrm223 I WANT YOUR TIRES! But, so far no joy here. Shortly I am making a run to the main island of Puerto Rico (I live on a small island called Vieques) to go on an over-night adventure (if needed) to find some. Seriously doubt there will be any, but have to look. Being "over seas", we don't get vendors who want to ship things like racks and tires down here! But I NEED tires better than these jokes of Conti's on there now! These things are a serious safety threat for me. Twice now I have slid down what are normal residential hills (paved streets) simply due to the fact there was a puddle with "brown water" in it. Not a mud bog, just dirty water! The last time almost cost me the van! I went through the puddle and started up the hill. Tried to be a little more agressive than a previous attempt (I admit I was trying to "tractor" it up slowly that time). The slight running start did let me get about 30% higher, but then this time when the wheels started to spin, the van went backwards before I had a chance to back off the throttle. I lightly applied brakes to stop but it kept going. More brake pressure and no change. Full brake pressure and no change. This time it was all four wheels not holding, and I was able to get the car behind me to back down in a hurry before we hit and bounced me over the side! The time before, I just could not climb at all after about 50 feet up the incline, so I wasn;t sliding all the way down the hill! The hill is moderately steep. Nothing a regular car can't go up with regular tires. My Suzuki (non-4x4) goes up it all of the time! ANd I have been on much steeper in San Francisco. The tires... with front wheel drive, a "cargo load" in the rear, a hill, and water, and you're in danger! WHAT THE HECK WAS FORD THINKING HERE???? I am used to the concept of "take offs" when you buy a new vehicle, but in this case YOU CAN'T TAKE THEM OFF! There is no other choice for the "recommended" size tire than what comes on the van, thus we're all going after these 215-65r-16 tires. This was clearly "a deal" between Ford and Conti! A joke for us. Wish me luck on the tires... At least I know buying the Promaster City would have been the same issue... same sized tire, front wheel drive, and "choked" fender wells. So, at least I can still be happy with the rest of my little van, and not wish I had bought the Fiat. I finally did put up a rack on top, but had to fabricate my own kit. I live on a small island apart from Puerto Rico, so NONE of the vendors anywhere would ship a rack kit down here. I tried every source I could find over about a week searching. Finally gave up. MY new rack is a simple construction but worked out to be a lot tougher than I was going for. When I carry solar panels, to avoid damage (they like to slide around a lot if stacked), I carry them on the edges, which means they go inside. My Astro is now designated for panel transport and is otherwise empty at this point, when I need to do a warehouse run. It has been modified to one-ton, and can fit 30 panels inside. When I get the panels on this island (from PR) the Transit moves no more than 6 at a time, so I don't need to unload most of my tool boxes, plus the space with the passenger seat folded forward is about all I have to play with at a floor length of about 74 inches. 60 cell panels fit completely inside. 72 cell panels stick out the right door; left door closes fine. I have two vertical columns inside that the panels strap to in order to keep them secured upright. Being here, I travel no more than four miles in any direction, so it does not matter about multiple trips at six at a time. My rack is just two cross bars for my Gorilla ladder. It is one of those convertible A-frame types that unfold and become an extension ladder. Six foot a-frame can become a 26 foot tall single span. The rack is two 5 foot pieces of stainless unistrut (used for electrical conduit) we took from a dump site after tearing down power conduit on a cell tower that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Never thought they'd end up in this kind of use. To go along with the trim of the van, I went ahead and painted all but the very tops (where ladder meets their metal) with black paint. As the van in pre-drilled, this made it easy to just stack three pieces of 1" square aluminum tube I had laying around on top of one another to make the corner supports for the rails. There is a single Grade 8 bolt going through the stack, and tightened pretty good. I layered the stack in a pyramid configuration to keep the whole thing from trying to lean forward or back. The compression of the bolt and slight angle the stack sits has made and side to side movement a non-issue. I think at this point I'd do serious damage to the roof pan before anything will be loose or move on the rack. The ladder weighs all of 50 pounds, so I'm nicely over built for what I need. The only other thing that goes up there are the solar panel mounting rails, and they are just aluminum.
  4. MasterTech

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    Working on your own is definitely nice, but hard to find a niche. I was lucky when I landed here I was the only one with my skill set, so they wouldn't let me leave! Been that way for 8 years now, so I finally decided I'm here for the duration, and time to upgrade. But wasn't expecting to have to rush it. Choice turned out like winning the lottery. I like going to work just so I can enjoy the van! LOL... I definitely "prefer" the air conditioned office, but being out and about keeps me healthy and fit, and opposed to fat and unhealthy, so I just think of it as "workout". As an Engineer, I don't get much call for that beyond designing solar systems client by client now. An occasional call from installers on the main island is a few bucks here and there. Just lucked out with my little corner of the world needing exactly what I can do. In the past it was a mix. Came on here tonight to search for anyone who's lifted one of these at least a little. Was NOT happy today when I lost some paint from the bottom of the door because it hit the sidewalk opening it. Haven't heard that sound since I gave my Fiat 124 Sport to my son! I said to myself today, "No way... This thing REALLY this low?" May have to get something else for those (rare) jobs on the top of the hill. Afraid to even try going there at this point. Had some time at Ford, so hoping I can find something to put in and get my connections to sign off on it without hurting the warranty. Thanks to you all for the input and the welcome!
  5. Hello all... Another newbie to the forum and the van. Bought a 2020 new, after finding used 2019's here had 85k miles on them. 2017's with 180k miles! Wow. So, new with all of 40. I am a Master Tech, who is mobile. Was semi-retired, having come to the island I'm on sailing to Trinidad. Stopped here in 2012 and fell in love with "paradise", and never moved on. I am on the very small (12 long by x 4 miles wide) island of Vieques, which is part of the Spanish Virgin Islands, and technically a "city" of Puerto Rico. Prior to coming down, I had just finished running and flying commercial helicopters on a bunch of government contracts, and on the side was an engineering consultant. Of course, once a tech, always a tech, because friends and family (minimum) will need you for this or that. And, during my "staging" for my yachting expedition, I served in the field and online as "The Boat Doctor". I have even had stints working with and for NASA technologies. I bought the TC in a hurry, as my poor old 2003 Chevy Astro (cargo) van leaks too much for me to keep up with, and it started to trash tools. NOT something I can allow. That thing has 73,000 original miles, but has still be re-done rear axle to front bumper. A week before the scramble to get the TC, is had all new suspension put in it, even though the old stuff wasn't that bad yet. It has been modified to a full one-ton cargo. The only problem is the body. 2003 vintage "island vehicle". Cancer EVERYWHERE. If it were not for frame members, I'd have fallen through the floor already! The roof has an array of "solar windows" thanks to acrylic patches over the holes up there! Can't keep them from leaking any more. So, it has now been re-designated as a "solar panel cargo transport" and will be re-assigned to a position on the main island of Puerto Rico, where I will no longer have to ferry it back and forth on a cargo ferry to get materials. So, I had to make choices really fast, after spending a day salvaging tools I found in a drowned tool box in the old van. Jumped online and started reading! Watching YouTube videos and such. For a time, the winner of the search was a Dodge ProMaster City. I decided to go with a compact van, mainly due to pricing down here and being able to do all but move solar panels from something the size of a Suzuki Grand Vitara (the little backup vehicle). The PMC has more interior bed length than the TC SWB. The TC LWB has a premium addon price down here, and there were actually NONE on the main island in a cargo package when I started making the dozens of calls looking for what and where. Then I ran across some disturbing info on the Dodge I had missed from the start. IT'S A FIAT! Made in Turkey. "No thank you." Means all parts and such are going to be "import" two times over here. AND, no way I trust any of the tranny techs in PR to know how to deal with that transmission. Not enough experience in my book. I don't care if Dodge is standing behind it. I WAS a dealer tech for a time and know those guys are nothing different than any other tech floating around, just better resources WHILE you are in the dealership, for the brand you are working for. Does not change what you know. We're all educated outside of that environment, and then get supplemental (usually self-taught) information, while you work there. Stay there long enough and you may actually be an "expert" one day. So, looked at the Nissan 200 stuff. What a wimpy little van that is. And I'm sorry... "butt ugly" too. Because of the rush, I ended up with a stock LX Cargo with 2.0 and the only addon was a very nice black plastic factory safety partition, I had to remove to get more tool room (suck out into side door space). Since the bulk of the population on this island lives in a six mile by four mile rectangular zone, a 2.0 motor is fine. And I was very nicely surprised when I found out, fully loaded, it still gets up and goes better than my empty 2.4 liter motor in my Vitara. Gas mileage is to die for. Since buying the van, and all the miles chocked up, only filled it twice(full now), and added "some" gas once. It is now October 4th, and I bought it August 29th! One and a half tanks so far! The only flaw in this thing is ground clearance. And the nice (for city) tires that are too small. Thus the search that brought me to this forum to see who had put on bigger tires with no clearance problems, to confirm what my match said should be possible. Found the EXACT tires I want to install, on the same Gen 2 van with no problems. Tires next... BTW, they are Genral Grabber AT 2's @ 215/65R 16 for those who don't want to search. I need them for the same reason the poster did. Mud. Lots of mud around here. LOL... Most of the island is real tropical jungle. Anyway, love the little TC. Ended up being like a Christmas present to myself once I started driving it. Love the cargo doors on all sides like you can't believe! The electronics are cool, the air conditioning is downright freezing, and the phone app is just icing on the cake. Here it gets in the 90's by 8:00 AM, so scheduling a start to have the van cool before I even get out the door is something my wife seriously envy's at this point! LOL...
  6. Brand new to forum. Just bought 2020 TC, and was looking to see if anyone was installing 215/65R16 on theirs, which is how I found the forum in a Google Search.


    My Conti's suck for a third of the places I need to get this thing. Found someone using the General Grabber AT 2's I'm drooling over. "SCORE!!!" LOL... My technical inspections and math worked out OK that they would fit, but always nice to have real-world confirmation before you go messing something up!


    He said he'd actually gotten stuck in his own yard with the Conti's. "I feel for ya." There is a specific hill that is flooded here a quarter of the time, at the very bottom. Steep angle and a turn from the main drag so can't get a running start. One quarter of my clients live up that hill! Currently I have to really baby the TC as she'll start to spin and slide right off the side of the road, due to the muddy crap at the bottom. 


    My old Astro had the same problem spinning the rear tires and fish-tailing until I put AT's back there and it stopped. It's not just water, it's mud, so more like "grease". AT's on the older van work fine, so hoping the Grabbers do the trick. And until I put them on, my clients on dirt roads are totally out of luck until the tire change, if it had been raining recently! LOL.