Ford Transit All-Terrain Larger Tires Upgrade

BFGoodrich KO2 tires

Ford Transit All-Terrain 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 of the BFGoodrich KO2 AT tires.

Too Long; Didn't Read

Let’s get straight to the point. 

We are running BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E (load index: 120) 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:

BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires

1- Understanding Tire Sizes

What does all these numbers mean?

LT255/70R16 120/117 E

  • LT: Light Truck metric size intended for vehicule capable of carrying heavy cargo or towing large trailers.
  • 255: The first 3 digits are the tire width in millimeters (255mm tire width)
  • 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)
  • 121/117: Load index (this is critical, so please see next section for more info)
  • E: Load Range / Ply Rating. (D = 8 plies, E = 10 plies). Check this article for more info.

2- Tire Load Index

For your safety, it is critical to understand that each tire brand/model/size all have different load index. The load index is the maximum weight (per tire) that your tire can support safely:

TIRE LOAD INDEX TABLE
Load IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)
7585210118191263748
7688210218741273858
7790810319291283968
7893710419841294079
7996310520391304189
8099210620941314289
81101910721491324409
82104710822051334541
83107410922711344674
84110211023371354806
85113511124031364938
86116811224691375071
87120111325351385203
88123511426011395357
89127911526791405512
90132311627561415677
91135611728331425842
92138911829101436008
93143311929981446173
94147712030861456393
95152112131971466614
96156512233071476779
97160912334171486844
98165312435271497165
99170912536381507385
1001764    

Remember that the weight each tire sees is subject to change with time; for example as the payload change (cargo) or when going steep incline the rear tires support most of the weight. There are many variables to take account of, so in doubt select new tires with load index no lower than the factory tires. In fact, most tire shop will not accept to install tires with lower load index, for liability reasons.

LT tires (light truck) have two load index. The first load index is for single tire. The second load index is for dual tires. The reason the capacity for two tires is lower than a single tire is to make sure that the vehicle can continue to carry the load should one tire fail.

3- Ford Transit Factory Tires

Our 2016 Ford Transit came equipped with stock tires Continental VancoFourSeasons 235/65/R16 121 C.

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…

Note the “121” load index.

VancoFourSeasons

4- Ford Transit - BFGoodrich KO2 Compatible larger tires

We can’t possibly go through all the different brand/model on the market, so we’ll stick to what we know for now:

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: Take note of the “115” load index… this is much lower than factory tires. We DID ran these tires at first for a few years without issues, but because the load index is so low, we wouldn’t recommend 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.

5- What sizes did we actually try?

5.1- LT225/75R16/E 115 S

Wear Out

We got 45k miles out of them, that’s 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)

Load Index

We ran these tires for a few years without issues, but we wouldn’t really recommend them because the “115” load index is much lower than the “121” factory tires.

5.2- 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.

Edit December 2020: We are installing a new set of the KO2, same size: LT255/70R16.

Wear Out

We got 32K miles out of them, which is less than our previous tires. But this time, we did NOT include the spare tire in the rotation (so less mileage was expected). In addition, we could have kept them longer but we wanted new tires for the start of our skiing season. Driving in snow/ice with worn out tires isn’t ideal for safety…

Clearance

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

BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires

6- Good To Know

6.1- 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 🙂

6.2- 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…

7- 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…

- That's it folks, hope that helps! -

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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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175 thoughts on “Ford Transit All-Terrain Larger Tires Upgrade”

  1. Thanks for all the great info! I ordered. 2021 AWD Long 350, do you know of the 255/70/R16 will work on AWD? Thanks!

  2. Great info! I have the VanCompass topo lift which they claim can accommodate max 265/75/16 and I’m in the process of buying a summer (off-road) wheel/tire set with wider wheels as my factory 6.5″ wheels have narrower winter tires mounted.

    I’m considering 255/70/17 tires on 7.5″ wheel width. Given your setup, would you anticipate any issue with running a wider wheel? I have 1.5″ spacers that I may or may not use depending on wheel offset selected, but let’s assume the new wheels have factory offset for sake of argument. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing all your awesome knowledge!

    We have 2017 LWB European production and they come with the plastic wheel well liners.
    It was a bit mission to get these tires legal in Germany, but with a bit of patience and determination, everything is possible.

    There were 2 main challenges along this path:

    1. get the tachometer adjusted to the new circumference (and certified by TUV test)
    2. get a clearance of 6+mm in all turning positions under simulated full load

    While you originally posted that “there’s no “unofficial” fix that you know of”

    It can be adjusted by tapping into the board computer and a bit of black magic – check forscan.org if you’re up for a hacking mission.

    We couldn’t go this way directly, had to find someone who can do it with a certificate test on top – tachodoktor.de might help if you live close to Berlin.

    On getting a bit more clearance – one option would be to get the liners out, but that’s always the last option.

    There is a metal bracket on the bottom of the liner that can be shifted by cca 3.5cm backward. That gives an additional 1cm space between the tire and liner when roughly half turned (min clearance in this case)

    Safe ride on the roads and off the beaten paths ☮

  4. Hey Guys,
    Your site is awesome! My wife and I are currently in the planning stage and our research is leading us toward the Ford Transit as well. It looks like we’ll need the extended version like you have to fit us and our daughter somewhat comfortably. We are planning to have the van converted to be a 4X4 by Quigley as we like to get as far off the beaten path as we feel comfortable doing. We are a little worried about the extended length being an issue with steeper ascents. Have you had any trouble with this? I’ve seen some posts about adding casters to the rear bumper and a skid plate but am unsure if this is necessary. It would be great to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks for all the amazing and thorough resources!

  5. Hi I absolutely love this site! It’s one of the best accidental discoveries I’ve made in a long time. Thank you for all the effort you have put into thoroughly documenting your van project. The tires on my Transit 350 passenger van are nearing the end of their lives and I will be installing 255/70 r16 KO2s instead of the 235/70 r16 KO2s that I had been running my for sure! I’m excited to get another inch of diameter. I have one question though about something else on you van however. In some photographs you appear to have a red vehicle recovery hook under the front of your van. I am looking for something exactly like this. Would you mind sharing about it? Thanks!

  6. We are having a hard time fitting the spare tire under our 2020 awd transit now. We ended up with the BFG K02 tires like you recommended and the ultra black rims that fit the awd models and love them. Any tricks to get the new spare tire in better?

    • The spare fits fine for the extended-length van, but it doesn’t for the “normal length” from what I heard. Some people take some air off the tire, but of course you’ll need to carry a compressor if you do that…

  7. Hello Isabelle and Antoine,

    Now that you’ve had your K02’s in the 255 for awhile now, have you experienced any rubbing? or have you had to modify anything to accommodate the new size? I have a 2021 AWD coming and I’d like to upgrade my tires for where I live (Vermont). Thank you for all the information you provide on your site.

    • We did no modifications and got no rubbing. If you have the wheel well liners option, then it might sometimes rub form what I heard (on very specific occasion, like going down a steep hill while braking and turning), but it’s not an issue.

  8. Have you had any transmission issues pushing the larger 255 KO2s? Do you have the ecoboost engine and a 3.23 gear ratio? Would love to know, thanks for all your work!

  9. Looking at getting the 255/70 R16s you suggested as winter tires for a 2020 350 passenger transit. What tire pressure do you run with yours? If you run softer than the high factory pressure does it drive the tpms crazy? Thanks!
    And, no it’s not an AWD 2020 unfortunately, just the stock RWD. If only, right?

    • Please not that the KO2 are good all-around tires (mud, snow, etc), but if you’re looking for winter tire specifically and not use them in summer, I’d look for true winter tires (not All-Terrain tires). That being said we use our KO2 in winter and they work.

      We run them per door sticker pressure (55 front, 71 rear I believe). Not softer because we’re almost up max weight.

  10. Hey Guys!
    I am purchasing a 2017 Ford Transit Extended this week! They are driving it on the Coquihalla up to me from Vancouver, so they need to put on some winter tires. I am going to order these thx to your recommendation! Do you drive on these tires year round or do you swap out for regular tires after winter?
    Thanks so much. Your site is amazing! I will be ordering as much as I can with your affiliate links. 🙂

    • Dedicated winter tires perform better in cold weather, so that option is preferable if you can. Because we live in our van and we don’t have storage, we run the KO2 all year.

      cheers!

  11. Have you been able to keep using snow chains with the LT255/70R16/E 120 S tires? I’m getting the K02’s installed next week and wondering if snow chains will still fit. I’m currently in Vermont, with the possibility of real snow, but back home in CA there are many places that require chains (most Californians don’t have snow tires or 4x4s). Thanks! Your site is really the best info I’ve found!

      • So you bought different size chains for the 255/70’s? The chain review photos show the 225/75’s. Just wondering the same thing as Marisa- can I use the 255/70r16 with the 255 chains? Thanks

      • Hello,

        Thanks for all your tips and reviews! You merit any and all commissions from affiliate purchases.

        I followed your advise on the BFGs and they worked perfectly on my 2016 350 XLT. Had the same question about clearance on the chains. On a related note, what tire pressures are you running both on and off (daily) the snow?

        My rig is more family oriented (4 growing kids) with 2nd and 5th row seats removed so it is a bit lighter on local outings but pretty loaded when road tripping with large coolers and gear.

        I also added an all aluminum Alurack and matching rear door ladder. Super light, strong and minimal to no effect on MPG (unlike the BFGs which took a 3-4 mile hit [did you experience same?]). Rack mounts to factory holes in roof and ladder is no drill mounts on door (for easy removal when needed). Built and installed my self in a day. Paid extra $400 for charcoal grey power coating (did not care foe anodized aluminum color/look). Have a Thule Atlantis 2100 cargo box right of center with space for 4 Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks left of center which would have otherwise taken precious cargo space inside.

        Looking at LoLo Racks vertical six bike hitch carrier next once I can confirm clearance to open rear doors.

        Please keep the tips/reviews coming and safe travels!

  12. Hi All,

    I’m converting my Transit 150 and tried putting Falken Wildpeaks on. I chose the 255/70/R16 to avoid the pinch weld issue. However the tire depot I watched as the technician couldn’t get the fronts to fit as the sidewalls touched the struts.

    I brought it home with two new rear tires and the old fronts… I tried again at home, they DO FIT, however note that the clearance goes from around 1.5cm with 235/65/R16 to around 0.5cm with 255/70/R16.

    I changing them for 245/75/R16, this isn’t enough clearance for my liking.

    Thanks to FAROUTRIDE for all the info!

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