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Author: Subject: Tire testing the Falken AT3W
Ken Cooke
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[*] posted on 4-20-2018 at 04:49 PM
Tire testing the Falken AT3W


At the beginning of April, I bought a set of new tires for two reasons.
1. To cut down on the unbearable tire noise of my BFGoodrich KM² tires.
2. To preserve what little tread my KM²s have left.

At first, I wanted to sell my KM²s and focus on running the AT3Ws full-time, but that plan is up in the air, as I prefer to test the AT3Ws before parting with the KM²s.

The noise that a mud terrain tire emits at 65 mph on concrete roadways is literally ear splitting. I rotated my BFGs every 5,000 miles, so there are no irregular wear patterns. Also, the tires were babied for the 42,000 miles these tires have carried me to work and home, the desert, mountain, the panhandle states and throughout Baja California Norte since I bought them new in 2015.

First impressions: Ms. Piggy Falken

The AT3Ws are a much softer riding tire with cute sidewalls, but weigh substantially more than my BFGoodrich tires. The section height is more than the BFGs as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Falkens are a full inch to two inches taller than the outgoing BFGoodrich tires. This is due to the rubbing (interference) that I now encounter with the lower control arms and the trimmed pocket fenders that are on my Jeep as the Tomb Raider-edition package.

At freeway speeds of 60 mph+ on concrete surfaces, these tires are virtually silent. I have been driving one of two 4wd vehicles for 22 years now, so I know that a tire exhibits it's best manners in it's first thousand miles. An All-terrain or hybrid, as the Falken Is billed, will perform at its best within the first 50% of it's tread life. Much more poorly off-road after that.

My plans for testing this tire are to run up Berdoo Canyon Road and attempt some of the steep mining trails that consistently stop stock 4 door Jeep Wranglers and IFS Toyota 4 Runners. If I can continue to walk up these loose trails just as I did with the BFGoodrich KM²s, then a trip to the Training Center in Truck haven't Hills will confirm their good standing and will fall into full-time status on my 2003 Jeep Rubicon.

It's a known fact that the shorter the wheelbase, the more difficult it will be to climb steep trails. Back in 2000, my unlocked Ford Ranger was shod with BFG All-terrain tires (pre KO). I climbed up the trail behind Mike's Sky Rancho, and I lost valuable traction as I neared the cliffs edge, startling my trail spotter Gretchen. After that moment, I began to focus on traction over versatility when choosing an all around tire. My favorite for 9 consecutive years became the Interco TrXus MT. But, their price crept upwards over the years and my favorite retailers stopped carrying them. If I maintain a dedicated off-road set of tires, INTERCO will be my go-to tire brand as their tread is aggressive, and their compound is always softer than the competition. Plus, no tire can fill that Interco love that I have had since the late '90's.

Will the Wildpeak AT3W live up to my expectations as being reliable, capable in the desert where my Jeep frequents? Or, will I be let down by the aggressive tread blocks placed in rows along the middle of the tread?

Keep reading, and I will let you know!




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David K
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[*] posted on 4-20-2018 at 05:20 PM


Thanks Ken!
Good report. Keep up the reports as you use the tires.
Like you, my experience with mud tires was also annoying with the highway noise they emit. I had the Cooper Discoverer STT.
They look great, they last long, they never struggled crossing a wet Laguna Salada. However, they were loud and terrible in sand. We renamed them "grave diggers"!






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[*] posted on 4-21-2018 at 08:02 AM


Hi Ken did you state you have 42,000 miles on the Kms. What size are they what shape now. Most guys here in baja reporting short life on new Kms. I'm thinking maybe not sell my Diesel Nissan lifting it more to run 285/16s close to 33in. Keeping it as a more capable off road rig. Will still think about still ordering 2019 4x4 Hilux as body change in new model. Keep it more freeway friendly driving in the states.
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Ken Cooke
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[*] posted on 4-21-2018 at 08:17 AM


Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Hi Ken did you state you have 42,000 miles on the Kms. What size are they what shape now. Most guys here in baja reporting short life on new Kms. I'm thinking maybe not sell my Diesel Nissan lifting it more to run 285/16s close to 33in.


Hi Larry,

I have been very careful with the rotations of the KM²'s - limiting their use to just 5,000 miles before their recommended balance and rotation. I could easily run these tires to 55,000 miles before replacing them - roughly until summer 2019. Keep in mind, there are very few potholes here north of the border, and the streets of Baja Mexico are torturous on any tire.




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[*] posted on 4-21-2018 at 08:39 AM


Just turned 50K miles on my KO2's.. could easily get anoth 5 but I am in the process of replacing them anyway...not going to take the chance on Baja roads. Thought about Toyos but think I will stick with BFG even with the price.
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[*] posted on 4-21-2018 at 10:01 AM


http://www.offroadxtreme.com/engine-tech/wheels-tires/falken...

Looks good Ken. Looking forward to the wear results.

I´m running these now for regular driving with some offroad trips. So far they are a great all round tire.

https://www.bfgoodrich.com.mx/products/all-terrain-t-a-ko2.h...

I also run cooper stt pizza cutters 235/85/16 for mud and rocks. Un like DK I´ve never dug a grave. I just air way down in sand and have never been stuck.

http://us.coopertire.com/tires/discoverer-stt-pro.aspx






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[*] posted on 4-22-2018 at 08:34 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Ken Cooke  
Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Hi Ken did you state you have 42,000 miles on the Kms. What size are they what shape now. Most guys here in baja reporting short life on new Kms. I'm thinking maybe not sell my Diesel Nissan lifting it more to run 285/16s close to 33in.


Hi Larry,

I have been very careful with the rotations of the KM²'s - limiting their use to just 5,000 miles before their recommended balance and rotation. I could easily run these tires to 55,000 miles before replacing them - roughly until summer 2019. Keep in mind, there are very few potholes here north of the border, and the streets of Baja Mexico are torturous on any tire.
Thank you Ken Two things in mind. The new type Kms on heavy 3/4/ 1 ton trucks living in baja for me short life. When I lived in CA I got 50,000 miles on the old Kms dodge 4x4 diesel ton. Just need think about what tires to up grade the Nissan Diesel. The Toyo open country ATs on it now, less then 12,000 miles over half gone.
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[*] posted on 4-22-2018 at 10:33 AM


Yesterday, I drove the Jeep out to Los Angeles to see the sights. On the freeway, I noticed that the Jeep exhibited a bumpier ride than when I had the same sized BFGoodrich AT/KOs and BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM²s. This can be attributed to the heavier weight of the Falken AT3Ws. I noticed that my ProComp MX-6 monotube shocks now have more dampening to do, providing a less jarring ride (out back), but a tad more oscillating from the front tires as they build up more energy from road surface irregularities.

The taller sidewall section provides a softer ride while I raised the street air pressure from 23# with the KM²s 2015-2018) and 25# with the KOs (back in 2012-2015) to a whopping 28#. Due to the front tire oscillations mentioned above, I will lower the street tire pressure to 25# as a compromise between better control and gas mileage.

I wanted to drive out to the desert yesterday, but with temperatures in the mid 90's, I wasn't acclimated to the coming summer temperatures. Desert terrain testing may have to wait until late fall, unfortunately. Stay tuned!




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[*] posted on 4-22-2018 at 01:09 PM


Same thing I found out years ago Ken. On my dirt bikes I like tall sidewall better ride. On my trucks same deal I'm not a fan of 17/18in/ rims and above rim with short sidewall beats you to death. For a road racer good deal big rims short sidewall. Another thing to consider the coast goes way up with 17in and above tires. On many modern rigs you have to run 17 and above to clear the disk brakes. Ken still would like to know what tire size on your jeep.
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[*] posted on 4-22-2018 at 02:50 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Same thing I found out years ago Ken. On my dirt bikes I like tall sidewall better ride. On my trucks same deal I'm not a fan of 17/18in/ rims and above rim with short sidewall beats you to death. For a road racer good deal big rims short sidewall. Another thing to consider the coast goes way up with 17in and above tires. On many modern rigs you have to run 17 and above to clear the disk brakes. Ken still would like to know what tire size on your jeep.


Thanks Larry for your input. These tires are 35"x12.5"R15 - a classic sized Jeep tire. For a smaller tire, they have a taller sidewall section on par with a much larger tire.




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[*] posted on 4-23-2018 at 08:39 AM


I’m on my second set of the atw3’s and I love them. I think they are the best all terrain tire available for the money. They have done well for me in the rocks and sand and snow and have fended off flats from cacti and some sharp volcanic rock so far. (Fingers crossed)
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[*] posted on 4-23-2018 at 12:56 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Ken Cooke  
Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Same thing I found out years ago Ken. On my dirt bikes I like tall sidewall better ride. On my trucks same deal I'm not a fan of 17/18in/ rims and above rim with short sidewall beats you to death. For a road racer good deal big rims short sidewall. Another thing to consider the coast goes way up with 17in and above tires. On many modern rigs you have to run 17 and above to clear the disk brakes. Ken still would like to know what tire size on your jeep.


Thanks Larry for your input. These tires are 35"x12.5"R15 - a classic sized Jeep tire. For a smaller tire, they have a taller sidewall section on par with a much larger tire.
Thanks Ken I have that size on my Toyota Pre runner. Love good ride over wash board at 18psi .
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[*] posted on 4-23-2018 at 03:06 PM


I switched my baby Jeep's 255/55/18 stock for 235/75/16s and the difference in the ride, both on and off pavement, is night and day. Would have gone with 15s but as mentioned above, brake caliper clearance was an issue.

I wish there was a law against anything larger than 17s. Okay, maybe they're okay for low-riding rice rockets, but...








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Ken Cooke
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[*] posted on 6-27-2018 at 05:01 PM


The BFGoodrich KM2 exhibited great handling and traction, but the noise level at 42,000 miles eventually made these tires unbearable.






Although the Falken tires are mild-looking, hopefully they will work on the trail. They are very quiet making them suitable for daily driving.

[Edited on 6-28-2018 by Ken Cooke]




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[*] posted on 6-28-2018 at 10:57 AM


I recently got the Falkens and love them! Way quieter than my old BFG's and a lot cheaper. Only 1 baja trip on them so far, but did a couple hundred miles of dirt with no issues.



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[*] posted on 6-28-2018 at 10:50 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Pacifico  
I recently got the Falkens and love them! Way quieter than my old BFG's and a lot cheaper. Only 1 baja trip on them so far, but did a couple hundred miles of dirt with no issues.


What size did you buy Pacifico? I am running the 35"x12.5r15s and they are very heavy. I worry about the long term viability of my front axle shafts under load from these tires.




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[*] posted on 6-29-2018 at 07:51 AM


The jk I just bought has the KM2 mud terrain and they are noticeably louder on pavement than my Goodyear wrangler mtr's. Both tires seem to perform great offroad. Thinking of switching to the mtr's in a 37" after I wear these out.
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[*] posted on 6-29-2018 at 10:46 AM
Interesting choice in 15" AT3W


My little Kia Sportage rides on 15" rims, and the two choices that I could put on it are 235/75, and 30x9.50 (stock is 205/75). There is only a half inch difference in overall diameter, and the 235 has a higher load capacity but slightly less tread depth than the 30" tire.


Despite being more of a light truck tire, the 235 is about $30 less per tire than the 30x9.50! I will never need the higher load capability for my little SUV, but would there be an advantage at low tire pressures off road, or a ride penalty on pavement at highway speeds with the heavier tire?




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[*] posted on 6-29-2018 at 01:32 PM


Heavy tire=more rolling resistance, unsprung weight.

Not sure about sidewall plies for LT 235/75 v. 30x9.50, I would think similar.

I've got 235/75 on my Ranger with nary an issue.

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[*] posted on 6-29-2018 at 06:53 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Ken Cooke  
Quote: Originally posted by Pacifico  
I recently got the Falkens and love them! Way quieter than my old BFG's and a lot cheaper. Only 1 baja trip on them so far, but did a couple hundred miles of dirt with no issues.


What size did you buy Pacifico? I am running the 35"x12.5r15s and they are very heavy. I worry about the long term viability of my front axle shafts under load from these tires.


I have 35x12.50x17's... I think your axle shafts will be just fine. I love these tires so far!




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