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Old 09-13-2018, 02:00 AM   #1
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"Thinking Outside the Box" Wheel/Tire swap on Vegas

Haha.

Ok the first thing my wife and I noticed the very first time we saw a Vegas was the wimpy little tires. The next thing we noticed was how retarded the front wheels looked being half a foot inside the width of the body. My wife couldn't wait for me to get rid of the tires and put something safer and stronger on it. I certainly wasn't looking forward to changing them on the side of the road when they blew out from being too small.

So I finally got around to doing it. The end result will be (should be) better gas mileage, higher load capacity, far better handling, less tire noise, drastically reduced chance of blow-outs, way better brake cooling, less stress on the entire chassis, less unsprung weight and finally better looks. The downsides? Cost and some labor on my part.

Here's the part that's a little outside the box... The front wheels. They're what would come on an F350 without duals. All the tires are 235/85/16's, Michelin XPS Ribs. They're about 1.5 inches taller than the stock 225/75/16's. The wheels are Alcoa forged aluminum, 16x6 in back and 16x7 in front.

The reasons for using the SRW fronts? First of all, the offset is a little over 4" difference. That means I widened the track by almost 9"! Another reason is the fact that the SRW wheels are stronger. The load and max air pressure ratings are higher than the rear duals. The biggest difference is that the duals are hub centered and the singles are stud centered. That means I had to use tapered lug nuts on the front wheels, not a big deal.

So what happens if I get a flat? The rear duals will still fit on the front, I can pull one off the rear and put it on the front if I get a front flat. If I get a rear flat, I'd just run one wheel on one side anyway. The front wheels would actually fit and work fine on the rear also, since they're meant to be used on the same full floating axle.

The hardest part of the swap was enlarging the front wheel wells. (The taller tires fit fine on the rear.) I literally took a sawzall to the body! That was fine with me since the front wheel wells were too small anyway. After massaging the wheel wells, the taller front tires set out 4+ inches further out clear fine. And it looks "normal" now instead of looking like a Class A from the '80's.

I've actually only finished the one side, I need to do the other side before I can give a ride/drive report. I think the combination of a taller tire, but one that is stiffer overall will end up being a wash ride-wise. Rolling resistance should be WAY less. Road/tire noise should also be way less. The Alcoa wheels with the way heavier XPS tires are actually 3lbs LESS than the stock steel wheels with lighter/smaller tires and wheel covers. Winding road handling and heavy wind control should be greatly improved. I can't wait to try it out! If nothing else, I know I've drastically reduced my chances of being on the side of the road with a blown-out tire.

Pics in next post...
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:09 AM   #2
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THOR #10907
Pics...

Last two pics are of the stock wheels. Shot of back of coach is how much 1.5" effects the ride height. It has the new wheels/tires on the right side, stock ones on the left. Pretty leaned over! The increased ground clearance will be another advantage of the new wheels/tires.

The ride height/wheel well gaps on the front will lower a little bit once the other side is finished.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:27 AM   #3
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Nicely done! Also do love the V8 swap. Put an LS2 in my 280z in 05.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:13 AM   #4
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Gmtech, Very nice job! Love that look!
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:15 AM   #5
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Awesome! I've always been about bigger tires on everything. My 2500HD has a 6 1/2" Pro-Comp lift with 325.60.20's...most every vehicle I've had has been swapped out to larger tires. This is the one single issue I dislike with the current coach...it looks like on of those baby Isuzu jap trucks with a huge, oversized body. I've been toying with putting flotations on the front and how to go about widening the rear stance. This is good incentive to look further. I think it will help reduce the serious rocking back and forth when crossing bumps at less that 90 degree angles. Nice job! I have the 19.5's which lessen the options.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:13 PM   #6
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That looks awesome. Nice job.

Tell us about your fog lights / driving lights. That looks killer.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by m1noel View Post
Nicely done! Also do love the V8 swap. Put an LS2 in my 280z in 05.
You pull the motor to change the plugs?
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:36 PM   #8
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Boy, Howdy! That makes her look ready for the salt flats! What have you got planned for the engine now? Kenne Bell supercharger? Lookin' real good!
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:37 PM   #9
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What? No Centerlines and Mickey T or Hoosier fats?
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:48 PM   #10
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You pull the motor to change the plugs?
Nope. More room than it looks.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:16 PM   #11
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Lol.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by m1noel View Post
Nicely done! Also do love the V8 swap. Put an LS2 in my 280z in 05.
NICE! That's a nice car for a V8 swap.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
That looks awesome. Nice job.

Tell us about your fog lights / driving lights. That looks killer.
The stock Vegas lights are horrible! About the worst headlights I've seen on anything lately. The added LED's are f'ing bright, plus I put HID's in the low beam projectors and LED's in the high beams. The round LED's are on a separate switch, but I leave them on whenever the headlights are on. The rectangular LED's come on with the high beams. When the high beams are on, every single light on the front is on. haha.

It's really nice to have good lights. I also have a huge LED light bar on the back and LED's in the side mirrors pointing backwards for side lighting. All on switches on my dash. With everything on you need to wear sunglasses around my coach at night. lol.

Links to LED lights I put in front of Vegas...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:09 PM   #14
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Thats sweet. Yep the stock lighting sucks. How did you attach them? Bolted to factory location with custom brackets?

I would be afraid (with extra weight) they would vibrate too much (Fiberglass moving around on bad roads etc) and the lights would move around. But perhaps you have additional support or they are fine?
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Thats sweet. Yep the stock lighting sucks. How did you attach them? Bolted to factory location with custom brackets?

I would be afraid (with extra weight) they would vibrate too much (Fiberglass moving around on bad roads etc) and the lights would move around. But perhaps you have additional support or they are fine?
You guys are smart. I like sharing with smart guys! Yeah, unfortunately you can't just bolt them in easy peasy. I obviously opened up the entire opening where the stock fog lights were. Then I took the stock brackets off and re-attached them with high strength urethane and twice as many screws. I had to make 3 new separate brackets for both lights on each side. They're secured to the front fiberglass cap on top, bottom and one side. They don't move! haha.

So yeah, they'd move all over the place if I didn't spend the time to mount them right. Nothing is easy in gmtech's shop!

99dart- I'd certainly consider a blower if it was a GM engine or the Ford V10 had as much modding support. After tuning the V10 though, I'm pretty happy with the power and torque. It runs strong! Not much more to be gained unless I did go crazy like adding a blower or turbo. Not likely though. I do have a current blower project though, I just bought a new Yamaha GP1800. Can't wait to build my intake for it so I can hear that blower whine!
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Old 09-14-2018, 05:36 AM   #16
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Finished the other side and took it for a drive. YES! Success!

Totally obvious difference in handling. Way more responsive and far less "floaty". Ride is no more harsh than the stock tires were. Big difference in how easy it rolls and coasts though. Re-calibrated speedo for the taller tires and took it up to 70mph. Super smooth and totally quiet. RPM's at 70mph were only 2200. The coach just cruises straight and steady without constantly correcting the steering.

It's unfortunate that the trend in RV's is to leave the wimpy little tires that come on the E350's and E450's when putting a giant motorhome body on it. Blow-outs are common and most just think it's a normal part of the RV experience. It doesn't have to be. Most of these tire blowouts are simply because the tires aren't spec'd properly. And on top of that, they use All Season light truck tires. I can see using All Season tires where you NEED them, but on an RV you're talking about picking tires that aren't ideal for 90% of it's use just in case you need them in those 10% situations. I'd much rather have highway rib tires on something I'll be using on the highway 90% of the time.

Anyway, I'm happy with the "experiment" so far. In theory it had a lot of advantages, and now that it's done the theories held true. Like I said, the only downsides were cost and some mod labor on my part. Unfortunately for any of you that would consider doing this on your coach, you'd probably never find anyone that would do it for you. I had to beg the wheel distributor to even sell me the single wheels for use on a dual front end. Liability crap and all. I've done all kinds of wheel and tire swaps that aren't "supposed" to work or are "by the book". As long as the physics and theory is solid, there's nothing wrong with doing something that's a little out of the ordinary. I'm glad I took a chance and did this mod!

Here's a couple last pics. Before and after on the front, and a shot of how much better the brake cooling should be.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:45 PM   #17
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Looks great. I like the way it fills out the wheel well. Now I can see what you did with the fender flare to keep that stock looking finish - very nice.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Looks great. I like the way it fills out the wheel well. Now I can see what you did with the fender flare to keep that stock looking finish - very nice.
It looks perfect! I see it's raised but I can't see if/where it was stretched to cover the 3" or so of cut. Excellent job gmtech!
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:21 PM   #19
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What is the logic that larger tires are less prone to blowouts? (an honest question not trying to be a smart a$$.)

Just thinking on it: A larger tire will rotate slower and thus not get as hot? (Is that it, or is there more to the story?)

Is it a tire quality thing? E.g. the truck tires are built better than the "van" tires on the Axis/Vegas units?
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:01 PM   #20
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What is the logic that larger tires are less prone to blowouts? (an honest question not trying to be a smart a$$.)
I was thinking the same thing but I didnt want to sound like a dumb @&&. LOL

I figured the logic would unfold in the comming days.

Perhaps the sidewalls are thicker as well? But the taller height of the tire offsets the roughness?? That way it rides smooth?

Maybe it has more ply's in the tread area? I didnt look up his tire online (Maybe I should - that might reveal the major differences?).
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