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Old 12th May 2009, 01:41   #1
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Default Toyo OP/DH Development story

TOYO - The OP/DH Development Story

By Shahid Ahmad ( Desertfox ) on team BHP

It all began in 1999 when I bought a Toyota Landcruiser Prado in Feb. The UAE dealers were also distributors for Toyo tyres but the OE tyres in all Landcruisers and Prados were Dunlop Grandtrek.

Toyo wanted to develop a tyre for the Landcruiser. They had a product, Toyo Tranpath in 275 for Landcruisers and 265 for Prado but Landcruiser owners did not favor them. On the smaller 4x4 the Toyota RAV 4 Toyo 410 did come as OE.

Al Futtaim motors asked me whether I would be interested in doing a tyre trial for them. I agreed. They gave me a free set of 5 x 265/70/R 16 Toyo Tranpath radials.

I used to drive them to work everyday and on the weekends drove in the desert deflated to about 16 psi. Every month I had to take the vehicle to the Al Futtaim motors Tyre & Battery division where a supervisor would measure the tread wear, tyre slippage on the rim while deflated, ask about the driving experience, braking, road noise, tyre boom etc.

After two months an Engineer from Toyo tyres came to visit Dubai. He said he would like to go on my weekend Desert Trip.

I took him with me and another friend in a Landcruiser to a 50 km drive in medium difficulty desert, but the ambient temperature was over 50 Deg C. It was the month of April. He did some tests and made observations on the tarmac, while braking, deflated in the desert, on climbs ( DUne bashing ) sharp steep descents, took the tyre pressure reading many times, observed slippage.

I returned these tyres after six months and 28,000 kms of running. They Air frieghted it to Japan. Al Futtaim motors gave me a set of Yokohama Geolander 275/70/R16 meanwhile as a gift to drive. It was a set of test tyres they had purchased.

In 2002, Al Futtaim Motors called me and asked whether I would like to get involved in a tyre development project with Toyo design engineers. I agrred of course.

The marketing team came from Riyadh ( Middle East ) and the engineering team came from Japan.

We ventured out in the desert again to show them the terrain. Next day we went to the mountain wadis.

Finally we held a meeting at the scenic Hatta Fort hotel and discussed the parameters.

What was required.

A 275 and 265 size tyres for SUVs and light trucks.
The customer in mind was a professional who does 90 % of his driving on urban tarmac and highway and goes off road on weekends to Desert and Mountain Wadis.
The Idea was to develop a Dueler that would come as OE on Landcruiser and Prado and would handle well on the tarmac and perform with distinction offroad.

What were the best qualities of all competition.

Dunlop Grandtrek - Long lasting. Performed well over 50,000 km on Landcruisers.

Michelin (xx prior to Synchome ) - Excellent road ride and braking. Preferred by Arabs on Landcruisers.

Bridestone Desert Duelers - the established tough tyre. Came on Nissan Patrols as O/E. Users preferred the raised white wall lettering. Also Dunlop Grandtrek TG28 had it. It was an important marketing aspect.
Sumitomo Shaheen - Good compromise between vertical grooves for the desert ( sand terrain ) at the same time it had some cross cuts on the tread for city braking. SIAM or Dunlop S/T preferred on 4x4 pick ups that remained permanently on camel farms were not comfortable driving with these tyres in the desert.
A new BF Goodrich Macadma tyre that was unidirectional had also appeared in the market.

What was the ultimate off road enthusiast useing.

Mickey Thompson Baja Radials. Why ? Tough sidewalls, therefore could be deflated down to 8 psi.

We decided to take the best from all of these tyres and develop an ultimate Dueler that would be a champion on road and off road in line with the Landcruiser product appeal.

In 2001 the first prototype was flown in from Japan. I fitted it on my Landcruiser Prado LWB and drove it for 10,000 Km. Every two months three other sets came in with slightly different parameters and I tried them all for 10,000 km, my observations, experiences, driving pressures from 16 psi to 8 psi and other details were noted every time.

Finally in the summer of 2002 Toyo announced that the tyre was ready for an approval test. The first set was sent to me by Air Freight. Al Futtaim motors took my vehicle for half a day, gave me a test drive Landcruiser for the day, fitted the new Toyo Open COuntry OP/DH 275/70/R16 and we were ready for the trial run.

A week later, a team of four engineers arrived from Japan, it was hot summer. The month of May when sand temperatures got as high as 65 deg C in the Afternoon.

I went shopping with Al Futtaim Motors team, and purchased six sets of Alloy wheel rims of 8x16 size. I was also given a generous entertainment allowance for the Japanese visitors.

We set off in the morning with a service truck and mobile tyre serviceing unit.

The convoy also had four test drive landcruiser, each fitted with

Dunlop Grandtrek
Toyo old model Tranpath
BFG Macadama
Bridestone Desert Dueler

The trials began on the highway itself. I kept answering questions from the Japanese gentlemen. Every anwer I gave while driving was recorded, cross verified, cross examined with reasons and inference.

We found a new underpass under construction for future, two roundabouts were already made for future road works. The place was abandoned.

We did some turns of the rounabout at 80 kmph and did braking tests first at 30psi and then at 16 psi.

Then we hit the desert.

We tested the tyres at 16 psi, 12 psi and 8 psi.

We climbed dunes, ran 140 kmph on sand tracks, did sharp descents, did trick driving dune crest sutting where not more than two or three wheels touch the ground any time. It is like dancing with your vehicle on the rim of dunes surrounding a deep sand valley.

The service team changed the tyres so that we could try out all.

Toyo OP/DH won hands down.

We tested for.

Sidewall strenght
Sand holding
Sand gripping on descent
sand flotation

Wadi bounce test

Tarmac braking
Road noise
Sceething test
braking distance
wet braking

TOYO Op/DH was.

275/75/R 16

With WHite wall lettering that said OP/DH 4x4
Had five steel wires reinforced in the sidewalls for deflated operations
Had five vertical grooves in the tread for optimal sand flotation
Had a tread pattern designed for optimal confort.
It had excellent beads to prevent slippage on low tyre pressure
Had a spped rating of over 180 kmph.

We drove in real tough desert, doing climbs, rolling down ruts at 12 psi. But the tyres held.

THe trials were pronouced sucessful

A week later a second set arrived and was fitted on my Landcruiser. THe trial set was flown back to Japan.

I was asked to drive it for another 5,000 km within the next 15 days.

I made three trips to Liwa, the empty quarters accompanied by the Dubai Desert Club members, where we drove night and day. A Toyo engineer was always there with us.

In September 2002 it was announced the tyre is ready.

The first commercial batch arrived in October and we had a press conference and launch party in a Desert Safari camp.

I was given extreme honour by the Toyo team and in December went to Japan on their invitation to visit the Toyo plant.

They said we will develop more tyres. I agreed. It is great satisfaction to drive in the Desert with a set of tyres in which you are involved in Development.

Very soon a lot of other club members changed to Toyo. it was a very sucessful product in the entire Middle East.
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Last edited by desertfox : 12th May 2009 at 01:55.
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Old 12th May 2009, 16:32   #2
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This is what I call Research and Development.
Toyo should enter India now.

@df: I think they're available in the grey market.

Last edited by nitrous : 12th May 2009 at 16:36.
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Old 12th May 2009, 16:34   #3
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I wonder if any Toyo products are imported and sold in India ?
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Old 30th July 2009, 10:42   #4
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Default Wow !!

I just ran into this thread while searching for Yoko.

I moved to Singapore recently from Bangalore (on a 2 year Employment pass) and the first thing that I bought here within a month was a 2nd hand Nissan Sunny 1.6 M. Not a fancy vehicle by any stretch of imagination but still in a different league than my 2 Santros that I drove for nearly 9 years in India :-)

As it turns out Sunny already has a bad reputation for Fuel Economy in Singapore and so I was rather concerned when I realized later that the car has +2 Upsized tires, which look beautiful but I feared must drag the FE down further.

Original tyres on this car are supposed to be 185/ 65 R15 but the previous owner has changed the rim and put in Yoko Proxes T1R tyres with 205/50 R16 specs. I had no clue before today about Yoko.
PROXES T1R | Toyo Tires

Initially I was toying with the idea of using some trading websites to go back to stock tires but now seems like I don't have to trade in these tyres after all :-) Not sure why would anyone put in such high performance tyres in a sedate car like Sunny !!

PS: On a related note, the first full tank FE was 13.8 km/ltrs, which is not bad at all for a sedan like Sunny

Tried to upload the real pics of the tire but can't do it somehow from office

One question - how to find out the correct tire pressure for these tires. I am yet to do my first air filling in Singapore :-)
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