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2005 Forester 2.5 X
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Discussion Starter #1
I really appreciate this forum. We've taken the advice from posters here before and love seeing what everyone can do with their vehicles. But now I have a specific situation that I can't quite find addressed here. Anyone able to help? Here's the situation:

In the past five years I've given given birth to twins and undergone three surgeries, one of which was very serious. Now the kids are bigger, I'm feeling much better, and we're desperate to get out of town.

The state says that the final 22-mile gravel road to my chosen destination needs to be travelled in "eight ply tires." The ranger at the park on the end of said road recommended we take the road real slow (well below 30mph), and if we see any jagged bits of flint sticking out, swerve! :icon_biggrin: Hubby isn't sleeping easy on this advice, however.

We have less than 40K (mi.) on the vehicle. We replaced our OEM Yokos with Pirelli Four Seasons last summer. If we have a flat it won't be the end of the world, although if that happens I'm guessing we'll have the privilege of buying yet another set of tires. From looking at the specs of popular off-road tires like the Geolanders and General Grabbers A/T-S, I can't think those tires are any less impenetrable than the Pirellis so getting beefier tires won't help much. We won't be pulling any trailers or carrying heavy gear.

Hubby is considering changing our destination; I think we'll be fine (and if not, we'll have a good story to tell when we come home). Any helpful feedback?
 

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Something like the general grabber AT2 would work ok, or anything with alot of tread material. However theres nothing for the forester thats really quite at that level. That recommendation for 8 plies is probably from the time of biasply tires (they're still used for heavy duty offroading).

I wouldn't worry too much, but I'd at least put some aggressive tires on and take at least 1 (maybe 2) full size spares. Rocks usually result in cut, not punctured tires so you probably wouldn't be able to repair a flat.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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i've thought about wanting 8-ply (or D load rated) tires before. I asked about this and was told that they just don't make that in a passenger car tire, that is more for light truck tires. the rating system for passenger car tires is different. you can get some with slightly higher load ratings (can be important if towing) but this doesn't do much for puncture resistance. some of the tires i was looking at were rated from 94 to 99, i believe also accompanied by on letter. You have to look on a chart to see what that translates to in weight.

i liked 8-ply D rated on a suburban much better than standard 6-ply C rated.

went offroad a lot in a toyota 4x4 truck in some rocky areas with standard tires and never had a flat due to rock puncture but the area was not known for extra-sharp rocks and i didn't drive overly fast.

i did have a camry once and went camping and was driving on a farm road not used much. a somewhat innocuous root sticking out from the side of the road cut a hole in the sidewall, so it can and does happen.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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The state says that the final 22-mile gravel road to my chosen destination needs to be travelled in "eight ply tires."
Oooohhhh... this is going to get interesting. :icon_wink:

It might be worth researching the actual statute / ordinance language and/or interpretation of the "eight ply tire" requirement, as finding radial tires that are constructed of eight actual physical plies may be difficult at best.

For example, I just ordered a new set of tires for my 3/4 ton pickup truck. They are size 265/75R16 Load Range E. In part, the “E” designation means that their maximum load capacity is based on an 80 psi inflation pressure.

The “E” designation also means that the tires are “10 ply rated”. However, their actual physical construction is "just" seven plies: two sidewall plies, plus five more tread plies (two polyester, two steel, and one polyamide).

So, while these tires are “10 ply rated”, their construction does not include 10 plies.





Assuming a modern interpretation of the tire description, an “eight ply” tire is an “eight ply rated” tire, which is a tire with a “D” load range. This means that a particular tire’s maximum load carrying capacity is (usually) based on an inflation pressure of 65 psi.

I believe the OEM tire size for your 2005 Forester 2.5X is 215/60R16. A quick check at the Tire Rack failed to turn up a “D” load range tires in that particular size. :icon_sad:

However, a search for the slightly larger 215/65R16 LR "D” returned two hits:
The Continental Vanco 2
The Continental VancoWinter​

However, if the "eight ply tire" comment is just a recommendation, then you may have some leeway. Both the General Grabber AT2 and the Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S are rugged all-terrain tires available in 215/65R16, and both seem to be well reviewed both on this forum and in Tire Rack's customer surveys. According to the Yokohama website, the Geolandar's feature "aggressive sidewall protectors".

FWIW, the Geolandar scored very high (#2 out of 14) in Consumer Reports' test of all-terrain truck tires ("A very good choice for most weather conditions"). The Grabber came in last, but with this comment: "A good choice, but clearly designed with focus on off-road driving".

I believe that the 2005 MY may have been the last for the U.S. Forester being equipped with a full-size spare, so it's probably worth double checking what's really there. If you're looking for more rugged- and/or larger tires, you may also need to consider changing the original spare tire to the same tire brand, model, and size.

In fact, you even want to consider buying another full-size spare to keep at home at the end of the trail. This way, if you get a flat on the way home, you'll have a good spare to take when you leave to get the flat tire repaired -- assuming it can be repaired.

HTH!
Jim / crewzer
 

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2005 Forester 2.5 X
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to everyone for the advice. Woody, hubby did not find your root story comforting! :)

Jim, right, it's just a recommendation. We're going to check out those Continentals. And yes, we're going to have go up a size slightly if we get something more similar to an off-road tire.

Bringing two spares is a good idea; the closest town of any meaningful size is over 60 miles from the park. If I remember from my misadventure last summer the spare is a full-size . . . but tomorrow I'm going to check and make sure!

Since we're in Houston we don't see gravel much. Rocks? What a concept!
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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OK; best of luck to you!

BTW, being the naturally inquisitive sort that I am, I found this in info about this Texas park (the bold emphasis is mine):

All visitors should be aware that the park is accessed by a county road, Dolan Creek Rd. (a rough 22 mile gravel/dirt surface with low water crossings.) High Clearance vehicles vehicles with 8 ply rating minimum (to prevent flats and blowouts) recommended. Nearest service station is 25 miles away and is not open all the time. The nearest full service station is 65 miles away.
Regards,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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Air down your tires a little bit to make them more flexible and just go slow. You should be fine the foresters relativity light and I don't think you'll have any problems. I'd also bring a cell phone and a car charger and some extra water in case something does happen.
 

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2005 Forester 2.5 X
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Discussion Starter #8
Yup, Jim, that's the park. There are also a couple of ranches in the area that allow visitors, so we should have plenty to do.

TC: Cell phone and water, absolutely!

(I'm getting excited . . . this is going to be a good trip.)
 

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2008 Subaru Outback Wagon
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As referred to above " you need a tire with a lot of tread material" your Pirelli 4 Seasons fit that bill. That's a beefy looking tire. Search the Outback forum for the Pirelli's and you'll see a post by a 4 Seasons owner that really liked their continual use on dirt/gravel roads. Your tires may be fine. What I do is carry a full size spare, a can of Seal-a-Flat and a tire repair kit (which will plug your tire). With these three things you should be Ok "out there."
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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after purchasing some T speed rated tires i'm getting ready to trade them for V rated tires. i was told the V's may be too stiff but in fact the T's roll way too much and feel like the back end wants to steer itself.

so ... it's likely hard to find a good "off road" tread in a higher speed rated tire, but you may want to consider this point. if it's stiffer, then the sidewall construction must be beefier and therefore a little more puncture resistant.
 
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