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Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Tires - Tire Test Guide

Functionality And Tough Looks

Mike McGlothlin
Apr 1, 2010
Photographers: Mike McGlothlin
Finding the perfect tire for today's diesel enthusiast can be quite a challenge. After all, a tire that allows your truck to run the fastest through the quarter-mile won't necessarily win you any sled pulls. On the flipside of that coin, a bulky, oversized tire with a more aggressive tread pattern will excel off-road but will also hamper fuel economy. And it's always important to note that, due to the fact that a lot of us tow and haul on a regular basis, a tire with a heavy-duty load range is something to keep in mind when considering a tire purchase.
Photo 2/7   |   These Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels came with an 8-on-6.5-inch bolt pattern (eight lug nuts on each hub, and each lug measuring 6 1/2 inches apart from one another diagonally). This bolt pattern was used in Ford 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks from '48 to '97, except for '99-and-newer trucks (Super Dutys), which changed to 8-on-170mm (or roughly 8-on-6.6929 inches).
Although all-terrains tend to be the tread of choice on daily driven rigs or work trucks, nothing adds to a diesel's bulletproof nature like a set of meaty mud-terrains. Of course, a lot of it has to do with driver preference. In our case, we like the tough, bold appearance that mud-terrains provide. And because of this, we'll sacrifice some tread longevity and street manners in order to sport the look we're after, as well as give us unmatched performance once we venture off the pavement.
Baja MTZs
We recently tested a set of Mickey Thompson's Baja MTZ radial mud-terrains on our '97 Ford F-350. Rumored to offer great on-road manners as well as superior off-road performance by way of improved puncture resistance and PowerPly sidewalls, we were eager to give four of them a try. Read on to see how they performed on the street, through the mud, and in the sand.
Classic II Wheels
We also upgraded from our Ford's factory Alcoa rims and mounted our MTZs on a set of Mickey Thompson's 16x8 Classic II wheels. Their polished finish, polished hand holes, and high load rating attract a lot of truck owners on the hunt for aftermarket wheels. We've seen this legendary wheel on a lot of rigs, and no question, its distinctive look improves appearance tenfold.
Street
With a set of 305/70R16 MTZs mounted on our '97 Ford F-350, we racked up nearly 10,000 highway miles. In-cab road noise was minimal at best (a slight hum at highway speeds), and overall we'd say these tires would perform just fine on a daily driver. They never pulled or tracked one way or the other on the pavement and were very predictable. This tire's one drawback is that rocks of substantial size can get lodged between the tread lugs and fly out as wheel speed increases going down the road. However, this also illustrates the tread-give nature of the tire's design that helps it perform so well off-road.
Mud
The first thing we noticed about the MTZs once in the mud was how well they cleaned out. With very little wheel speed they would self-clean and keep the truck moving. When we crept into our impromptu mud hole and slowly eased into the throttle, the MTZs never stopped digging and always found enough traction to get us back out.
Sand
With a quick trip down to Ocotillo Wells, California, we were able to see what the MTZs were capable of in the sand as well. After airing all four tires down to 10 psi, we purposely guided the truck through a few loose sand dune areas. And-surprisingly for a mud tire-they could just about get us out of any trouble area in two-wheel drive.
MICKEY THOMPSON BAJA MTZ TIRES
Tire Type: Radial
Tire Size: 305/70R16
Overall Diameter: 33.1 inches
Tread: 1-ply nylon + 2-ply steel + 3-ply polyester
Sidewall: 3-ply polyester
Tread Width: 9.8 inches
Tread Depth: 19/32 inch
Section Width: 12 inches
Approved Rim Width: 8 to 9 1/2 inches
Weight (per tire): 61 pounds
Maximum Load: 2,910 pounds
Load Index: 118Q
Load Range Rating: D
MICKEY THOMPSON CLASSIC II WHEELS
Wheel Size: 16x8 inches
Weight (per wheel): 21 pounds
Bolt Pattern: 8 on 6 1/2 inches
Load Capacity: 3,100 pounds
All 8-Lug Size Options: 16x8, 16x10, 16x12, 17x9, 18x9, and 20x9

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