Wheels - Tyres

Wheels and tyres


Standard aluminium wheels were replaced with steel wheels on the basis that a dented steel wheel can be hammered back into some semblance of a wheel, whereas an aluminium one is probably totalled. We went for Cooper Discoverer S/T 285/75R16 tyres and opted for two spares, one on the rear and one on the roof rack with locking nuts to road wheels and rear spare. Whilst we carried a comprehensive tyre repair kit I did not relish the challenge of actually doing the repair; two spares meant we still had a spare should we have to use the other. Most villages will have a tyre repairer and I would prefer leaving it to them.


With hindsight I would have opted for a smaller tyre for ease of sourcing a replacement.


However, as testimony to the Cooper tyres, in 32,000 miles of African roads and 20,000 miles in the UK prior to that, we never suffered a puncture with the only repair being the plugging of a hole caused by a bolt in the tread. On return to the UK there was still plenty of tread left although two failed the MoT due to ripped tread blocks exposing the cord. I think that says it all! Replaced with STTs as STs not readily available.


Spare Wheel Carrier (Rugged Trail)


The standard position to mount the spare wheel is directly onto the rear door. Whilst this is fine for ‘normal’ use, once off-road the additional forces will soon wear out or break the door hinges and/or lock. It is best to transfer the load onto the chassis by means of a bespoke wheel carrier. We went for the ‘Rugged Trail’ system that has a heavy duty arm onto a large plate bolted onto the chassis (you can get twin systems). The arm needs to be opened first before the door and pinned into position. However, a ham-fisted mechanic in Port Alfred managed to partially open the door first, denting it, and then force the carrier open without lifting the pin. It still works but now cannot be locked in the open position; okay unless the vehicle is on a side slope. The heavy mechanism is not obvious how to open and thus acts as a theft deterrent; can be padlocked. In time the single hinge pin wears - some welding work was done on the arm on return to the UK.


The second spare went on the roof rack with a Frontrunner holder. Keeping spares on the roof is not ideal as they are heavy to get up and bounce a long way if dropped. With my set up it was easier to stand on the bonnet and roll it down or up in stages.


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