Chasing Squeaks (Part 2)

This follows my misery from Chasing Squeaks (A guide on how not to problem solve). So go check that out if you haven’t yet.

After the last attempt at trying to quieten the truck, I had another go. This time went much more successfully.

This time I decided to do things more strategically, first things first, I dismantled the entire front right suspension system, I was certain it was coming from in there somewhere.

It went smoothly enough, everything came apart easily. Well other than breaking a ball joint separator trying to get the lower control arm free. I ended up having to use a hammer to knock the ball joint out. The lower control arm bushings were almost completely destroyed. I also found that the lower ball joint was cut up and rattling, the ball joints in the sway bar link had also gone, and the ball joint on the end of the tie rod had had it. No wonder there were so many squeaks and rattles!

Just some of the damage I found.

So time to order new parts! Milner Off Road help! I ended up ordering a new tie rod end, various new bolts and a new sway bar link (oh and a new ball joint separator!) . so yet again the truck was left for a week on axle stands whilst waiting for my parts. Once they arrived, (I act like a kid at Christmas when new parts arrive, tearing them open frantically), it was time for assembly.

Weirdly everything went back together with no issue. It only took me about two hours before the wheels were back on and on the ground!

Once everything was back together and on the ground the truck looked a little weird… It was pigeon toed. The front right wheel was straight, but the front right was turning left slightly. Changed the tie rod end – messed up the alignment.

So carefully I drove it to a local garage to get the alignment sorted. It only took about 20 minutes and cost about £40. Now the truck drives nicely and guess what!

IT STOPPED SQUEAKING!

The truck was silent once again! (well apart from a knocking on the other side, which is due to the other sway bar link being bad, but that’s an easy job for another day).

Happy with how the truck was driving I decided to get my new BF Goodrich AT KO2’s fitted (Finally!)

I took the truck to a tyre garage tucked away in an industrial estate and it’s fair to say I took it to the right place.

They changed the tyres over in about half hour. But the place was surrounded by 4×4’s and I had to park the truck next to a lifted Jeep Cherokee. So I was quite happy walking around looking at the other vehicles whilst my tyres were changed.

So now the truck no longer squeaks and it has a nice new set of tyres on it. Successful week!

Well it was, but now the back left door doesn’t close properly and rattles… One noise after another…

So in brief (adding to what I had learnt before):

  1. Do not use a hammer to remove the driveshaft from the hub assembly.
  2. Make sure you know exactly where the noise originates before buying and changing parts.
  3. If bushings don’t need to be changed, DON’T CHANGE THEM.
  4. Milner Off Road have next day delivery.
  5. Use the right tool for removing oil filters.
  6. If you are changing the oil, get a new oil filter.
  7. Use drainage piping of sorts to guide dripping oil away from skid plate.
  8. Polyurethane bushings are super easy to install.
  9. If you are unsure what the problem is, investigate, you might find other problems.
  10. Ball joint separator tools are very easy to break.
  11. Ball joints all seem to break at once.
  12. Milner Off Road have really useful parts.
  13. Getting the alignment done is cheap and painless.
  14. Liquid spanner and a torque wrench seem to fix everything.

What Tyres Should I Have? (Mud or All Terrain)

From bald street tyres to budget all terrains misery, it was now time to pick some tyres that suit my needs. Then I got lucky acquiring them!

When I first got my truck, it came with practically bald street tyres. They were terrible and had to be changed straight away. So initially I bought a set of the cheapest all terrains I could find. A set of four 255/65/17 Gripmax A/T cost roughly £300 from eBay and they were delivered quickly.

I have to admit these Gripmax tyres did surprise me. For the price I thought they would be terrible. They were fitted and balanced fairly easily. No road noise to begin with, and they had no adverse effect to my mileage. So I was fairly happy with them on the road.

Off of the tarmac they were about what you’d expect from budget all terrains. Dry dirt, grass, they had plenty of traction. Gravel made pulling away a bit difficult sometimes. They would put up a fight in mud, spinning and swerving, where other all terrain brands seemed to drive right through. But overall they did the job with some persuasion.

Now we come to their performance in the wet. From a standing start they seem to lose grip quite easily. Spinning when pulling away at junctions. This was replicated in the snow. Struggling where street tyres were performing well.

Unfortunately I didn’t have much confidence in the Gripmax A/T.

This led me to believe it is time for an upgrade.

So what tyres should be next?

What did I want?

  • Bigger tyres
  • Better control off tarmac
  • More control in the wet
  • A harder sidewall
  • Better tread pattern
  • Aggressive stance.

Mud tyres?

Initially I thought that getting a big set of mud tyres would be the best course of action.

I had looked at quite a few but had narrowed it down to these few:

  • 265/65/17 Insaturbo Dakar Mud Terrain?
  • 265/70/17 Maxxis Bighorn MT764  Mud Terrain?
  • 265/70/17 BF Goodrich T/A KM3 Mud Terrain?
  • 265/70/17 Falken Wildpeak MT01 Mud Terrain?

The Insaturbo were cheap and my brother in law had them on his truck with no issues. Maxxis have a good reputation but they are quite expensive. BF Goodrich. I think that says enough. Unfortunately again out of my price range. The Falken Wildpeak at the very edge of my budget and seemed to have good reviews on and off road. These were my main consideration.

But then do I really need mud tyres?
Cons:

  • They are expensive
  • They wear easier that all terrains
  • They increase fuel consumption
  • They cause loud road noise
  • They are good only for mud and rock crawling.

But then again,
Pros:

  • They look cool
  • They are good only for mud and rock crawling.

The cons seemed to outweigh the pros. So I decided that yes mud tyres would be cool, but for a truck that I use daily, and very rarely use in deep mud, all terrains were the way forward.

All Terrains

The amount of all terrains on the market is a bit crazy. But above them all stood the BF Goodrich KO2’s. I cried a little when I saw the price for a set of four. Easily going over £1000…

I was about to settle on keeping my poor tyres for a while longer until I had saved the money for the upgrade. That is until I found a guy selling four that had done roughly 2000 miles, for about £400 online.

Four almost new 265/65/17 BF Goodrich KO2’s for £400!

I couldn’t believe my luck. It felt like a set up. Surely he’s not going to sell them for that price? I wondered if I would turn up and leave missing a kidney. But he turned out to be really nice guy, just needed them gone asap.

I pulled up to his house and hiding behind a bush was a huge Ford Raptor. It was lifted and had at least 35 inch wheels (making mine look small…). It was awesome. We had a little chat and it turned out he was shipping his truck to Central America soon (one more thing to add to my bucket list!) and he needed the space in his garage for bigger tyres! 

I couldn’t thank him enough. Wished him luck on his travels and left with four almost new tyres. Result!

Now I am just waiting to get these tyres mounted and then to buy a spare. Once they’re on I’ll let you know if they really stand up to the hype.