Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade

BFGoodrich KO2 tires

Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade

Looking to upgrade your Ford Transit stock tires for larger diameter, all-terrain, tires to improve ground clearance and traction? We were too! Here is the data we gathered during our research and our long term review.

Too Long; Didn't Read

Let’s get straight to the point. 

We are running BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E tires right now and this is what we recommend if you want to upgrade to all-terrain, snow-approved tires on your stock Ford Transit van (factory wheels, no body lift).

BFGoodrich KO2 Tires on Ford Transit van

Why we swear by them:

  • The traction in mud and snow is outstanding.
  • It's the largest tire size possible on the stock wheel and with no modification to the van body.
  • They increase ground clearance.
  • They clear the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the Ford Transit.
  • These tires make our van look mean, just like us.
BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires

1- Understanding Tire Sizes

What does all these numbers mean?

LT255/70R16 E

  • 255: The first 3 digits are the tire width in millimeters (255mm tire diameter)
  • 70: The second 2 digits are the tire aspect ratio in percentage (ratio of the sidewall height to its width). (70%)
  • R16: The is the diameter of the wheel the tire is intended to fit. (16″ wheel diameter)
  • LT: Light Truck metric size intended for vehicule capable of carrying heavy cargo or towing large trailers.
  • E: Load Range / Ply Rating. (D = 8 plies, E = 10 plies). Check this article for more info.

2- Ford Transit Factory Tires

Our 2016 Ford Transit came equipped with stock tires Continental VancoFourSeasons 235/65/R16C.

They are 28″ diameter.

Don’t be fooled by the “Four Seasons” or “All Seasons” appellation. They’re simply not made for snow! For example, driving with these in Quebec (Canada) during winter is illegal! They are also useless in mud or on wet grass…

VancoFourSeasons

3- Ford Transit Compatible larger tires

Tire Size, Load Index & Speed Rating Rim Width Range (Min/Max) Section Width on Measuring Rim Width Overall Diameter Max Load, Single (lb @ PSI) Tire Weight Fit on Factory Wheels? Modification to Van Body Required? Fit in Spare Tire Carrier? Buy Link
LT225/75R16/E 115 S 6″ – 7″ 8.8″ on 6″ 29.2″ 2680@801 42.4 Yes No Yes Amazon
LT255/70R16/E 120 S 6.5″ – 8″ 10.2″ on 7.5″ 30″ 3085@80 47.7 Yes No See 3 Amazon
LT245/75R16/E 120 S 6.5″ – 8″ 9.8″ on 7″ 30.4″ 3042@80 48.9 Yes Yes2 See 3 Amazon

Notes:

1 LT225/75R16/E 115 S don’t clear the Ford Transit GVWR. Some installers will refuse to install them because of that. If you still decide to go with the LT225/75R16/E 115 S, it is your responsibility to ensure you don’t overload them.

2 The pinch weld has to be trimmed. Check out Morey’s in Transit instructions.

3 Fit in the spare tire carrier of the Ford Transit 148″ Extended-Length only. You can still fit it in the non-extended length by following Morey’s in Transit instructions.

4- What sizes did we actually try?

4.1- LT225/75R16/E 115 S

Wear Out

We got 45k miles out of them, including the spare in the rotation (so 5 tires). It’s not a lot, but keep in mind they’re made for traction not for wear life!

Clearance

Note that for the front tires, minimum clearance is achieved when wheels are fully turned. The clearance shown below is for straight wheels.

FRONT:

BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (2)
BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (4)

REAR:

BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (3)
BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (1)

4.2- LT255/70R16/E 120 S

We loved our first set of BFGoodrich KO2 so we stick with them for our second set (installed December 2018). This time, we are trying the LT255/70R16/E 120 S because the weight rating is higher, the diameter is slightly larger and no modification to the van is required. We confirm that they fit on the factory wheels without modifications to the van.

Because we’re on the road full time, we ordered the tires online from Discount Tire and had them ship and install to one of their store (they have stores literally everywhere in the US). It took 2-3 days for the tires to show up and the installation took less than 45 minutes; sweeeet!

Hint: select “my store” on top of their web page, shop by size (not by vehicle) and select an installation appointment date/time at checkout:

Wear Out

We installed them in december 2018, we’re still running them!

Clearance

Same as for the 225 above, minus half an inch!

5- Good To Know

5.1- Larger tires affect speedometer reading

Larger tires will decrease the speedometer reading of about 3-4 mph (depending). For example if the speedometer reads 55 mph, our true speed is 58-59 mph. We have to keep that in mind to avoid speeding tickets!

Ford dealers can’t fix that and there’s no “unofficial” fix that we know of. So suck it up and drive a bit slower 🙂

5.2- All-Terrain tires are more noisy

Agressive threads are more noisy. We don’t mind that at all, but some people are more sensitive to noise…

6- SNOW CHAINS

Snow chains are sometimes mandatory; we don’t want to miss a powder day so we’re carrying a pair with us at all time!

Be aware that Ford doesn’t allow to install snow chains on the Transit. However many people, including us, do it. Your call!

Here are the snow chains you need according to your tire size:

Or check out our review; there’s a sizing guide in there.

THULE/KONIG XG-12 PRO SNOW CHAINS – REVIEW

An empty RWD vehicle don’t do too well in snow. However, with the added weight from the van conversion, the Transit is doing just fine. We can go pretty much wherever we want! Here is the full debrief of our first winter living full time in the van; we talk of the LSD differential, driving in snow, 4×4 (or the lack of), etc…

Conclusion

We're done, thanks for reading!

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about us

Nice To Meet You.

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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89 thoughts on “Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade”

  1. Also, the 255 fit in my spare tire holder according to Discount Tire. It is there and I have looked at it with no mod and at full pressure. 2018, MR, 148″ (not extended).

  2. I have loved reading your web site and use it all the time. Just got my new 2018 Transit MR, 148″ and replaced the new factory tires with the BF 255s you recommended. But the front mud flaps that you recommend barely clear the tire. I bought the weather tech that you recommended. Did you keep the front mud flaps on when you upgraded and upsized your tires? Seems risky at this point. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Just writing to share some further learnings from our experience. We currently have a 2016 Transit (tall EWB) with the KO2 sized at LT225/75R16/E 115 S. The truck tipped the scales at 8400 pounds yesterday coming home from a ski trip to Nelson.

    After reading this article, I called our trusted tire shop (Tire Pirates Chinook FTW) here in Calgary to talk about an upgrade but they say we’re actually good for 10720 pounds on the 75R16’s. They tell me that the weight capacity is a cumulative across the four tires and that they wouldn’t have sold us the tires if they didn’t take the truck to full GVWR. I’m glad because the size is pretty perfect for us …

    If you ever swing through Calgary, drop us a note – would love to compare notes.

    • “The tire load index lets you know the load carrying capacity of a tire. In other words, it’s the amount of weight your tire can support safely.”
      It’s an acceptable shortcut to take the cumulative weight for a car, per example, as the weight is pretty well balanced. In the case of a long van like the Transit, one could overload the tires in the rear by adding a big payload in the back. The rear tires don’t “know” what’s going on in the front…
      For example, our rear tires are seing much more weight (5500lbs rear axle weighted) than our front tires (3500lbs front axle weighted).

      That being said, we safely went through a set of LT225/75R16 and our van is close to 9000lbs. I wouldn’t worry about it, unless for some reason your rear axle is hugely overloaded.

      Cheers!

      P.S. We’re in Jasper right now, heading towards Terrace BC. Beautiful place!

      • Good point! Just ran the numbers on the rear axle and we’re just slightly over but will keep with what we’ve got … (though I’m now wondering about moving the battery bank). Thanks for all the info – your site is great!

  4. I can also confirm! Just installed today at Town Fair Tire. BF Goodrich KO2 – LT255/70R16/E 120 S. Transit 250 LWB Medium Roof. I inspected as they were being installed. These tires just fit! They may slightly rub at full wheel turn on a bump. They are very close to the main strut but the transit stock tires are also. Spare tire barely fits in the tire carrier and hangs a little low and at an angle but should be fine. I love these tires! Makes the van look great!

  5. Hello! Thanks for the info. With the larger tires, are there any issues with the anti-lock brake system? Do you know if anything with the Ford warranty (e.g., transmission coverage) is voided with larger tires?

  6. Thanks for leading the way! I just had my buddy’s shop install a set of 215/85/16 snow tires I had left over from the Sprinter I used to have. I had them do the same clearancing detailed on Morey’s website and I have had no issues.

  7. Hello, I have a 2018 Transit 250 148″ WB. I just ordered, received, and tried to have my new 255/70/16 BFG KO2 tires installed after reading your conclusion of the fitment. Sadly the installer refused to fully install. They test fitted the front right tire and did a few turns in the parking lot and said it rubbed under body roll from braking and also was incredibly close to the main strut. I know you just installed in Dec. of ’18 but have you had any rubbing issues? Maybe at full lock turn, pulling into upward angled driveways, under braking, while suspension is compressed, etc? Thanks!

    • Just bought a transit 350 after Christmas. With a family of seven and possibly more on the way thought it would be more pleasant to make those trips looking for adventure. Living in Colorado at 9200 feet traction is an issue in my driveway. Hoping that getting different tires will make the difference and your article is encouraging. Think I’m going to try the kumho AT 51 in a 245/70/r16. Have them on my f150 and Kia Sedona minivan and they work great. They have a 55000 mile warranty and are rated great in the snow. I’ll let you know how they work on the transit!

  8. I am building out a 2018 Ford Transit 148″ with a medium roof as a rolling toyhauler. I use it to camp out of at all my dirtbike and bicycle races. The one issue I have with it is I keep getting stuck in the wet fields that they designate as race parking. I can’t afford the $1700 Foes 2″ lift, so I was wondering if my suspension stayed 100% stock and I don’t trim my van’s body at all will the 255/70r16 BFG All-Terrain KO tires fit and not rub when I turn? The guys at my local shops didn’t seem so confident, but you seem to be having success. I just wanted to double check before I make the investment. If they fit I will be getting them from the Discount Tire link on your page. Thanks guys

    • Hi! We don’t have lift of anything and the 255/70R16 KO2 fits on the stock wheels (someone told us they rub if you have bigger wheels), we confirm! No need to trim anything.

      You won’t get stuck with these 🙂

  9. Antoine! Great choice!
    We put the same tires on our van about 3 months ago-
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/157308015@N03/43970357600/

    Your next step it to ‘murder them out’ ha! We just did 6200 miles out west, several
    hundred miles off asphalt and the Plasti-dip is holding strong.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/157308015@N03/43970357520/

    Unlike you (we know your love of skiing puts you in the snow) we avoid snow and tire
    chains but good to know you like the Thule model. For emergency we added the Shark Snow Sock.

    At the time of changing the tires we also upped the rear shocks to Bilsteins. What a huge difference
    the shocks and the BF Goodrich’s made on the washboard/potholed roads.

  10. Do you have any information on how the BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tires perform gas milage wise vs the stock tires? Mind me asking what kind of gas milage you’re getting in general? Your site rules by the way!

  11. Out of curiosity, did you consider the 245/70/16 when you were looking at getting new tires at all? Just curious because i’m torn between your old size and the 245/70 as they are just slightly bigger and wider, trying to figure out if i want skinnier or wider. Both fit the chains but of course different sized chains.

      • I can see you’d have to trim that with the 245/75 but not the 245/70, only .2” taller than your original KO2’s but much wider, did you go with skinny for snow traction vs the “float” effect with the wider 245//70. I agree completely though, I don’t want to trim anything that’s why I’m between the 225/75 and the 245/70

  12. I noticed you have the Quigley 4×4 lift on your van. Do you think the LT255/70R16 would fit on a van with stock suspension or does the lift factor into the tires that will fit? I currently have LT225/75R16 installed but it’s time to replace them. It seems I have about the same tire clearance as you do. Also thank you so much for your blog. I used it quite a bit during my build and highly recommended it to others!

    Thanks!

    Brandon Koch (Chattanooga, TN)

    • Hi Brandon,
      In fact we DON’T have the 4×4; we have the stock suspension and factory wheels 🙂 So we think the LT255/70R16 will fit! We’ll give them a shot in a few weeks when our LT225/75R16 are worn out.

      Have a good one,
      antoine

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