As diesel owners, we’ve come to expect things to last. We’ve got 300,000-mile engines, commercial-grade transmissions, and towing capacities that put us darn close to needing a commercial driver’s license. So how come most of us are still using wheel and tire technology that dates back to pickups from the ’70s? Our ’06 Chevy Silverado 3500 was a prime example of this. It came with 16-inch wheels and 215/85R16 tires. After nearly 80,000 miles, we’d already gone through three sets of stock tires towing this 40-foot RV trailer around the West Coast. It was time for an upgrade to some real wheels and tires. As diesel owners, we’ve come to expect things to last. We’ve got 300,000-mile engines, com Our Silverado 3500 used to eat tires. It didn’t matter what tire pressure we ran, which brand of tire we used, or how often we rotated them. Tires just died a quick death on this truck. It seemed like we had to change them more often than the Duramax’s fuel filter. Now, we won’t pretend our 400hp truck has ever been easy on tires. We won’t tell you that we’ve never overloaded them, never spun them, or that we’ve always obeyed the speed limits with them. We’d come to the point with our 16-inch-wheeled truck that we’d either have to stop towing our travel trailer, or we were going to have to find a new solution for our tires. As it turned out, it wasn’t just the tires’ (or our) fault. A lot of the blame lies with our 16-inch wheels. The 19.5-inch Wheel Solution While researching 16- and 17-inch tires with the highest possible weight capacity we could find, we began talking with Roger Minor of Vision Wheels. We explained to him what we’d been through with the other three sets of tires we’d had, and why we were looking for a tire with more weight capacity. That’s when Minor explained to us that the solution to our problem wasn’t just finding a better tirewhat we needed was a heavier-duty wheel and tire combination. That’s where the motivation for the 19.5-inch wheels came from. By switching our truck to a larger-diameter wheel, we could then use a lower-profile tire. The lower-profile tire wasn’t intended to improve the truck’s handling (it did), rather it would allow us to improve the tires’ life by reducing the amount of internal stress we subjected them to. The larger 19.5-inch wheels are able to reduce the stress on the rubber tire because shorter tire sidewalls don’t experience as much leverage as taller sidewalls. Less leverage means less tire distortion, and less tire distortion means a tire that spins truer and has less tread-face squirm. It turns out that much of our 16-inch tires’ wear was caused by the lateral scrubbing loads the tires experience just going down the road in a straight line. Roger Minor of Vision Wheels in Decatur, Alabama, explained to us how the stock 16-inch tire and wheel architecture on our Duramax truck just isn’t up for the extreme loads we’re subjecting it to. Under the weight of the trailer, the 215/85R16 tires squirm around and cause accelerated wear. Vision Wheel addresses this problem by upgrading dualies like ours with 19.5-inch commercial truck wheels used on medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The larger diameter (19.5-inch vs. 16-inch) gives the tire a much more stable foundation. Roger Minor of Vision Wheels in Decatur, Alabama, explained to us how the stock 16-inch ti How Do They Ride? Traditionally, the complaint about large-diameter wheels has been that they are heavy and they make the truck ride rougher. If you’re just in the market for the look of 19.5-inch wheels, those complaints are valid. Our dualie not only feels much more solid (all of the numbness and dead-on-center feel is gone), but we’ve also noticed that we can actually feel the road now. There was even an unexpected improvement in the truck’s grip on rain-soaked roads. What we’ve decided is that when the point comes when you should upgrade your truck to 19.5-inch wheels, you’re not going to complain about how the ride quality has changed. You’re going to ask yourself why you didn’t make the swap sooner. Vision 19.5-Inch Tire Specs: Tire Type: Radial Tire Size: LT225/70R19.5 Overall Diameter: 32.2 inches Tread Construction: 4-ply steel Sidewall Construction: 1-ply steel Tire Ply Rating: 12-ply rating Tread Depth: 16/32 inch Overall Width: 9.5 inches Approved Rim Width: 6.75 inches Maximum Load (tire): 3,640 pounds Maximum psi: 95 psi Load Range: F Vision Wheel Specs: Wheel Construction: Cast-aluminum, with a machined and polished finish Wheel Size: 19.5x6.75 inches Bolt Pattern: 8-on-6 inch Load Capacity: 4,300 pounds Vision Wheel offers its Heavy Hauler 181-style 19.5-inch wheels in a direct bolt-on package for Dodge, GM, and Ford dualies. Minor recommended we use a set of 225/70R19.5 12-ply-rated tires (good for up to 3,640 pounds each) in conjunction with Vision Wheel’s 4,300-pound-weight-capacity 19.5-inch aluminum wheels. Vision was even able to mount, balance, and ship the tires and wheels across the country—so all we had to do was bolt them on and go. Vision Wheel offers its Heavy Hauler 181-style 19.5-inch wheels in a direct bolt-on packag When mounted on our dualie, the 19.5-inch tire and wheel package really filled out the wheelwell. The truck instantly looked a million times better. It was the kind of upgrade that had us saying, “We should have done this from day one.” The 225/70R19.5 tires are roughly 1½ inches taller (32.2- inches vs. 30½-inches) than the stock tires, but there were no clearance issues in the front or the rear. The speedometer reads a little on the slow side now, but the transmission shifting and turning radius have not been compromised. When mounted on our dualie, the 19.5-inch tire and wheel package really filled out the whe When we told Minor about all the trouble we had keeping 16-inch tires alive under our truck, we explained that it’s almost always hooked to a fifth-wheel trailer. Minor suggested we also upgrade the trailer to a matching set of Heavy Hauler 81-style 19.5-inch wheels and tires. We weren’t sure the larger 225/70R19.5 tires would fit on the trailer, but Minor has so much experience with wheel and tire fitments it turns out he knew more about our combination than we did. The matching 19.5-inch trailer wheels fit great and make the truck and trailer a stunning combination. When we told Minor about all the trouble we had keeping 16-inch tires alive under our truc The advantage that Vision Wheel’s 19.5-inch wheel and tire package offers is that it’s a true bolt-on to the factory eight-lug axles Dodge, Ford, and GM dualies use. No awkward wheel spacers or adapters are required. You’ll also note that even though this is a large tire and wheel combination, only a minimum of weight was needed to balance the assembly. The advantage that Vision Wheel’s 19.5-inch wheel and tire package offers is that it’s a t The strength and improved tire life you get from 19.5-inch tires really starts with the wheel. After all, aluminum is more structurally rigid than any rubber tire, and it’s the structure from the larger-diameter wheel that reduces the amount of squirm the tires’ sidewalls and tread surface experience. Less tire squirm not only means a more stable ride, but it is also the key to dramatically increasing tire life. The strength and improved tire life you get from 19.5-inch tires really starts with the wh We had Auto Body and More in Santa Rosa, California, install the new combination on the dualie and Fusion trailer. The driving difference was noticed immediately. The truck now seems to steer with less effort, it has a much more controlled ride, and now we can’t go anywhere without people asking us about the truck’s wheels. We’ve put a little more than 2,800 miles on the Vision Wheel package, and we’re happy to report the tires still look new. We’re never going back to 16-inch wheels on this dualie again. We had Auto Body and More in Santa Rosa, California, install the new combination on the du SOURCES Auto Body and More 3335 Standish Ave Santa Rosa CA 95407 707-584-2886 www.autobodyandmore.com Vision Wheel 800-633-3936 http://www.visionwheel.com/ By David Kennedy Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!