The tire grooving is the process of
cutting new patterns into your lugs to make the tire grip, flex and
sometimes even wear better. It's pretty common to see the
Swampers with every center lug cut into two so this was the pattern
I thought I would try.
The tire groover, purchased from Afco
Racing (got it for X-mas). Basically a giant soldering
iron with an adjustable blade attached to the end of the copper tip.
Different width blades are available, I used the .29" one.
It took about an hour and a half to
do all 4 of my tires. Since my tires are pretty worn down with
only about a quarter inch of tread depth I cut all the way thru the
tread blocks. With new tires you don't want to go all the way,
a quarter inch should suffice. I let the groover warm up for
about 10 minutes. Since it needs to be held upright when
warming up (according to the directions) I clamped the handle in a
vice when I wasn't actually using the tool. The actual cutting
was pretty effortless, the secret being keeping the copper tip in
contact with the tire ahead of the blade. This pre-heats the
rubber and makes the blade slice right thru. I did all 4 tires
with one blade.
Testing. I tried climbing this
waterfall on the Lost World trail before grooving my tires.
The easier line is to stay high on the rocks like in the first
picture but after 5 or 6 tries I could not get the tires to grip.
They were trying to climb both front and rear so the Zuk would pivot
around the two obstacles and push the back end towards the big hole
at the bottom of the fall. Eventually I was forced to drive
into the hole, which put me in a pretty off-cambered situation.
I had to hook a strap to the bumper with some people tugging on it
to bring the body back down and keep it from hitting the rock wall
on my right.
I tried the same line with the
grooved tires and no slippage whatsoever. I was pretty
surprised. On the flat surface of the waterfall, the added
grooves didn't seem to help and I still spun all four. I
eventually made it to the top by steering to the right and getting
the rear tire on the passenger side out of a small depression in the
rock. I'll be running Highway to Hell again soon to see if
some of the climbs I had problems with last time are any different.
One downside to grooving your tires
is you increase the chances for tread to get ripped off, known as
chunking. These cuts occurred on Intimidator/Upper Firebird.
Actually I am not to sure these cuts would not have occurred even
with a solid tread block. But I have seen people cut their
lugs into 3 parts which might be a little too much if you travel
over sharps rocks a lot. take your local trails and rock types
into consideration before cutting.