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FJ Cruiser Upgrades and Accessories
Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor Tires

Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor Tires - LT285/70R17

The stock tires on the Toyota FJ Cruiser are a 265/70R17 size.  My FJ Cruiser came with a set of Bridgestone Dueler H/T D840 tires (31.7 inches tall and 10.5 inches wide on a 17 inch rim), which offer a smooth and comfortable highway ride ("C" load rating, a soft and cushy ride) but aren't really up to the challenge of more extreme conditions (winter/off-road/torrential rain) like a good AT tire typically is, and quite frankly, I wanted a larger size and/or better quality tire for aesthetic, performance and safety reasons.

After having conducted exhaustive research online I finally decided to purchase a set of Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor All Terrain (AT) Tires for my FJ Cruiser. I had also closely considered the Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO's and the Nitto Terra Grappler's, which are both excellent tires as well (see http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=ORAT for a good comparison chart that unfortunately excludes the Nitto Terra Grappler's, but Consumer Reports rated the Terra Grappler's the best in their tests in their 11/2005 issue). For me it ultimately came down to aesthetics, size and especially availability!

The Nitto Terra Grappler's are great and inexpensive AT tires but you only have a choice between the P265/70R17, which is a "D" load rating tire, and the LT285/70R17, which is an "E" load rating tire - too stiff and rigid for my taste and mostly on-road use (very jolty and bumpy but very tough).  Had I gone with the P265/70R17 tire I would have actually been going with a shorter but wider tire (31.57 inches tall and 10.79 inches wide), and I decided that if I am going to spend money on better tires, I would go taller as well as wider - as tall and as wide as possible without any significant modifications to the suspension or lift of the vehicle while under warranty. Also, a small but important thing to me was the fact that the Nitto Terra Grappler's didn't offer any raised or outlined white lettering options and I suspected when it came time to mount my tires I would prefer the white lettering out option.

The Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO's were actually my top choice but were on national back order with the manufacturer in the P285/70R17 size and none were available through my selected vendors, even on a national basis. I wasn't interested in spending the extra money on the REVO's in the same stock P265/70R17 size when I had other options.

The Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor's come in two great sizes for the FJ Cruiser (LT275/70R17 "C" & LT285/70R17 "D") that both interested me and rated extremely well in tests and surveys amongst users (see the aforementioned survey link), but they are typically pretty expensive; therefore, fewer people buy them given the other great choices on the market.  In my opinion the LT275/70R17 size offered by Goodyear is the "sweet spot" on the stock FJ Cruiser but I decided to "pioneer" my way up to the next larger size (LT285/70R17), knowing I could possibly experience some rubbing but taking a leap of faith based on the testimony of another FJ Cruiser owner who said he hadn't experienced any rubbing in street applications.  Also, the "D" load rating, albeit a bit stiffer, offered a little more protection and durability for future off-road use.  I bought my Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor's with the present and the future use/needs of my FJ Cruiser in mind.

My initial driving impression, which is very limited as of this writing, is that my FJ Cruiser now feels a bit more "trucky" versus the "passenger car" feel it had with the stock tires.  It feels like the tires offer more integrity and better footing while driving, like you have a better connection with the road.  They do create a bit more noise, but that was to be expected moving to an AT tire from what was essentially a "passenger car" SUV tire.

More Information: Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor - LT285/70R17

Here are a few before-and-after few pictures with important notes concerning fitment of the LT285/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor's on my stock Toyota FJ Cruiser:

FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 1 - Small FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 2 - Small

The stock Bridgestone Dueler H/T D840 tire visually compared to the larger Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor LT285/70R17 tire with OWL ("Outlined White Lettering").

FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 3 - Small FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 4 - Small

Knowing clearances could be an issue coming home from the tire shop, I thought it best to follow the advice of another owner with the same tire upgrade by removing the splash guard to help avoid any rubbing on the way home. Once home, I knew I could further investigate and experiment with any clearance issues.

FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 5 - Small FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 6 - Small

I felt the use of a sharpie was a good visual reference to show the clearance (approximately 5/16ths of an inch) between the new larger tire tread and the frame member supporting one of the driver's side body mounts in their closest positions. Also, the clearance of the new larger full-size spare as mounted on the rear gate and in relation to the top of the rear bumper.

FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 7 - Small FJ Cruiser - Upgrades - Larger Tires - Picture 8 - Small

And finally... my decision to reinstall the rubbery plastic splash guard or "mud flap", feeling comfortable enough with the reduced clearances of approximately 1/8th inch. I was thinking that I would much rather rub a little on the splash guard plastics (and replace them later if desired or necessary) than basically "sand blast" the much-more-expensive-to-restore bottom and painted sides of the FJ Cruiser with debris picked up and cast off by the front tires treads.

I hope this helps anyone wanting to attempt this tire size upgrade.

 

 

 

 
   
   
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