Brazilian OJ50 (Bandeirante) and 32-11.5R15 vs 31-10.5R15

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Feb 23, 2022
Good Morning,

my name is Michael and I'm German. I always wanted to have a Mercedes G but it never went out like that, to expensiv (in Germany), too useless, etc.

Well, 3 years ago I moved to Brazil (working here as a aircraft mech) and a Brazilian Landcruiser found the way to me. Actually I wanted to buy a motorcycle again, but driving here it'S way to dangerous for me (maybe gettin' old :) ). So I went for the Bandeirante.
I guess, you guys know that model.

Mine is a 1989 short version with a "iron hood" (hardtop) and the Mercedes OM314 Engine (3.8L 4Zyl. direct inj., actually a small truck engine). I wanted to have the long version, but it's so hard to find a vehicle in good condition which was not "modified" in a bad way, which has less corrosion and is mechanical ok.
By means of "performance" the short version is pretty nice.

I do not have a heating :confused:, but a original power steering, airconditioning, disc brakes and now also a supercharger.

I did more or less a lot of maintenance, since Brazilians only replace parts if they brake. So I completely did the brakes incl. lines, suspension, bushings, oil changes, etc. The rear diff broke, so I had to replace the gear-set. And a lot of small things, sensors, etc.

Now to my actual question: I have 32-11.5R15 installed and they might be good for a long time on the road, but not for offroad. So sooner or later they need to be replaced.
I'll be honest, I don't use the car for real offroad and there is no intention to do so, for me it's more the idea of having a small truck und driving around. Until now I never really needed the 4x4.
The 32" are really hard to get here now, it seems those tires are discontinued. Once in a while, I see something like a NOS, but hell expensive.
So what about the 31-10.5R15 on the same rims? Is it a big differenz in optics or offroad capabilities?

So far the big tires are nice, because I only have 4 gears and topspeed is around real 110km/h now, but only if i squeeze the engine. Usually I go like real 80km/h, since this is comfortable 2300min-1 for the engine.

5 31" (plus one spare) are cheaper then 4 32" (I could youse a old as spare).

Cheers Michael

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You can run 33 or 34 inch tires but would need a shim in the leaf springs which look awesome ! You can also run 31 inch tires that look good without any shims in the leafs. Your turbo should be able to get you around without any issues on 34'' tires. The other option is going to a 16'' rim as there may be more tire options.
I can't go bigger, because of my garage. I already thought of lifting the Band a little bit, but no way.

16" might be an option, I will check that, but I like the 15". The rubber helps a little bit to dampen the bad roads.
Tire size does matter, but maybe less than you need them to. I have 31s on my fj43, BFG all terrain, and drive off-road often (as a 4WD instructor). The additional clearance on larger diameters is always good, but as you describe not be driving to much offroad, may be a waste.

Love Bandeirantes, they are a perfect combination of Toyota and MB. Hope it takes you far!
Thanks. Do you have a picture from the side, just to get a idea.
Love Bandeirantes, they are a perfect combination of Toyota and MB.
Indeed. Maybe the engine is a little bit "rough" (direct injection, no balancer shafts), because they didn't care about such things on a truck-engine, but it's very simple build and just works fine. I love, that there is no need for any elec power, once the engine is running. And even without you can more or less easily start the engine by pushing.
The big advantage is the availabilty of spare parts. The OM314/OM364 (4Zyl.) shares a lot of parts with the OM352/OM366 engine (6Zyl.) and both are installed in almost every second truck here in South Americas. I get everything for small money from the dealer in the next village and even if you do a Trip, if there is something, usually the local truck repair shop will fix your engine pretty fast.
Mercedes Trucks are very famous here in BRazil (and in SA in general), all locally produced. Even the old ones from the 70s you see a lot here, they still need to work hard.

The downside on the road: a little bit of power is missing (but that can be adressed with a Turbo) and the RPM-Range. Those truck-engines go up to 2800min-1. I mean, you can operate them there for years, but the spread of the gears is such, that you need to shift a lot and always need to rev the engine before you can go into the next gear.
I put the limiter up to 3200min-1 now and with the charger it became better.

My Dream would be the OM366LA (6Liter, 6Zyl. charged and intercooled) in my Bandeirante. Pretty solid 240PS, but I guess there is no space, the gearboxes would complan as well and it's to heavy.
The 31”s will be fine. And not all 31”s are the same. Some are bigger than others. So you may have to physically measure the diameter.
Nice Bandy. I love those things.

Go with 31 x 10.5 x 15 in. tires and do not look back.

Other short (stupid) question:

For example: a 32x11.5x15 will have the same diameter compared to a 33x11.5x15, right?
I found a dealer with a new set of 32x11.5x15 A/Ts for my Bandeirante. New tires installed and the old ones I keep as spare tires.
Surprisingly, even the price was ok.
The blue color is just a protection or so, I just washed it down, now it's very nice, black/white.

I think that's it, bigger (at least in diameter) is hardly possible without further lifting or modifications.



I guess I will just continue here :)

I did a little trip on a Brazilian Island (ilhabela) with my Jipe (Brazilian version of Jeepy, which is a synonym for a short offroader :) )

There is a path to cross the island from one side to the other, only 4x4 allowed. But to be honest, that was not really necessary. BUT there are a lot of touristic Jipe-Tours avail and obviously, the old Landcruiser (Bandeirante) is the way to go :)
I think the base is the long wheelbase (pickup) with a modified cabin and it's approved for 12 people :)

And a little funny story (and keep in mind, I'm not so experienced in offroad things): There was a little dirtroad going to a remote beach everybody was allowed to go. So we went there as well and mostly all the little cars with FWD were not able to climb up. I don't want to be sarcastic, but it was a nice show :)
Small SUVs with AWD (Suzuki Jimny, Jeep Renagade,...) had at least trouble and going up there, not supereasy.

My little Bandeirante went up there pretty easy on 4x4, so I thought I give it another try on RWD, just to have a look:

The tires seem to make a huge difference, even on RWD and just going straight up no problems at all.

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