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Testing Michelin's XML Military Tires

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on May 1, 2011
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From U.S. military service trucks to Mercedes-Benz Unimogs around the globe, the Michelin XML has for years been the go-to mud-terrain tire for medium-duty trucks. Along with the XL and XZL, the Michelin XML is designed to handle extreme weight and conditions both on- and off-road. Available in diameters from 38 to 54 inches, the XML is one of the largest and heaviest mud-terrains on the market.

With the XMLs mounted to the deuce's original 20-inch wheels, we ran them at nearly single-digit air pressure off-road. A=nd though the deuce uses 6.72 gears to turn the 46-inch Michelins, the 200-pound-plus tire and wheel combo is a noticeable weight gain.

What makes these mega MTs even better is that they can be bought used for a low price. From military surplus yards, eBay auctions, and even Craigslist ads, there's an abundance of the ex-military cleats just waiting to find a new home. A little over a year ago we picked up a used set of 395/85R20 (46x15) XMLs for a song that still had over 85 percent tread left.

Since the XMLs are heavy-duty in every sense, it seemed fitting to place them on an equally HD truck. We found our buddy's bobbed ex-military 21/2-ton deuce-and- a half truck the perfect platform since neither tire nor truck was designed for excessive speed and weight would not be a concern. Though the bobbed deuce hasn't seen too many long jaunts where it resides (the South), it has made for a great local parts runner, light wheeler, and deep-woods recovery vehicle.

Complied here are a few XML things we've learned over the past 12 months.

In loose dirt and mud the XML shines. With an excellent tread stagger and spacing between the lugs, it doesn't take much to spin dirt free.

Michelin XML
Size: 395/85/20 (46x15)
Load Range: G (9,645 lb @ 95 psi)

PhotosView Slideshow


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