You don't have to run a 3-inch body lift and 12-inch springs to run really big tires. In fact, not running a really tall lift with big tires makes for a more stable, better-wheeling vehicle. And if we can squeeze a set of 42s under a Dodge with only 6-inch springs and sagged body bushings, then you Ford and Chevy guys with bigger wheel openings have no excuse.
Sure, there are tradeoffs to massive rubber. Bigger tires are more expensive, they usually ride rougher, they're heavier, and you've got to be willing to cut more sheetmetal than if you were running smaller tires. But if you're a fullsize guy who takes his rig off road (for real) and you've already invested in 1-ton axles, then you're missing out on a whole new realm of off-road enjoyment by sticking to smaller meats.
02. When we hung these All Pro rocker guards, we never anticipated running tires much larg
That's where we were with our Dodge. After the installation of the Dynatrac Dana 60 front axle that appeared on our Web site (www.4wheeloffroad.com), we were letting much of its new off-road potential go unrealized. The 37-inch Boggers worked well, but they offered only 11 inches of clearance under the axles and, at 13 inches wide, didn't do much to help stability at angles. We hooked up with the big tire experts, National Tire and Wheel, who sent us a set of 42-inch Swamper TSLs and Eaton heavy-duty 161/2x93/4 chrome rims. The rims have extra-heavy-duty centers and are actually one of the few rated for use with up to 44-inch tires. National got our tires and wheels to us a week after we hung up the phone with them. No small feat considering the wheels alone are 41 pounds each.
We mounted the tires at home, hacked from the body what we thought we needed for clearance, then headed out to Johnson Valley with the saber saw and a hammer for an on-trail tire test.
Big Tires on a Fullsize
These tires belong on a fullsize. We'll never go back to small tires on this rig again.
•Awesome increases in ground clearance
•Jaw-dropping spectator impact
•Peace of mind that you won't soon be craving bigger tires
•Rougher on-street ride
•Increased chance of breakage
03. Once in Johnson Valley, we articulated the suspension and were amazed to see that our
04. A lot of metal from the front fenders and inner fenderwells had to go. It's even tough
05. A B.F.H. was used to peen back the upper lip of the rear fenders to prevent any contac
06. With the clearance issues solved, it was time to hit the trails. The huge tires rolled
07. We used to constantly get hung up on the thick webs of the Dana 60HD rear when running
08. We got a little cocky with the big tires' ability to push massive boulders around. See
Well, we removed the stereo because we couldn't hear it anymore. These are big tires and the lugs are the size of your fist. You hear each one slap the ground. We've heard they're difficult to balance, so we didn't even try with ours. We set the street pressure at 17 psi, and although they shook violently when cold, once they warmed up and the flat spots went away, we could cruise somewhat comfortably at 75 mph. We are, however, wishing we had 5.13 gears instead of 4.10s.
It's an awesome thing to watch these tires claw, grab, and move boulders the size of armchairs in and out of their way. Since they're 16.5s and we didn't have bead-lock rims, we ran them at 11 psi on the trail. Our theory is that at 12 psi they slip, at 11 psi they grab, and at 10 psi they come off their beads. The added height compared to our old 37s dramatically increased clearance under the diffs, bumpers, and rocker panels. It was like driving a huge flatfender just point it at a boulder patch and idle through.
Another nice thing (believe it or not) is the added weight. The extra tire width and weight contributed to an increased sense of stability. We didn't feel like we were going to tip over on obstacles that used to feel a little spooky with smaller, lighter tires.
However, the best part of wheeling a fullsize on tires like this is the gawk factor. Spectators totally lose it when they realize there's a fullsize coming up the trail. The crowd follows you, so don't try this unless you're a total ham.
263 Shoemaker Road
Premier Power Welder
P.O. Box 639
National Tire and Wheel