It’s no secret that diesel trucks are more popular than they have ever been. In the mid 90’s diesel trucks were mostly reserved for the agricultural worker, rancher, or car hauler. Through the next decade or two, diesel trucks have evolved from sturdy but slow work horses to darn near sports cars today. Later model diesel pickups are capable of huge power from simple bolt on parts, all the while retaining the ability to tow double car trailers with ease. With such versatility it is no wonder that these trucks are so popular.
Kevin Collier’s 2006 three quarter ton, twenty-four valve Cummins-powered Ram certainly fits the bill for a good performing daily driver and weekend hauler. However, Kevin, like any good off road enthusiast enjoys taking his truck off the pavement as well. His mildly upgraded motor has no problem doing spectacular burnouts and even does well in the choppy desert that is so common in Southern California.
Above left: Here you can see the difference in size between the old Toyo 35” tire and the new Military 37”. Above right: Our set of wheels came with 12 bolts holding the two-piece wheel together. (Both lighter duty and 24-bolt super heavy duty versions are also available.)
Using a truck in excess of ten thousand pounds as a street sport truck, tow pig, and dirt toy demands a lot from your tires. With a heavy right foot on and off-road the truck was known to go through sets of tires in less than a year. Because 35” mud terrain tires go for three to four hundred dollars a piece, it became clear that we needed a cheaper tire that could take the abuse.
A little web research led us to Hummer H1 bead-lock wheels and military spec Goodyear 37” tires. These tires are military surplus tires and can be found in great shape for less that two hundred dollars a piece! In addition to cheaper cost, these tires are also build extremely sturdy in order to handle remote combat situations. This sounded like a perfect recipe for a double duty Ram!
By using the military tire we were also able to upgrade to a Hummer double bead-lock wheels, which will allow the tires to be aired down extremely low without loosing a bead out in the dirt. We wanted to maintain a good wheel offset in order to let the big tire fit properly on the truck so we turned Marc with El Dorado 4×4 to make a set of re-centered H1 bead-locks for the truck. Lots of options such as desired offset, bolt pattern, number of bolts, and rock ring style are available for these bead-lock rims. Ours tires came pre-mounted on a set of re-centered 12 bolt rims with the optional 1/4” rock ring.
The wheels and tires fit great on the truck with a 3” lift, though a little bit of front fender trimming was required. The 37-inch tire gave the truck a much more aggressive stance than the old 35” tires and the wheels look awesome. While new wheels and tires were an investment just north of $2,000, it will pay off in just a few years from the money saved on replacement tires. So far the new wheels and tires have performed fantastic. Road manners are good and off road, the aggressive tread pattern has left little to be desired. We will keep up on how the wear pattern compares to that of a new off the shelf mud terrain tire in the next several months.