Often you’ll see dually trucks driving down the road towing large fifth-wheel campers or towing a flatbed with heavy equipment. It has long been known that dual rear wheels provide better stability and weight capacity than single rear wheels. But with dual rear wheels, there are also some disadvantages. Enter one solution: super single dually tires. What are those?
Let’s take a look and learn more about why some owners are installing singles in place of their duals.
What Is a Super Single Dually?
Dually trucks are heavy-duty trucks with two rear wheels on each side. Usually, you’ll notice the rear fender wells stick out farther to cover both tires. These dually trucks tow heavy loads either in the truck’s bed or behind the truck.
➡ Looking for more info on dual rear-wheel trucks? Check out our deep-dive here: Dually Truck: What Is it and Do You Need One for Towing?
A super single replaces the double rear wheels found on each side of a standard dually truck with single wide-base tires. These tires can replace two wheels, which means an 18-wheeler semi-truck can become a 10-wheeler semi-truck. For trucks and off-road vehicles, switching to a super single dually improves off-road capabilities. This is because on uneven terrain one tire of a dually is frequently off the ground and traction is greatly reduced. It also eliminates the chances of rocks getting stuck between the double rear wheels found on traditional dually trucks.
Super singles are not just big tires like you see on some trucks, they are big tires that can handle the weight and are significantly different. If your looking for big tires for aesthetics or just off-road performance, super singles are most likely not what you’re looking for.
Do They Make Super Singles for Dually Pickups?
Manufacturers won’t put super singles on dually trucks. However, owners have put on aftermarket tires.
One Ford F-450 owner, Mike Brandl, shares his experience with his super single dually in an article in Truck Camper Magazine. He bought Goodyear G275 MSA 335/80/R20 military tires that are 41″ tall and 14″ wide. Their speed rating is over 80 mph, and each tire has a capacity of over 6,300 lbs. They weigh over 200 lbs each, which is much heavier than the 44-lb stock tires. He believes these tires provide a smoother ride with his truck camper. These are the same tires we run on our Ram 5500.
Another owner wanted super singles put on his King Ranch dually. Extensive fender modifications accommodate the larger size because he had no interest in lifting the truck. An additional modification included removing the rear block to lower the truck a bit and create a better distance from left to right in the wheel hub. He added a new set of Bridgestone tires 39.5″ tall to the front to match the height of the super single tires.
We own a flatbed Ram 5500 that was originally a dually truck. It was converted to a super single running continental agricultural tires that chose to replace with military-grade super singles. The Continental tires were great for off-roading but were loud going down the highway and didn’t have a high speed or weight rating. The new military-grade tires are better on softer soils. Each tire is rated at 7,000 lbs and will still hold this rating even when the pounds per square inch (PSI) drop into the teens because they are on bead lock rims.
Are They Better Than Duals?
In theory super, single tires can perform the same task as duals. They have much higher weight ratings and can carry the load with just one tire in place of two. From a functionality perspective they perform about the same.
However, depending on what type of traveling you’re doing, super singles may perform better. If you’re overlanding or boondocking in remote locations and driving on rough terrain consistently, choosing to install super singles and doing the modifications might be worth it.
However, you’ll wear them down faster than dual wheels and they usually have lower speed ratings. It’s also important to weigh the pros and cons. Super singles are much more expensive. So even if they do out-perform dual rear wheels, it may not be cost-effective for some travelers.
What Are the Benefits of a Super Single Dually?
Although only aesthetic, many owners like the look of a super single dually. But the overall performance is the biggest benefit. According to Truck Camper Magazine, “In the semi-truck world, super singles can reduce rolling resistance and weight of a truck and trailer and have been shown to improve fuel economy by up to 3%.”
Factory 32-inch diameter, 6-inch wide, 10-ply dual rear wheel tires can handle large loads or tow large RVs on many dually trucks. But when upgraded to single 41-inch diameter, 12-inch wide, 22-ply military tires, the off-road performance is much better.
EarthRoamer, a popular overlanding vehicle maker, claims that super single dually trucks have better tracking for off-road capabilities. The military-grade tires also have a higher weight rating per tire.
In addition, the ride in a dually truck can be rough, especially when not towing. A super single dually will have a better feel going down the interstate. Plus, rocks can easily get stuck between two rear tires. Super singles eliminate this problem.
This doesn’t mean that super singles are the right answer for everyone, though. Like in the King Ranch example above, there can be extensive modifications and complexities to converting from a dually to a super single dually.
What Are the Disadvantages?
Upgrading to super singles is expensive. Our tires alone cost $800 a piece not including rims. The cost to modify our truck to a super single came in close to $20,000.
Another disadvantage is the traction. Although super single dually tires perform better off-road and on softer terrain like sand, dually tires tend to perform better on highways in wet conditions.
Another disadvantage is lifting the truck. The King Ranch owner above didn’t want to install a lift, so extensive modifications were needed. Our Ram 5500 was lifted 4 inches which make an already tall truck harder to get into. So super single dually tires raise the center of gravity of the truck.
Pro Tip: Make sure you understand how lifting a truck can affect its towing capabilities before making the switch. Learn more here: Can You Tow an RV with a Lifted Truck?
Balancing the tires is also a challenge. Most tire shops don’t have a balancer strong enough to fit the tire size, so it can take several different trips to find a place to get them properly balanced. Because of this we need to run Centramatic balancing rings.
This is also true for installing a new tire. Tire shops don’t carry super single dually tires. So a spare tire is your only lifesaver. You’ll have to find a tire shop that deals with semi-trucks and dump trucks to perform any maintenance and repairs.
Are Super Singles Good on Snow?
This question is up for debate among drivers. Some have had no problems in the snow, while others have experienced challenges. Founders M/T 305/70R19.5 super singles feature “a tread design optimized for clearing mud/sand/snow.” But drivers also give horror stories of sliding around with their super single dually tires (not necessarily made by Founders).
How Big Are Super Single Tires?
We currently run Goodyear G275 MSA 335/80/R20 military tires. As mentioned above, they’re 41″ in diameter and 12″ in width. This is about 9″ larger in diameter and twice as wide as standard factory tires on most dually trucks.
Farmers also use super singles on their farm equipment. In North Dakota, 17-inch wide super singles are common to help carry heavy loads of grain or beets. Tractors may not need as many modifications as a truck, but as mentioned above, a lift or extensive conversions are needed to accommodate the larger tire size on trucks.
Is a Super Single Dually Worth It?
You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of installing super singles on your truck. Some owners think it’s worth it. However, it’s an involved process and also expensive. As with all types of tires, there are advantages and disadvantages. So consider where you travel and how often you travel before making the change.
Personally, I would only go with super singles if you plan to carry a lot of weight over offroad terrain regularly. This is really the only way to justify the cost and downsides to super singles.
Want a super single dually but not interested in doing modifications? Consider buying a used vehicle that’s already been converted. Here’s How to Find Used Overland Vehicles for Sale (And Where We Found Ours).
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