The Firestone Destination M/T Tires - Tire Test
When The Going Gets Tough
Firestone has been synonymous with performance for more than 100 years. The company still boasts the most Indy 500 wins on record at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and it's the current tire of choice for Indy Racing League competitors.
So when the company set out to design an all-new mud-terrain tire, performance was one of the top criteria. The result of the company's efforts is the Destination M/T. Initially designed to be a rugged workhorse tire for construction workers at remote sites, it quickly became apparent that the new tire would appeal to the hard-core trail enthusiast who finds no terrain too tough to challenge.
"We designed the Destination M/T to be a very tough, heavy-duty, maximum-traction tire for off-road work-truck applications, such as use in gas or oil fields or by border patrols, park rangers, power-company fleets, ranchers, farmers, or just for fun," commented Shu Ishibashi, executive vice president for Bridgestone/Firestone North America.
The company claims the Destination M/T is the first Firestone light-truck tire to be built with the company's exclusive UNI-T (Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technology) technology for better wet handling and braking. In layman's terms, UNI-T construction is a combination of technologies that improve three primary factors of a tire's performance: the casing, the bead, and the tread.
One of the core technologies is a Computer Optimized Components System (CO-CS) that uses computer-design techniques to determine the optimal combination of tread design, casing shape, materials, and construction methods for a particular application.
As a result of this three-pronged approach to tire design and construction, the Destination M/T features a special O-bead that eliminates overlapped joints in the bead assembly, which affects the way the tire interacts with the rim, providing for a rounder assembly and improved stability; this is especially important when running rockcrawling pressures less than 10 psi. The UNI-T technology also uses long-link carbon, an advanced form of carbon black, to create a stronger tire that's better able to resist cracking, chipping, tearing, and excessive wear.
Firestone also combines its patented UNI-T technology with the company's DMR Max Traction Light Truck Tire Technologies to create a stronger tire with maximum traction and built-in protection against damage. The Destination M/T uses the company's Dura-Loc 3.0 construction, which combines three full polyester body plies with two high-tensile steel cord belts, along with a full nylon-cap ply for resistance to hazards.
In terms of tread design, the Destination M/T uses Firestone's Extraction Traction over-the-shoulder tread and lug design for maximum traction on rocks and mud. With a 23-degree pitch on the lugs, taken directly from the company's tractor-tire design, and specially designed tread element shapes and angles, the tire has excellent self-cleaning properties in both mud and snow. The M/T also features Firestone's Rim Guard off-road protector rib, which helps protect the wheel by deflecting off-road debris from between the tire bead and rim area, making for a tighter bead fitment to the rim. For snow country, the Destination M/T is also pinned for studs.
The Destination M/T lays down a fairly square footprint and features more rubber between the bottom of the skidplate and the steel belts to protect the body plies. It also features additional rubber between the outside sidewall and body plies and has a high void to help clean debris from the tread. The lack of tread siping provides cut resistance and long wear, while the 40-pitch-length design helps keep things quiet on-road.
The Firestone Destination M/T is currently available in 11 sizes, including Lt-metric and flotation, and has loading ratings of C, D, and E to accommodate a wide range of vehicle fitments. The Destination M/T also comes with a choice of black-wall or raised-white lettering.
We managed to rack up some on- and off-road miles on a new set of 33x12.50R15 Destination M/Ts mounted on polished 15x8-inch KMC five-spoke wheels. Our guinea pig for the test was a '91 Jeep Wrangler with 4 inches of lift. We received compliments on how great-looking the tire and wheel package was from the moment they were added. On-road, the M/Ts tend to make some noise, but it's no more appreciable than any other tire in the mud-terrain category. The ride was fairly smooth at 32 psi, and cornering was precise given the size of the sidewall and the fact the tire was mounted on a narrow 8.5-inch rim.
With a wide contact patch and wraparound tread-lug design, general off-roading in some of our favorite places was ridiculously easy, even with street pressures of 32 psi. But with the Destination M/T lowered to 12 psi, traction and ride improved dramatically, although there wasn't much sidewall ballooning since our test mule was a relatively light vehicle.
We motored the Jeep through thick sand, over rocks, and through some mud. The tires self-cleaned as advertised, and with approximately 10 psi per tire, the Destination M/Ts clawed their way over rocks, thanks in part to the aggressive shoulder-lug design, which also protected the tire when aired down.
All in all, we found the Destination M/T an excellent value for the money. The tires are fairly quiet and stable on-road and good-looking and great-performing off-road.
|FIRESTONE DESTINATION M/T|