100,000-Mile Semi Tires For Dualies

19.5-Inch Vision Wheel Conversion

David Kennedy
May 1, 2011
Photographers: David Kennedy
Our Silverado 3500 used to eat tires. It didn’t matter what tire pressure we ran, which brand of tire we used, or how often we rotated them. Tires just died a quick death on this truck. It seemed like we had to change them more often than the Duramax’s fuel filter.
Photo 2/9   |   As diesel owners, we’ve come to expect things to last. We’ve got 300,000-mile engines, commercial-grade transmissions, and towing capacities that put us darn close to needing a commercial driver’s license. So how come most of us are still using wheel and tire technology that dates back to pickups from the ’70s? Our ’06 Chevy Silverado 3500 was a prime example of this. It came with 16-inch wheels and 215/85R16 tires. After nearly 80,000 miles, we’d already gone through three sets of stock tires towing this 40-foot RV trailer around the West Coast. It was time for an upgrade to some real wheels and tires.
Now, we won’t pretend our 400hp truck has ever been easy on tires. We won’t tell you that we’ve never overloaded them, never spun them, or that we’ve always obeyed the speed limits with them. We’d come to the point with our 16-inch-wheeled truck that we’d either have to stop towing our travel trailer, or we were going to have to find a new solution for our tires. As it turned out, it wasn’t just the tires’ (or our) fault. A lot of the blame lies with our 16-inch wheels.
The 19.5-inch Wheel Solution
While researching 16- and 17-inch tires with the highest possible weight capacity we could find, we began talking with Roger Minor of Vision Wheels. We explained to him what we’d been through with the other three sets of tires we’d had, and why we were looking for a tire with more weight capacity. That’s when Minor explained to us that the solution to our problem wasn’t just finding a better tirewhat we needed was a heavier-duty wheel and tire combination. That’s where the motivation for the 19.5-inch wheels came from.
By switching our truck to a larger-diameter wheel, we could then use a lower-profile tire. The lower-profile tire wasn’t intended to improve the truck’s handling (it did), rather it would allow us to improve the tires’ life by reducing the amount of internal stress we subjected them to. The larger 19.5-inch wheels are able to reduce the stress on the rubber tire because shorter tire sidewalls don’t experience as much leverage as taller sidewalls. Less leverage means less tire distortion, and less tire distortion means a tire that spins truer and has less tread-face squirm. It turns out that much of our 16-inch tires’ wear was caused by the lateral scrubbing loads the tires experience just going down the road in a straight line.
How Do They Ride?
Traditionally, the complaint about large-diameter wheels has been that they are heavy and they make the truck ride rougher. If you’re just in the market for the look of 19.5-inch wheels, those complaints are valid. Our dualie not only feels much more solid (all of the numbness and dead-on-center feel is gone), but we’ve also noticed that we can actually feel the road now. There was even an unexpected improvement in the truck’s grip on rain-soaked roads.
Photo 3/9   |   Roger Minor of Vision Wheels in Decatur, Alabama, explained to us how the stock 16-inch tire and wheel architecture on our Duramax truck just isn’t up for the extreme loads we’re subjecting it to. Under the weight of the trailer, the 215/85R16 tires squirm around and cause accelerated wear. Vision Wheel addresses this problem by upgrading dualies like ours with 19.5-inch commercial truck wheels used on medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The larger diameter (19.5-inch vs. 16-inch) gives the tire a much more stable foundation.
What we’ve decided is that when the point comes when you should upgrade your truck to 19.5-inch wheels, you’re not going to complain about how the ride quality has changed. You’re going to ask yourself why you didn’t make the swap sooner.
Vision 19.5-Inch Tire Specs:
  • Tire Type: Radial
  • Tire Size: LT225/70R19.5
  • Overall Diameter: 32.2 inches
  • Tread Construction: 4-ply steel
  • Sidewall Construction: 1-ply steel
  • Tire Ply Rating: 12-ply rating
  • Tread Depth: 16/32 inch
  • Overall Width: 9.5 inches
  • Approved Rim Width: 6.75 inches
  • Maximum Load (tire): 3,640 pounds
  • Maximum psi: 95 psi
  • Load Range: F
Vision Wheel Specs:
  • Wheel Construction: Cast-aluminum, with a machined and polished finish
  • Wheel Size: 19.5x6.75 inches
  • Bolt Pattern: 8-on-6 inch
  • Load Capacity: 4,300 pounds


Vision Wheel
Auto Body and More
Santa Rosa, CA 95407



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