I have been requested by Nitto to review their Mud Grappler Tire.
Nitto has provided me with set of 5 Mud Grappler tires, 33X12.50X17.
Having previously reviewed the Nitto Dune Grappler Sand Terrain tires, I am looking forward to trying out the most aggressive tire in the Nitto line. Like its Dune Grappler kin, the Mud Grappler is an "E" rated tire, with a 3-ply sidewall for strength.
I have installed the tires on ProComp 7089 Series wheels, and used DynaBead ceramic balancing beads - same set up I used when testing the Dune Grapplers.
These are awesome looking tires !!! Where the Dune Grapplers had a mild tread design (engineered toward sand use), and were adorned with a flame design that caused more scorn than adoration, the Mud Grapplers are a whole different ball game. THe tread design is extremely aggressive, with large lugs and lots of tread gaps to help keep the tread clean. With a "lizard-skin" pattern between the large sidewall lugs, and claw imprints on the tread, there is nothing "street-looking" about the Nitto Mud Grappler. So far, nothing but positive reation to the appearance of these tires.
First trip was a long, high speed freeway trip. One noticable difference from the Dune Grapplers, and every other tire I've used in the last 10 years, is the obvious road hum. Now, some tires, like Super Swampers, have a very annoying rumble when driving at speed - but these Nitto Mud Grappler's sound more like a low volume Turbo-jet plane. I actually like the sound - even the way the hum fades like a plane decelerating on landing approach. It is not loud enough to be distracting, and it didn't resonate into the FJ, but you definitely hear it. So, time will tell if this gets more annoying as the tire wears down. But for now, I don't think it's a big issue, as the sound is kind of fun.
The ride seems to be much better than I would have expected from such an aggressive tire - no wobble, no vibration, no handling or braking issues at all so far. While I'm sure the DynaBeads have a lot to do with the glass-like, vibration-free freeway ride, it takes a lot of tread design tuning to keep a largelug tire like this from having any resonant wobble at speed, and I think Nitto has done their homework to allow the Mud Grappler to be an acceptable daily driver.
Next test is to see how the Nitto M/G does in its' designated area - off road.