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Old 12-06-2013, 09:38 PM   #1
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Wheel size, offset, backspacing question...

I have been looking for new tires and wheels for the past few weeks and have a few nagging questions I can't seem to find an answer for. Here are the questions, and for those of you who like more details, there's the paragraph below it. :-)

For 33 x 12.50 - 15 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3's on a 2004 Rubicon, what is the optimal wheel size, backspacing and offset? Are there any advantages to steel wheels other than purchase price for a daily driver?

Details: I have a 3" teraflex long arm suspension lift plus a 1" body lift. 6" Bushwacket pocket flares (third set) and I have had Mickey Thompson MTZ 305/70R16s on the stock Rubicon wheels with 1-1/4" spacers since I had the lift installed almost 7 years ago. I would probably just replace the tires but the spacers are causing concerns for me. I have had shops refuse to work on the jeep because of them and I want new wheels anyway. SO, I have decided that I want to go with Mickey Thompson ATZ P3's that are 33x12.50-15 but the wheel sizes I'm seeing as recommendations go from 8" to 10" with varying degrees of backspacing and offsets. I have been told by 2 jeep mechanics that I need 10" wheels for that tire but everything I'm reading suggests 8". A lot of the tire/wheel combos on quadratec and 4WD are offered in both sizes too with no explanation driving the fitment so I gather either is acceptable but how does the wheel size difference affect the "look" if any? All I want is something that will give me the same approximate "footprint" I currently have and not cause any issues with rubbing etc. The mechanic who did my lift told be flat out that 8" wheels would look bad on my jeep as they would "draw the tires into the body" too much. Wish I could see them on the jeep before buying. BTW, this is my daily driver and I take it off road about once a month on average for trails at the farm and twice a year I go on "trails" in PA that are much more challenging. Will post a picture soon. Thanks for any help here!

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Old 12-06-2013, 09:48 PM   #2
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Until someone with a lot more knowledge than me about your set up answers back, if you haven't read thru this sticky, it might help:

Largest tire on stock JK? Here's your answer!

8" seems to be the best choice for JKs when airing down. The above sticky runs thru the back spacing...

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Old 12-06-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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You want to look for a 15x8 wheel with about 3.75" backspacing. You do NOT need a 10" tire and I don't care what the mechanic says. He is likely the same mechanic that will over inflate your tires too. An 8" wheel will allow you to hold the bead much better when aired down and also provide more protection to the wheel when offroad from rock rash (or curb rash when onroad).

There are no advantages of steel over alloy other than price. Steel bends (yes, aluminum can crack though) and is much heavier.
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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Everything I have read says 8 inch wheel, especially if you air down. Backspacing normally about 3.75 or so. Hope that helps until more of the experienced people chime in.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2012 View Post
Everything I have read says 8 inch wheel, especially if you air down. Backspacing normally about 3.75 or so. Hope that helps until more of the experienced people chime in.
Thanks guys! That is helpful.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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My experience and recommendation would be to go with a 15x8 alloy wheel with 3.75"-4" backspacing.
I have had, and sold, two different sets of 15x8 steel wheels, and a set of TJ Rubicon Moab wheels.
Loved the Moab wheels, but it was hard to find a load range C in a 16" size. They also needed wheel spacers when I wanted to go with a bigger tire. I didn't want to buy spacers.
The steel wheels would often lose their balance after offroading aired down. Probably bent a little? IDK.
I have seen many 10" wide wheels loose a bead on fellow club members rigs while aired down. I have yet to pop a bead....knock on wood.
With the 3.73"-4" backspacing, I think the wheels stick out far enough and look pretty good. My tires are not "tucked under" my Jeep. I don't think the mechanic you talked to doesn't know to much about backspacing. It's the backspacing that will push your tires in or out. Most stock wheels have 5"+ or so.

15x8 steel wheels, 3.75"bs, with 33x12.5x15 tires


15x8 alloy wheels, 4"bs, 35x12.5x15
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:45 AM   #7
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I've got 33's on 15x8 with 3.75" of backspace. No rubbing on the control arms when turning. 3.75" seems a common backspace among wheel manufacturers.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJDave View Post
My experience and recommendation would be to go with a 15x8 alloy wheel with 3.75"-4" backspacing. I have had, and sold, two different sets of 15x8 steel wheels, and a set of TJ Rubicon Moab wheels. Loved the Moab wheels, but it was hard to find a load range C in a 16" size. They also needed wheel spacers when I wanted to go with a bigger tire. I didn't want to buy spacers. The steel wheels would often lose their balance after offroading aired down. Probably bent a little? IDK. I have seen many 10" wide wheels loose a bead on fellow club members rigs while aired down. I have yet to pop a bead....knock on wood. With the 3.73"-4" backspacing, I think the wheels stick out far enough and look pretty good. My tires are not "tucked under" my Jeep. I don't think the mechanic you talked to doesn't know to much about backspacing. It's the backspacing that will push your tires in or out. Most stock wheels have 5"+ or so. 15x8 steel wheels, 3.75"bs, with 33x12.5x15 tires 15x8 alloy wheels, 4"bs, 35x12.5x15

Thank you for posting the response and the pictures! That's very helpful too. What size lift is on your jeep with the 33's? They both look great by the way. :-)

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