Originally Posted by 4x4 Station Wagon
I would be curious how they do on wet pavement sideways when you take into consideration the tread design and the hard rubber but I suppose who cares since it isnt a race car, probably isnt welded rearend. All the stuff I listed is opinion or assumption but one thing should be foresure they look good.
I have a pile of those military 900x16 NDTs (Non-Directional Tread) tires laying around, plus a brand new set on my 1951 Dodge M37 Weapons Carrier. Some of these tires are in really bad shape, but we still use them as shop tires or spares, because they're just so tough.
I can tell you this about NDT tires.
On the negative side...
They are EVIL handling in the rain and on ice or glazed snow. The military would, whenever possible, chain them up. Even in the mud.
Because the tread is arched, they wear BADLY in the middle. Essentially you're driving on a narrow strip not much wider than the zig-zag band down the middle. This is why when they are worn the middle is gone while the outer lugs still show.
It's a BITCH to balance them.
They must have TUBES.
They are BIAS PLY (maybe someone makes radials, but I've never seen them).
They are incredibly HEAVY. One of these 900x16 NDT on a combat rim weighs 110 lbs.
They are NOT designed for 16.5" rims. They need to run on a proper 16" rim.
They are NOT high speed tires. Keep in mind most vehicles these tires were intended for never saw more than 45 mph, and 55 mph was top end.
On the plus side...
Most of these are ten ply rated. We're talking heavy duty. They support very heavy loads. The ones I'm running support 3370 lbs each. Which is good because my M37 weighs three tons empty, over four tons loaded, and it was not unusual for soldiers to overload these trucks to five tons or more. Plus a trailer. And then drive on boulders and sharp rocks.
The sidewalls are also incredibly heavy. They'll take abuse that will take out a Super Swamper. If tires were animals, these NDTs would be a rhinoceros.
The lugs self-clean mud quite well, and they do pretty well on soft surfaces. The lugs are widely spaced, which helps to keep them from tearing up soft surfaces.
They are one of the least expensive heavy duty tires you can get.
They look bitchin'.
Having said all that, there are much better tires out there, like the Michelins mentioned in a previous post. And the Michelins are radials, not bias ply. Of course, they don't quite have "the look" of NDTs.
Then why am I running NDTs on my M37? Because those are the original tires. If I was building the M37 as my primary off road vehicle, I'd get the Michelins and not look back. I a heartbeat. But for show, parade use and some army vehicle expeditions, the NDTs will work fine. Will I run them in the snow or ice? Sure, but with chains on all four tires.
And then there's the "Run Flat" version of these 900x16 tires. These tires on a combat rim weighed over 200 lbs each. No spare was issued, because they could not go flat. A friend was flat towing an old WWII Dodge Weapons Carrier up I-5 from the Medford area to Portland. About a third of the way on their journey they heard a loud BOOOOM! They stopped and checked everything out, but did not find anything wrong. They continued on to Portland. About a week later, while starting work on the truck, they discovered a fresh hole on an inner sidewall bigger than a baseball. The tire blew out, but because it's so friggin' heavy not only did not go flat, it didn't even bulge. The military had to stop using them not because of quality, but because of the rubber shortage. It was easier to issue a spare tire weighing roughly a quarter of what four of these did. That's quite a savings in rubber. As far as I know, no one is making these particular military Run Flats anymore, and haven't since late 1942. BTW, the Combat Rim came about because of these tires. The sidewalls were so stiff that it was almost impossible to mount them on a conventional rim. So the solution was to make a rim that would unbolt. The advantage of a rim that unbolted for not needing tire changing equipment was why the rims were kept in production.