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14 inch Tires - 185, 195, 205
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CREGAN
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: 14 inch Tires - 185, 195, 205 Reply with quote

I know this is a topic that has been discussed alot and I researched very carefully from the info on the multiple tire threads, but I was wondering what exactly the difference is in getting tires that are 185, 195, and 205? Do they look bigger and wider as you go up in size? I read the Bus Depot info and it helped but I really want to ask the other experts on the forum.

Reason I ask is because I am trying to decide between Hankook RA08's and Vredestein Comtracs to put on my beautiful factory alloys. I currently have 185's on there and they look a little like pizza cutters. I don't want to upgrade to 15' rims so I want to put a slightly bigger looking set of tires on that will only be used for summer conditions. I have researched the Nokians and I think they are more winter than I need. Any advice? Thanks.

Craig
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

185/80/14, 195/75/14, and 205/70/14 are all similar in overall diameter. the 185s are tallest at 25.6" and the 205s are shortest at 25.3", but for all practial purposes they are basically the same diameter.

I would go with 205/70/14 tires for the best appearance. These tires from Tire Rack have an XL load rating and a maximum load per tire that is slightly higher than the Michelin MXL 205/70/14s that VW equipped the Vanagons with when they were new.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=G...mpare1=yes

They might be worth a look. 195/75/14s also look decent on the stock Vanagon alloys, but I agree with you that the 185s look like pizza cutters. Let us know what you decide.

David
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funagon
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the 205's give the best gearing for the vanagon. If I drive on 185 or 195's I notice the loss of power. Other drivers don't seem to notice, but I think it's a big deal. The 205's also look better, if you're concerned with making a vanagon look cool.

When I first tried the General Altimax 205/70/14's I didn't like them, but after going through some other tires I've decided that the Altimax are not bad for the price. My only complaint with the Altimax is that they don't handle as well as the expensive 205/70/14 Nokians I used to have. But for $50 per tire they're acceptable.
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CREGAN
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

funagon wrote:
The 205's also look better, if you're concerned with making a vanagon look cool.


I think you meant COOLER. Thanks for the input.

Craig
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CREGAN
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone else? I was also hoping to hear about why you chose the sizes you did and wether you are happy with the looks and performance. Thanks.

Craig
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I chose 185's because they meet spec and are CHEAPEST!

(Putting $ saved aside for rebuild...next year? Or sooner? *crosses fingers*)
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buildyourown
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a great calculator
http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html

FWIW, Nokian makes a summer tire that is very high quality.
I have the winter biased CS's and they are very good in the dry. My van never sees snow (on purpose) and I still think they were a great choice.
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OilNBolts
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gee I wish I'd seen those Generals before I bought my last set of Hankooks. I also prefer the look of the 205/70 size tire. The 185s do work well, but look mighty small on such a large vehicle. I've just worn out a set of Cooper all-seasons that make the bus sound like a halftrack.
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djaydubya
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just put on some 195 RA08's on my steelies. I'm very pleased so far. They are very quiet and sit about a half inch taller than my old Bridgestone 195's. My pressures are 48 in back and 42 up front and it feels much better than the 50 I used to run. I'm running a 2.2 so the bigger tire matches up well with the extra power. I don't know if snow is a concern or not where you live but if it is than the 205's are going to be a problem. I hate the look of the 185's too but they would probably be better in snow. The 195 Hankooks I got were an all season tread as opposed to a summer tire that the 185's came in. I camp off road in Colorado all summer so I was looking for a more aggressive tread. I purchased from tireseasy.com. I haven't heard good things about the snow capabilities of the Hankooks but that is all here say. For my purposes, if it's snowing, the Westy is in the garage. Good luck, those 205's look like nice tires...and proper load rating, too!
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CessnaJon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just installed BFG 195/75/14 AT.I love them-they look cool and ride good.
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:22 pm    Post subject: Re: 14 inch Tires - 185, 195, 205 Reply with quote

CREGAN wrote:
Do they look bigger and wider as you go up in size?

If it's helpful, here are some pics of the Altimax tires:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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CREGAN
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, started doing some local researching. The local Kal-Tire guy basically laughed at me when I told him the size and specs I was looking for but phoned the warehouse and someone dug up these Ultrex Tires:

http://gobigo.ca/tires_cord_ultrex_AS4_tour.php

Not really that interested in them because with the quote they come to $665.99. If I am going to invest that much I might as well get Bus Depot to ship me some tried and true tires up, because it is probably cheaper.

Another local shop is selling Federal Ecovan Tires for $125 each and they only come in 185's. I really want to go bigger with the investment.

Anyway, I am going to make a pitch to the Banker (My Wife) and see about ordering some BD 205 Vredesteins.

Craig
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would rather have tires that meet the standard and are stiffer in the sidewall , than car tires ones that look a little wider.

You really want to see a load index number of 100.

Just me though.

(And for the record I do own the Bus Depot 205/65/15 Vredestiens and like them a lot).
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IH1972
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Randy in Maine wrote:
I would rather have tires that meet the standard and are stiffer in the sidewall , than car tires ones that look a little wider.



I agree and question the wisdom of using car tires on what is basically a truck.

I'm currently running a set of Bridgestone RD603's in 185R14, but these have now been discontinued. Crying or Very sad
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Mountain Westy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When talking about different tires, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. 185, 195, and 205 all refer to the section width of the tire (tread). A larger number for section width will give you a wider footprint. This tire size calculator can be helpful in comparing different size tires.

http://www.1010tires.com/TireSizeCalculator.asp?submit=yes&amp;vehicle=yes
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woodingreenwood
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ended up getting 185 14s from America's tire co. - they were the Yokohama "van" tires - they look stock, but WOW what a huge dramatic change in handling, roadfeel, and even alignment!!! The tires I replaced were probably at least 15 years old.
I would rather get the GoWesty 15 inch wheels (easier to find tires that fit), but for about $500 installed, I am just fine with these!
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grambo
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:18 pm    Post subject: Nokian 195r14 Reply with quote

I purchased a set of 195r14 Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS tires for my 90 2wd westy in the fall. They are have a slightly larger diameter than the stock 184r14 size- about .8 inches IRIC - and look great. I like the size as it gives slightly higher clearance while maintaining a relatively narrow footprint which can be good for snow traction.

The tires have been great, both in the snow and on dry pavement, as well as on dirt roads. If you have underrated tires now, I highly recommend getting appropriately rated tires (not passenger tires and with C or D load rating) in any of the sizes you mention- you will truly be amazed at how your van handles with them.

All other things being equal, with 195r14 you will achieve slightly lower RPMs for a given speed compared with 185r14, but your acceleration will suffer and you will be forced to downshift sooner when climbing hills. Tires without the middle number are usually (but not always) "80", i.e. 195(80)r14. Good luck- and since it may be a safety issue, don't be afraid to spend a little more for a quality set of shoes.
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Nokian 195r14 Reply with quote

grambo wrote:
I purchased a set of 195r14 Nokian Hakkapeliitta CS tires for my 90 2wd westy in the fall.


A third vote for these tires!
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elpedro
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodingreenwood wrote:
I ended up getting 185 14s from America's tire co. - they were the Yokohama "van" tires - they look stock, but WOW what a huge dramatic change in handling, roadfeel, and even alignment!!! The tires I replaced were probably at least 15 years old.
I would rather get the GoWesty 15 inch wheels (easier to find tires that fit), but for about $500 installed, I am just fine with these!


Oh man, 15 years - you were way into borrowed time on those. I try to keep it to 7 years or less, regardless of miles. I had those Yokohamas on my bay-window bus, they were just fine. Now I have the 185R14 Hankooks on my Vanagon, and they ride sweet on the California highways.
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Krautwagen
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a set of Michelin 195/75r14 LTX M/S on my 2wd Carat. I also have a set on my Ford Explorer in a different size. Got a great deal on them at Costco. Anyway, I like the look of the tire, and they handle really well. Living in Colorado snow traction is a must, so I also like the siping on these tires. Nice deep tread that will last a long time too, just keep them rotated.

Last summer:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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