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Tyres for the Citroen H, HY, HZ van
You may read that the H van Metric 17 r 400 Tyres are no longer available? This is not true there are still good stocks of the metric 17r400 tyres, but they are very expensive.
The 19 r 400 tyre is no longer available, last manufactured about 15 years ago.
You will read on some websites that it is illegal to fit a 16" tyre to a H van Metric 400mm wheel. However, not one of these sites actually quotes either the Law that they are referring to, nor points the reader in the direction of where to find that law.
Our own research finds that Michelin, manufacturers of the BMW 525 shod Metric tyre/Wheel combination, have recently advised that the fitment of the nearest equivalent Inch size is perfectly acceptable.
They have advised that the metric tyre of 230/55/390 can be substituted by a 225/55/16.
This tyre has a difference (of 9mm) between the old BMW metric tyre and the replacement Imperial tyre. Compare this to the Citroen H van which has just a 6mm difference when swapping from Metric to Imperial tyres making it an even more appropriate fitment. Also consider that is just 3mm at each 'side'.
But don't take our word for it, see the last paragraph on this web site written by an expert :
Next time you you are told it is illegal to use 16" tyres on a H van, ask for the details of the law they are quoting, so we can update this page.
We have consulted a true Tyre expert, not a tyre fitter, but a consultant to Tyre manufacturers and he states that so long as a 16" (406mm) tyre is used with the appropriate Inner tube (for extra security in locating the tyre on the rim) it can be safely fitted to a H van 400mm wheel. THE FITMENT OF A TUBE APPLIES EVEN IF THE TYRE IS A TUBELESS TYRE, IT MUST STILL BE USED WITH AN INNER TUBE.
Throughout Europe 16" tyres have been used on H vans for many years, without ANY reported incidents of any nature that we know of.
We recently removed the rubbish Tyre below from a van that had just been Painted and 'restored', note the shiny wheels? These tyres are ready to explode.
WHAT TYRE SIZE IS BEST?
The Citroen H van tyres available from the factory were 17r400 and the taller 19r400. The later tyre gave the effect of raising the gearing with more relaxed cruising/higher top speed. The smaller 17r400 tyres were used to lower the Gearing slightly, for example on the Diesel vans or those with very high payloads.
CAN WE USE A MODERN NONE METRIC TYRE?
The overall diameter of a 19r400 is about 28.4 inches and the 17r400 around 27.3. Width in each case, side wall to side wall is around 190-195mm.
This page is about exploring the possibility of finding a modern heavy duty tyre to substitute the expensive metric tyres and get more relaxed cruising into the bargain.
A 195/75 x 16, which seems to be about 22mm/1 inch lower when placed next to a 19r400 has an overall diameter of 27.5inches. So these are a bit too small as the lower gearing will reduce top speed, increase fuel consumption and noise. They are seemingly a smaller version of a 17r400 tyre.
We have seen a couple of vans fitted with even smaller 185/75 r16 which we think are way too small and must limit the vans top speed to about 45mph??
Someone with an Arca Motorhome (based on a Peugeot J7 chassis built in the 1970's? ) recently wrote :
"On my Arca, tyres are Michelin XCA75 19R400, a metric size now almost unobtainable. Other owners have fitted 16" size tyres with no apparent problems. My new Michelin Agilis 205/75-16 are a very close match".
A 205/75 x 16 with a diameter of 28.1, is slightly smaller than a 19r400, so probably not going to give us the cruising improvement we are after but a lot better than a 17r400 or the 195/75 x 16 that is a common fitment. We are seeing more vans being fitted with the very small 185/75 x 16 which we think are way to small. They also tend to have lighter Load Ratings, so often less suitable for a heavy Catering conversion.
The tyres we like are 205/80 16, slightly taller than a 19r400. When used to replace the 17r400 they have a dramatic effect on top speed, cruising and saves fuel.
They have a load capability greater than the 17r400 yet have softer side walls for quieter more comfortable ride, perfect for a Catering Conversion or a Camper van.
They are also more fuel efficient gaining upto 2 MPG, the fuel saving paying for their cost over the tyre lifetime compared to the 17r400. However they are a tight fit inside the wheel arch on some vans with only just enough clearance in some cases where the lower wheel arch has been pushed in and up by a knock from underneath. Aditionally, the shape of some tyres can be an issue with clearance. The very square Event tyres don't work well, but the rounder Bridgestone Dueller do. You need to be prepared to experiment with the 205/80 x 16.
If you are unsure about the 205/80 x 16, we suggest you play safe and select a slightly smaller 205/75-16 (Goodyear Cargo at £82). Try Camskill : http://www.camskill.co.uk/
This company has budget Tyres from £49 each but don't expect them to be good in the Wet :
They also stock the Inner Tubes you will need.
The early wheels have a bigger valve opening than the later TR13 valve so can cause wear around the valve base leading to premature failure. Use the plastic hole reducers available. The valves must be a good fit in the wheel valve opening.
Note that the H van has got two wheel sizes to match the tyres, 19r400 and 17r400. We have seen very few 19r400 wheel rims.
The 205/75 16 Goodyear seems to fit ok on both rims but make sure that the wheels and Tyres are exactly the same on the front axle. Don't assume that the wheels are the same size.
It is less crucial on the rear axle, but obviously a good idea to match them.
We have seen warnings against using a modern radial on a H van rim, many people use them without issue. You need to do you own research and make your own decision.
We now use 16" modern Michelin Agilis M+S Radial tyres which have the second highest Wet weather grip rating of B and a fairly good Fuel Economy rating of C. The M+S capability means they are slightly better on Grass.
The highly rated Wet Weather grip means the rear tyres don't lock up and slide the van as with some budget tyres. Tread depth is an astonishing 10mm, when some of the new budgets have been only 5 or 6mm. This should give them nearly double the life.
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