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Squeak after Swap to 255/70-16 BFG KO2's.

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A year ago we purchased our 2021 AWD LWB Transit. Wanting some tires that would work well in the snow and offroad, while still feeling planted on the highway, we followed FarOutRide's recommendation (see https://faroutride.com/ford-transit-larger-tires-upgrade/ ) and got 255/70R16 BFG KO2 AT tires. They are on the factory alloy wheels, and we put the stock Conti VanContact tires on a 2nd set of steelies. They worked great last winter, and early this spring we started building out the van for travel. We swapped back to the stock tires for long distance freeway driving.

A couple weeks ago we got our first snow dump, and swapped back to our winter set. Suddenly there is a squeak from the front whenever we hit a deep hole or bump. It seems to happen on the rebound stroke. I removed both front tires and found rub marks against the struts, see photo below.

I was puzzled by this change, especially since we hadn't had any problems last winter, and people report running this tire size with no issues. The one change that could explain it is that there is more weight in the van, since I built a bed and keep the bikes and other gear in the van these days. But its not loaded that heavy.

Van Compass has some wheel spacers that "...provide just a little more clearance for vans running the max sized tires." WHEEL SPACERS, FRONT 3/16" THICK - TRANSIT AWD (2020+) by VAN COMPASS. I ordered a set and they arrived yesterday evening and I promptly swapped them on. As advertised, there is "...still enough lip on the hub to keep a hub centric wheel mounting surface." I felt pretty smug and confident as we left home for a quick test ride.

I'm frustrated to report that the squeak did not go away.

Anyone else have this experience? Any solutions you know of? What am I missing? Thanks in advance.



Rub marks on struts:
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Locking hubs


Wheel spacers installed, wheel still hubcentric:
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Locking hubs Tread
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, actually that was our thought before we ordered the spacers. We double checked the air pressure, and its at 57psi when cold.

I haven't tried upping the air pressure yet, but that might be worth trying. We'll be using the van over the next few days so I'll be able to try it at a few different pressures. Thanks for the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Argh, that would not be ideal! Only 20k mostly highway miles so far—i hadn’t even imagined that possibility. But i suppose it could be.

Thanks for the advice, I’ll get a chance to take a better look on Tuesday!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ummmmm…. This is embarrassing but: It wasn’t the tires. I was mislead by the fact that the squeak started immediately after the tire swap.

I know this because I swapped back to the stock tires this morning. Squeak is still there. I will report back once I know what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bill, your camera suggestion got me searching the interwebs for cheap gopro knockoffs. Looks like Polaroid makes one thats on sale for $25! Thats cheap enough I can’t think of an excuse not to try it!
 
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