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Mercedes Sprinter: What I Chose for Wheels and Tires, Ground Clearance
Photographer and cyclist and Mac expert and software engineer Lloyd Chambers is available for consulting on general Sprinter considerations at his usual consulting rates via phone, or in person in the Palo Alto, CA area. Save yourself hours and mistakes by discussing issues up-front. More about Lloyd....
Wheels and tires were the first item on my upfitting checklist. This can be done by an upfitter, but expect to pay a premium.
How I upgrades to 17" wheels and all-terrain tires
I worked directly with America’s Tire of Redwood City California (America’s Tire is known as Discount Tire in some states). They did a great job at a great price, getting the wheels and tires and required bolts and TPMS sensors. I ordered 5 wheels and tires because I wanted a real spare as well. Notes:
- The bolts for the standard steel or aluminum wheels are non-interchangeable (brake damage). Similarly, the Moto Metal wheels require the proper bolts; the stock bolts will NOT work.
- The Moto Metal wheels I chose require a lug adapter for the lug bolts; this also acts as a wheel theft deterrent. I asked for two such adapters—very important since losing it means the wheels cannot be dismounted. I stow them separately in case I lose one of them.
- Fitting the spare wheel/tire is a serious challenge that required two people with a jack as it is a very tight fit. .The stock underbody spare carrier cannot realistically be used without a jack to get that carrier onto both support bolts. TBD: the upfitter may be able to modify the rear tire carrier area slightly so that the tire support bolts can latch onto the tire carrier frame easily—the issue is that latching it onto both supports is hard to do straight-on and requires a bit of side-to-side leverage.
As shown below: BF Goodrich ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2 - SIZE: LT265/70R17 mounted on Moto Metal M0970 rims.
It does not look to be possible to get a 265/70R17 to fit into the underbody spare tire carrier (even with two guys trying)—a jack is required. The issue is that the support hooks that grab the carrier have to be loosened all the way and still can only hook onto one side. The other side has to be forced up into place (using the jack). It’s not clear that I could *remove* the tire were it needed, so I have to look into having the upfitter modify the assembly just slightly with a little more room so the support hooks can go straight through to the carrier loops seen at bottom.
ADF Sprinters has a solution to this fitment dilemma is to extend the support hooks so that they can grab the support carrier.
Initial noise level was fine, degrading somewhat after 22K miles.
After 22K miles: tires hook up great in all conditions including cold snow.
The tires hooked up in fresh cold snow on up to 18 degree grades. No slippage in 4WD.