Tire Review: Interco TSL SX 32x11.5x16 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 16th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Tire Review: Interco TSL SX 32x11.5x16

Besides fuel, tires are the most expensive consumable on a truck.

In 2012 dollars: A set of 5 new mud terrains will typically cost around $190+ a tire. Dedicated fancy shmancy offroad tires are anywhere from $300+ to something like $500+ a tire, depending on size. They will last around 15 to 20k miles, mostly due to hard use and soft rubber. On a truck that is driven 3000-4000 miles a year (at most), that's around 5 years of use. So at least $1000+ of money will have to be spent (perhaps $1500+) and, unless you are keen on selling second hand tires, you will be stuck with your decision for almost half a decade.

I didn't want to go too large. Somewhere around 32-33" in diameter.

I decided to spend the extra money and get 5 Interco Super Swamper TSL SX 32x11.5x16" tires. This is an initial review of the tires. As I use them I intend to update this thread with more information.

What are you paying for?:
Absurdly thick sidewall, bias ply stiffness, steel belts + 6/4 nylon cross-ply tread/sidewall. Classic TSL lugs, plus fat sidewall lugs.

Price:
Not cheap for a 32 inch tire. Pretty much $300+ a tire after all is said and done.

Weight:
Basically 54 lbs a tire.

True diameter:
Pretty close to the advertised 32" at 30psi. Decreases with lower inflation pressure.

Wheel:
I mounted these on the stock Defender 90 "Freestyle" alloy wheels.

Mounting/balancing:
Can be done by your local tire shop. It took my tire shop 1 hour of time to mount and balance all five, meaning that it bumped me up to actual time-labor instead of the usual cheap mount/balance fees. In the words of my tire guy, "These took a lot of weights to balance" - see picture. This is just the outside of the wheel. On some tires, the same amount of weight is also on the inside. There is supposedly a better way to balance these tires, but once you start paying labor rates for tire balancing, it's best to do it the quick way. I'd like to try Airsoft BB's or Dynabeads at some point.

Proper highway inflation pressure (for a roughly stock UK Defender 90 - note this will differ if your truck is heavier):

30psi - less road noise, rides obviously on the center ridge. Rough ride, lots of wandering. Don't run more than this pressure on this tire. The tire is so hard and stiff at 30psi that it will tramline in frightening ways. Your truck will steer itself at the slightest cambers in the road.
26psi - more road noise than @30psi, wears more evenly. Rough ride, less wandering, much less of the frightening stuff you get at 30psi.
22psi - more road noise than @26psi, wears evenly across the lugs. Pretty much a normal ride, less wandering. No more scary behavior on the road. This is where I am running it right now.

Dry grip:
Feels to me like cheater slicks on a drag car. Hard braking can be a little surprising due to the extreme traction.

Wet grip:
Don't know yet.

Handling behavior:
The tires will squirm on turns as the bias plies fight the tendency of the tire to deform due to lateral forces. You can feel this squirming through the steering wheel. Center feels vague due to tread width. The tires will wander slightly at highway speeds due to this vagueness.

Can you drive on it at 0psi:
NO. At 0 psi it looks like...well...a flat tire. You'd probably feel really stupid destroying a $300 tire by trying to impress your buddies with a game of air pressure limbo (How low can you go?) I'm guessing a low of 15psi on the trail despite a tendency to equate low tire pressure with manliness.

Road noise:

Will it make your ears bleed? No. At 22 psi, it is a combination of a low pitch hum and a slightly higher pitch hum. It's very similar to the sound normal street tires make driving on freshly surfaced concrete bridges. In a 200tdi truck, you won't notice it much next to the diesel clatter. I have been told that they will get louder, so I'll update if it does.

Does it rub at full lock:

Yes, it will rub on the radius arms, due to the fat lugs and large section width.

Does it flat spot:
I'd say no. If it does, it's unnoticeable. I attribute this to the steel belts on the SX, as well as the smaller diameter of these tires.

Offroad performance:
Don't know yet.

Tread life:
Don't know yet.

Miles driven so far:
~100. Just beginning.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 2012-04-13 18.11.33.jpg (93.7 KB, 216 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-04-13 18.11.42.jpg (93.3 KB, 204 views)
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  #2  
Old April 16th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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I have the same tire in 10.50 x 34 on wolf steelies for off road rubber. @ 10 psi even with a heavy 130 the sidewalls hold very well. Haven't managed to get stuck with them yet. Drove home on them from Rausch creek last summer with the windows open- took two days before I could hear anything but tire noise.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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could they fit any more weights on the rim???

They should have demounted it and rotated it.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leastonce View Post
could they fit any more weights on the rim???

They should have demounted it and rotated it.
One of mine has over 2lbs. Guy said it was the worst balanced tire casing he had ever seen, this after trying rotating it.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 130Tdi View Post
One of mine has over 2lbs. Guy said it was the worst balanced tire casing he had ever seen, this after trying rotating it.
I would have asked for another one ... 2lb ... That's unreal!

Have you tried those self balance balls? Do they work?
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Old April 16th, 2012, 09:06 PM
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I have run 33x12.5 and 35x12.5 SSRs on my truck for 10 years. Granted, I don't drive it much on the pavement... I have been happy with them in the Southeast.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 09:11 PM
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fyi....BBs are the quick way to balance. Throw a cap full in each tire before mounting and you are on your way...
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Old April 16th, 2012, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix37 View Post
fyi....BBs are the quick way to balance. Throw a cap full in each tire before mounting and you are on your way...
In my experience...if the tires are really out of balance, they don't work.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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In my experience if the tires are really out of balance its the ONLY way to get them to work.... I had a set of 38" Gumbo Mudders you couldnt go over 35mph on no matter how many weights we tried....BBs were the only thing that worked.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 09:49 PM
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Jesus Ed....you went from a lame set of Wal-Mart-ish whitewalls to the other extreme!
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Old April 16th, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Tires should have been pad balanced. Definitely the best way to deal with the bias ply swampers. Given time, they will flatspot too, don't kid yourself they are bias ply swampers.

With bead locks you could conceivably run those tires at 0psi on the trail. SX's are the proverbial brick shithouse of sidewalls in the off-road tire world, it would take a tremendous amount of abuse to rip one open, not that it hasn't been done before.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 11:12 PM
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Great looking tires! Gonna be in the market for some new ones soon.

I've not heard of the BB balancing trick. Right off my mind is telling me they would gravitate to the outermost and potentially create a bigger problem based or rotational force??? What type of BB's are we talking.. like the ones for a gun or true ball bearings (diameter?)?

I have way to many questions lately!!



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Old April 16th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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I have run the dynabeads in my KM2's. They weren't all that.

They worked well in my Harley tires
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Old April 17th, 2012, 10:50 AM
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I have never run the bias ply swampers but I will say that the offroad abilities of my SSR's is night and day at 10psi vs 15psi...if you keep them up at 15psi with as light as your truck is you will not see the full benefit of them. I am sure you will systematically test different pressures but I wouldn't start higher than 12 for the initial test
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Did those come with a chest hair kit? Something tells me you will be standing tall at HH.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefhuf View Post
I have never run the bias ply swampers but I will say that the offroad abilities of my SSR's is night and day at 10psi vs 15psi...if you keep them up at 15psi with as light as your truck is you will not see the full benefit of them. I am sure you will systematically test different pressures but I wouldn't start higher than 12 for the initial test
Measure the sidewall height at road pressure. Deflate until it is 80% of this value. This should be a safe minimum for the tire.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Thanks guys. Jeff's avatar shows the reason why I chose the tires I did

A trip to Rausch Creek is a long drive away and I wanted to pick something that would keep me on the trail and the good times going for everyone.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BTW - if you are ever going to buy off road tires, I highly recommend not buying 16" wheels of any kind.

Buy negative offset 15" steel wheels. Negative offset is to prevent rubbing. 15" gives you a larger variety of tire sizes. Also - the equivalent tires in 15" are anywhere from $50 to $100 cheaper per tire. I have no idea why.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have gone that route. I didn't because I was/am ignorant about off-road driving, but as always I thank my good friends here for the info I have gathered so far!
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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You are correct about my avatar...as a tribute to saying good riddance to the clown tires!
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:10 PM
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Of course you probably could have just bought a spare tire and been ok too. I still think you went from one extreme to another and somewhere in the middle is probably better. 15" tires are probably cheaper due to volume/demand.

Speaking of jeeps and avatars, yours still shows a CRV and a Jeep. WTF!

Don't mind the handsome man in mine driving the stang
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgalpin View Post
Of course you probably could have just bought a spare tire and been ok too. I still think you went from one extreme to another and somewhere in the middle is probably better. 15" tires are probably cheaper due to volume/demand.

Speaking of jeeps and avatars, yours still shows a CRV and a Jeep. WTF!

Don't mind the handsome man in mine driving the stang
I like Ed's crvatar. I'm also partial to yours...but that's for different reasons!
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