16 Inch Tires
|Apr 22, 2003
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I have never been satisfied with the 15 inch tires on my Wildcat. With a load rating of 2540 pounds they are often running close to their rated capacity if the road is crowned in the middle, there is a cross wind, the Wildcat is not being towed level, etc. I also had problems with two of the OEM tires with one of them exploding at freeway speeds.
I have replaced the 15 inch wheels with 16 inch wheels with a load rating of 3040 pounds. The tires are Michelin 245/75-R16 load range E, LTX M/S light truck tires with a load rating of 3042 pounds.
The Wildcat sits 1 to 1.5 inches higher. I still have a good 4 inches of space above the tires but remember that I also installed 1.5 inch metal blocks above the axles so the space on an unmodified 2002 Wildcat would be about 2.5 inches. There is 4 inches between the tires at their closest point. There is no problem with space on either side of the tire and the Wildcat frame.
I sold the Wildcat in 2011. I had logged 71,499 miles on it and the Michelins were still going strong. This is the best modification I made to the Wildcat. You can read a summary of our travels in various RVs by clicking here.
Some things to ponder if you decide to do the same.
They will cost you $40-45 each. They are not hard to find. Any utility or horse trailer place should be able to get them. They are fairly standard but there are some numbers you need to confirm. My old rims were 6 inches wide, 6 lugs, 5.5 inch hole pattern and 15 inch with 0 inch offset.
The new ones are 6 inches wide, 6 lugs, 5.5 inch hole pattern and 16 inch with 0 inch offset. The key is all the numbers must be the same except for 16 inch. You also want to make sure the load rating is at least 3040 pounds and the center hole is the same size. I simply took my spare tire to the trailer sales place and told them I wanted the same thing except in a 16 inch size.
The two key things to watch are the load rating and rim width requirement. I wanted to use the same tires as my truck which has 265/75-R16 Michelins. However when I checked the tire specifications charts on their web site, that tire requires a minimum 7 inch wide rim. 225/75-R16 tires would work on 6 inch wide rims but their load rating was 2680 pounds. I wanted more load rating than that. The 245/75-R16 tires were mixed. Some models required a 6.5 rim or greater but there were a couple that would fit a 6 inch rim and the 245 gives me the load rating I wanted.
Tires on trailer wheels must be balanced by using the stud bolt holes, not the large center hole. The center hole does not support any weight and is not necessarily in the exact center. You will have to double check this. Car and truck tires are balanced using the center hole. The tire dealership had to rebalance mine because they used the center hole. Discount Tire had the best prices I could find.
Some good links
Dexter Axle Click Product Infocenter then Product Applications Manual for good info on rims
You may be interested in the next article, Two Propane Leaks.
The previous article is Outside Shower.
© Bobby Daniel