Tire review & Rotor Rust question

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
First the tire info:

On 9 October 2007 I swapped the stock Continental tires for a set of Michelin LTX AT/2s. I kept the stock tire on the spare rim. Specs can be found here.

I'm happy with the tires. They're stickier than the OEMs. There is one corner in Seattle where - with the OEM tires - the Sprinter's traction control system always engaged. It's a steep right turn to a very steep incline. If I had to guess, I'd say it's maybe a 20% grade(?). THe Michelin's don't break loose.

I don't notice any more road noise with the Michelins at highway speeds. My fuel economy hasn't changed. I'm running the factory listed pressures in all 4 corners.

One thing I did notice: The Tire Pressure Monitor System did not reset until I'd driven about 5 minutes on the new rubber. It did list some amazingly incorrect numbers:

The drivers side listed 42 PSI on both front and rear, while the passenger side listed 67 on both front and rear corners. I used the reset functions, but it was eventually self-correcting. Since this was the first modification I made to the vehicle's factory equipment (preceeding the toupee by a couple of days), I was anxious.

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Surface corrosion on the rotors
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I'm including two photographs in this post. While the wheels were off, the service techs didn't seem to mind my shutterbug habit. I noticed some rust on the two front rotors.

Should I clean that off and (carefully) apply some paint, or should I just ignore it?

-Jon
 

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sikwan

06 T1N Can
Should I clean that off and (carefully) apply some paint, or should I just ignore it?
If it worries you, then clean it.

I wouldn't worry about it. I've seen it so many times on the wheels of my vehicles that I don't even worry about it. Besides, it's just surface rust on a thick piece of steel. The act of removing/installing the wheel will scratch off any rust inhibitor anyways.

You'll probably replace them with vented/cross drilled rotors anyways. :smirk:
 

mattl

New member
Rust on the rotor is inconsequential and natural.

You want to avoid having "crusty" rust on the clamping surface of the rotor and the wheel to obtain an even clamping force against the wheel rim. I can't tell if your corrosion here is just a discoloration or a "crusty" kind of formation.

The dealer should have taken care of it if it was "crusty".
 

StElmo

Diesel Veteran
Jon,
Answering your questions in reverse order... I would do nothing about the rust on the hub as it is not uncommon for oxidation to build up on the mounting surface, you could clean it with a wire brush, but what's the point other than to waste your time and feel better about it if you are going to show you're huge a$$ van (we love the looks we get driving ours down the road). As far as tires, the last set of Michellins we had we promptly swapped out. We're looking at eventually replacing the stock Continentals with Nokian Vatiiva LT245/75R16 E with a load index of 120/116 Q, don't really need a 100+ mph rated tire on our beast(Nokian site) We really liked the superior handling the Nokian WR and i3s provided us in our A4 and A5 Jetta TDi's, respectively.
 
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jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Jon,

...

As far as tires, the last set of Michellins we had we promptly swapped out. We're looking at eventually replacing the stock Continentals with Nokian Vatiiva LT245/75R16 E with a load index of 120/116 Q, don't really need a 100+ mph rated tire on our beast(Nokian site) We really liked the superior handling the Nokian WR and i3s provided us in our A4 and A5 Jetta TDi's, respectively.
I wouldn't have worried about rotor rust on any of my past-owned vehicles, but prefer asking such questions rather than just guessing. The Sprinter is the most complicated set of systems I've ever owned. I'm never certain how much any of my past experiences apply to the Sprinter.

Thanks, everyone for the common sense answers about rust on rotors.

Regarding the tires: handling's important to me, but so are having three steel belts.

I sometimes help friends with home improvement projects of varying magnitude.

While moreso in the past, I expect to be driving my Sprinter on dump runs, across sites of major remodel projects.

Before switching to Michelins, it seemed I was frequently puncturing tires. I never had a blow out; I just noticed small leaks and would get them repaired.

I've pulled enough screws and nails out of my other Michelins - discovering no full punctures - to be set in my ways.

-Jon
 

lildevildee

Diesel goddess
Regarding the tires: handling's important to me, but so are having three steel belts.

I sometimes help friends with home improvement projects of varying magnitude.

While moreso in the past, I expect to be driving my Sprinter on dump runs, across sites of major remodel projects.

Before switching to Michelins, it seemed I was frequently puncturing tires. I never had a blow out; I just noticed small leaks and would get them repaired.

I've pulled enough screws and nails out of my other Michelins - discovering no full punctures - to be set in my ways.

-Jon
Well, Michelin truck tires are a different breed than the Michelin car tires. I've had Michelin (car) tires on a couple of TDI's; after we hydroplaned a few times on my stock set of Michelins in my TDI, we switched over to Nokian tires. The handling improved greatly and actually kept us out of an accident. I also quit hydroplaning. My husband (St_Elmo) had the WRX tires on his TDI and loved them as well. I'm debating switching over to the Vatiivas before we move across country. These tires seem okay (Continentals) but I believe there is room for improvement. I'm really sold on the Nokian tires; as long as I can get the proper tire for the job from Nokian, I will.
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Re: Tire review

Seattle had a lot of rain yesterday.

No, it doesn't rain every day; I don't often get soaked or use an umbrella. Yesterday, I did get drenched in the time it took to pump 16 gallons of fuel.

In Autumn, leaves clog storm drains and mother nature seems to clean them out more than any human. Seattle streets show standing water in places.

I wasn't paying close enough attention while driving in a downpour yesterday and inadvertently gave myself a nice opportunity to hydroplane. The tires, the Sprinter, or the combination said "no."

I like my tires, the Sprinter and/or the combination.

-Jon
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Re: Tire review

Seattle had a lot of rain yesterday.

No, it doesn't rain every day; I don't often get soaked or use an umbrella. Yesterday, I did get drenched in the time it took to pump 16 gallons of fuel.

In Autumn, leaves clog storm drains and mother nature seems to clean them out more than any human. Seattle streets show standing water in places.

I wasn't paying close enough attention while driving in a downpour yesterday and inadvertently gave myself a nice opportunity to hydroplane. The tires, the Sprinter, or the combination said "no."

I like my tires, the Sprinter and/or the combination.

-Jon
Well you can thank your unique ADAPTIVE ESP On aquaplaning thanks to both ASR and ABS systemsRichard
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Re: Tire review

This is just an update.

So far I am very happy with the tires I'm using.

My Sprinter's been extremely well-behaved while wearing Michelin LTX AT2 tires on drive pavement, in heavy slush, in 2 - 3 inches of snow, standing water and patches - not sheets - of ice. I don't drive anything on sheets of ice unless I'm chained up.

Compared to any non-west-coast city, Seattle lacks a meaningful number of sand/salt trucks. The roads are usually impassable by rear-wheel-drive-only vehicles in the early mornings until compact snow and/or ice melts a bit. The Sprinter lets me hit the roads about 3 hours earlier than I would have tried in my GM cargo van.

Climbing and decending grades between 2% and 8% I can say that every time I've wanted to stop or stop, the Sprinter has obeyed w/o hesitation, even with an empty cargo bay.

The turbo charger is supposed to kick in way too soon on this vehicle, but it hasn't been a problem for me when taking off in snow or slush at any grade.

While decending, I manually select 1st & 2nd gears to keep the forward motion in check, but other than that, I no longer feel compelled to put on chains or remain at home when the white stuff starts falling.

The AT2 tires have 3 steel belts in the "E" load range.

In the past, I suffered a number of slow leaks (from nails and screws) when I used other tires on construction/remodel sites - even in the drive ways of friends that regularly use nails and screws - before I switched. I am absolutely convinced that 3rd steel belt makes a difference.

I've only put 3000 miles on this rubber; I can't say much about durability other than I can say that I don't see any hint of premature ("weak shoulder") wear yet. I have seen alignment problems noticeably chew up rubber in 3000 miles. My Sprinter doesn't seem to have an issue, or an issue severe enough to notice at this point in time.

I should add that I change my tires every three or four years anyway, whether they "need" it or not. I don't drive enough in that time span to approach the marketing claim of 30,000 / 40,000 / 50,000 miles. Early swapout is my quirk, so my notions about durability won't transfer well to most other people.

-Jon

PS: I don't have any evidence to back this, but my gut tells me the AT2 is a superior tire to its cousins LTX M/S and LTX A/T.
 
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sikwan

06 T1N Can
Re: Tire review

PS: I don't have any evidence to back this, but my gut tells me the AT2 is a superior tire to its cousins LTX M/S and LTX A/T.
Thanks Jon. My next tire will be the M/S. The reason I'm going to this is because of the M/S designation and the 80,000 mileage life (besides trying out a different tire), although someone in the link that you supplied mentioned that his AT2's lasted 150,000 miles (actually that person made it with regular A/T's).

Also, how's the noise?
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Re: Tire review

Thanks Jon. My next tire will be the M/S. The reason I'm going to this is because of the M/S designation and the 80,000 mileage life (besides trying out a different tire), although someone in the link that you supplied mentioned that his AT2's lasted 150,000 miles (actually that person made it with regular A/T's).

Also, how's the noise?
I missed this post. Sorry sikwan. The noise is no more substantial than the factory Continentals. I've been told that the NCV3s are quieter than the T1Ns, but I don't know of any evidence or studies to support it... just driver impressions.

150k? I doubt I'll personally get that much life out of them. I tend to swap tires out every three or four years regardless of treadwear probably more out of habits with older tire technology wearing in the weather, belt "fatigue" etc.

-Jon
 

contractor

New member
Re: Tire review

This is just an update.

So far I am very happy with the tires I'm using.

My Sprinter's been extremely well-behaved while wearing Michelin LTX AT2 tires on drive pavement, in heavy slush, in 2 - 3 inches of snow, standing water and patches - not sheets - of ice. I don't drive anything on sheets of ice unless I'm chained up.

Compared to any non-west-coast city, Seattle lacks a meaningful number of sand/salt trucks. The roads are usually impassable by rear-wheel-drive-only vehicles in the early mornings until compact snow and/or ice melts a bit. The Sprinter lets me hit the roads about 3 hours earlier than I would have tried in my GM cargo van.

Climbing and decending grades between 2% and 8% I can say that every time I've wanted to stop or stop, the Sprinter has obeyed w/o hesitation, even with an empty cargo bay.

The turbo charger is supposed to kick in way too soon on this vehicle, but it hasn't been a problem for me when taking off in snow or slush at any grade.

While decending, I manually select 1st & 2nd gears to keep the forward motion in check, but other than that, I no longer feel compelled to put on chains or remain at home when the white stuff starts falling.

The AT2 tires have 3 steel belts in the "E" load range.

In the past, I suffered a number of slow leaks (from nails and screws) when I used other tires on construction/remodel sites - even in the drive ways of friends that regularly use nails and screws - before I switched. I am absolutely convinced that 3rd steel belt makes a difference.

I've only put 3000 miles on this rubber; I can't say much about durability other than I can say that I don't see any hint of premature ("weak shoulder") wear yet. I have seen alignment problems noticeably chew up rubber in 3000 miles. My Sprinter doesn't seem to have an issue, or an issue severe enough to notice at this point in time.

I should add that I change my tires every three or four years anyway, whether they "need" it or not. I don't drive enough in that time span to approach the marketing claim of 30,000 / 40,000 / 50,000 miles. Early swapout is my quirk, so my notions about durability won't transfer well to most other people.

-Jon

PS: I don't have any evidence to back this, but my gut tells me the AT2 is a superior tire to its cousins LTX M/S and LTX A/T.
I have the same tires on my vehicle with 25K and they wear just great ... I haven't ever rotated them yet. Noise, handling (especially high speed cornering), traction are fantasic. I highly recommend this tire and will buy them when the OEM finally wear out.
 

lildevildee

Diesel goddess
Jon, how are the tires holding up? Still liking them? I need a new set of tires as the stock Continentals have given me 28,800 miles so far but won't make it much longer. I will be changing out my tires, all 5, in late November so long as my current ones hold up.

As of right now, I am very interested in Nokian tires. The nearest dealer is over 100 miles away so I can't stop by to take a look at the tire.
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Jon, how are the tires holding up? Still liking them? I need a new set of tires as the stock Continentals have given me 28,800 miles so far but won't make it much longer. I will be changing out my tires, all 5, in late November so long as my current ones hold up.

As of right now, I am very interested in Nokian tires. The nearest dealer is over 100 miles away so I can't stop by to take a look at the tire.
Hi lildevildee,

I'm still very happy with the Michelin LTX / AT2s. I have about 8,000 miles on them right now. I'm comfortable with the technology, the ride's level of firmness, road noise, the performance on dry pavement, wet pavement and Seattle levels of snow and slush.

At 8000 miles, I'm sure there's ~10% of wear in place, but it's not obvious to me. I'd have to measure the tread depth to say for certain, but my NCV3 seems to be wearing them evenly enough for me to "not notice," for instance, I can't see any wear on the outside corners, the inside corners or the tread in between.

I'm sure the Nokian tires are wonderful, but the number of dealers in Seattle is insufficient for my comfort level; I wouldn't want a tire that is not carried commonly by retailers in my area. Having three belts is important to me, too.

The owners manual for the vehicle says to rotate them every 10,000 miles. Discount Tire recommends rotation every 6,000 miles. I let Discount Tire inspect and rotate them at 5k. I plan to let the dealership rotate my tires at 10k, Discount tire at 15k etc.


-Jon
 

lildevildee

Diesel goddess
I know it's all hearsay but I've yet to find anyone that has anything negative to say about the Nokian tires (except they wear a bit fast depending on model and ratings.) I've had Nokian tires on my Jetta; obviously that's like comparing beef to bread (at least apples and oranges are both fruit!) I have only talked to one guy who ran Nokians on his work truck; I struck up a convo with him at a rest stop. Seems once he switched over to Nokians, he hasn't gone back and absolutely loves them as well.

Unless I can get a heck of a tire at significantly less price than the Nokians, I'm pretty sure I'm going to risk lack of retailers to get my hands on a set.
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
I know it's all hearsay but I've yet to find anyone that has anything negative to say about the Nokian tires (except they wear a bit fast depending on model and ratings.) I've had Nokian tires on my Jetta; obviously that's like comparing beef to bread (at least apples and oranges are both fruit!) I have only talked to one guy who ran Nokians on his work truck; I struck up a convo with him at a rest stop. Seems once he switched over to Nokians, he hasn't gone back and absolutely loves them as well.

Unless I can get a heck of a tire at significantly less price than the Nokians, I'm pretty sure I'm going to risk lack of retailers to get my hands on a set.

It sounds like the Nokians are right for you. I agree: I've not been able to find anything negative about Nokians on any forum or collection of user-experience postings.

I think you should go for the Nokians and post a review so others can have a glimpse of your take of the Nokians on your NCV3 wagon.

-Jon
 

speedyb

New member
I got about 65k on my factory Continentals and switched over to Michelins I am very happy with the Michelins and would not go back to the Continentals if they were free!! I thought they where the worst tire I have ever had on a van.
 

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