View Full Version : Driving a Lightning in winter
09-29-2003, 07:14 PM
Has anyone diven their Lightning thru a Midwest / Chicago winter?
I am facing my first winter with my daily driver 2003 lightning.
I know I need different tires and have located stock F150 take-off wheels and tires.
I am having flashbacks to when I drove a 1985 Mustang GT for a particularly rough winter. I have driven 4X4s ever since then, but finally gave in to Lightning Lust this spring.
09-30-2003, 10:28 AM
I drive mine all winter. It's an NJ winter but last winter was retty rough here. We had Chicago style winters with 20+ inches of snow, single digit temps and howling wind. Truck handled all of it with ease...as soon as I put the snow tires on!
Anyway, truck was fine with snow tires as long as you remember you have almost 400 horses under your right foot. I'm trying something different this year though. I was looking at snow tires and on a whim I decided to check out the all-terrain truck tires. I found that alot of all-terrain truck tires are rated for snow just as well as snow tires. A few are even rated better than the best snow tire on snow AND ice.
So my plan is to get a set of Pirelli Scorpion A/T's in the 235/70R-16 size of the snow tire. They have a more aggressive tread and will probably look funny on a Lightning but safety is mor eimportant than looks. The good thing about the A/T tires is that they are rated at like 40-60K miles where the snow tires are half that. The A/T's are HR speed rated where most snow tires are S or Q rated. The A/T tires are all season too so dry weather performance doesn't suffer like it does on snow tires and the wet weather and off-road performance is superb. At 98 dollars a pop, they are looking like a better deal than the snow tires.
So I am going to try them. To alleviate the issue of goofy looks, I'll get out-lined white letters on the sidewalls. I'm going to paint my standard F-150 steelies black and put on the chrome F-150 center caps and 16 inch chrome trim rings. That will give it a Rallye Wheel look...hopefully. Then it will have function, safety and somewhat decent looks.
But as for performance in foul weather, it is not as good as a 4x4 but as long as you have a good set of tires, you won't have problems. I have taken my Lightning many places that other owners cringe at and it handles all of it well. Even with the lowered ride height and performance gear suspension, it is still an F-150 and it still is "Built Ford Tough"! Mine has been through rain, sleet, snow, hail, ice, mud, sand, rocks and pavement. It has been camping in the mountains of Pennsylvania and the forests of New Jersey, it has been on the farms of Michigan and Delaware, it has been to the beach and to the city. I have towed everything from boats to couches. I've hauled wood, stone, dirt, fertilizer, plants, engines, transmissions, axles, Christmas presents, tables, chairs and even a totem pole! It's a Lightning but it is still a truck and owners should not be afraid to use it as a truck.
09-30-2003, 11:51 PM
Way to tell it like it is john !!!:)
10-01-2003, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence!
I had no intentions of babying this truck when I bought it, just taking good care of it. I saw it as a near perfect compromise between the sports car I wanted and the truck I needed.
Mine has been to the Lumberyard and the Dragstrip too. Although I did cringe when it was hailed on, but she came out undented. I figure why save it for the next guy, I'm going to enjoy every minute for myself. So far it still puts a smile on my face every time I drive it.
10-01-2003, 09:22 PM
Just stay off the throttle and get good snow tires.
You will really appreciate the Goodyear F1s when the dry weather returns
10-03-2003, 03:24 AM
Yeah but you will really appreciate the cost of a "normal" sized tire after you pull the F1's off in favor of a snow tire.
10-03-2003, 08:10 AM
I found that out, when I pinched one of my F1s on a driveway curb. Never even saw a cut, just felt the air hissing out the sidewall. The worst part was, I had been thinking about asking the local Goodyear dealer about adding road hazzard coverage to the tires, but never had the time to stop. They will do it for $25 per tire. The new one has full replacement, the other 3 are pro-rated.
I will tell you though, I am still shocked as to how much traction those tires provide. My old V6 Ranger spun its 30 X 10 tires more off the line. I was worried that there was something wrong with the Lightning until it ran 13.9 at the dragstip.
Anyway, I got a set of 4, new takeoff, stock F150 polished aluminum wheels with 235/70/16 BFGoodrich Long Trail TAs and centercaps for $430 on E-bay
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