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MasterTech

Great Jewel of a Replacement Tire

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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...

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Good report . I  have run these Sumitomo Tire HTR A/S P02 All- Season Radial Tire-215/60R16 99V for 80,000 + miles (2 sets) . Plenty of Dirt roads where I am. The Transmission shifts are unaffected and the Speedometer error is unimportant.  

Edited by G B L

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